In harmony or not?

Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas

Joke: A little girl was punished for some act of disobedience. Her mom and dad decide that her punishment will be for her to eat dinner alone in the corner of the dining table, while the rest of them would sit on the other side of the table. As they sat down to eat that night the family paid no attention to her until they heard her pray: “I thank Thee, Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Have you ever treated the ones who are precious to you as your enemies? Do you feel your loved ones resisting you at every turn? Does your home bring joy to you?

I want to speak this morning on guidelines for a healthy family.

Worldwide families and its values are under attack. I heard a report last week that an 18-year-old girl committed suicide because the parents refused to give her money for drugs. Remember, until 14 she was the class topper. In 4 years she became a full-blown drug addict and by the time the parents found out, it was too late. Divorce, separation between spouses and problems in parent-child relationship are increasing by the day. How can we bring harmony back into our families?

We hold in our hands a treasure literature for growing our family relationships. The Bible contains countless pro-family principles and precepts. There are God-set guidelines for husband, wife, parents, and children. If we learn and practice them they will make our families relationally healthy and wealthy.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHILDREN.

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Exodus 21:17 Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.%5
Proverbs 19:26 He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace.
Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Proverbs 30:17 “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

The Bible commands the children (whatever age you may be) to obey your parents. This is God’s law. God has given the wisdom to the parents to bring up their children. Remember it may not be all that happy to obey, it can be tough sometimes but what they say is the best for you.

Samuel said to Saul, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” The Bible says obedience to God is better than sacrifice. It is God’s command to obey your parents. So obedience to your parents is equal to your worship to God.

How many of you like when your parents ask you to do something and rewards you for that. The command to obey your parents comes with a promise from God.

Promises for an obedient child.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
a. Blessed life.
b. Long life.

Proverbs 1:8-9 8Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
c. Obedience brings honour.

I have seen both obedient and disobedient grow up. I have seen many children who suppress their desires, wants, and choices for the choice of their parents. I know it is tough to give up your choices and obey your parents especially when it comes to the matters of career, friends, marriage etc. On the other side I have seen children despise their parents, go ahead and do what they want. The end result is this: The children who obey the parents will be well in the future. It may be a temporary pain but it will end out to be good and best for them.

You may ask me, “Pastor, why is it that I must listen to my parents?” I know better than them, I know what is best for me, I am more educated, they are old-fashioned people, they do not know to operate a computer, what do they know about me? Listen, obedience is not about the quality, qualification, or ability of the parents. It is God’s law. When a child decides to obey parents, God stands by his word and God makes sure that the child is blessed.

The Bible gives the children only one caution: Ephesians 6:1 % As long as your parents are in the Lord you must obey your parents for everything.

Instruction for Parents: I know I have spoken quite a bit about parenting on occasions of child dedication; therefore, I would not like to speak on this today.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR HUSBANDS AND WIVES

Ephesians 5:21-33 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

In Ephesians 5, Apostle Paul gives some very helpful teaching on this whole concept of how the husband and the wife adjust to each other and he does it in a very balanced way.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. This is a very familiar because the wives have heard it over and over again and some hate to hear it. It’s also very familiar to the men. Some men, who don’t know any other verse in the Bible, know this one verse very well.

Joke: Three married men were talking. Two of them were talking about the control they have over their wives while the third man was very quiet. After a while one of the two men turned to the third and asked, “Well, what about you, what sort of control you have over your wife?” The third man said, “I will tell you. Just the other day my wife came to me on her hands and knees, crawling.” The other men were amazed, “What happened then?” they asked. The third man said, “She said, get from under the bed and fight like a man.”

Now, there has been a lot of misinterpretation regarding submission in the family. Let’s really see what the Biblical submission in marriage is all about.

V22 Wives, submit to your husband as to the Lord. Some women absolutely hate this verse! Well, I’ve got some good news for you! In the original text Greek, the word ‘submit’ for wife is not there! You say, “Why didn’t you tell me this 10 years ago?” This passage reads like this in Greek: Ephesians 5:21-22 Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ, wives, to your husbands as to the Lord. English: 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. In the Greek it makes perfect sense. In Greek there is only one submit, in the beginning of v21.

So now you get the grammatical context, which gives a very different light on it. So the Bible is asking both the husband and wife to submit to one another. We overemphasize on submission. Listen, who submits to whom, who listens or obeys should not be the debate in the family. There are other Biblical commands to be fulfilled in the family, and when a husband and wife does that, submission will automatically follow.

GUIDELINES FOR GODLY A FAMILY.

See how this chapter starts. Ephesians 5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.

1. Follow God’s example.

Imitate God, practice the principles of God in your family. What did God do? What are we to imitate from God?Ephesians 5:1-2 1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We can find 2 qualities of Christ in this verse: Love and submission. Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sacrifice. Christ sacrificed his life because he submitted himself to the will of the Father. So what is expected of a Christian: A loving attitude and a submissive spirit! Why? Because that was Jesus’ attitude and we are to follow and imitate Him.

Joke: A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. “Careful,” he said, “Carful! Put in some more butter. Oh my gosh! You’re cooking too many at once. Too many! Turn them. Turn them now! We need more butter. Oh my gosh! Where are we going to get more butter? They’re going to stick! Careful. Careful ! I said be Careful ! You never listen to me when you’re cooking! Never! Turn them. Hurry up! Are you Crazy? Have you lost your mind? Don’t forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. Use the salt!” The wife stared at him. “What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don’t know how to fry a couple of eggs?” The husband calmly replied, “I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I do something and you correct me.” A Christian home is full of love. There no revenge.

