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Colossians 3.18-19

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(A Series in Colossians)

Westgate Chapel 10/24/93 a.m.                 Colossians 3:18-19

PROPOSITION:  Our marital relationships are not lived in a vacuum but are an extension of the believer’s relationship “in Christ” where Jesus is Master of all and we are neither male nor female, Jew or Greek, bond or free. 

i. introduction

-     DO you realize that being a Christian puts you in a supernatural, organic relationship with Christ?

-     IN more references in the New Testament than I could cover in this message, the believer’s relationship with Christ is identified by two words....”IN CHRIST.”

-     BEFORE I became a Christian it was just I, Me and Myself.

-     WHEN, through faith in Jesus Christ I became a Christian it was as if you opened Christ up and I climbed inside.....from the beginning of time.

-     SO when He died on the cross, taking on Himself the penalty for the sins of the world.......I died with Him there and my sins have been paid for. (Romans 6:4)

-     WHEN He rose again from the grave, triumphant over sin and death......I was raised in that same resurrection power and neither sin, hell nor the grave have any power over me. (Colossians 2:10)

-     SINCE He is dead to sin and alive to the Father....then I am dead to sin and alive to the Father. (Romans 6:11)

-     BECAUSE there is no condemnation against Him...there is therefore none against me. (Romans 8:1)

-     BECAUSE He is sanctified from sin....I am sanctified from sin and growing in victory. (I Corinthians 1:2)

-     SINCE He stands firm against all the attack of the evil one....I stand firm. (II Corinthians 1:21)

-     SINCE He walks in triumphal  procession over all powers and authorities of do I. (II Corinthians 2:14)

-     BECAUSE Jesus is raised up and seated at the right hand of the Father...then so am I even at this moment. (Ephesians 2:6)

-     HOW do we know all this? Because His Word says,

      “ ......if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

-     WHEN did this organic relationship with Jesus take place?

      “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit...” (Ephesians 1:13)

-     SO the essence of what it means to be a Christian is to be “in Christ.”

-     THAT is where the forgiveness, the victory, the hope, the power comes from.

-     NOW, in Colossians 3:18 - 4:1, Paul examines what being “in Christ” has to do with our marital relationships....our family relationships....and our work relationships.

-     THERE is not a convenient compartmentalization of our that our relationship “in Christ” is what we do on Sundays, and our marriage is over here, and our work ethics are over here....and they are in separate compartments.

-     I HAVE heard people talk about our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with one another as if they were two separate lines.

-     THEY are not two separate lines they are a line.

-     YOU cannot separate how you treat your wife....children...parents...boss...employee, from your relationship with Jesus......because as a Christian you are “in Christ.”

-     LET’S turn to Colossians 3:18-19 and see how being “In Christ”  works in marriage.


-     COLOSSIANS 3:18-19,

      “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”

-     THE English word, submit, means to “yield in surrender, compliance or obedience.”

-     IT is the opposite of demanding to have your way.

-     IT does not mean that you are not to have your own opinions and express them and have intellectual and spiritual partnership in your marriage.

-     IT just means that when you reach an impasse in a decision that is necessary it is God’s plan for the wife to yield......except in those cases where God’s Word is being violated.

-     NOTICE that phrase in verse 18, “submit as the Lord.” There are seven references to the Lord like that in the nine verses on the subject of our relationships.

-     WHY does verse 18 says that this submission is fitting or right?

-     BECAUSE we are “in the Lord” and submission is what He taught and what he lived.

-     WIVES are to submit to husbands because;

1.   Christ commands it.

2.   The headship of the husband over the family is a part of God's creation plan in Genesis 2.

3.  Christ, as head of the Church, is the Redeemer of the Church, and is an example of the husband's role in the family.

-     SUBMISSION is also is not a self-effacing, withdrawn door-mat attitude either.

-     THE sexes are equal before God.  Both bear the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) but are not identical.

-     SUBMISSION is very simply a voluntary laying down of our "right" to be right, to be in control, or to have our way....based on the personal brokenness that comes from proper time spent at the cross.

-     SELF cannot stay in the presence of the crucified Christ and stay standing or demanding.

-     DEMANDING personal rights, insisting on having our way, justifying our actions and attitudes is a way of life that is the opposite of the way of the cross.

-     BEING submitted to one another is the way of the cross, and the way of life for the followers of Christ....and the role of the wife in the Christian family.

-     BUT authority, in God's eyes, has nothing to do with the superiority of one over the other. Even Jesus, the Son of God came to be a servant, not to be served.

-     AUTHORITY in the family, from God's perspective, is for the family's benefit and protection.

-     SO, God's plan is for the husband to have the role of leadership in the home and for the wife to joyfully, voluntarily submit.

-     IN Ephesians 5:23 the Holy Spirit uses Jesus' relationship with us to explain what He means.

*     It is from Christ, as head of the Church, that the Body draws its health and maturity.

*     His headship expresses care...not control, responsibility...not rule. He specifically uses the word, "Savior" to explain headship in the marriage.

-     WITH that in mind then, the wife's submission to her husband resembles the Church's submission to Christ.....It is a grateful acceptance of His care.

-     THERE is nothing demeaning about this kind of submission.

