I remember when I was a teen I used to love listening to Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) so naturally, as soon as my kids were old enough (about 5 yrs old) I introduced them to the AIO club. Over the … Continue reading
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Can sickness, death, homelessness, financial hardship, lost friendships, and traumatic experiences lead to anything good?
As I’m entering into my 5th day of juice fasting Romans 8:28 has come alive for me in a way I had not considered before.
Back in October after some troubling health news, I began to incorporate daily fresh vegetable juices into my diet at a whopping 80 to 100 ounces a day and 5 days ago I decided to consume only vegetable juice for as long as my body can tolerate it. I’m fasting mainly for health reasons but I am also using the time to pray more and hear from the Lord.
During my fast, I’ve had moments of wanting to give up, especially in the first three days. Having to cook meals for everyone including sweet treats has been hard. Working and dealing with the kid’s schooling has also been hard as I am low on energy. All in all, it has been quite the struggle but I know that what I’m enduring right now will only have a good impact on my overall health in the near future.
The idea of suffering in a small way during my fast made me realize that in God’s kingdom our spiritual lives are a bit like my fasting journey.
At times we face what seems like an unbeatable odd, a mountain too high to climb, a problem too big to fix and yet the Lord God Almighty whispers, “All things, yes all things work together for good.”
It is for his Glory that we are often thrown into the furnace so that in our obedience his name may be glorified. God desires that all of his children would learn to trust him even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it is hard and even when we see no end in sight. Because he is the master planner. He sees beyond the pain and frustration and when we seek his kingdom first, all things work together for good.
Although we cannot see through the stormy clouds we are enduring, although the sound of thunder seems threatening and never-ending, the Lord our God is seated above the clouds and he knows when the sun will shine again and when quiet streams will flow near barren valleys.
So let us take courage, for God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Who are we devoted to? Are we devoted to things and systems that oppose God?
Whose standards do we live by in our home?
Do we have high secular standards for our kids or high heavenly standards?
Do we pray about everything and seek Gods best plan for each and every area of our life?
Recently I was talking to someone about homeschooling. They said that I should meet a mother they know but they added that this mother had very high standards for her kids.
I asked the person what they meant by “high standards”.
“Do you mean that they invest thousands of dollars in expensive curriculum or do they work their kids for hours and hours a day to master pre-established academic goals? Do they have high spiritual standards?”
This conversation got me thinking.
So what exactly does having “high standards” mean?
What does it mean to the disciple of Christ specifically?
The first verse that comes to mind is in 1John chapter 2 verses 15-17:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
➡️Do not love the world…
➡️not in him
➡️the pride of life…
➡️is not from the father…
➡️the will of God…
These snippets above jump out at me especially “the pride of life”.
The pride of life. Ah yes.
All the things we want and desire to have for personal gain and fulfillment.
Status, recognition, education, success, beautiful homes, enchanting gardens, fancy clothing, picture-perfect children, money etc. The things we pride ourselves upon.
But God’s standards are way higher, they are not of this world, they are not created in a university or in a laboratory.
His standards are simple and can be found countless times in his word. From the sermon on the mount to the apostolic exhortations throughout the new testament.
➡️We are called to NOT be conformed to the patterns of this world.
➡️We are called to NOT love what the world says we must love.
➡️We are called to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
➡️We are called to train up our children with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
➡️We are called to pray about everything and at all times.
➡️We are called to apply Gods standards to everything we do, not the world’s standards.
Within the chaotic movement and blinding noise of everyday life, we can lose perspective and begin to slip into worldly conformity.
Conforming to the world’s standards relinquishes the guiding of Gods Holy Spirit and puts us in danger of hearing “depart from me…I never knew you.”
➡️Remember that the son of man, Jesus Christ had nowhere to lay his head at night.
➡️Remember that many of his followers were uneducated men who did not even wash their hands before eating, who could not read or write. Most of them did not have a formal education but God used them in a profound way.
