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Sunday, November 20, 2016 pm                                             Ephesians Index

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS
As Christ is the Head of the Church
Ephesians 5:22-33

 

We are continuing to observe Paul’s practical application of the walk of a Christian.  In the past few lessons we have noted how we are to walk in love, in light and in wisdom.  Today we notice how this walk will affect our families AND how this relates to the church.  Some see this as the beginning of a new subsection in Ephesians addressing relationships (5:22-6:9), while others see it as part of a larger section dealing with our duties as the Lord’s body (chapters 4-6).

As we begin this study let us be reminded that the family unit is the basic unit of a society.  As goes the family, so goes the society.  And so goes the church.  I am convinced that is why Paul is making this analogy.   In this study we want to approach it from two different directions – 1) what Paul says about the marriage relationship and 2) what Paul says about the church and its relationship to Christ.  Having called for us to strive for unity (Ephesians 4) and godly living, his ultimate goal is an understanding of our relationship to our Lord and it ought to be as cherished as the relationship between a husband and a wife. 

 I.                     Husbands and wives

a.       NOTE: As we consider this section, keep in mind the relationship between Christ and His church!

b.       Wives submit to your husbands – as to the Lord (22).  
 The word submit means to subordinate.  In this expression wives are told to DO this.  It should not be something they are forced into doing, but willingly in the same way you (and he ought to) submit to the Lord. 
While politically incorrect, nevertheless, this is instruction repeatedly emphasized in scripture.  Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Peter 3:1-6 (Note: This is Peter speaking – a different apostle than Paul). 
This is not about her surrendering her equality as a person (cf. Galatians 3:27-28, 1 Corinthians 11:11-12, 7:3-4, etc.) – but it is about relationship and respecting God’s order.  And it is His command.

c.        The husband is the head of the wife (23) – just as a wife is to willingly submit to her husband, the husband is to willingly LEAD the family.  He is to take the role of headship. 

d.       Wives be subject to their husbands in everything (24).  Again, the example of submission is emphasized, only this time added to that is as the church is subject to Christ AND in everything.  He has headship in the home.  This text does not qualify this based upon the behavior of the husband.  However, as is always the case – we ought to obey God rather than men – Acts 4:19-20.  A husband cannot compel you to do that which is sinful. 
NOTE: In this passage, as with many others, the intent is that both husband and wife fulfill their roles in a godly way.  When everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, the family unit functions smoothly and all are adequately and equally cared for.  That is the point (and as we shall see, what is intended for the church). 
It is such a tragic thing to think that there are some husbands who are deplorable in their conduct and moral failures!  That is why one should carefully choose their mate.
NOTE: Where is the bigger problem in our society today? Is it the wife who refuses to submit or the husband who refuses to properly take charge of and care for his family? 

e.       Husbands love your wives (25) –

                                                   i.      Colossians 3:18 – commanded.  Typically, men are less emotional than women.  A good man loves his wife, but he may be more hesitant to say it to her.  That is why I am convinced the command is given to men in this text. 

                                                 ii.      This is also implied in 1 Peter 3:7 where husbands are told to “likewise” dwell with your wife with understanding, giving her honor as to the weaker vessel.

                                                iii.      How are we to love our wives.

1.       Ac Christ loved the church – more in our next section

2.       As your own body (28-29) – most men desire to take care of themselves.  When love is present in the family, the man is going to want to provide for his family.
NOTE: Let me say this is more than mere physical provisions (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8, 2 Cor. 12:14).  It also means emotionally – she feels secure and loved; and spiritually.  As the head of the house you have a responsibility in these areas as well. 
Our text - He “nourishes” – to provide for and “cherishes” – genuinely cares about this.

3.       Is he willing to give himself for his family?  As Christ was willing to give Himself for the church.  Again, this might involve a willingness to die for your family, but what about giving up your personal pursuits and desires for the sake of your wife?

