— Brother Phil Enlow: You talk about a high calling. You talk about something that flies in the face of human nature. Man! This is…all you can do is say, oh, God! I’m not like this. God, my nature is to be selfish. I would take this principle of the husband being the head of the home in a selfish way. I just want to do what I want. I want to make her serve me.
That’s not the spirit in which Jesus came to rescue lost, helpless sinners. He didn’t come to be a king. He came to be a servant. He came to give Himself completely for the eternal welfare of a people. That’s the same spirit that He desires godly husbands to have for their wives, to create for them a place of safety.
And I don’t mean just physical safety, but I mean emotional safety, where they can be whole. They can know that they are valued and loved and cared about and provided for, and someone whose heart they can trust. I’ll tell you, we need God, don’t we, folks?
( congregational response ).
Every one of us needs God to be able to fulfill such roles. We don’t have this in our nature. It comes from Christ alone. We don’t know what love is until we meet Him.
( congregational amens ).
We call it love, but most of the time, it’s lust, selfishness. Oh, God gives us that kind of a spirit and heart that He had toward His people. And I desire that in a greater way. I recognize that…Lord have mercy just like everybody else, there’s so much in which I come short.
But guys, you’re the head of your home—you’re the head of your home. But what kind of a head are you? Are you just selfish? Do you live for the welfare of your wife and your family? Do you look to God and say, oh, God, I’m not the top one here. You are. She may be in a position where she needs to look to me as head, but I’ve got a head, too. I’m not some tyrant. God, take that spirit that would cause anybody to be a tyrant, an abuser in any form, take it out of our hearts and cause us to be the kind of godly people that He designed us to be in the beginning!
There is a place of blessing! The Kingdom of God exists in that kind of atmosphere! God is present! You know, it’s not enough just to come in here. And I thank God for His presence. Thank God for when He meets with us. But I’ll tell you, the devil understands that the family and the unit, the family unit and the marriage relationship is the foundation of God’s world and God’s society. That’s why they hate it so much. That’s why they’re doing everything that’s possible to tear it down.
I’ll tell you, we have the opportunity, not just to have a place here within these walls, but to have a place in our homes where God is honored, where people can come in, they can sense the presence of God. They see it. It’s not just talked about. It’s not just a set of rules to live by, but we’re literally allowing the Lord to live in us and change us and help us to fulfil each one, the godly role that He’s given to us.
We cannot do it except He live in us. But the other side, the flip side is we can do it because He’s in us to strengthen us to do it if we will. So we have opportunities every single day to say, Lord, help me to be the kind of person, the kind of husband, the kind of wife that You want me to be.
And of course, then you get to…well, I’ll go ahead and read the rest of this. “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect the husband.” (NIV).
So you see what’s going on. Paul is talking about two different things, and the one is the model for the other. We have a Lord who has died for all of us to bring us together…to bring us together as a congregation, as a people. And I’m talking here, but also wherever His people are. He has brought us together, and He has given everything for us.
And He exists, not just as a figurehead in Heaven…we’re not walking with a figurehead in Heaven in a book. We’ve got a living Savior who is here. He’s among us. He dwells in His people, and He’s seeking to bring forth…and all of His energy is seeking to bring forth His nature in us and to recreate His kingdom upon earth.
To the extent we cooperate with Him, we enjoy the benefits of His kingdom now. Thank God for what will come. We don’t have to wait, though. We don’t have to live here in frustration and misery. We can enjoy His presence now, if we will.
So, on the one hand, it’s this glorious mystery of Christ in the church, but that is the model for the husband and the wife. Praise God! I’ll tell you, do you see God as a mean judge, rule maker, repressing us, trying to make us live in ways we don’t want to…do things we don’t want to do, an abuser?
Oh, my God! There is no greater love than we have experienced from Him. And to submit to that love, to surrender to it, to have the kind of a spirit that a wife in this passage is meant to have for her husband…this applies to every one of us. To have that kind of thing is to submit to love itself and to be set free. Praise God!
But let’s ask God to help us model that. We’ve got young couples that probably have been married since some of this stuff has been preached openly. I pray God will just bless you, that He’ll help you with all the issues, because there are plenty of issues. We’re human beings. We’ve still got this nature to deal with.
There are gonna be times when we’re gonna bump heads. But may God give us that spirit to remember. Who am I? I’m His child. What is He trying to accomplish in me? How do I get there? Lord, give me a spirit to humble myself and to submit.
