Ephesians 5:21-33 Vol. 5

Series: Monday Marriage Message

January 31, 2023
Pastor Ken Brown Jr

Hi, this is pastor Ken, thanks for joining me for the Monday Marriage Message. Today we will continue with our in-depth look at Ephesians chapter 5 verses 21-33. This is our fifth installment in this series, and today we will be looking at verse 24. For context, I will begin reading again in verse 21 and finish with our focal passage for today, Ephesians 5:24. Submitting to one another in the Fear of the Lord. Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Now verse 24, Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. As you will remember, these verses and the ones to follow are in response to verse 21. Submission to, or preferring one another is a two way arrangement, but is not reciprocal. What I mean by that is that we are instructed in verse 21 to submit to one another. Submission is intended to go in both directions. When I mention it is not reciprocal, I mean that submission or giving preference is not an agreement between two people that if one submits when they should the other will act in kind when it is their turn. IF the command to submit came from one another, that arrangement might make sense. However, the instruction comes from God in His word, therefore we follow the instruction for Him and the actions or lack thereof from our spouse should have nothing to do with our desire to obey our Lord. So submission is intended to go both ways, but should not be looked at as reciprocal. This mistake has been made for all time and invariably leads to a breakdown of submission when we deem our spouse unworthy of our preference for one reason or another based on how they are interacting with us. It is impossible to carry out an intended selfless action from a selfish mindset. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, verses 22-24 are that instruction from God as to how women are to make themselves submissive to their husbands. Likewise, verses 25-29 are instruction as to the husband as to how he is supposed to prefer his wife’s needs over his own, to lift her up and make her most important in the relationship. We have all heard that marriage is a 50-50 relationship. This statement is not true. I have even heard that marriage is 100-100, that whoever needs to put 100% in does so, and then when the other spouse needs to, they will put 100% into the marriage. The second is closer than the first, but God’s word seems to indicate that both are to put 100% in, submitting to one another completely at all times. Last week I spoke about the fact that the placement of husband as the head of the wife is simply to fill the requirement of order in the marriage. It does not indicate his superiority nor her inferiority in any way. Husbands and wives, men and women are created completely and totally equal to one another. As I illustrated last week, headship is simply in place to bring order, and leaves both parties with requirements to live up to. Wives are to submit to the headship of their husbands and husbands are responsible for the well-being, physical, emotional and spiritual, of their wives. In light of all of that, verse 24 might seem at first glance as nothing more than a literary exclamation point on the earlier command. However, the original text leads to greater discovery about the original instruction to wives. The Greek word that we translate to Subject has some important intimation. It does not indicate that wives are to be made subject to their husbands, but rather that they voluntarily place themselves under the authority of their husbands just as people who accept Christ (the church) voluntarily put themselves under His Lordship. When you came to that moment and gave your life to Christ, no one made you do so. It was a place in time where you came to the saving knowledge that you needed Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. As your spiritual eyes were opened you knew the best place for you was under His authority and Lordship. In recognition of who He is and in gratitude for what He had done for you, you made yourself subject to Him. One might say, “But, Pastor Ken, my husband has not died for me like Jesus did.” I would answer, perhaps not, but by that same logic, if you don’t make yourself subject to him in everything, he shouldn’t be required to lay down his life for you. Obviously, when you look at both sides of that argument it becomes mute. In fact in the very next verse husbands are charged with making that very sacrifice for their wife. When we begin to look more closely at that next week, we will discover a man’s responsibility to consider his wife more important than himself is placed upon him by God, and his response will either be in obedience or opposition to his Lord. Likewise is a wife’s response to the call of her Lord to voluntarily place herself in submission to her husband in the same way that her fellow Christ followers subject themselves to Christ. There are two considerations I think important to make at this time. First, that these commands to wives and the ones to follow that are directed toward husbands are no different than any other command given to us in God’s word. Even the Ten Commandments are voluntary, yet not optional. Every command given us by God Almighty is required of any who desire to be righteous. Yet, in light of the free will He perfectly saw fit to endow us with, obedience to any of His commands is a yielding on our part. We surrender our will to match His perfect will for our lives. In so doing we illustrate our love for God. Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. In light of that statement, and this passage, it quickly becomes evident that when a wife voluntarily makes herself subject to her husband in everything as the church is to Christ, she is illustrating her love for God in a beautiful way. The same can be said for husband’s who voluntarialy lay down their lives for their wife, as we will read about next week. Second, I think it important that we note that marriage is the illustration of the relationship God desires to have with us. I often say that marriage is the practice field where we learn to execute well on game day. For those of you who have not heard me use that analogy before, what I mean is that in marriage we learn all of the necessary actions and attitudes of one who will have a good and healthy relationship with God. It is in marriage that we practice giving ourselves to one only, just as God requires of us…He must be the only God in our lives. Marriage is where we learn to love another with all of our ability and resources. Why? Because God calls us to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our strength. Marriage is also the relationship where we practice learning to submit to and prefer one another, just as God requires us to do in response to Him. Marriage is the practice field in this life where repetitiously we become versed in how to be in relationship with our God on Game day…for eternity. Here again, the motivation for why we need to respond to our spouse correctly, is so that we can respond to God correctly. My hope is that we eventually all come to the conclusion that our marriages aren’t nearly as much about the relationship we have with our spouse as they are the relationship we have with God. I believe whole-heartedly that is the reason God used marriage as the illustration of the relationship He desires to have with us in 66 out of 66 of the books in His word. Questions to answer: • Wives – What does it mean to you that your submission to your husband is in actuality an act of submission to God? • Husbands – How does your wife’s answer to the question above adjust a past misunderstanding you may have held in regards to this scripture? • How might both of your hearts toward God and each other change in light of a closer look at this passage? Actions to take: • Discuss what you think of the idea that your marriage is the practice field where you have opportunity to improve how you will execute on game day. • Ask God to help both of you look at your submission to one another as an act of love toward Him. So now, recognizing that our obedience to any command we have from God’s word shows Him just how much we love Him…Go be Awesome!

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