The Divine Design of the Wife, Part 2
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: Ephesians 5:22-24
Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: Open your Bible to the book of Ephesians 5:22-24. The title of this morning’s message is “The Divine Design for the Wife”. This is part 2 from a message we began last week.
This morning we are talking about how God’s way is the best way. The Maker and Designer of the universe created a woman to be a woman. A woman is to be feminine and to be in the right order or rank under her husband. They are equals at the cross, but in the home the woman is complementary to the man. She helps or complements the husband’s vision and goals in life. This is exactly what Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:22-24.
Let us stand as we read God’s Holy Word. Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
[Prayer for Guidance]
Introduction: I heard about an older couple sitting by the fire side. With his arm around his sweetheart, he turned to his wife and said, “After fifty years I’ve found you tried and true”.
His wife was hard of hearing so she said, “What?”
He repeated, “After fifty years I’ve found you tried and true”.
She replied, “After fifty years I’m tired of you too!”
Ladies, I hope after fifty years you are not tired of your husband! I want to show you the secret to his heart today and the secret to a very happy marriage. The secret to a happy and lasting marriage is for you and your husband to live according to God’s design. God has a created order that allows all things to function according to His perfect plan.
The most important ministry a Christian wife can have is to her husband! God made you a helper suitable for him (Genesis 2:18). After your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing should be more important. He should be the primary receiver of your time and energy. God made you to be his helper, not for you to give him the leftovers.
We are living in a world that has rejected God’s way for the family. Families without fathers are accepted today. The Scripture is clear that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and we are seeing the death of the family. How can we turn this around? Both husband and wife must submit to the Lord’s role for the family. Today we are looking at the wife’s role in the home.
I. Last week we considered the Matter of Submission. Let’s take a moment to review. Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”.
A. Foundation of the wife’s submission is Genesis 2:18, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God created every thing good, but there was one thing that was NOT good! Adam was alone. He needed help! God made the woman a helper suitable for the man. Married ladies here today, you are designed to be your husband’s helper. This is your purpose in life.
B. Definition of submission. The word “submit” is a military term that indicates proper placement and rank. It means to “line up under”. It is a voluntary action. Submission simply means acknowledging, following, and respecting a husband’s spiritual leadership of the home.
C. Example for submission is within the Trinity. The members of the Godhead practice submission to one another. The members of the Trinity are co-equal in power and glory, yet the submits to do the Father’s will. The Spirit speaks not of Himself but of Christ.
D. The Possibility of submission. Godly submission, ladies, flows out of your submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. Your life must be anchored to the sovereignty of God. You must trust that He has guided your husband to you, and that God is going to guide him. You need God’s strength and grace to trust your husbands. Submitting to your husband is ultimately submitting to God and His created order.
E. The perceived Problem of submission. I know ladies, you are saying, “you are asking me to submit to this man, but you don’t know how I married.” Yes, you married a very flawed and imperfect man. Your husband is going to make some big errors in your marriage. But the Bible teaches that God sovereignly rules over man’s decisions. Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Wives, you need to take this verse to heart as you follow your husband. Do you trust that God is able to use your husband’s mistakes for His glory and your good?
II. The Manner of Submission, verse 22, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”.
A. Consider the wife’s Preference. Ladies, you are to prefer your husband’s way over your own. You are to submit to him “as unto the Lord”. At salvation, we lose our identity in the Lord, and your marriage is a picture of the Gospel. When you are married, you lose your identity to your husband. You lose your agenda. Now you are to help his agenda. You are to help him succeed.
Illustration: The wife is the husband’s cheerleader. She is the helper fitted for him to cheer him on. She can respectfully give him advice, but she is not to direct him. He is to direct her. And she is to submit to that direction “as unto the Lord”. You are to respond to him with the same respect you have for Christ.
By honoring your husband, you are honoring the Lord’s commands. God put him in that position. You submit to your husband “as unto the Lord”. Your submission to your husband is a good measure of your relationship with Christ.
Application: There may be many ladies in our churches who believe they are in a right relationship to Christ, totally submitted to His Lordship. But let me say this, if you are not in a submitted relationship to your husband, you are not right with the Lord. You are out of sorts in your relationship with Christ. Do you trust the Lordship of Christ in your marriage…in your husband? Do you believe in your heart that God is in control of your husband?
B. Consider some wives’ Problem. You may say, well I will submit to my husband if he is saved. But if he is lost, I cannot trust him. That is not true. In fact, if your husband is lost, you need to submit to him all the more, because it is through your meek and quiet spirit that you are going to win him. That’s why God says, “If you will allow Me to work on you, I will take care of your husband too.” Most women try to win the love of their husbands by working on the outside. God says the way you win his love is by working on the inside, your character and walk with the Lord.
