Net Group (Small Group) Discussion Questions and Study Guide

1. Does submission to God and or others come easily to you? Why or why not?

2. What one ingredient is most important in Godly submission? Why is it so important?You’ll find the answer in these verses from Proverbs, Psalms, and Romans.
Prov 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Prov 3:6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Psa 91:1  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psa 91:2  I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Psa 91:3  Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
Psa 91:4  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Rom 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Trust is also a necessary ingredient if Godly submission is to be practiced in human relationships. Discuss the role trust plays when it comes to Godly submission in the husband/wife relationship, and the parent/child relationship. Read the following Scripture from the text of Sunday’s message...

Eph 5:21  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Eph 5:22  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Eph 5:24  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Eph 5:26  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
Eph 5:27  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Eph 5:28  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Eph 5:29  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--
Eph 5:30  for we are members of his body.
Eph 5:31  "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
Eph 5:32  This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Eph 6:1  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Eph 6:2  "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--
Eph 6:3  "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
Eph 6:4  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

4. Paul spoke to the culture of his day in which slavery was an unfortunate, but common, reality. With Godly submission in mind, discuss how his advice to both slave and slave owner relates to us today? For help with this question, simply read the text and think about your life as an employee/employer, servant/leader.
Eph 6:5  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Eph 6:6  Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Eph 6:7  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
Eph 6:8  because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Eph 6:9  And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.


Full Sermon Notes

Church Defined
Chosen to Submit

Ephesians 5:21-6:9
 

On this Father's Day I want to say happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!
DADS PLEASE STAND!
LET'S SHOW OUR APPRECIATION!

I hope you enjoy this day mightily!
However, If you are a dad or granddad, I hope you understand the grand privilege and huge responsibility God has called you to!

 I'm so grateful for my Godly Dad who showed me what a Godly man looks like, both in attitude and action. My dad taught me by example what I'm going to preach today.

Today's message has special application for the dads, but also applies to every member of the Body of Christ.
That includes men, women and children.

 The theme for today's message usually has a negative connotation attached. I hope today, to show you the positive side of Submission and why it is such an important concept to define if we are to understand what it means to be the Church!!

 Let's look at the meaning of the word submission...

submission |səbˈmiSHən|
noun
1 the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person

 With this definition in mind, let's ask God to help us understand what it means for each and everyone of us in this building today. Let's ask God to show us the importance submission in our daily lives.

PRAY!!

 Now we are going to read some of the most controversial passages of Scripture in the whole Bible. Also some of the most misunderstood.

 Just reading these verses could cause some folks to be offended and when I explain how some of these verses have often been misused, others could be offended.
Curious about just what verses I'm talking about?
In these verses...

Paul speaks of the importance of submission within the Body of Christ.
 The doctrine of submission is a vital part of the definition of church.
Followers of Christ must learn to practice Godly submission in every area of their lives.


 Who are we to submit to?
What does Godly submission look like?
How do we actually submit?
We're going to read our whole text today, Ephesians 5:21- 6:9 and then go back and answer some of these questions.
 God's Word is powerful, let it speak to you this morning...

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 (NIV)

23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Ephesians 5:23 (NIV)

24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:24 (NIV)

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
Ephesians 5:26 (NIV)

27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:27 (NIV)

28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:28 (NIV)

29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—
Ephesians 5:29 (NIV)

30for we are members of his body.
Ephesians 5:30 (NIV)

31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31 (NIV)

32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:32 (NIV)

33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Ephesians 6:1 (NIV)

2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
Ephesians 6:2 (NIV)

3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:3 (NIV)

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Ephesians 6:5 (NIV)

6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Ephesians 6:6 (NIV)

7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)

8because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Ephesians 6:8 (NIV)

9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Ephesians 6:9 (NIV)

 Slavery has never been a good thing, but it was so ingrained in Paul's culture, he knew he was not going to change it over night, so he spoke the Word of God to both the owners and the slaves. He shared with them how to apply the concepts of God's Word to their situation.
God's Word has application to every situation in life.


 Paul's society was male dominated in every way, so he spoke God's Word to their situation and it still has powerful application today!
He spoke of submission as it applies to the church, the wife, the husband, the child, the slave, the master…etc.

