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Summary: Biblically, men and women are given specific, differing commands to follow. The two genders are a more complete view of the image of God than would one gender by itself.

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The ancient view of marriage was that marriage is primarily functional. Established economic stability. Give you kids who could take care of you in old age. So choose a woman whose family was wealthy and had good birthing hips.

The modern view of marriage is that marriage is about romantic fulfillment. So you look for the person who completes you and makes all your dreams come true. If you do, you’ll live happily ever after in infatuation bliss.

Paul says in Eph 5 that neither of those things is the primary purpose of marriage. Preparing you for heaven is the purpose of marriage.

And that leads me to the biggest point for our non‐married community in this series. Whether you are married or not, God’s goal is the same: Christ‐likeness. He uses different means to get us there, but his goal for us is the same.

Marriage and biological family are not ultimate. Christ and the church are ultimate. Earthly marriage is a shadow of our most ultimate union, our union to Christ. And our biological family points us to our eternal family, the church.

Paul says that this is the “mystery” of marriage and the family.

So whether or not you are in a nuclear family, or a marriage, what God is ultimately doing in our lives is the same: preparing us for our eternal marriage, Christ, and our eternal family, the church.

He’s just using different means to get there.

(Now: real quick: A word about sources in this series

Cumbersome to cite everything; transcripts have all the footnotes.)

Ephesians 5:21–32

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

(1 Much help in this comes from Tim Keller, Gender Roles, pt 1. See also John Piper, Men and Women: What’s the Difference; Wayne Grudem, Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

I told you the first week that when someone wants to dis the Bible, this is one of their go--‐to verses (see it on TV). “Oh, you can’t possibly believe the Bible, it’s so backwards, it actually says…”

First, I want you to understand God’s word to us is good, given for our good and his glory. Inevitably we find things we are not going to agree with and we have to make a decision. Are we going to revise what we believe based on his word, or are we going to revise his word based on our pre--‐conceived notions? We’re not the first people to be offended by the Bible.

But I told you that you have to really pay attention to the context.

o The verse right before this vs 22, vs. 21, says 21 …submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. The “submit” used in vs. 22 when he tells the wife to submit.

¡± (In fact, in Greek, the sentence in vs. 22 reaches back to vs. 21 to borrow that verb through a complex Greek structure I don’t have time to explain. The UBS Greek NT has 5:22 as, hai gunaikes tois idiois andrasin hos to kurio. In a wooden way, that's something like, "The women to their own men [husbands] as to the Lord." There are manuscripts that include the participial verb, "submitting," in 5:22, but this was most likely added by later translators for clarity.)

The point is that the command to the woman to submit is a specific application of a principle given to all believers.

o Submit is a military term, which means to submit your agenda to the greater whole. (In the military, you don’t ever respond to an order by saying, “Well, that’s not good for me right now.” No, you set aside your agenda for the sake of the army, even if it costs you your life.)

So Paul is making a specific application to the wives of a principle given to both husband and wife. Both husband and wife are submitting to each other, just in different ways.

Can’t ever forget that.

Which brings me to a 2nd point. It is equally wrong to deny that men and women are not given specific, differing commands to follow here. The woman is told in this passage to submit twice; the man is told to submit once.

The wife is told to submit to her husband (vs. 21) by submitting herself and her agenda to the man and following his lead)(vs 22)

The man is to submit to his wife (v 21) by functioning as her head, like Christ is of the church, and laying down his life for his wife, like Christ did for the church. (v 25)

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