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Selfless Wives

Sermon Series:

No Longer Two

Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Ephesians 5:22-24


Today is the day that the Lord has made. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. And everyone said, amen.

So if you've been to peace church long enough, you've probably heard me say this a few times because I believe it. I believe that a primary attack of the devil upon the people of peace church is upon their marriages.

Now, this in one sense should be no surprise because Peace Church, we've said, we're gonna be a champion for family ministry and with marriage being a core component of family, of course the devil is gonna attack us. If this is what we wanna be a champion for, the devil's gonna come against it. And that's why today as we start the new year, we're starting off looking at marriage and family with a series called No Longer Two. As we look at and we be honest with the struggles that come with marriage But also the beautiful unity that comes with it when we follow God's design Church, I want Christians to have better happier and more godly marriages who's with me Absolutely, I do and so believing that the devil is attacking marriages particularly marriages of Peace Church.

Today is our first stance, continued stance really, but first stance of the new year to push back against the devil. And how we're gonna do that is the same way that Jesus did. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, what did he use to take a stand against the devil with? He used the word of God. And so that's what we're gonna do. We're gonna take a stand with the word of God and push back against the enemy as we see God build and strengthen marriages for His namesake. And so, this is a small little three-part series to start the new year.

Here's what we're gonna be looking at this Sunday. Today, we're gonna be looking at selfless wives. Next week, we're gonna be looking at sacrificial husbands. And then we have a bonus message on the third Sunday, which is Sanctity of Life Sunday, as we look at the biblical call for wives to submit to their husbands. So would you please in your Bibles turn to Ephesians chapter 5 as we look at selfless wives today. Ephesians chapter 5 verses 22 to 24.

Now as you turn in there, just to clarify real quick, we say this is a book of the Bible, but Ephesians is actually a letter. It's a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in a town called Ephesus. And the people who live there were called Ephesians. So Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus, to the Ephesian Christians, to this church that was meeting there. And what he was doing in this letter is he was describing certain tenets of the Christian faith, but he was He's also teaching that church how to live out the gospel message in their day-to-day lives. And when it comes to chapter 5, Paul begins to talk about family and how to have a Christian household. This section has some counterparts in the Bible, such as 1 Corinthians or Colossians or 1 Peter.

But this reminds us, as we look at this passage, this teaching is not some disputed and isolated verse of the Bible This is a core teaching from scripture on how God has designed marriage But many women but many women and people Fear this notion of submission And I think if I could just be real honest with you for two primary reasons One just the reality that some women deal with a lot of pride. And in their heart, they're saying, I'm not going to submit to nobody, nothing. But also, and maybe even more prevalently, is because ungodly people have used passages like this and twisted them in order to abuse women. So hear me on this. God's word is true and his teaching is better. And so that's what we want to look at today. God's true call for us in marriage. And as we look at his call for wives to submit to their husbands and what that actually means. And so with that, would you hear God's word? Ephesians chapter five, we'll look at verses 22 to 24. Would you hear God's word?

Ephesians 5:22-24

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Amen. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord remains forever. Let's pray and we'll continue. Let's pray. Father in heaven above, your design for our lives is beautiful and it's perfect. So please, by the truth of your word and by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, would you help us to see this picture that you've painted for us? A picture of life and marriage. And not only that, Lord, but would you help us to see the beauty of it. And Father, would you help me today to be able to describe it rightly from your word. And we pray these things through the power of the spirit and in the precious name of Jesus. And everyone said, amen.

So if I can give you one main point here today, this is the main point for today's message, but it's kind of an overarching thrust of the entire series. But here's the main point for today. And it's simply this, God's design is better.

God's design is better.

And so, church, I'll be honest with you, I'm coming off two weeks vacation. I'm rested and I'm ready to go. So I'm gonna come in a little hot here in 2024. So let me just say this, when it comes to passages like this, I am sick of Christians and pastors coming to Bible verses like this, passages that really confront the brokenness of our culture, and pastors come across as either apologetic or ashamed. I know that it's fun to talk about marriage as the old ball and chain, and it's fun to poke about how hard marriage can be. But the reality is that too many Christian teachers, pastors, and influencers come to the topic of wives submitting to their husbands and they are embarrassed by it. Or they try to make excuses. Or they come across like it's unfortunate for ladies. Sorry ladies, it's just what the Bible says. I'm sick of all that.

Do you know that God's word is beautiful? And God's plan for you is good? And what he calls you to is wonderful?

