"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"
Displaying God's Wisdom In Our Families (5:22-6:9)
1. Up to this point Paul has been describing how we can "have a walk
worthy of the calling with which you were called" -
2. We have seen that conduct "worthy of the calling" involves:
a. Walking in unity -
b. Walking in truth and holiness -
c. Walking in love, walking as light and walking as wise -
3. In what might appear at first to be an abrupt change of direction,
Paul begins to describe how various family members are to conduct
a. The responsibilities of wives -
b. The responsibilities of husbands -
c. The responsibilities of children -
d. The responsibilities of fathers -
e. The responsibilities of servants -
f. The responsibilities of masters -
4. But the subject matter is really not so abrupt as it may appear, for
Paul mentioned earlier...
a. How the church is to "make known the manifold wisdom of God"
b. How we are to walk in "wisdom" -
...and it is through family relationships that we can often do this
more successfully than in any other way!
5. How can this be? Well, it is through our families that we interact
so much with the society in which we live...
a. Through marriage we immediately come into contact with another
family (our "in-laws")
b. Through children we develop relationships with those in their
schools, their neighborhood, etc.
6. Thus it is through our families we have great potential to
demonstrate the wisdom of God...
a. The same principles that underlie the gospel message (submission,
love, sacrifice, obedience, honesty, fairness) are to be displayed
in our family relationships
b. By example, then, we can demonstrate in our families what is truly
good and right (i.e., God's will), and prepare others to be
receptive to the gospel message!
[Thus Paul is not abruptly changing direction, but continues to talk
about those sort of things which are crucial to having a "walk worthy of
the calling with which you were called".
Consider, then, how those who "walk worthy" conduct themselves in
I. MARITAL RESPONSIBILITIES (5:22-33)
A. THE DUTY OF WIVES... (22-24)
1. They are to submit to their husbands in everything...
a. Just as they are to submit to the Lord ("as to the Lord")
b. Just as the church is subject to Christ
2. The reason: the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is
head of the church
a. Any time you have organization that is functional, you must
have some chain of authority
b. In the family, it is God's Will that the husband be the head
of the wife, and that parents be over their children
3. Here is an opportunity for wives to demonstrate the wisdom and
value of an important principle in God's will: that of
a. Jesus taught by both word and example of the importance of
submission - cf. ;
b. Indeed we all are to submit in one way or another - ;
c. Through their submission, wives prove that God's will is
best in such matters!
B. THE DUTY OF HUSBANDS... (25-30)
1. They are to love their wives...
a. Just as Christ loved the church, i.e., with a sacrificial
love designed to bless and benefit their wives
b. Just as they love their own bodies, i.e., with a love that
nourishes and cherishes their wives
2. Just as the wives have the opportunity to demonstrate God's
wisdom concerning submission, so husbands are given the
opportunity to demonstrate Christ's love...
a. As the head over His church, Jesus rules as a "benevolent
b. Some think such a concept as "benevolent monarch" is
impossible (as per the saying, "Power corrupts, absolute
power corrupts absolutely")
c. But when a husband exercises his authority as head of the
family with the kind of love Jesus displays while ruling
over His church, they demonstrate not only the possibility,
but the wisdom of a benevolent monarchy!
[Indeed, the "marriage" between a man and a woman can reflect the
relationship that exists between Christ and the church (31-32). But
this can happen only if...
1) A husband exercises his authority with love (33a)
2) A wife submits to her husband with respect (33b).
Just as there are "marital responsibilities", so there are...]
II. FAMILIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (6:1-9)
A. THE DUTY OF CHILDREN... (1-3)
1. Children are to obey their parents in a way that honors them
2. There are certainly temporal benefits for such obedience ("that
it may be well with you...")
3. But there are also spiritual repercussions - cf.
("for this is well pleasing to the Lord")
4. And by their example, children can show the value of obedience
to the commands of God
B. THE DUTY OF FATHERS... (4)
1. Fathers are charged both negatively and positively..
a. DON'T provoke children to wrath (i.e., discipline without
b. DO bring them up in the "training and admonition" of the
Lord (i.e., discipline tempered with love)
2. In the world, people usually fall into two extremes of child-
a. Discipline without love (child abuse)
b. Love without discipline (permissiveness)
3. But when fathers properly administer both love and discipline,
by example they show how God raises His own children in the
family of God - cf.
C. THE DUTY OF SERVANTS... (5-8)
1. In the First Century A.D., servants were an intricate part of
many households, which may explain Paul including instructions
to them and masters in this and parallel passages - cf. :
2. Christians who were servants were expected to exemplify the
proper kind of obedience required of all Christians...
a. Obedience with fear and trembling - cf.
b. Obedience in sincerity of heart, as to Christ Himself
c. Obedience with good will, as to the Lord
d. Obedience with an understanding that the Lord is an
3. In this way even slaves could demonstrate by example what true
obedience was according to the Will of God
D. THE DUTY OF MASTERS... (9)
1. Those Christians who had slaves (like Philemon) were charged to
treat their servants in very special ways:
a. "do the same things to them", i.e., their treatment of
slaves should be governed by the same sort of principles
given to the servants...
1) "with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to
2) "not with eyeservice...but as servants of Christ, doing
the will of God from the heart"
3) "with good will...as to the Lord, and not to men"
4) "knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive
the same from the Lord..."
b. In particular, Christian slave-owners were to give up
threatening and to remember that God shows no respect of
2. By their example, masters could demonstrate the proper exercise
of authority, and reveal much about how our Master in heaven
rules over us in the kingdom of God!
1. How we conduct ourselves in our marriage and family relationships can
greatly effect our efforts to make known "the manifold wisdom of
a. Marriages and families that are "dysfunctional" serve only to
belie the claims we make about the gospel and its power to
b. Whereas marriages and families based upon the teachings of God's
Word can speak volumes as to the value of principles inherent in
the gospel; such principles as:
1) Submitting to God and others in authority
2) Exercising authority with sacrificial love
3) Obeying those placed over us by God
4) Developing others through training and admonition, not
5) Rendering service that is sincere, not hypocritical
6) Exercising authority with justice and fairness
2. So as we endeavor to "walk worthy of the calling" that we have in
Christ, let's not overlook those areas where it is most imperative to
have a "worthy walk": in our marriages and families!