Modeling Church Members
Leave a legacy of love for the church.
Ephesians(5) (Part of the I Am A Church Member(6) series)
by Stuart Johns(199) on January 28, 2018 (Sunday Morning(282))
Love(18), Membership(5), Modeling(1)
I AM A CHURCH MEMBER
Modeling Church Members
Show video interview of Candace Cameron Bure concerning a small section in her book, Balancing It All, about submission to her husband. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyoeCnbe_TA]
Our situation is the same
Judy and I are communicating all the time about finances, the boys, other major and minor decisions that need to be made
When the final decision needs to be made about a major purchase or life change, then Judy looks to me to make that decision as the leader of the household
Fortunately I’m not making that decision in a vacuum – I know her thoughts and feelings about it
When I accepted the State Director position with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Ohio, Judy and I prayed about it together and talked through what that would look like – but when the decision had to be made, Judy accepted God’s leading in my life
When we moved to Missouri to work at the headquarters of CEF and then when we moved to California to work with Every Generation Ministries (EGM), Judy and I prayed together about these two significant moves, and again she rested in God’s leading in my life
When Idaville Church (IUB) called us to serve here, Judy and I prayed together and discussed the logistics of the move and God’s leading and we trusted in God’s leading for my life
God has blessed our family through this model
There is one scripture that most men know by heart whether they are Christians or not
It’s Ephesians 5:22a, Wives, submit to your husbands . . .”
With men who are not Christians they use this as God’s law for their wives to be submissive to them no matter what
They become dictators and the wife has no say whatsoever
In some Christian homes, this passage of scripture has been misinterpreted and only certain parts of it are quoted in order to accomplish the same thing – for women to be obedient to their husband’s every wish and command
This is not done out of love
The rest of Ephesians 5:22 says, as to the Lord
The Lord is talking to women through Paul
Ephesians 5:25 then addresses husbands, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . .
If both the husband and wife are acting as Jesus Christ did, then love will rule the day
The wife will willing submit to her husband, because she knows that he loves her like Christ loved the church
The husband will love his wife, because he feels respected by his wife as she submits to him
It’s a mutual give and take
Embracing the cultural norms theologically
In the passage of scripture we’re going to look at today Paul does not reject the cultural norms of the 1st Century, but rather teaches a Christ-like perspective for household codes
It’s amazing how he is able to accomplish this
It only comes from the Holy Spirit of God and a desire to love and serve Jesus Christ and learn from His modeling
Paul is going to be talking about household codes for husbands and wives
He will be encouraging husbands to think differently about their role as the head and leader of the family, now that they are followers of Jesus Christ
He is encouraging them to model something different than the Greco-Roman world, considered the norm
As church members, you and I have a responsibility to model and lead our families to be healthy church members
We’ll see that whether your whole family are believers and attend church, or you’re the only one who is a believer and attends church, you have a responsibility before God
If you’re single, you also have a responsibility before God
Paul is using the analogy of marriage to communicate about the church
BIG IDEA – Leave a legacy of love for the church.
GOD (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)
Background – wives
Wives and women in general were not highly regarded in the Greco-Roman world
They could not testify in a court of law
They were minimally educated
They could not adopt children or make a contract
They could not own property or inherit anything
They were expected to adopt the religion of their husband when they got married
They were under the authority of their father, husband, or another male relative’s authority all their lives
Wives and women today
We’re not too far off from this in our culture today
There are still “glass ceilings” for women
There is still unequal pay
Wives are being abused (physically, emotionally, mentally, and verbally)
Women are being raped and sold into sexual slavery all over the world
Did you realize that one of the largest sex rings involving young girls and women, from the US and other countries, is centered around the venue where the Super Bowl is played
Men who exploit girls and women will be filtering them into the Minneapolis area as the Big Game gets close
Paul speaks into a culture that is dealing with these issues in the family and he shares with them the Christ-like way of love – unconditional/sacrificial love – the most excellent way (1 Cor. 13:1)
Ephesians 5:21, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Husband and wives (vv. 22-33)
Paul teaches two principles here
Connection with Christ
Submission of wives (vv. 22-24)
Paul addresses the cultural norm – wives submit to your husbands
This was the normal Greco-Roman expectation
Unfortunately it could mean, with or without love
The wife could submit out of obligation
He takes it a step further and teaches them to do it in a Christ-like way – as to the Lord
