On March 22, 2015, pastor Darin preached a sermon from Eph 5:1-2, 15-33, When the Spirit Fills a Home. Marriage can bring the highest joys, and the deepest sorrows. Our passage though shows the joys of marriage as we yield to God’s intentions for it. Verses 1-2 (imitate God, walk in love as Christ), and 15–21 (be filled with the Spirit) sets up the teaching on marriage (compare: verse 22 with verse 21; verse 25 with verse 2; verse 26 with verse 19). To be filled with the Spirit shows us that the greatest gift that God gives us is Himself. Paul’s teaching on marriage is a subset of what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit in the context of marriage where each person’s greatest desire is to know and imitate God and Christ and to submit to His Lordship in every area of our lives. The main idea of the sermon is that we must be filled with the Spirit to experience marriage as God intended. 4 things to see:
1. Why is there gender specific submission in marriage?
a. It is God’s design. God likes structure and is clear about authority and responsibility. Dig deeper: God made man first, then woman, equal in personhood whose function was to be the man’s helper par excellence suitable for him (Gen 2:18).
b. In Gens 3, Adam and Eve both sin, but God addresses Adam first because God holds the husband ultimately responsible for the spiritual well-being of his household. Dig deeper: Husbands, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and for wisdom to lead in a godly way.
c. Adam’s problem: Gen 3:17 – he listened to his wife. He did not act responsibly for her. Adam was present the whole time (Gen 3:6), yet remained passive. Dig deeper: We must not value calm more than fulfilling responsibilities before the Lord.
e. Dig deeper: the structure and distinction in roles is seen within the Godhead, where the Son submits to the Father. Marriage is reflective of this order. In marriage there is perfect equality in personhood, but distinction in roles and functions between husband and wife.
2. What is submission in marriage?
a. It is not unconditional compliance, nor the absence of debate and disagreement.
b. It is recognition that God will hold the man accountable, and the woman, in submission to Christ, recognizes this and defers to this God ordained structure by faith.
c. Qualifications: This teaching should never be used:
1) To justify abuse. Dig deeper: women, if you are in an abusive situation, you need to get help. Tell the church, a friend, co-worker, police, etc.
2) By a husband to justify getting his way all the time.
d. The model of the husbands authority: to love their wives as Christ loved His church and gave Himself for her. Dig Deeper: Christ died for His church so that she could live. This is the model for husbands. We are to lead by living self sacrificially for and before our wives.
1) Luke 22:27 – Jesus came to serve, not to be served. The ultimate way He served was through His death on the cross—forsaking His rights for the sake of His people.
2) Eph 5:26 – “cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word” – In John 13, Jesus performs the lowliest of tasks by washing his disciples feet, and tells them they are already clean because of the Word. Dig deeper: God’s Word is the authority in our lives. We want to think God’s thoughts after Him in the context of marriage. Husbands are responsible to see the Gospel in both word and deed saturate the marriage so that husband and wife are cleansed from all unrighteousness as they grow together in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
3. What is the purpose of marriage?
a. Marriage does not exist so that we can be completed, but as an aspect of God’s mission in our life (Gen 2:18; 1:26-28) of glorifying God in the world.
b. Mark 10:25 – marriage is temporary. Therefore in Eph 5:31-32, it points to an even greater reality, the oneness between Christ and His church and the incredible love He has for her.
c. Phil 2:5-8 - Jesus gives up everything for His church and dies for her so that she might experience everlasting life. Dig deeper: Wives submit to their husbands as to the Lord as an expression of worship to the Lord.
d. For the single/celibate: this a gift as well because of the undivided attention you have with your ultimate spouse, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: God calls us to embrace these God ordained roles in marriage, looking to Christ as the ultimate example. The place to begin his Philippians 2:5-8. We see perfect unity and equality among the persons of the Trinity, yet, the Son willingly humbles Himself in submission to the Father. He does not cling to His rights, but lays them aside for the sake of His bride the church, as He offers Himself as sacrifice for their sins on the cross. May husbands and wives follow Christ’s example of submission and sacrificial love and leadership, as we repent of our sin in this area, and rest in His power to experience marriage as He intends.