Summary: The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ, part 17 How the Gospel Shapes our Daily Relationships Colossians 3:18-4:1 David Taylor September 6, 2015
The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ, part 17
How the Gospel Shapes our Daily Relationships
Colossians was written to show the Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ in the face of false teaching in the church. Today we see this as Paul shares how the gospel shapes our daily relationships.
First, Paul tells us about the marriage relationship (vs. 18-19). Starts with wives, 'wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.' Submission is gladly and voluntarily submitting yourself to the leadership and care of another for your own benefit. Paul tells us this is fitting to the Lord, that is, it is proper for a Christian wife. Submission is putting yourself under your husband's leadership and care. It is fitting when it flows from faith. When you submit to your husband, you are trusting that God knows what's best for you and is looking out for you. So how does this look like in a marriage relationship? It will look differently in every relationship but for Karen and me, we work as a team and I rarely have to ask her to submit. It has only happened a few times in twenty five years of marriage. So wives are to submit to their husbands, trusting that God has your best interests in mind. You may be thinking, 'he is crazy to think that I am going to submit myself to my husband.' You may think that submission implies inferiority. But in the bible, submission does not imply inferiority at all. The Bible makes it clear that men and women are equal yet have different roles. Is there ever a time when a wife should not submit? When your husband is genuinely abusive, when he is violent, or when he tells you to do something that violates Scripture.
Then Paul addresses 'husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.' Positively husbands are to love and negatively, they are not to be harsh. Christ's relationship to the church is the model for husbands here. Christ loved the church by sacrificing his life on the cross to absorb God's wrath for our sin to reconcile us to the Father. Christ leads the church and the church gladly submits to him because he is always looking out for our best interests. It is easy for a wife to submit to her husband when he is loving her like Christ loves the church. Let's look at some characteristics of Christ's love. Love is putting your wife's interests above yours. I remember as a young man realizing that the women I dated tended to give and give and give and that I tended to take and take and take. I remember thinking at the time that it was a great dynamic. Yet it was self extremely self centered. Second, love is serving your wife. And third, love is sacrificing for your wife. Love your wife over your work, your media, your toys, your computer, and your fun. Negatively, do not be harsh with your wife. Generally, men are harsh when they do not get what they want. If you love your wife like Christ loves the church, then your marriage will have very few problems. So husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
After addressing the marriage relationship, Paul addresses family relationships (vs. 20-21). 'Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.' Children are to obey parents in everything. As parents, your goal should be for your children to gladly obey the first time you ask, every time you ask. This is important because you are teaching your children to obey the Lord. And I don't know about you but I want my children to learn to obey God as the normal pattern in their lives. But not all obedience pleases the Lord! What kind of obedience pleases the Lord? First, obedience that flows from faith in Christ. Obedience that pleases Christ is an act of faith, trusting God that their parents know what's best. So I look for a submissive attitude in children. What is their demeanor like and their heart attitude toward us when they obey. I also look for obedience that is immediate, not delayed. I want them to respond when I ask, not later. And when my children do not obey, I try to use it as a gospel teaching moment. Third, I look for obedience that recognizes our leadership in their lives.
Then he tells 'fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.' Do not be so harsh or demanding that your children give up trying to obey you. If you are too harsh you will loose their hearts. In my experience, most fathers are more militant and wives are more relational with their discipline. Husbands, your wives probably have a much better ability to read your children so listen to your wives. Children are to obey their parents in everything because this pleases the Lord; Fathers are not to provoke their children lest the give up on trying to obey you.