Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage Vol. 6

Series: Monday Marriage Message

January 08, 2024
Pastor Ken Brown Jr.

Hi, this is Pastor Ken, thanks for joining me yet again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions together to learn how to experience a highly successful marriage. Today we will continue with our look at the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. This will be our sixth edition in this series and we are beginning to shift our focus to the wife’s important role in the greatest of all human relationships. Having been led to 1 Corinthians 11:3 as the focal passage for this series, and considering that the series is dedicated to structure and order, I have directly followed the very structure and order of the passage. Meaning, I have chosen to expose the truths contained here phrase-by-phrase just as they were written. In the Amplified Bible that verse reads as follows: But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. In the past episodes of this series we have covered the concept of Christ being the head (or the One in direct authority over) every man (or every husband in this context). Last time I introduced the next layer mentioned in this verse covering the structure and order of marriage and the Godhead it is designed to reflect. This portion of the passage identifies that “The head of a woman is her husband”. Though this means that the husband is the one in direct authority over the wife, I was careful to make sure that there was no misunderstanding that Paul was somehow saying that a woman had to go through her relationship with her husband in order to have a relationship with Christ. I shared several other scriptures that clearly dispel that erroneous notion. I also took the time to show that from the very words God used to describe and define Eve as a wife, there can be no doubt that men and women are equally valuable to the marriage. Both are equally necessary to their successful ability as a married couple to fully reflect God. In the past I have highlighted many of the ways that scripture points out the unique ability a woman to reflect God in ways men are not capable of doing nearly as well, if at all. When joined as one they become a marital mirror intended to reflect their maker. I want to move forward now by restating something from last time. Some of the scriptures we will be looking at have for a very long time been the cause for dissention. I think much of the difficulty with them has come from misunderstanding and misinterpretation. I believe that those difficulties diminish if husbands don’t look at these scriptures as an opportunity to dominate, and wives don’t read them believing that God is saying they are not as valuable as their husband is. Selfishness is what makes husbands want to dominate, and causes wives to want to resist authority. That is why I believe our focal scripture to be so vital to this discussion. It does not simply say that there is a structure and order of authority within a marriage, it continues and illustrates that same structure and authority exists in the Godhead as well. Why is all of that important? Because if wives are to correctly understand their equal value with their husband in the marriage, and gladly adhere to its scripturally defined framework, they need to be able to see that just as Christ is supposed to be their husband’s example of how to love them, Christ is also their example as to how to be a godly helpmate. Before we begin digesting scriptures that contain that easy-to-misunderstand word submission allow me to reiterate some important facts. • Submission to authority does not equate to inferiority. • Scripture clearly illustrates that even within the triune Godhead authority and submission to authority are necessary components of success. • Jesus Christ, the Son of God voluntarily offered His submission to the will of the father so that Their united purpose could be accomplished. • Though Jesus’ submission to God the Father was voluntary it was not optional if success was to be the result. • Jesus’ submission to the order and structure of the Godhead was crucial to the completion of the united will of the Godhead. • If marriage is to reflect the framework of the Godhead as designed, the prescribed marital structure and order of authority must also be adhered to. • Finally, a wife’s submission to her husband is voluntary on her part. She is in complete control of her decision to submit or not to submit. However, it is not optional to the success of a God shaped marriage. With those truths in mind, let’s look at scripture and see what it says about a wife’s incredibly important role in the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. There are several passages that define the valuable place a wife holds within the marriage and how she best fulfills that role. Ephesians 5 is probably the most well-known and I think the most comprehensive so we will begin there. Today I am going to read Ephesians 5:21-24 from the Expanded Version because although it makes for wordy sentences, it offers a broader view of what the original text actually means in our English language. There these verses read as follows: [Husbands and wives] Yield [Submit; Be subject;…yielding/submitting; grammatically linked to the previous sentence, and so part of being filled with the Spirit] to each other out of reverence [respect; fear; awe] for Christ. Wives, yield to [submit to; be subject to;] your husbands, as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. And He is the Savior of the body, which is the church. As the church yields [submits; is subject] to Christ, so you wives should yield [submit; be subject] to your husbands in everything. Several important notations about these verses must be recognized if we are to have a clear understanding of what this scripture is saying. In verse 21 there are several points we need to see. As husbands and wives our personal relationship with God should have a defined consequence in our marital