Please find my teaching notes below to Pt. 1 of Healthy Relationships: Mutual Submission. This is the continued sermon series on the Book of Ephesians.
We are now transitioning into another phase of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. This section is all about what it means to be RELATIONALLY HEALTHY! RESOURCES!!!
There’s always this tension between REAL relationships and IDEAL relationships, especially as it relates to FAMILY. We live in a culture that tries to NORMALIZE everything- EVERYONE IS DYSFUNCTIONAL SO LET’S ALL JUST RELAX!
But both Jesus and Paul taught and targeted the “ideal” when it came to relationships; while at the same time never condemning people who fell short. SO…
What Does Being Relationally Healthy Look Like? Eph. 5:22-6:9. HERE IS PAUL’S IDEAL…
Husbands love your wives and be considerate
Wives SUBMIT to your husbands
Children obey your parents
Fathers, don’t exasperate your children
WHICH ONE OF THOSE STANDS OUT TO YOU?? Just asking…
“Wives submit to your husbands!” BUT THIS IS A SPECIFIC APPLICATION OF A PRINCIPLE GIVEN TO EVERYONE!! Men always seem to bring up Eph. 5:22- “My wife is supposed to submit to me!” BUT WHO IS PAUL TALKING TO?? WIVES NOT HUSBANDS!!
WHY IS THIS VERSE SO IMPORTANT?? Because it aligns with Jesus’ teaching about SUBMISSION as an ACT OF LOVE, that Jesus himself modeled! Paul is simply taking Jesus’ teaching and example and applying it to these new christians, new churches, new communities, and new families. This was a totally new way of looking at this idea of submission. PAUL IS APPLYING THE ACT OF LOVE THAT SUBMISSION IS, TO FAMILIES!
BUT VERSE 21 IS THE KEY NOT VERSE 22!! Eph. 5:21 “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
EVERYONE IS TO SUBMIT TO EVERYONE IN ORDER FOR RELATIONSHIPS TO BE HEALTHY!
MUTUAL SUBMISSION– Paul unpacks this as it relates to husbands, wives, children- even employers and employees!
“SUBMIT” to “ONE ANOTHER” out of “REVERENCE FOR CHRIST!” Verses 22, 23, 24 are all applications!! They all mean we are to submit to one another NOT because we are worthy of it, but because it’s IN REVERENCE FOR CHRIST!
This simply means: “I’m going to leverage my resources, my time, my talent, etc. for your benefit!” Jo Ann is amazing at this!! Regardless of who we are or what role we have, this is what it’s all about: Leveraging my assets for your benefit!
WHY?? BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS DID FOR ALL OF US!!! Jesus put us first, so Paul is writing in that exact context! It’s as if Jesus was a husband, a wife, and parent, a child. This is the application of Jesus’ context for submitting himself to even those under his authority- he took it on himself to lift our burdens!!
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL DYNAMICS THERE IS IN ANY RELATIONSHIP: HOW CAN I LEVERAGE MY RESOURCES TO HELP YOU? “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ!” It’s…
The Message of Mutual Submission: “I’M HERE FOR YOU!”
Imagine that in our families, our marriages, our Life Groups, our church: “I am here for you!” No one is more important than anyone else- WE WILL MUTUALLY SUBMIT! It’s the most powerful relational dynamic there is- IT’S WHAT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALL ABOUT- MUTUAL SUBMISSION! We are saying, “I’m here to leverage who I am, what I have, for your benefit!” Here’s the GAME CHANGER!!
The Question Mutual Submission Asks: “WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?”
IF everyone in your family has this mindset IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!!
IMAGINE… one of your kids comes up to you and says, “Hey Mom, hey Dad, what can I do to help?” And after you get back off the floor from fainting… Seriously, try it kids, just asking will give you credit with your folks!!
IMAGINE… Parents, what if aside from always instructing… you say to your son or daughter, “What can I do to help?” It’ll keep your conversation with you kids from always going negative!
IMAGINE… WIVES, what if instead of being critical of your husband, you said, “What can I do to help?” THIS IS A POWERFUL QUESTION TO A MAN. Most will say, “Nothing.” But is says to a man, “I am aware of your responsibility, the burden you carry!” It says to a man, “I value, I appreciate, I affirm, respect you!” That’s HUGE!!
IMAGINE… MEN!! Now I know most of us men who are married are probably afraid of this question! WHY?? Because we’re resistant to it. As men, we see ourselves as the leaders of our homes, and oftentimes we have this resistance which causes our wives not to ask this question because they feel our resistance to help. BUT WHEN WE DO ASK IT, WE ARE SAYING, “I’m here for you. I love and appreciate you. I want you to feel secure, cared for, cherished!”
YOU SEE, HERE’S THE ISSUE AS TO WHY WE DON’T ASK, DON’T SUBMIT AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS AREN’T HEALTHY LIKE THEY SHOULD AND CAN BE…
The Barrier to Mutual Submission: FEAR!