And his design for marriage is better? Let's talk about what this actually means. See what happens that people come to this passage and passages like it with pride in their hearts or and and or with loads of twisted teachings and false assumptions about what the Bible is saying here. So I'm just asking you if you are vehemently opposed to the Bible passage we just read, I'm just going to ask you human to human, would you just listen to what the Bible says today? See what happens is that because of poor Christian teaching throughout the ages, people have come to disregard passages like this. We don't follow God's design for marriages. And you know what ends up happening? Christian marriages end up looking just like the worldly marriages that are broken and dying and harmful and hurtful, when God's design is better for us.

See, church, the devil doesn't need to attack you if you're not following God's design because the devil's plan is to get you to stop following God's design. Stop making the devil's job easier. Follow God's design and you'll see how beautiful it is. Here's what I'm trying to say, that many of us are experiencing marital troubles not because the devil is attacking, but simply because you're not following God's design. And I'm here to tell you, God's design is better. Somebody say amen. So, to help with this, we do need to unload some false assumptions. We do need to bring some clarification here. And so, three verses, three points for today. We'll take it verse by verse. We're gonna look at each one of these points one at a time. The first thing we'll look at is how selfless submission needs clarification and it's Jesus. It's found in Jesus. Second thing we'll look at is how selfless submission brings clarification and it's to who you are to marry. And thirdly, we'll close up by looking at how selfless submission does have clarification, and it's the gospel.

  1. Selfless submission needs clarification, and it’s Jesus

  2. Selfless submission brings clarification, and it’s who you marry

  3. Selfless submission has clarification, and it’s the gospel

But as we get going, I do want to speak to the women for a moment. Please hear me on this. I say this as a man married to a godly wife, and together we are raising four children, two boys and two girls. I want to raise my boys to be Christ-like men who are worthy of godly women who will submit to them. But I'm also raising two daughters, two daughters whose hands one day I will hand over to men, men who will love Jesus and submit to God, otherwise they will not get my blessing. I am not calling this church to anything that I'm not also calling my own two daughters to too. I say this as a father of four kids, two boys, two girls. So please know that this is a deeply personal topic for me today. And as we talk about submission, let's remove ourselves some cultural misunderstandings and get some clarification. And it's the first one is this, is that selfless submission needs clarification and it's found in Jesus.

1. Selfless submission needs clarification and it's found in Jesus.

Our off like this. Ephesians 5.22 says, wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. So immediately let's underscore something here. The call here is for wives to submit to their own husbands. This is not a demand for every woman to submit to every man, but only to the husband that she chose to marry. So let's pop the hood and look at this engine. What is submission? Now the original word here was written in ancient, in Koine Greek, and the word here is hupotasso. Now hupotasso is used almost 40 times in the New Testament, in a wide range of contexts, but here's what it means. Hupotasso is actually the combination of two words, hupo and tasso. Hupo is the word that means under, and tasso means arrangement. So it means to come under an arrangement. And so when it comes to this, biblically speaking, it means to come under God's arrangement. So we could kind of say it like this. Wives, when it comes to your marriage, follow God's arrangement, or the language we would use, follow God's design.

And the Bible, in this one verse, adds this beautiful phrase. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. Now, to really understand what that actually means, we need to read the next verse, but let's let the cat out of the bag right now. The Lord is Jesus, so Jesus Christ is our focus. Meaning, meaning women need to submit to men who will be like Jesus. Submit to their husbands who will be like Jesus, so that when they submit to them as they are called, in a sense, it feels like their submission to Jesus. And so submitting to Jesus, if you believe this, I need you to say amen, that submitting to Jesus Christ is actually life giving. When we submit to Jesus, it's not a burden, it's a joy. When we submit to Jesus and follow his teachings, it's how we are meant and designed to live. Submitting to Jesus is not a burden, it's a joy.

Now, if you've listened to me preach before, you've probably heard me say this, and I don't want to be this pastor that constantly tells you the same stories over and over. If you do that, throw a tomato. If I do that, throw a tomato at me. But there's this one thing that was said to me this one time That to date is the most challenging thing anyone has ever said to me More challenging than anything My dad has ever said more challenging than anything my mentors have ever said more challenging than anything The elders have ever said more challenging than anything. I heard in seminary, and it came from my wife When she said this She said if you love me like Jesus loved the church, it would be a joy to submit to you. Now listen, my wife Tiffany is biblically called to submit to me either way. But what she was telling me in that moment is that if I am being godly, then submitting to me would be a joy for her. And there, ladies and gentlemen, that's the key to unlocking the joy of submission. It's the love of Jesus Christ.


