Summary: God gave us marriage as a picture of Christ’s love for His church. We faithfully show the world His love for us in the way we accurately display that picture in our marital submission.
1. Marital submission is about a mutual position
2. Marital submission is about a marvelous preparation
3. Marital submission is about a mysterious picture
On June 14, 2000, Southern Baptists created a firestorm of controversy. Leaders of our convention were all over the TV trying to defend their actions. I remember headline stories on CNN and all the networks slamming Southern Baptists. What was all the trouble over? What had happened that was so atrocious that it caused a national media outcry? Did Southern Baptists denounce the Bible and say it wasn’t true? No, other denominations have been doing that for over 100 years and the press doesn’t even notice. Did we elect a female convention president? No, women lead other denominations and the media praises them for how progressive they are. Did we embrace the homosexual agenda and say homosexual marriage is OK? No, certainly not. Every time a religious group does that, they are praised for how tolerant and open-minded they are. So, what could Southern Baptists have done that was so atrocious? What did we do that was so offensive to the media and a large portion of the American public? On June 14, 2000, at the convention in Orlando, Southern Baptists adopted a new revision of our statement of faith called the Baptist Faith and Message. It contains our beliefs on 18 foundational topics like the Bible, God, man, and salvation. The first 17 didn’t get much press. It was the 18th that caused the firestorm—the one titled “The Family.” It contains two statements which completely go against the grain of American society today. Two statements that are completely and totally biblical. The first is: “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” That statement is so offensive to the world today, that preachers have been arrested in Europe and Canada for saying it from the pulpit. It is considered hate speech and we’re not far from it here in America today. The second statement that caused such problems is a bit longer. It says: “A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.” Our denomination actually had the audacity to put in writing that husbands are supposed to lead their families. And worse yet that wives are supposed to submit to their husbands’ leadership. Our society doesn’t want to hear that. If we’re old-fashioned enough to believe in marriage, we want it to be a 50-50 partnership. Everybody contributes, everybody shares. If you don’t pull your weight, you’re out. The partnership is dissolved. That might sound good if you’re building a commune or a corporation. But it’s not what God intended for a home. The passage we’re looking at this morning tells us God’s intent for the marriage relationship. But we have to remember to look at it in the context of what we talked about last week. Back in verses 17-21, Paul said that as Christians, we are to strive to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And then he gave us three things that would show if we are. We will overflow with praise, we will overflow with thanksgiving, and we will overflow with humility. He talks about the humility part in verse 21 where he introduces us to the “S” word. The word we hate because of our pride and selfishness. The word is submit. In our passage this morning, Paul expands on the concept of submission he introduced in verse 21 by pointing out what it looks like in our closest earthly relationship—marriage. God didn’t give us marriage so we could have an equal partnership. He didn’t give us husbands and wives so we could have someone to share the load with and help make ends meet. He gave us marriage as a picture of Christ’s love for His church. I want those of us who are married this morning to faithfully show Christ’s love for the church by our marital submission. But this sermon isn’t only for us married folks. It’s for all of us. I want each of us—married or not—to submit to Christ as His bride, just as the picture of marriage is supposed to show us. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three things that submission in marriage is all about. First, marital submission is about a mutual position. Keep your Bibles open to our passage as we will be moving around in it rather than hitting it verse by verse.