 A key ingredient that must be present for Godly submission is trust. Without trust, it is impossible to willingly submit to God or anyone else.
The only way a person would submit to someone they don't trust is if they were forced.
God would never do such a thing and when people do such a thing it is criminal!!

Remember one of the definitions of submission is yielding to a superior force.

God is certainly a superior force, yet He refuses to use that superior force to make you or me submit to His love, or His will!

Not always, but many times a man has the power to force his will on his wife, but that's not the way God intended a man to use his strength!
God gave man strength so he could be a provider and a protector for his family, not a bully!

 Let's look at the definition of submission again...

submission |səbˈmiSHən|
noun
1 the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person

 Godly submission is accepting and yielding to God's will and authority voluntarily!

Now let's go back and see what that looks like for a follower of Christ, a member of God's family...

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)

Many times people conveniently leave this verse out!
Hey preacher, doesn't the Bible say a woman is supposed to submit to the man?

Yes, but it first says "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ!"

What does this submission look like?
Paul first describes the wife's submission and then the husband's! It's interesting to me that Paul takes less time talking about the wife's submission and more time talking about the husband's.
First the wife...

 Submission for the Wife

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 (NIV)

Wives, when you submit to your husband as to the Lord, you have placed the responsibility for your relationship on your husband. He then stands responsible before God for his stewardship of this relationship.

23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Ephesians 5:23 (NIV)

Not always, but many times a man has the power to force his will on his wife, but that's not the way God intended a man to use his strength!
God gave man strength so he could be a provider and a protector for his family, not a bully!

Paul said wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. This means you submit to your husband trusting them to lead in a Godly way. If your husband were to ask you to be involved in ungodly activity, you always put Christ first.  

24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:24 (NIV)

But what if your husband is not a Christian?

God's Word speaks to this...

1 Cor 7:13  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
 

In other words, if he is willing to live with you knowing you are committed to Christ first and foremost!

It goes on to say, if the unbeliever choses to leave, let them go, but if not your witness could bring about their salvation!

 So a wife's submission to her husband is to be in the Lord and is based on her trust that her husband is following the leadership of the Lord. If not, the wife prays for her husband and seeks to be a Godly witness to him in her actions and attitudes!

Now Paul turns his attention to the husbands...

 Submission for the Husband

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

A husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church would never use his strength to over power his wife for selfish gain. In fact, a Godly husband is always willing to give himself up for the wife. That means a willingness to give up your own selfish agenda! It even means laying down your life for her if it ever came to that.

 In fact a husbands attitude should be patterned after Galatians 2:20...

20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

 In other words, Jesus gave Himself for me, I'm willing to give myself for my wife and family!

What women wouldn't be willing to submit to that kind of love? Paul continues by talking about the reason Jesus gave His life for the church...

26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
Ephesians 5:26 (NIV)

27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:27 (NIV)

Isn't it interesting that Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father and went to the Cross and as a result made a way for us to be saved from our sins, cleansed from the stains, and even though we were guilty we've been made blameless.

This is the Word of the Gospel and Baptism paints the picture of this amazing act of God on behalf of His Bride, the Church!
Now listen to what Paul says...

28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:28 (NIV)

29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—
Ephesians 5:29 (NIV)

30for we are members of his body.
Ephesians 5:30 (NIV)

31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31 (NIV)

A husband who mistreats his wife is doing damage to himself! Why? They have become one flesh!!

 A husbands submission to his wife is based on his love for her and his desire to protect her and help her become all God created her to be!

 Paul then reminds his readers he is using marriage as a picture of Christ and the church...

32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:32 (NIV)

Even though Paul wants them to understand the spiritual implications for the church, he is so concerned for the state of marriages in the church he immediately follows with this summery statement...

33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

 Paul then moves to another aspect of family life.

 Submission for the Children

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Ephesians 6:1 (NIV)

 Once again, Paul says, "in the Lord!"

The same thing goes for children as it does for wives. If your parents were to ask you to do something ungodly, you have the right and the obligation to disobey.

