Friday, December 28, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday December 30, 2012

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(Submitting to and caring for each other because of CHRIST)
 (Ephesians 5:21-6:4)

In Ephesians 5:21-6:4, the Apostle Paul teaches on how to be controlled by the HOLY SPIRIT at home as he turns his focus to the two most important family life relationships, “husband and wife”, and “parents and children”. Here he defines how we should all strive to live as children walking in the light of CHRIST at home, as well as in church. In fact, what we do Monday through Saturday in our homes, and on our jobs away from the church, is more of testament to how we love and worship GOD, than what we do in church on Sunday morning.
After Paul establishes the overriding principle of us all submitting to one another out of reverence for CHRIST JESUS (v.21), he moves on to the specifics of the spiritual responsibility of each family member toward each other, and, towards CHRIST. Wives are to submit to their husbands as they do to the LORD (v.22). Husbands are the head of the wife, as CHRIST is the head of the Christian Church, which is HIS body (v.23a). The husband should show love for his wife, and be willing to give his life for her, just as CHRIST was willing to give HIS life for the church that HE so loves (v.23b). Husbands ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. In fact, husbands actually show that they love themselves, when, they love their wives, who they are spiritually at one with, in the LORD (v.28).
GOD calls for us to have a united, GODly home front. The Christian family’s interactions with one another should reflect CHRIST and HIS interactions with the Christian Church, or, “Body of CHRIST”. GOD fully intends for us to enjoy a harmonious, SPIRIT-guided family relationship in submission to HIM first, and then, to each other, starting in our own homes (v.21).
In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “submit” is “hupotasso” (hoop-ot-as-so) and it means “to be under obedience to”. It is a word that carries a complex concept which needs to be defined by the context in which it is used. Here in this passage, there is no question of power, or position as it is in, say, Romans 13. In this particular passage, Paul calls for all believers to develop an attitude of submission, and a willingness to be responsive by yielding to each other, out of love for each other.
It would be remiss of us to read hierarchy into these verses, but rather, we should see this passage as a call for us to begin to develop a sensitivity toward each other that will help to extricate us from “pride”, and enable us to function at all times, in a more, loving and caring manner. 
Each partner in a marriage has a special “privilege”. A husband’s privilege is to put his wife first, after GOD, just as CHRIST did when HE was crucified for us on the cross by Roman method. The wife’s privilege is to set the tone of submission by being responsive and caring. And neither partner lords over the other, but rather, each partner ministers to the other in their own GOD-given, special ways, for that is the “responsibility” that comes with the privilege.
In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul addresses the relationship between parents and children. In the Greek, the normal word used for “right” is “dexios” (dex-ee-os), and it means “being on the right side of”. Here in this passage, however, Paul uses the Greek term “dikaios” (dik-ah-yos) for “right”, which means “the proper course to follow”. Children are to submit themselves under the leadership and care of their parents until they move out and start a family of their own, or become responsible adults capable of making their own decisions, for it is the proper course to follow. However, GOD commands that children should always “honor” their parents. In fact, it is the first commandment of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) that carries a promise from GOD, and that promise is one of a long life, filled with blessings.
Paul ends this passage with an admonishment to fathers not to anger their children with harsh worldly and un-GODly treatment, but rather, bring them up with the GODly discipline and instruction that can be found in the word of GOD. Here in verse 4a Paul uses the Greek term “parorgizo” (par-org-id-zo) in his original Greek writings, for “provoke”, and it means “to exasperate” or “make things worse” by what one does or says”. In the home, the father must present a picture of the LORD to his children, through his speech and behavior, to, and before them. How a child views his or her father has a profound effect on how they view GOD later in life. By provoking our children to anger through ungodly treatment, we will ultimately “make things worse” for them later on in life.
The command to “Honor your father and your mother” is the first commandment that parents can use to introduce their children to the ways of GOD. If children respect their parents, they will respond positively to their nurturing. Through GODly nurturing, it becomes easier for a child to see GOD in their parents, and come to know and show reverence to GOD after they become adults. When they come to know GOD, through a personal, experiential relationship with their parents, it becomes much easier for them to have and maintain that same kind of relationship with GOD later in life. And thus, they can enjoy a long life on earth, because we have passed on to them, a legacy of faith, were they will desire to continue walking in the light of CHRIST, and know the importance of passing that legacy on to their own children.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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