“W. O. Carver has observed that subjection is to be ‘voluntary, personal, and having full ethical value for the one who subjects himself/herself and for others whom he/she serves in spiritual surrender.’” [Beacon Bible Commentary, 239]
As a submissive wife, you should be doing it out of your love for Jesus Christ and not out of obligation to your husband
From creation on down God instituted the role of “head of the household” to the husband and father
As husbands you have to take this role seriously, just as Jesus takes His role, as head of the church, seriously
The church is Christ’s body and He takes care of it
Paul states that Christ is the Savior of His body, the church
Christ has such an incredible love for the church and for human beings in general that He willingly came from heaven to earth to die on a cross to bring salvation to those who are imprisoned by sin
Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
He sacrificed His rights and privileges in order to provide protection for you from the penalty of sin
Through the Holy Spirit of God living in you, you have the power to defeat sin in your life
You and I should follow Christ’s example of submitting His will to the Father
When you submit to God, you become more willing to obey His command to submit to others, to subordinate your rights to theirs
As church members, you and I are the bride of Christ and we need to submit to His headship
Husband is not a savior
It’s easy to see that the husband doesn’t have any redemptive ability to save his wife from the penalty of sin
You can be your wife’s protector and provider just like Christ
Christ protected you and me from the penalty of sin
He provided a way for you and me to be saved
Guys you know the quickest way to your wife’s heart is to do something selfless without being asked
It’s talking about a man here, “Any sacrifice and self-giving that create a sense of well-being and security will normally evoke free and loving submission from his wife.” [BBC, 240]
“Paul redefines being head as having responsibility to love, to give oneself, and to nurture. A priority is placed on the husband, but, contrary to ancient society, it is for the benefit of the wife.” [Snodgrass, 295]
Church submits to Christ
As church members, you should be giving first place to your devotion and service to Christ
You and I should be serving each other and Christ out of love and not obligation, just as a wife should submit to her husband out of love for Christ and not obligation or pressure
Perhaps you’re serving here at IUB out of obligation or pressure and not love – perhaps you’re not serving at all
It’s important for that attitude to change
Perhaps what needs to change is your understanding and perspective of who the head of the church is
It’s not the pastor, it’s not the board members, or the commission chair people – it’s Jesus Christ
God has appointed those individuals to positions of leadership and He speaks to and through them
They are there to help the church find the purposes of Christ [Snodgrass, 317]
The reason you may be struggling today is that you aren’t submitting to Christ’s headship as you should
If you’re not a follower of Jesus Christ, you haven’t submitted to His headship in your life at all
You serve at the church because you think it’s the right thing to do, but it’s not out of love for Jesus Christ
You’re hopeful that your service will counter balance all the bad you’re doing
This is a works mentality and it doesn’t result in entrance into heaven
You have to submit to Christ’s headship in your life – repent of your sins and turn to Him
Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
My Next Step Today Is To: Stop trying to work my way to heaven and accept God’s gracious gift of salvation through believing in Jesus Christ by faith.
Perhaps you’re not submitting to Christ’s headship in this church through His chosen leaders
We’ve been learning about this through the book I Am A Church Member
Perhaps you’ve fallen prey to the misconception that the church is here to serve you and to meet all of your preferences
When that doesn’t happen you’ve given in to the temptation of gossiping and speaking negatively about those in the church who believe differently than you
You’ve stopped praying for the leadership of the church and for those who believe differently
You’ve stopped serving at the church, because you don’t like the direction the church is going
Maybe you’ve even stopped giving
This is not modeling for your family how to be a healthy church member
It doesn’t show a submission to the headship of Christ
“A greater sense that Christ leads the church, joined with mutual submission in finding his purposes, will move the church past many of its current problems.” [Snodgrass, 317]
My Next Step Today Is To: Confess to God that I’ve been fighting against His will for IUB and have not been submitting to the headship of Christ.
Lord willing, on February 4, 2018, you will be receiving a comprehensive document concerning the G.R.O.W. capital campaign that will outline the vision God has given the leadership of the church to expand
Each Sunday in February, you will hear a short devotional from different leaders concerning growth and faith
We’ll have our regular quarterly Mission Possible Meeting on March 4, 2018 where we will field your questions
Then on March 25, 2018 we will have a special Commitment Sunday where you will be able to make a faith promise commitment to the G.R.O.W. campaign
God is asking us, as a congregation, to take another step of faith – will we follow?