2. Be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.Paul is commanding believers to be filled with the Spirit. How can we tell if a believer is Spirit-filled? We know a tree by its fruit. A spirit-filled believer will produce the fruit of the spirit. They will exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How can we find if a believer is producing fruit? Ephesians 5:19-20 Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Spirit-filled believer can be seen by their speaking, by their singing, by their thanksgiving, and by their submitting one to the other. How is our speech?

Joke: Love is holding hands in the street. Marriage is holding argument in the street.
A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

When Christians get married they bring the attitude of love and submission into their marriage because their life is already in love and submission to God. So if we are still unable to love and submit to one another in marriage we need repentance because there is something wrong in our walk with the Lord.

Now after Paul is asking the husbands and wives to mutually submit and love one another, he is emphasizing more submission to one and more love to other.

Wife: Ephesians 5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husband: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Paul says as both of you continue in love and submission; wives particularly focus on the submitting and husbands particularly focus on the loving.

3. Wife submit to your husband.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Observe this verse very clearly. It does not say wives submit to your husbands.” What it actually says is, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”%5

Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian church who were saved from the Greco-Roman culture. A culture in which women had no say but to always submit to what the husband says who was like a dictator. When this letter was read out, the women who are sitting in the Church in Ephesus would have said it is wonderful for Paul to address us because we were never acknowledged until now. But when they listen that ‘wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord’ they felt there is nothing new in this, our husbands are always ruling us. Suddenly someone discover that Paul is actually telling them “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

Someone asks, “Does Paul think my husband looks like the Lord?” No woman has ever confused her husband and the Lord because they see so many mistakes in them. This means wives, you don’t submit to your husbands because of what he is. You are now to submit to your husband, because by the way that you respond to your husband, you are indicating your attitude to the Lord. The husbands have been given leadership responsibilities in the marriage and the family. So when a wife submits to the husband, she is actually responding to God who made him responsible.

Being a husband is a responsibility, not authority! When Paul writes about “husbands and wives” in marriage, he only uses the word “authority” once; and he uses it in this sense: the husband does not have authority over his own body, and the wife doesn’t have authority over hers. Paul is not saying, “The husband is the authority figure who rules and women better submit!” The idea of her ‘submitting’ is to submit to his leadership, to his responsibility as a husband. That is the way God instituted marriage.

Now, the wife need understand that you are fundamentally equal with men. You are both made in the image of God. You’re both redeemed sinners. You’re both indwelt by the Holy Spirit. As a man and a woman, you are fundamentally equal, but the husband has been given responsibility delegated by God, and you need to recognize it! Women find it very tough to be submissive to the husband, but God want you to do so.

4. Husband love your wife.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…Are you getting the message? It is a simple message to men – Love your wife.

The problem with the husband is that he tries to love the wife the way he defines what love is. Understand a man’s definition of love and woman’s definition of love is completely different. A man would have done something and feel very happy that they have shown love to the wife. No it irritates them if love is not shown in their language. You need to love your wife in the way she defines what love is.

The best pattern to love your wife is shown by Christ. Ephesians 5:25-28 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

The Apostle Paul takes that dramatic picture of the cross and applies it to husbands. He says, “Husbands, take a good, long, hard look at the love of Christ manifested on the cross, and that’s how you treat your wife – self-sacrificial love.”Husbands, love your wives as you love your own body. Husbands, love your wives as you love yourself.Love doesn’t come naturally to men; I know, because I am one! We are many times selfish. Married men, has your wife ever told you that you are selfish?

Men, ask yourself a question: When did I last voluntarily sacrifice something dear to me for the sake of my wife? Christ gave Himself for the church intentionally and purposefully. The sacrifice of Christ was intentional. It was purposeful; He was doing it for a reason. In the same way, “Husbands, love your wives, intentionally and purposefully.” What’s the intention, and what’s the purpose? As Christ is to the Church, working to bring the Church to her fullness and completion, that I as a husband might be for my wife an agent whereby she is allowed to come to a point of fullness and completion and be all that God intended her to be. You wife should be radiant with your love.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Notice what the Bible doesn’t say. Paul doesn’t say, the husband is the head of the family or the house. The husband is the head of the wife. Just like Christ supplied and did everything needed for his church, God has given the husband responsibility to oversee the well being of the wife. In overseeing the well being of the wife, he is responsible to God to see that through him flows all that is necessary for her to be all that she was created and redeemed to be.

CONCLUSION:

Colossians 3:18-21 Wives, submit to your husbands, as fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Let me ask you a question, ladies! If you were married to a man who told you that he has the responsibility of caring and overseeing your well being, your joy, your happiness and he does that every time he gets that opportunity. Would you like such a man? If he is like that would you say, “I’m going to partner with him. I’m going to make absolutely certain that he has every chance to do what God has told him to do. He is going to find somebody 100% on his side.” There’s one word for that, it’s called submitting.

Husbands, let me ask you a question? If you were married to a woman who treated you like a hero, respected you so much and is willing to submit to everything what you say. Would you like such a woman? Would you say I am going to do my best to keep her happy always? She will be first for me? That is called love.

Let’s just spend a few minutes thinking on our marriage relationship.
Is my view of marriage a biblical view or is it a twenty-first century secular view? How adequately am I fulfilling my role as outlined in Scripture? As I consider how I am with my spouse, are there grounds for confession, repentance, and rectification?

“Lord, you know the ponderings of our hearts. You know the decisions that we need to make. Our prayer is very simple: By your gracious Holy Spirit lead us to do what is right, that we might live well and bring You glory and be a blessing. We pray in the Name of Christ, our Lord! Amen.”


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