Summary: Colossians 3 gives practical advice about our most basic human relationships: Husband to Wife; Parent to Child; and Boss to Employee.
Colossians Series # 4
Jesus the One and Only
Revealed in Our Relationships
Colossians 3:15 – 4:6
Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:18-4:1
Have you ever thought about the concept that God is --- by His very nature --- a RELATIONSHIP. God presents himself to us as a Unity of Three – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When Jesus was here on earth, he said that he did nothing apart from his Father. His very existence was defined by His relationship with God the Father.
When we think of it that way, it should not surprise us to know that God created us for RELATIONSHIPS. God cares about our relationship with Him and with each other. In fact, we can see Jesus Christ through the way we RELATE to each other. In Colossians chapter 3, the Apostle Paul gives us some very practical advice about our most basic human relationships: Husband to Wife; Parent to Child; and Boss to Employee.
The TEXT that _____________ read today sounds familiar to most of us. We think it’s just common sense that Husbands should love their wives; and Fathers should not be harsh to their children; and Employers should pay a fair wage. But these instructions were REVOLUTIONARY in Paul’s day.
The Roman Culture of the 1st century was like every other culture in that day. It held the view represented on the screen. By Roman law a man with a wife, children, and slaves had the power of life and death over them. He could do anything he wanted --- they had no legal recourse. Wives, Children, and Slaves had all the Obligation - Husbands, Fathers, or Masters held all the Power. That’s the way the WORLD’S ETHICS worked back then --- and it’s still the way the WORLD ETHIC system works today.
Jesus introduced an entirely new ethic. The Christian Ethic can be called the Ethic of RECIPROCAL OBLIGATION. Notice the difference as pictured on the screen. Instead of exerting Power Over the other person, the one in authority is responsible to LIFT the other person up. This is SERVANT LEADERSHIP. Let’s take some time to see how the Christian Ethic works.
In Colossians 3:18-19 Paul focuses on the relationship between a Husband and Wife.
1. Husbands and Wives
It’s not going to shock any of you to hear that the Institution of Marriage is in trouble. It’s disturbing to see how Culture has changed just during my lifetime. I read an article recently that said the number of single-parent households doubled from 1960 to the year 2000. A recent Gallup poll reported that 60% of Americans find nothing wrong with premarital sex, and 52% say living together is a good idea. A full 1/3 of babies in the year 2000 were born to unmarried women. (Leadership Magazine, Fall 2001, p. 9)
Every Study I’ve heard of shows that the disintegration of marriage is weakening our culture in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, Marriages in the Church are not much stronger than Marriages outside the Church. But, I’ll tell you one thing. That is NOT because God’s plan for marriage is faulty. Our problems come because we don’t KNOW God’s plan for marriage. Or because we know God’s plan, but we don’t FOLLOW it.
These 2 short verses in Colossians could solve most of the marriage problems in America today: Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:18-19
Notice the RECIPROCAL OBLIGATION in this instruction. The key word for Wives is Submission, and the Key word for Husbands is Love.
In the World Ethic, submission is demanded. But the Greek word that Paul used here is in the middle voice --- which means it is a VOLUNTARY submission. It literally means to “arrange under rank.” It refers to Chain of Command … as when someone volunteers for Military Duty and places himself or herself under Military Authority.
Biblical submission has nothing to do with inferiority or subservience. It is simply God’s plan for the organization of Family --- and He should know what is --- or is not --- going to work. After all, God invented the whole concept of Family in the first place! Any organization needs a chain of command in order to run smoothly --- and, according to Scripture, a marriage works best when the wife submits to the husband and the husband loves his wife.
The Greek word used to describe the husband’s love for his wife is a form of the word "agape" --- which is self-sacrificing love. In marriage, Leadership does NOT mean Dictatorship. Now, men, you know as well as I do that we don’t always get it the first time we hear it. I can imagine Paul thinking – “I’ve already told these men to love their wives, but maybe that’s too subtle. These guys may not get the point.” So Paul goes on to say straight-out, In other words, guys: do not be harsh with your wives!