Walking in Family Oneness

Walking in Family Oneness (Eph.5:22-6:4)

The construction of the book of Ephesians is that chapters 1-4 lean into “What’s in it for me?”  Naturally, we receive this wholeheartedly.  Then the book launches into the practical outworking of the previous statements and leans more into “What’s in it for God?”  This is where “the rubber meets the road.”

We are instructed in chapter 4 to “put off the old man and put on the new man.” Chapter 5:1-21 follows with examples of what to put off and put on and ends with “Be filled…giving thanks… submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

That leads straight into the marriage relationship, giving a beautiful picture of marriage. Why then are so many couples experiencing so much less?  Before the Fall, God was One with man and Adam and Eve were one with each other.  They fully expressed His image and likeness, His life.  Then they lost it…

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: …“Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

These same key words are used again in chapter 4 and help to better grasp the meaning of those two terms.

Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 

The word “desire” is quite negative.  It doesn’t speak of a healthy desire for intimacy but actually means she will want to control her husband.  The term “rule” is also quite negative; it means to tyrannize. This is mankind’s great problem. For millennia, men who were stronger than women, treated them badly.  Women, being weaker physically, had to resort to manipulative control. Thank God Jesus overturned this dilemma and now it is again possible to be filled with the Spirit, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

This is an extension of “put off” and “put on”. As we shed the natural impulses of “desire” and “rule,” we will be submitted to one another in the fear of God.

God created and said to THEM.  The question for both is – What is your highest purpose in life?  For women it is to be “a helpmeet”, not a “helpmate”. “Meet” means “fit to” or “corresponding to” the man. What God had intended was to make a “power” or “strength” for the man who would in every way “correspond to him” and “be his equal.” 

1Corinthians11 says woman is for man’s sake. This is not as servant but as a completion for Adam’s being “alone.” She was to be her husband’s best friend and bring abundant life to him and then to her children.  Ancient marriage was not for emotional fulfillment.  (Titus 2:3-4 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

Love here is “philandros” and means to be a friend… to complete them.  Submission is an attitude of love wanting to cooperate; it is not the same as obey which is an action. Submission is “hupotasso,” (44 New Testament usages) meaning “militarily set in order for moving into battle”. 

In marriage, you lose the ability to be selfish or you sustain a very heavy price.  In finding ones role of submission and headship, remember Jesus was subject to a head (Father). 

Men: Jesus loved sacrificially – gave up heaven, became a servant, and died to win His Bride.  She didn’t deserve it but He gave himself anyway.  Inferior love goes to those looking to gain it; God’s love goes to those with no rights.  Agape simply chooses to love. If men are looking for what they can get out of a marriage, they will never know love.  If you’re looking to be a real man, look for ways to die to self.  Husbands who try to be head without Christ, can’t.  Beware one who says he’s a man and therefore head of the home. He may be Boss or Tyrant, but will never be God’s head until Christ is his. 

Ephesians 5:26-7 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 

No one defiles what they love. Men, do all in your power to maintain her holiness, her virtue, her righteousness.  Never compromise her.  Never provoke her to anger.  Never expose her to impurity. Love lifts up, exalts, honors, sanctifies; it never removes or lessens virtue – so bring every purifying influence. God is not just Provider and Protector; He is Preserver!

Ephesians 5:28-30 So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

We take care of our bodies: jogging, exercising, eating, choosing clothes we like.  None of it is emotional: when hungry, we eat; when naked, we dress.  So, when your wife has a need, meet it.  Man is the preserver of the home.

Nourish means to feed; Cherish means to soften or warm with body heat (i.e., a bird on a nest of eggs).  You are to provide a secure, warm, soft place.

Why does Christ care for us as He does?  We are members of His body, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh – we are one with Him. Not to provide for us would be to not provide for Himself which is suicidal.

Headship and submission is a principle of relational order based on mutual service and love. Christ is not a secondary nature nor does He assume a position of inferiority. This is a horizontal attitude wherein Christ is co-equal to God.  It is God’s love for His son that produces Christ’s submissiveness, not dominion.

Marriage partners are equal but one has final responsibility in decision making. The head is servant of all and thereby called on to supply their needs.