➡️Remember that Jesus turned away the wealthy man and praised the widow who in her poverty gave all that she had.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, please consider who’s standards you are following and why.
Please open up your bible to find out what God really expects of you.
And please don’t frown upon others who don’t meet worldly standards but are close to the heart of God.
In closing, I want to share a short story from a few years ago when I had the opportunity to work alongside a native South African missionary friend who ministers to orphans in East Africa.
I invited her out to eat lunch with several employees. She sat at the table and laughed while she ate. She chewed with her mouth open and savored everything even to the point of licking her fingers.
A few of the staff members commented afterward of her lack of manners and table etiquette.
I sat back and listened and I remember thinking to myself: “She is so precious in Gods eyes who cares how she eats.”
This woman missionary has endured several beatings, one that left her hospitalized for weeks yet she returned to her beloved orphanage and continues to work there until this day.
I believe she will be one of the great ones in Gods kingdom.
I can only hope and pray for Gods Spirit to lead and guide us every day so that we can bring him glory in the way we train up our children and in the way we honor and obey his holy word.
Set us apart Lord so that we may be acceptable in your eyes.
This is an amazing message I just had to share. It will inspire, encourage and give you a better sense of purpose in your journey of motherhood.
I really recommend you watch the video of this sermon. To view it click here
Pastor John Piper preached this message to honor his Mother Ruth Piper. I pray it blesses you.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra – which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
My aim in this sermon is to honor motherhood and in this way glorify Jesus Christ who designed it, created it, and blessed it by his incarnation in Mary’s womb and by his words from the cross to John, in one of the most beautiful acts of final care for Mary: “[John], Behold your mother” (John 19:27).
What I want to honor in this message is the biblical calling on a woman’s life to weave a fabric of family life out of commitment to a husband and his calling, and commitment to her children and their training, and commitment to Christ and his glory. In other words, I want to honor the biblical calling that makes marriage, motherhood, and home-management, in the context of radical Christian discipleship, the central, core, dominant commitments of a woman’s life.
There are millions of single women, and many will stay single. There is a grace from God for that—a very special grace and for some even a calling. There are women who are single mothers and the marriage element in the calling I just described is painfully missing. Jesus Christ has a grace for that. There are women who are married and cannot, or, with their husbands, choose not, to have children. Jesus has a grace for that.
And there are mothers who weave together their mothering and their marriage and home management with part-time or full-time employment outside the home—some because they may have to (like single moms), others because they see it as part of their calling and have found creative ways to interlace schedules so as not to compromise their core commitments at home, and others, sadly, because they don’t have core commitments to supporting the husband’s calling, and pouring their lives into their children, and managing a home for the glory of Christ. They’ve simply absorbed the values of the world from television, media, friends with no biblical framework.
The Aim of This Sermon
May aim is not to address all of those circumstances. My aim to encourage the women—and there are millions of you—who believe that God’s call on your life is marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display what the relationship between Christ and the church looks like, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and a living organism called a home which becomes, not only for the family, but also for the community a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.
Those of you women who feel this calling are the ones I want to encourage with this message, and your role is the one I want to honor especially today, because you are probably not going to get the encouragement or the honor from the secular world. They don’t know what I am talking about. Marriage is a parable of Christ and his church? Motherhood as the life on life transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring worldview? Home management as the creation of a living organism that nurtures the peace of Christ and the righteousness of God? The world does not understand these things.
This is a very high and holy and crucial calling that many of you embrace, with little understanding or encouragement from the world. You are the ones who have heard Titus 2:4-5 not as oppressive but as liberating. Paul said to Titus that the older women should “train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” You have heard that calling as rich and deep and precious and high and holy and confirming your heart’s longings, and as absolutely essential for the shaping of a God-centered, Christ-exalting church and culture.
