The Christian Home
Text: Colossians 3:18-4:1
Title: The Conduct of a Christian
Theme of the book of Colossians: Jesus Christ: The preeminent and all-sufficient Savior
Theme of Text: In every relationship of life, remember that Christ is your Lord.
Proposition: We serve the ultimate master, you must let our master control you!
The book of Colossians is about the preeminence of Jesus Christ. Christ is preeminent in the world and the church, and Christ should also be preeminent in the believers home and work. Every part of life should be put under the control of Christ. In this brief passage, Paul explains some of the duties of the Christian. They are duties that cover the major areas of a Christian’s common life- home and work. This passage comes directly after Colossians 3:17, which states that every word and deed should be done in the name of Christ. All speech and actions of a believer should be for Christ and under the control of Christ. “The whole of life both thought and conduct is to be submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. No area of life stands outside his control; so there is no final distinction between the sacred and the secular.” –Peter T. O’Brien
If you turn on the TV, listen to the radio, look on the internet, pick up a magazine, or read the newspaper, you can hear the news or more accurately, the “latest gossip” about the most popular singers, athletes, politicians, or actors. Through almost every media format, we hear about the lives of these popular people. Most of the time, we hear the “bad news” about their lives, because the “good news” is not quite as interesting. You hear how one actor is getting a divorce because he doesn’t love his wife. An athlete was caught cheating on his wife. A politician is caught in an affair scandal. A singer has her children taken away because she does not know how to take care of them. A young star is suing their parents because they are keeping all their money from their acting. The boss of a large company is caught embezzling money. An employee is caught stealing from the company. A man kills his family because he couldn’t handle the pressure! Does this sound like the news or information you get from the world? It does to me, because I see the headlines of the news every day! Lives are being destroyed. Many of the problems of life start in the home. Why do we look at the world’s ideas, philosophies, and medical ideas to cure our marriage and family problems? The famous and rich people I just described have tons of money, best physicians, psychiatrists, the best house, yet the world’s solutions cannot solve their problems! Today, we will talk about the family life and the work life. Let’s look at God’s Word for the answer!
Paul puts an emphasis on the home. The home was the first institution that God founded. (Gen. 2:18–25; Matt. 19:1–6). God wants Christians to have homes that are surrendered to the control of Christ. The home is a critical part of the Christian life. Your greatest ministry is to your family. Unfortunately, society today says that the home and family is important, but not as important as your own personal gain and fulfillment. In this passage, Paul puts an emphasis on the family and points out the conduct that makes a strong and godly home. I want to talk to you about these practical exhortations from Colossians. I will admit before I start preaching, that I am not perfect in these areas! In fact, you know that I am not even a parent! Please don’t listen to “Tad’s wisdom,” but listen to the wisdom of God’s Word. Let the Bible teach you today.
1. The Conduct of Wives
Paul tells wives to be submissive to their husband. The Bible uses the word submissive as the idea of “coming under rank,” not by force, but willingly. “The term does not suggest slavery or servitude, and certainly never calls for the husband to make his wife submit. If he could, her heart would not be in it.” (Richard R. Melick NAC p. 311) This idea of the woman being submissive to the husband has been called into serious question in recent years. The world says that this is crazy; the woman should not have to submit to man. Even many Christian teachers try to change the meaning of this verse. They say “Paul really did not mean that women today are to submit, he just was talking about the Christian women in Colossae.” That is an incorrect interpretation! Paul is not writing something derogatory to women, he is not saying that women are less qualified, intelligent, or important. (Galatians 3:28) Paul is simply saying that the wife should submit to her husband. When a wife submits to her husband, she is allowing him to lead his family in the God-given manner. A wife that is submitting to her husband, “as is fitting to the Lord,” is simply fulfilling the proper duty from the Lord. A Christian wife should obey the Word of God and submit to her husband, since he is the “head of the wife.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
App: Let’s read 1 Peter 3:1. Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives. Many Christian women are married to unsaved husbands. The apostle Peter tells women that are married to an unsaved husband to submit so that they may be an example in their conduct! Peter doesn’t tell wives to preach to their unsaved husbands; he says to submit so that your conduct will win them to Christ! When your unsaved husband sees you nagging, yelling, not submitting, and being unloving, then he will see no reason to be a Christian, but when you are submissive and pure in conduct, you will show him your love for him and for Christ.
