Summary: Talk about the two roles in marriage: husband and wife (material adapted from: and Andreas Kostenberger's book, God Marriage, and Family, chapter 3, Marriage in NT, pgs. 64- 75)


Clint Eastwood- They say all marriages are made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.


Review and background for Ephesians 5:21-33

God designed marriage

Vs. 31 we have heard a lot lately. Paul quotes from the Genesis account in Ephesians like Jesus did in Matthew 19. Paul uses the creation account elsewhere in the NT as in 1 Timothy 2:8-15 (look at tonight). God’s plan for marriage involves a lifelong monogamous, heterosexual, relationship. In Ephesians we find that God’s plan involves particular roles within marriage as well.

Here we find that marriage is rooted in creation, and in redemption. Paul speaks of the creation account, and Christ’s relationship with his church (redemption), saying that God had this in view. Therefore, if we miss God’s work in creation and redemption, we miss God’s plan for marriage.

The fall damaged marriage.

After the Fall, sin led to the misuse of God’s intention for marriage. Paul provides instructions like these in Ephesians 5 because this is unnatural for us! Women want to be in charge and men want to abandon their responsibilities for their marriages and families

“To the woman he said, “...Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”” Genesis 3:16, NIV. This speaks of the ongoing struggle that takes place as a result of sin. When we see harsh and absent husbands or manipulating and controlling wives, we see the Fall in action.

Even in Genesis 3, the future redemption is in view. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”” Genesis 3:15, NIV.

Even so we affirm the goodness of marriage.

The Bible gives a positive view of marriage. Paul knows that many are married, and he is positive about that, but he tells them how to have God honoring marriages.

Though unmarried himself, Paul honors marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, and in 1 Timothy 4. In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul says that those who are forbidding marriage are devoting themselves to “the teaching of demons.” That is strong language emphasizing the value of marriage.

We must rely on the Spirit for faithful and fulfilling marriages.

Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be filled with the Spirit (not with wine). Every Christian is called to live their lives under the influence of the Spirit. Marriage must be lived considering this. Healthy marriages happen when each spouse dwells in Christ’s word, seeks not to grieve the Spirit, and realize that they need daily the Spirit’s power. When the fruits of the Spirit are displayed, rather than the fruits of the flesh, marriages flourish.

While the fall led to a reversal of the way things were supposed to be, these results were diminished through Jesus Christ and his atoning death. Through Christ we have power to fulfill our roles- not just faithfully, but joyfully. Remember this as we talk about the roles.

In Ephesians 5 Paul is saying that marriage displays the gospel.

In the OT, the example of God’s love for his people was described as a marriage. This uses Christ and the church. In vs. 32 he says this picture is profound, great, deep. This is awesome. In creation, God had Christ and the church in mind.

Christ is the head of this marriage. Paul described his headship in Ephesians 1:22f. Look at what kind of leader he is. Notice the five verbs that describe Christ’s love for his bride: Vs. 25- he loved her, he gave himself for her, Vs. 26- to make her holy, cleansing her, Vs. 29- feeds and cares for her.

This shows us the purpose of marriage, the glory of Christ. Everything in this passage points us to Christ: “as to the Lord” Vs. 22 (an act of worship), “as Christ loved the church” Vs. 25, (reflect Christ in our love), “as Christ does the church” vs. 29. (Love like Christ). Everything comes back to Christ.

There are many books on how to have a healthy marriage. But the ultimate issue in marriage is: Are we surrendered to the Lordship of Christ? Will we submit our life to him in all areas? If the starting point in marriage is me, then I’m starting at the wrong place. Marriage exists for Christ’s glory. Need to get this right. The biggest problem in marriage is sin. The solution is the gospel of Jesus. Marriage is the union of two sinners. Without Jesus Christ the power of sin is so strong that it rules the roost, full of thunder and lightening. Invitation time at end.

Thesis: Talk about the two roles

For instances:

I. Wives, revere Christ through proper submission to and respect for your husband

1. Submission (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Scripture discourages something akin to slavery or a military style, top down chain of command, where obedience is unquestioned. What then does “submission mean”?

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