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Summary: This is part 3 or 5 in our Desperate Households series. This message deals directly with the wife’s role of "submission" according to Ephesians

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Series: Desperate Households

Message: Desperate Wives

Date: 11/27/05

On July 29, 1981, one of the most highly publicized and glamorous weddings in history took place.

• Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana

• An estimated audience of 750 million people worldwide.

• 4500 pots of fresh flowers lined the route to St. Paul’s cathedral.

• 2500 people crowded that grand church where more than 75 technicians with 21 cameras worked to enable the world to watch this wedding.

• For many people, this was a modern fairy tale. A royal prince weds a lovely lady in a grand cathedral surrounded by adoring subjects.

• They were the envy of millions. They were rich, young, handsome. It was a "marriage made in heaven."

• Sadly, we know that the fairy tale became a nightmare. The couple grew more and more distant.

• Affairs ensued. The storybook marriage made in heaven eventually collapsed into adultery and divorce.

It takes more than a prince, a lady, and a palace to make a happy marriage.

• As someone said, "marriages may be made in heaven but the maintenance must be done on earth."

• For marriages to survive, they require regular maintenance. They require effort.

When we enter into marriage we enter in with the best hopes and intentions. We enter this relationship desiring joy, fun, excitement, and deep love. A love like we talked about last week:

Raya – Friend or companion, somebody you hang out with

Ahava – making a decision to join your life to the life of another, this is commitment

Dode – physical, sexual element of a relationship

“One flame burning all by itself will never be as hot as all the flames burning together. We were created for all the flames to burn one. When you separate the flames, it can never really satisfy. It’s like you’re living outside of how God wired you to live.” – Rob Bell

Our desire is to have this love that burns deeply. A love that will not be broken.

But what happens?

Why do so many marriages fall apart?

End in divorce?

Are unhappy?

It’s because we enter the marriage relationship to lightly.

• Marriages require effort! But they require a certain kind of effort.

• We must do the right things to have a successful marriage.

• God’s Word tells us what those things are.

• God presents His program for a happy marriage in the Scriptures.

• Marriage works well only when we pay attention to the roles and responsibilities God has mapped out for us.

In Ephesians 5:22-23 (turn your Bible to this passage) the Apostle Paul gives us the picture of a Christian marriage. In this key passage about marriage, we see the God-given roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives.

We must remember the context when looking at this passage.

It is important for us to remember the context in which these instructions are given.

• Paul has been describing the Spirit-filled life.

• In vv. 19-21, he uses several descriptive participles to define the activity of the Spirit-filled life.

• One of those activities, found in v. 21, lays the groundwork for what follows.

• Spirit-filled believers submit to one another because of Christ.

• They humbly seek to serve one another.

• In what follows, Paul describes how this mutual submission is played out in the home.

Let me make a couple of remarks about this passage before I read it.

1. This passage describes marriage in the context of our commitment to Jesus Christ. Our commitment to our spouse is a function of our commitment to Him.

2. Equality is not the focus of the passage. Function is. This passage in no way diminishes the equality of women as subservient or less than men. The focus is on God-given roles and functions.

3. The husband and wife are called to obedience by God. Nowhere is the wife instructed to enforce these commitments on her husband or the husband on the wife. We need to focus on our own obedience and responsibility.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for 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."[b] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

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