About a year ago Arika and I were getting ready for Liam to come.
And if you are a parent you know it seems like there is an endless amount of things to do to get ready for your first child
And one thing I was doing was putting everything together in the Nursery.
And I was doing a great job with most things, but at one point I got to Liams crib.
And I probably spent an hour working on it and I did not even get to the first step of putting it together figured out.
And I remember I was so frustrated, and maybe I am exaggerating but I am pretty sure I told Arika that Liam is just going to not have a crib.
And so 8 month pregnant Arika was not happy about that (you do not tell an 8 month pregnant women that her child doesn’t get a crib), but she actually said well let me look at it.
And I look at her and say good luck...
So she is working at it for only a few minutes and I walk into the nursery and she’s on step 4 or 5.
And I remember my man card was just taken away at that point but I also asked her “How did you do this?
And she looked at me and told me that I somehow missed the first few pages and so thats why I had no idea what I was doing.
But you know really it is amazing how missing a small part of the instructions can cause you to be completely lost
and really today in the passage we are in God has given people instructions on what our relationships should look like.
But the issue is in Biblical times and really even today is that the relationships in our lives (The way we interact with our parents, our kid, our spouse, our coworkers, whatever it is) are often not in line with the way God has asked us to live.
And really when we get off the structure and way that God has called us to live it can cause us to end up with issues in the relationships we have in our life.
So this morning we are in Ephesians 5:21-6:9 and really this is a passage that if we are honest with each other a lot of us hate.
and the reason for this is because there is a word that actually sets the tone and is the theme for the entire passage. And we hate this word.
and that word is submission
And we view this word as an oppressive word (which in a lot of cases it is),
But how Paul uses it is so different because look at verse one with me, because this is really the theme for the entire passage.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
You know when this was written the culture the people lived in was very intense.
And the Roman government during this time would actually assign a head of the household which would be the man.
And that man would oversee his wife, his children and if they had any bondservants, they would be in charge of them.
And what would happen if any of the people under the husband would do anything wrong according to the Roman government, then the man would actually be punished.
And so this would lead to extreme oppression, and often times abuse for those who were in the household under the father.
And so in the middle of that Paul says “hold on, this is not right!” Because God calls for us not to submit fully under one person, but first off to submit to Christ,
but then second off he tells us with almost any relationship there is a level of submission that needs to take place.
And this is so practical because Paul takes us through through three relationships:
being the relationship with your spouse, the relationship with your kids or parents and then finally the relationships with your coworkers and boss.
And he tells us how each relationship should look.
And I am going to give you a warning, because there are parts of this passage you are going read it and be offended, but don’t log off because once you read the next sentence and read it in how Paul intended it my hope is that you will see the beauty of the passage.
So lets go to the first chunk of scripture (and just to give a disclaimer: we are looking at this passage at a thousand feet today. You could go a ton deeper and really this could be its own 4 week series, but we want to get a birds eye view of it today and there will probably be a time in the future where we go deeper,, but today it is just a birds eye view.
and so we are starting in verses 22-30 and this is just starting with spouses. It says this:
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do 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 their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body.
You know every time I hear this passage read I always see husbands start to perk up and usually they nudge their wife and wives look a little angry.
And really it is because of the word we do not like which is submit.
Wives submit to your husbands, and it continues saying the husband is the head.
I mean if you are a feminist you are reading it going this is awful!
“I do not want to submit to anyone”
But the issue is we miss the second part which is Husbands love your wife how Christ loved the church.
Do you know how Christ loved the church?
He came down and died for it. You see we read that first part and go God is asking a lot out of the women.
But in my opinion He is asking about the same for me..
Because in verse 25 he is saying look I want you to die for your wife. and not only that but I want you to give yourself up for her.
Meaning (after God) place her first!
So really he is saying wives make sure your husband is first, but then he is saying husbands make sure your wife is first.
And then have God as the head of the relationship
And can I just say Paul is laying down the blueprint for a God glorifying marriage.
