February 19, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
When we invite Christ to be our Savior, the change that is to occur in our lives is recorded in Ephesians chapters 4, 5, and 6. Here is our featured Scripture – Ephesians 4:22 through 24:
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
Paul begins this section with Ephesians 5:21: “…submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Then the apostle shows us how that submission is to be manifest in the nuclear family in Ephesians 5:22 through 6:4. We will break down this section where Paul deals with the parts that make up so many families – husbands, wives, parents, and children.
How does this all apply to our series theme – Little Acceptable Sin? It is in the nuclear family that we so often fail to manifest the person of God and His will! And we excuse ourselves by saying, “That’s just the way it is! I can’t help the way I am! I am just reacting to the terrible things my wife (or husband) says and does! And my children are out of control! ” So we count as Acceptable these so-called ‘Little’ Sins as “…just the way things are going to be! ” Our Scripture says something else!
Ephesians 5:22 through 24 – “Wives, submit to your own husbands….”
• The first reaction of a wife might be, “I can’t submit to that #*&@% man! He’s a no-good so-and-so! He would take advantage of such submission and walk all over me! ”
• But let’s look ahead to Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.”
✞ How do we know that Christ loved the church? He gave Himself for it ! We are told in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” And in Romans 5:8 it is written: “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How did Jesus Christ give Himself for the church? He founded it and continues to build it at the cost of His own life!
✞ The husband is to love his wife to the extent that he must be willing to give his life for her! This is the ultimate sacrifice one could ever give! Anything else you are called to do for another is a lesser sacrifice! So, if you are willing to lay down your life for her, then it is no big deal to take out the garbage or wash the dishes – right?
• Would it be difficult to submit to a husband who would lay down his life for you? And would it be hard to serve (even giving your life for) a woman who was in submission to you? If she didn’t so submit to him and he was laying down his life for her, she would walk all over him! And if he was unwilling to lay down his life for her and she was submitting to him, he would walk all over her! But if we follow God’s instruction concerning the husband and wife – “…submitting to one another in the fear of God…” (Ephesians 5:21) – then both will humbly serve one another, and both will lift each other up!
What is the ultimate reason for such submission and service between a husband and wife? According to Ephesians 5:25 through 27, the reason concerns “…Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32). We are told…
…He gave Himself for…the church…that He might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself
a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that
it should be holy and without blemish.
This ought also to be the goal of a Christian husband and wife – to help build each other up in the Lord, to grow and mature in Christ, and to be stronger Christians, more like Jesus, every day! My dear wife Hope has told me more than once that I have helped her grow in her faith over the years – and I can say the same thing concerning her helping me!
One more thing about this subject of husbands and wives:
• Only husbands are told to love their mates! (See verse 25). Paul does not say here that the wife is to love her husband ! But the wife is called to submit to her husband (see verse 22), and to respect him! (See verse 33). That puts quite a challenge before the husband – is he worthy of such submission and respect ?
In Ephesians 6:1 the children of the family are addressed: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
• The penalty administered to disobedient children could be very harsh under the Old Testament law. Exodus 21:17 says, “…he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” (See also Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
• But Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:2 and 3 that the blessings for obedient children are great! Then he quotes Exodus 20:12 (the fifth of the Ten Commandments): “‘Honor your father and mother’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ ” I believe God’s blessing upon our children still rests with them being obedient to and honoring their parents!
Paul conclude his discussion of the immediate family with Ephesians 6:4: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” As with husbands and wives relating to each other – respect and submission must be earned! So it is with children! Yes, we are to properly discipline our children (see for instance Proverbs 3:12; 6:20; 19:18; Hebrews 12:7-10). But wrath provoked in a child is not the temporary anger a son or daughter can express when punished. The idea is that severe punishment will produce lasting rage in the life of that child, even into adulthood – and this is to be avoided!
Often, sins within the immediate family are hidden! But they are seen by God! And they will eventually be exposed! It is better now to heed our Lord and strive to have a family that is pleasing to Him! For any Sin within the nuclear family is neither ‘Little’ nor ‘Acceptable’!