Summary: See what God’s Word has to say about the element of love in the home.
The biblical model for the order of the home, as we find here, is not as confining as many would paint it to be. Rather, it is freeing. Take, for example, the illustration of a train. Is a train functioning as a train when it is off track and careening down into a ravine? NO. It best operates and functions, as its designer determined it should, while it is kept on-track. The engine leads, and the train follows – all the way back to the caboose. It is better for the train to be on the rails than to derail.
And so it is with the order of the home. When the family unit determines to travel on the rails of love and submission, the family operates and functions as its Designer determined it should.
Last week, we considered verses 25 through 33. “Men, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” What an example of masculine love! The primary reason that I took the Apostle’s instruction out of order was for the need of establishing the husband as the responsible party in the home in regard to love, and in regard to being the spiritual leader in the home.
This evening, as we approach this touchy issue of submission, it would serve us well to understand that, yes, submission is an issue which terribly needs addressing in this post-modern age, however, the word “submit” appears in the NT, as it does here, in the form of the word hupotasso, only eight times. And only once more does it appear in the NT, and that is in a similar form, namely hupeiko.
The word love, in its varying forms appears 223 times in the NT. Continuing to support the truth that love is the most important, most eternal, most God-like. If we love, then, Paul says, we will be willing to submit to one another.
Let’s take a look at what Paul says to the believers in Ephesus; literally to all who read this epistle (including you and I).
I) First, we see the ASSEMBLY that Paul was writing to. (vv. 1; 8; 15; 18-20)
A) Dear children of God (v. 1)
B) Children of Light (v. 8)
C) Wise (v. 15)
D) Spirit-filled (v. 18)
E) Worshippers (v. 19)
F) Praisers (v. 20)
There is no doubt that Paul’s letter was addressed to Spirit-filled believers.
II) Next, we see the ADMONITION (VV. 21a, 22a)
Now, Paul, as he instructs us in verse 21, is continuing a thought, or teaching that we see in verse 18. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
Notice the semi-colon at the close of verse 20. Verse 21 is saying, “As believers who are filled with the Spirit, submit yourselves one to another.” Verse 21 is a continuum of verse 18. Paul writes to believers. This teaching is for believers. For those who are “filled with the Spirit.” No one can do what the Apostle says to do, unless he or she is in the Spirit. The world cannot comprehend what this means to submit to one another.
So what does it mean to “submit to one another”? Well, the word submit here is the GREEK word hupotasso. The word hupotasso means “to surrender, or submit.” Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words establishes that this word is reflexive, denoting an action upon the subject by itself. Literally, to surrender or submit ONESELF to.
Simply put, we can no longer have our own way. We can no longer allow ourselves to sit upon the throne of our lives. As we place the Lord Jesus Christ on the throne of our life, we see ourselves as a functioning part of His body, the church. As a finger, or ear, or toe, we cannot allow ourselves to continue on in the sinful selfish nature, but submit ourselves one to the other as all of the individual members of the body do. Our head is the source of all motion, for it is the head that houses the brain – the center of thought, motor skill, etc. With Christ as our Head, we function at His bidding. We must learn to work together, as members of a body. If the ear itches, the hand submits to the need of the ear and scratches it.
If we are “filled with the Spirit,” we will be joyful, longsuffering, gentle, good, kind, faithful, meek, and temperate.” If we are full of those characteristics there will be no problem with us being able to “submit to one another” readily, willingly, voluntarily, always for the sake of others and for the good of the cause. The only individual who can do this is the one who is showing the fruit of the Spirit because he is filled with the Spirit.