Ill: There is a very common saying in English, “When Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Is that how your home is? When wife or mom is not happy, then everyone else knows it. The kids say, “Watch out for mom, she is mad!” They say, “Dad better watch out, or mom will yell at him again!” Is that submission? NO. That is a power struggle with the woman trying to gain authority! Anger is a way to demonstrate who has the authority!
App: Women, you need to submit to your husband. That sometimes means allowing him to make some mistakes. It doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to him or tell him what you think of a situation. Some of the best advice or counsel I get is from Hannah. It just means that you should let him have the authority and final decision, even if you think it is a bad idea. The authority for the family should be in this order God, Husband, Wife, then children. Submitting to your husband will show your willingness to submit to God. If you are unwilling to submit to your husband, you are showing your unwillingness to submit to almighty God. If you are allowing Christ to control you, then you will submit to your husband.
2. The Conduct of Husbands
The Positive: Love: Paul tells the husband to love his wife. The wife might think, “Hey, he gets the easy part!” Not so fast, this is harder than it might seem. In Ephesians 5:25, Paul tells men to love their wife as Christ has loved the church. Christ gave his life for the church. This self-sacrificing, serving love is different from carnal, fleshly love. A husband is to love his wife with continuing love no matter the situation or circumstance. Paul even says to love your wife as your own body. What a statement! Love your wife as much as you love yourself, even more than that love your wife as Christ loved the church.
Illustration: Limiting Love For Wife
A young man once went to see Dr. Harry Ironside to confess a fault. “I love my wife too much!” he told the well-known Bible teacher. “In fact, I have put her on such a high plane, I fear it’s sinful.” “Do you think you love your wife more than Christ loved the Church?” inquired Ironside. The husband didn’t dare say he did. “Well, that’s the limit to which we may go,” he continued (Ephesians 5:25). —H. G. Bosch (Paul Lee Tan, Enc. of 7700 Illustrations)
App: You can never love your wife enough! You might be able to “say” I love you too much, but you can never “demonstrate” I love you enough. Say “I love you” and then prove it to her! A wife that is loved correctly by her husband will be more ready and willing to submit to him. Men, if you want your wife to submit, then you must love her and lead her spiritually. Do not just say, “I love you”; demonstrate that you love her. Your actions speak louder than your words! Don’t force her to submit, but allow her to submit to a godly, God-fearing husband. Wives will more readily submit to a godly man that knows he is a sinner/hypocrite, instead of a sinner that thinks he is godly! Here on some suggestions on how not to love her: don’t defame or defraud her name in front of others, don’t yell at her and put her down, don’t falsely accuse her, and don’t use her for what she can do for you. Instead, you should: protect her reputation, build her up with encouraging words, complement her, spiritually and physically protect her, pray with and for her, and give her your heart- not just a gift or your money.
The Negative Bitter: Husbands are not to be bitter against or toward their wife. Men must be careful not to be bitter against their wife over something they did or something that they don’t do. Appl: Most men and women come into marriage with certain expectations, but when those expectations are not fulfilled, there is a tendency to get bitter. Husband must not hold something against their wife or be upset, but instead should be forgiving and sacrificial. Look at Colossians 3:13! You need to forgive! Love forgives and is not bitter; it gives to the other person sacrificially!
Christ is the ultimate husband and spouse, for the church is the bride of Christ; husbands and wives let Christ control you and your marriage!
3. The Conduct of Children
Paul moves from the most intimate relationship of the husband and wife, to one of the most ignored relationships, the parent and children. Children are simply commanded to obey their parents in all things. This is a stronger word than “submit” which was used for the wife to the husband. Children are told to obey and honor their parents because it pleases the Lord. Disobedience will cause great hurt and harm to the child and the parent. You might wonder what God’s will for your life is, well, teens and kids, it is right here: obey your parents! Obedience and honor as a child will bring blessing to you as an adult!
Illus/Application: Ephesians 6:1-2 says to obey and honor your parents. Many times, you obey your parents, but you do not honor them while you obey. That is not true obedience. Illust: For instance, you ask your parents if you can go out with some friends. They say no because of certain reasons. You obey them by staying home, but you don’t honor them by going to your room, complaining, and gossiping to your friends while you are home. Obedience is more than just following instructions! A monkey can follow instructions, but they cannot follow instructions with love and honor. Obey and honor your parents because they are your authority from God! The older I get, the more I wish I would have listened to my parents!
