"… Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…"
Key point: Why do we do church? Please a personality? Hear a sound bite? Take in the latest fad? No. We worship Christ as Lord. And what does that look like? Our church submits to Christ as LORD! Then, we will have a radiant church! Is Christ leading us and our church, or are we seeking to lead Him?
For us to be successful in life, in ministry, in our relationship to God and with our spouses, we must respond to Christ with love; then, we must be respectful and submit. Leaders must have good family values and relationships! The key to a successful and vibrant marriage is the wife and husband respecting and loving each other, because our relationship is bound to our Lord. We are not just the participants of the church, we model it to the world, and we must show that our Gospel and love is real and sincere. Love and respect are the two essential ways we can improve our relationship; this is the "secret" to a happy and content marriage. The husband cherishes his wife, regardless of his feelings, so she feels secure and valued, while the wife respects her husband, even when he does not deserve it. In this way, both have an authentic mutual affection and admiration for one another.
What we exemplify and teach is that Christ is the Head of the church! He is the source of life, as in our ability to know and grow in Christ can only come from Christ. Jesus is the Founder and CEO of the Church, as Christ is the Supreme mediator-pure, Holy, and only! He is the Head; we are the body to take His lead and follow to be His hands and feet in the world. The question is, Is He leading us and our churches, or are we seeking to lead Him? Our life in Christ is because of Christ and we must seek to honor Christ (John 15:1-5; Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 1:15-19; 2:9, 16-23; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2:1-22)!
What we exemplify and teach is that our church submits to Christ! He is the foundation and, in grace and obedience, gave Himself for us; it IS His Church. It is not about what we think it is or should be; it is what it is. He is Head over "our" church; pastors, leaders, trends, and ideas--good or bad--are NOT. We are the tools and means; He is the Means and Reason. When this gets lost or forgotten, He is pushed aside and false teachings and misrepresenting of God continues (1 Cor. 12:4-27; Eph. 1:4, 21-23; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 318-4:1)!
The end of Ephesians 5 gives us a picture of walking in healthy relationships that seems like foolish, archaic and abusive to a worldly perspective. We have to have a chain of authority to keep structure and order, or you will have chaos and dysfunction. This also helps us look to God and accept His authority over all and our lives. Everyone is in submission, even the president of the United States is supposed to be held to account by the people and Congress and the Supreme Court.
Submission is what God has for us, His fullness, His love that must be received and played forward to one another. As a family and as a church, we are to walk as people who are wise in the ways of the Lord and who are also on guard to the ways of the world. We are to be careful how we live, so we treat our lives and others with love, dignity and respect. We must not be careless with what is precious--people who are God's precious children. We are to make the most of our lives, and the opportunities He gives us. To waste it away, and to treat others with disrespect or abuse is what a fool does; so, let us not be fools! When we understand what the Lord wants us to do—and, by the way, this is not hard—we will do better in life. It is not hard because what God is concerned with is our character. We form our character from understanding, and putting into practice this fullness. Then, we will have healthy families in a healthy church.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/