Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 38
As we start this last lesson, let me remind you that we do not promote any denomination. I maintain that this Book is for everybody, as no denomination has a corner on heaven or salvation. So we just simply teach the Word and we let the chips fall where they may. Not everyone likes where the chips falls, and sometimes we step on toes. One lady, as she left a class of mine, once said, “My toes are bleeding.” I said, “Well come back next week and we’ll do it all over again. I can’t back off what the Book says, just to keep from hurting your feelings.” We just try to lay out so plainly what the Bible really says, and what it doesn’t say.
In our last lesson we had gone back and looked at how Abraham and Isaac were both failures as husbands a couple of times, but God interceded, and took care of their wives in spite of their failures. I feel the same thing is appropriate today. When we’ve got a wife who submits to her husband, he may not always be right, he may at times stumble, yet if she plays her role as God intended it, He will make up the differences. Always remember that Paul is talking about the marriage relationship of believers. Now Lord knows that ungodly men cannot be given this kind of freedom and responsibility, because they would abuse it.
But we’re not talking about those kind of men. But rather we’re talking about believing men who know the Lord, who love the Lord, who, as we’ve seen in these previous verses, knows what it is to walk in the fullness of the Spirit. What is to walk in the life of rejoicing and happiness, knowing the Lord is the head of the husband, as the husband, in turn is the head of the wife. So always keep this in perspective. This is not given men a free reign to just simply lord it over the women. No way! Nothing in Scripture ever gives men that prerogative. But when it comes to the final analysis of decision making, and especially when it comes to disciplining the children, then the major responsibly falls on the father, as we’re going to see in our next lesson, in chapter 6. We know that’s a far cry from today where most of the discipline is left to the poor mother. Now verse 23.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
Now always remember that the word “Church” does not mean that building on the corner. As I was thinking about these things last evening, I remember when Iris and I were first married. She was from Oklahoma and I was from up in Iowa, and her expression always was, “The Church house.” “We’re going to go to the Church house.” Yeah, I see you nodding your head. Well up North in Iowa, and for most people today, that’s almost an unknown term. Oh I used to ride herd on her for saying that, and would ask, where do you get that? Well she would say, “that’s what it is!” But I had never heard of such a thing, we just called it the Church. But you know what? She was right, it is the Church house, that building is not the Church.
That building is just brick and stone. The Church is made up of the true believers who meet in that Church house. So I was completely wrong on that one, but according to our culture this is the way we’ve come to look at it. The Church is made up of the believing element, “the Body of Christ.” and that’s the way Paul always uses the word Church. The word in the Greek is “Ecclesia” and you can spell it with k’s or c’s, it doesn’t make any difference, and is always translated with one or two exceptions, as Church, but it should be defined as “A called out assembly.”
So the called out assembly is the Body of Christ when Paul uses it, but it’s not that way in other passages. For example in Acts chapter 7 we find Stephen speaks of the Church which was in the wilderness. Well now it wasn’t a building with a steeple, you all know that. Neither was it a Church that practiced the Lord’s Supper, and had pastors, bishops, and deacons. But rather it was the children of Israel, recently come out of Egypt. So why in the world does the New Testament call them a Church? Well they were a called out assembly of people recently in Egypt and now around Mount Sinai, but for goodness sake they weren’t a Church as we think of the word Church. So when you see the word Church, this is why Paul almost always identifies it as “The Church which is His Body,” which makes a big difference from the word Church that’s maybe used elsewhere in Scripture.
“…even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24. Therefore as the church…”
This composite of believers around the whole world that makes up the True Body of Christ, whether we’re Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics – that’s moot. If we’re born again and children of God, we are automatically in that Body of Christ, and that Body of Christ will be meeting in Church buildings. But always remember that not all people meeting in those Church buildings are in the Body of Christ. That depends of course how much of the “Truth” is promoted. If the people in that particular building believe for their salvation that Jesus Christ died for their sins, was buried and rose again, + Nothing, then these people are what are called “true believers, and are part of the Body of Christ!” Now completing verse 24 we find that this true Church,
“…is subject unto Christ, so (in like manner then) let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Do you see the analogy? Now goodness sakes Christ has never brow beat a member of the Body of Christ, has He? Christ has never made life miserable for a member of the Body. Christ has never made unfair demands on the Body, neither should a husband do that to his wife. Do you see that analogy? Now unless people think, “Well that’s just Paul talking,” let’s turn to I Peter, and as amazing as it seems, Peter uses almost the same kind of language, so far as this martial relationship is concerned. My goodness these are two totally different apostles in their view of things, but when it comes to this marriage relationship under God, they can use the same language.
I Peter 3:1a
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;…”
Oh I can just hear the feminists, and the equal rights amendment people, because they don’t like this kind of language, but this is God’s format. Now the rest of this verse deals with a Christian wife with an unbelieving husband. She is unequally yoked, but look at these instructions for that particular circumstance.