 However, I must tell you that washing the dishes, cleaning your room, doing your homework, mowing the yard, are not evil things. They may not be fun, but they are not evil.

 You might say, "But Brother Larry, my parents are not Christians and they have such a bad attitude."

Let me encourage you. The way you live your life could be the very thing that brings them to Christ. I've known young people who've come to Jesus and eventually led their parents to the Lord!

 In fact, let's read the next verse or two and I'll give you an example of how that might happen...

2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
Ephesians 6:2 (NIV)

3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:3 (NIV)

 If you've not been honoring your parents, ask God to help you do so!
You may not agree with your parents on everything and if they aren't living for the Lord, you may actually be disappointed in some of their choices. However, if you honor them because they are your parents, and you treat them with respect even when you disagree…

 One day they may ask you why you are so respectful and obedient. When you tell them it's because God's Word tells you to honor and obey your mother and father, it could be the very thing that turns them towards Jesus!

 Submission is not as hard for little children as it is for teenagers, because a teenager is maturing and becoming an adult. Paul knows it's a difficult time for both teens and their parents, so he gives some advice to the parents, especially the dad. Check it out…

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

 Okay, let's be honest. Dads, do you ever like to pick on your kids and aggravate them? I've been guilty. This is not a good way to win their honor and respect! Sometimes our kids just want us to take them seriously and have an adult like conversation with them. I think the reason some dads pick and aggravate is their actually scared to have those deeper conversations.

 My advice to you is this…get over it and get over it soon. In case you haven't noticed, your kids are growing up really, really fast and the time to build a strong relationship is now not later!!!

 Okay, the last section may seem irrelevant since it deals with the subject of slavery. However, I assure you there are principles of submission in these verses we must not miss!!

Paul took an unfortunate situation and used it to teach extremely valuable life lessons! They could certainly apply other areas of our lives.

Submission for those who Serve

5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
Ephesians 6:5 (NIV)

Live your life with respect for others and honor those who are in leadership above you. Again, you may not agree with them, but respect them. Honor their position of authority if nothing else and do so with sincerity of heart.
Paul says, "as you would obey Christ!"

Did you know if you did your job with a similar passion as you obey Christ, it could mean the difference between success and failure. Why? Because your motivation and dedication are not just based on promotion, but you genuinely want to honor Christ with everything you do.

People in the world may not acknowledge Christ, but they won't be able to ignore the difference He makes in your life and work!

Paul goes on to say...

6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
Ephesians 6:6 (NIV)

7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)

8because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Ephesians 6:8 (NIV)

 That's just good advice for living life! Don't ignore this!!

Paul ends this section with a word for the masters of his day. I think it's good advice for anyone in leadership...

 Submission for Leaders

9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Ephesians 6:9 (NIV)

 Just as a servant is to submit to authority as unto Christ, a leader is to submit to the authority of Christ in everything!! For their is really on One Master and His name is Jesus and He shows no favoritism.

 Regardless of your position in this life, what really matters in the end is your submission to Christ! Have you submitted your life to Him? Have you submitted your will to His? Are you submitting your agenda to God's agenda?

Let me end with a Scripture we've read many times before, but it sums up our message today in such a wonderful way...

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
Philippians 2:1 (NIV)

2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:2 (NIV)

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

Let's Pray!!

End Sermon Here!


The following is some of the preparation items I use when preparing a message. The following is a formula I use to make sure I'm staying true to the text of God's Word.

I seek to answer the following questions.

What is the Essence of the Text in a sentence?

What is the Essence of the Sermon in a sentence?

What is the Object of the Sermon in a sentence?

I then use a question to probe one of the above three in order to get the various points of the message. I then use a unifying word to pull everything together. If this process is bathed in prayer, I believe the message will be a Biblical one.


ETS: Paul speaks of the importance of submission within the Body of Christ.
ESS: The doctrine of submission is a vital part of the definition of church.
OSS: I want my hearers to practice Godly submission in every area of their lives.

Probing Question: What are some of the relationships in life in which we should apply Godly submission?
Unifying Word: Relationships
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at some of the relationships Paul mentioned when it comes to the topic of submission.