I’ll tell you, the husband does a lot of submitting too, not just submitting to his wife’s opinion, though he ought to value it and ought to listen and consider it. But I mean it is a humbling, it’s a giving of his whole life for her and for the family. There’s a pretty big submission in that. He just doesn’t use them for his own enjoyment. They’re not his servants so he can live his life and do what he pleases. He’s to have the same heart toward them as Christ has towards us. That’s the model. Praise God!
That’s an awesome model, isn’t it? Praise the Lord! But obviously, it doesn’t stop with them, does it? It gets into children. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Now, let me point out that it doesn’t say children, obey your parents in the Lord, for ‘they’ are always right.
( laughter ).
Thought I better throw that in, because we are very, very good, especially the young age, of justifying self-will and rebellion, because the one who is commanding whatever, the one who is in the position of authority is less than perfect. But God, once again, is more interested in our character than He is in every little issue that comes along. And it is right for someone to have a heart that is willing to submit and surrender.
God is…I’ll tell you, young people, in this world if you hang around the people of the world all you will learn is rebellion. If you drink in their values, that’s all you’ll be is a rebel, and you will justify it! And of course, most of us can remember being teenagers. It was a while ago, but I can still remember.
And of course, we all know that teenagers are the smartest people in the world. They know everything. And especially, are they aware of how dumb everybody is that’s older than they are and trying to tell them that it’s not like they think it is. And of course, if they’re wise at all, they reach a point where they realize that their parents have learned an awful lot in the last while. They’re a lot smarter than they thought they were. But that’s human nature, folks.
But I’ll tell you, God has a place for you in His kingdom. And if you’re a little child, right now, your place is to learn from Him. Your place is to humble yourself and submit. Your place is not to say, well, my parents…I’ll submit if they’re right. What you mean is, if they agree with your rebellion. But have a humble spirit and look to God and say, Lord, I want to be the kind of person You want me to be. Help me at this stage of my life to walk in Your ways, because You are preparing me to be to be an adult who can continue to model Your nature and Your Spirit in the world. One day, I’m gonna have a family. One day, I’m gonna have a kid just like me.
( laughter ).
( laughing ).
( laughter ).
But seriously, you see where I’m coming from. You see it from the Lord’s point of view. Oh, we make such big issues out of such little passing things, and God is trying to build character. And the way He does it in His kingdom is when you’re young, you exist in this unit called the family with a loving father and a mother.
I get that the world is broken. I get that it’s not always like that, but God can still work in you. If you will look past the imperfections of those around you and honor the God whom you claim to serve, God will fight your battles. God will build character in you, and you will be the kind of person that maybe your parents aren’t. Don’t ever use that as an excuse.
But I’ll tell you, God wants to build something in you that’s real, that’s eternal. “Honor you father and mother…” I know they don’t always deserve it. None of us deserves God’s favor and blessing. But, “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise…” It goes back to the Ten Commandments. Why? “…That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” There’s a blessing that goes with honoring your father and your mother.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” That’s what’s in the NIV which is a good way to translate that. There are ways that fathers can lead and rule over their children that actually ‘frustrate’ them, is another word. How does our Heavenly Father treat us? Does He demand things of us that we can’t do? Oh, how patient, how loving, how kind He is. When we mess up, His love doesn’t change.
And that’s the model that God is seeking to reproduce within the home! It’s that we should have the same spirit towards our children that God has toward us! There are times when discipline is needed, but discipline is never to be meted out in anger and personal frustration! It’s not that they are bothering you and messing with you, it’s that there is a spirit that is trying to take over their lives and their minds, and it needs to be corrected.
You know, I have memories of…when I have needed it, when I was a youngster, but I appreciate one memory that I have, and I guess I have it because it occurred a number of times. You know, when my parents would discipline me, I don’t ever remember my parents disciplining me in anger. I’m thankful for that. I praise God for that.
But I do remember them sitting down and saying I really don’t want to have to do this, but I’m doing this because I love you, and it’s necessary. That was the sentiment that was carried out, and you know, that kind of sticks. You don’t like it at the time much. That’s what Hebrews 12 says. We don’t always appreciate it at the time, but it produces a harvest of good fruit in people that are exercised thereby.
God, help us in this area. I’ll tell you, if you’ve got a Christian home, you have got an awesome responsibility, but you’ve got an awesome privilege to help bring the Kingdom of God to this world and to have one little place, at least, where Jesus rules, where His Spirit is the dominating atmosphere in which our kids are raised. So, “…do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
And I think I’ve mentioned this before. Some of you, particularly among the home school crowd, remember a book that was circulated a quite a while ago. And I’m trying to remember. I think it was “The Curse of the Standard Bearer.” Some of you remember that one? And it was a very insightful book. And basically, what it had to do with was your style of raising a child.
