Robert Jeffress - Does Your Home Work? - Part 1
Hi, I'm Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. According to recent statistics, more and more households are breaking up and becoming the tragic casualties of separation and divorce. So what does the Bible have to say about these important family matters? Well, today we're going to look at the biblical blueprint for constructing a healthy and a happy home. It all starts with a healthy relationship between husbands and wives. My message is titled, "Does Your Home Work", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
A man was traveling through DFW airport and he was afraid he was going to miss his flight. He didn't have his wristwatch on, so he couldn't find a clock anywhere, and he stopped a stranger and said, "Mr, could you tell me what time it is"? And the stranger set down his two heavy suitcases, looked at his watch and he said, "Well certainly at 7:20 pm it's 78 degrees outside, in Hong Kong it's 82 degrees and it's raining. And in London, the barometric pressure is 30.15 and it's falling". The man said, "Your watch told you all of that"? The stranger said, "Well, yeah, I invented it myself, and it's a very prized possession". The man said, "Well, I'd like to buy that from you. I'll give you $1.000 for it". The stranger said, "No way, this is a very important watch to me". The man said, "I'll give you $5.000 for it". He said, "No, I'm planning to leave it to my son when I die". The man said, "I'll give you $10.000 for that watch". The stranger said, "Sold". And so the stranger took off the watch, gave it to the man. He strapped it on his wrist and was about to walk away when the stranger said, "Wait, just a moment". And handing him the two heavy suitcases, he said, "Don't forget the batteries".
We have a tendency to take simple things and make them unnecessarily complex, don't we? We like to take simple truths and add a lot of baggage to them. And that's certainly true when we come to the issue and the subject of the family. There's a plethora books and CDs and sermons and videos on how to have a successful family. And as a pastor, I'm certainly grateful for all of that help, but I think we've given perhaps unintentionally the idea that having the successful family is very complex. The fact is, having a Christian successful family, though it's not easy, it's not complicated either. And we're going to see that today. In four short verses, Paul is going to outline for us the ingredients for a successful home.
If you have your Bibles today turn to Colossians 3. Colossians 3. Today we've come to the fourth and final section of this chapter that is about, and you know the subject by now. It's about how to be a heavenly minded Christian. And to be a heavenly minded Christian, doesn't mean to walk around with your heads in the clouds, thinking about heaven, it means to become like Jesus Christ in your actions, attitudes and affections. And in verses 1 to 4, we have the command to be a heavenly minded Christian. Paul says, "Set your mind on the things above, where Christ is". We ought to be thinking every day about how to mold our attitudes, affections and actions to those of Jesus Christ. And then when we get to verses five to 14, Paul is going to talk about the results of being a heavenly minded Christian. If you're really becoming like Jesus Christ, there's going to be some measurable differences in your life.
There are certain attitudes and habits and actions that you're going to lay aside like an old pair of clothes. And there's certain behaviors and attitudes you're going to put on like new garments. Like the resurrection garments that Christ put on at his resurrection. And then the third section verses 15-17, describe the process of becoming a heavenly minded Christian. How do we become like Christ? Remember the four steps we looked at? First of all, let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. That means let God's peace have the final say in your life. Secondly, let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. Thirdly, be ministry focused instead of self-focused. And finally, learn to express gratitude regularly.
Now, when we get to verses 18-25, Paul was going to talk about the test of being a heavenly minded Christian. How do you know, if you're really becoming like Jesus Christ? And Paul's going to share in these verses, there are two litmus tests' to determine whether you're like Jesus Christ. This isn't theoretical, this is very practical. How do you know if you're becoming like Jesus Christ? Number one, how do you behave at home? And number two, how do you behave at work? The home and the workplace are the crucibles that test whether or not we're like Jesus Christ. First of all, let's look at the home. Billy Graham said one time, "The test of a Christian is how he behaves at home". And Paul said the same thing.
Look at Colossians 3:18-21. He said, "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this as well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart". Notice how simple these commands are? Paul, doesn't add a lot of baggage to them. Very simple. Are you becoming like Jesus Christ? Here are the questions. Wives, are you submissive to your husbands even when you don't feel like it? Or you don't agree with your husbands? Husbands, are you loving your wives just in the same sacrificial way that Christ loved the church? Children, are you obeying your parents in all things? Parents, are you encouraging or are you exasperating, frustrating your children? Those are the tests of whether or not you're becoming like Christ. Now today, we only have time to look at the first of these four commands related to the home. And it's the one found in verse 18, addressed to the wives. "Wives, be subject to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord".
