SERMON 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. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph 5:21, 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. ‘Dear wives, I’m sorry to say this, you can cook the best food for your husband. Your cooking alone will not hold your marriage. Your husband will eat the food and still abuse you. You can dress with the most expensive night dress; that alone cannot improve your marriage…You need to obey the injunction of God as you are powered by the Holy Spirit…’
The great Apostle Paul commands wives to submit to their own husbands ‘as unto the Lord’. But before that verse, he commands all Christians to learn how to ‘submit one to another in the fear of God’. This submission is not done because of social customs or cultural traditions. This submission is not done just to impress the pastors. This submission is spiritual, holy and real. It’s genuine. It’s from the heart! It’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The truth is that no unbeliever is truly humble. Because the devil cannot submit, the natural man cannot submit to another. He may pretend to do it but his heart is proud and not submissive. When a religious unbeliever submits to another, that is manipulation! It is only the children of God that are able to obey this command to submit to one another. It is one of their identifying marks! That is why we are commanded ‘to be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ in Eph. 5:18
Our Lord said that the Great men, the Princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over others. The so called ‘big men’ in the world are always proud and high handed. They insist that others respect them, worship them. But Jesus said that in the Kingdom of God it is the opposite! Humility is expected and it is greatly rewarded. The leaders in the Kingdom of God should have the attitude of a servant ‘even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many’ (Mat 20:20-28). If a born again Christian is proud on earth, his reward in heaven will be very small. But if a Christian is humble on earth, submits to God and to others, just like His Master, his reward in heaven will be very great.
We submit to one another for a particular reason: ‘the fear of God’. Simply said, because Jesus submitted to God His Father and also to men, His reward was exceedingly great in heaven. We should have the same attitude, the same mind set (Phil 2:5-11). Before the Cross, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He was their Master but He behaved as their servant. He said that He gave them an example of how to treat one another (Jn 13:12-16). We submit to God and to one another because we want to show gratitude to God. Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will obey My commandments” (Jn 14:15). In other words, if you say you love God and man, you must submit to one another.
Another reason we submit to God and to one another is because of fear of losing reward. A born again Christian, even if he becomes proud and backslides, he will never lose his salvation because ‘Salvation is of the Lord’ (Ps 3:8). But a backslider loses opportunities for ministry on earth and rewards in heaven. This is a spiritual law: for every act of sacrificial love, for every act of sanctification trying to become like Jesus, you will be rewarded in heaven. We are commanded to ‘work out’ our salvation with fear and trembling. We are not commanded to ‘work for’ our salvation, but to work it out. Let the invisible work of the Holy Spirit be manifested thru humble deeds done to the glory of God (Phil 2:13). Every good work done on earth shall be tried with the fire of God. The foundation is the same: Christ and Him crucified. But ‘the building materials’ are different. Some believers pay the price and build with gold and silver. Their humble faithful work is done for the glory for God and it will stand the test of fire. They shall be highly rewarded by God. But others use worldly means to build up their ministries. Their labor is to promote self. They build with ‘wood, hay and straw’. The fire will consume all their works and there shall be no reward in heaven. It is a frightening thing to have your works burnt by the Holy God who is a consuming fire!
These basic Biblical principles apply to all Christian behavior in general and to the marriage relationships in particular. Agape Love is the grandest, the greatest and most noble motive in the whole world to be good and to do good to others! For example, a man who is shy, weak willed like a sheep, becomes like a lion when it comes to doing exploits for the woman he loves. Love finds it easy to submit to the Beloved. We submit to one another to honor Jesus and to give glory to God. In His High Priestly prayer Jesus said: Father God, “all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (Jn 17:10). We should never forget! For the sake of love, the Second Person of the Trinity came to earth and became a man. Our Lord Jesus Christ limited Himself, caged Himself and became a servant to men. He was obedient to God even unto death. For the sake of our souls, He died that we might live. This is the power of submission and humility! This is the power of Love! This love can never fail to achieve its purpose! (1Cor 13:8). Glory to God! In Ephesians 5:21, the injunction is not only for wives to submit, but all, including husbands. Husbands are also called to submit in a sense to their own wives.
Lastly, this is a practical advice. You child of God, especially daughters of Sarah, if you humble yourself and learn how to submit to others when you are single, it will easy to submit to your own husband once you get married. Submission is not a loss! Submission is highly rewarded by God with a great testimony money cannot buy! Dear brethren, let’s do everything to the glory of God! “Submit one to another in the fear of the Lord” Worship the Lord!