Basically, is your home run by rules? Because if it is, then we’re just legalists. Does God’s Kingdom run by rules? I mean, yes, there are admonitions. There are principles and all, but is it fundamentally just rule based? Hey, you broke my rule. Whack! Here’s our standard for this. Here’s our standard for that.
And, the author made a very strong case for how destructive that is, and how many kids just want to grow up and get out from under the rules. But the alternative that was presented was we need to not be standard bearers but image bearers. So that’s not simply a matter of laying down rules, but it is demonstrating the Spirit of Christ in what we do so that they have something to model. We become models for our children instead of just simply law givers.
And I’ll tell you, that’s a sobering question to ask ourselves as to what degree do our children see in us what we profess? It got quiet, didn’t it? But isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Isn’t that what God’s plan is, that we should not only look in here and find what out rules to live by and then just enforce them, but rather, we need to have a relationship with Christ that our children can see? My parents just don’t tell me what to do, they live in a way that I want to be like them.
I’ll tell you, if we do that, that doesn’t…there’s not a formula that guarantees all the results. But I’ll tell you what, it gives, it opens up a door for God to work in hearts. You know, there’s a point in time when all we can do is just say, God, help me to be the kind of person I want to be and then, just pray. How many of you have been in situations where your kids reach a certain point and all you can do is put them in God’s hands? And every time you try to do something, what does the Lord say? Take your hands off. There’s a place for that.
But I’ll tell you, we have a Heavenly Father who watches over His own. But do you see the principles that are in operation here? God is wanting to build little replicas, if you will, of His Kingdom, little outposts of His Kingdom in each of our homes so that we raise…the generations that follow do not have hand-me-down religion or ‘I’m out of here.’
That’s about the two options if you don’t have what God wants. You’re gonna have a decline. You’re gonna have a moving away from life and truth, or you’re gonna have people that just rebel against it and say, I don’t want what they have. They’re hypocrites. I don’t want to be one.
All the imperfections that I can see in myself, I just look to the Lord. But I want for me, I want for His people, and I believe this is God’s heart…He brought this to me when I woke up this morning. It just…I don’t know, I wasn’t looking for anything, so that’s usually a good sign, when thoughts just start coming unbidden, and they’re peaceable.
This is on God’s heart. He cares about your home. He cares about the relationships in your life. He cares about making you the kind of a person who can be at home in His Kingdom. I’ll tell you, your highest peace, joy, love, welfare is to be found in submission to His place and His will.
I don’t care if you’re a small child, God has a place for you in His Kingdom. He’s thought about you before He ever created the first star. He planned for you to have a place of love and joy and significance and all the things that atheism cannot possibly promise. He designed you for that. You’re unique. Nobody else is like you.
You’re important to Him. He died for you. He did all that it takes to make you the kind of a person that could enjoy a special place in His Kingdom, where you will have all the significance and the joy and the peace. You won’t be jealous of anybody. All of that’s gone out of our nature. There will just be the total freedom to be everything that God made us to be.
But doesn’t He want us to begin to model that now in our lives, our relationships and our homes? Yeah, I know they’re broken. I know you may have an unsaved husband. You may be single. You may not have a husband or a wife. But every one of us has a place in His Kingdom, and everyone matters. You matter to Him. He died for you.
And He can help us right where we’re at to be such models of Christ that people say, I want what they have. I don’t want to just come and sing the happy songs and do all those kinds of things and then not really live it out there. Does that make sense? Is that what the Lord wants? Praise God!
I’m so glad that we can look to Him, because I can’t do any of this. But that’s what salvation is about. It’s not about God giving us rules to live by and saying, hey, if you’ll just go this way instead of that way, everything will be right. No, I need a brand-new engine. That’s what God provides through salvation. He provided me a Savior. He comes in to live. He…you know, we read the beginning there about waking up and being filled with His Spirit. You see how that’s the key to everything that follows? That’s where we get…it’s His life on the inside.
But He wants that to find expression in the practical areas of our lives, and as He does, He’s going to create these little enclaves of divine presence and blessing. There’ll be people who come into our homes, and they’ll feel something. They’ll say, what is different? It’s peaceable here. I just feel something good here.
I want them to feel it when they come in here, but I want them to feel when they come in to our homes and say this is a place where God lives. I want what you have. Folks, as the darkness grows, the light is gonna become far…and more and more significant. God’s gonna use it. Basically, it’s no more than us being the people God designed us for, and just living for Him within our sphere of life. And I’ll tell you, God will get the glory. Praise God! Let His Kingdom come. Let His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Praise the Lord!