The love of Jesus Christ is what needs to permeate the Christian home so that submission is not a burden, but a joy.

2. Selfless submission brings clarification, and it’s who you marry

And so Jesus is the clarification that we need, which brings us to the second clarification, and that's who you marry. Now we're going to walk on some delicate ground here, so let's do so confidently, but together and carefully. Our passage continues in verse 23. It says, For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, his body is himself its Savior. This verse is why Christian women should only marry Christian men. Because my sisters in Christ, you should desire a man who submits to Jesus as his Savior, as his God, and as a church, we won't marry a Christian to a non-Christian. Because that husband is biblically called to be the head of the household, the head of the wife. He's the head of the home. And I will not take part in a sister in Christ marrying a man who will not lead her and love her like Jesus does. I'm sorry, ladies. I just think you deserve better.

So here's the burning question you probably all have. What does submission practically look like in marriage? Well, to understand that, let's go back a moment. Let's go back to the very beginning. Genesis chapter two, verse 24, gives us the first visionary statement for what marriage is when it says this in the Bible. It says, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh they are no longer two but they are one and did you know that this verse on marriage is so profound that Jesus Christ himself as well as the Apostle Paul both quote this verse in the New Testament this is the biblical standard for marriage that to become one that a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife before God and in the sight of God they are now one so how can submission be scary when a man and a woman are to be one before God I'll tell you why it's scary because too many women and young ladies are more concerned with men who are hot rather than men who are humble. They're looking for men who are handsome rather than holy.

 So what does submission look like? How does it work out practically? It goes like this. The husband and the wife are one. And so they work together because they're no longer two, they're one, they work together. And so women, submission does not mean you check your thoughts and your feelings at the door. A husband and wife are to passionately love each other as they patiently listen to each other. But what submission means is that the ultimate and final leadership of the home rests with the husband, because the Bible says he is the head of the household. He's the head of the marriage. And you know what that means, gentlemen? You are the one who will be judged for your marriage. So understand, this comes with great cost and great responsibility.

So here's how I explain this when I do premarital counseling. When I work with couples who want to get married, oftentimes younger couples, here's how I try to explain it. I'll say to the young gal, or I'll say to the woman, I'll say this question. I'll ask her, is the man you are marrying a man who you know will actually listen to you? And is the man who you want to marry a man who you know will truly listen to the Lord? And if you disagree with it. Because that's the type of man you should marry. And you shouldn't marry him until you have that level of trust. This is what submission looks like. It's trusting. It's releasing leadership to the man because God has called him to that, knowing that he will be ultimately be the one judged for it. Submission brings clarification, ladies, and it's clarification to who you marry, that is to who you are to marry.

Women, only marry men where it brings you joy to submit to them. Joy because these men are strong and kind and wise, that he is a man who cares and is loving, a man who will provide as best as he is able, a man who loves and submits to Jesus. And from that, from that submission to God's Word and from that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he is able to preside over his house like Jesus does for the church, which comes with both grace and strength.

That's the type of men we need more of in this world. Not these jerks online parading around calling themselves alpha males. I got a word from them and it starts with A, but it's not alpha male. Am I allowed to say that? Church, let me share something with you. I want to be very vulnerable with you today. I know, I know in my heart that God will provide. I know He will. But I am deeply concerned for my two daughters. I'm deeply concerned because of the generation of boys that's being raised right now.

So I want to take a moment in this message on selfless wives, I want to speak to the teenage guys and the single men out there. Don't you think you get to marry a godly woman if you're not first going to be a godly man. And yes, I fully believe that 17 and 18 year olds can be godly men, even if they can't grow a righteously red beard. Listen, I love this country. I love this country. I do. And if our country thinks that you can voluntarily sign up, fight for, and die for this country, then you better believe that God can call you as an 18-year-old to stand as a full-grown man before him. This prolonged adolescence has got to stop. We need families, we need men and women raising boys to be men.

And so, I want to speak to those of you who are single. And God's called you to a life of singleness, just like Jesus, by the way. If God has called you to a life of singleness, then what's your call in the midst of this? It's to still be Christ-like. It's to still serve the Lord as a single person, just like John the Baptist, just like the Apostle Paul. Men and women, if God has called you to a life of singleness, then you are in good biblical company. And I'm here to tell you that we will support you as a church family.Amen?

And for those of you who are single, but you want to get married, here's what you do. Pray. Pray for your future spouse as you passionately pursue the path of the Lord and do not stray from it. Follow the path of the Lord and you might be surprised who you meet along the way. But what about this?What about this?

