THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS
Living out our new life at Home and at Work
Colossians 3:18-4:1 SCC 5/13/12
(1)Vs 18 Wives be subject to your husbands
Be subject means literally to place under in an orderly fashion or to line up in order under. The idea in is to consent to an authority, remain in one’s place. This may be the command, which is most difficult for women to accept and obey. There are three reasons why I believe women feel this way about submission: (1) They do not understand submission. (2) They see submission as demeaning to women rather than a privilege for women, and (3) they are still girls, not women, and haven't grown up spiritually.
First, part of understanding submission is knowing that it is not something which exists within a husband-wife relationship only. A girl who understands submission and all its applications early in life will not find submission to her husband difficult to accept.
Second, part of understanding submission is knowing that our position of being in a rank under our husbands is not something we must endure because of Eve's sin. Adam was created with a higher rank than Eve. Eve's obedience to Adam was not a problem for her until she sinned. It was then that God revealed to Eve that Adam would "rule over" her because her desire now is to upset the hierarchy God sovereignly created. Because submission is something commanded by God, we should view our obedience to our husbands in relation to God. Submission reflects virtue.
as is fitting in the Lord
The idea of submission of the wife is that of a voluntary attitude and action based upon her recognition of God's sovereign, ordained order. It follows that submission cannot be forced upon the wife against her will by a demanding husband. It is not the husband’s job to make a wife submissive. It is her responsibility before the Lord. The husband has an entirely differing responsibility.
In the Lord This phrase modifies ‘fitting’ and thus this obligation on the part of the wife is fitting in the Lord in the sense that she is as to her position in salvation, in Christ, and a person in such a position has the moral obligation to obey the Scriptures when they command the wife to be subject to her husband.
(2) Vs 19 Husbands love your wives
‘Husbands’ is first for emphasis. Marriage is not fifty-fifty. It’s 100% a husband being a husband and 100% a wife being a wife. But that’s the commitment Christ made to us. He committed Himself to an imperfect church. That’s high risk. God seems to be a risk taker. Marriage comes down to one question, “Is she #1 in my life? Am I willing to put one woman above everything and everybody else in my life except God?” That includes my children and my parents. I spend the rest of my life being worthy of her submission.
And do not be embittered against them
Love your wife. Don’t be embittered against her. Don’t be harsh. Don’t be resentful. Don’t abuse her. Don’t hold hard feelings against her. God is telling us this is a problem. It is easy for us to become angry with our wives, to turn against them, to take them for granted, and to be very mean to them. Embittered originally meant pointed, sharp and then more generally of what is “sharp” or “penetrating” to the sense. In essence “Stop being bitter”. “Do not have the habit of being bitter”.
(3) Vs 20 Children be obedient to your parents in all things
Being obedient subordinating one’s self to the person or thing heard and hence “to obey” or to hearken. It includes the idea of listening attentively, stillness, or attention. It is a command calling for this attitude and action to be the child's lifestyle. All things means no exceptions.
FOR THIS IS WELL-PLEASING TO THE LORD
What is the motive? That we might please our Lord Jesus. The way children obey their parent's authority reflects their obedience to Jesus and ultimately represents submission/acceptance of God's design for order. God's will is well-pleasing because you cannot add anything to the will of God and in any way improve it.
(4) Vs 21 FATHERS DO NOT EXASPERATE YOUR CHILDREN
Exasperate means to stop provoking your children to the point that they become bitter and resentful. Stop nagging your kids; stop irritating your kids to the point that it produces resentment.
(1) Overprotection--never allowing them any liberty, strict rules about everything.
(2) By showing favoritism, often unwittingly.
(3) By depreciating their worth. One way to decrease worth is by not LISTENING. These children may give up trying to communicate and become discouraged, shy, and withdrawn.
(4) By setting unrealistic goals--by never rewarding them. Nothing is enough so they never get full approval. Are you trying to make them into a person they are NOT? (5) By failing to show affection (verbally & physically).
