Part Four of our series on Marriage
Duration:50 mins 14 secs

The Responsibilities of the Wife

Eph 5:22-24, 33

 

Introduction

 

V           Gen 3 – we read of how the evil serpent tempted Eve – He started off by sowing doubt - did God really say …..?

 And then he outright lied to her – and said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

He portrayed God as a selfish, manipulative, self-serving God- who did not want to share the good things with Adam and Eve.

Ladies, today you are again being tempted in a very similar way. 

The evil world is whispering. Did God really say that you as a wife would find your joy and your fulfillment in fulfilling your responsibilities in marriage? Is true fulfillment found in loving your husband? In submitting to him and respecting him? Does He really want that of you?

Surely your joy cannot be found in such archaic concepts?  Surely what God said back then cannot be what He means or wants today?

No - God knows that if you discard his blueprint and purposes you would have too much fun. Your eyes will be opened to worlds that are exciting and wonderful.

You see God is actually a killjoy – It is best that you decide what is best for your life.

Are you listening to the tempting voices of the world?

Are you buying into the lies of this world?

The world lies to you and says that physical beauty is the way to blessing. You need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, present yourself in a certain way. So you are made to believe that to be happy and blessed you have to have the latest hairstyle, latest fashion in clothing, sunglasses, plastic surgery, manicure, or beauty treatment. These things will bring you happiness and fulfillment.

Character is never mentioned; inner beauty is scorned at and relegated to those who cannot afford the latest fashions and fads.

The world lies to you in saying that having children and being a mom at home raising them is a guaranteed way to a life of misery and un-fulfillment

– No today’s woman must pursue her career, status, money and possessions – that is what will bring you fulfillment? Respect and acceptance in the business world + the trappings that go with a successful career – pursue that, that will bring happiness and fulfillment. The world would want you to believe those who loves being a mother and a homemaker are somehow inferior to those who reach the higher echelons of business management and government. Mom’s the Lord has made the single most powerful influence on this earth in the life of your child. You want to change the world – then be a godly mom.

The world lies to you and says that to be truly happy – you need to be and act like a man.  You exhibit the same behaviour as men; have the same role as men, the same function, the same desires. You need to be loud, assertive, bold and aggressively pursuing what you want. The female hero’s of today are being portrayed as men.They are actually the real men of today, because they can kick fight and bite better than any man ever could. Men are portrait as whimpering cowering idiots who are good for nothing but a good tongue lashing from a real woman.

The Bible said and will continue to say that God created man and female equal but different, fulfilling different roles. And to the extent that you can accept and embrace that will be the extent you will be blessed and fulfilled, for you are seeking to please God and not man, not self.

This will be very hard for you ladies for part of the curse God pronounced after the Fall. He said that 

Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Her desire shall be for her husband – you may think - Oh that’s sweet – she will really like and love her husband.  No – that’s not what is means – it means from this context- that she wants to rule – she shall strive and desire to rule over her husband- the wife will have to battle this sinful tendency to usurp the God given roles of husband and wife.

Your desire shall be for your husband, but he shall rule over you.

As with the role of the husband much can be said about the role of the wife

We will look at three primary responsibilities of the wife this morning. They are

Wives are to love her husband, to submit to her husband and to respect her husband. - Repeat

 

I.                        Wives love your husband

 

i)                      Love him for you are commanded to

 

Jesus gave his disciples a command to love one another Jn 13:34-35 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”

We know that the second part of the great commandment is that you should love your neighbor as yourself.

This is important for many times women may say, I don’t love my husband anymore – I was in love with him when we were first married, but…. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge and I just don’t love him anymore.

I want to remind you this morning wives – you are commanded by the Lord to love your husband as yourself, as your closest neighbor.

Love is not primarily an emotion – it is a choice, an act of your will. – That is the meaning of agape love and that is irrespective if he is a believer or not.

In Tit 2: 4 we read that older women are to train young wives to love their husbands and children.

