Dr. Ed Young - The Dance
Today, we're talking about marriage, a foundation of marriage, and I read in 1 Corinthians Chapter 3 that Paul is talking about the foundation of the church in Corinth, and he says, "I planted," in other words, Paul planted the church. He started the church. He said, "But I left, and Apollos came, and he watered the church". He said, "But God allowed the church to grow". And so, he was talking about the church is like a garden. Somebody plants, somebody waters, and it grows, and there's the fruit. There's the productivity from it. There's always something to do in the garden, ladies and gentlemen. You have to attend to it almost every day or it gets out of hand. It's not productive. It doesn't work. That's the way it is with marriage.
So, I thought to myself, I would take, and I would compare marriage to a garden, and it is a good comparison because we have to make sure seeds are planted and make sure there's water, make sure there's nourishment there for it to grow and produce, and this is a picture of marriage. But I decided, no, there's a better picture of marriage than that. And I decided the best picture would be marriage is a dance, and this really fits perfectly in the Scripture we're going to look at. Marriage is like a dance.
Now, I wish I could stand here and tell you I know a lot about dancing, and I do not. My first girlfriend was named, what was her name? Dolores Overstreet. She broke up with me midpoint of the second grade. She never knew she was my girlfriend, so, I got off light. We never danced; but, when I was, I guess, early junior high, somebody had a birthday party, and they had it at the YWCA, and they said we were going to dance. I said, "Dance? Why would anybody want to dance"? But I decided I'd better learn, so, I went across the street. A girl there my same age, Carolyn Touchstone, I mean, she was a dancer. I knew that all of her life. She danced all the time. I said, "Carolyn, I'm going to this dance. Teach me how to dance". She said, "Oh, I can teach you in a minute".
And she taught me the most complex, confusing, multi-step. I mean, it was a tough thing to dance. She taught me the unbelievable dance called the two-step. And I got it down so fast. I said, "You know, I'm a natural dancer. I've got this thing. Boy, this is, Fred Astaire, look out. Here I come". But I went to that dance, and I didn't have a good time. They made you dance with everybody, and I think I injured a couple of little girls in the process. I'm telling you, the rhythm, I forgot the rhythm part of the two-step. But marriage is something like a dance, ladies and gentlemen. It's coordinated. It's rhythmic. In dancing, you have to have strength. You have to have balance. You have to have rhythm. You have to have tenderness.
Dancing is a very, very tremendous thing. It's a difficult thing when you're getting all the complexities of it. I know that much about it. I watched with Jo Beth most of the Olympics. We just got through the summer Olympics, and she sat there and tolerated with me. I went from the three or four Olympic channels, trying to find the one I wanted to watch. But what Jo Beth loves is the winter Olympics, and she loves, more than anything else, something called mixed paired ice skating, you know? A man and a woman, and they skate. I can't stand it. I mean, for years, I'd say, "Boy". I said, "Oh my goodness. What in the world am I watching? There may be a game on or something really, you know, something really important, like cage fighting. I've been watching," but, you know, I'm going to confess to you. I'd be flipping through, and she'd say, "Wait, wait. Oh, no, that's probably done".
We'd go back, but, you know, through the years, I'll have to confess, I watched so much of that, I've grown to appreciate it and like it. I really have. I mean, those are two tremendous athletes. I mean, the male and female, they are some kind of athletes. What they do going 90 miles an hour, spinning and turning, it is a fabulous thing. And those who are superior at it, I can't even imagine it. Man, man, the balance, the timing, the strength, the rhythm. They were doing it to music, going 100 miles an hour, flipping and turning, and it's amazing. And, on top of that, you ask the question, "Well, how do they get all that together? Everything's so coordinated".