                                                iv.      NOTE: When a husband loves his wife like this, she (and the family) knows he genuinely cares for her (and them), she is more likely to willingly and with love submit to him!

f.         The two become one flesh – (31), here Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 which is where the family begins at marriage.  A husband and wife are physically joined together (cf. Hebrews 13:4), but this bond should become stronger than any other worldly relationship.  This is the husband and wife WORKING TOGETHER to make the marriage work. 

g.       Nevertheless (conclusion) – let each husband love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (33)  As Paul concludes this comparison, he has noted he speaks primarily of the church and Christ, but what he says about the marriage relationship fully applies. 
One thought on this -  Respect is the Greek word for fear (or reverence).   It is used with us toward God in 1 Peter 2:17. 
May it never be that a wife is afraid of her husband.  If so, he is probably not acting as God has instructed him.  It is a word that can also mean to reverence or respect.  That is the foundation of submission to Him (and both of you to Christ). 

 II.                   Christ and His church

a.       Note: As we consider this section, keep in mind the relationship between a husband and his wife as God intended it to be.

b.       Christ is the head of the church (23) -  a principle established early in this letter - Ephesians 1:22-23.  Being head means He is ruler and has authority to determine what we do and how we do it, how we organize, our purpose, etc.

c.        He is Savior of the body (23) The idea of a savior is one who rescues another.  A word found 24 times in the New Testament and always applies to God or Jesus.  In essence – He is the source of our salvation from sin – 1 Timothy 4:10, He is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.  
What He did to be Savior is addressed in vs. 25-27.

d.       The church is subject to Christ (24).  This subjection is similar to that of a wife being subject to her husband. 
This statement validates His headship and means that as the church we will submit to His will in all things.   He has rule over us.  His standard and pattern must be followed.  If we reject His pattern, we are in rebellion.  Recall Luke 6:46, Why call me Lord and do not the things that I say?
Recall in our letter, Paul has instructed brethren how to behave toward one another!  That is part of this subjection to Him. 

e.       Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (25-27)

                                                   i.      The headship of Christ is not one of ego and brutality.  He is worthy of it by His love for us.  Romans 5:8-9.  Galatians 2:20 notes that He loved me and gave Himself for me.

                                                 ii.      Acts 20:28 – He purchased the church with His own blood. 

                                                iii.      That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word – this demonstrates His care for her. 
Sanctify means to set apart or make holy – Jesus has set us apart for Him.  And we are to be set apart TO Him.
Cleanse means to make something clean, to remove any filth from it. 
The point - He wants a pure body and has done His part to make that happen!  This isn’t one who wants a slave and keeps her oppressed and undesirable to others.  This is descriptive of One who wants what is best for His church.  
NOTE: With the washing of water by the word – water cleanses.  Acts 22:16

                                                iv.      That He might present her to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle - Our Lord has paid a high cost to “beautify” (a meaning of the word glorious) this body, His church.
That she should be holy and without blemish - Even perfect – He has done everything necessary to make her perfect.
NOTE: Considering what He has done to make her this way, what are we doing to keep ourselves that way?

f.         The Lord loves the church, nourishing and cherishing it (29) – an expression meaning He is taking care of us.  He has given us everything we need.  He has provided for us.  And to Him, this body is valuable.  He cares!  Even to this day, our Lord cares about His body!  
When we rebel, “let ourselves go”, or approach this relationship with a lackluster attitude – it grieves Him. 

g.       We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones (30) – we are part of His body!

h.       These things, while “a great mystery”, are spoken concerning Christ and the church.   Paul is addressing the church.  AGAIN, when you put this in context with what he has addressed throughout this letter, clearly Paul’s concern is with the church (BUT he cares about godly marriages too).

 

Let us remember what Jesus did for us and who we are to Him.  And let us strive to live in such a way that bring glory to Him as He has sacrificed to make us glorious.  And that means we will strive for the unity and purity He demands.  Think about it.