relationship. Submission is to be a natural result of walking with the Lord. Certainly there can be no confusion about the fact that if Christ is Lord and we are but the servants in that relationship then we are to submit to His authority. Here Paul writes that out of a deep reverence or great respect for Christ as Lord, we need to also be ready to submit to one another. Furthermore, because this verse is the completion of the thought preceding it, we should also make the connection that this mutual submission between a husband and wife is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. So, according to Ephesians 5:21 if Jesus is Lord of one’s life and that person is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, if they are also married, the natural outpouring of their relationship with God will be submission to their spouse. The following verses lay out specifically what that mutual submission should look like for each spouse. In past episodes we saw how a husband is commanded to illustrate his submission to his wife and today we will look at what that submission looks like for a wife within the Order and Structure of a God Shaped Marriage. Verses 22-24 speak directly to what a wife’s role is in that high calling. Wives, yield to [submit to; be subject to;] your husbands, as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. And He is the Savior of the body, which is the church. 24 As the church yields [submits; is subject] to Christ, so you wives should yield [submit; be subject] to your husbands in everything. According to this scripture (and others we will reference later) a wife’s submission to her husband should look much like her submission to the Lord does. Paul is clear that just as the church submits to Christ (its head, or leader in authority over it) a wife should also submit to her husband. Paul states that the church submits to Christ in all things, and likewise a wife should submit to her husband in all things. I have often heard the argument offered to this God-given instruction. Many have said to me that of course the church submits to Christ, Christ is God and is perfect. Christ would never lead His bride the church, in a way that is not absolutely the best for her. He would never lead in a way that might turn out badly. The defense these women site for not always (in other words in all things) following this command to them is that their husband is not perfect and is capable in leading in erroneous ways. Because of this they decide that their submission to their husband needs to be at their discretion. If they think that the direction of their husband is correct, then they have no problem with submission to it. If, however, they deem his leadership to be incorrect or not good for them or the family, they believe their submission to him should be optional. The problem with that is found in these very verses. If they are not being submissive to their husband (in all things) as commanded by God’s word then they have just become dismissive of their Lord, which puts them in the position of wrongdoing. When it comes to offering our submission to the authority of an imperfect person, we need to experience a paradigm shift. Submission to authority isn’t about being right it is about doing right. Two episodes ago in this very podcast we looked at the way a husband submits to his wife. According to Ephesians 5:25-29 a husband is to lay down his own wants, desires and needs and first meet his wife’s wants desires and needs. He is to do this because they are one, and when he puts her first, he is putting himself first so to speak. Ladies, you are not perfect either, if your husband does not agree with your actions and attitudes is he freed from the requirement to love you as Christ loves the church? Is his love for you to be offered at his sole discretion? I think not. If he were to choose when to genuinely love you and when to put his own needs above yours, he would also be dismissive of the command of his Lord upon his life. As one of several Pastors on staff at our church I have a Senior Pastor in authority over me. He is a good and godly man and I am fortunate to know that I can trust that he seeks God’s leading as he leads us. He is in fact a good and upstanding man…but he is not perfect. There have been times when I have disagreed with him in terms of what he thought should be the next step for us as a church. In those times I have sought him out privately to share with him my thoughts and to ask him to reconsider or give me further explanation if possible for his decision. There have been a few (a very few) times where I was still not convinced that his decisions were the best possible. In those it has been vital that I understand submission. I have to know that while my submission to him as the one in authority over me is voluntary (only I can choose to submit) it is not optional. It is not about being right; it is about doing right. God’s word tells me to submit to those in authority over me. When I submit I am doing what I have been commanded to do, I am doing the right thing. Will the action or activity I am submitting to always turn out to be the right decision, will it always work out best? No, but when it doesn’t, if I have been submissive and done my part to make every effort toward its success, then it will be the leader, not I who will be scrutinized. If I balk and do not submit and the idea fails, I will not be viewed as the one who diverted us from disaster, I will likely be pointed out as the one who was not supportive and therefore possibly the cause of the failure. Submission is not about being right it is about doing right. Next time we will look more closely still at submission and what it means to success both in a marriage and within the Godhead that marriage is designed to reflect. So now, understanding that submission in your marriage is a two-way street but that God says it is the one way to success, submit to Him by submitting to one another…and go be awesome!

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