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Summary: God’s design: Men who love by serving like Christ and women who love by submitting like the Church

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Mary and I have come to find that raising grandchildren sure is a lot easier than raising children. And as I look back over the years when our children were in our home, I recognize that there were certainly times when I sure didn’t fulfill my responsibilities as a father very well and I’m sure Mary would also acknowledge that she didn’t always do everything right.

So when some of you with young children come to us and ask for advice in raising your children it is a privilege that we approach with both great enthusiasm and great humility. So before I get started with the message this morning, I’m going to share a piece of parenting advice that Mary reminded me of this week. And I’m not going to charge you any extra for this counsel.

Some of you may struggle with getting your kids to pick up after themselves and someone shared a great idea with us that didn’t require us to yell, nag or badger the kids to do that. We simply had a “Saturday box” that we kept on a high shelf in our bedroom. And every time we ran across some item that the kids should have put away, we merely picked it up and put it in the “Saturday box”. The kids understood that they weren’t going to get that item back until the following Saturday. That worked really well until the kids got older and realized that the later it got in the week, the less they were really worried about picking things up because it would only be a day or two until they got them back.

Now that might be an idea that is helpful for some of you. If you do decide to use it I’d love to hear how it works for you. But frankly, that parenting technique is not nearly important as what we’re going to learn today when it comes to raising godly children.

If you’re like Mary and I and no longer have children at home, or even if you’re not married, the “Saturday box” idea isn’t going to be real relevant for you. But I would suggest that the ideas we’ll develop this morning about God’s design for the home can be applied by all of us in our daily lives. At the end of the message I’ll suggest a few ways you might be able to do that.

Before we get to this morning’s passage, let’s take a moment to review the two aspects of God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood that we developed from Genesis 1-3. Let’s see if you can help me fill in the blanks:

[Wait for answers]

God’s design:

1. Man and woman have equal worth but different work

2. Man is the head; Woman is the helper

With that background in mind, we’re going to move to what for most of you is probably a very familiar passage of Scripture in the New Testament. But my hope this morning is that together we can develop a deeper understanding of that passage that will help us to live out God’s design for manhood and womanhood in our homes, regardless of what those homes look like.

So go ahead and turn with me to Ephesians chapter 5. As most of you know, the paragraph breaks and section titles that we find in most contemporary English translations are not part of the Bible text. The New Testament was written originally mostly in Greek, which even lacked a lot of the capitalization and punctuation that we see in our English translations. But in most cases, it was pretty simple for the translators to figure out the appropriate way to incorporate those items based on the context of the text itself.

But sometimes the paragraph breaks and section titles can actually get in the way of a proper understanding of the text. And I’m convinced that Ephesians 5 is unfortunately one of those places. I want you to look in your Bibles and tell me where you see breaks between sections as indicated by a section heading or title.

Where do you find the first one? {Wait for answers]. That’s right – before verse 1. In the ESV the section title is “Walk in Love”. I didn’t take time to look at a bunch of other translations this week, but I would guess there are similar headings.

And where is the next section heading? [Wait for answers] That’s right – between verses 21 and 22. Once again the ESV the section heading is “Wives and Husbands”. I’m just curious to see if any of your translations have that break in a different place.

Before we get to the meat of our passage this morning I need to take few minutes to demonstrate to you why that is a really bad place to break up this passage. And in order to do that, we’ll have to start in verse 18. You can follow along as I read beginning there:

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