Year 3 Day 74
Read - Ephesians 5v22-6v24
Message - Scott Woodburn
The late Abraham Kuyper once said "there is not a single square inch of our human existence where Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not declare 'mine!'" Kuyper's point was that no part of our life is off limits to Jesus. Paul believed that too.
To wives and husbands Paul commanded that wives were to submit to their husbands just as the church submitted to Jesus. Paul taught that marriage displayed something of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride the church (v32). A wedding day is not just for dressing up and eating good food, every marriage gives us a little glimpse of the Gospel. Therefore wives are to willingly submit to their husbands just as Christian wives willingly submit to Jesus (v24).
This sounds incredibly old fashioned but increasingly radical in 2022. The age in which we live says that men and women are the same in every way. Men can even declare themselves to be women and vice versa. We have even witnessed men who claim to be women competing in female sports and dominating. We are told this is good, progressive and we must submit to the new normal.
Paul disagrees. The Gospel transforms our relationships. Therefore men and women are both made in the image of God and are equal in His sight. However the Lord has made men and women distinct from one another and each gender is to take on different roles and responsibilities. So in Christian marriages wives are to submit to their husbands as head of the home and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church (v25). Husbands are not to be dictators or tyrants. Gentlemen it is to your shame if you have ever raised your hand to your wife. It is sin to treat her like property or to mock her to your friends. Husbands be the leader that God expects and love your wives as Jesus loved His Bride.
In similar fashion Gospel transformation means that children are to obey their parents (6v1-2) and fathers are to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (v4). The faith is to be passed down around the kitchen table and on the daily commute to school. Then when we leave the home and go to our work, the Gospel still rings. Slaves were expected to obey their masters. Christ was to be front and foremost in a slave's mind (v6) and the slave was to work as if he were doing everything for the Lord (v7-8). On the other side of the coin, masters were to stop threatening their slaves and to remember that God loved slave and master without partiality (v9). Likewise today if we sweep the streets or run the country, as Christians we are work as if for the Lord rather than man.
The Gospel has even changed our clothing. We are to put on the whole armour of God so that we might stand against the devil and his schemes (v11). The Christian battles daily against "the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (v12) We often forget this reality but we would do well to remember that the world isn't neutral. The enemy has been defeated but he and his minions remain active in this world. You might think the biggest problem in your church is Vera but there are darker and unseen realities in play.
How can we be prepared for the battle? By putting on the belt of truth which is the Word of God (v14). We wage war truthfully refusing to resort to slander or lies. The breastplate of righteousness guards our hearts as we know that we have been declared righteous by God Himself. Our shoes are the readiness given by the Gospel of peace - we stand securely on the Gospel always ready to proclaim it in this world. The shield of faith protects us from the attacks of the enemy (v16). Faith is a receiving and resting in Christ as He is offered in the Gospel. So as we rest in Christ we are able to withstand the devil's fiery darts. The helmet of salvation protects our head (v17) reminding us that we have peace of mind as we rest in the Gospel - we will not be forsaken, we will be saved. Finally our weapons are not those of the world. We wield the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and we pray at all times in the Holy Spirit (v18). The enemy is fierce but we do not fight fire with fire. Instead we take up the Word and pray without ceasing to defeat the schemes of the enemy.
Brothers and sisters, in one short letter Paul has shown us the glorious scale of the Gospel of Christ reminding us that the Gospel doesn't just inform, it transforms. May the Lord continue His great work in us, may He transform us daily and may He help and enable us to stand in this dark and evil age.
Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (v23-24) Amen!
Q72 What is forbidden in the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.