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5 Eph 21-33

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Cosmic Christianity:  Relational Application #1-Marriage

March 18, 2007; Ephesians 5:21-33

Unfinished business from last week:

            Purity, contentment not just a male issue

Guarding your heart:

  • Youth-no computers in bedrooms
  • Software decisions
    • Zone Labs
    • X3Watch
  • Online connection:  Turn it off!

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

The first man had married a Woman from Iwatoba and had told her that she was going to do dishes and house cleaning.  It took a couple days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Minneberta. He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a girl from Wislumbia. He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.


God's purpose for marriage--ONENESS!

            Gen 2:24; Eph 5:32--Leave, Cleave, become one Flesh

            I Cor 6:15-18--Reason for abstaining from immorality:  Defilement of oneness

            John 17:20.21  --Purpose of ministry:  Be one as Father and Son are one

            Eph 4:1-6--Practical outworking of salvation:  Oneness of Body

How do we accomplish this task?


            To one another…

            Out of fear of Christ

  1. Wives:  SUBMIT! 

to renounce one’s own will for the sake of others [v22,24]


            --As you would the Lord  [v22]

                        Deep respect, desire to see reputation enhanced.

            HUSBAND AS HEAD:

Eph 1:10 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Eph 1:22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Eph 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

                        1.  "Honor", as one's physical head is the seat of his honor

                                    I Cor. 11:3

                        2.  "Authority", which would naturally include idea of honor

                                    Eph. passage seems to include this idea in use of "hupotasso", which was a military term, and in the comparison of the husbands role to that of Christ, for we do more than honor Christ.

                                    --Your role parallels that of Jesus Christ [v23]

--As the Church does to Christ  [v24]

                        Legitimate need and sense of dependency


            --Demonstration of oneness   [v32]

When San Antonio computer consultant David Williamson was called for federal jury duty and told him to keep the month of August free of commitments, he replied he was ready to serve --- at his normal rate of $100 per hour.  Williamson prepared an invoice for “Court ordered professional services,” and sent a bill for $16,800 -- $100 an hour, eight hours a day, 21 days during the month of August.

Williamson’s bill warned court officials that the invoice was due at the end of the month, and after that would begin accumulating interest at 2 percent a month, if not paid.  There was no reply to Williamson’s initial invoice, so he mailed it two more times.

The response Williamson finally received was not the one he expected.  The court sent a form ordering him to report August 26, for a seven-week trial.  Williamson wrote back that as a principal partner in a small software firm, he could not miss seven weeks of work. He asked that his jury duty be postponed until next year – as it had been in 2000 and 2001.He added, “If you would like to meet and discuss this, please have his Honor call and schedule an appointment.”

The answer from U.S. District Judge Fred Biery appeared on Williamson’s answering machine the next Monday.  It read, “ The Court is happy to accommodate Mr. Williamson’s suggestion for an appointment: Mr. Williamson is HEREBY ORDERED TO APPEAR in Courtroom 2 of the John H. Wood Jr, United State Courthouse to show cause why he should not be held in CONTEMPT OF THE COURT AND JAILED ACCORDINGLY.  The order described Williamson as “arrogant” and asserted that the man had shirked federal jury duty for several years.

Court officials said it’s rare that a court needs to resort to the threat of jail, but said they did not know what else to do with Williamson.  Though Williamson disputes some of the Court’s figures, he says he will show up for the hearing.

--Associated Press, August 13, 2002, Submitted by Jim Sandell

2.  Husbands:  LOVE! [v.25,28,33]


            --Sacrificially  [v25]

                        Mk 10:43-45

            --With a goal of purification [26,27]

                        Phil 2:6-8

            --With the same love you have for yourself [28,33]

                        v29, Care:  Cherish, comfort, foster with tender care


1.  Provides an example for the children of what Christ is like, and of how they need to respond to the Savior

2.  Provides an example for the children of the character of the Church, and of how the Church is to look to Christ for guidance and leadership, and not to itself alone.

