Summary: 54th message from Ephesians discussing the role and responsibility of husbands.
The Role and Responsibility of Husbands
I. The Role and responsibility of wives
A. Role: Willing Support
1. Submit to husbands
2. Love husbands and children Titus 2:3-5
3. Respect Ephesians 5:33
It is interesting that Paul only devotes 2 and a half verses to the response of wives but nine and a half verses were directed toward husbands. Paul instructed wives to respond properly to their husbands as an expression of their submission to Christ. Submission to their husbands was a means to bring glory to Jesus. It pleased God. It was the way God ordered His creatures.
Just a note on this section of Paul’s letter. Many have tried to divide Paul’s letter between the theoretical or doctrinal section and practical application. Surprisingly, Paul intertwines doctrinal or principles and practical application all through his writings which defy neat little divisions. Here in the middle of an extremely practical application (Wives submit to your husbands) he includes one of the most powerful teachings on the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul moved from the social principles related to husbands and wives to the truths related to Christ and the church. He elevated the discussion from the wife’s response to their husbands to the church’s response to Christ the Head of the Church. Although we focused on the earthly marital implications over the last couple weeks, there is much to learn from the spiritual application. There is much to learn even for the men in these verses because they define our required response in regard to Jesus. We are called to submit to His headship over our lives just as wives are instructed to respond to ours. Actually, wives can effectively model submission for their husbands and increase their understanding of what it looks like for them to submit to Christ.
By the way, Jesus also modeled submission to His Father. He was equal in person and essence but willing submitted to and served the Father.
Today I will explore God’s established order for the family; namely the husband’s role in the family as well as his responsibilities in regard to the family. Again, there is both a social as well as a spiritual application to be considered here. Not only does Paul instruct husbands on how they should treat their wives but he also provides insight into how Jesus nurtures and cares for the church. There is actually much to contemplate in these verses. Paul calls it a “great mystery” (5:32). Today’s world suffers the calamitous consequences of men abandoning their God-given responsibility in the family. The consequences of a fatherless home on the children are well documented. It affects them on every level from intellectual to moral and social.
When men abdicate their leadership women rise up to fill in the gap. The problem is that just as there are things only a mother can teach there are some things that can only be taught by the father. Paul powerfully reminds men of their role and their responsibility before God concerning the family.
II. The Role and Responsibility of husbands 5:22-33
A. Role: Loving Leader
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. Ephesians 5:23
God established husbands as the head of the home. In the Greek the term translated “head” means “head”. It was used for the literal head as well as to indicate the one in charge or responsible. God holds the husband responsible for the direction and well-being of the family.
Since this was the case from the beginning, it is not necessarily a Christian thing but a human thing. Most two-headed creatures are anomalies of nature. A two-headed family or even and organization is doomed to failure. If you reason the analogy of the relationship of the head to the rest of the body you can deduce the function or role God intended the man to fulfill in the family. Beyond that, Paul used Christ’s role in relation to the church as a model for the role of the husband in relation to the family. It is an overwhelming task. It imposes a heavy responsibility. Again, it has nothing to do with worth or capability. It has to do with role or function. God will hold men as the one ultimately responsible for what happens or doesn’t happen in the family.
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. 1 Corinthians 11:8-12