-     IT is a voluntary, free, joyful partnership.

-     THE wife submits to the protection and provision of life through her husband.  That is not demeaning.  It is enriching!

iii. husbands ‘in christ’

-     VERSE 19 says,

      “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

-     IF the word characterizing the wife's role is "submission", the word characterizing  the husband’s role is "love."

-     HERE is where the reciprocal principle comes in that is found in all three categories of relationships in this section of Colossians.....submission in the context of agape love.

-     I AM not talking about a Hollywood affection or passion.....but agape love.

-     PAUL describes the husband’s agape love for his wife in Ephesians 5. He uses Christ’s example of His agape love for the Church.

*     We are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church.

a)   Jesus loves the Church with a constant, eternal, love from the beginning of time to eternity.

b)   Jesus loves the Church with a self-sacrificing love. He gave Himself up on the Cross for her

c)   Christ's love in action was to sanctify the wash it by the Word, so that He could...

d)  Present her, holy in character to the Father, i.e. so the Church's true nature would became apparent (without spot or wrinkle).

-     The husband’s love, self-sacrifice, and cleansing liberates his wife to be all God destined her to be.
-     Christ, as the head, does not crush the Church. In fact, He was crushed for the Church. The husband should never stifle, crush or frustrate His wife.
-     The husband is to give his  all to develop his wife's full potential so that she can become more completely herself.

-     FOR the husband, Paul stresses "love for", not "authority over" his wife. 

-     YOU see, traditionally the "Christian" interpretation of this passage has been the domineering husband who:

*     Does whatever he wants.

*     Makes all of the decisions.

*     Issues the commands.

*     Expects absolute obedience.       

*     Demands respect.

*     Uses the family for his own ends.

*     Inhibits, suppresses his wife.

-     SPECIFICALLY, the husband's role in this passage and in Ephesians 5  is one of:

*     Self-sacrifice on behalf of his wife.

*     Self-giving.

*     Power to facilitate self-fulfillment  in his wife.

*     The Cross as his standard and example of servant leadership.

-     FOR the wife, Paul stresses submission to her lover (husband), not to an ogre. 

-     THIS is God's plan for the human family. This is His operator's manual.

-     IT is up to us to follow it if we expect to live in His blessing.

-     WE cannot separate our Christianity from our marriage...they are one and the same because we are “in Christ.”

iv. authority ‘in christ’

-     THERE are some basic concepts on the subject of authority “in Christ” that we need to understand Biblically.

1)   There will always unfortunately be some forms of human oppression, e.g.  humiliation, exploitation, where authority is abused.

*     This does not cancel out God's requirements, nor does it absolve us from His command to submit.

*     The only exception would be where we were being told to do something contrary to God's Word.

2)   Paul continually emphasizes the oneness of humanity, which cuts across all of the barriers erected in the name of "authority."

*     Authority is a functional tool prescribed by God simply to get the job done. It is a role.

*     It is NOT a tool to be used to separate or divide the "superior" from the "weak."

3)   In light of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles there exists;

*     The dignity of women, children and servants.

*     The equality before God of all humans made in His image.

*     The unity of all believers as fellow members of God's family.

-     SUBMISSION is not another word for inferiority.

-     AUTHORITY is not another word for control or domination.

-     WE need to understand the difference between God’s value on people and roles that those people play.  For example: Rita Rowlands is a person...Being a wife and mother is her role.

-     YOU are created, born with the stamp of God as a person of inestimable value to Him. 

-     YOU were assigned your roles by God.  He makes you a father, a child, a master, a servant, a prince, a citizen, a pastor, a deacon, an elder according to His pleasure and for His glory.

-     THE authority that goes with the God-given role is a God-given authority. IT IS NOT YOURS TO USE AS YOU PLEASE!

-     TWO Questions:

1)  Where does authority come from?

*     It is delegated by God for the purpose of maintaining order in His world.  Others are required to submit to it (Romans 13:1).

*     Submission to authority is a recognition of the divine ordering of society.

*     Mutual submission is the same.  We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ's authority over us.

*     It does not mean that the authority of husbands, parents, pastors, etc. is unlimited.  You are to submit up to the point of being asked to be disobedient to God (Acts 5:29).


2)  How is authority to be used?

*     Always for the benefit of those submitting and never selfishly.

*     There is always a reciprocal responsibility for those who are in authority.

-     Husbands are to love and care for their wives.
-     Parents are not to provoke their children.
-     Masters are not to threaten or abuse slaves.

-     AUTHORITY is not a synonym for tyranny in the home, in the work place, in the nation, or in the church.

-     CHRIST is Master over us all and we will all give an account before Him some day.

v. conclusion

-     OUR life together, and the way we relate to each other, is inseparably connected to the work of Christ within.

-     MUTUAL submission in the church, husband/wife relationships in the home, family relationships, and work relationships all speak louder than our words about being a Christ-follower.

-     THESE relational issues are not neatly packaged "options" for the spiritually inclined. They are the basic building blocks of the kingdom of God.

-     THEY are a supernatural consequence of our being “in Christ.”

-     JESUS said, in John 13:35,

      "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

-     IT is the trademark of authenticity marking a true disciple of Jesus.

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