Summary: Explores biblical role of submission in marriage. Advocates biblical equality among men and women assuming different roles. P.P.T. friendly outline. Relevant language
"Who is in charge?" Ephesians 5:21-33
The biblical role of submission in marriage
Pastor Bob Hunter
Today I want to talk to you about who is in charge of the marriage. Whose responsible for the decisions? Who calls the shots? And who wears the pants? Now, if you’re a member of the Flinstone family, you know who’s in charge, it’s pretty obvious. It’s Fred, or at least, he thinks he’s in charge! He constantly nags Wilma, repeating her name with a blistering shout, "Wilmaaaaa!" He orders her around and demands she serve him after a hard days work. He loudly proclaims, "I’m the King of the Cave!" (A film clip from the Flinstones movie(1994) might be appropriate here, use the beginning segment where Fred declares He’s the King of the Cave.) He’s the man, he’s in charge. At times, Fred has more the attitude of a drill sergeant than he does a husband.
Now the passage of scripture that I’m going to read to you today, is probably one of the most profound in depth descriptions of how a marriage should work in all the Bible. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. So fasten your seat belts, we’re in for a ride..(read Ephesians 5:21-33).
ILLUST: When Cambria and I ministered in Wilsonville, we put together a one day workshop for engaged couples to help them prepare for marriage. I want to tell you about a young couple who attended by the name of Howard and Janine. Howard and Janine wanted to get married, so they came to the workshop, because that’s what I require when a couple would like me to perform services. I could tell they were little bit reluctant to come, so when they finally showed up, and they were late...of course. Janine had a puzzled look on her face, I could tell something was troubling her. Her body language indicated discomfort. Within a few moments she blirted out,"Your not going to teach us to obey our husbands are you?" "Because, I don’t like the idea of obeying Him." I sat there stunned, thinking Howard must really be a Jerk. (Actually, he’s not, he’s a true gentlemen) And as I began to respond, Janine relaxed and Howard breathed a sigh of relief too. We all did! And what I shared with them in response, is what I’m going to share with you today in message form. We’re going to talk about the role of submission. There’s a right way to look at it, and a wrong way to look at it.
First of all, the Bible doesn’t use the word obey in the context of marriage. The right words are submit and respect. The word obey is used to describe the relationship a child has to a parent, not the relationship a wife has to her husband. So with that much understood. I want to take a few moments and deal with common misconceptions often perpetuated by society, our culture and sometimes even the Church. These assumptions cloud our understanding and color our interpretation of Ephesians Ch. 5. So lets take a few minutes and identify some of these false assumptions. A lot of us have lost sight of what’s really important.
Where did we go wrong? (Common Misunderstandings:)
A. Men are superior beings.
After all Adam came before Eve, right? He was the first to see what God had created. Breathe the air, walk on the earth. Take a look at our world today. Its dominated by men. We run the companies, govern the states, fight the wars, build the cities, manage most affairs. We figure things out, find solutions, work for a living. We’re the Fred Flintstones. And we should have the ‘say so’ and ultimately be the one in charge. Right? (silence) Men are superior beings is common misunderstanding number one.
B. Women are inferior beings.
If he’s then head then what does that make her, the tail? Does him being first assume that she is something lesser than? If carried out to it’s logical end, we would then have to assume that Women are not as strong, capable, intelligent, and trustworthy. Add to that the creation account: women were created from men, right? Adam fell into a deep sleep. God extracted one of his ribs and brought about another human being with not as strong of human characteristics. (Gen. Ch. 2) She was a w-o-o-o-man. A part of man, but not his true equal. Therefore she must concede to him in order to assume her God given place in the family and society. If both of the above are true, then the following must also be assumed…
C. All things are not equal.
This is a belief built on the premise that God’s design for the family includes one man and one women and both can’t be in charge, therefore one or the other has to emerge as the leader. Therefore, Marriage is a series of inequities. He is greater than She. There is unequal ownership, power, intellect, maturity, righteousness, authority, etc. There is a better half and a lesser half. A leader and a follower. Simply put, Men pull a greater share of the load. Not all things are equal, and because they aren’t, the stronger half must step forward, usually the male, and call the shots.