That is a different word – it is philandros – which means having a tender affection or a kind disposition towards your husband. This passage instructs wives to have affection for her husband – to tenderly care for him. It involves emotion; it speaks of fondness and kindness, of friendship, companionship. 

Whoaaa Frans, you don’t know my husband – he arrives home moody from work, he sits in front of the TV every evening, that’s if he is not working late, at home or even over weekends. He is selfish, stupid, and ignorant, he doesn’t care and he doesn’t talk to me. He only uses me for his needs and I am sick of him!

Well that my all be true and worse. But you are called as a child of God to love him anyway.  Impossible you say –Not with God – He will give you his love for your husband if you seek to take the first step. What is impossible for man is possible with God. So your hope, you joy and your focus must rest in doing what God requires of you, regardless of how your husband responds. You are not responsible for his actions, he is – You are however responsible for yours.

This is an incredibly difficult path to walk. Seeking to be a godly wife loving your husband when he is not a godly man.

1Pet 3:1-2 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct”.

You will say – it is talking about submitting to him, not loving him. I know, but loving your husband the way God desires you to, is express in submitting to him.

However we are commanded to love even our enemies. How much more then the man you are married to.

Loving your husband starts with the mind – right thinking leads to right living.  Determine in your heart that you will love Him as a brother in Christ – and if he is not in the Lord – you will love him as your closest neighbor.

Love Him because you are so commanded

ii)        Love him by being the helpmate God made you to be!

 Be the helpmate suitable for him – Gen 2:18  “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Love him by becoming his closest confidant, His best friend, and his caring companion. At home - we keep telling our children – the best way to have a good friend is to be a good friend. Be a good friend to your husband.

                      You were given to your husband to complement him – not to change him into your image of what he should be. Sure he needs to grow in Christlikeness - like you do. But you should seek to complement him – to be able to do that, means you need to know him.

Identify where he is strong – rejoice over it thank the Lord for it and encourage him in it. Know where he is weak- pray for him, thank the Lord for His grace to help you compensate for it; strengthen him in that area with your gifts and abilities.

If your husband need as much help as you think he doeswell then help him.

Pray for him, encourage him to take the lead, show support for his decisions.

Bring your insights, concerns and alternatives to him for consideration, in a gentle way, not confronting and challenging. If he makes the wrong decision – don’t be glad thinking – serves you right - when the consequences hit.  Prov 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

Love him by being a helpmate, by growing into becoming one as God intended.

iii)          Love Him by making your home a haven.

Wives your husband’s responsibility is to love, lead and provide for you.

Your primary responsibility is your home and if you are so blessed, your children. That is the primary domain of the wife’s role & responsibility. Just silence the sweet talk of temptation for a moment and hear me out. – Your home is your primary ministry the Lord has given you.  Scripture is clear that this is God’s priority is for you. You need to manage your home and to care for those who may live in it.  First and foremost – It may not be your only ministry, but it has to take precedence.

Tit 2:3-5

They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

- Working at home literally means to be a worker at home. Not being idle, lazy or even indifferent to your home. How many women look at their homes, the daily work of managing your household as a ministry unto the Lord, for the benefit of your family? That is what a worker at home does.

 In 1 Tim 5:14-15 we read

14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

Here we see that the wife is responsible to manage her household. To keep it, guide or rule her home.

In both these references the woman’s main domain is the home. That is your primary task, your primary ministry- to manage your household and to care for your husband and children - that implies - you need to be at home.

Does that means a wife cannot and must not work outside the home? What about if a husband encourages or demands his wife to work outside the home?

That is dependent on your abilities and your family. Are you efficient, effective and energetic and able to manage your home well even when working outside of the home? What are the ages of your children and the needs of your husband? 

Working outside the home with your kids at a childminder is not God’s ideal. He gave them to you to raise. 

There are examples in Scripture of women working both inside and outside of her home.

The excellent wife of Prov 31 is one example. Go and read it this afternoon.