To you I direct this message as a word of honor and encouragement. And to do that I want to spend part of my time in 1 Timothy 3 and part of my time, by way of illustrating the scripture, paying tribute to my own mother who lived out this calling so faithfully.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
First, look with me at 2 Timothy 3:14-15:
But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [mark those words] 15 and how from childhood [this signals to us who it was that taught him these things] you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
1. From Whom Did Timothy Learn the Word?
I want you to see two things. First, who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says, “. . . knowing from whom you leaned it”? He is talking about Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother. There are three clues that lead us to this conclusion. First, Paul refers (in v. 15) to this learning as happening “from childhood.” Second, we see in 2 Timothy 1:5 these words, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” So Paul has already connected Timothy’s faith with what he got from his mother and grandmother.
The third clue is the answer to the question why Paul did not refer to Timothy’s father. The answer is found in Acts 16:1 where Luke tells us about how Paul chose Timothy in the first place as missionary partner. “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” So Timothy is the product of a home with a believing mother and an unbelieving father. That’s why Paul did not say that Timothy learned the scriptures from his father. He didn’t. His father didn’t believe them. But his mother and grandmother did. That is who Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy 3:14.
2. Remembering the Character of Your Godly Mother Is a Great Incentive to Holding Fast the Scriptures She Taught You
Now the second thing to see in this verse is that remembering the character of your godly mother is a great incentive to holding fast to the scriptures she taught you. Let’s read it again so you can see this. Verse 14: “But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed”—that is, don’t give up your faith, don’t give up the scriptures, don’t give up your salvation. Then comes these crucial words referring back to Eunice and Lois: “knowing from whom you learned it.”
In other words, Timothy, one of the ways—not the only way—one of the ways to strengthen your faith and persevere through hard times and not give up on the scriptures is to remember who introduced you to word of God and the way of salvation. Remember your mother, and your grandmother.
So let’s make very clear: the apostle of Jesus Christ in this text bestows on motherhood and grandmotherhood a great honor. You have a calling that can become the long-remembered ground of faith, not just for your children—mark this—but for the untold numbers who will be affected by your children. And that’s in addition to all the other thousands of ripple effects of faith in your life.
A Tribute to Ruth Piper
Now I turn to illustrate this honor by paying tribute to my mother, Ruth Piper. I have two documents. One that I wrote about my mother and one that my father wrote, both of them written thirty years ago. I’ll read some quotes from my memories to illustrate some of mother’s virtues and commitments as she lived out this calling of wife and mother and home-manager.
First, God’s honor was paramount for my mother. I wrote:
“I never got spanked for makin’ mess in my pants, but I did for skippin’ church; which goes to show mama cared more about keeping; God’s name and my soul clean than she did her own hands.”
Second, she was never cynical about my weaknesses but always tenderly empathetic. I wrote:
When I had to give my first “part” in Training Union, right after promotion day when everybody is older, she showed me how to write the main points on a card and listened just before supper while I practiced on her; she never let on it wasn’t life and death.
Third, she had a Bible-saturated concern for my heart. I wrote:
Mama knew the Good Book—especially the Proverbs; years later when I was three thousand miles away she kept on quotin’ Proverbs in her salutations. The message was always the same—the pulse beat of her heart— Be wise son, be truly wise: Fear God and keep your heart warm.
Fourth, mingled with fiercely earnest faith in the realities in heaven and hell and the seriousness of the Christian life, my mother had an utterly uninhibited sense of humor. I wrote:
Maybe Paul couldn’t imitate baby-chatter or Mrs. Loren Jones or all the characters in a church play; but mama could—and then how she would laugh! Why I’ve seen her and Grandma Mohn— one hundred-thirty years worth of German sobriety— guffaw till their tears wet the table cloth. It would start with a short soprano burst that could split the eardrums; her silver head would toss backward and her long white teeth would flash under her sharp nose, and her tanned neck would redden as the tendons flinched. She was a vision of health and joy; and I never felt better than when mama laughed.
