Right RelationshipsSeptember 6, 2020 / Colossians 3:18-4:1
RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS Colossians 3:18-4:1
- THE ROLE IN THESE RELATIONSHIPS
- THE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THESE RELATIONSHIPS
- THE REWARD FROM THESE RELATIONSHIPS
When I was in seminary, my favorite professor was Dr. Oscar Thompson who taught evangelism. He would often say, “The most important word in the English language apart from the personal pronoun is the word Relationship.
Paul had given some practical applications to the believers at Colossae. We have gleaned help from these applications but now Paul makes it very personal. He touches on three relationships that would be in the home in that day–the marital relationship, the parental relationship, and the vocational relationship. There is husband and wife, parent and child, and master and slave. This is where the rubber meets the road. The first institution God founded was the home according to Genesis 2:18-25… He created and established the home before he established government or the church.
- THE ROLE IN THESE RELATIONSHIPS
You ought to write Ephesians 5:22-6:9 above this passage because Paul expounds on this even more in Ephesians. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. God has a role in the family. Why didn’t he say the woman is the head and not the man? I don’t know but I am just reporting what He says. This has nothing to do with inferiority. If you know anything about theology you know Jesus is not inferior to God the Father. Matter of fact a woman is superior to a man in being a woman. A man is superior to a woman in being a man. There are roles in the marriage. Dr. Rogers would say, “Anything with no head is chaos and anything with two heads is a freak.” In gender, in men and women there is equality. This is from the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. It is not a creed, but it is a doctrinal statement that we as Southern Baptist affirm.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
In the last couple of years there have been 2 words that I have had to familiarize myself with because of their usage in Southern Baptist life. One is the word complementarianism and the other is the word egalitarianism. Complementarianism is the teaching that masculinity and femininity are ordained by God and that men and women are created to complement or complete each other. Complementarians believe that the gender roles found in the Bible are purposeful and meaningful distinctions that, when applied in the home and church, promote the spiritual health of both men and women. Embracing the divinely ordained roles of men and women furthers the ministry of God’s people and allows men and women to reach their God-given potential. Equality between a man and a woman–yet there are differing roles.
There is a liberal element in our SBC that pushes what is called Egalitarianism. The opposing view is egalitarianism which teaches that, in Christ, there are no gender distinctions anymore. This idea comes from Galatians 3:28. Because all believers are one in Christ, egalitarians say men’s and women’s roles are interchangeable in church leadership and in the household. Egalitarianism sees gender distinctions as a result of the Fall and Christ’s redemption as removing those distinctions, bringing unity. This is a view that Beth Moore would hold. Beth Moore said in a Caring Well Conference in October 2019 in Dallas, Texas.
To put things succinctly, Moore uses an analogy: “If complementarianism were a woman, that woman is being abused and somebody needs to call the police and start an investigation.” She and others that have that view would say it is just as Scriptural for a woman to Pastor a Church as a man. If that is true then tear 1 Timothy 3 out of your Bible where it says a Pastor is to be the husband of one wife. Unless it is a relationship that Romans 1 says is one in which the truth of God is exchanged for a lie natural use is exchanged for that which is against nature.
What are we saying, we are one in Christ. There is not superiority or inferiority, just differing roles in order that Christ may be glorified.
What about in the parental/child relationship. Someone has well said, “The husband is the head of the home, the wife is the heart of the home and the children are the happiness in the home. The Psalmist says in Psalm 127… What is the role of the parents–to govern and to guide.
ILLUS: Many years ago a small Jewish boy asked his father, “Why must we surrender our Jewish faith and start to attend Lutheran services here in Germany? The father replied, “Son, we must abandon our faith so that people will accept us and support our business adventures.” The young lad never got over his disappointment and bitterness. His faith in his father and in his religion was crushed. When the lad left Germany, he went to England to study at the British Museum where he formed his philosophies for life. From those intensive investigations he wrote a book that changed the world called, “The Communist Manifesto.” From that book 1/3 of the world fell under the spell of Marxist-lenist ideology. The name of that little boy was Karl Marx. (ILLUS. on Parenting)
We guide and we govern when children are in the home by our talk and our walk. While they are in the home, you are in a management role and when they leave home you move from being a manager to a consultant. We get frustrated when they do not want our consultation.
If the role of the parent is to guide, then the role of the child is to abide. To live in that home and not be a problem.
ILLUS: A little boy got mad at his dad and grabbed his piggy bank and was going to run away. The father thought he would mess with him and said, “What are you going to do when you get hungry?” He said he would come home and let mommy feed him. He was asked what he would do when his clothes got dirty and he responded that he would come home and mommy would wash them. He asked him what he would do when he ran out of money. He responded he would come home and his mommy would give him money. The father said, “You are not running away, you are going off to college.” (Illus. under Children)
He then moves to the vocational relationship. Now you say, Wait a minute, Preacher, this is slavery isn’t it? Yes. The word ‘servants’ in verse 22 could be translated slaves. Slaves, obey in all things your masters. Now wait a minute, Preacher, do you mean Paul was approving slavery? No, Paul was not approving slavery. Well then why wasn’t Paul out in the streets marching against the institution of slavery? I’ll tell you why. Paul’s primary responsibility was to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ but in the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ were the seeds that would eliminate the very institution of slavery. What Paul did is he came into the Roman world, he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ and in so doing he stripped the tree of slavery, he stripped the bark off the tree of slavery and left it to rot. Now, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the only way you ever make social change in this world is you do it by the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that liberates and sets people free and causes people to do that which is right and honest in the sight of God toward all men. That’s what changes social institutions. You don’t do it by force. You don’t make people do anything; you change them in their hearts.
