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Headship and Authority

By Brother Mike Larsen

04 June 2006

Adult Education Hour

(Ephesians 5:23-33)

I. Inescapable Headship

Indicatives vs. Imperatives

· Christians frequently confuse indicatives with imperatives.

· An indicative is a statement of fact (the chair is brown; the ship is tilted; Mark's sermonsare long) - there is no "ought."

· An imperative is a command - it tells us what we ought to do (turn on the light! Close the door! Pick up your laundry off the floor!) .

· Christians confuse these two and try to turn indicatives into imperatives (the gospel is the great indicative - what God has already done to save sinners, not what we must do) .

Inescapable Leadership/Headship

· (Ephesians 5:23) - Note that Paul does not say the husband ought to be the head of the wife...he says he is the head of the wife. It is a fact! An indicative.

· "This does not mean that God gives no imperatives to the husband. In the verses following we find a very basic imperative indeed – husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church. But nowhere is the husband commanded to be a head to his wife. This is because he already is the head of his wife, by the very nature of marriage. If he does not love her, he is a poor head, but a head nonetheless"

· He is in a position of inescapable leadership - he cannot successfully refuse to lead. He may lead poorly, but he will lead. This is God's design of all marriages.

· More profoundly, the husband is a picture of Christ - he is "always talking about Christ and the church" - maybe he's eloquent and accurate, maybe he's a babbling fool. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

II. Love and Respect

Men and women are given specific Biblical responsibilities

· Each member of the marriage has specific responsibilities that are unique and promote harmony between husbands and wives, and between the marriage and God. If you don’t have this harmony, you may not be fulfilling your Biblical responsibilities. You may be fulfilling what “you think ought to be” your responsibilities but that won’t bring God’s kind of fulfillment.

Men are to love their wives

· Two verses give examples of agapao, sacrificial love

· Eph 5:28 "In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." Remember that when you got married the 2 became one flesh. Your wife is your own body! Why would you be mean to yourself? Nurture her, care for her, love her.

· Eph 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

Women are to respect their husbands

· Eph 5:33 "...the wife must respect her husband".

· Interestingly, wives aren't really commanded to love their husbands - the command is to respect them. Now all Christians are commanded to love other believers but this is a different kind of “brotherly” love. The deep devoted kind of Agapao love is not really commanded to the wife but reverence and respect is.

Harmony in fulfilling responsibilities

It is interesting to see that God’s commands to men and women to are given to our respective weaknesses.

· These biblical duties are summed up as follows: men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives are to respect their husbands. As each partner completes his or her responsibility, both husband and wife have their God-given needs met.

· Men are to love, and wives need to be loved. Men are generally not good at this kind of biblical, sacrificial love (CS Lewis once commented that women see love as taking trouble for others while men see love as not giving trouble) The kind of love commanded of men is the “taking trouble” kind of love. Men want to simply not give trouble) Have you ever heard the statement, “I told you I loved you when I married you and I will let you know if anything changes.” Guys, they need more than that! Men seem to think that if they aren’t causing any trouble then they are showing love! So God’s command for men to love causes the men to grow and change because he needs to be a better lover and it gives the woman exactly what she needs which is to be loved. Men grow by loving and woman are fulfilled by his love. How do we know that women need to be loved? The fact that God commands husbands to love means that, logically, women need love. When the scripture tells the elders of the

· Women are to respect, and men need respect. Many women speak disparagingly about their husbands with others, but then they go home to cook, clean and care for their kids. Why? Because they "love" their husbands...but they may substitute love for the kind of respect God demands. Again, the command indicates that men, by inference, need respect. Both partners gain: women grow in godliness as they genuinely respect their husbands, and men get the respect they need.

· But we are often like the man who gives his wife a shotgun for Christmas because he wants one. When marriages get in trouble it is common to see the woman showing her husband great love, showering him with I love you’s and doing special things. She gives to him what she would like versus what God commanded and what he needs. She loves him and tells him so but does she respect him and tel;l him so?

· What does this look like? For men: communicate love and security - he will provide,

cherish, sacrifice for her - fulfill her need to be secure in his love. For women: respect

and honor him in "his abilities and achievements - how hard he works, how faithfully he

comes home, how patient he is with the kids, etc."

· Remember that God requires our spouses to render to us far more than any of us deserve.

III. The wife: She Was Made for Him


· God, in Genesis, said it was not good for a man to be alone. So, he made woman… (1 Corinthians 11:8-9) "for man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man"

· This is a difficult passage for some to hear, but by looking at it we gain valuable insight into God's design for marriage

· The creation order tells us that Adam was not created for Eve, but rather that Eve was

created for Adam. Also, the way Paul applies the truth shows that Adam and Eve's

relationship was not unique to them, but to all marriages - it is normative for the human



· "The wives are called to the role of aiding and supporting their husbands in their calling (vocation). This means, further, that the man is established by God as the authority in the home. Under God, he is defined by the work to which he is called, while she is defined by the man to whom she is called."

· This collides with the idea that both spouses can pursue their careers to their hearts' delight. This idea is popular, but unbiblical. That does not mean that women cannot work outside the home but the work should be in support of your husbands calling versus chasing your own calling. Protect your marriage against the temptation of independence! Support the Declaration of Independence from the British crown, Support the Emancipation Proclaimation, Support being freed from your sin, but do not support or promote independence in marriage. 1 flesh, 1 dream, 1 goal, 1 family, 1 future. Complete interdependence. Why?, because independence in marriage results in divorce and broken families. If you have young children in the home mom you should do all you can to be home with them. (continued...)

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