God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (1)
1. Since Ephesians 4:17, Paul has been exhorting us to live distinctly as Christians, and not like the world. In the section we just finished studying, Ephesians 5:5-21, he’s emphasized four reasons or motivations or incentives for our pursuit of holiness, our quest for godliness.
2. Last week, we came to the end of that section, in Ephesians 5:18-21. Paul’s final appeal to us to live the Christian life in this passage (rounding out  the anticipation of the final judgment;  our new identity in Christ; and  wisdom) is based upon the reality of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer, indeed upon the filling of the believer by the Holy Spirit.
3. In fact, we said that there is no factor more important in our quest for godliness than the filling of the Holy Spirit. Note: by filling of the Spirit, I take Paul to be referring here (in Ephesians 5:18b) to an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all believers, which has the effect of assuring and maturing, forming character, making the heart a suitable habitation for Christ, and producing Spiritual fruit. Paul wants and expects all believers to experience this ongoing filling, to long for it and to depend on it.
Outline/Diagram of the argument of Ephesians 5:18-21
I. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation,
II. but be filled with the Spirit,
A. 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
B. singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
C. 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God . . .
D. 21 and be subject to one another [or, better, subjecting yourselves] in the fear of Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 "and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."
I. The Consequence of the filling of the Spirit -- mutual subjection
[Living by the Spirit’s maturing influence involves/entails mutual subjection]
II. The Content of mutual subjection
[Self-denying, other-serving subjection/committing to the service of others]
21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
III. The Context of mutual subjection
[This willing, mutual servitude is to be done with sheer awe/esteem/fear of the greatest Servant]