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Category Archives: Scripture

The role and responsibility of a husband

It should be no surprise that men are confused today about what their role is. TV portrays men as idiots and women as strong. Movies and magazines tell us the measure of success is how much money you make, how fast your car is, how many women you’ve taken to bed, or how high you’ve climbed on the career ladder. Christian books and speakers tell us to be radical and wild at heart. Churches promote Bible studies for women and children, but leave men to fend for themselves.

What’s a man to do? What is the role and responsibility of a man in marriage?

Scripture explains that the role of the husband is to be the head of his wife (Ephesians 5:23, 25-27; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9; Colossians 3:19). Headship communicates the ideas of one who is superior in rank, responsible for those under his headship, and the one who has been delegated the authority to decide and to act. By God’s design, the husband is the head of the wife and lovingly exercises his delegated authority.

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 gives two reasons why the husband is the head of the wife. Verse 8 explains that God created the man first. Verse 9 explains that the woman was created for the man. You have both the priority of creation and the purpose of creation. Headship is not dependent upon the capability, conduct, or character of the husband; rather, the husband is the head by God’s design from creation.

As the head, the husband is to be the active leader who lovingly manages and provides. Manage means “to stand before” and care for the family (1 Timothy 3:2, 4-5). The husband is to superintend and care for his family. Part of his care may be to protect his family much like a Secret Service agent is willing to take a bullet for the President. In addition, the husband is to “plan before” and provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).

Rather than “lording it over” or “exercising authority” over his wife, a husband is to lead “with consideration” and “respect.” “Lording it over” abuses personal power while “exercising authority” abuses personal position. Instead, we are to be considerate and understanding of our wives. We are to grant them honor and respect.

Biblical headship is countercultural. Today, we are told to pursue our own interests and be all we can be. We are entitled to our rights and privileges. However, Scripture tells us that the husband is to devote himself to his wife above children, friends, recreation, ministry, or work (Ephesians 5:25-29).

Far too often, our wives grow spiritually in spite of us rather than because of us. In contrast, we are to mentor our wives to become blameless, holy, and glorious (Ephesians 5:25-27).

While the role of the husband is to be the head, the responsibility of the husband is to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33; Colossians 3:19). As head of the wife, the husband chooses to love his wife unconditionally and sacrificially as Christ loved the church. Nowhere is a husband to become harsh and bitter towards his wife. There is no excuse for any kind of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.

Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Head of your wife¾and as you lead, “do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23). Overcome any feelings of inadequacy, fear, and anxiety about your role through Biblical solutions. Enlist several respected married men to meet with you regularly for support and accountability. Take responsibility for your spiritual life and the spiritual lives of your wife and family. Demonstrate your love so that your wife feels loved.

If you choose to practice these principles, don’t be surprised if your wife doesn’t recognize you.

A man at work decided to show his wife how much he loved her, and before going home, showered, shaved, put on some choice cologne, bought her a bouquet of flowers. He went to the front door and knocked. His wife answered the door and exclaimed, “Oh no! This has been a terrible day! First I had to take Billy to the emergency room and get stitches in his leg, then your mother called and said she’s coming for 2 weeks, then the washing machine broke, and now this! You come home drunk!”

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 24, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

Who takes the first step in the marriage?

Studying the biblical passages on marriage, you discover that God has designed husbands and wives with specific roles and responsibilities.

 

Wives

Husbands
Role Helper

Genesis 2:18

Leader

Ephesians 5:23

Responsibility

Submit & Respect

Colossians 3:18

Ephesians 5:22-24, 33

1 Peter 3:1-6

Love & Honor

Colossians 3:19

Ephesians 5:25-29, 33

1 Peter 3:7

Results

Effective Witness

1 Peter 3:1-2

Effective Prayer Life

1 Peter 3:7

Demonstrate reality of the gospel to a watching world

Ephesians 5:32; 1 Peter 2:11-12

While we may acknowledge these things, we tend to put the onus on the other person to play their part before we play our part.