3.  When there is role reversal in the relationship, it creates insecurity and confusion.

4.  A strong and loving father is extremely important in the development of a child's life and security structure.

g. The remaining use of ὑποτάσσομαι in NT exhortation suggests that the general rule demands readiness to renounce one’s own will for the sake of others, i.e., ἀγάπη, and to give precedence to others. This word which belonged originally to the sphere of worldly order is now filled with new content as a term of order. Clearly this means that, e.g., the relation of the owner to the slave takes on a new aspect even though the legal position remains unchanged. Even the ὑποτάσσεσθαι of those who are properly subordinate does not stay the same when done under the control of dependence on the Lord, though externally it is rendered in exactly the same way as by others (cf. Tt. 2:9); for the demand now has a specific Christian basis, Col. 3:18; 1 Pt. 2:13; Eph. 5:21 f., cf. Eph. 5:24: as the community is subject to Christ. In exhortation the middle embraces a whole series of meanings from subjection to authority on the one side to considerate submission to others on the other. As regards the detailed meaning this can finally be decided only from the material context. The demand for mutual submission among Christians shows especially that ὑποτάσσομαι bears a material relation to Christian ταπεινοφροσύνη, → 21, 33 ff.; 40, 29 f. The findings as a whole suggest that the term ὑποτάσσομαι played a general catechetical-type role in primitive Christian exhortation. Yet the distinctions in meaning in the various material contexts should not be overlooked, nor should the differences from the closely related words ταπεινός κτλ. (→ 16, 1 ff.) and ὑπακούω (→ I, 223, 34 ff.).


b) Both the independence of Ephesians and its dependence on Paul and Colossians are seen in the three κεφαλή passages, in literary terms most clearly in Eph 4:15 (→ 5.a on Col 2:19). The (pre-)Pauline motif of the subjection of the cosmos (→ πᾶς) and of Christ’s exaltation over everything determines the cosmic-ecclesiological κεφαλή Christology of Eph 1:22 (cf. Steinmetz 86–89). In 5:23 also, where the dominance of the husband over the wife (cf. 1 Cor 11:3, → 3.b) finds its analogy (ὡς) in the relationship of Christ to the Church; κεφαλή is intended to express sovereignty (cf. Howard 355f.). An association with the idea of the unity of Christ the head and his ecclesiastical body is made by means of the appearance of σῶμα in the immediate context (on the similarity of “the conception of the God of all as macroanthropos” see Fischer 76–78).


2. fig.—a. in the case of living beings, to denote superior rank (cf. Artem. 4, 24 p. 218, 8 κεφ. is the symbol of the father; Judg 11:11; 2 Km 22:44) head (Zosimus of Ashkelon [500 ad] hails Demosth. as his master: θεία κεφαλή [Biogr. p. 297]) of the husband in relation to his wife 1 Cor 11:3b; Eph 5:23a. Of Christ in relation to the church Eph 4:15; 5:23b. But Christ is the head not only of the church, but of the universe as a whole: κ. ὑπὲρ πάντα Eph 1:22, and of every cosmic power κ. πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας the head of all might and power Col 2:10. The divine influence on the world results in the series (for the growing distance from God with corresponding results cf. Ps.-Aristot. De Mundo 6, 4): God the κ. of Christ, Christ the κ. of man, the man the κ. of the woman 1 Cor 11:3c, a, b (s. on γυνή 1).


87.51 κεφαλήb, ῆς f: (a figurative extension of meaning of κεφαλήa ‘head,’ 8.10) one who is of supreme or pre-eminent status, in view of authority to order or command—‘one who is the head of, one who is superior to, one who is supreme over.’ ὅς ἐστιν κεφαλή, Χριστός ‘who is the head, (even) Christ’ Eph 4.15; παντὸς ἀνδρὸς κεφαλὴ Χριστός ἐστιν, κεφαλὴ δὲ γυναικὸς ἀνήρ, κεφαλὴ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ θεός ‘Christ is supreme over every man, the husband is supreme over his wife, and God is supreme over Christ’ 1 Cor 11.3.