I Peter 3:1b
“…that, if any (husband, they’re an unbeliever) obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (manner of living, or the lifestyle) of the wives;”
My that’s quite a statement isn’t it? Do you know what Peter is saying? Listen believing wives don’t preach at your husband, don’t try and drag him to the Church house against his will, don’t nag him to get into the Book, but rather you practice the Christian walk so that he can’t help but be amazed at what an example of Christianity that wife really is. When that wife operates under those conditions, realizing that she’s doing it with God’s help, and that her whole desire is that her husband will come to a knowledge of salvation, God’s going to honor it. Now it may take longer or shorter, depending on the case, but sooner or later, God’s going to honor that wife’s testimony. I’ve seen it happen, and have already rehearsed it on the program before, it was extreme, but in a matter of months that fellow, highly educated, tremendous income, and yet because of that Christian walk of the wife, he suddenly realized what a reprobate he really was. He’ll tell you himself , he told us at the time, “I just fell on my knees in my office, and said God I’m a sinner, I want the salvation that my wife has got.” And this fellow became a real trophy of God’s Grace. He became active in a local Church, and went on from there. Now let’s read verse 2.
I Peter 3:2
“While they (the unsaved husband) behold your chaste (pure) conversation (manner of living) coupled with fear.”
Now that’s not the kind of fear we think of when we’re just scared to death. No this is a fear of respect, and reverence. Now here in verse 3 is how the wife is to actually have an impact on that unsaved husband.
I Peter 3:3
“Whose adorning (or beauty) let it not be that outward adorning (beauty) of plaiting (fixing) the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;”
Now listen. Here’s where some groups have taken the Scripture completely out of context, and say that you can’t fix your hair, you can’t look decent, you can’t wear jewelry, but that’s not what this verse says. All this verse says is, “if the woman is going to make an appeal to the man’s lost estate, instead of trying to do it with her outward attraction, do it with the inner, and that’s what Peter says in the next verse.
I Peter 3:4
“But let it be the hidden man (woman) of the heart, (let her salvation experience literally have an impact on that old boy who is out there lost.) in that which is not corruptible, (in the realm of the spirit) even the ornament (or dressing up) of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Oh the Book of Proverbs chapter 31:10-31, says it even better than that, doesn’t it? It tells all she can do, and will do. Now verse 5.
I Peter 3:5
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, (in the realm of the spirit) being in subjection unto their own husbands:”
We just saw in the last lesson how Sarah, and Rebekah in complete subjection to their husbands obeyed. But also remember that God, in spite of their husbands goofs, didn’t let anything blow up. Now verse 6.
I Peter 3:6-7a
“Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord: (that’s a small l, so it’s just simply a term of respect) whose daughters ye are (and of course Peter is writing to Jewish believers in particular) as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel,…”
It doesn’t say, “equal vessel, but the weaker one. But oh listen, for the wife that has a husband that behaves himself as the Lord treats the Church, she doesn’t have to be afraid to admit that she’s the weaker vessel, but rather she’s to be most envied. Now reading on in verse 7.
I Peter 3:7b-8a
“…and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 8. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren,…”
Now this goes on and stretches beyond the home, but it’s still so applicable to the husband and wife relationship. Now coming back to our text in Ephesians chapter 5. And so we have found that Paul and Peter agree on this subject of the husband and wife. And that’s natural because it’s Holy Spirit inspired, that the wife is to be submissive to the husband, but the husband is to love his wife.
“Husbands, love your wives,…”
Now that’s a commandment! There are many people who think the only commandments in Scripture are the Ten. Oh no! The Scripture is just full of commandments. Paul has all kinds of them for us in this Church Age we’re in right now. Now they’re not under the same scenario as the Ten, but they’re still Scriptural admonitions. In another place Paul tells us, “to pray without ceasing,” and in still another place he tells us, “to resist the devil.” Now those are commandments that we should be doing.
And this commandments in Ephesians commands the husband to love his wife, and any time we husbands, myself included, get less than loving we have to immediately say, “Now wait a minute, God’s command is to love her.” Whether you think you have reason to love her or not, the command of God is, “you love her.” After all that’s why the Lord gave her to you.
Now I always point out, and this is to the chagrin of the men, and for the benefit of you women. “Men are commanded to love the wife, the wife is never commanded to love the husband.” Now does that mean she’s free to just simply take off and leave him? No. Do you know what that means? That God has so constructed in the creation of the female, assuming that she’s normal, “that if she has a husband who loves her as much as Christ loves the Church, she is automatically going to love that man, and she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to do it.”
Now you see this all goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis chapter 2, verses 23 and 24. This is where this whole format of the husband being the head of the woman began, and God never rescinded it. Never! It has been part and parcel of Scripture all the way up through human history, and it’s still valid today.
“And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Eve was in Adam) 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Now that’s the way it began. Even though Eve was in Adam at creation, yet it wasn’t until God presented her to the man as his wife that they took on the concept of the two becoming one. That’s where it really began, and Paul will refer to that here in Ephesians.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
We’re already forgiven, but we’re in the old world and we’re going to be defiled occasionally by sin, and so we need that daily cleansing that only the Word can give us. It’s the only washing that Paul gives us. Now verse 27, Paul continues on with the spiritual.
“That he (Christ) might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
And then in verse 28 Paul comes back to the physical aspect.
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”
I mean everyone of us knows that. As soon as we are less than loving to our wives, we’re going to notice it. She’s not going to be as responsive. I’m not going to expect fresh made apple pie if I’ve been treating her like dirt. But oh my when I treat her right, then those are some of the things that I can expect. Now moving on.
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: 30. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31. For this cause (because we’re one with Christ, and one with our wife) shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Now I’ve been teaching this for young and older people for I guess over twenty years, and I’ve always said that if we could practice this the divorce rate would drop to zero.