Summary: The secret to a happy family is following God’s instructions.
The Family In Christ
Text: Eph. 5:21-6:4
1. We often say that a marriage is made in heaven. In essence, this is true since God gave us the institution of marriage in Genesis 2. However, whenever you insert fallen human beings into anything, even something instituted by God, you have the possibility of "operator error."
2. A recent George Barna poll shows that 35% of all marriages end in divorce among unbelievers. This same study shows that among Born-Again followers of Christ, 35% of all marriages end in divorce. Do you see a problem here?
3. Marriages for followers of Christ should be stronger and last longer than marriages among non-followers of Christ. Why? Because Christ has given us an instruction manual about how to have a happy marriage.
4. In our text today, the Apostle Paul gives us an instruction manual on having a happy family. He gives us:
a. General Instructions
b. Wives’ Instructions
c. Husbands’ Instructions
d. Children’s Instructions
5. Read Eph. 5:21-6:4
Proposition: The secret to a happy family is following God’s instructions.
Transition: First, Paul gives us...
I. General Instructions (21)
A. Submit to One Another
1. Paul begins this section with a fundamental Christian principle of which we all need to have a basic understanding.
2. He says "And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
a. Like I already stated this is a fundamental principle that is basic to the Christian faith, but unfortunately, it is one that is largely misunderstood both in and outside of the church.
b. It is misunderstood in our secular culture who think that it refers only to women, and their being "subservient" to the husbands.
3. This conception on the part of our society is erroneous for several reasons.
a. First, this word has nothing to do with being "subservient."
b. You see the word submission has nothing to do with forcing someone to do something against their will.
c. The word that Paul uses here is in the middle or passive voice, which indicates that it is something that a person does voluntarily (Rossier, Complete Biblical Library: Ephesians, 157).
d. Second, submitting has to with "those considered worthy of respect, either because of their inherent qualities or more often because of the position they held (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM).
e. It is a placing yourself under the authority of another who is worthy or respect.
f. A third reason that this is an incorrect interpretation of this word is that it doesn’t refer only to women, because Paul says here "submit to one another."
g. Men must be just as submissive as women.
4. Most importantly, it has to do with our reverence, respect, and honor for Christ himself.
a. Paul says we are to be submissive to one another "out of reverence for Christ."
b. We do it because Jesus has asked us to do it.
c. We do it because God’s word tells us we should.
d. We do it because this is what God requires.
B. Secret to Happiness: Understanding Authority
1. Illustration: Believing things ’on authority’ only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life (C.S. Lewis).
2. Submission is based on authority.
a. It is based on the authority of Jesus Christ as the Lord of His church.
b. It is based on the authority of the inerrant and infallible word of God.
c. It is based on foundation laid down by the Apostles and the things they taught which they learned from Jesus himself.
3. Submission is universal.
a. We all must submit to someone.
b. As a Pastor and credentialed Assemblies of God minister, I submit to my Presbyter and District Superintendent.
c. As your Pastor, you are to submit to me as the one that Christ has placed over you.
d. Hebrews 13:17 (NLT)
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.