However I think the better question to ask would be:  Why do you want to work outside your primary area of ministry? Why working outside of the home? What motivates you?

In some cases financial demands are such that the wife needs to work as well.   This is rarely a purely financial reason; it is more often than not a lifestyle issue. “Keeping up with the Jones’”

To leave your children to surrogate parents or childminders so you can pursue a career is not fulfilling your primary ministry role as a wife and mother.

                      Another question to consider is: If making ends meet is not the issue or your children are in school or out of the home already and if your husband does not require your help in some way, is that the best use of your gifts, abilities and availability?

Who could benefit from your gifts, abilities and availability, from your ministry as an effective homemaker?

If God is your first priority, your husband and children your second priority then what comes third on your list? May I suggest a third, a great need in the church. There is an immense need for the help and example of mature female believers? A disciplers in the church. If you feel ill equipped for such a role - Is it not better to use the time available to you to equip yourself in order to disciple another sister in the Lord.

                      Tit 2:3-5 instructs women to disciple others - older women were instructed to be examples of godliness to younger women and to help them grow in their faith and their primary ministry. Why? So that the word of God may not be reviled – Tit 2:5 or “not to give the enemy an occasion to slander of blaspheme” 1 Tim5: 14. Instead of allowing the culture of that time which was very much influenced by radical feminism - as ours is today - to infiltrate and influence the church -Your ministry at home, making your home a haven for your husband and kids is a testimony to the world. It affirms the word of God as sufficient for life and godliness. So when you seek to work outside the home – and there are no financial or other pressures forcing you to enter the workplace- remember – your primary responsibility is first your home and secondly seek opporunities to disciple other women – that does not only mean providing physical help – by watching the kids for an afternoon – sure it includes all the practical helps – but it is more than that – seek to disciple - to teach them how to love their husband & children, to be selfcontrolled, pure and kind, teach them what it means to be submissive to their own husbands. Did you have a person like that in your life?

If you feel unequipped then use your free time now to prepare yourself- study God’s Word. May I encourage you to be sucha blessing to others.

                      Your first responsibility as a wife is to love your husband – because God commands you to and because you were given to him by God, as a helpmate.

Your second responsibility:

Wives Submit to Your Husband

 

Eph 5: 22-24  22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

 

Context – Eph 1-3 – what you possess in Christ; Eph 4-6 – how should you then live in light of 1-3. Just before our passage a command is given - to be Spirit filled.

Eph 5:18 - Be filled with the Spirit – this is the command which govern the section following it.

We understand that being filled with the Spirit is not getting more of the Spirit – Remember the Spirit is the second …. Person of the Godhead - He is not a force, you either have the Spirit or you don’t. SO to be Spirit filled communicates to be Spirit controlled. Be controlled by the Holy Spirit and to be Spirit controlled mean to be obedient to God and His Word.

In a parallel passage in Col 3:16 – we read “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.. teaching, admonishing one another …” the same as in Eph 5:19-20.

Verse 21 instruct us to submit to one another and then he expounded on what that looks like- Wives submit to your own husbands

So to the extent that you are Spirit filled, Spirit controlled and therefore Word directed, to that extent would you submit or subject yourself to your own husbands.

What does it mean to submit?

It literally means to put or place or arrange your self under something or some one.

What does it means for a wife to submit, to place herself under her own husband? Wives have to place themselves under the headship of her own husband. Our text give us a few insights as to how – First

V           Submission is a spiritual matter: It is an act of worship- worship of the Lord

“Submit to your own husbands as unto the Lord.” It is a spiritual matter

  • The manner in which you submit – as unto the Lord.                                      It is a matter of obedience. Obedience rendered to Christ, the One who died for you. To submit to your husband is to obey Christ who gave him his position a head of the wife. When you bowed the knee and accepted Christ as your Saviour, you also accepted Him as your Lord. If you love Him, you will obey Him. SO this is not an optional extra that I can opt out of.  Obey the Lord by submitting to your husband’s headship. As we saw during the past couple of weeks – husbands the more you are like Christ – the easier and more likely your wife will submit to you- why for she knows you genuinely love her, care for her, have her best interest on our heart. But first of all wives have to submit to their husbands – as an act of worship – in obedience to the Lord.
  • The model is the Church – as the church is subject to Christ.  How does the church submit to Christ – wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, sincerely and voluntarily. Not out of coldhearted obedience and conviction, but out of love for the Savior. Wives model the church in your submission to your husband.

