What is the number one problem with the family? I Googled that question this week and here is what I found! [There were over 400 million responses or hits on this topic] The most common answer was the breakdown of marriage through divorce.
• Money ran a close second [and you could probably associate this with most divorces]
• Domestic problems or violence in the home
• Drugs and alcohol
• Inability to manage or resolve conflicts
• Over-dependency or extreme autonomy
• Communication and trust
• Even In-laws to name a few are a cause for family breakdowns!
Patrick F. Fagan, Senior Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute said this........”In 1950, for every 100 children born, 12 entered a broken family. Today, for every 100 children born, 60 will enter a broken family. Each year, about one million children experience the divorce of their parents, 1.25 million are born out of wedlock, and another 1.4 million are aborted.” Why do we have this breakdown or dysfunction in the family? The underlining problem is that people are not listening to God’s plan for the family! Not just in the unsaved homes...but also in evangelical homes as well! The stats at Barna Research show no difference between to two groups when it comes to the breakdown of the family. The family is falling apart and I’m deeply concerned about and so should you! The world and the church are not listening to the instructions that God has put in place for each individual that makes up the family unit! God put these guidelines in for our understanding so that we could fulfill His will for the family!
This is an area we have tuned Him out off! Even, in our evangelical homes! What do you mean by that? We trust Christ enough for our salvation..... But we tend to think we have it all under control when it comes to the family. But look around! We know that’s a wrong philosophy; because if we were in control and have it all together! Then we would see......A decline in adultery, a decline in divorce, a decline in abuse, a decline in teenage suicide, a decline in abortion, a decline in single parent families, a decline in same sex parenting and a decline in all dysfunction in the family! But the sad reality is that these things are getting worse, not better! Kent Hughes said this! “marriage has fallen into disrepute [which means disgrace], as with a seven year old girl who had just seen the movie Cinderella and was testing her neighbour, anxious to impress the little girl. Said “I know what happens at the end.” “What?” asked the girl? “Cinderella and the prince live happily ever after.” To which the girl answered, “Oh no, they don’t. They got married” This response is most common among young people and even people who are of age!
• Marriage is a waste of time!
• Marriage only leads to problems
• Marriage is anchor to my sail
• Children are time consuming
• Having a family doesn’t give me the freedom I need
• The world is already over-populated
• Families are too expensive
William Congreve said “Every man plays the fool once in his life, but to marry is playing the fool all of one’s life.” This isn’t true and it’s a lie from the pit of Hell! The family....the marriage....children are a blessing and not a curse as the world would picture it be today! Why? In fullness of time Christ Jesus came to show how important family truly is! By giving His life for His beloved and holy children [You and me]. God stands behind the family and He has a plan and purpose for the family. Abraham knew this.....Jacob knew this and Joshua stood by it! “...........But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15. If the patriarchs knew the importance of the family and the plan God had for His chosen people, shouldn’t we hold to those same principles as well in our homes? This has been echo throughout scripture, God’s plan for the family to follow His instruction. He didn’t leave this area of our lives to think it through on our own....He gave us His word and instruction for the family! The same love and care He gave to each individual Christian and the body of Christ.... [the church] God addresses four key players in Paul’s letter to the church of Colosse! This passage is parallel with what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 5.
LOOK WHAT HE SAYS TO THE WIVES (v18) “wives submit to your own husband”
This is passage and many like it are a major problem for today’s generation! Many generations have accused Paul’s writings in this area as being chauvinistic! They say “this isn’t what God really wants women to do”......But if that were true!...then (v19) wouldn't really apply either! God’s not really telling the husband to love his wife or anything! That’s not what God is really saying! Give me a break! The reason for many of the breakdowns in the family is due to this kind of thinking and behaviour. Women usurping roles that were never intended for them to take because the man won’t MAN UP! Submit means “to subject oneself” it has the concept of putting oneself under not by force, but willingly. It’s the same term referring to Jesus with His parents “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” Luke 2:51. As John MacArthur says “they do not submit to some detached, impersonal authority. Rather they submit to the man with whom they are intimate, personal, vital relationship.”
Eph 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
IT’S HELPFUL TO NOTE SOME MISS-CONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUBMISSION.
