Something To Talk About:
God Is the Source of All Authority. God is a God of structure and order and perfection. In the Bible, God outlines authority structures that provide direction for the family, church, workplace, and government. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. ” (Romans 13:1).God entrusts roles of leadership to individuals in the family, the church, the workplace, and the government.
- The structure God designed for the home: Pastor Marty talked about this, how we can use our abilities and resources to serve others in the family structure. Marty suggested we ask the question, “what can I do to help?” Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This principle needs to be applied specifically, because we all have someone in authority. That includes children. Parents need to be supportive and responsive, but they also need to understand that they will not always get their way. The way to prepare them for the real world as well as the ideal world is to teach them how to submit. The best place to learn to submit is at home by watching how his or her parents submit. Until children are grown and on their own, they are under their parents’ authority. This authority structure is so important to God that He included this “chain of command” in the Ten Commandments and repeated it in the New Testament: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). It is interesting that this command comes with a promise: “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2–3).
- The structure God designed for the government: Let me first say that we must recognize the Bible’s affirmation of government’s primary role. Romans 13:1-7, among other passages (Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-15, and John 19:11 to name a few) reveal to us that the government primarily is a reflection and extension of God’s authority over all things. In Romans 13:1–4 Paul teaches that God set up all governments and they are ministers of righteousness. Jesus instructs us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s (Matthew 22:21). Scripture instructs us to respect and obey government authorities and ordinances and to live honorably within our communities.
- The structure God designed for the workplace: God’s instructions to slaves in Ephesians 6:5 might also imply responsibility in the workplace. Certainly, as Christians, we should respect the authority of employers. Employers are challenged to act with equity and care as they oversee employees, patterning their behavior after God Himself, Who is their authority. Employees are responsible to serve well, doing their work wholeheartedly as unto the Lord. (See Colossians 3:22–4:1 and I Peter 2:18.) But if the job is not something you want to do and you have the ability to change jobs, then change.
- The structure God designed for the church: God gave church leaders the responsibility to shepherd our souls (Acts 20:28). 1 Corinthians 12:18 (KJV) says, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” God fixed or set each person into the body of the church. If you are not “fixed” in a church, you are resisting the work that God wants to do in your life. You are not set or fixed until you’ve gone through something you didn’t like without giving up and walking way. When you “stick it out” and work through the issue, then you become “set” into the… (job, church, relationship, etc.) All great relationships go through the fire and that includes your relationship with the church.
- After the Ideal Family series, what does submitting to one another look like practically?
- What are the reasons Paul gives for submitting to government? When a man rebels against this authority, who else is he resisting (Romans 13:2)?
- What do you identify as your work and your workplace? How do you view work? As drudgery, as your identity, as an idol, as a way to worship God? Some combination? How do you think Jesus would do your job? What might be ways for you to work more like Him?
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:13: What makes Christians unified and dependent on one another?
- What does it mean to be a know it all? Too rigid?
- Is there an inward attitude/relationship/circumstance that you sense the Holy Spirit wants to transform inside of you, an attitude he wants to bring correction to?
Take One Thing Home with You
We all want to be ideal don’t we? We all want to be part of a family that is at least close to being ideal. But we all fall short of God’s standards, so we will never reach the ideal. But hopefully this series highlighted some things you long to do better in and areas you’d love to grow in? It starts by first coming to grips with the real me and the real family. Hopefully we have a better idea on how to deal with the tension between the real and the ideal.
As a husband it is hard to be the servant leader in the home, it is difficult to love my wife like Christ loved the church. It is difficult for wives to submit themselves and it is difficult to bring up children in a way that glorifies God. Sometimes there seems to be a pretty wide chasm between the ideal and the real. But it is worth the effort? It is worth missing the mark a few times. God is patient. He has more patience then us and He will finish the work. God rarely microwaves people’s progress. He has a longer view on our lives and we would benefit from having a longer view of our lives and the lives of others.
At the end of the day, don’t change the ideal, don’t mask the real; rather, remember that through Christ the ideal will one day be made real in every follower of His. In the meantime, we are to live faithfully in the in-between, the tension, the trial, the now and not-yet.