Week 11 – Colossians 3:18-4:1 “Life at Home, according to The Lord”

God is a God of order and wonder. He is a God who brings our chaos back into order. Our homes are no exception. He has a divine desire over our homes, as believers, and Paul gives straight-forward answers to how life is to run at home, according to the Lord.

What we studied in all of Colossians 3 thus far is THE PERFECT set-up for how households should run in the faith! Do you remember discussing how we are to put off the old self and put on the new self?

Back in April of 2014, we had a women’s prayer meeting at my church.  My assignment was to pray for families.  I had just begun my study of Colossians then, and the Lord laid Colossians 3:12-16 on my heart to pray for families.

You remember, it tells us to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bear with one another, forgive and love so that you will be bound together in perfect harmony. Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, be thankful, let God’s Word dwell in you richly, teach & admonish one another with singing with thankful hearts to God, and do everything as though you represent Christ Jesus.  What I did not realize at the time I was praying these scriptures over families was that the very next verses are instructions for Christian households!  God’s order is perfect and beautiful and He knows how to instruct us in ways that are for our good.

Here are your notes and homework for this week:  Col PN 3.18-4.1

Here in our scriptures today starting in Colossians 3:18, Paul goes directly to men and women as it relates to marriage. Marriage is the representation on earth as our heavenly relationship is with God.  He, in all His infinite God-ness chose to call us, as the body of Christ, also the Bride of Christ.

Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

Let’s look closely at the husband and wife relationship and the divine order in which God instructs us to live.

1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

Husbands and wives are a picture of the unity and diversity that is found in the Trinity.

Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology) says of marriage, “

We see, not a trinity as with God, but at least a remarkable unity of two persons, persons who remain distinct individuals yet also become one in body, mind and spirit.

God’s word tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31 that the two shall become one flesh.  Men and women have distinct and different roles yet equal in value.  We see this unity among the Trinity exemplified when Jesus speaking in John 16: 12-15:

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

I love how within the Godhead, 3 in 1, there is beautiful and perfect unity.   3 distinct persons, 3 distinct roles, 1 in unity.

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 NLT

For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.)  Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.

Col 3:18

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

  1. It is fitting in the Lord for a wife to submit under her husband. (Col 3:18)

The ESV Global Study Bible notes,

It was typical in Roman households to tell wives to “obey.” Paul appeals to them to submit, based on his conviction that men have a God-given leadership role in the family. However, Paul is not simply telling wives to follow the cultural patterns of the day; he tells them to live as is fitting in the Lord.

The word used here for “submit” in the Greek is primarily a military term which means:  to rank under; to be in subjection to; submitting yourself

I want to appeal to you about the place of  submission:

  • It is a place of protection
  • It is a place of support
  • It is a place of help
  • It is a place of partnership
  • It is a place of good order & effectiveness

We have all of these things when a military operation is in effect. We are called not to exist as families who follow Christ; we are called to battle. If we want to be effective at winning the world for Jesus we must be unified as the body of Christ, and under that heading we must be unified within the family. God did not leave us to wonder how we can be unified within the family. He, through Paul’s words to the Colossians, tells us exactly how in these verses!

So, let’s take a look back in Genesis at how this all began…

Read Genesis 2:16-25, 3:1-7

Eve was not there when God gave the commandment about the tree ; she was created after He told Adam the rules (Genesis 2:16-18). So, in order to sin, Eve had to:

  1. Doubt her husband
  2. Doubt God

Because of temptation of beauty, taste for food, desire for more wisdom and knowledge of good and EVIL (up to this point there was no evil, up to this encounter she had never ever been exposed to evil, yet it lured her in), she left the protective covering of her husband and God. She was lured into believing she could take authority that she had no business carrying.  And it was for her destruction, and it was for Adam’s destruction, and it was for our destruction.

3 things about Adam’s role:

  1. He did not love his wife enough to protect her from the lies of the enemy
  2. He did not love his wife enough to defend her against the enemy
  3. He listened to his voice of his wife above the voice of God

Adam sat back in the submissive role and allowed Eve to take the leadership role, and  we have been reaping the destruction of this fall ever since.  When we defy God’s authority, when we leave His boundaries of order and protection, we then spiral headlong into chaos.  Chaos is what you and I witness in families daily as we interact in this fallen world.  God’s ways bring chaos back into order!  Praise His Name!

Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 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.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

1 Peter 3:1-2 Amplified Bible

In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

Hear me when I say this: This message is COUNTER-CULTURAL. If you want to live according to God’s Word, the world around will not understand it. This verse contains so much of my testimony of how God has changed me and made this such a beautiful reality in my life and in my marriage. But, as we get ready to celebrate 7 years of marriage in July, I will tell you that I did not always respect or defer to my husband. I was infected with a disease that slowly crept its way into my psyche as a church-going and Jesus-professing young woman.