The Employer and the Employee each have a role. Paul says in Colossians 3:23, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
What the Scripture teaches in any and all of these relationships, is equality but different roles in each of these relationships.
- THE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THESE RELATIONSHIPS
We start with what Paul starts with in Colossians and in Ephesians. Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:22) Paul almost says the same words to the church at Colossae. The word submit is a military word that means to rank under. This is when the hackles come out. Submission does not mean inferiority. 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Jesus says in John 10:30, I and the Father are One. Jesus says in John 14:9, He who has seen me has seen the Father. Philippians 2:5-7 says, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant. Biblical Submission is “one equal willingly and lovingly place themselves under the authority of another equal in order that Christ may be glorified.”
ILLUS: Don Drysdale, the Baseball Hall of Famer who pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, died of a massive heart attack on July 3, 1993. I read an article about his wife, Ann Meyers, who herself is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The story told about the challenges she was facing in raising 3 children. She said this about Don Drysdale. “He was so easygoing and so warm. He had values and principles that he never wavered from. He treated everyone the same way – celebrities, neighbors, bell-hops and waiters with respect. He never considered a person’s rank. When I read that, I thought that is submission fleshed out. Though I don’t know what his relationship with the Lord was, he fleshed out the principle of submission. (Illus. under Submission)
Paul further describes the relationship of the wife to the husband and the relationship of the church to Christ. Ephesians 5:24, Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
The responsibility of the husband is to love your wives as said in Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians says, Husbands love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Don’t be harsh with them. The husband is compared to Christ and His relationship with the Church. How is the husband to love the wife?
- Love Her Selflessly (v.25) – Not selfishly in getting what you can out of the relationship. The wife should be taken into consideration to every decision made.
- Love Her Sacrificially (v.25) – Every home needs 2 funerals and a marriage. A dying to self.
- Love Her Sanctifyingly (vs. 26-28) – The husband is to place his wife in the best position for spiritual growth.
- Love Her Satisfyingly (v.28-29) – You may hate at times what you do but you do love yourself. When you are hungry you want food. When you are thirsty you want something to drink. When your body is tired you desire rest.
- Love Her Supremely (vs. 30-31) – There is no earthly relationship spoken of in this way.
ILLUS: A man came to his pastor and said I feel so guilty, I think I love my wife too much. The pastor said, “God’s Word says you are to love your wife as Christ loved the church, do you love her that much?” The man said, “No I am afraid I don’t.” You had better repent that you don’t love her enough. (Illus. under Marriage)
Do you see how it is easy for a wife to submit to a husband that loves her in this way?
We move to the parental/child relationship. For the child the two “go to” passages is Colossians 3:20 & Ephesians 6:1-2… Obey and Honor. Obviously if you are asked to do something that is out of line with Scripture, we stand on Acts 5:29 which says, We ought to obey God rather than men. The responsibility of the parent is directed toward the father but would include the mother as well. The parents are to give:
- Devotion – Colossians 3:21 says… We owe them love
- Discipline – You have to find out what works with a child.
- Direction – Don’t frustrate them with an inconsistent example.
Next is the Vocational Relationship. We would apply it to the employer/employee relationship. To the Employee he says in verses 22-25… Eye service is only working when the boss is looking.
ILLUS: Three guys are fishing on a lake when an angel appears in the boat with them. The first guy gets over his shock and humbly says to the angel, “I’ve suffered from back pain for years. Is it too much to ask that you help me?” The angel touches the man’s back, and he feels instant relief.
The second guy points to his Coke-bottle glasses and asks if the angel could cure his poor eyesight. The angel tosses the man’s glasses into the lake. When they hit the water, the man’s vision clears, and he can see everything distinctly.
The angel now turns to the third guy, who throws up his hands in fear. “Don’t touch me!” he cries. “I’m on disability!” (Illus. under Work)
Paul puts dignity in the work because he says in verse 23… and v. 24 b. He then turns to the Employer and says you have a responsibility because you have a master in Heaven.
- THE REWARD FROM THESE RELATIONSHIPS
- Marital Relationships – When a husband and wife fulfill their God given responsibility, they picture the relationship of Christ and the Church. There is the blessing of God on that relationship.
- Parental Relationships – Colossians 3:20 and I think it is inferred this is for parent and child. It is well pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-3 says… To children he says if you want to be good to yourself, follow his dictates.
- Vocational Relationships– God will reward the role that is followed biblically.