Summary: The Christian life is a life of subission to each other
What’s Church all about? Ephesians Series
Paul has gone from what the church is to what we should be.
In the church, our relationships should be greatly different than they were before we met Jesus.
Verse 21: Submit to one another
Submission is a bad word in our society
we make heroes of people who won’t submit to anyone’s authority, You never hear Mel Gibson, or Arnold Schwartseneger or Sigourney Weaver talking about submission, unless it is beating the bad guys into submission.
The motto for our age it outplay, outwit, outlast, not submit
It is not too surprising that God’s values look upside down from the world’s perspective.
Lets look at God’s perspective, and his call on our lives.
What Submission is not
Christian Submission is not about being a Doormat
Paul, who writes this passage deals harshly with both secular authorities and with Christian brothers and sisters when they overstep their bounds and treat him as less than he is.
The Submission that Paul is calling us to is a mutual submission – not one where there is one person in submission, and another in authority, but that we would submit to each other.
Christian Submission is not about over-the-top politeness like those two chipmunks in the cartoons who say, “no, no, no, after you,” “no, I insist after you,”
It is not the abdication of responsibility or authority so we get know where and no decisions get made because we are so worried about stepping on each others toes.
Christian Submission is not about the lowest common denominator.
Canadian & American worms joke
Christian submission doesn’t say, “I’m not going to use my God given gifts, because I might make someone else look bad”
There in a sense in the term of submission of coming under the other person, not to be held down by them, but to lift them up!
What Submission is
Definition - a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
"put others first" - Contemporary English Version
Instead of looking out for ourselves, we are to be looking out for everyone else, and they are to look out for us.
Christian Submission flows out of Strength, not weakness.
Jesus is our example in this. John 13:3-5
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
If I suddenly had the divine revelation that Jesus did – all things under my feet, I think I would like to try it out! Not take up the lowliest servant’s job! But because of Jesus’ place of strength, he is able to serve – to subject himself to his own disciples; not as a weak person beaten into submission, but as the strongest person in the universe, choosing to submit.
“(Jesus)Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
We too come from a place of strength – Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
We respond to that strength, not by taking up any high handed authority, but by submitting to each other.
Christian Submission must come in Relationship
Without knowing each other, knowing the heart’s desire, talking things through with each other, there can be no mutual submission – one will always just be giving in to the will of the other. That is why we need face to face relationships with other Christians – in small groups and close friendships, so that we can obey God’s commands!
Christian Submission is about Sacrifice
Just because submission is not about all these bad things doesn’t mean that it is easy – if it is working it should hurt.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Laying down one’s life is not just about dying it is about giving up what we hold dear because our friend is even more dear to us.
- giving up preferences, honor, possessions… laying down our living lives for each other!
Christian Submission is about Honor
Romans 12:10 “love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” - NRSV
We are to be a people who lift each other up, not knock each other down.