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Summary: The mystery of marriage is a center point of God’s revelation of His desire for relationship with Man. No wonder the family is under such spiritual attack. In the series Family Matters, Pastor Terry will look at the significance of family and marriage f

The Mission of Submission

Family Matters 2007 Part 2

Text: Ephesians 5:21-33

As we continue the series of Family Matters, we come to a text and topic this morning that is, by far, the most widely uses, misused and, at times, abused scriptures dealing with the dynamics of marital relationships.

Make no mistake; one’s approach to the topic of submission depends greatly on what role you play.

The very idea of submission to authority is at variance with today’s ideas of permissiveness and freedom. People have fought long and hard in the past half century to liberate women, children and laborers from oppression and subordination. So it makes sense that anything that even hints at oppression is deeply resented and resisted.


Our error in approaching the doctrine of submission, and in particular it’s application in this particular text, is that we are misinterpreting this as a struggle over power in the marriage relationship.

“Who’s in charge, the husband or the wife”. Many times the answer will depend on which one you ask and whether their spouse is in earshot. The fact is NEITHER is in “charge”. The correct answer is that Jesus is to be the head of the marriage just as He is the Head of the Church.

When we consider the context of verses 22-29 we have to understand who it is that the Holy Spirit is intending to be the audience. In other words, Men, Vs 22-24 is not intended for you. So, women, vs. 25-29 is not directed to you.

When you see a note clearly addressed to someone else, why do you read it? simply because we’re nosey.

Paul clearly addressed women and men individually on the matter of their roles as partners, not intending ( I believe) that either would ever used those words to force the hand of the other.

The proof is in verse 21

submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Men, consider a few things with me….

1. Why she’s here

Genesis 2:18-20

18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

• She is to be a “helper” – an assistant, companion

• Those words do not imply servitude or subservientism

2. Where she came from

Genesis 2:21-22

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

• She did not come from his head

• She did not come from his heel

• But from his side – and next to his heart.

3. How you are to react

Genesis 2:23-25

23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Clearly, God’s intention in the garden what that the man and woman would work together as equals. Look at the close of verse 25 again, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” “Both” were naked (bare, uncovered, unprotected, fully exposed).

Submission is in direct response to trust.

Illustration – when a man tells me his wife will not submit (and we agree on the spiritual definition) it can most always point back to a lack of trust. Either in him or in some man in her past.

Now let’s bring this into some “in-home” application.

Paul says that wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord and husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.

As the church we submit to Christ in ways such as:

Continuing His work in the world (we are his helpmate)

Building and maintaining unity

Living an example of holiness in the world

Now let’s look at the second part of the equation…”Husbands love your wives”

He gave Himself - Before “she” did anything for Him

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