As we study the book of Ephesians, we are learning what godly living looks like. We know that when we walk with Christ, we shine His light brightly. Today, Paul is going to continue to show us how to have a happy family. When we each live out our intended roles, as God ordained, unity happens.
We have come to know that we are to imitate God in everything we do. Because we have the light of Christ within us, our behavior should mimic it. We are to be aware of what kinds of choices we make. “Don’t live like fools,” Paul tells us earlier in Ephesians 5. Be wise in all things. Seek God and understand what He is wanting from us.
Read the last part of Ephesians 5, verses 21-33. The Spirit guides us in all our relationships; especially those inside the family unit. Paul starts out with a message for husbands and wives.
ASK YOURSELF: What does God ask of spouses from verse 21? Why?
Don’t let the word, “submit”, turn you off. Reread verse 21 if it does. We are to submit to ONE ANOTHER. We are to accept or yield to the other person. This is a vital piece to loving unconditionally. Biblical submission is NOT where one spouse controls selfishly the other person. When we submit out of reverence for Christ, we are putting our spouse’s well-being over our own.
When two people live with this kind of mindset, a beautiful and intimate relationship can take place. God honors marriages where both parties are walking in Christ. The Holy Spirit is all about unity and where the Spirit is, there is freedom, love and harmony.
ASK YOURSELF: Look at verses 22-24, how does a wife submit to her husband? What do you learn about the husband’s role?
Look at submission as a role to play. A wife has her role and the husband has his role. Neither role dominates the other person. They are meant to work in harmony. Look at the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, they each have specific roles to play. None of them fight over who is doing what. The play their parts and peace and order prevail. This is how we are to operate in our marriages.
While a wife submits to her husband as head of the home, look at the husband’s role towards his wife in verses 25-29. He has the more intense role to play. A wife has basically one job, respect her husband.
ASK YOURSELF: What is the husband’s role?
This has a lot more sacrifice involved. He is to love his wife, just as Christ loved the Church.
ASK YOURSELF: Think about this, how does Christ love the Church?
From these verses, we see how. Christ gave up His life for His one and only love. He did this so His bride can be made holy and clean by the washing of God’s word. Husbands are to love their wives in the same fashion as their own bodies. A man will feed and care for himself. He is to do the same for his wife. He is to care for her needs. A husband is to serve his wife where she flourishes in her faith and with her family.
Men, you have a high calling. Step up and be who God is asking you to be.
Read Genesis 2 to learn why God created Eve and what His purpose was for marriage. Now, reread verses 31-33. For a marriage to be godly and fulfilling, a man must break off from his parents and join himself to His bride. For the bride, the wedding tradition is for her father to give her away. This signifies how she separates herself from her parents and joins herself to her husband. The two become one.
ASK YOURSELF: Why must this happen, according to verse 31?
United as one or United in love.
Marriage is a replica of the union between Christ and His body of believers. This is why a man must love His wife as he loves himself, while the wife respects him. Go ahead and read Matthew 19:1-12 to learn what else God has to say about marriage.
Paul then moves on to the children in the family. Read Ephesians 6:1-4.
ASK YOURSELF: What is the role for children within the home, see verses 1-2? If a child does what God wants, what does verse 3 say will happen?
Some people may struggle with verse 3. I say this because God comes and takes people off this earth at all ages. No one is guaranteed a long, happy life. It is good to remember that every day we are alive, it is a blessing. And it is good to remember that we can never go beyond God’s purpose. He is in control. Each of our lives are numbered. Some get to live to old age and some do not. We do not have a say. God has His will and He will do as He sees fit to accomplish His will.
Paul gives fathers some guidance in helping their children to mature into godly men and women. Fathers are not to provoke their children to anger. Like loving their wives, husbands have another sacrificial job as fathers.
ASK YOURSELF: How should fathers treat their children; see verse 4?
Children need discipline and instruction, and they are to get it from their parents. Teachers, coaches, family members, pastors, etc. that influence your children are to be secondary to the godly ways that you are instilling in your home.
We will end this study lesson with Ephesians 6:5-9. Go ahead and read it. While slaves are no longer part of modern day culture, we can apply these truths to our lives today.
Notice how a slave obeyed his master with deep reverence and fear. This is how we are to treat Jesus. Jesus came to serve, we are to serve. Read Matthew 20:28. Slaves tried to please their masters all the time. This is our calling. We live to please God. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
We are called to do the will of God. We are to work with enthusiasm for the Lord. He is our true master.
ASK YOURSELF: What blessing do we receive for doing good, see verse 8?
Verse 9 gives us a glimpse of how Jesus treats His children. Verse 9 reads, “Masters, treat your slaves in the same way.” Jesus treats us with this same kind of love and grace. We read how masters are not to threaten slaves. Jesus will never threaten us. When we approach God, He will always be loving and merciful. Because of Christ, we can run boldly and confidently into the arms of our heavenly Father. Read Hebrews 4:16.
God gives each member of a family different roles. When we follow His ways and live out our roles, a happy family ensues. And when families are happy, we see functioning societies. God has called everyone to live united in love.