Last lesson we were still dealing with Paul's instructions not to be drunk with wine but to be filled with the Spirit. We concluded that both the words and Paul's intent were that we should not be controlled by anything but the Holy Spirit. His message is really that we should be led by the Spirit to do what God wants us to do in our life, to fulfill God's purpose for us here on earth.
We also found by looking at the tense of the Greek words, that it is a continuing filling, that we should allow ourselves to continue to be filled by the Spirit. And to allow that, we have to get ourselves out of the way. We have to get our own agendas and our ego out of the way.
Then we looked at four or five ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives, if we let him. From our salvation, to our empowerment, to the guarantee of our inheritance in heaven.
Then we saw that Paul told us how we can recognize whether or not we are allowing the Spirit to fills us. If we are not joyful and thankful in all things (not just the good things), and if we are not willing to be subject to other believers, then we are living in ourselves and not in the Spirit. For some of us, that was the telling test. If we are not, then it is clear that we don't have much trust and faith in God. We obviously don't think that God can and will mange our lives if we would let him.
Today's lesson -- Instructions to Wives:
Remember that Paul is in the middle of a three-chapter set of instructions on how we are to lead our lives as Christians. He said:
God's Design for the Family:
I assume that all of us understand, intellectually, that if we would lead our lives according to God's plan for us and in accordance with the instructions that he has provided for us in the Bible, life would be a lot easier. The Bible is our life owner's manual, our operating handbook. But some of us prefer to try it our way instead of God's way, so we end up doing it the hard way. Does this say that you go to hell if you, as a wife did not let your husband be the head of the house? Of course not. This is not a matter of loss of salvation, it is a matter of leading your life as God says it works best, doing it his way, the easy way.
What Happens when the Design is not Followed?
Let's look at the alternatives, when wives did not submit to their husbands. Eve did not submit to Adam. Remember she took the lead and introduced sin into the human race. Remember Samson and Delilah? That did not work out well for either of them. There are a number of situations in the Bible, where the woman took over. Most did not turn out well.
If you study all of the false or pseudo Christian cults in relatively recent history you will be amazed at about how many of them were started by women. Women who leave their appointed place and appointed sphere can wreck a church, break up a marriage and destroy a home. On the other hand, there is nothing, absolutely nothing more attractive than a woman fulfilling the role that God has for her. You can see that in Proverbs 31.
does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a
field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of
the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates. --Proverbs 31:10-31
That is one of the places you can see the system worked the way God created it to work. Another place is in First Corinthians 13 where Paul tells us how wonderful life is when Love is let loose.
You cannot escape the message here. You cannot mess around with the words or the meaning and get some other meaning out of what God says here to, through Paul. Paul is drawing a deliberate parallel between the relationship between a husband and the wife and the relationship between Jesus and the church. He continues in verse 24:
Not Unequally Yoked:
By the way, this is one of the compelling reasons that a believer is not to become yoked to an unbeliever. You hear the admonition that a believer should not become yoked to an unbeliever and we give intellectual acknowledgment to it, but if you have an unbeliever yoked to a believer, then the structure that God has mandated and that Paul spells out, simply does not work. At the very least it will create problems. What Paul is spelling out here is God's pattern, his ideal. We need to face that square in the eye. It is wrong and foolish for a believer to marry an unbeliever. But it is also wrong and foolish for two believers to marry outside of the will of God. Just because both people are believers does not solve all of the problems. God's system works when both are following the will of God.
Hang in there, women!
About now, some of you women in the room are sorry that you decided to show up this morning. Just hang on, you'll find that you got the easy side of the assignments. Paul has a more to say to the husbands than to the wives. We have that out of the way so now fasten your seat belts. Verse 25 starts the instructions to the husbands.
... we are going to look at the question of the relationship between a man and a wife, and about the assignments given to the husband. Look at Ephesians 5:25-33 to prepare for next week..