(5/23) I am convinced that if we were to use one word to describe the state of our being as human beings in the 21st century it would be the word, confused. I am personally in awe, but not in a good way. Perhaps, bewildered, is a better word to describe me. Did you see or hear that the state of North Carolina is suing the Federal Government, who is
counter-suing North Carolina over stateís rights? Wasnít there a war fought one time over that? And the President of the United States is ordering all states to allow transgender use of restrooms and perhaps locker rooms.
Adults and children who were born one gender but want to be the other, so much so that they want to use the restroom of the gender that they are not and there are so many who think they should be able to. Both genders wanting to be married or in relationships with their same gender, when it is so un-natural. Women who want to look and dress like men,
and men who want to look and dress like women. Women who want careers that have been historically menís and men who want careers that have been historically womenís. Police, combat military, firefighters, or flight attendants, nannyís, stay at home parents.
Men donít know if they are supposed to be kinder, gentler, diaper changers, or diesel mechanics, and crime fighters. Both who want to destroy the life of the children they were intended to birth and nurture. Men and women who want the benefits of marriage without the commitment. And the world seems to be okay with all of this.
I am bewildered by it all. All of this is supposed to be okay in a civilized society.
Paul tells us in Romans 1 and other places, almost prophetically, that these things would happen and, in fact, did happen in 1st century Rome and in places like Greece, and Asia Minor, where Ephesus was.
In this half of his letter to the Christians in Ephesus and Asia Minor, Paul is instructing Christ-Followers to be different than the world they live in. Take off that old life and way of thinking because it stinks, and put on the new person that has been created to be like Jesus. That is the gist of chapter 4 and the first half of chapter 5. Letís
read 5:15-24 and then look at this scripture that is controversial in our society. 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
This section begins with the word, therefore. We are to imitate our Father and model the life of our Lord Jesus. We are to live, loving like Jesus, and living as Children who are no longer ignorant of truth, living lives that are sweet-smelling and pleasant to our Father, and not stinking, rotting lives like the rest of the world. We have the word of
God, we have His wisdom, and we have His Holy Spirit to enable us to both know and do the will of God. We are to live under the control and influence of the Word of God and His Holy Spirit. This is a command, not a request. He doesnít use the words, beseech, or strongly urge. He commands that we live our New lives under His influence. This is life as God has designed it,
before we ruined it by wanting our own way. Look back at verse 15, The fool in scripture is usually not a simple minded person who doesnít grasp truth. A fool in the Bible usually refers to one who knows truth and despite the truth chooses to ignore or reject it. "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." (Psalm 14:1) Romans 1:20-21, "Because, although they knew
God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, Paul is teaching us the will of God! Letís review.
17. Seek Wisely to Understand what the will of the Lord is.
18. Stop being Drunk with wine = Dissipation = No redeeming value
18. Spirit Filled instead - Itís not a glass-filled, because thatís a static kind of filling. Itís a sail filled because thatís in motion and thatís this kind of filling. Be born along, moved along, carried along by the Holy Spirit. That is essential to Christian living.
19. Speaking in Psalms Ė Encouraging each other with the words of the Psalms
20. Singing and Making Melody to the Lord = Worshiping God with Music
20. Satisfied with all things Ė Recognizing that God is at work and has a plan even when we donít understand and we trust Him.
21. Submitting to one another. I am sure you have heard this before but this word, submit, is a military term meaning, to place under in rank. Unlike the military, however, it is used mostly of willful humility in the New Testament. It means to voluntarily, willfully, humble yourself, and place yourself under either the authority, or leadership, or
desires of others. It is a voluntary yielding of your rights.
This is an illustration that Debbie gave me a few weeks ago. It is like two or more people coming to a four way stop sign at the same time. Someone has to yield or there will be disaster.
Look at 1 Peter 2:13-16. This is a major theme in 1 Peter. I was preaching thru 1 Peter and some people complained, that all I was preaching was submit. But, that is what Peter was exhorting his readers to do. "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lordís sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those
who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish menó 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God."
Cp. 1 Peter 2:13, NKJV says, every ordinance of man, the NIV says, every human authority, NASB, and ESV, and NRSV says, every human institution. This is literally, every divinely ordained institution of God for mankind. There are at least 4. The 4 main Biblical institutions ordained by God are:
a. Government Ė 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13 remind us to be good citizens and honor our leaders and government. Civil disobedience is only allowed when Government demands that we violate Godís Word.
b. Employment Ė We will see in a few weeks that Ephesians 6 and 1 Peter 2, remind us to honor our employers.
c. Church - Phil. 2:1-9; 1 Cor. 16:13-16; Heb. 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-7 reminds us to submit to the leaders of our church. Humility is to be a way of life with each other. Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be
unprofitable for you. (Heb. 13:17). Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love. 15 I urge you, brethrenóyou know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saintsó 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
(1 Cor. 16:13-16)
d. Marriage- (cp. Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6, 1 Cor. 11:3-4) This is our message for this week and next.
