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Jesus Enables You to Love and Respect Your Spouse

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

EPHESIANS 5:22-31


We often look up the definitions of key words in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and/or a good dictionary such as Webster's 1828 dictionary, both of which can be accessed online.


Definitions of key words for this study with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance numbers:

head (2776) the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment.

a. metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent

b. of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife

c. of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church

    of things: the corner stone

 

submit (Strong’s 5293) This word was a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

 

respects (Strong’s 5399) fear, be afraid of, to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

 


Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.


The covenant nuclear family begins with God, the husband, and the wife. The siblings and the parents of the couple become each other’s family. Children are not the beginning of the family. They are an addition to what God has joined together as divine representation of Christ to his bride, the church. The husband is to provide, protect, to nurture and to cause the wife to flourish in her identity and giftings, abilities and divine purposes God has placed within her.


In some translations instead of "head" it reads: “The husband is the beginning of the wife, or the source from which she came.” Perhaps this fits with the “cornerstone” definition of “head”. In the underscoring and bolding, we are noting that the wives are told twice to submit/respect their husbands, while the husbands are told 4 times to love their wives and once to hold fast to their wives.


If both husband and wife are submitted to the Lord and seeking to grow in His grace, the relationship will be strong. I like the ladder illustration. If a husband is on one side of a ladder, and his wife is on the other; they will be getting closer together as long as they are both climbing. If one stands still and the other continues to climb, they become farther apart. If both people are “climbing” toward the Lord, they will grow ever closer; but if one stops, they grow farther apart.


If the husband is loving the wife in the self-sacrificing, edifying manner exemplified by Jesus, she will have no problem submitting to him and respecting him. Since the husband is the leader in this process, much of the responsibility rests upon him – a heavy load if he is trying to maintain this kind of love in his own strength. If the husband is loving, nurturing, and exhorting the wife, she will have no problem willingly submitting to his leadership. If he is lording it over her as other cultures do, it will cause her to head toward a rebellious end.

 


Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


The husband should be leading out in seeking to grow in the knowledge of the word. He should be encouraging his wife in her walk with the Lord, and they should be praying together. He should edify, exhort, and console his wife. He should be her biggest cheering section, like a life coach in her ear. The husband must have holy esteem for his own person in order to love the wife as himself. The husband should not let his eyes wildly gaze to another, but fix his eyes on his own wife. This is the covenant the man made to his wife and to God. There is a difference between being “in love” with yourself and loving yourself. The ideal bird is not the peacock (one who struts his stuff and brings attention to himself) but the eagle who brings the wife into soaring heights. The goal for both parties in the marriage is to lift up the other. Eagles mate for life. The marriage covenant is designed to be “until death separates us”. The respect or reverence the wife has for the husband is like our “fear” of the Lord. We can give this reverence because he is loving us without condition, a love like we have never experienced before. Love to the point of overwhelming the wife and catching her by surprise. In the culture at the time the book of Ephesians was written, it was expected that the woman would reverence her husband. The new teaching here is that the husband is to love his wife sacrificially. The wife is then the willing, obedient, devotee. This is a prescription for a contented marriage.

 


APPLY THIS IN YOUR OWN LIFE:

 

1. Reflect Christ in all relationships and dealings with people. When we make the proclamation that we are Christians, people are always watching for the good or the bad. As Christians we are always on the stage of life. If our ultimate and overarching goal is to please, bring pleasure to, the audience of One (God), then we will be fully contented in our everyday lives.


2. Being the head of the home does not mean being the dictator. The husband should be the facilitator of his wife’s wellbeing. He should nurture, nourish, exhort, and encourage her by being the chief cheerleader, life coach, and her soft place to fall.


3. The husband has to have a proper view of himself as a sinner saved by grace. He cannot be a peacock that has to see himself from every angle to admire himself. He needs to be a male eagle who commits to his wife for life. He loves himself because he knows he is loved by his heavenly Father. He is NOT in love WITH himself.


4. As a wife in covenant, first with the Lord and second with her husband that she has chosen to become one with, she needs to respond in such a way that she builds her husband’s esteem by offering (with her words as his devotee) honor and dignity to build his character. She strengthens her relationship to Christ and the promises made to Jesus as His willing subject and thus, her relationship to her husband. In this way, she maintains the strength of the three-fold cord (God, husband, wife).

 

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Reformation Study Bible Notes (found on www.biblegateway.com

5:21 This transitional verse is last in a series of expressions explaining the effects of being filled with the Spirit (vv. 19–21note). Regardless of their social rank, all Christians should pattern their social behavior on the humility and kindness of Christ (4:32–5:2; cf. Luke 22:24–27; John 13:14–16). This submission “to one another” is the basis for the forms of authority in specific relationships discussed in 5:22–6:9.

5:22–6:9 At least as far back as Aristotle (fourth century B.C.), Greek ethics had addressed relationships within the household in a familiar pattern: husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves. Consistently, the interest was to help the male head of household learn to govern his family and slaves. In their treatment of such rules, Paul and Peter transform the question from how husbands, fathers, and masters dominate to how they can imitate the love of Christ they know in their own lives by nurturing those in their care. Simultaneously, as wives, children, and slaves define their roles in terms of service to Christ, they turn from being passive objects in a social world that devalues them, and become instead active partners with God in His plan to bring unity to a race divided by gender, age, and economics.