Fifth, she took right and wrong very seriously and held me accountable to the highest standards so that I knew in all the conflict I mattered a lot to my mother. I wrote:
And I seldom felt worse than when mama cried: I got a speedin’ ticket one night and mama wept like I’d shot somebody. All the way to the station at midnight she cried and made me pay it off right then and there. One thing was for sure: I mattered a lot to mama.
What I owe my mother for my soul and my love to Christ and my role as a husband and father and pastor is incalculable.
Now I close by reading my father’s tribute. Keep in mind my purpose—to honor and to encourage women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, motherhood, and home management for Christ and his kingdom. I see what I am doing here in the same genre as Proverbs 31. I am celebrating a beautiful God-designed calling with the life of one woman who lived it.
A Memorial to Ruth, My Wife
by Bill Piper
She was a priceless gem, rarer by far than sapphire, ruby or diamond. Her radiance depended not on some earthly or external beam. Her glow was from within, shining from genuineness of character and purity of soul.
The dancing sparkle of her life resulted not from material stimuli. It came from a heart that gave and gave and gave again with never a thought of receiving. It reflected a life that loved and loved until there was just no more love.
Her beauty was that of expanded unselfishness. Her whole life was others, her loved ones, her friends, her neighbors and her church. She knew no resting place. The needs were endless and her devotion always equaled the demands. Deep weariness of mind and body never deterred her.
The enormous wealth of her character showed most in her unstinting kindness. All who knew her felt it, witnessed it, experienced and believed in it. Everyone coming within the warm glow of her influence was cheered, encouraged, lifted and blessed.
Her beauty knew no vanity. She disdained the cheap, the tawdry, the make-believe. She loathed everything farcical and hypocritical. Her genuineness was transparent. She radiated reality. Life to her was neither a mummery nor a charade but a daily expression of untainted sincerity.
Her glory sprang from a love of life. Her activities never ceased and her energy seemed boundless. Her spontaneous laughter and contagious smile delighted all who met her. She enjoyed being alive and her life had beauty and purpose.
She epitomized the virtuous woman. She was clothed with strength and honor. My heart safely trusted in her. She looked well to the affairs of her household. She burned the midnight oil. Her hands were never idle. Her mouth was full of wisdom and on her tongue was the law of kindness. Her children have risen to praise her.
She was modest, almost to a fault. Always the lady. Always the queen. She carried herself with poise and great dignity without pomp, piety or ceremony. Modern trends in styles were ignored if they offended her sensitivities or violated her convictions. She never sought praise or popularity, contented always to serve in a spirit of congeniality and selflessness.
She was the practical woman. Never lavish. Never wasteful. I was the dreamer. She shunned the unnecessary and the excessive. Satisfied with simple things, she avoided that which was foolish and vain. Sound judgments preceded her decisions. Never one to parade, she abstained from the superficial, pretentious, needless and impractical.
Above all was the totality of her dedication. Devoted to her husband, her family, her friends and her church, she was supremely committed to her Lord. Her faith in Christ never wavered. Having trusted him as a child, she loved him more with every passing year. Her convictions held firm in the face of a changing world. The variances of life’s vicissitudes never altered her course. She remained steadfast, immovable, abounding always in the work of the Lord. She was a rock. She was found faithful. She walked with God and God loved her and took her. She now rests with him whom she loved and served.
The light from her devotion and the aroma from her character lives on to bless perpetually the lives of all who loved her. Her testimony will not be lost. Her commitment to Christ has not been in vain. Her husband, her children and all her descendents will rise to call her blessed.
This sermon is a fulfillment of that prophecy, and, I pray, is an honor and an encouragement to all of you women who embrace the biblical calling of marriage, the joyful support of a husband and his calling as you display the relationship between Christ and the church, and motherhood, the transmission of a God-centered, Christ-treasuring vision of life to your children, and home-management, the creation of a beautiful and simple place and living organism which becomes a refuge of Christ’s peace and launching pad for God’s righteousness.