1. Status of Women and Men in 1st Century. Women did not have the status that men had for ages in most cultures. Women were just above slaves and their primary purpose was seen as producing suitable heirs for their husbands. Often they were property for bartering.
2. Christian Wife and a Pagan Husband Ė For a woman to embrace Jesus and go against the religion of her husband was to invite divorce, disgrace, and possibly death. To know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that there is no hope apart from Jesus and yet to be married to the father of your children and wanting him to depart from the
heathen gods and embrace Jesus was a tough position to be in. Some of you are in a similar position today. You love Jesus but your husband either doesnít or doesnít walk closely with Him. What are you to do? (Thatís the point of 1 Peter 3:1-6)
3. Godís Design - Creation order (Gen. 2:7-20; 21-25) Neither Paul nor Moses is referring to any superiority of one gender over another. Rather both are pointing to purpose. There is a reason for being either male or female. There are design and designated purposes for each. As Adrian Rogers said, "we are equal but different." Gal. 3:28 tells us that
in Christ there is no difference. But for the accomplishment of Godís purposes for the home and the church there are specific ordained roles. In both the Church and the Home, men are to lead and women are to place themselves under that leadership. Just as for our Salvation, Jesus who is God and Equal to the Father placed himself under in rank to the Father. Throughout the
book of John, he says, "I came to do my Fatherís will." That is repeated in Hebrews 10. Paul says this in 1 Cor. 11:3; "The head of every man is Christ, and the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." Just like the President and Vice President of the United States. Both are equal as humans and men and citizens of the U.S.A., but for our government, one is
placed under in rank while the other leads. Some of you have watched the popular show, Dancing with the Stars, and you know that in ball-room or what we called slow dancing, one person leads and the other follows. It is usually the man who is to lead, though both are capable dancers. Paul says the order of creation also implies the parts we play. Godís word was given to man
before Eve was created. His role as care-giver of the earth, was before Eve was created. He was created to be the regent of creation and Eve was created to help Him. However,
4. Part of the Consequences and Curse of original Sin is The Battle of the Sexes (Gen. 3:16). When Satan entered the Garden of Eden, part of His strategy was to confuse the roles of Godís creative design. He persuaded Eve to take the lead and Adam to follow her lead, as Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:14. As a result the curse of sin came. With that curse
came this battle that continues to this day and manifests itself in our society. As a result:
Women have chosen to either be:
Passive- to be loved at any cost, or
Aggressive Ė To rule over her husband or men (Gen. 3:16a; cp. 4:7) The
word, "Desire" doesnít mean a natural hormonal desire to be with a man. It means to compel or seek control of, as it is used in 4:7. A consequence of the sin nature is for a woman to want to control her husband, or men; it is a battle for headship.
Men have become either:
Passive, perhaps because Dad was, and mom ran the home, or it is just
easier to let his wife or the women, lead than it is to be a leader.
Abusive (Gen. 3:16b) To dominate a woman as he tries to demand the
respect he wants.
However, the word, Ďrule,í means to install into an office or to elevate in
position. God is saying I have elevated the man to the position of ruling the
home. Paul says, this is why it is to be carried over into the church; because
of the order of creation and the results of the curse (1 Tim. 2:12-14).
I must say this as I will repeat it next week. Men are you listening? Headship is not something you are to demand. You will be held responsible, but you must not demand your wifeís submission. You are not to give orders. She must give her submission to you as a gift. You must, however, gently serve her and remind her that when we stand before God,
you Sir, will be held accountable for your home and its spiritual and social leadership.
So letís get back to Ephesians 5:22-24. We have already noticed that all of us are to practice submission to our Governing Authorities, Our employers, Our Church, and now in our homes. We are to voluntarily, willingly place ourselves under in rank. In the home, women are to willingly, voluntarily place themselves under the leadership of their husbands.
If you are listening say, Amen. Ladies this is how you model Jesus in a dark, confused world. Letís notice:
1. Own husbands -this is the Who? 25 or 30 years ago. I was preaching through Paulís letter to Titus. And I got to Titus 2:3-5, the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good thingsó 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be
discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. In a sermon on these verses, I gave 12 reasons why Women Should Not Work Outside of the Home. I truly thought it was inspirational. But, that kite didnít fly too good. I had a lot of upset people. One of the reasons that I gave was that working outside of the home
would make women submissive to men who were not their own husbands. This text says that a wife should willingly, voluntarily yield herself to the leading of her own husband.
Now this will always raise some questions that begin with, What if? What if he makes some poor decisions? What if he is abusive? What if he isnít godly and doesnít love like Jesus? What if his demands and actions are sinful? These are honest questions for a fallen world. Civil disobedience is okay, IF, what he is doing is sinful, and abuse is sinful,
otherwise and I am being general here, you have to give God the room to work in his life.