What if you find yourself in a marriage and you're like, too late, pastor. I married a man who doesn't follow God. What am I to do? Well, sister, the Bible speaks to this. Twice, actually. First time is in 1st Corinthians chapter 7 verse 13. You can look that up later. 1st Corinthians 7 verse 13. But the Bible also speaks to this in 1st Peter chapter 3. And I want to look at that real quick. 1st Peter chapter 3 says this. It says, likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands so that even if some do not obey the word, meaning God's word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Church, listen. Divorce is to be avoided as much as possible. The Bible says God hates divorce. And so, ladies, if you are married to a man who does not follow God, then the Bible calls you to show him, by your incredible godliness and your selfless actions, what it means to be a Christian, that you are to love him, love God, go to church, serve the Lord, and do this with joy so that he may see the changes that the gospel brings in a person that it might win him over. But let's be clear here, church, this is not a license to marry a non-Christian. The biblical call is for women to marry men who will they themselves submit to Christ firstly.

We need to take a time out. We need to take a time out right now.

If you are a woman who is being abused or you are unsafe in the home, then you need to get out and get help. Bible's not calling you to stay in an abusive environment. This is not what this is about. So do not hear me saying that. If you are unsafe, then get out and get help, get to a safe place. Or, if your husband has abandoned you, or he has demonstrated that he has no commitment to remain faithful to you, then please contact your church elder and we can pray and discuss what the biblical next steps are because the Bible does allow for divorce when the marriage covenant has been grievously broken, not simply because you two have grown apart. Marriages are to be fought for. Submission brings clarity, women, to who you should marry and you need to choose wisely, patiently, a man who will love Christ and love you. Submission brings clarity to who women should marry.

3. Selfless submission has clarification, and it’s the gospel

And thirdly, selfless submission has clarification and it's the gospel. Verse 24, verse 24 says, now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. So church, this is one of the most important things I want to communicate to you about marriage. And so I know you slept in this morning because you're at third service. So here's what I want you to do. Elbow the person next to you, make sure they're awake. Go ahead and just elbow them, make sure they're awake real quick. I think some of you were waiting for an excuse to do that. You really took that to the next level. Make sure they're awake, because I want you to hear me on this. Seriously, if there's anything you take away from today, let it be this.

For Christians, marriage is a picture of the gospel.

I want you to say that with me. Marriage is a picture of the gospel. For Christians, when we live out our marriage, we are in a sense showing the world the gospel, and this is the gospel. that Jesus Christ gave up his life for the sacrifice as the sacrifice for sinners. That we may be renewed and made right with God, receiving eternal life in Jesus' name because Jesus has been raised from the dead. And when we give our lives to him, we joyfully submit to our Savior, knowing that he will give us not just life, not just eternal life, but abundant and full life in his name. That's the gospel. Somebody say amen.

And so women, when you think of submission, do not think oppression. I want you on the flip actually to think victory and fulfillment. Why? Because the gospel is victory over our sin and fulfillment in our lives because of Jesus Christ. Now, I'm going to totally date stamp this sermon for those who listen to this later, but the Detroit Lions are doing really good right now. They're going to win against the Vikings today, name it and claim it. They're going all the way. That was a hope, not a prophecy, by the way. If you watch the game today, tag me online and we can chat about it. Now, okay, as we get into this, let me just say, I really hate sports analogies. Like when pastors give sports analogies, I just roll my eyes. But it kind of works here, so I'm going to go with it. The Lions are many players, but one team. Not every player on the team gets to kick a field goal. Not every player scores a touchdown. But when the Lions win, all the players share in the win. When every player plays their part, then every player gets the victory and the fulfillment of the win.

In a marriage, God has designed a husband and wife to operate together as a team, each with different roles according to how God has designed them. And when two people in the marriage do what God has called them to do, then their marriage wins, and they get to both celebrate the win because they are one in Jesus. So live according to God's design, and you will get to experience the victory and fulfillment of marriage.

Men, love your wives as Jesus loves the church. And wives, submit to your husbands as the church is meant to submit to Jesus. Church, this should not be controversial. This should be celebrated. Listen, I come from the Gen X generation and I was also indoctrinated by MTV in the 90s to rock the vote, which we know basically just meant make sure you vote Democrat. I grew up in the 90s. I went to middle school and high school all through the 90s. I was indoctrinated to think that liberalism was cool and conservatism was icky. I have progressive in me. I'm being open and transparent with you. And I come to passages like this, and because I'm culturally conditioned like all of us are, my progressive side wants to say, no, ladies, don't you listen to this submissive junk. You marry a man who's going to throw down his goals so that you can have yours.

