Applying the Character of Christ at Home
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not become bitter against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not antagonize your children, so that they will not become discouraged.
Paul has talked about what does and doesn’t lead to a righteous life. In the next section of the book Paul talks about areas of life where the Holy Spirit works to lead us in a life of righteousness.
Both here and even more obviously in Ephesians Paul follows this same path. Filled with the Spirit? Then this is what you should expect to see in your relationships at home and at work. This is where we spend the majority of our time and it is where our greatest impact can be. And if these areas of our lives are not in order, then we flounder! No one is thriving and full of life whose home and work life are in chaos! These are the foundational blessings of God for every person!
Be fruitful, multiply, rule.
- The Foundation of Your Life
If a foundation of a building is not solid, it will fall. Foundational aspects of life are not obvious outwardly, but when they are weak, the whole of life is threatened!
What do you want out of life?
This is what your foundation needs to support!
- Foundational instruction
Matthew 7: 24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.”
John 8: 12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8: 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus Christ is our foundational teacher. This does not mean that we won’t find helpful instruction in addition to Christ. And there are many things that Jesus does not teach us, mathematics for example. But, in the subject matter that Jesus addresses: The kingdom of God, we cling to what He says about God, us and life whole heartedly.
- Foundational construction
Genesis 1: 26 Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2: 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“At last this is bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called ‘woman,’ Because she was taken out of man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.
It takes two sexes to describe what a human being is. A woman on her own, a man on his own can’t do it. Together we express the unity and diversity of God even!
- A new creation in Christ
What is the potential for our lives?
Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
II Cor 5: 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf.
16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one by the flesh; even though we have known Christ by the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Galatians 6: 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
- The Foundation is Cracked and Settling
- Ignoring the instruction has brought death
Metaphor of God speaking and bringing order out of chaos.
Reality of ignoring God’s instruction and bringing chaos to the order that God designs us to have. When we submit to the Word of God, then we experience His creation power in our lives.
- Fundamental family sin issues
Competition instead of cooperation. Helpers suited to each other. How are we suited to each other? We are necessary in order to bear and raise children. And our roles are long needed and indispensable. We share a common flesh. We make a new family as we leave our parents and cleave to each other. We have a covenant relationship with God to care for one another.
Better or worse. Richer or poorer, sickness or health. That’s what we need each other for! If things are great we are good, but we need a partner because:
Ecclesiastes 4: 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
Sibling rivalry. Competition moves into the children as well. And Cain kills Able. Sin desires to have you and YOU MUST MASTER IT!
Perversion of marriage and personal identity. Lamech: multiple wives and the abandonment of character to personal desire.
Spiral into disaster and judgement as a result.
Children not honoring parents: Noah and Ham
- These blessings take work!
They require instruction because YOU require instruction. Marriage vows should make people nervous. No one keeps them perfectly.
What was planned by God, and was natural for people has gotten twisted. Have you eaten? “Blame, blame, blame”
Do you know what prevents us from getting better in our behavior? Blaming others for our issues. There are reasons to blame others, but if you want to be free, then make your choices yours alone. Be responsible.
III. The Character of Christ at Home
- Wives submit to husbands as is fitting in the Lord
As is fitting in the Lord I believe is a reference back to the creation order. We are helpers suitable for each other.
Cooperate. Recognize your husband’s unique responsibility for the direction, provision and protection of the family. This does not mean that he makes all the decisions. Restaurant manager example.
What makes relationships hard? Differences? No. A lack of appreciation, cooperation, respect and understanding.
- Husbands love your wives and do not allow bitterness
Different translations point the bitterness in different directions. Don’t be bitter toward your wife, Don’t provoke bitterness in your wife. How can one manage this? Well, you can only do what you can do.
Be sympathetic toward your spouse who is living with your idiosyncrasies. Do not reflect a lack of respect. Do not reject or demand change in character issues. Talk about specific behavior.
It has been pointed out in other places that the Bible doesn’t tell wives to love their husbands. Is that meaningful?
It’s hard to be bitter when you are grateful!
“She’s a non-smoker”
- Children obey parents
Adult children honor parents
Simple authority issue, discovered and adjusted to at the beginning of life and then applied to other authorities forever.
Why would children not obey parents? This issue has to be resolved. Authorities are not perfect.
Learn to make a respectful appeal.
- Fathers do not antagonize or discourage your children
Discipline with clear communication.
The Bible does not call children helpers suitable.
Antagonize: 1: to incur or provoke the hostility of
Discourage: 1: to deprive of courage or confidence
2a: to hinder by disfavoring
God is our example. Discipline leads to life. And we can ask for wisdom! God promises to communicate.