21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
The fundamentals of life are very important! If we manage the fundamentals then the everyday issues that come up will go much more smoothly.
When you think about Christian life fundamentals, they relate to the things that are most basic to life. They are really human life fundamentals. Where do we spend the majority of our time? What are our greatest needs? How will they be met etc. Those questions are answered in the first two chapters of the Bible and reinforced throughout Scripture. Here in Ephesians 5 and 6 Paul focuses in on them. Why are the fundamentals so important?
Because here are where the laws of God are going to be most importantly lived out! This is where we spend our time. This is where we spend our energy. This is where the good life will spring from. And this is where, if we get it wrong, it won’t matter what else is going on. And this is what is cursed by God because of sin.
And I believe that the most fundamental focus of life for all people should be on family. Genesis chapters 1-2.
- Marriage is God’s Plan
Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
- We are created in God’s image
- By God
- For a purpose: to reflect His character (image)
- Original design is messed up. Are we without hope? Last week I talked about parenting with one parent instead of two as a negative result of human sexual sin. Does that mean we are without hope? NO. There is always the grace and mercy of God. Does this mean that life is not harder because of sin? Yes it is. And we have a direction to aim ourselves that is productive and that invites the blessing of God. WE will not have perfection. How good can we have it? Well, how well can we obey God?
- We are created male and female
- It is remarkable that this is in dispute today. I think that is purely a sign of darkness that comes from rejecting God’s standards.
- Differences in humanity are real, necessary and good!
- Differences means that there will have to be some give and take. Why is submission necessary? Because of differences. And not all differences are good! Sinful differences are to be rejected. God sets the standard.
- Differences are the reason for love as an opportunity and a good.
- We are created “man”
“Let us create man in our image.” “He created them.” “Male and female He created them”
What is a human being? How would you describe one? Are they male? Are they female? Are males and females different? You cannot describe a human being without describing both sexes. Both are essential. Both are uniquely valuable. And both NEED EACH OTHER!
Our opportunity again to reflect the image of God extends even to this element of his being: God is unity and diversity. God is one. And God is Father, Son and Spirit.
Humans are male, and female, and if they are to continue on the earth, are to produce children. Now, I wouldn’t take this too far, but Father, Spirit (mother), Son (child). This is “One Flesh” One family. We are to reflect the unity and diversity of God in our family relationship!
- Marriage is the Plan for Human Life
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
- Marriage is between a man and a woman
AND GOD. What God has joined together!!!
Genesis 2: 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Gay marriage in our culture. I do not agree that it is Biblical. Is marriage a rite of the church or the state? If it is the church then the issue is easy. If it is a rite of the state then the state can do what it wants. But it clouds the issue in this case because marriage has been a rite of the church for thousands of years. Think about that. I had this conversation with my daughter. It is uncomfortable. She assured me that she was not participating in Christian marriage. But many of the symbols were Christian etc.
- Marriage is for the mutual benefit of the spouses
“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
(This does not mean that God does not have a meaningful life for single people. Matt 19:
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”) Remember, Jesus did not marry! Was His life meaningful? We do not all have to have children. There are exceptions. However, if no one has children…
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.
- Spiritual authority is established in the home
I Cor 11: 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
I Tim 2:
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
Authority is about responsibility before God. In Genesis 2 here is what I think is the important order. Adam is created. God gives Adam the command to not eat the forbidden fruit. Adam is responsible for this command and for helping Eve to keep that command.
Eve eats the fruit. Adam is blamed and held responsible. At no point is the authority related to holding power or sway over, but instead it is related to spiritual responsibility for the marriage and family.
Eve is still a helper suitable for Adam in this task of spiritual responsibility!
- Marriage and family are cursed in the fall
Define blessing and cursing. Gen 1:28, God blessed them.
Here we are on this side of the fall trying to sort this all out!
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. There was no physical, psychological, social or emotional vulnerability.
Genesis 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
And then comes the wrath of God!
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
“Naked and hiding.” This is a huge loss of intimacy.
“Pain in child bearing” This is a physical threat to human life, to women and to children! And I think this expands to Cain killing Abel.
“Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you!”
Whatever happened to helper suitable? Are there reasons to rebel against your husband? Of course there are! Is that the issue? What does God say?! How will we overcome the curse?
III. The Cure for the Curse is Mutual Submission
- Submit first to God
“Out of reverence for Christ”
Just in every aspect of obedience, we are called to serve, love, forgive and obey in every area of life with respect to God. Your spouse will not deserve your submission, but God does. And therefore, you will give your submission to God and receive life from Him, not from the fruit!
- Submit to one another
The rest of this passage relates to unpacking this idea. And we will spend quite a bit of time thinking about what it means to submit as a concept and how that concept applies within the familial context. Just as a teaser, in order to be cooperative and mutually helpful, in a marriage we will have to submit to each other. And someone will have to start this process. And from my perspective, since the husband is the responsible spiritual head in the family, he bears the responsibility to both lead and submit. Wives, you can now make his life hell. And if you do, you will ruin yours as well.