And this is hard. marriage has times where it is hard. Ask Arika, sometimes I say things that might be hurtful. Sometimes she says my chewing is loud and obnoxious”
But in verses 28- 30 it tells us that we are to love our spouse as our own body.
which means take care of each other and love each other
You know if you have ever had an infection or something off in your body the doctors will do whatever they can not to amputate that body part.
And I am sure you will try to make sure of that also.
Because if there is something off we want to see it get better
And really this passage is saying in your marriage you want to help your spouse, love them and be patient with them.
Because I do not know about you all but Christ has been patient with me.
And God is saying love and be patient with your spouse, bring them closer to God, and after God place them first and lay down your life for them.
Well Paul moves on and he talks about the relationships between children and parents. and so look at chapter 6:1-4 because it says this:
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
So we are going to start with the children. Because it starts with children obey your parents.
Kids I want you to understand something that your parents have been around the block a time or two.
and as a new parent, I can almost guarantee that 99% of the time your parents have your best interest in mind.
And I know there are situations where kids are abused or the parents are a little rocky and thats why the passage saying obey your parents in the Lord.
really the passage is saying okay listen to God first, but then your parents are next.
But once again this is one of those places where the parents are nudging there kids, but the next part is the part hard part and thats for the parents.
And this is what makes the relationship work.
Because it says Fathers (and really this is for mothers as well… do not be to harsh to on your children or provoke them. Meaning that while your kid should listen to you you need to respect and care for them as well.
Your the parent but you cannot lash out on your child and you should be patient
but then it says something even more important, because it says instead of being harsh and lashing out on them what you need to do is train them in the instruction of the lord
You know whether you are a mother or father you are the primary spiritual care giver for your child.
Parents it is almost like you are a hose. You know a hose transfers water (a life give element to plants that need it)
and parents you have this life giving thing in your life which is the Gospel that Christ has given us.
And God wants you to transfer that to your children.
And this is scary because you are not just teaching them but it means you are setting an example for your child on what it means to follow Christ.
You are trhe primary spiritual care giver of your child
Church is great but it cannot replace you pouring into your children.
Parents I am saying this out of love this morning please do not just drop your child off at church, but come with them, because God has given them to you to raise up in Christ.
Church is great, but what you do will probably have a stronger impact.
Alight are you ready for the last one, because the last one is between bond servants and masters,
And just to be clear this is not slavery. The Bible never condones slavery, but this is almost like a supervisors relationship with people under him.
And these are the last few verses in 5-9 and it says this:
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
You know all of these are hard, but this one is a pretty difficult one.
Because if you work almost anywhere people almost always will criticize the supervisor behind their back, and this is not saying never challenge them or disagree with what they are doing,
But it does say you need to be ready to work for them like you were doing the work of God.
And that is hard if you have ever had a toxic supervisor.
But look what it says to the supervisor in verse 9
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Basically masters or supervisors remember you are there master, but God is yours.
And so you better be treating those under you well like God has treated you.
with patience and love.
You know this morning you probably felt like you drank from a fire house.
This was a lot in twenty minutes and its some tuff material, so hopefully I still have a few people watching.
But can I just say that this morning you might need to submit in an area of your life.
first off you will want to make sure your life is submitted to God.
But second off there might be other areas that you need to submit to someone or place someone above you.
You might need to have more love and patience.
You might need to be a better example.
I do not know where you are.
But can I challenge you to look at the areas that God is bringing to your mind right now, and say God lead me in that area.
Because I know that this needs to change.
Some of us it might me saying “God do you know my husband? do you know my child? my boss?”
others of us are looking at it and probably thinking I blew it already. My kids hate me, I was a parents are crazy, I am on the brink of divorce
But can I just say that God’s love changes the hardest of hearts and it can change us this morning.
And you might have a mountain that needs moved this morning in a relationship in your life.
But what would happen if this morning we started living the blueprint God gave us?
And not just that but fully submitting to Him.
Lets pray and ask God to change our heart