March 21, 1982
Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Topic: The Person of Christ
Pastor John Piper
Jesus is precious because he removes our guilt. He is precious because he gives us eternal life. And he is precious because through him we become authentic. Jesus Christ is the most important man that ever lived. To know him is more valuable than knowing all the most famous and powerful people of history. To be known and loved by him is a greater honor than if all the heads of state were to bow in your presence. When this world is over and we all stand before the judgment seat of God, many of you will look back with shame and dismay at how small was the place granted to the Son of God in your daily lives: how seldom you spoke to him, how little of his Word you learned, how half-hearted your resolve to obey, how narrow the sphere of life in which you eagerly sought his lordship. And on that day you will wonder no more why you were so unhappy in this life: unhappy at work,, unhappy in school, unhappy at church, unhappy at home. It will all come clear: half-hearted allegiance to the lordship of Christ in the practical affairs of everyday life not only robs Jesus of the honor we owe him, but also robs us of joy and purpose.
The Lordship of Christ in the Home
If it is true, as we saw last week from Romans 14:9, that Jesus desires so much to be Lord in your life that he died for that purpose, then is it not plain that in every part of your life Jesus wants to be Lord? There is no time or place or activity in your daily routine where Jesus does not want to be your owner, your provider, and your commander. And you will never know joy and authenticity in the minute by minute doing of your daily duties until you are wholly surrendered to him. That is, until you say, “Anything you say, Jesus, at work. Anything you say, Jesus, at school. Anything you say, Jesus, at church. Jesus, I will do anything, anything you say at home.”
Everybody wants a happy home. And most people want a purposeful home—a home with a mission and destiny beyond the mere satisfaction of our own daily desires. We want homes where each person flowers rather than fades. Homes with the aroma of respect rather than the odor of continual belittling. Homes with laughter instead of bitterness, eye to eye conversations instead of sporadic comments, peace instead of conflict, a sense of common mission instead of festering introversion.
The importance of family life in society and church can scarcely be exaggerated. O how crucial in the development of a child’s personhood is the life of his family. And not only little children—but also the lives of husbands and wives are made more or less fruitful by their experience at home. We want a happy home and a family with a purpose and a mission. And my message today is that the lordship of Jesus Christ is the only lasting foundation of such a home. Trusting Christ as Savior, surrendering to him as Lord, and orienting all of your family relations on him, transforms the home into a little heaven on earth. And even if some member of your family is not a believer, there is more grace and power for your love under the lordship of Jesus than anywhere else. He is precious as the foundation of the family.
What I want to do this morning from our text in Ephesians 5 is make one main point and illustrate it briefly in the relationship of husband and wife. The main point is this: Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake.
A Work of God’s Spirit
Ephesians 5:21–6:9 is a fairly familiar text. It deals with wives and husbands, children and fathers, slaves and masters. In a typical household of that time, those were the three dominant relationships that needed to be regulated. Paul was answering the question: what difference doers it make in a family when its members become Christians? The very existence of such a text in the New Testament (and there are several of them—Colossians 3:18–4:1; 1 Peter 2:18–3:7; Titus 2:4–10) shows that God is not indifferent about the ordinary give and take of home-life. If Christ is your Lord, he is Lord of all your daily life.
But what is not as familiar about this text is the context in which Paul puts it. Look back to verse 15: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” And then comes a series of phrases which tell us the effect of being filled with the Spirit of God: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” And then most of the English versions do something that makes it very hard to see Paul’s intention. They put a period or semicolon at the end of verse 20 and translate verse 21, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” But in the original, “Be subject” is not a new sentence or a main verb. It is another participle like “addressing,” “singing,” “making melody,” and “giving thanks.”
In other words, verse 21 belongs with verses 19–20 as an explanation of what it means to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18. Literally, then, the passage says: “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father, being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The purpose of verses 19–21 is to spell out what happens when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. In verse 19 your heart overflows in song to each other and to the Lord. Verse 20 says that thankfulness is at the center of those heart songs. And verse 21 says that when you are filled with the Spirit, you will submit to one another.
