Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sermon Outline for Ephesians 5:21

God’s New Family: An Exposition of Ephesians (XLVI)
God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (1)
Ephesians 5:21

Introduction (review):
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 [1] the anticipation of the final judgment; [2] our new identity in Christ; and [3] 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.
4. Now, in Ephesians 5:18, in addition to Paul’s imperative that we be filled with the Spirit, there were five participles following in 19-21, in which Paul describes the effects of the filling of the Spirit: (1) speaking, (2) singing, (3) making melody, (4) giving thanks and (5) being subject (or submitting) to one another. Today, we are going to concentrate on the last participle, and the last verse in this section, in paving the way for a new series on a new section of Ephesians.

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.
5. Ephesians 5:21 contains the last of the five participles (Hupotassómenoi – subjecting yourselves) that Paul used to describe what a Christian who is being filled with the Spirit looks like. It also provides his segue into the discussion of husbands and wives mutual obligations and roles, as well as those of parents and children, and masters and servants. Remember how the verse goes? – "and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." We said, very quickly just at the end of the sermon, that this means that Paul expects Spirit-filled Christians (and that’s all of us, not just some special few) to manifest a self-denying, mutual submission for the purpose of mutual edification, out of reverence for Christ.
6. As we enter into a new section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-6:9), you will immediately realize that this passage deals with our household relationships from a Christian perspective. If we are God’s new community, then what should our family life look like. How are we to be different from the world? Paul tells us here. He deals with husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and servants – the sphere of the household in biblical and Mediterranean culture. The timeliness of this for us is obvious. Our culture can’t even seem to define marriage! Much less agree upon the dynamics of husband-wife marital roles and the discipline of children. Ephesians 5:21 provides us with a framework for understanding this whole section, so we are going to spend some time on it today.

Ephesians 5:21 "and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."
There is no better index of a life under the influence of the Holy Spirit, being guided by the Holy Spirit, being filled up or matured by the Holy Spirit than what Paul calls "mutual subjection."

I. The Consequence of the filling of the Spirit -- mutual subjection
Being filled with the Spirit results in our being subject to one another (18b . . .21a)
[Living by the Spirit’s maturing influence involves/entails mutual subjection]
18 be filled with the Spirit, . . . 21 and be subject to one another

II. The Content of mutual subjection
What does "Being subject to one another" mean? (21a)
[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
Q. So, how does one go about "Being subject"? A. . . . in the fear of Christ (21b)
[This willing, mutual servitude is to be done with sheer awe/esteem/fear of the greatest Servant]
21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

No comments: