Sunday Sermon: ‘Spirit-filled Homes’

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We come this morning to a most important subject. We come this morning to a portion of God’s Word that teaches us God’s will for the home. This being Valentine Weekend, it is most appropriate that we consider these words this morning.

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 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. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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.

The Christian home is to be an example to the world of the power of God’s love and grace. It is the duty of the Christian wife to reverence her husband with a godly reverence and thus show to the world what it means to love the Lord; and it is the duty of the Christian husband to sacrificially love and care for his wife, even as Christ has loved and cared for the church. The Christian home is to be a living testimony of God’s redemption.

Yet what Paul is teaching us this morning doesn’t automatically appear in every home; not even in every Christian home. Instead of sacrificial love and support, there is often a struggle. The divorce rate among many professing Christians is as nearly as high as it is among those who don’t know the Lord. Why is this? The answer to that question is simple. These homes are not living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The husbands and wives of these homes are not filled with the Spirit.

I. God’s Plan for the Home

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. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

A. Need for a Helper

Here we see the reason for marriage and the home. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” That phrase meant that it was not pleasant, it was not beneficial. The Lord knew that even as He created the man without a mate. But God had a plan. “I will make him an help meet for him.” The word ‘helper’ means someone who can give aid, assistance and provide relief. It is the same word used to describe the High Priestly ministry of Christ. Hebrews 2 tells us that Christ is able to help us a merciful and faithful high priest because He too shared in the humanity of man. He understands our needs and therefore is able to assist us.

B. God Created Adam’s helper

Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22          And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

The title ‘woman’ means – {from man}. Here is a very important truth. When God created man, He created his body from dirt. The name ‘Adam’ originates from the word ‘red’ and therefore is probably a reference to the fact that man was made from the dust of the ground. But when God created the man’s mate; the Lord did not create her from the dust of the ground. God did not create the human female as He had created all of the animal females. Scripture says that God took a rib from the man’s side and from that rib God created the woman.

Matthew Henry wrote –

“The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam;
Not made out of his head to rule over him,
Nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him,
But out of his side to be equal with him,
Under his arm to be protected
And near his heart to be beloved.”

What was man’s response to his mate?

Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

There was an immediate supportive and sacrificial relationship between the first husband and wife. There was immediate intimacy. Adam recognized that his mate had come from his side. The woman recognized the same. Therefore the Lord did not have to instruct them on how to be husband and wife. It was only natural that the two come together and form a unity that could not be broken.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

The word ‘cleave’ means glued. The man shall leave his father and mother and be glued to his wife in a life-long relationship. Jesus quoted this verse and so did Paul, therefore this is the most important truth found in scripture concerning marriage. Marriage is to be an intimate and bonding relationship between one man and one woman for a lifetime.

Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Consider how well this passage explains the purpose of what we have read this morning from the book of Ephesians –

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 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 everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Ephesians 5 is God’s plan for restoring the home to its original state. Yet we know that not every home is like this. Not even every Christian home is like this. Instead of there being love and harmony, often there is disharmony, division and a power-struggle. Why is this? Our homes are like that today because there has been a distortion of God’s plan. When sin entered the heart, it entered the home.

II. Satan’s Perversion of the Home

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil (shrewd, crafty, sly) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Why did Satan tempt Eve and not Adam? Scripture doesn’t tell us for sure, but let me make some suggestions:

A. Perhaps it was because she was the ‘weaker vessel.’

1 Peter 3:7 tells us that it is the duty of the man to protect his wife because she is the weaker vessel. From our passage in Ephesians we see that it is the duty of the man to nourish his wife. That means that he is to provide for her needs. Paul also says that the man is to cherish his wife. That means that he is to protect her. Maybe the devil went after Eve because he recognized her to be more vulnerable. I remember a wife once sitting in my office and telling me that she did not feel very loved and protected by her husband. He was not striving to meet her needs and therefore she felt neglected.

