Summary: A sermon on one of the touchiest subjects in God's Word:submission. Should we really be prickly about this topic? NO!
That Foul S Word!
There is one word that is considered by many as one of the foulest words that a Christian can say. In fact, if you aren't very careful--and tactful--in speaking concerning this topic, you are going to get yourself into a peck of trouble with some people. If you really want to get into a fight with someone when it comes to matters of faith, just say one word: submission.
I think that the word submission has taken a bad rap. But then society hates the idea of submission. Why? Well, I think there are at least five reasons.
First, the topic of submission brings to mind slavery. A picture comes into the mind of some that would be a master with a whip over his slave.
Second--and this is a real tender subject--is the idea of women being in submission to men. Does the Bible teach women being in submission to men? To a degree, but mostly in the realm of husband-wife relationships. And even in that circumstance, there is a huge burden on the man do out-do the women in the category of love. Women have, thoroughout human history, been oppressed by men in large part. Actually, Jesus changed all of that.
Third, is a tyrannical family. Either Mom or Dad rules with an iron fist and shows little or no love toward the children. Children are to submit to Mom and Dad, but often this leads into abusive situations.
Fourth--and I guess this would be somewhat like the first point--would be the picture of a tyrannical employer, supervisor or boss. I think we have all either worked for or met people like this. They get great pleasure in wielding their power over their employees, treating them as one level above slaves.
Fifth would be tyrannical government. All you have to do is look at the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin and Kim-Jong Il in Korea.
All of these are improper views of submission. This is no where near what the Bible teaches. Over the span of the next two messages, we will examine the topic of Biblical Submission and how submission is not only a good idea, but it is commanded by God.
The Koine Greek word for submit is hupotasso, and means "to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection" (Thayer's Greek Lexicon). Vine notes that hupotasso is " primarily a military term, "to rank under" (hupo, "under," tasso, "to arrange"). Submission is a pretty important topic in the Word--mentioned some 40 times in the Greek New Testament.
Think of submission, then, like this. It is like the military. When we are in submission, we are lining up under God's authority. In addition, God puts others in authority over us in the chain of command. If we are in obedience to God, and to those who are in authority, then we do well. If not, we are mutineers or deserters. We then commit "conduct unbecoming an officer".
1) Submission To God
Wow, this would seem to be a no-brainer, wouldn't it? But each time we sin, we go out beyond the submission to God and therefore outside His protection. This all started with Adam and Eve when they wanted to "be like God".
God is a God of order. He is not a God of chaos:
1 Cor 14:33, 40 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints...Let all things be done decently and in order.
We will get back to this scripture when we talk about submission to the church, but it is important to note that God is big on order. God hates chaos. In fact, God has order within the Godhead itself: Father, then Son, the Holy Spirit. There is a chain of command so to speak.
If you think about it, the Christian that is in submission to God is pretty much at peace. Even if the world's troubles swirl around him, there is that "peace which surpasses all understanding". If you are at peace with God in submission, you will be at peace with yourself, and with others as well.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. KJV
Look again at James 4:7. If you go by the context, if you are in submission then you can resist the devil successfully. Otherwise, you can't.
I meet and talk to people online that say that they do not feel the presence of or influence of God in their lives. They will mention how at one time they had a powerful relationship with Him, but it has disappeared. If you look at verse 8, you can see the reason why. You need to work at it. You need to commit to and walk a Christian walk. You need to be in submission to God--not in chaos of self direction--to be a good soldier of Jesus. Follow your orders in love!