Of all the things that
destroy our peace, none is more nagging, more draining, and more painful
than the disharmony of the home. The sarcastic infighting, the negative
putdowns, the stinging stares. Doors slammed shut. Desperate feelings of
These descriptions may
or may not portray the dwelling where you live. But there is no doubt that
they define many homes today. We see home crumbling before our eyes. The
United States has more divorces than any other country. Over fifty percent
of marriages in our country will end in the divorce court. It has gotten
so painful that many refuse to establish homes opting to cohabit.
It happened in the city
of Detroit, Michigan. After applying for a marriage license, a man failed
to reappear at the county clerk's office until 11 years later to claim
the important document. When asked why he and his fiancée had waited
so long to get married, he explained, "We had a few disagreements about
What are the essential
for domestic harmony? Is it really possible? "Through wisdom is a house
builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall
the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches" (Proverbs
If you take the pain
to apply the principles we will be studying this morning your marriages
will never be the same.
The first word I want
you to consider is subjection. "Subjecting yourselves one to another in
the fear of Christ" (Ephesians 5:21). A husband and wife are to be subject
to one another. The word "subjecting" in the original Greek language of
the New Testament meant to subordinate, to obey, be under obedience, put
under, subdue unto, submit self unto (Strongs Dictionary). This definition
leaves out any guess as to what Paul is saying. It has to do with an attitude
that envisions sexual rights, behavior and personal appreciation for each
Submission is for everyone.
"A young sentry, on guard duty for the first time, had orders not to admit
any car unless it had a special identification seal. The first unmarked
car the sentry stopped contained a general. When the general told his driver
to go right on through, the sentry politely asked, `I'm new at this, sir.
Who do I shoot first, you or the driver?' "The sentry had it right. Everybody
submits. Submission is for generals, presidents, teachers, students, accountants,
attorneys, Central American dictators, and wives. It's also for husbands.
No one escapes submission. We are all under authority."
We do this out of respect
for Jesus Christ.
The idea of subjection
and submission is to give something to another. That rubs this generation
the wrong way. Many say, "I'm not going to give in to anybody. We are like
James and John they went to Jesus and wanted a throne on one side or the
other. Jesus told them if they could surrender their wills and drink of
the cup that he drank they could.
Surrender is not like
milquetoast, not wishy-washy. It is an inward lifestyle.
J. Upton Dickson was
a fun-loving fellow who was writing a book entitled Cower Power. He also
founded a group for submissive people. It was called DOORMATS. That stands
for "Dependent Organization Of Really Meek And Timid Souls--if there are
no objections." Their motto was: "The meek shall inherit the earth--if
that's okay with everybody." Their symbol was the yellow traffic light.
Mr. Dickson sounds like he'd be a lot of fun. What is disturbing about
all of this, though, is that many people assume that the ridiculous ideas
behind DOORMATS and Cower Power represent the quality of meekness set forth
in Matthew 5:5.
Love the New Testament
speaks of is submission to the other person's needs. It eliminates the
need to rule or ruin, boss or bust; to be Mr. Big Shot; the need for others
to give in to us; the need to have our own way.
Submission would stop
fusses, feuds, fights, and splits. Submission with one genius stroke cures
stubbornness. This type of submission goes beyond physical needs. Sometimes
we think that if we are the breadwinners that we are fulfilling the needs
of our family and that is as far as our submission goes. You can take care
of someone's physical need and never truly be in submission to that person's
My wife works at Carrington
Place, a convalescent home. Her job is to engage the residents in physical
and mental activities. This is done so they will not withdraw into a corner.
When she went to work, there was one lady that would carry on a conversation
with her; it seemed normal to her. Until one day her boss told her that
this particular lady would not talk to anyone and furthermore she had not
talked to anyone in over a year. Mary thought that she was talking about
another lady. The boss reassured Mary that it was the lady that Mary knew
had been talking to her. Mary informed her boss that she did talk. Her
boss didn't believe it. The lady didn't even talk to her sister that visited
her. That lady continues to talk to Mary and most do not believe she talks.
This lady's physical needs were being met, but her emotional needs had
not been met.
Families also have emotional
needs. We will never discover those needs until we submit ourselves to
Submission carries with
it the idea of adapting oneself to the needs of others. It is like altering
a garment for a person to fit their build. A couple shape their plans around
each other to fit the big picture. This assures a masculine and feminine
perspective on perspective.
The message of the cross
is submission. The means of that submission was sacrifice. We get hung
up on the word submission. We only see the other person's need to submit.
We may look at our wives or our husbands as our own personal slaves.
At baptism Christians
are suppose to die to themselves. When men and women will die for one another,
both will wave the white flag of surrender.
Girl: Do you love me?
Boy: Yes, dear.
Girl: Would you die
Boy: No, mine is an
Jesus gave up everything.
He came to earth and courted the charter members for three and a half years.
He counseled -- taught his apostles and led them straight to Calvary.
Behind every sacrifice
lies the heart of a servant. In Acts chapter six when the Grecian widows
were be neglected concerning their daily needs, there were those who were
not acting like Christians. What did the apostles do to solve this problem?
They said, "Let us choose seven servants." Servants solved the problem.
Marriage vows hold up
the high idea of a sacrificing love.
"Wives, in the same
way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe
the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should
not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of
gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner
self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great
worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3:1-4 NIV).
A beautiful principle
is stated here. It is not our words but our attitudes and actions that
win others. It is the "unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit..."
that is of great value to God and your mate.
This is the greatest
sacrifice that you will ever give, to live in such a way that your life
will win your mate.
When I look at Ephesians
chapter two, I realize that Christ put us on a pedestal. "But God, who
is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we
were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye
are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew
the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ
Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).
Christ devotion of submission
and sacrifice has lifted us to great heights. We are sitting with him in
heavenly places in the church.
George Eastman of Eastman
Kodak Company never set out to get rich. He watched his widowed mother
mop floors wash clothes to care for the family. He set out to help his
mother to live more comfortable. His love for his mother lifted him out
of poverty. Love will lift us; in fact we sing a song, "Love Lifted Me."
Paul was harder on men.
Love your wife as you love you own body. Love your wife as Christ loves
the church. You can't miss the point about the submission of the husband
here. You can see the splendor of that. No man ever hated his own body.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise,
ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto
the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the
grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (KJV)
Peter said, "Live with
your wife..." That certainly takes time and effort and giving of yourself.
Peter said, "Live with
your wife, according to knowledge..." When the preacher pronounces you
husband and wife, then the masks come off. Some think that they married
the wrong person. Some may be as surprised as Jacob when he awoke the next
and found himself married to Leah instead of Rachel. When Leah's veil came
off Jacob was in shocked. Many times the mask comes off after marriage.
A newlywed couple was
about to check into the hotel.
New bride: "Honey,
let's pretend that we have been married for a long time."
Groom: "Fine with me,
but do you think you can carry all those suitcases by yourself?"
Peter also said, "give
honor unto the wife..." Wouldn't it be wonderful if husbands and wives
loved and honored one another.
Think of the awesome
power of love. Love cures people, both the ones that give it and the ones
that receive it.