1 Peter 3:1-6, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
C. Consider the Position of submission. How exactly are you to “line up under” your husband?
§ The wife is to show respect to her husband. Paul says in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife see that she reverence her husband”.
§ The wife is to defer to his authority instead of her own. 1 Peter 3:1, “ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands”.
§ The wife is to obey her husband. Titus 2:5, Paul commands wives to be “obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”.
§ This is the order of creation. I Corinthians 11:3, “I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
God created the husband to crave one thing from his wife more than anything else. A woman needs to hear “I love you” from her husband. But a man needs to hear “I respect you” from his wife.
Ladies, you need to defer to your husband for decisions to be made. God has put the responsibility on his shoulders. Let him bear the weight. If he makes a wrong decision, God will hold him accountable.
D. The Priorities of a woman.
A woman’s place is in the home. It does not mean she cannot be employed outside the home, but her place is to raise the children. If she is working full time outside the home, she cannot fulfill her biblical duties.
1. The wife is to bear children. Adam and Eve were commanded by God in Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Our modern culture is staunchly against that. Have one of our newly married couples tell one of their neighbors that they plan on having six children and observe the looks! We are a narcissistic society with self first. One of the greatest privileges a couple has is to bring children into the world.
2. The wife is to be the “keeper” of the home. They are to “guide the house” (1 Timothy 5:14). Paul gets even more specific in Titus 2:4-5, “the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”.
This is God’s created order. The world from the beginning has wanted to do away with God’s divine roles for men and women in the home. They want to change all that. They want to make women masculine and make men feminine.
Application: What are some ways a wife can honor her husband by being a keeper of the home?
a. Be Diligent in raising your children. God has called you to spend time with your children. You are molding a masterpiece for Christ. It takes a lot of TIME to do this. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to bring your children up. Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us that we are to learn God’s commands and “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”. You cannot adequately teach your children if you have no time with them. If you want to mold your children for the Lord, you must be there in the home with them.
b. Ask God for a Desire to be a “keeper of the home” (Titus 2:5). The word “keeper” means “worker”. The home is the wife’s place of employment. Ladies, you need to learn to cook for your family. You need to teach your daughters how to cook and care for the home. You should be able to have some capacity to sew and to mend clothing. Ladies, you should organize the home.
I’m asking all our ladies here today to do as Psalm 1:1 says and reject the counsel of the ungodly. Vivian Gornick, Penn State professor and feminist author, writes, "Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession. The choice to serve and be protected and planned toward being a family maker is a choice that shouldn't exist. And the heart of radical feminism is to change that”.
Wives, you may think it is funny that you are not able to cook or that you do not keep your own home, but it is a tragedy. Have you swallowed Satan’s lies? It is a woman’s glory to have a kept home and to put on satisfying meals for the
Application: There has been a 1000% increase in unmarried couples living with one another since 1970 to today. Only one in four households in America have both a married husband and wife in the home.
The very hinge of our society is the mother in the home bearing and raising the children and being a help to her husband. Today, we have rejected that as a society. Couples are divorcing at a rapid rate. Some are not getting married at all. You cannot do this without horrific consequences. Bitter children can easily turn into burdens on society: vandals, gang bangers, thieves. Without the mother keeping the home, there is chaos in society.
II. The Motive for Submission is protection. Look at verse 23, “For the husband is the head of the wife”. You need to function according to God’s created order for your own PROTECION. The head leads the body in a way that is always beneficial. In the head are the eyes and the brain. God has given men the role to look out and protect the wife as the head. Peter gives us an illustration of this.
Wives, God has put you under your husband’s protection. Peter commands husbands to give “honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel”. The wife is picture here as a weaker vessel—or literally, a “fragile vase”. “The husband should treat his wife like an expensive, beautiful, fragile vase…which is a precious treasure.”
Femininity is fragile and needs to be protected. A woman is in no way intellectually weaker, but she is in general more emotionally and physically fragile than a man. Every woman wants to be “handled with care”.
Illustration: The best way to picture submission is a yield sign. The wife is to yield to her husband’s leadership. If you blow a yield sign without giving the right of way, you could have a serious collision. The Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (verse 22). A wife can choose reject that truth, but it puts her on a collision course with God’s order. The husband is that yield sign that protects here as a fragile vase. You don’t want a vase to crash!