Now, husbands, let me give you a piece of advice today. Don't be using the flipper throughout the sermon today. Nudging your wife, honey you really need to listen to this. Or buying your wife a cd of the message and having her listen to it 50 times this week. Don't do that, because you're going to get yours next week, okay? Don't forget, we're coming back to you next week, I've got a really nice father's day gift for every husband and father in the house today. We're going to be talking about your responsibility to your wife and to your children. And by the way did you know, the Bible spins twice as much space talking about a husband's responsibility to the wife as it does about a wife's responsibility to the husband. So we're going to get to that next week. But we're going to follow Paul's order here and start with the wives. "Wives, be subject to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord".
Now I know that raises a lot of hackles when people read that verse. I received a letter from a woman in another city, obviously not a member of our church. I'm not gonna read you all the letter, but I'm going to read you the highlight of the letter. She said, "I'm writing this letter to let you know that there are a number of people who disagree with your viewpoint, that women should be submissive to their husbands. I have not personally read any of your books, nor do I plan to do so, as they are only available to me through purchase and I will in no way support you or your ideas". Love the open-minded attitude there. But anyway, no more editorializing.
"I failed to understand how you could advise any group of individuals, in this case women, to submit to another person merely on the basis of some biological characteristic, in this case, sex. This same type of argument was used to perpetuate the system of human slavery that characterized this country a century ago. Black people were told that it was God's will that they remain subservient to their white male masters in order to receive God's protection. I am assuming that you do not promote the idea of slavery, so I ask you, what argument would you forward against the white slave owners that couldn't be applied to women who are told to be subservient to their husbands. In closing, I would like to say that it is sentiments and ideas such as those you prescribe that ultimately turned me away from organized religion. If you preach for the submission of one group of people, women, then it is also likely that you would tolerate if not condone, the subjugation of others, African-Americans and other minorities, homosexuals and impoverished people. If this is your version of God, I want no part of it".
You would expect that kind of reaction from a non-Christian. But what I'm surprised at, is how many people are willing to jettison their belief in the inspiration of scripture. Christians who are willing to give up their belief that every word in this book is God-inspired when they come to a verse like this in Colossians 3:18 that says, "Wives submit to your husbands". Suddenly, Paul status changes from God's chosen apostle to male chauvinist pig in just an instant because of a command like that. Why is that? I have to say that I believe many pastors and many men are responsible for the attitude that this woman expressed in her letter to me. There are many pastors and men who have so twisted the Word of God when it comes to this issue of submission. They've twisted it to say something the Bible never intended to say about women. Nowhere, nowhere does the Bible say that women are inferior to men.
In fact, the Bible was revolutionary in what it taught about the role of women. Do you realize in the culture in which Paul wrote, the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans all taught that women were inferior to men. The fact that the apostle Paul would even address women in this letter was a revolutionary concept, that he would treat them as people instead of a piece of property to be bought and sold. And that he would address them first, show that the honored position that they had in God's eyes. And you find that throughout scripture. You find Jesus doing the unthinkable for a rabbi in which he was considered. And that is talking to a woman, the woman at the well, and giving her a theological discourse about new life. That was unheard of. You find that elevation of women in the Bible against the culture in which the Bible was written, found throughout scripture. And one of the highest expressions, is in 1 Peter 3:7. Peter said, "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman". The King James says, "As with a weaker vessel".
Now some people say, "Well, there it is right there". The Bible is saying women are inferior to men. No, let's talk in about her physical makeup. A woman is more fragile generally than a man is. That doesn't mean inferior. In many ways, it means she's superior to a man. I mean, think about it. If you've got a plastic cup that is durable, and you've got a crystal chalice which is very fragile, which is most valuable? It's that crystal glass. Yeah it breaks easier, but it's also most valuable. It's the same way with women. Nowhere does the Bible say, women are inferior to men. Peter goes on to saying, 1 Peter 3:7, "Show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered". And this was a revolutionary concept that women are equal, they are fellow partakers of the grace of God in God's eyes. So whatever submission means, it has nothing to do with inferiority. Well, then how do you explain Paul's command that women are to submit?
Let's look at the definition of that word, submit. That word submit is a military term. It means to place under rank. You know in the military, there's an old saying, you salute what? The uniform not the person in the uniform. This word submission has nothing to do with worth or value, it has everything to do with position. My brother is a policeman here in Dallas. When he pulls somebody off with his red lights, why does that motorist hopefully pull off to the side and stop? It's not because that motorist says, "Well, you know, this policeman has such a sterling personality, I just would like to submit to him". Or he doesn't say, "You know, I think this policeman is smarter than I am, and so I'm going to do what he tells me to do". No, the reason he pulls over and stops has nothing to do with my brother's personality or his intellect, it has to do with his position. And it is the same way in submission. Submission is necessary for a civilized society. And listen to this, God has arranged our society in such a way that all of us have to submit to some human authority. Not one of us here is a free agent, we all have to submit.