3. The term κεφαλή takes on decisive theological significance when referred to Christ and the Church in Eph. and Col. The passages at issue are Eph. 1:22 f.; 4:15 f.; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10; 2:19.

a. It is obvious from these passages that the term refers first to Christ, the exalted Lord, as the Head of His body, the Church. He is the Head of His body, the Church, in the sense that from this Head the body grows up to this Head, Eph. 4:15 f.; Col. 2:19, so that body and Head form the ἀνὴρ τέλειος or the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος, Eph. 4:13; 2:15. The schema itself make it clear that we have here more than a figurative application of the relationship of the human body to Christ and the Church. We are in the sphere of the Gnostic redeemer myth as a development of the aeon conception. To describe Christ as the Head of the Church against this background is to emphasise the unity between Christ and the Church. He is the Head which has its body in the Church, and which is thus present in earthly and bodily form in the Church. And the Church is the σῶμα which has its Head in Christ, and which is present in heavenly form in Christ. The Head is not present without or apart from the body, nor the body without or apart from the Head. The Church is the earthly body of the heavenly Head.

In this unity of Christ and the Church the headship of Christ is manifested in the fact that He directs the growth of the body to Himself. The κεφαλή determines not merely the being of the body but also the fulfilment of its life. As the κεφαλή Christ is the ἐξ οὗ of the αὔξησις of the σῶμα to οἰκοδομή. He is the effective “whence” of the activity of the body whereby it edifies itself through the gifts given to its members. As the κεφαλή He is thus the concrete principle of the bodily growth of the Church. He is the ἀρχή, Col. 1:18.

His description as the κεφαλή of His body, the Church, contains finally the element of an eschatological orientation of the Church. The body grows up to the heavenly Head, Eph. 2:15; 4:12, 15 f. It does so in such a way that the κεφαλή is always the heavenly goal of this body, and this goal cannot be attained except in the body sustained by faith and knowledge. For this reason the basis of the relation of the body to the Head is always the obedience of subjection, Eph. 5:23 f. κεφαλή draws attention to the eschatological reservation under which the body always stands.

b. From these passages, however, it is also clear that Christ is the κεφαλή in another sense. In Col. 2:10 He is also called κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας. Note should be taken of the parallel statements in 1:15ff. To His being as Head of the body and first-begotten from the dead corresponds (καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν) that which is called His being before all things and τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν, or πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, 2:9, 10. In Christ the Head is grounded, not merely the Church, but creation. Here we see both the ideas and terminology of the Gnostic myth. Christ is not merely the Redeemer; He is also the First Man. These are not alongside one another. In the Redeemer the First Man is at work. The body of creation is known in the body of the Church. The totality has its consistence in the Christ who is Head of the body of the Church. Outside Christ, i.e., outside His body, creation is the world. Like the Church, creation is present only under the Head. Hence it is worth noting that in Eph. 1:22 we read: καὶ αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν κεφαλὴν ὑπὲρ πάντα τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ. As the Head is given to the Church, so the Lord is given to the totality (πάντα without the art. because of the quotation). The same point is more clearly made in Eph. 4:15: ἵναἀληθεύοντεςἐν ἀγάπῃ αὐξήσωμεν εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα, ὅς ἐστιν κεφαλή, Χριστός. When we speak the truth in love, we cause the totality to grow into Christ. Hence in Eph. 3:9 f. the mystery hidden before time (the aeons) in God the Creator is disclosed by apostolic proclamation. This is none other than the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is also the manifold wisdom of God. This mystery, Christ or the wisdom of God in creation, is known to the world διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. In the Church as the body of Christ the hidden wisdom of God in creation is disclosed. Finally we may refer to Eph. 1:23b. The σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ is τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου. In His body, which represents the pleroma, the heavenly sphere of His presence, Christ draws all things into the pleroma.

This is to say, however, that the term κεφαλή referred to Christ in this sense and context, expresses the claim of Christ and the Church to the world. Christ is from the very first the Lord of the world. For from the very first (πρὸ πάντων) the world consists in Him. When as the risen Lord He takes control of the world in His body, He is simply actualising His real power over creation. Hence the Church as His body, when it relates the world to itself, is simply in process of taking over what truly belongs to it. For this reason the Church is relevant to each and all things. It is fundamentally a kind of cosmos. It is thus forced to organise itself, not as a private society, but as a public body.

That the created world comes to fulfillment in Christ, the Head of the body, the Church, is also intimated by the distinctive term → ἀνακεφαλαιοῦσθαι in Eph. 1:10. The statement of v. 9 is that God has made known to us the secret of His will: … ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.



[1]Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (8:45). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[2]Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wr̲terbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:286). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

[3]Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1996, c1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : A translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (430). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[4]Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:738). New York: United Bible societies.

[5]Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (3:680). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

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