This idea of feminism has plagued and infected our society so severely that, as women today, we have to literally THROW AWAY everything we’ve been taught from our culture about how men and women relate to one another, especially in dating and marriage.

It’s this super-weird dichotomy created where we are so insecure and so deprived of Godly leadership in our homes that little girls are dying to have the attention of men.  AND, at the very same time, we are raised to desire to rule over men and take charge of our own lives/careers/finances, etc. in order to prove we don’t need them!

We want them to notice us and desire us, and we are taught by our culture to use the power and influence we have (typically sexual in nature) so that we can rule over them.

I know all this because I lived this reality for 28 years. God flat-out wrecked me in October of 2010. Leading up to a conference called True Woman, where I had been partnering with the Revive our Hearts ministry who put on the conference. I had been fervently praying Isaiah 6, that the women who came to True Woman would so encounter the Lord’s glory that it would change everything. I asked the Lord to fill the Ft. Worth Convention Center with the train of His robe, that all who needed healing in any way would have to do nothing more than reach out and touch the hem of His robe. I prayed for such a mighty move of God that women would be marked forever by their encounter with Him. That we would be changed because we see Him as He is.

Oh He did it, alright!

And I was the one who received 100 fold of everything I had prayed.

I heard Mary Kassian speak about true womanhood according to the Bible and how vast a chasm separated that from the feministic culture in which I was raised. I could not stand or even sit with the weight of what God showed me that night. Her message included a story of a girl who could easily have been me she described. I had the same stry. She might as well have said, in that group of 8000+ women, “Hey, Sharla Robertson, I’m going to tell your story – but I’ll change the name to protect your privacy.” It did not feel like she protected my privacy. But, I was exposed.

And, though I know I would have died had my God not held back the fullness of His glory; it felt like the fullness was upon me and I was undone. As soon as she called for a time of confession and prayer at the end; I ran to the prayer room. When I got to the 3rd row of chairs from the back I fell to the floor and wept. I was not a big crier before then, and I was definitely not super emotional – just cool, calm, in control, that was me.

And He wrecked my pride that night.

And He wrecked my coolness.

And He wrecked my wretched desire to rule over my husband.

And He wrecked my driven-ness to be successful according to this world.

I encountered the One True God, and though I had known who He was all my life, I had received Him as my Savior at age 9, I had read my bible and wanted to love Him more and desired to serve Him…it had ALL been tainted by a very skewed view of what I thought my life was about or should be about. Really, honestly it was still all about me. Jesus was for me, and I was for Him being for me.

After that night at True Woman ’10, I was now for Jesus. Period. And I was different. I was ready to obey Him for real now. I was ready to take up my cross and follow Him. And my life for the past 5.5 years has been excessively blessed because He did not leave me in my wrongness and filth. He made me new.

I’m convinced that Colossians 3:19 will not make sense to any American woman until she has a right view of herself in view of a Holy God.

When we see Him as He is -> We then see ourselves as we should.

We then trust His ways are right, and it becomes our joy to do what is fitting in the Lord.

Col 3:19 

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

  1. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Col 3:19)

Growing up, all I had seen modeled in my home was a husband who was harsh with his wife. I am so glad for a redeeming God who is the most brilliantly perfect Bridegroom. No matter what you have experienced, no matter what horrible human example has infected your belief about marriage or how a husband should treat his wife, your God and my God can redeem your heart and your mind with the truth.

The ESV Global Study Bible says,

Violence, threats, and unkind words are not acceptable in the Christian household.

Ephesians 5:25-33

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Jesus is the perfect husband.   We’re going to study this in Day 1 of our homework. I love how husbands need look no further than our Savior to find out how God wants wives loved in the home of the Believer. He cares deeply about how his children dwell together.

Col 3:20 

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

  1. It pleases the Lord for Children to obey their parents in everything (col 3:20)

The Greek word used here for OBEY is: “to listen, attend” and so “to be obedient”; harken to a command.

This is a completely different word than is used for wives. Submitting implies a willful act of placing oneself under authority; with children and parents they are under the authority and are to act accordingly by listening and being obedient to what they hear.

Ephesians 6:1-3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ref. Exodus 20:12)

As children, it is for our good to obey our parents. Rebellion brings destruction in families. God’s ways are right!

Col 3:21 

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged

  1. Fathers can either instill courage into or discourage their children (Col 3:21)

Have you ever seen this played out in real life? Sons whose father cannot be pleased will spend their life trying to be exactly like their father in order to gain approval.  Daughters who feel their Dads do not connect or are emotionally absent will end up rebelling and seeking comfort with other men in destructive ways.