They have to have a choreographer, and the choreographer puts everything out, every move they make, every step, every turn, every flick of the ice with their skates, every hand, everything is all choreographered, so, they work together in unity and in harmony. But a lot of us don't even know that we have a choreographer for marriage. We're just getting married and say, "Lots of luck". The reason it's so important for us not to be unequally yoked, a Biblical King James term, is that the man and the woman, the husband and the wife, need to be on the same page. How in the world can there be a dance if one dancer isn't coordinated with the other dancer and they not according to the movement, the flow, the markings of the choreographer? It can't happen. They'll end up flat on their seats. This happens in marriages.
So, I want to bring everybody up to speed as to what their choreographer would have us to do as far as dancing together in a marriage that really sings, that really grows, that really continues to be alive. It's found in the very familiar chapter, Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 15. "Therefore," said Paul, "be careful how you walk, not as unwise men and women but as wise". Or he said, "Use good sense". I'm not going too fast for anybody, am I? "So, then, do not be foolish fools, but understand what the will of the Lord is". God's will, God's plan, God's purpose is always A plus in any way you look at it. Understand that. He wants what's best for us. And then he says, "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. Be filled with the Holy Spirit". And the word, "be filled" there means let the Holy Spirit control you.
Now, you're going to discover in just a minute that the Holy Spirit is the choreographer of your marriage, but we can't get there too fast, okay? So, we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. We're in Christ. The Holy Spirit controls us. Then Paul gives us four characteristics to see, am I controlled by the Holy Spirit? Are you? Christ is in me. Christ is in you. Is the Holy Spirit running my life? Running your life? Paul says, "You can tell. They'll be speaking". You'll speak to one another. My goodness. I see somebody and say hello. For them to respond, you think I've pulled three teeth. I mean, "Hello". "Hey". Okay. It was good to see you. We're speaking. We're gregarious. We speak. We sing. We might not sing orally, but we sing in our hearts. We sing in our showers.
Man, I love to hear in the mornings, like, "This is the day. This is the day that the Lord..." I mean, it's all right to sing, folks. Make a joyful noise. "I don't sing". Yes, you do. Everybody can sing something. We speak. We sing. There's a song within us. We speak. We sing, and we're thankful. We're a thankful people. One of the real marks someone's a Christian, there's a spirit of thanksgiving, thanksgiving. And then the third mark is submission, and this 22nd verse is the key to everything that goes... Listen to this. "And be subject, submit, to one another as in the fear of Christ". Be subject. It says, "Men, be subject to women. Women, be subject to men". It says, "In the marriage relationship, that's how it operates".
And then, the word here has "hupotasso". It means to position yourself under and to position yourself under in order of rank. In other words, in marriage, a man is to position himself under his wife. In marriage, the wife is to position herself under the husband. And children, their children ought to position themself under their parents, and the parents ought to position themself under their children. In other words, he's talking about something radical and something that's brand new on the horizon in that day and still misunderstood today. The way to live a successful Christian life is in the position of being surrendered and being in subject to and being under the authority of. So, it's mutual submission. And then, Paul says, "Let me tell you, if you want to have a magnificent marriage, you've got to be under the instruction of a divine choreographer, and that's the Holy Spirit".
And then, he tells us how this divine choreographer has planned for the wife to conduct herself, principles by which she is to live by if the marriage is to soar, if it is to sail, if it is to be like a well-coordinated dance with balance, with rhythm, with strength, and with timing. Look the instructions we have for the wife. Oh, some of you women are going to be upset for about five minutes. "Wives, be subject. Submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church, he himself being the Savior of the body. But as a church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything".
What's he saying? And, by the way, go to the last verse of this section. It says another word for the wives. It says, "The wife must see to it that she respects her husband". So, the divine choreographer, the Holy Spirit, says to wives, gives clear instruction that revolves around two basic words: Submit and respect. Wives are to submit to their husbands, and they are to respect their husbands. Now, I marry couples, and many times, before the wedding, the girl will say, "You're not going to put in those vows that word about me and being submissive, are you"? And it shows how ignorant we are of the biblical understanding of what it means for a wife to be submissive. In fact, when Paul penned these words, he was politically incorrect in that day, and, as we read them, he's politically incorrect in this day in which we live. It was politically incorrect because he already said that women are to submit themself to men, and men are to submit themself to women.