Sadly many Churches are not submitting to the Lord, why do I say that – because they do not hold His Word in high regard. They choose what to obey and what to leave behind – they have become eclectic in their obedience. I am not asking you wives to follow that model. Follow the true bride of Christ as example.

  • The means to submit – by the Spirit – You need to be filled with the Spirit. To be yielded to the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God to the glory of God. To be Spirit controlled. Without being Spirit filled you will not be able to willingly submit to your husbands. That is the long and the short of it. It is a spiritual matter and it is accomplish through the Spirit – not human endeavor

Ii     Submission is a personal & volitional matter:  In Submitting you willfully place yourself under your own husband’s headship. Not every man’s authority but your own husbands. It is something that you as a wife do - It does not happen by itself, it is an act of your will. Husbands it is also good to note it does not say – Husbands make your wives submit – It is a command directed to your wife and she must personally choose to obey it – remember it is a spiritual matter first.

  • A Word for our young ladies who will get married in the near future. When you decide to get married that is what you are choosing to do. When a young suitor come knocking – ask yourself – is this man’s character, his decision-making, his habits such that I will deliberately and purposefully place myself under his headship.
  • It’s not just his nice smile, strong arms and the fact that he makes me laugh. You choose to submit to his headship when you say I do. That decision is best made before you are emotionally involved – that is another message.

V           Submission is a comprehensive matter –our text says “as to the Lord “ and  “in everything.” That does not mean in absolutely everything. We have to remember that Submission is a spiritual matter, so you obey your Lord Jesus Christ before anything or anyone else.

  • The Apostles refuse to submit to the commands of the Jewish leaders not to preach the gospel – We must obey God rather than man - Acts 5:29
  • The midwives in Egypt refused to kill all the male babies on the command of Pharaoh – Ex 1:17
  • Sadrach, Mesach and Abadnego – refuse to bow before the idol of Nebuchadnezzar – Dan 3
  • Sarah should not have follow in Abraham’s plan to lie to Pharaoh – saying she was his sister,
  • Sapphira should not have conspired with Ananias to lie to Spirit of the Lord.

So wives should refuse to submit to her husband if he asks her to disobey the Word of God – eg. Forbid you to attend church meetings Heb 10: 25; forbid you to teach your kids about God  Prov 6:1-4, Ask you to commit immorality – 1 Cor 6:20, Ask you to lie or cheat Eph 4:25; Ask you to cover up for him Eph 5:11-12; or to violate your conscience (Rom14). You should not submit to your husband – if he asks you to sin.

While I am at it – there are a few other things submission does not mean.

V           Submission is not based on the wife’s inferiority of the husband – we talked about that before – God made husband and wife equal but different

V           Submission does not mean your husband is infallible. I know you thought of him that way on your wedding day – but probably by now you have been rudely awakened – He is flawed, he is human, he does not always get it right - that’s why God gave you to him – to help him.

V           Submission is not an excuse to ignorance. Independent thought is crucial to a marriage, intellectual stagnation is crippling. Your husband’s headship does not mean you are not involved with decisions. Bless your husbands with your views and insights. Nor does it mean that you are not allowed to influence him. If you disagree with a decision he came to, submission does not mean you cannot appeal to him to reconsider- doing it in the right attitude out of the right motives and not repeating your appeal. In other words don’t nag your husband to death. If you have raised your concerns and he still considers his decision to be the right one – then submit to it.

