Series: Love Glue
Message: Glue Stick: Apply With Care
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Read: Ephesians 5:21-33 in the Expanded Bible (EXB). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Submit . . . sounds like a demand from a very controlling person. What if it’s actually not a bad word, but something that’s transformative? Or at least could be.
One of our current struggles with the whole “submit yourself” approach is that we forget the context, both here in Ephesians 5 and the greater teaching of Jesus. It’s important get this right because what follows, follows this teaching. The immediate context is what comes before Verse 21 which is what it means to be living out a Spirit- filled life.
The greater teaching of Jesus is found in John 13:34: “As I have loved you, you’re supposed to love each other” (my translation). When Jesus said this, it was an epic moment: Jesus is reminding all the people in the room what He had done (and would do) for them. Because of that, He said, “Do the same; treat others like I have treated you.”
That’s the context for being mutually, equally submitted to each other that lays the foundation for the specific submitting that’s described in the verses that follow.
The command to submit is generic and equally applicable. And, one could argue, it’s the way to make any relationship work: “I’m here for you because God was here for me, so I’m here for you.”
Whenever we forget that Jesus is the model, we get in trouble. Everything we do is because of what He’s done for us.
Thayer, in his word study, says the word submission comes from:
a Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.”
Don’t miss that last part; in fact, let’s read it again: “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” That’s what Paul was encouraging us to do.
So what does submitting to each other look like in a romantic relationship?
“Where do you want to eat?” “I don’t care.”
“OK, how about Italian?” “No, I don’t want Italian.”
(This next part only think to yourself: “I thought you didn’t care.” The words to speak are, “OK, how about Chinese?”)
Maybe the easiest way to remember what mutual submission means is (repeat after me): “You, you, you, you, you,” because Jesus said “You, you, you, you, you.”
Recalibrate: What does submitting to each other look like in a romantic relationship? After all, how can a married couple practice mutual submission? Wouldn’t this lead to chaos? Doesn’t somebody need to be in charge to make things work?
Respond: Through prayer: How has Jesus treated you? What does that mean in how you treat yourself? Others?
Research: The strongest argument in favor of the Gospel is a loving and lovable Christian (Ministry of Healing, p. 275).
Remember: “Be willing to obey each other. Do this because you respect Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, ICB).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
Our Words to Remember text for this week is, “Be willing to obey each other. Do this because you respect Christ,” (Ephesians 5:21, ICB). Respect and obedience are two big words that you and your little one may not use yet. However, they will certainly appear on your list of words soon. Respect is simply defined as deep admiration for someone because of what they have done. To obey is to do what another person asks of you When we are willing to listen to others and do what they ask us because of our respect for Christ, our little ones see us put love in action. Today with your little one focus on listening and doing. Our text from last week was, “Love is patient and kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), so whatever it is you are doing for your child or someone else, wrap it in patience and kindness.
Our Words to Remember for this week are, “Be willing to obey each other. Do this because you respect Christ,” (Ephesians 5:21, ICB). Respect means that you think this person is amazing because of what they have done. To obey is to listen to what you have been asked to do and then to do it. In our Bible story of Isaac and Rebekah, the servant obeys out of respect for Abraham. Watch this video and see how obedient the servant is.
A new week of Love Glue! Embrace the stickiness! (OK, maybe not the best slogan.) Welcome to Sunday. Thanks for making time somewhere around your fun to explore what God says is the best way to have relationships. I know—“God’s plan for your relationships” isn’t exactly enticing. I know you aren’t married, but you might want to be some day. Or maybe you are still in the cooties phase. That won’t be around for long. But if you are looking across the room at your crush, “God’s plan” probably translates in your mind to “all the fun you aren’t allowed to have or the big man in the sky will glare at you disapprovingly.” I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there right now that this week is not about what you are or are not allowed to do. Yes, this week is about marriage, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with you.
“OK, fine, what does this have to do with my preteen, forever-away-from-marriage self?” I’m glad you asked. First of all, this text is a major source of controversy right now. I know many people who have left the church over gender and these texts are at the heart of the problem. You may ask why the Bible says things the church uses to put down women. Well, this is the start to finding the answer to that question.
Spoiler alert: The Bible has incredible things to say about women and when you really look at it to see what it says, I think you will see that God has designed everyone with an amazing part to play in His plan. No one matters more, no one matters less. So, ready to jump in? I hope so—see you tomorrow!
So this passage talks about submission in a marriage. I’m going to guess if you’re reading this and you’re 13-17 years old, there’s a pretty low chance you’re married right now. You can assume that because you’re not married that there is not much for you in this text. Now, this isn’t necessarily the case. If you haven’t heard of these Bible texts already, you might have heard them recited in a wedding homily. The instructions are pretty straight forward but have resulted in some major controversy. No matter whether you’ve heard these texts before or they are brand new to you, I want you to consider them as a personal appeal. This isn’t about criticizing a future partner but about learning how to treat others better.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.