Christ was the ultimate and most obedient child; children let Christ control you!
4. The Conduct of Fathers
The verse says “fathers,” but the word is sometimes translated as parents. Paul wants parents to listen to this command, but it is especially important to fathers. Fathers are called to stop “exasperating, irritating, provoking” their children to anger so that they do not become discouraged. He is saying, don’t nag your child and make them feel worthless. Parents are to encourage their children to grow in the Lord. The parent’s responsibility is to help their children grow in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. Exasperating or irritating your children does not help them grow in the Lord. In your notes, I have included ten ways that you can exasperate your children. Parents, please read those together at home.
Ill/App: Fathers, I think this is especially good for you to understand. It is easy for the job of “parenting” to fall on the plate of the mother, but that should not be the case. A father is the head of the house under Christ, so he is responsible for his children. It is easy to exasperate or discourage your child if you are never there for them. If you only come home to give discipline and commands, then your kids don’t see your love. You need to spend time playing with your kids and allowing them to enjoy you. Be yourself in from of your family! They know you the best, so you will not fool them. It irritates a child to hear one thing outside of the home and then hear another thing when they are behind the walls of the home. Be loving, caring, and fun! Don’t be so stuffy and uptight that your kids are afraid to talk to you! You might think that they can talk to you about anything, but if you don’t talk to them about everything, then your kids won’t want to talk to you about anything. Work vrs Home: Many men that have a good job struggle at home. They cannot separate work and home. At work, you are honored as the boss or a great person, but at home, you’re a diaper changer! Remember what is more important! Leave and Cleave: You are raising your children for God and you are raising them to leave, not to support you for the rest of their life. Think about this: Do you want your children to love Christ more than they love you? You should!
Ill: I remember my dad teaching me to ride a bike. He first started me out on a 3 wheeled toy that had huge wheels and peddles. Then he gradually put me on a bike with training wheels. Then he took the training wheels off. He walked with me to help me keep my balance. Eventually, he had to let go, but he was there when I fell. He was there to pick me up! You need Christ as your head to help you decide when to hold on, when to let go, how to help them up, and how to discipline them. God is the ultimate Father; parents let him control you!
5. The Conduct of Servants
Paul talks about the servant’s relationship to his master. Paul was talking to slaves. He did not condemn slavery, but instead said that the slave and master should treat each other in a godly, Christ like fashion. Paul was not trying to abolish slavery and get it out of society. He recognized it as part of the society, but did not condone or condemn slavery. The Bible does say that all men are equal in Christ. (Colossians 3:11) Paul simply tells servants how to obey their masters. This can easily talk about the employee and employer relationship. A servant or employee should serve with a sincere heart that is seeking to please God rather than men. God is the one that will reward servants for what they have done. Even though the earthly master or boss may not reward a person properly, God will reward the servant for his work. We serve Christ, but that is no excuse to serve our earthly employer incorrectly; instead, serving Christ should be a motivation to do our best for our earthly master.
Appl: Whatever your job may be, whether a slave, nurse, secretary, doctor, engineer, farmer, accountant, shop worker, waiter, or chef, you are to obey your master. You serve an earthly master, but you truly serve Christ! He is your heavenly Lord. What is your testimony like at work? Do others look at you and say, “Wow, he is lazy,” or “They are always a complaining.” Or do other say, “Wow, he is one of the best employees we have.” Do others know that you are a Christian that is serving Christ? Your obedience and effort at work may give you wonderful opportunities to share Christ! Whatever you do, do it earnestly and obediently to the Lord because he is the one that will reward you! We have a heavenly reward! That is worth more than any earthly paycheck or reward man can give you! Ill: Rod Baldwin vrs. John Warden Jr. Jesus Christ was the ultimate servant to us; servants let the ultimate servant control you!
6. The Conduct of Masters
Masters are also to give to their servants or employees what is just and fair. All earthly masters have a master in heaven. Masters must treat their Christian workers as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. A Christian master, boss, or employer has a tremendous responsibility and opportunity. A master should treat his employee in a just and fair way so that the employees see a difference, Christ, in their master’s life. With great power and privileged comes great responsibility. Masters should use that for the good of Christ and not for their own gain. Since Christ is the ultimate master; masters let him control you!