V            The same is true about your gifts and abilities – submission does not give you permission to sin by burying your gifts or letting them lie dormant. They were given you to edify the body of Christ – the church and it starts at home.

V           Lastly – Submission is not an excuse to idolatry – How? When you husband becomes more important to you than the Lord - you may smile at that – in very subtle ways some wives start to idolize their husbands. They see him as the one with all the answers, the one who provides, the one who protects – all the things a husband is called to do – But remember the Lord – He is the one we worship. He is the most important person in your life, then your husband - 1Jn 5:21 – guard yourself against idols

Wives respect your husband

Wives your responsibilities are to love your Husband, to submit to his headship and thirdly to respect your husband

Eph 5: 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband

Wives you are to respect your husband – this draws back on verse 22&23  “as unto the Lord” and as “the church submits to the Lord.” This also assumes the husband will love his wife as Christ loves His church.

Respect comes for the word phobos – fear – that has a range of meanings depending on the sentence construction and context as anything from abject terror to reverential awe and worship. Here is has the meaning of respect or reverence. We know the church loves the Lord, and that love is expressed in obedience and reverence. SO likewise – wives are to love their husbands and express their love to them through their submission to him and respect of him.

You may say I just don’t respect him. My husband is not worthy of respect. He is not loving and he does not act as a godly husband.

Remember again 1 Pet 3: 1-2 “even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”

When you show respect you are obedient to God. Submission to an unworthy husband is similar to submission to a military rank. You may not respect the person holding the rank, but you respect the rank – the position, the office the authority. Wives are to respect the office – the headship of her husband even if she finds it hard to respect him as a person at this time                                                                                                   SO show him respect in:                                                                                                 In the way you speak to him and about him

In the way you make suggestions and offer advise

In the way you bring correction when he sins and neglect his responsibilities – Yes wives you are a sister in Christ to your husband – if he sins, you need to point him to the Lord. Do it gently and lovingly with kindness -  Prov 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue

Wives Respect your husbands, submit to them and love them. That is your responsibility in marriage 

Let me end with a strong warning to all both husbands and wives.

God’s commands in regards to how you are to relate to one another in marriage – is very clear. That is His Word on the subject

The prince of this world, the world system and your sinful flesh will tempt you to doubt that Word.  Whenever you hear, the sweet talk of temptation.

Remember Lot’s wife – Lk 17:32

Jesus teaching in the context of his second coming gave this very short, concise and very pointed warning to his disciples – He said – “Remember Lot’s wife”

Lot and his family were fleeing from Sodom, that heinously corrupt and depraved city. They fled for their lives being graciously forewarned of the imminent judgment of God’s wrath which was to fall on that city – They were warned by the angels - to flee and not look back or to stop – Yet Lot’s wife following behind him looked back and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s wife was judged in the moment of her sin. How gracious is the Lord. He is amazingly patient, not judging us in the moment of our sin. Lot’s wife looked back – why? There could be many reasons-  

But let me propose one. She was enamored with that city, its ways, it’s progessiveness, it’s freedom and it’s liberal attitudes - she longed after the ways of that city, the ways of this world. She so wanted to have one last glimpse of it – So she deliberately disobeyed a clear command from God – and was judged in the moment of her sin.

People of God- may that strike fear in your hearts as it does in my.                

Husbands the next time you act unlovingly towards your wife - remember Lot’s wife.The next time you are passive or timid, too lazy or too indifferent to lead your family – remember Lot’s wife. The next time you lord it over your wife, remember Lot’s wife.  

Wives – remember Lot’s wife when the world lies to you about what it is to be happy and content – what it means to be fulfilled.

Remember Lot’s wife when you can’t bring yourself to love your husband, when you refuse to submit to his leadership and when you speak and act with disrespect towards your husband – Remember Lot’s wife.

Then fall on your knees and confess your sin against the One who saved you and made you His own and pray for the love of God, the strength of the Spirit and the fortitude to follow Christ and be the husband, the wife God calls you to be!

 

Let’s pray

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