5:22–32 Jesus gives life to a new community of love—the church, His own body. His love also defines the marriage relationship for His people. Paul teaches that the genders are complementary, and a man and a woman are equal before God. Yet in marriage the husband has leadership. This leadership is not absolute but gives the husband the initiative in marriage, to which the wife responds. Paul’s understanding is grounded in the creation order (1 Cor. 11:8, 9; 1 Tim. 2:13), and he takes account of the lingering effects, even among Christians, of the Fall (1 Tim. 2:14). Redemption in Christ restores the intimacy men and women were created to enjoy in marriage.

5:22 submit. A Christian wife is called to grateful acceptance of her husband’s care and leadership. See theological note “The Christian Family” on the next page.

as to the Lord. See v. 24.

5:23 head of the wife . . . head of the church. In other passages on Christ’s headship in this letter, Paul speaks of the way Christ governs the universe and the church (1:22), and serves as the source of the body’s health and growth to maturity (4:14–16).

his body. That is, the church as His body—Christ Himself indwells the church (vv. 28–30).

Savior. It is especially in His role as Savior that Christ serves as the husband’s model (vv. 25–27 and notes

5:24 as the church . . . so also wives. The church’s subjection to Christ is a revealed and heavenly order, not a natural order. Christ’s disciples were His friends, not just His servants, and He died for them (John 15:12–15; cf. Luke 22:25–27).

5:25 Husbands, love. The emphasis in the passage is not the husband’s authority to govern, but his responsibility to love.

as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Nowhere in the New Testament is Christ’s self-sacrificing love applied more directly to a specific relationship as a pattern to be emulated (cf. v. 2).

5:26, 27 Paul outlines in these verses the entire process to which Christ has committed Himself in His relationship with the church: He has washed her from sin and is preparing her for a glorious destiny with Himself (see text note, v. 27). Husbands are called in like manner to adapt their lives to their wives’ needs, and to provide for their growth and development.

5:28–32 A person’s union with his or her own body is intimate and permanent, and marriage creates a similar union (Gen. 2:24). Christ has joined the church to Himself through the bonds of the covenant He fulfilled, and this intimate union forms an analogy for Christian marriage (see 2:6 and note).

 

Jesus Enables Us to Walk in Love

Posted on October 1, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Ephesians 5:1-21 (ESV)

 

5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Imitators – be a mini me – or walk in the shadow of Christ’s walk. Conduct yourself in the same manner as He does. His love is a sacrificial and intimate affection. A child mirroring their parent is a copy-cat. You want to be a carbon copy of Jesus. Essentially, we are CARBON copies of Jesus. We talk about leaving a small carbon footprint on the earth, but in this case we want our footprint to be large, large enough to love sacrificially. We want an enormous, gigantic, impossible to miss witness for our Lord.


Ephesians 5 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving… 8Walk as children of light9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.


Do not engage in conversation with those who participate or engage in perverse activities. Don’t even make jokes about those things... Don’t even speak of their exploits in jest.


Ephesians 5 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. See also Psalm 37:4-6


Even when we are not talking about the Lord, we are still His ambassadors, His witnesses. We must live in the light of this truth. Because of grace, Christ loves us unconditionally, but we still should desire to walk in grace, love, and excellence. We do not want to cause someone to stumble because we said or did something stupid. Words have power for good or evil. God used the vehicle of words to create the expanse of the world. Words must be a powerful tool, if not the most powerful tool we have at our disposal as the image of God.


Redeeming the time: Make each moment of each day of each week of each month of each year count. We have that power, but we do not always think about it intentionally. God wants us to think about it so that with our intention, the will of God is brought from eternity to temporality. We must be aware, conscientious, and intentional with the moments God gives us on this earth. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Make sure our actions produce that reality.


Ephesians 5: 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.


Instead of seeking a substance to desensitize us and enable us to forget, and anesthetize us, we are to face the challenge and find solutions through the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are drunk with wine, your faculties are impaired. The substance is clouding and taking over your faculties, your thoughts are not your own. When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, there is edification, exhortation, and consolation. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have a joy that cannot be taken away. The Holy Spirit is a joy that is implanted by God in every one of His children. It can lay dormant if we don’t engage in intimate interaction with Lord, but it is there.


“Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” may sound a little hokey to us. However, I think of our choir singing “I Love You with the Love of the Lord” to encourage people who are sick are struggling in some way. I also make a point to sing hymns for and with the people I visit in nursing homes or hospitals. So many hymns and choruses contain word for word scripture as well as scriptural principles which makes them an excellent ministry tool.


Giving thanks to God always and for everything. We are able to thank the Lord for the difficulties in life because He is using them to mold us into the image of Christ. (Susan – this is hard because sometimes I feel I have suffered more than a lifetime worth of difficulties.)


Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ: Reverence is a holy awe for Jesus. We submit to one another to honor the Lord. Because of our devotion to Jesus, we can submit to each other, place ourselves in a position of following even when we are qualified to lead.


Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”


Apply this to your daily life:

1. Imitate Christ – in order to do this, you will need to find out how He lived by reading the gospels and ask Him to empower you to emulate His ways

2. Discern what is pleasing to the Lord and DO IT – Ask the Lord to guard your mouth from even talking in a flippant manner about things that are displeasing

3. Be conscientious about your witness for the Lord in your actions as well as your speech

4. Deliberately choose to make the most of the moments the Lord gives you, using your time wisely to His glory

5. Be physically sober but spiritually “high”

6. Encourage each other (even if you can’t sing, you can quote lyrics)

7. The corny “Have an attitude of gratitude” really is good advice

8. If you are submitted to Jesus, He will enable you to submit to each other