B. Perhaps the devil went after Eve because he saw an opportunity to appeal to her desire to please her husband.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

God created Eve to be a helper to Adam and therefore perhaps the devil was appealing to this natural instinct within her. Scripture teaches us in 1 Timothy 2, that it was the woman who was ‘deceived’ and therefore is not to govern or exercise dominion over the man. We might think this is for punishment but perhaps it is for protection. Satan appealed to Eve’s desire to please her husband and therefore easily deceived her with sin.

C. Without a doubt the reason the devil tempted the woman was in order to break down the roles of husband and wife.

With their sin came an immediate division in the home. Note how Adam responded when confronted by God –

Genesis 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

What a change in Adam’s feelings towards Eve! Woman was created to complement the man as a suitable helper, but instead, now there is competition.

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Note that God did not say – ‘thy desire shall be FOR thy husband’ but TO thy husband. This same word is used in the next chapter when God describes to Cain how that sin is crouching at the door, desiring to conquer him.

Today, instead of their being a supportive and sacrificial relationship between a husband and wife that produces oneness and unity, there is often a power struggle. Paul writes something to the Colossians that also illustrates this –

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Why do so many women, even Christian women, resent the instruction to be submissive to their husband’s leadership? Much of the reason lies in the fact that sin has produced a harsh and bitter spirit in many men and rather than sacrificially loving their wives, they treat them like slaves.

III. God’s Purpose for the Christian Home

Thankfully Genesis 3 is not the end of the story. Thankfully God had a plan to restore the home back to its original condition. In addition, the Lord wants to use the Christian home as an example of what can happen when Jesus is Lord. We read in Ephesians 5 –

Ephesians 5:31 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.

A Christian home is to be an example to the world of the power of God’s saving grace. How can it do this? It does so by the way the Christian husband and wife approach their roles.

A. For the Man – Submission as a Savior

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Every believer is to have a spirit of Christ-like submission. Peter tells us

1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

What is biblical submission? The Greek word for submission originally referred to rank and order in the military. I do not believe that God wants the Christian husband barking out orders like a general, yet the Lord does want there to be leadership and guidance. Scripture teaches us that God is not the author of confusion and that all things should be done decently and in order. Christian husbands bear the responsibility to provide godly guidance for their family. I like what Joshua said about his home – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

The word submission also had a non-military meaning. The emphasis was care and support. Strong’s defines it as:

“A voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden”.

That’s the thought behind what Paul is teaching. Never does he say – “Men, rule over your wives.” Instead scripture says – “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Note the spirit behind Paul’s instruction for leadership –

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Men, Christ is our example and what an example He is. Note what Paul wrote to the Philippians about our Savior –

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…

Oh how our homes today need servant leaders. How we need godly men to submit themselves to the needs of their families like our Savior.

B. For the Woman – Submission as a Saint

In the Christian home there needs to be submission like a Savior and submission like a saint.

Ephesians 5:22 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 everything.

Godly wives are to portray to the world a holy reverence for God and His will for their lives. Peter gives us great insight to the power of such a spirit.

1 Peter 3:1 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.

The phrase ‘chaste conversation’ refers to a holy lifestyle. ‘Coupled with fear’ refers to her  reverence for her husband.

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.

Proverbs 31 teaches us that a virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies. Peter says that the reverential spirit of a godly woman is of ‘great price’ in the sight of God. Here is an interesting fact. This is the same words used to describe the ointment of spikenard that Mary used to anoint the head and feet of Jesus. It refers to something of surpassing value.

IV. God’s Power for the Christian Home

It’s not always easy being a godly husband or wife. Self has a way of crowding itself in and disrupting the harmony in our homes. Therefore, if we put Paul’s admonition to husbands and wives in its original context, we read –

Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

What we need are Spirit-filled homes. We need husbands and wives who are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and who are guided by His Spirit to live and act in such a way that brings God glory.

Ephesians 5:32 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.

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