When the Holy Spirit is holding full sway in your life, then your heart brims with a song of gratitude and your heart humbly submits to serve those around you. Submitting yourself to someone means not rebelling with a sense of superiority or a feeling that you are too good to stoop and help when someone puts upon you for service. It’s what Paul means when he says in Ephesians 4:1–2, “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called in all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love.” And in Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.” And Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” And Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in lowliness count each other better than yourselves.” That kind of humility and readiness to serve rather than be served, to honor rather than be honored, is a fruit of the Spirit. And when we are filled with the Spirit, we will be submissive to each other in this way. That is the connection between verses 18 and 21.
But now comes the crucial connection with family life. Verses 22ff. are clearly an extension and application of the principle in verse 21. We know this mainly from the grammar of the text. The command in verse 22, “Wives be subject to your husbands,” has no verb in the original. It simply says, “Wives to your own husbands.” Which means it is a continuation of verse 21. The flow of thought then from verse 18 to 22 would be: “Be filled with the Spirit . . . submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.”
So now it should be evident where I got my main point: Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit. The submission of a wife to her husband and a husband’s love to his wife (vv. 22–33),the obedience of children and their nurturing by parents (6:1–4), the obedience of servants and the forbearance of masters (6:5–9) all are expansions of the principle in 5:21: “submitting to each other in reverence to Christ.” And this submission in verse 21 is a description of how people act when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18). Therefore, all of Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit.
In Those Who Do Everything for Christ’s Sake
But my main point had another part. I said, “Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake.” Even though the Spirit of God is free to blow where he wills, there is a God-ordained correlation between submission to Jesus as Lord and the work of the Spirit. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Wherever a person bows in humility under the lordship of Christ, there the Spirit of God is at work. It is the mission of the Spirit to exalt Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 16:14, when the Spirit comes, “He will glorify me.” Therefore, when we are filled with the Spirit, we are in love with the glory of Christ and we delight to bow to him as Lord. Or to put it the other way around, if we desire to see the Spirit of God transform our family life, we must surrender totally to Jesus as Lord and turn all our daily doings into an offering of worship to him. When the Spirit reigns in your life, you do everything with a view to honoring Jesus. And in that way Jesus becomes the foundation and focus and goal of the family, and life at home is transformed.
Notice the evidence for this in the text. After commanding us to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18, almost every verse that follows all the way to 6:9 shows that the Spirit’s work is to exalt Christ and orient all of life (especially family life) on him. Let’s follow his thought. First, in verse 19 the Spirit produces songs to the Lord (Jesus). Then, in verse 20 he produces gratitude to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then, in verse 21 he produces submission in reverence for Christ. In verse 22 wives submit themselves to their husbands as to the Lord. In verse 25 husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church. In 6:1 children obey their parents in the Lord. In verse 4 fathers bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In verse 5 slaves obey their earthly masters in singleness of heart as to Christ. And in verse 9 masters leave off threatening because they too have a Master in heaven. When a family is filled with the Spirit, everything is oriented on Christ. Christian family life is a work of God’s Spirit in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake. That’s the main point.
A Word to Husbands
And now I want to look briefly at two of Paul’s applications of this truth in our text: first a word to husbands, then to wives, then a closing challenge to us all to be filled with the Spirit, yielded to the lordship of Christ for the sake of our families. The word to husbands is this: Be filled with the Spirit! Yield to the lordship of Christ! And then recognize this: your God-appointed headship in the family is to be exercised in love on the pattern of Christ’s love for the church. I believe many people today make the mistake of saying that since mutual submission of all believers to each other is taught in verse 21, therefore there is no distinction between the roles of husband and wife. But the text simply will not allow this. What verses 22–33 do is spell out the peculiar forms that lowliness and submissiveness of husband and wife will take. And they are not the same. The wife is compared to the church, the husband compared to Christ. The husband is compared to the head, the wife is compared to his body (v. 28). If all Paul wanted to say was “Submit to each other,” he could have left out verses 22–33 altogether. But we know from other letters he wrote (1 Corinthians 11, 1 Timothy 2) that Paul sees in the created order a God-appointed distinction between male and female that makes the man’s headship or leadership in marriage fitting and beautiful.