Now, let me also say, that submission does not mean silence. You are a helper, you are to give good advice, like a Cabinet Member to the President. This is a life lesson that I learned the hard way. God has given many women insight, and intuition, that I canít explain, but I learned that I need to listen to. Ladies, give good advice in a graceful way
and then let him lead.
2. Why? Because God has established an order for the home. As we discussed earlier. Vv. 23-24 cp. with 1 Cor. 11:3"The head of every man is Christ, and the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." Who is the head of the church? Jesus! Are there two heads of the church? No! Co-headship is not the way God rolls. Co-headship in the home does
not work. Picture a triangle. Jesus at the top. Wife on one corner and husband on the other. Your home should be like that triangle. You yield to your husband because you are yielded to Jesus. Ladies, listen! It is as if Jesus says to you in private, I have this that I want you to do. That guy you are married to, I want you to help him, encourage him, love him, stand by his
side, I created him to need that. Honor him with the respect that you would give me. That is my assignment, for you. Will you do that?
Because here is what I have never heard a preacher say in church. I did hear the Menís Fraternity leader say it, but he is the only one. I doubt that you have ever heard what I am about to tell. Look at verse 33, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Some
say reverence, instead of respect. Does anyone have anything other than reverence or respect? The Greek word is Phobus. What do we get from that word? Phobia, or fear. It is used of fearing God and of being afraid of men. But listen or look at Mark 6:19-20, "Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing
that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly." It is often used of reverential respect.
Men, who are more Godly than myself, have concluded that the #1 thing that men want in life is respect. They want to know that someone trusts them, believes in them, and honors them. Compare the cycle of Love and Respect in men and women in the Book, Love and Respect, and this verse. Again, this respect isnít based on His worthiness, but on his
position as a man and the God designated leader of the home. Just as our respect for our President isnít based on his worthiness but on His position ordained by God. That is important in all 4 of these ordained institutions. In your reverence of our God (The Fear of the Lord), respect your husband. Listen to Genesis 2:18, And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should
be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." The word for helper or a help meet for him, means, a helper, an assistant, and/or aid. I have read or heard that some believe that this means to help to bring to completeness. That man alone is not complete. A woman was built and designed to be different to compliment what lacks in a man. And I believe that the reverse is
also true. Men want/ or have a built in need to be respected. And men may love adventure, but when it comes to relationships he needs to feel safe. The one person that most have that makes them feel that way is mom, and he needs to feel that from his wife. He needs someone who thinks he can accomplish great things. Someone who praises his efforts, and compliments his
faithfulness. Sex, for most married men is about feeling safe and secure, not about conquering. More about that in a few months from now. For a wife to understand that respect and safety are the two things a man needs from you is huge. A man will do almost anything for the ones who will him do those two things. A man feels loved when he feels safe, and respected. He needs
your encouragement. He needs your confidence in him. He needs your requests for help, not your demands. He needs your help to be a confident, godly man.
Ladies you are not concubines, nor are you slaves, you are a special creation of God designed to work beside your husband to counsel, and encourage him to be a Godly man, which he is much more apt to be when you willingly, humbly, respect him, in service and honor of our Lord Jesus.
3. How? It must be Intentional (vv. 23-24). Now it is obvious that the church hasnít always submitted to the Lord and in fact, often in the last 2000 years it has decided that it knows better than the Head what it is to do. The result has always been disaster. Jesus is Lord, He is the Head of the body His church. Many foolish people have decided to
ignore Godís word or try to change its meaning in order to justify their rebellion.
Our responsibility is to follow His leading and obey His word. Are we to obey some of His Word, if we agree with it? No, we are to obey Him in everything! Verse 24 is tough to hear, isnít it? But that is to be the way that wives who are Christ-Followers and Filled with the Holy Spirit are to voluntarily place themselves under the headship of their
Paul says here that Submission is really to Jesus. By placing yourself under in rank to your husband, you are placing yourself in the will of God and into a position to serve in Godís plan. It is not based on the worthiness of your husband. If he deserved it, I would! He doesnít, so I wonít. No, there are no conditions stated. If you are not placing
yourself under the leadership of your husband, it is a heart issue with God. Be intentional, I am serving God, and because I love Jesus I will honor Him and trust Him by yielding to Him in my marriage.
Now, this works really great when your husband is a godly man and leads, and loves like our Lord Jesus. But this is Godís design for the family, for your marriage. It is to be a witness to the world of what a relationship between a husband and wife is supposed to be. This is how you put on Christ. This is how you show the world the difference Jesus
makes. This is how we shed light in a world that is dark and confused. Letís Pray about it.
Ladies Ė Hard to submit?
Guys Ė Hard to lead to love like Jesus?
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman