Summary: The more the church knows how to please the Lord in all our relationships, the better we will be able to help one another (and others) grow closer to God. [INCLUDES MESSAGE FROM ROBIN OPPERMAN]
Family Matters: Honoring God in our Relationships
Intro: In Ephesians 5:8&10 Paul says, “Live as children of light” and “Find out what pleases the Lord.” Well, one thing that pleases the Lord is when His people love one another and honor one another. People who belong to the family of God (those who have committed their lives to Jesus), are expressing their love for Jesus by the way they express their love to His Bride, the Church. So today we want to look at these verses and watch Paul work his way through some family matters. These family matters start with our relationship with Christ and branch out to our whole church family, our spouse, our parents, and our children.
-God created the family as a way to show His love and care. The family unit is God’s idea. The way a Christian family lives is a reflection of the God who lives in them. Family matters are about showing the love and grace of God to those closest to us. The apostle John asked, “How can you say you love God whom you have not seen, if you do not love your brother (your family member) whom you have seen? So today we want to find out what pleases the Lord as we love Jesus, as we love one another, and as we love our spouse – if we are married. If you’re not married, please don’t tune out today. The more the church knows how to please the Lord in all our relationships, the better we will be able to help one another (and others) grow closer to God.
I. In relation to Christ
•Reverence – v.21 gives reverence for Christ as the reason for mutual submission. The word for reverence here is the same basic word as the word for respect in v.33. Psalms and Proverbs uses a similar phrase, “The fear of the Lord.” That does not mean that we live in fear or terror of the Lord’s judgement. Rather, we show respect, reverence, and honor to the Lord because He is such a great God - unfathomably powerful and incredibly large! Just think of one thing that He made – the Sun. Scientists say that there is so much power in the sun that it is the equivalent of millions of nuclear bombs going off all at once. Don’t you think the One who made that deserves a little respect? He could destroy us in one breath, but instead He loves us and takes good care of us.
•Submission – Jesus is the Head of the church. He is the leader. If you just look at the word “submission”, you can identify 2 main parts: sub= under, mission= a job or assignment. When we are in submission to Christ, we are under His leadership, joyfully doing whatever He asks us to do. V.24 says the Church submits to Christ. If you are a Christ follower, you are part of His Church, and you are in submission to Him. This element of submission expresses itself in loving obedience to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us.
•Gratefulness as Receivers – He (as Savior) gave Himself for the Church. We are on the receiving end. Christ has done all that needed to be done for us. We have only to receive it and allow Him to change us from the inside out.
•A Pure Bride – The reason Paul gives for Christ’s sacrifice is to make His church clean, blameless, and holy. We aren’t clean because of what we have or haven’t done. We are clean because of what Christ has done. Blameless – what a word! We aren’t blameless from arriving at perfection. We are blameless because Jesus took our blame on Himself and paid for it in full!
-So, the first family matter has to do with our relationship with Jesus: showing reverence to Him, submission (or loving obedience) to Him, receiving His work in us, and living a holy life that pleases Him, not ourselves. Now let’s look at our relations with one another.
II. In relation to one another
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
-What does it mean to submit to one another? It can mean to become subject to, to obey. Is everyone supposed to obey everyone? That could become quite chaotic, don’t you think?
-The key here is that we are all under the leadership and Lordship of Jesus. So we are back to Eph. 5:10 – Find out what pleases the Lord. As we seek to do that, we are going to have different ideas about how to best do that. We may have different thoughts about when things should happen, how resources should be used, and so on. So Paul is saying that as people of God, they need to be willing to give in to one another, not demanding their own way. Maybe the best explanation is found in Paul’s next letter – Philippians.