Summary: #1 in a six week series on marriage and parenting. This message begins the series by laying out God’s design for marriage. Everything in the home builds upon this foundational truth.

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Home Improvement - Week #1

Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Peter 3:7

INTRODUCTION: {Video Clip: Home Improvement Clip 1 = 2:45}

In a lifetime relationship how do two people stay compatible? How do we as live out Wilson’s advice and “build a bridge” or “meet in the middle” every day? Well, as much as I respect Wilson (and btw, isn’t strange that in the show Tim and Jill get marriage and parenting tips from a single man?)- but as much as Wilson’s advice often has merit it’s not perfect and Wilson didn’t design marriage. For that we need to go further than just over the fence, we need to listen to the designer, the architect of marriage: God. Doesn’t it make sense that the One who designed matrimony would be the best One to give us marriage plans? So, let’s look at a couple of passages from God’s planner, the bible, that give His design.

Eph. 5 and 1 Peter 3 are some of the most practical and needed passages in the Bible for this portion of home improvement. Now for some you this is “old ground” but I believe that we need to have God’s design for marriage branded on our hearts again and again. As someone once said, “It may not be as important to learn new truths as it is to be reminded of the old ones.” But for some, what we are going to discuss today will be new. My prayer is that we will all take to heart what God has to say in these verses. Even if you are not a Christian or aren’t sure about this “church stuff,” my hope is that you’ll see the practical and sensible advice these passages give. So instead of looking at compatibility let’s look at our roles in marriage. Because true compatibility comes from correctly living out God’s design. Let’s see what He has to say.


Before we actually get into the roles and responsibilities of wives and husbands I want to begin our discussion by understanding the concept of submissiveness. Let’s read vs:21 together.“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This verse introduces a concept that certainly goes against what the world teaches. The world’s basic attitude is "Me First." We hear it espoused in such phrases as "Don’t let people push you around!" “No one has the right to impose their values on me!” “Look out for #1.”

But the “Me First” philosophy is exactly opposite of what Jesus Christ taught.

Jesus’ point of view for living was not “me first” or even “put others first,” but it was to put Him first. Did you notice the wording of vs:21? We are to submit to one another out of what? “reverence for Christ.” You see when we put Him first, then, and only then, we will understand what it means to put others first or “submit to one another.” Let’s look at a few Scriptures that talk about what our attitude is to be. Here are two passages that clearly tell us our attitude is to be submissive not assertive.

Matt. 20:25-28 is a passage where two disciples ask to be prominent in Jesus’ plans. “But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”(NLT) He didn’t say be assertive he said, be what? A servant.

In Philippians 2 Paul talks about how Jesus was equal, spiritually, with God and certainly superior to us and yet He humbled Himself and became obedient to God and submissive to our needs. “In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born to be a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death - death on a cross.” (NCV)

I don’t want you to miss this point! If you believe in God and are interested in pleasing God, the question is not, "Should I be submissive?" but "To whom does God want me to submit?" Eph. 5:21 makes the point that we are not only to be submissive to those who have delegated authority over us but we are to be submissive to those who are equal to us or even under us. How exactly do we do that? Like Jesus we act in the best interest of others. This verse is revolutionary in terms of having right relationships, not just with husbands and wives but with anyone.

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