(5) By neglect. David was indifferent to Absalom. He failed to discipline Adonijah see 1Ki 1:6 who was put to death by his younger brother Solomon for probable treason.
(6) By excessive discipline. Never discipline in anger.
THAT THEY MAY NOT LOSE HEART
Means to become disheartened to the point of losing motivation, to be dispirited or to be broken in spirit. To feel like giving up.
(5) Vs 22 SLAVES IN ALL THINGS OBEY THOSE WHO ARE YOUR MASTERS ON EARTH
1. Slavery in the first century was quite different from slavery in early American history
2. There are passages in Paul that speak to the issue of slavery, and they at least plant the seeds of freedom as associated with the gospel. The letter to Philemon addresses the issue of Onesimus' freedom.
3. Here it only gives instructions to those who are slaves to perform their duties well. If Paul lived in Dixie 150 years ago, his advice to Christian slaves would be the same. His advice to Christian masters would be quite different: he would ask them to treat their slaves with dignity and respect and hope that they would come to recognize the incompatibility of slavery with the gospel. The relations of the slave to his master are identical with that of the child to the parents according to the apostle’s terminology
NOT WITH EXTERNAL SERVICE AS THOSE WHO PLEASE MEN BUT WITH SINCERITY OF HEART FEARING THE LORD
Again the overarching motive is our fear of the lord. When it is all said and done this motivation factor is the key to govern our obedience. Change is to take place from the inside out not from imposing change through social structures.
(6) Vs 23 WHATEVER YOU DO, DO YOUR WORK HEARTILY
All Christian endeavor ought to be characterized by an enthusiasm, confidence, and diligence.
AS FOR THE LORD RATHER THAN FOR MEN
Wherever you are, be all there. That is, whatever your situation, be the very best you can be. Christians, however, could catch a glimpse of glory in the grind. Whether slaves or masters, they could do their work with dignity. They were Christ's servants, and they represented Him in the marketplace or the home.
(7) Vs 24 KNOWING THAT FROM THE LORD YOU WILL RECEIVE
Knowing means knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt! The perfect tense emphasizes the lasting nature or permanence of this knowledge.
“From the Lord” is emphatic in the Greek sentence, which signifies that Paul is emphasizing to all slaves that the ultimate reward does not come from one's earthly master, but from one's heavenly Master!
You will receive means to receive fully, receive in full what is one’s due, get back, recover fully what is promised or even to receive by way of retribution.
THE REWARD OF THE INHERITANCE
The reward is called “the inheritance. ”What a paradox that a slave who was owned and owned nothing is pictured as receiving the reward of an inheritance because the slave is the freeman of the Lord and, therefore an heir of God. What wonderful grace, and how remarkable a reversal of fortune! A believer's inheritance consists of eternal life which to be sure an endless existence but is even now received in part as a quality of life, Christ powerful life lived in and through us.
IT IS THE LORD CHRIST WHOM YOU SERVE
Do what you do as doing it for the Lord. With genuine concern and integrity and productivity as of the lord is your employer. You determine your inheritance in heaven by freely giving yourself for the welfare of others. Ultimately focusing on the eternal is the only way you can practice unselfish concern for others in the temporal.
Few decisions in life are as critical as picking the right audience. It is God we seek to please and Him alone. The reason: You serve Christ and He determines ‘the reward of your inheritance’. Your labor must seek to please God rather than man for your employer is God Himself. This means you must resist becoming a people pleaser seeking profit from them for your service.
(8) Vs 25 FOR HE WHO DOES WRONG WILL RECEIVE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE WRONG THAT HE HAS DONE
For he who is continually doing wrong will receive back what he did wrong.
AND THAT WITHOUT PARTIALITY
The final payday is coming from the Lord. He will judge in that day without favoritism. That is in full justice repaying wrongdoers and rewarding those who serve him. There is a day of reckoning for all of us. That being the case, prudently follow the relational schema laid down here.