1. It doesn’t imply inferiority [weakness or low standard of life]. Spiritually there is no difference between male and female. ”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28. We are both equally wretched sinners but as God has ordained, His design for each role in the family they all have responsibilities in the home. Another example is Jesus submitted to the Father, during His earthy life.....but was in no way was He inferior to Him. It’s a loving submission to the one she loves [her husband]
2. Submission is not absolute.......Obedience in this passage is reserved for children......there may be times when a wife must refuse to submit to her husband’s desires [if they violate God’s word] As Peter said before the high priests "We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
3. The husband’s authority is not to be exercised in an authoritative, overbearing manner. The wife’s submission takes place in the context of a loving relationship. R.C Sproul said “To submit to anyone less than Christ is difficult in a marriage. Yet it is Christ who commands women to be submissive to their sinful, fallible husbands. In this sense Christ is the silent partner of the marriage. It is hard for a wife to submit when she disagrees with her husband. But when she knows her submission is an act of obedience to Christ and honours Christ, it is much less difficult.” Peter wrote “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 Peter 3:1-2.
This command for the woman is very important for marriage and the family! Why? Because the verse finishes by saying “fitting to the Lord”. The Greek form in this phrase expresses an obligation....a necessary duty! This is how God designed and commanded the wife to operate in the context of His word.
WHICH BRINGS US NOW TO THE HUSBAND? (Look at v19) “husbands, love your wives”
Let’s stop there for a moment! If he [your husband] is not fulfilling this major command in the home then there is no possible way a wife will ever truly submit out willingness. The reason? She doesn’t feel secure and comforted by his leadership. The wife must be the object of his love..............and you can put a big fat juicy period at the end of that statement! “Love” in this verse indicates a continuous action “agape love” This involves the husband to express unceasing care and love towards his wife. The verb itself is expressed as a willing love, not the love of passion or emotion, but the love of choice. The same covenant love that God displayed to us through His Son Jesus Christ. This portion of the verses could be better translated “keep on loving” The same love that existed at the beginning is to continue until death due you part. This love that Paul is writing to the husbands is a self-sacrificing love! Again! The nature of this love is clearly described in Eph 5!
Eph 5:22-28 “.........Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
This is the kind of love that a wife will willingly submit too.....If you don’t believe me! Ask my wife about what happened in our home after my conversion. The wife has their own responsibilities towards the family!......and they don’t need to be worried about doing yours as well...God has given us both roles for the family....... the woman is to loving submit to the husband and the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.
But not only are we to continually love them...... we are not to be “embittered towards them” “Embittered” means or could be translated “stop being bitter or do not have a habit of being bitter” As John MacArthur said “husbands are not to call their wives honey and then act like vinegar.” We are not to display a harshness of temper or resentment towards them. We are called to a love them as the weaker vessels [tea cups] not like dogs [coffee mugs] Men we are to give them an environment that is safe and secure....Not one that is hostile and in competition with everything else for your affection. Men we really need to examine our leadership in the home as it pertains to the word of God!
ASK YOURSELF! Am I directing and guiding my wife closer to Lord because of my love for her? Or am I a hindrance to her walk with the Lord? The reason I ask these questions is..........Kent Hughes said “The man who sanctifies his wife understands that this is his divinely ordained responsibility... Is my wife more like Christ because she is married to me? Or is she like Christ in spite of me? Has she shrunk from His likeness because of me? Do I sanctify her or hold her back? Is she a better woman because she is married to me?” These are serious questions! Men, don’t ever expect her to loving submit if you are behaving in an ungodly manner! God has given us a major responsibility as the leaders in the home to provide just that, loving leadership in the home. John MacArthur said “Marriage itself is consummated with the literal bodily union of husband and wife. From that point on, the husband should regard the wife as his own flesh. If she hurts, he ought to feel the pain. If she has needs, he should embrace those needs as his own. He should seek to feel what she feels, desire what she desires, and in effect, give her the same care and consideration he gives his own body” This is what we as husbands joyfully labour for! Solomon said “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.” Eccl 9:9
These are some radical requests from God for selfish sinners to obey! Wives submit to your husbands......husbands love your wives as Christ loves! But remember! None of this is remotely possible without the saving grace of the new nature found in the Gospel. We can try but it will be a massive struggle. You must realize it will never become a blessing until we submit under His love found in Christ. We can call up! Doctor Phil, the New Age Guru Orprah or write to Anne Landers about our marriages and why they are failing..... but until the grace has taken a hold of your life the family will continue to struggle in this area... Each individual will have a tendency to be selfish and NOT selfless! Each individual will not understand or care to fulfill their God given role in the home. We must listen and obey God’s word.......it’s that simple! Wives........husbands........fulfill your God given roles unto the HEADSHIP of Christ! THE SUNDAY QUESTION IS......Are you fulfilling your God given role in the family?