The opposite is also true: when we line up under God’s order in obedience to His Word, you will receive God’s blessing. You will be “like a tree planted by the rivers of water”. You will bring forth spiritual fruit in your life, and whatever you do “shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).
God made your husband your head. The reason you need to submit to your husband is because God has designed the wife to respond to her husband. A body doesn’t respond to the head has major problems! If you are a woman, God has made you that way. Submit to your husband for your own protection!
III. The Model for Submission, verse 23, “even as Christ is the head of the church”. If submission offends you, remember you are a picture of the church submitting to her Lord. Do you like the church to submit to Christ? It is a picture of beauty!
Ladies, in your submission you are preaching the Gospel. Look at Ephesians 5:31-33. Here Paul makes the point that wives should submit to husbands and husbands should love their wife for the Gospel’s sake. Look at verse 31, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Paul speaks “concerning Christ and the church” (verse 32). Your submission in marriage is a picture of how believers are to submit to Christ in salvation. How are you doing in preaching the Gospel?
IV. The Magnitude of Submission, verse 24, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Everything. That is huge! What does that mean? It means all things. There is only one exception, and that is, you may respectfully decline if your husband asks you to do something sinful.
Wives, are you submitted to God’s order under your husband in all things? Examine yourself as we consider the 8 marks of the Titus 2 woman.
She is a home-centered woman. Titus 2:3-5, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”.
The first five speak of their character. The last three speak of her duties.
Mark 1: First, young women are to be serious minded, verse 4, “sober”. This is a serious role you are there to mold the minds of your young children.
Mark 2: Young wives are “to love their husbands” (verse 4). You were created to be a helper fitted for your husband. Love is patient and kind and always thinks the best of people. Love is respectful and prefers the other person. Do you get behind you husband and cheer him on, or do you get behind him and drag him down? You are to love him.
Mark 3: Young wives are to “love their children”. This is not an option, it is a command. You are in the home to mold your children. You are their main teacher. You need lots of TIME with them. It is not anyone else’s responsibility. What do you do when you are with your children? Are your children spending time with Jesus? If they are young you can bring them to Jesus in prayer. If they are not with you, are they spending time with someone who loves Jesus?
Mark 4: (Titus 2:5) Young wives are to be “discreet” sensible or discerning, “discreet”. This is the same quality that should characterize elders (1:8), all older men (2:2), and, in fact, all believers (2:12). “Discreet” means to be in rational control of one’s impulses and passions. It means you are to exercise common sense and good judgment. Ladies, God has given you discretion. You need to exercise it! Children eat everything up. Guide their appetite for knowledge.
Mark 5: (Young wives are to be pure, “chaste”. This refers primarily to moral purity. You are married to your husband. You are to be chaste! Be extremely careful how you interact with another man that is not your husband. That contact and conversation should be minimal. Your affection belongs to your husband ALONE. Proverbs 5:15, “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.”
In Bible times, in their culture, clothing was an outward sign of submission. A woman wore a head covering (1 Corinthians 11). While we do not have that in our culture, the command remains that you should dress in a modest feminine way. Look over at 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
Like all Christian women, young wives are "adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Ø "Shamefacedness" refers to a healthy sense of shame at saying anything, doing anything, or dressing in any way that would cause a man to lust.
Ø "Sobriety" refers to moral control, to keeping passions, especially sexual passions, subdued.
The next mark speaks of the wife’s duty.
Mark 6: Wives are to be workers “keeper at home”. The word “keeper” means a worker. It means her career is in the home. One of the hardest things for many wives to do today is be satisfied with realizing that her ministry is primarily in the home.
The last two marks spak of how the wife carries out her duties.
Mark 7: Wives are to be “good” or unconditionally kind, the meaning of which is obvious. They are to be gentle, and sympathetic, even with those who are undeserving and unkind to them. To be kind is to be like our Father in Heaven for, "he [GOD] is kind", Jesus said, "unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6:35). Similarly, Paul admonishes believers to "be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). You as a mother are to love your enemies. You are to love hospitality and as Peter says you are to “use hospitality one to another without grudging
Mark 8: Finally, Wives are to be “obedient to their own husbands”. With this we’ve come full circle right back to where we started.
Conclusion: Married ladies, God’s way is the best way. His order is the only order. Yield to your husband’s headship. Cheer him on. In doing so you are preaching the Gospel and showing your submission to the Lordship of Christ. Your place is in the home. You are there to be a molder of children. You have the most important job in the world!
Warren Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary. (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 1 Peter 3:7