Summary: 52nd message from Ephesians addressing healthy relationships resulting from the filling of the Spirit.
The Role and Responsibility of the Wife
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Live in Unity 4:1-16
B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24
C. Live in Love 4:17-24
D. Live in Purity 5:3-14
E. Live in Wisdom 5:15-6:9
1. Seize every opportune moment 15-16
Stop walking as unwise but take advantage of every opportunity because we live in evil days.
2. Seek to understand the will of the Lord 17
Stop living my impulse but seek to understand what God wants because we live in evil days.
3. Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit 18-20
Stop allowing substances to influence your behavior, submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Paul included three corresponding signs indicating a Spirit directed life.
a. Speaking and singing truth to one another and praise to God
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:18-19
b. Giving thanks for all things
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; Ephesians 5:20
c. Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
Today we will unearth the important foundational concepts out of this passage. It is not a very popular subject in today’s culture. Many have abused and mangled this subject while claiming Biblical backing. Some husbands have used this passage as a club to control their wives. Since God wrote it we must take the time to understand it and apply it. There are two ways to look at this particular verse.
All would agree that this fruit characterizes those living under the Spirit’s influence.
The motivation behind submission is also undisputed. Submission comes “out of reverence for Christ.” The admonition to submission rests on God-designed roles in society. Because He designed them, we observe them out of a respect for Christ and a desire to please Him.
The understanding regarding the identity of the particular subjects addressed takes two tracts.
One group understands it to be a general admonition to mutual submission. We are to submit ourselves to one another. I would agree that mutual submission is a Biblical concept.
God calls us to serve one another. He calls us to consider other more important than ourselves. He instructs us to love one another. It is clear that we are to live in humility and look to the needs of others over our own. These are principles that apply EVERY believer no matter their role or station in life. It has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with a heart transformed to serve each other rather than be served.
I do not believe that Paul had mutual submission in mind in this particular passage.
Paul affirmed the fact that those submitting to the Holy Spirit and living under His influence will also submit to God’s established earthly authorities.
He shadows the general with the specific.
Wives submitting to their husbands who are instructed to love them.
Children submitting to their parents who are instructed to nurture them.
Slaves submitting to their masters who are instructed to treat them kindly.
Other passages encourage us to submit to the governing authorities as well as church elders.
The instruction for wives is so connected to the general fruit of submitting that Paul does not even repeat the verb. It literally reads, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ, wives to their own husbands (implied verb submitting) as to the Lord.”
We don’t like the concept of submission. Many refuse even to submit to God. Yet the Paul’s picture of future reality visualized all of humanity bowing in submission to the name of the one they only used as a curse word all of their lives. I want to take just a moment to explore this concept of submission. First I will summarize how it was generally used and then, from this passage look at how it applies to wives. Hang on wives. Husbands will get their turn soon.
Husbands, this is for your wives to ponder and bring before God, not for you to bang them over the head!
What a distasteful the word submission has become. Yet to God, it is the heart of all human relationships and relationship with Him. It is the opposite of selfishness. The word is made up of two Greek words.
“Arrange, place, order, rank” AND “under”
The resulting concept is to place under, rank under, military command.
Its use in the New Testament is varied.