If

Then

My husband were a better leader

It would be easier for me to submit to him
My wife would be more helpful

It would be easier to lead my family

My husband would love me sacrificially

I would be willing to respect him

My wife gave me more respect

It would easier to honor her

My husband were more considerate

I would be more helpful

My wife wouldn’t challenge my ever decision

I would be more considerate when she shares my opinion

Scripture calls us to fulfill our biblical roles and responsibilities, regardless of what our spouse does or does not do. The only question is, are we willing to be a biblical husband/wife?

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Marriage, Scripture

 

The Role & Responsibility of a Wife

Two generations ago, women were told to aspire to be a wife and mother. One generation past, women were told they could have it all—marriage, motherhood, and a fulfilling career. Today, women are told to ditch the husband and kids and focus on personal fulfillment. After all, marriage only exists to enslave women. Or so “the experts” tell us.

But if a Christ follower chooses to get married, what is her role and responsibility within marriage? What does Scripture say about these questions?

In Genesis 1:27-28, God gave Adam a task to carry out. He was to do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God. He was to fill the earth and rule over it. But he couldn’t do it by himself. He needed someone to help him carry out his assignment. According to Genesis 2:18-20, Eve was created to help Adam do the work of God by the will of God according to the word of God.

From the very beginning, it was God’s design for the wife to be her husband’s helper, to actively assist, encourage, and support him in carrying out God’s task. It was God’s design. While men and women are equal in status, they have different roles and functions. The role of the wife is to help her husband accomplish what God has called him to do. (This means, gentlemen, we need to be in tune with God and know what his plan for us is.) The key recipient of her help is her husband. Oftentimes, the greatest competitor to the wife fulfilling her role is her children. While motherhood is important, helping her husband is her primary role.

While we might grudgingly agree that a wife’s primary role is helper to her husband, we balk at the idea that she is to submit to her husband (Colossians 3:18). When we think of submission, we jump to slavery or inferiority. But the primary meaning of submission is to arrange oneself under authority. In marriage, a wife is to arrange her life in an orderly manner underneath her husband.

From a biblical viewpoint, a wife voluntarily submits to her husband by respectfully bringing all areas of her life under his headship. It is a voluntary action. Her husband does not demand or force his wife to submit. She makes a voluntary choice. A woman is not to submit to all men, but only to her husband. Rather than do it grudgingly and resentfully, she coats her actions with the attitude of respect.

A wife submits to her husband “as to the Lord” because it is “fitting in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). When she places herself under her husband’s authority, she is ultimately submitting to Christ. This is fitting and appropriate because it is God’s design.

A wife submits to her husband “in everything” (Ephesians 5:23-24). If he asks her to do something illegal, immoral, or life-threatening, she should follow God’s instructions. But outside of those exceptions, “everything” means “everything.”

She practices her submission with “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:1-4). The word “quiet” doesn’t mean a wife doesn’t express her viewpoint and challenge her husband’s thinking. Rather, it means a sense of calmness and peaceableness. She doesn’t strive to take over when she feels her husband is making a mistake. She has a quiet trust that God is still in control.

Here are some principles to help put these ideas into practice:

  1. Rejoice regularly that God called you to be the Helper of your husband¾and as you help, to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
  2. Communicate your submission and respect so your husband feels respected.
  3. Forgive your husband for any past hurts blocking your submission.
  4. Depend upon the Holy Spirit to empower you to submit.
  5. Enlist spiritually mature married women to encourage you regularly for support and accountability.
  6. Pursue your own spiritual growth and don’t harbor resentment regarding whether or not your husband is the spiritual leader that he should be.
  7. Trust God to change your husband (1 Peter 3:1-2).

About 300 years ago a man lost his job in a customs house. He went home, broken-hearted, to tell his wife Sophia. To his astonishment she only beamed at him. “Now you can write your book!” He answered, “Yes, and what will we live on while I’m writing?”

