This is another sermon on Marriage preached by Pastor Richmond Leigh, my husband:
Pastor Richmond Leigh continued preaching about marriage as it is seen in the Bible. His text was taken from the Book of Ephesians. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph 5:22; KJ). Pastor Richmond Leigh said that when talking about the great subject of salvation, there are matters and doctrines that are absolutely necessary to know and obey. Other matters are important but not absolutely necessary. These are called ‘matters of indifference’. In the same way, when talking about Biblical marriage, there are some matters that are absolutely necessary. Some others are important but not absolutely necessary. For example, the type of fashion the wife chooses, the way she sets the table, the type of food she should cook to make the husband happy… these are ‘matters of indifference’. We shall not address these things. In these series of sermons we shall only talk about spiritual matters, Biblical revelations that are absolutely necessary to make marriages successful. Remember that the Bible is not a traditional book. It is not even a Jewish traditional book. The Bible is the infallible Word of God. In marriage as in other areas of our lives the basic doctrine of ‘first things first’ still applies.
In the world, the view of love, of marriage is purely physical. The reason why people marry is because of sexual lust, physical appearance or money. It is based on fleshly instincts and reflexes. The marriage certificate legalizes such a physical attraction. But among believers in Christ, marriage is regarded at a higher level. God ordained marriage. Therefore, in marriage as in other things, the believers pray and seek the will of God concerning their lives’ partners. That is why, Apostle Paul commands all believers to ‘be filled with the Holy Spirit’ before getting married (Eph 5:18).
The general doctrine is that we all submit one unto another because of the fear of God (Eph 5:21). Paul now applies this doctrine in the area of marriage. He addresses the wives first saying: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord!” In the world there is a saying: ‘Ladies first!’ But in the Bible, it is the opposite. It is ‘Men first!’ The wives must submit to their own husbands. It is not natural that husbands should submit to their own wives. The grand motive of this submission is ‘as unto the Lord’. What does it mean? The wife’s submission is not exactly the way she submits to her Lord Jesus Christ! That is going too far. We are all bond slaves to our Master Jesus Christ. It is not expected that some slaves should submit to other slaves without the knowledge of their master.
Then what does this submission mean? It means that the wife should submit to her husband as part of her duty towards her Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Wife, when you submit to your own husband, you do it for Christ’ sake! Your Lord has asked you to do it! Your submission to your husband is not for the sake of your husband but for the Lord’s pleasure!’ This submission is a command. The Apostle Paul does not ask the wives’ opinion. The wife may be more educated or wealthier than her husband. She may be older in age or more intelligent. But for as long she is a wife, she has to submit to her own husband. Then the marriage will be successful. This is a spiritual law that you must obey! It is sad to see how many foolish, rebellious and proud wives struggle with their husbands to be leaders in the marriage. It is proven that if there is any area where a wife can ‘shine’ as a woman of God is in this area of submission. In the world this submission is seen as foolishness. There are many women’ clubs and organizations promoting feminism, equality between sexes and women’ rights. These are all unbiblical and unspiritual. We are not discussing here the social status of women in the world in general. Yes, men and women are equal because they are all created by God. But in the area of marriage, God made the husband to be the head. You can’t argue with God’s law! The Biblical Marriage is a mystery (Eph 5:23). It is a symbol of the union between the Lord and the Church, who is called the Bride of Christ!
There are other Biblical reasons why the wife must submit to her own husband. Man was created first and the woman was created second (Genesis 2). God created Adam from the dust of the ground. Eve was created by God from one of Adam’s ribs. This is the order of creation even before the fall. After God created Adam He said that ‘“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Gen 2:18); NKJ). The wife was created to me ‘a helpmeet’ (King James translation) to her husband. To be ‘a helpmeet’ means to compliment the husband. A good Christian wife studies her own husband and helps him, support him in his weaknesses. Thru prayers and the application of the Word of God she builds him up. She encourages him. She does not take advantage of his weaknesses to exploit, manipulate or to destroy him. Adam named all the animals. They were created before Eve. But no animal could be a ‘helper comparable to him’. That is why God created Eve from his bone, from the DNA of Adam.
In the Bible the wife is also called ‘the weaker vessel’. ‘Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered’ (1Pet 3:7). The husband is commanded to ‘give honor’ to his wife. That does not mean to submit to her. What it means is to recognize that she is a child of God, an heir together of the grace of life. The husband needs to understand his wife, to nourish and help her as she is the weaker vessel. Ignoring this command, the prayers of the husband will be hindered. The reason why the wife is called the weaker vessel is because naturally, the husband is stronger than the wife.
Another reason why the wife must submit to her husband is because the women have a greater tendency than the men to be deceived. In the Garden of Eden, Eve was deceived by the devil that came to her as a serpent (Genesis 3). This original sin happened because Eve was deceived. When the devil proposed that she should eat from the forbidden fruit, she should have asked her husband what to do. But she usurped authority over Adam. She acted alone, without the covering of her husband. She failed to realize her position and took over the leadership of the marriage. She dealt with the situation as a single woman, without reference to her husband. The original sin was that the wife failed to realize her position in her marital home. She usurped authority, power and position over the husband thereby bringing calamity that has affected all women since then. God judged her action and said that from now on, the women will have pains when they deliver their children. God also said that the husband will ‘rule over the wife’. ‘To the woman God said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16). As you can see, the wife’s subordination was increased after the fall.
Genesis 3:16 is the basis of Apostle Paul’s argument of women taking authority in the church, thru preaching and teaching the men. This is what Apostle Paul says: ‘And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control’ (1Tim 2:12-15). As you can see, Adam was not deceived. When he ate the fruit he did it as an act of rebellion, which is also a sin. Eve’s deception has affected all women since then. A woman is not to teach men even in the church, except she is under the spiritual covering of her husband or her pastor who takes responsibility for her ministry.
Finally, this is a reminder that the subject we discuss is that of wives’ submission to their husbands in the area of marriage. God is not the author of confusion. God has called us to peace. In all things we must learn to give glory to God. ‘Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1Cor 10:31). Worship the Lord!