In Ephesians 5:21, Paul says, "We're to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ". And then he outlines the different ways we submit. For example, in Colossians 3:22, employees are under the authority of their employers. Staff write this down real clearly, okay? Mark this in your Bible, Colossians 3:22 says, "Slaves and all things, obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but rather with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord". In the same way, citizens are under the authority of the government. Romans 13:1, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God". Every one of us is to submit to the government. It doesn't matter whether our party is an office or not an office. That's not the issue. The issue is, God has ordained that authority and we're to subject ourselves to the governing authorities.
Hebrews 13:17, church members are under the authority of the spiritual leadership in the congregation. Hebrews 13:17, "Obey your leaders and submit to them- for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, let them do this with joy and not with grief: for this would be unprofitable for you". Children are told to obey their parents. Ephesians 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right". By the way, notice Paul uses the word obey there, not to submit. A wife has never told to obey her husband. She's told to submit to her husband. And we'll talk about that in a moment. But children are to obey their parents. And in the same way, wives are under the authority of their husbands.
Colossians 3:18,"Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord". Well, pastor, if women and men are equal, and if we're all equal before God, why does God have it arranged in such a way that every one of us has to submit to some governing authority? And by the way, did you catch that? Every one of us is under somebody's authority. There is not one of us in this room who is not under the authority of a husband, an employer, a nation or a church. Every one of us is under one or more of those authority structures. Why is that? Why has God ordained it that way? Let me mention to you this morning. I want you to write this down. Four benefits of submission. Four benefits of submitting to our God-ordained authority.
First of all, submission, submitting to authority teaches us obedience to God. Submitting to authority teaches us obedience to God. Do you know what the bottom line issue in the Christian life is? The bottom line issue in your relationship to God is not doctrine. Let me say that again. The bottom line issue in your Christian life is not doctrine. The bottom line issue in the Christian life is not feeling. God doesn't care whether you get spiritual goosebumps when you come to church or not. That doesn't impress him. God's not concerned whether you know all the right answers to all the theological questions. Or if it's not doctrine, if it's not feeling, what is the bottom line issue in the Christian life? It's obedience to God. That's the bottom line. Are you obeying what Christ has commanded you to do?
John 14:15, Jesus said, "If you love me," you will do what? "You will obey my commandments". That's what God is interested in, more than anything in your life and my life, it is whether or not we are saying, Lord whatever you command, whatever you wish I will do. Now, that doesn't come naturally to us, to say yes to God, especially when he asks us to do something that we don't understand, something that's difficult for us to do. We don't naturally want to obey God, just like a child doesn't naturally choose to obey his or her parent. I mean, when your children came, did they come with a heart of obedience, saying mom and dad, whatever you want me to do I'll do. Very few children are like that. I mean, most of our time, we spend our entire parenting years trying to beat obedience into our children, don't we? I mean, trying to get them to bend their will in order to do what we think they need to do. It's the same way in our relationship with God. None of us naturally obeys God.
In Romans 3:10-12, Paul said, "There is none righteous among us, no, not even one: there is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless, there is no one who does good, no, not even one". We have to learn how to obey God. And the way we learn to obey God is by learning how to obey the visible authority he's placed over us. Look, if you can't obey that employer, if you can't submit to that husband, if you can't follow the commands of that parent, you'll find it very difficult to obey God. Did you know, that even Jesus himself had to learn how to obey God? I find this fascinating. This is one of the most perplexing verses in all the New Testament to me, Hebrews 5:8, it says, "Though Jesus was a son, he learned obedience by the things that he suffered". Jesus had to learn how to obey God, even though he was the perfect Son of God.
Now, by obeying God, is that inferring that Jesus is somehow inferior to God? Not at all, that would be heresy. Jesus saying, God we're equal and are equal, but Jesus willingly submitted his will to God's will. The reason you and I had the opportunity to be saved today, is because Jesus submitted his will to the will of God, the father. Philippians two, is the central passage that teaches that.
In Philippians 2:5-9, Paul writes, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, he did not regard as equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient, obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted him, and bestowed upon him the name which is above every name". You get the picture? Jesus and God, one God and three persons. I don't understand that either, but that's what you have. You have God the Father, God the son equal in every way. But the son willingly places himself under the fathers authority and obeys his command to go to the cross. You say, "What does that have to do with wives submitting to their husbands"? Everything.