Let’s review: Colossians and Ephesians say: Wives are told to submit as fitting in the Lord, Husbands are to love as Christ loved, children are to obey and by doing that they please the Lord, parents are to bring children up in the Lord, servants are to obey fearing God, masters are to be just and fair because of their heavenly master. This passage along with the Ephesians 5-6 passage emphasizes that we are doing these things for the LORD, and not just for man!
A wife that is controlled by Christ will submit to her husband, a husband that is controlled by Christ will love his wife, a child that is controlled by Christ will obey their parents, a parent that is controlled by Christ will properly train their child, a servant controlled by Christ will obey his earthly master, and a master that is controlled by Christ will be just and fair!
Illustration: My mom and dad are not together today. They are getting a divorce. Do you know why? It is because they did not let Christ control their life! Let me explain for a moment. My dad and mom always took us to church as kids. My dad was a deacon at the church and he was very faithful. After I graduated from high school, my parents started skipping some church services. They would come every other week, then only once a month, and then only once a year. Pretty soon, they did not want to come to church at all! Instead of going to church on Sunday, they would go to the beach or go fishing in the ocean. They started to allow other things to control their life such as pleasure and entertainment. Their marriage started to get bad and they got in more arguments. My mom started becoming emotionally attached to another man, not physically, just emotionally. Christ was not controlling their life. Then two years ago when I was at school, I got a call from my younger brother Nathan. He said, “Tad, mom and dad are really mad and they are getting a divorce.” That crushed me! I had confronted my father before about his lack of commitment to Christ and his church attendance, but he always brushed me off. He knew what was right, but he was allowing himself to be controlled by something other than Christ! That led to a spiritual demise in my father, my mother, and some of my brothers. Remember that Christ must control your life! Let Christ be the head of your home.
Marriage problems, parenting problems, work problems are all common, but they can be helped with a correct knowledge of who is controlling you. Christ must be preeminent in every part of your life! Is Christ the head of your home? Is Christ the head of your family? Christ should be the reason for a joyful Christian life. Give Christ control of every area of your life.
John MacArthur gives ten ways that parents can exasperate or irritate their children and cause them to lose heart. I have included them here because I believe that they are excellent!
“~First, parents can exasperate their children by overprotection. Over-protective parents never allow their children any liberty. They have strict rules about everything. No matter what their children do, over-protective parents do not trust them.
~Second, parents exasperate their children by showing favoritism. That is often done unwittingly by comparing a child unfavorably to siblings or classmates.
~Third, parents exasperate their children by depreciating their worth. Many children have been convinced that what they do and feel are not important. Many parents depreciate their children’s worth by refusing to listen to them. Children who are not listened to may give up trying to communicate and become discouraged, shy, and withdrawn.
~Fourth, parents exasperate their children by setting unrealistic goals. Parents can do that by never rewarding them, or never letting them feel they have succeeded. Nothing is enough, so the children never get full approval.
~Fifth, parents exasperate their children by failing to show affection. Parents need to communicate love to their children both verbally and physically. Failing to do so will discourage and alienate a child.
~Sixth, some parents exasperate their children by not providing for their needs. Children need things like privacy, a place to play, clean clothes, a place to study, their own possessions, and good meals.
~Seventh, parents exasperate their children by a lack of standards. This is the opposite of overprotection. When parents fail to discipline, or discipline inconsistently, children are left on their own. They cannot handle that kind of freedom and begin to feel insecure and unloved.
~Eighth, parents exasperate their children by criticism. Parents should seek to create in the home a positive, constructive environment.
~Ninth, parents exasperate their children by neglect. The classic biblical example is Absalom. David was indifferent to him, and the result was rebellion, civil war, and Absalom’s death. Parents need to be involved in their children’s lives.
~Finally, parents exasperate their children by excessive discipline. This is the parent who abuses his children, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. Parents often say things to their children that they would never say to anyone else. They should never discipline their children in anger. Rather, parents should lovingly correct their children, just as their heavenly Father does them.” (John MacArthur, Colossians, p. 170.)