That was political incorrectness because, in that day, the man controlled the wife. Why, in Greek lifestyle, many Greek men would be married 30 or 40 times, no big deal. Some would get married three times a day for a period of time. And the Jews had mimicked this, under the teaching of Hileo, one of their early teachers. He said you could divorce your wife if you didn't like the way the bagel was prepared. Got to get two other witnesses. There's always two good old boys that'll go along with that. So, divorce, separation, wives were chattel. They were non-entities in that culture, and Paul elevates the position of a wife. And today, we talk about being submissive. Wife says, "Oh, no. I'm not going to be submissive. That's not what I'm about. You know, I've got equal rights in this marriage". And we misunderstand what the word "submit" there means.
Go back to the beginning, Genesis chapter 1. Genesis 1 tells you that the world was created. In it, it says, male and female, God created these two and gave them the responsibility of having dominion, equal, male, female, have dominion, right there in Chapter 1. But in Chapter 2, by the way, Chapter 2, I think, is basically a commentary on Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, you read that God sent Paul a helper... Ooh. What happened since Chapter 1 when the wives were co-equal with the husband; in Chapter 2, now, they're helpers? We don't know that word, "helper". The word "helper" there in Hebrew is usually the word for God, Ezer. God. Whoa. So, the helper, now, is like, God is like a God, yes.
Wives, let me tell you your role the divine choreographer has given you. Do you know what your role is? You're to play the role of Jesus. Any female there upset by being given an assignment of being like Jesus in your marriage? Does that upset any wife here, any woman here? It shouldn't, and that's the assignment. Did you listen careful to the Scripture? You've got God, the Father; God, the Son; God, the Holy Spirit. They are co-equal. One is not superior to the other. One praises, and this is that wonderful dance, that wonderful dance of the Trinity, and, by the way, you read in the last verse of this chapter, it says, "Marriage is a great mystery". And it certainly is, isn't it? As is the relationship of Christ and the church. It is a mystery. So, you see the divine dance there. Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Now, watch this. When Jesus was on this earth, what was his relationship with the Father? It was one of submission because he had a ministry on their earth. What did Jesus seek? The will of the Father. And therefore, it is the will of the Father in that particular manifestation of himself on earth that Jesus carried out. Jesus was so concerned about what? Being in step with his Father. "Not my will but thy will be done". He was on a mission. That was his role. Does it mean that Jesus was inferior to the Father? Absolutely not. That was just his role. Philippians 2, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, made himself no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, humbled himself, was obedient under the cross, which was God's will; therefore, God has highly exalted him".
You see what I'm saying? The wife in this divine manifestation of purpose and marriage, in the dance of marriage, is to be Jesus in a sense of being submissive to the husband, who plays the role of the father, who has that responsible role there, the leadership role there. The greatest thing America needs in the family is for the men to become spiritual leaders in the home. Period. Selah.
Now, let me do some meddling by asking a few questions about leadership in your family. Who handles the money in your home? Doesn't mean who writes the checks, but who makes the big financial decisions in your home? First question. Second question: The father and mother are present. Both are there. Who disciplines the children? Hello? Third question: Who makes plans in advance for the family and thinks ahead about what you could do or who does that kind of advanced planning in the home? Who is that? You've got a problem in the home and the marriage. Who asks those big, bottom line questions? Who does that? Answer those three, four, questions, and you've found the person who is the leader in the home. And the problem is so many husbands are passive. Being passive is the deadliest thing to any family for a male to be involved in.
There's a book written years ago. It's about Hollywood couples, Hollywood families. It's a frightening book. The title is "Passive Fathers and Wild Wives". And the passive fathers, you have in Hollywood so many of the producers and directors and the attorneys and all the people involved in multi, multi-million dollar businesses, and they work all day and all night, and, when they come home, they tell their wife, "You take care of the kids. You run everything. Here's the money. You do it". And they're absentee in their family, and it drives their wives crazy because there's not a man there who assumes any semblance of leadership, let alone responsibility. Who messed up in the Garden of Eden, by the way? Do you remember that? It was Eve. Eve, for she looked at that fruit.
