Summary: In a culture filled with self-gratification, developing servant attitude families presents challenges that are addressed with this message.

Ephesians 5:21-31 (NIV) 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as 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 his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Dear friends in Christ,

Two of Jesus’ disciples came up to him one day. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” When the other disciples heard about this, they were not happy. In fact, they were pretty angry with James and John. When this happened, Jesus said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:35-45 TNIV). James and John were asking for special favors, and they made the other disciples jealous. Their selfish actions were having a negative impact on their team. They were interested in serving themselves. They were not interested in serving Jesus, nor were they interested in serving each other. Jesus reminded all the disciples that the way to greatness was through having a servant attitude, just as he came to serve and to offer his life as a ransom for many.

What was true for Jesus’ disciples is also true for our families. It can be very difficult to impart a servant attitude in our families when our culture often gets focused on self-gratification as the way to happiness. How can we build that servant attitude in our own families? How can we teach children that if they want to be great, they must be good servants? How can we teach our children that if they want to be first, they must be slaves of all? In order for children to have a servant attitude, they need to see it modeled, to be put into practice by their parents. Through the Apostle Paul, God teaches us how husbands and wives can develop and build a servant-attitude relationship. As we consider this text today, we pray that Jesus will bless us with the attitude that he had when he came to serve and offer his life as a ransom for many. From Jesus, let’s learn what it takes to:


1. Wives willingly submit to their husbands as to the Lord

2. Husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church

What is the most challenging verse of this text? Is it “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord”? Is it, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”? I don’t think so. I think the most challenging verse of this text is this: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” If we don’t understand this verse, it is truly impossible to understand the rest of this text. What does it mean that we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ?

Just imagine that you had to bear the punishment for your sins. Through Isaiah, the Lord speaks:

9See, the day of the LORD is coming

—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—

to make the land desolate

and destroy the sinners within it.

10The stars of heaven and their constellations

will not show their light.

The rising sun will be darkened

and the moon will not give its light.

11I will punish the world for its evil,

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