Sophia quickly went to a drawer and took out a cache of money. “I’ve always known that you were a man of genius,” she said. “I knew that someday you would write an immortal masterpiece.”

“So every week out of the money you have given me for housekeeping, I have saved something. Here is enough to last us one whole year.”

That amazed husband went to his study and began writing. His name was Nathaniel Hawthorne. His book was The Scarlet Letter.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 17, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

The Concept of Functional Subordination

Each one of us has different roles and responsibilities. The pattern for these differences is rooted in the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit modeled the concept of functional subordination for the church, marriage, and the family.

  Equality Function Order
Trinity The Father, Son, and the Spirit are equal as persons.

John 6:27; 10:30; Acts 5:3-4

The Father, Son, and the Spirit have different functions.

John 16:7-15;

Col 1:15-18;

Eph 1:3-14;

1 John 2:1-2

The Father has leadership and the Son and the Spirit submit.

John 17:1-5;

1 Cor 11:3;

Phil 2:5-11;

John 14:26

Church All members are to be considered without distinction in the Body.

Gal 3:28

All members have been given spiritual gifts to serve the Body.

Rom 12:6-8;

1 Cor 12:4-11;

Eph 4:7-11;

1 Pet 4:10-11

Christ has the authority and leadership is delegated to elders and pastors.

Heb 13:17;

1 Pet 5:1-4;

1 Tim 5:17

Marriage Husbands and wives are viewed as co‑heirs of the grace of God.

1 Pet 3:7;

Gal 3:28

Husbands and wives have unique functions in the family.

Gen 1:26-31; 2:18-25

The husband is given the role as the leader to which the wife is commanded to submit and respect.

Eph 5:22-33;

Col 3:18-19;

1 Pet 3:1-7;

Prov 31:10-31

Family All members stand in the place of equal responsibility before God.

Ezek 18:1-32 (20, 30)

Different members have different roles and responsibilities.

Col 3:18-21; 1 Thess 2:7, 11

Parents have the authority in the home and the children are to obey.

Eph 6:1-3;

Col 3:20;

Proverbs

(Dr. Mark Bailey of Dallas Theological Seminary introduced this chart at the 1996 Couples Conference hosted by Crossroads Bible Church at the Inn at Semi-ah-moo. I found it to be extremely helpful in understanding submission and have used it ever since.)

 

Counter the Culture

In the middle of 1 Peter (2:13-3:12), the apostle Peter explains how Christ followers are to live in relationship to others. We are to practice submission, willingly placing ourselves under authority as citizens (2:13-17), workers (2:18-25), marriage partners (3:1-7), and members of Christ’s body (3:8-12).

Admittedly, submission is a difficult topic to preach on because we live in a culture that is anti-authority. While we don’t necessarily want to lead, none of us want to follow. We want to be in charge of our own lives and not have to answer to someone else’s bidding.

When Scripture says one thing and society tells us something entirely different, we have several options. We can:

  • Reject the Bible—Don’t even attempt to read or understand what it says.
  • Avoid the parts we find disturbing—Don’t talk or preach about them.
  • Reinterpret the disagreements as “cultural, not timeless”—Since times have changed, those instructions are irrelevant.
  • Negate the problem by “attacking the author”—Accuse the apostle Paul or the apostle Peter of being a male chauvinist of the worst kind; and conclude that only Jesus’ word can be trusted. (Since Jesus doesn’t address sexuality or marriage roles & responsibilities, it must not be important.)
  • Determine it isn’t relevant—While this part of the Bible may be true, it cannot be lived in this day and age.
  • Accept the truth of Scripture and pattern our lives after it.

If you want to be truly counter cultural, study the Scriptures and commit yourself to obedience. Where it says to submit, willingly place yourself under the authority of the one above you. Don’t be afraid to swim against the tide.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in 1 Peter, Culture, Marriage, Scripture

 

Crown of thorns & crown of glory

Philippians 2:5–11 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 Peter 2:21 – For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2018 in 1 Peter, Scripture

 

Who’s in charge?