The ESV Global Study Bible:

A father’s negative emotions and actions can cause a child to be discouraged.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

God’s word says instead for Fathers to bring their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, instead of discouraging them. Give them what they need, encourage them in the Lord!

Col 3:22 

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

  1. Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with sincere hearts, fearing the Lord. (Col 3:22)

The idea of being a bondservant in our day is quite a foreign thing to us as Americans. We have seen the horrors of hurt and anguish plaguing the human race since the days of true slavery in the U.S. You and I witness, all too often, different people groups carrying scars and very serious wounds from generations ago, for their kinsmen who were mistreated in the worst of ways. The Bible absolutely speaks against human trafficking and slavery in 1 Timothy 1:10.

But, we can apply the principles in Colossians 3:22-4:1 to the employer-employee relationships in our lives today. Listen to the historical context in which bondservants worked in the 1st century when Paul is writing.

Notes from 1 Corinthians 7:21 in the ESV study bible:

Being a bondservant in NT times was different from the institution of slavery in North America during the 17th-19th centuries. Slaves (bondservants, servants) generally were permitted to work for pay and to save enough to buy their freedom (Matt 25:15 where the “servants” were entrusted with immense amounts of $ and responsibility). The NT assumes that trafficking in human beings is a sin (1 Tim 1:10, Rev 18:11-13), and Paul urges Christian bondservants who can gain…freedom to do so . The released bondservant to officially designated a “freedman” and frequently continued to work for his form master.

 And now, notes from Ephesians 6:5, in the same ESV Study Bible:

It is estimated that slaves (or bondservants) composed about 1/3 of the population of a city like Ephesus. They were considered part of a family, so Paul’s instructions for bondservants were a natural part of his dealing with family relationships. Paul does not endorse the existing system of servitude. Instead, he provides instructions to believing masters and bondservants regarding their relationship to each other in the Lord, and how this should be lived out within the bounds of their social and legal culture. The principles in this passage apply today in terms of submission to any lawful authority, unless it requires a believer to disobey God’s Word or to fundamentally compromise one’s commitment to Christ (Acts 4:19,20) with a sincere heart. Fulfilling one’s obligations is service to the Lord (Eph 6:6-7)

Eph 6:5-9 is the parallel section to Colossians 3 on bondservants and masters:

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,  not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

The next verses in Colossians 3 tie this all together.  What I want us to be aware of is that we will undoubtedly encounter difficult people in dealing with family, friends, strangers, church members, and co-workers.  As we deal with people, whomever they are, we are to understand that God expects our sincerity of heart;  He expects us to do good to all people.

Colossians 3:23-25 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. Work for the Lord, not for men.   He is the one who can truly reward you. You reap what you sew, so serve the Lord. (Col 3:23-25)

We studied v.17 of Colossians 3 last week:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, let’s take look at Revelation 22:12-14,

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

In Day 4 homework, we’ll discuss what we actually all deserve and how much Grace God gives in that He does NOT give us what we deserve when we are in Christ Jesus.

God does not respect masters more than bondservants.  He does not play favorites.  He prefers not the husband over the wife or the children over the parents.  We all have distinct and different roles we are called to, yet we are all equal in value to the Father.  Our God judges our hearts.  He is the One who either rewards us for what is right in our lives and allows us to reap what we sew if we do wrong.

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Do not grow weary in doing good to your spouse.  Do not grow weary in doing good to your employer or employees, your mother, your cousin, your brothers and sisters in Christ, or your friends.  And in the same way, we know that God tells us to do good to those who do not believe!  We are to do good to all people, even our enemies, because in ALL things and in ALL relationships, when we are in Christ – we represent Him.

Colossians 4:1

Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

  1. If you are in charge, be just and fair, knowing you have a Master in Heaven who is in charge of you. (Col 4:1)

Our parallel verse in Ephesians 6:9

Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

If you hold a leadership position in any capacity, it is your responsibility to act justly and fairly to those subject to your decision-making. It is a privilege to have a leadership role; we should treat it accordingly.

There is a phenomenal segment of God’s Word where Jesus is teaching in Luke 12:35-48.  If you have the opportunity to follow-up with reading it today, I assure you it will be well worth it.  It ties these concepts we’ve discussed today up brilliantly, as only Jesus can.  We will end our time today with Luke 12:48b:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Our homes are to be places of refuge and unity, effective ministry and joy; places where we work out this faith that God has called us to.  Remember that the reality we live in today is a mere shadow of the things to come.  Regard the Lord in your distinct role in your home, whomever you are and wherever you are.  You are valuable to Him.  It will be for your good and the good of everyone around you.  As you enter this time of worship, I pray the Lord, who is the only King Who would ever love us enough to leave His throne, will reveal His beautiful design to you today!

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