Listen, if you're feeling that tension, then I want to see if you agree with me on what I'm about to say. I've seen how marriages look out there in our so-called progressive society. 50% divorce rate, low levels of satisfaction in marriage. I don't think that's very cool, and I don't think that's a mark of progress. I've seen how marriages look out there in our culture and I want nothing to do with it. And you know what? Apparently the next generation doesn't either. In the last 20 years, we've seen a 10% drop in the number of adults who are married and a 5 point increase in cohabitation. Right now, 46% of Americans now say that people are just as well off if couples who want to stay together long term decide not to marry. Living together has become normal, yet studies continue to show that married adults, those who are married, have higher levels of relational satisfaction and trust than those who are living with an unmarried partner. Studies, secular studies, continue to show that people who do not live together before marriage go on to have happier and longer lasting marriages. This is known in our culture, but the people of our culture are not learning the lesson. People are still living together. Why? Because our culture is losing the value of saving sex for marriage, and we're simply losing the value of marriage itself. And guess what? People are not happier in the long run. And all of the church said, no, duh.

When you don't follow God's design for humanity, he's created us, he's designed us. When we don't follow the way he's designed us, of course, it's not going to turn out well. Of course, the trajectory is not going to be better for us. I'm not saying that un-Christians can't have a good marriage. I'm saying that God's design is better. Marriage is no longer a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman through the ups and the downs. It's now simply a way to express your love for another person while also getting some legal benefits as long as you two keep up the arrangement. Yes, yes, actually divorce rates are going down, but so are the number of people getting married. This isn't a solution. This isn't the trajectory that we want to go. The next generation, the current generation, saw what marriage was becoming, and collectively, together, they are choosing not to get married. They are basically saying, forget it. They saw the problems of our world. They saw the problems of marriage. They saw it being made fun of. They saw it being belittled. They saw Christians not valuing it. And they said, forget it, what's the point? And you know what?

Part of me understands. I also see how marriages look out there in our culture, and I also want nothing to do with it, but the difference is, I don't want to abandon the institute of marriage. I wanna help save it. I wanna help point people to something better because God's design is better. This is what my wife and I have found out, and we invite you to find out as well. And women, if you think submission is a tall order, make sure you come back next week when we talk to the husbands. Guys, I happen to know hunting's over, and there ain't We'll see you here next week, boys. It's your turn.

Actually, I don't want to poke fun at that. Guys, what you're going to hear next week is one big sermon with me preaching to myself. And I hope that you find something of value from it. Remember, selfless submission has clarification, and it's the gospel. gospel, church, men and women, young and old, ladies and gentlemen, husbands and wives. If the gospel can save souls, can it save marriages? Can it? Absolutely, it can. But here, like the gospel, we have to give ourselves to it. We have to accept it and be willing to follow God's design.

I believe the gospel can save your marriage. I believe the gospel can strengthen your marriage. I think the gospel can take good marriages and make them into great ones. If God loves us and gave marriage for us, then you best believe it's for our good. So follow God's design because it's better. And let the gospel give you a picture for how marriage could be and should be. Let it form your marriage.

Church, what we're going to do right now is we're going to celebrate the gospel together. So would you please stand? What we're going to do is we're going to do what we said in the beginning we're going to do. Right now, here's what we're going to do. We're going to push back on the force of evil. We're going to push back on the face of the devil, and we're going to do that through our worship. As a church, we're going to stand as one, lifting up the name of Jesus as we worship Him. So here's what I want you to do. And listen.

I know my church. I know the faces out here. I know that there are different levels of marital satisfaction before me, but I'm going to invite you, wherever you are at in your journey with your spouse, would you grab their hands and maybe not for their sake, but for the sake of Jesus, would you worship Him together?

Father, we come before you. In Jesus name, Father, I pray for the marriages that are lasting and strong right now, that they would lead the way, Father, that they would lead the way in worship, as we lift up and sing of the evidence that is before us of God, your goodness. I pray for the marriages that are good, but are getting better, and I pray for the marriages that have failed, that maybe one day, Lord, that you are the God of resurrection, that you can do that work. I pray for the marriages that are failing, that the power of the gospel would intervene right now as a husband and wife would give themselves to your saving grace. Father, I pray right now that your church would sing, sing out loud as we push back against the enemy and we lift up the name of Jesus. and we lift up the name of Jesus. It's in his name we pray, and everyone said, amen.

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