KEY: We are AFRAID someone is going to TAKE ADVANTAGE of us! We are AFRAID that we WON’T BE FIRST anymore! We are AFRAID that it will COST US!
But again, the KEY to Eph. 5:21 is “OUT OF REVERENCE TO CHRIST!” Perhaps Jesus said to the Father, “What can I do to help?” Father said, “It will cost you your life! You’ll have to humble yourself, serve, love, die for everyone else, and most won’t deserve any of it!” And Jesus said, “I’LL DO THAT!”
Paul, out of that context, says, “Out of reverence for Christ, open yourself to help others, and YES they may take advantage of you, and YES you’ll have to put someone else first, and YES it will cost you- BUT THAT’S JESUS!!” And 95% of the time, IT WON’T COST YOU YOUR LIFE! But it will cost you something!
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? We’re afraid to ask this question in our marriages, in our families, at work… Yet being willing to leverage yourself for others is what makes relationships healthy! “I’M WILLING TO LEVERAGE ALL OF ME FOR AN US!”
You can already feel and anticipate what having this question asked of you would do for you, and what asking it would do for them… BUT THE ONLY REASON WE TRULY DON’T ASK IS BECAUSE WE’RE SELFISH!
Mutual Submission forces you to SERVE rather than be SELFISH!
Too many of us are not willing to give ourselves fully to the equation, which means YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY with your family, with your relationships… and THEY’LL NEVER BE HEALTHY! Because you’re whole approach to your relationships is: IF I CAN JUST GET EVERYBODY TO DO WHAT I WANT THEM TO DO I’LL BE HAPPY! No you won’t! You’ll be in charge but you won’t be happy!
HAPPINESS, HEALTHINESS IS MUTUAL SUBMISSION! MEN- some of your wives can’t get you to help, because you just pull away. The wife, the kids, everyone tries to serve you but you’re still not happy! And you won’t be happy until you lean in and leverage yourself for them! Because again, THE KEY TO HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS MUTUAL SUBMISSION!
Does this mean that NO ONE is in AUTHORITY in the home?
Listen closely: THIS PRINCIPLE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AUTHORITY- WHO’S IN CHRGE? INSTEAD IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT WE DO WITH OUR AUTHORITY!
It has nothing to do with “who makes the decisions around here” but HOW WE MANAGE THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS!!
DAD- if you feel God has called you to be the HEAD OF THE HOME, then be the head of the home in THE SAME WAY JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH- AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYONE ELSE!!
Jesus is the MODEL of MUTUAL SUBMISSION!
NO ONE IN ALL OF HISTORY EVER SAID THAT JESUS CANNOT BE THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH BECAUSE HE GAVE HIS LIFE AWAY!! NO- BECAUSE HE GAVE HIS LIFE AWAY HE IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH!!!
We don’t give away our authority, we give away the power and leverage we have to help others! Jesus said that the more power and authority we have the more of a servant we should be! (Washed the disciples feet)!
This means as a husband, father, I SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO ASK- WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? I challenge and encourage all of us to ask the question: “What can I do to help?” It makes EVERY RELATIONSHIP HEALTHIER!!
As followers of Jesus WE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE- IT’S THE TRAJECTORY OF JESUS!
Rom. 5:6-8 When we were utterly HELPLESS (when we needed help the most), Christ came AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME (not when it was convenient or on his own timeframe) and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
HELPING OTHERS IS NEVER GOING TO BE IDEAL- CONVENIENT! MUTUAL SUBMISSION IS ALL ABOUT MUTUAL SACRIFICE! Jesus asked, “What can I do to help to make our relationships with God right, healthy?” And Paul comes along and applies this incredible principle to our relationships with one another- in our marriages, families, church, work…
IF we just took our cue from what Jesus did and applied it to our marriages, families, church, work- we’d have this incredible HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS!
“SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO ONE ANOTHER OUT OF REVERENCE TO CHRIST!”
YES- wives do that. YES- husbands do that. YES- children do that!
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? MUTUAL SUBMISSION! When You Want to Ask it the LEAST You Need to Ask it the MOST!
As your pastor, I want to always be able to ask, “What can I do to help?” As a husband, father too. What about you? Are you struggling to ask this question, yet today this made a ton of sense? You could feel what it would do to you if it was asked, what it would do for others, your wife, husband, kids, church, work, IF YOU ASKED IT…
THE KEY IS SUBMISSION. FIRST- BE SUBMITTED TO CHRIST. Who needs to make that decision? Jesus has already asked, submitted, died to HELP YOU.
Pray for marriages, families, husbands, wives, kids, work… ALSO PRAY ALL OF US WOULD COME INTO THIS GCC FAMILY WITH- WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?