Love of husbands (vv. 25-33)
Paul is talking about an unconditional love, a sacrificial love
This was definitely antithetical to the cultural norm of the day
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Eph. 5:33)
This is the principle of mutual submission that Paul is trying to communicate to the Ephesian believers
“Rather than being guided by self-interests, the husband is asked to place the well-being of his wife first and to give himself to caring for her.” [Snodgrass, 296]
He does this because of his connection to Christ – it’s transformed him into who God desires him to be as a husband to his wife
Christ has an unconditional love for the church
Christ sacrificed Himself for the church so she would be holy and blameless
Follow Christ’s example of unconditional love
Be willing to sacrifice for your wife
Paul says he is talking about Christ and the church
Church member’s responsibilities
Love the church unconditionally
Be willing to sacrifice for the church
Take care of the church like you would your own body – feed it and care for it out of love for Christ, the Head
Leave a legacy of love for the church
We do that by praying together for the church
By worshiping together in the church
By serving together in the church
Asking Christ to help us fall deeper in love with the church
All believers and attend church
If your whole family are believers and attend church, you still have a responsibility to lead and model love for the church
This is done by having your family pray together for the church as a whole and the leadership of the church
Last week we looked at areas where you can pray for the pastor, board members, commission chair people, and teachers
Spiritual protection; Protection from moral failure
Preaching/teaching the Word; Their families
Encouragement; Physical strength; Courage
What you model for your spouse and children is what they will do
If you are enthusiastic and find joy in serving the church, that’s what your spouse and children will do
If you’re apathetic and angry about church, then your spouse and children will be too
Fall deeply in love with the bride of Christ
This means to love the church and its members no matter what
You are going to encounter disagreeable people – no one is perfect
So, you’re not always going to agree, but you must always love
Only believer and attend church
If you are the only believer in your immediate family, you still have a responsibility to model love for the church
You are a testimony of Christ to the unbelieving spouse and any children in the family
1 Corinthians 7:14a, For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.
God has given you an incredible mission field – your family
You’re love for the church is being watched by your spouse and children
How you pray for the church and its leaders will be how they pray for the church
How you love the church will be how they love the church
How often you attend church and how you worship at church will be how often they attend church and how they worship at church
Perhaps you’re here today and you’re single
You have the responsibility to model prayer, worship, and love for the church with your extended family, friends and neighbors
They are watching how you pray for the church and its leaders
They are watching how often you attend church
They are watching how you worship at church
They are watching how you love church and the people of the church
When we model love for the church and the people of the church then the community around us will notice that
It can be the catalyst that changes their mind about church
We’ve all heard individuals say that they will never set foot in a church again, because of things they’ve seen and heard coming out of the church
They’ve seen and heard hatred coming out of the church
They’ve heard gossip from those within the church about other church members
They’ve experienced disunity and criticism coming out of the church
It’s no wonder they don’t want to be a part of the church, especially when they experience that at work or in their home
We have to model something different
We have to model Christ to the world!
Leave a legacy of love for the church
What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
“His name was Bob.
He died a few years ago, but, if he influenced just a few people like he influenced me, this relatively unknown and quiet man changed the world.
Bob always seemed to be at the church. I understand that some people show up at church every time the doors are open out of guilt or legalistic obligation. Not Bob. He was always joyous, always serving, always kind. You could just tell he loved serving the church.
The same could be said about Bob’s wife and two sons. They too seemed to love the church and to find joy in serving. The whole family was, well, different. But different in a good kind of way, if you know what I mean.
I was a young businessman in my early twenties. I had been married for three years and had just become a dad. Fatherhood hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to be a good husband and a good dad. And that meant getting involved at church. Really involved.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Bob was watching me. He was concerned for me. He loved my youthful enthusiasm, but he knew what was coming. The more I got involved, the more I would see the imperfections of the church, the pastor, the staff, and other church members. Bob had seen the pattern repeatedly. Get excited about church. Get more involved. Discover the imperfections of the church. Get discouraged about the church. Leave the church.
Bob took me under his wing. When I would begin to get angry, frustrated, or discouraged about something at the church, he would talk to me. He would explain that no church is perfect. No pastor is perfect. No church member is perfect. And he would gently remind me that I was not close to perfect either.
He told me that we were to find joy in serving the church and those in the church. We were not a part of the church to see what we could get out of it. We were part of the church to serve and care for others. Our perspective should always be on giving, not receiving. And if someone did something that disappointed or frustrated us, that was God’s way of telling us to pray for that person.
Bob told me that we could never have the perfection of Christ but that we could strive to be more like Him. He reminded me that Christ died on the cross for people who rebelled against Him. We should be able, therefore, to love the seemingly unlovable at our church.
Through Bob’s patient biblical teaching, I learned to love the local church. I learned to love the people despite their imperfections. Bob would teach me to look at the ‘log’ in my eye (my own imperfections) before I judged the ‘speck’ in other’s eyes (Matt. 7:3-5).
I wish my own parents had taught me how to love the local church. But Bob was a good spiritual father to me.
By the way, Bob’s two sons are grown men now. And it’s no surprise. They are serving and loving their local churches just like their dad.
After all, he taught them well.”
[Thom Rainer, I Am A Church Member, 55-57]
The Fifth Pledge
I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her.