Submission allows us to act in liberty without the burden of responsibility for decisions. However, any partner would be remiss if they did not offer their best advice on any given matter. To submit means to put all you have at the disposal of him who is the head. Headship and submission indicates absolutely nothing about who will have the best idea. 

Headship can best be summed up by relating to Christ the servant.  Mk.10:44 says, ‘Whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.”  And in Phil.2:7 it says, “Rather He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave.”

Ephesians 5.31-32For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Your marriage should be a great foreshadowing of Christ and the Church. 

Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

This addresses the very different needs of male and female. Adam was made from the earth and relates to it directly while Eve was taken from Adam’s side. She relates directly to him and indirectly to the material world.  He relates directly to material things and indirectly to his wife. Thus, we find males’ great need is to find respect for what they can do while females’ great need is directed to relationship.

It’s interesting that the NT never tells men to respect their wives but frequently tells them to love them.  Contrastingly, women are never told to love (agape) their husbands but told to respect them. That is the antidote to the age old problem of “desire” and “rule” which enables us to submit to one another in the fear of God. Women will automatically love their man but need to work to respect him.  Men will automatically respect their wives but must work to love them.

As Christ laid down his life in ministry and at the cross – so, too must husbands love. Christ was the greatest woman’s libber of all time.  He raised marriage from a state of chattel to a sacrament, one which carries ongoing graces when we position ourselves to accept them.

I Peter 3 explains that when women are reliant on God and obedient to their husbands as Sarah was to Abraham, then “you are her children when you do what is right and let no fears alarm you.” (1Peter.3:1)  Sarah allowed no fears to conquer her submission to Abraham even when he had gotten her into a difficult place.

Submission does not mean forsaking natural or God given gifts.  It means employing them in obedience to the head.  And leadership was defined as service or directing one’s activities for the benefit of others. 

Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Children, honor your parents:

Jesus rebuked self-serving Pharisees whose traditions resulted in dishonoring parents and, therefore, God.  You can’t really separate your relationship with God from your relationship with others, starting at home…

Under Moses, there was a death sentence for dishonoring parents: Leviticus 20:9 For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.

This is serious. There is, of course, no actual stoning in our day but the issue of death is still a very real and active principle.  Proverbs 20:20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp will be put out in deep darkness.

Getting your lamp put out is a spiritual issue: Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.

Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Job 18:5-6 5 “The light of the wicked indeed goes out, And the flame of his fire does not shine. 6 The light is dark in his tent, And his lamp beside him is put out.

Examples of dishonor leading to death include Eli’s two boys and the young children saying, “Go up you baldhead” to Elijah. 

One half of your chromosomes are being rejected every time you reject your parent.  Self-rejection rises with every parental cursing. Your own flesh and blood can suffer.  They might not be your anointed but they are God’s.  He doesn’t want you to judge them because then, with the judgment you measure out it will be measured back to you! The good news is God has a promise for those who will give honor to parents. 

When Joseph and Mary searched for Jesus and found Him…He said, “Did you not know that I must seek my destiny.”  Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them ….

He was submitted to them so God was with Him through His command with promise! We honor God when we honor our parents; then He honors us. We sow and we reap. Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not be harsh… God makes covenant with those who fear Him and insures their wives and children are a blessing to them.  “Children are a gift from the Lord.”  “Happy is he who has his quiver full of them.”  Abraham is a key example:

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Honor God and His Word. He then honors you.

Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Hebrew for, “teach them diligently” is “shinantam” = “engrave with a sharp point.”  The Bible speaks of loving correction using the rod, “He who spares the rod will spoil his child”.  Children who do not get the rod grow up apart from the Lord. 

Those who are corrected by parents living unrighteously will recognize the hypocrisy… and reject or ignore Christ.  Correction that is selfishly imposed comes from anger-driven parents who beat the children… right into the streets and into jail. When you lose children, you lose a generation… 

You are the image of God to your children.  They are like wet clay in a potter’s hand and take on the image and likeness of their parents, and conform to an intergenerational pattern… “The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”   

Never let anyone’s imperfections rule your life. Honor God by honoring His commands.   

Honor God in your marriage and parenting. Your children are like computers: Input = Output.  They will be the product of your marriage and parenting.  Ask God for help.

Children who honor God will be helped and will be rewarded with a long and successful life. God can help you cope with your parents’ imperfections and He’ll help them too.