But what the apostle stresses here in Ephesians 5:25–33 is that husbands should be filled with the Holy Spirit, eager to exalt Jesus Christ, and therefore ready to conform their leadership to Christ’s. Christ fulfilled his headship or leadership over the disciples through sacrificial service. Jesus did not cease to be the leader of the disciples when he stooped to wash their feet (John 13:13–15). And when he hung on the cross, the weakest of the weak for the sake of his bride, the church, he was no less her head. Woe to the husband who thinks that his maleness requires of him a domineering, demanding attitude toward his wife. This is not the mark of a Christ-like head but a childish bully.
But the subordinate point of this text for husbands is just as needed today as the main point, namely, you are to be the leader and head of your household under Christ. Do not let the rhetoric of contemporary feminism cow you into thinking that Christ-like leadership in the home is bad. It is what our homes need more than anything. Husbands, for all your meekness and all your servanthood and all your submission to your wife’s deep desires and needs, you are still the head, the leader. What I mean is this: it is you who should take the lead in the things of the Spirit; it is you who should lead the family in prayer, in the study of God’s Word, in worship; it is you who should lead out in giving the family a vision of its meaning and mission; it is you who should take the lead in shaping the moral fabric of the home and in governing its happy peace. I have never yet met a woman who chafes under such Christ-like leadership. But I know of many women whose lives are unhappy because their husbands have no moral vision, no spiritual conception of what a family is for, and therefore no desire to lead anyone anywhere.
Have you seen the Camel Cigarette billboards—the curly-headed, bronze-faced, muscular macho with the cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth? The sign says, “Where a man belongs.” You know what I pray when I think about that sign? I pray that Bethlehem will be filled with men who, when they see that sign, say, “To hell with such lies!”—men who know that where a man belongs is on his knees beside his wife, leading in prayer. Where a man belongs is at the bedside of his children, leading in devotion and prayer. Where a man belongs is in the driver’s seat, leading his family to the house of God. Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God, seeking vision and direction for the family. Men, I challenge you in the name of Jesus Christ our King, be where you belong!
A Word to Wives
And now a brief word to wives. In its context Ephesians 5:22 means: if you are filled with the Spirit and yielded to the lordship of Christ, then you will be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. That little phrase “as to the Lord” has two implications. One is that a woman’s first and ultimate allegiance is to the Lord Jesus and that other allegiances are subordinate to and derivative from this one. The other implication is that, therefore, the subordinate allegiances are limited by the revealed will of Christ. This means that the form which a wife’s submission takes will vary according to the quality of her husband’s leadership.
If the husband is a godly man who has a biblical vision for the family and leads out in the things of the Spirit, a godly woman will rejoice in this leadership and support him in it. She will no more be squelched by this leadership than disciples are squelched by the leadership of Jesus. If she thinks his vision is distorted or his direction is unbiblical, she will not sit in dumb silence but query him in a spirit of meekness and may often save his foot from stumbling. For husband-headship does not mean infallibility or hostility to correction. Nor does the wife’s involvement in shaping the direction of the family involve insubordination.
But if a Christian woman is married to a man who provides no vision, gives no moral direction, takes no lead in the things of the Spirit, the form of her submission will be different. Under the lordship of Christ she will not join her husband in sin, even if he wants her to. And where she can, she will give a spiritual vision and moral direction to her children. But even in this she need not communicate a cocky spirit of insubordination. Even when she must, for Christ’s sake, do what her husband does not approve of, she can try to explain in a tranquil and gentle spirit that it is not because she wants to go against him but because she is bound to Christ. Yet it will do no good to preach at him. At the root of his being he is dreadfully guilty that he is not assuming the moral leadership of his house. You must give him room and in quietness win him by your powerful and sacrificial love (1 Peter 3:1–6).