Submission is a dirty word today. When someone tells us we have to submit, our immediate response is “No!” or “Why?!?!?!” We don’t like being told what to do. We want to have a say in every decision. While we don’t necessarily want to lead, we certainly don’t want to follow.

As Christ followers who live in a culture that promotes individualism and anarchy, how should we respond to those in authority over us? What should we do when we don’t respect the person giving the orders? How should we act when we don’t think the law is fair or in our best interests? What is our role as Christian citizens?

In 1 Peter 2:11-12, the apostle Peter gave a guiding principle for all of life. We are to live in such a way that unbelievers will be convinced and God will be glorified. In 2:13-17, he adds a further explanation. As Christian citizens, we are to submit because our testimony is at stake. These verses fit in the middle section of 1 Peter and revolve around the theme of submission. We are to submit as a citizen (2:13-17), as an employee (2:18-25), as a marriage partner (3:1-7), and as a member of the body of Christ (3:8-12).

As Peter pens verses 13-17 of chapter 2, he answers the basic questions of Who? What? Why? and How?

What is Submission? (13a). Submission is not passive indifference, blind obedience, being a doormat or a slave. Submission is a military term meaning “to arrange in military fashion under the commander.” Rather than being forced to submit, we voluntarily choose to place ourselves under another person’s authority. We do this because Christ asked us to. Ultimately, we are submitting to Christ, who stands behind the human authority.

To Whom do we Submit? (13b-14). We are called to submit to every human institution, which includes the home, the church, and the government. From the White House to the State House, from the Supreme Court to the traffic court, we are to obey the laws of the land, including paying taxes, voting, and driving safely. According to Peter, government is established by God with the two-fold purpose of punishing evildoers and praising right-doers.

It’s usually at this point that we raise our hand, and shout, “Yeah, but! What about …?” Rather than argue about the exceptions, we are to obey the clear teaching of Scripture. It comes down to whether or not we trust God and are willing to obey him. We also need to remind ourselves of the historical context of this letter. When Peter wrote it, the Roman emperor was Nero, who was known for his violent persecution of Christians. The call to submit does not depend on the moral virtue of the one in charge.

Yes, there are exceptions to submission, but only when obeying the law violates the clear command of Scripture. However, while civil disobedience may be appropriate, it may also come at a cost. In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobeyed the king’s command to worship his image, and they found themselves in the fiery furnace. Daniel disobeyed the edict to no longer pray to Yahweh and he wound up in the lion’s den (Daniel 6). Peter and John were instructed not to talk about Jesus (Acts 4:18-20). They disobeyed and were put in prison (Acts 5:17-18). When we choose civil disobedience, we still need to be respectful.

Why should we Submit? (15). Peter makes it crystal clear that submission is part of God’s will for each one of our lives. By doing so, we muzzle our critics. Their accusations don’t stick and leave them with nothing to say. This fits with Peter’s instruction in verse 12 to living in such a way that unbelievers will be convinced and God will be glorified.

How do we Practice Submission? (16-17). To those who offer the counter argument of “I’m a free person in Christ!” Peter says that the best use of freedom is when we choose to serve Jesus Christ. Peter lists four specific groups or individuals and how we demonstrate our submission to them: (1) Honor all people. We are to treat all people with respect and dignity since all human being are created in the image of God. (2) Love the brotherhood. As Peter explained previously, loving one another is the mark of an authentic Christ follower. (3) Fear God. Peter previously stated that we are to live in awe and wonder of who God is. (4) Honor those in government. Regardless of the morality of the individual in office, we are to grant them respect and honor.

Christ followers are to live in such a way that unbelievers will be convinced and God will be glorified. As Christian citizens, we are to submit because our testimony and credibility are at stake.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 3, 2018. It is part of a series of sermons on 1 Peter. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.