"It looks delicious. Oh, God said I shouldn't eat it. Oh, the snake said, 'Boy, it's the best thing you've ever put in your mouth, you haven't had that fruit. You'll really know life if you eat that fruit.'" And Eve ate it and said, "Oh, it is delicious. Adam, come and try this. You've never had it". Who messed up? Eve. Who gets the blame? Adam, right? Huh? You don't say, "Boy, Eve, we found". No, it's Adam. Why? He had a responsibility in the home, and he abdicated his position of leadership.
So, wives, submissive and the other word is to respect. And then we see the divine choreographer gives an assignment for the men. And look at in the next verses. He said, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her, sacrificed so, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that we might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot, no wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless. So, husbands ought also to love their own wives as they love their own bodies because who loves his own wife loves himself".
It's important we understand that. Husbands, what is our role? The wife revolves around two words, and what they were, have you forgotten? Submit, in the sense we're talking about, as Jesus submitted to the Father. And what about the husband? Submit and respect the wife. The husband is to love and to sacrifice. Man, how easy it is to submit to somebody, to someone, who's laying down their life for you? Incidentally, there's a secular survey I bumped into. They surveyed 7,000 couples who are having trouble in their marriage, and they asked the wives, "What is it you want from your husband"? And the wives answered, 83% of the 7,000, that's 83% of the wives answered, "I want my husband to love me". And they asked the husbands, "What is it you want from your wife"? 61%, "I want my wife to respect me".
This is what the Bible teaches. Isn't it amazing how the secular world catches up with us? They think they've found some great truth. There it is. Husbands, love your wives. That's what they need. Wives, respect your husbands. That's what they need. And then we go on here, and he says exactly how the husband is to deal with the wife, the role of the husband and the wife. Do you know what it is? It's the same role, read it, that Christ has. Remember the church is the bride of Christ? We're all the bride of Christ, and it says he will come back, and he will take his bride, that's you and me. You are in Christ. He will present us to the Father. And he'll say, "Look at the church. Look at the bride". And he looks at us, hoping we're clean and washed and alive and moving and have a wholeness and a rhythm about our lives. He said, "Look at our bride".
Jesus wants to show us off to the Father in the great day of coming. This is what husbands do with their wives. We want to encourage, build up, applaud, cheerlead, stand behind, not always be cutting and barbing and all of that thing. Men get caught up in that. Guys, it is a sad state of affairs. I get caught up in it. Applaud, build up, praise, and say, "This is my bride. I want to present her, just like Christ wants to present us to the Father". And one day, when we stand before God in that judgment seat, we'll look over there and say, "There's my wife. I didn't recognize her. Boy, how magnificent. How beautiful. How radiant. I knew that was there. I just didn't imagine to know what you've come, now, in that resurrected body in this eternal life".
Let me tell you what marriage is. It's the reenactment of the good news. Did you get that? Marriage is the reenactment of the good news. What is the good news? What God has done for us in Jesus Christ, that is the good news, and our marriage is a re-enactment of that. It's an evangelistic thing. It's a calling to other people to see what God is doing in frail human beings like us, in this divine relationship we have together that's like a dance. But even the symbol of marriage is more than that because, when you see lives lived together in some marriages, those who are lost and confused and empty and angry at the whole world, especially at any thought of marriage or any thought of a home or a house, they don't get it. But when they see a couple dancing together in marriage, followed by the divine leadership we have in the Bible, you know what marriage is really for? Listen very carefully. The real purpose of marriage is for people to look at that marriage, and they say, "Whoa. It is so strong. It is so beautiful. It is so magnificent. It is so rare. It is just, what is the secret of your marriage"? And then they'll ask, "Who is your choreographer"?