In conclusion, there is a God-ordained pattern of headship and submission, of leadership and joyful support of that leadership, within the family. It has been conceived by God and revealed to us that we might discover happiness at home and a meaningful mission for our family. It is the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of those who do everything for Christ’s sake. Therefore, the question for you who want a happy home and a meaningful mission and destiny for your family is: Are you filled with the Spirit of God and yielded to the lordship of Christ?
If you would like to pray with one of the pastors and seek this spiritual enabling for new relations at home, I invite you to make that choice very definite by coming and meeting Pastor Glenn as we sing “Happy the Home Where God Is There.”
It is the begging of a new week, new endeavors, new accomplishments, new struggles, and new ideas. My prayer for my friends and family is that we will be aware of those things that keep us away from what is pure, true and good.
Today is a big day for millions of sports fans and there will no doubt be many parties, drunken stupors, and bets all the while little eyes watch and record what is seen, heard and felt. At the same time in various parts of the world, both women and young girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Thousands of these poor souls will be exhibited and sold today while many drink their beers and cheer for their team. My prayer? That we will see the evil and expose it. That we will protect our children from sick ideals brought to us by the local media, the popular clothing lines, and Hollywood.
You see people just don’t wake up and decide they are going to work in prostitution or become sex traders, criminals, and drug abusers. There is a slow ripping away of what is pure, true and good, the degradation of the human soul and eventually this pushes away God’s love and truth, and before they know it, the enemy of our souls envelops the innocent and the willing and pushes them into some of the most heinous and sick crimes known to humanity.
Going back in history we can read that Hitler was not born a wicked man. He was made into one. He was actually baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith as a child in Austria. But through a series of events, he grew up with a twisted view of what was pure, true and good. He sought to eliminate the God of the Christian and Jewish faith. To create his own ideals, to impose them on others with abuse, tyranny, and consequence.
When I look at mainstream media and at some people in power I scratch my head as I see their distortion of what is pure, true and good and as I read about their laws on how we should educate and raise our families. Next to these outfits, the Political puppets, AKA the media continues to offer and embrace marketability of sex appeal by which they seek to indoctrinate our young children into liberal lifestyles and distorted sexuality.
Artists such as Jay Z teach our youth to adore money, crave for sex and mistreat women. Don’t even get me started on Eminem, Madonna, and Katy Perry. There are too many to name but you get the point.Now I ask you, what are you allowing the world to teach the precious minds of your young ones? Are they being robbed of their innocence by video games, music, and mainstream media? It saddens me to see all the young teenage girls completely engulfed in the fashion industries idea of fashionable. Showing butt cheeks and cleavage because they want to be noticed and because they are hurting inside. And what the heck are we doing about it? Not a darn thing.
My prayer? That we would wake the heck up before it is too late for those we know and love. That we would seek to protect the minds and hearts of our family. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 That when we sit down and watch TV or movies we would be selective and diligent on what sounds and images we allow to come into our brains and be embedded into our hearts forever. Yes, my prayer is kind of long but a needed one.
So today as you come back from church, the park, the store or get ready to go to a Super Bowl Party be mindful of what you do and what you are teaching your family by your actions. Standup for what is pure, true and good. For me, that means holding fast to my faith because it is the only thing I have proven in my life and the world to be true. It is what guides me and shapes me day by day. And although this vessel is lacking and imperfect I know that the redeemer of our souls is with me. He waits patiently for his beloved people to turn their eyes away from evil and run towards the truth.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13
I like to think of myself as a pretty frugal gal. I despise waste and I love upcycling. From I was in diapers my sweet dad ingrained in me the art of upcycling and making treasures out of trash. He … Continue reading