Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Jesus displayed more manhood in the manger than Adam did in the garden. In the garden, Adam looked like a man, but he acted like a boy. In the manger, Jesus looked like a boy, but he was doing the most manly thing imaginable.
He was fighting for the ones that he loved. And that means that salvation will come to the world as men begin to follow the second Adam and they become like him. Hey, welcome back for another week of teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today, many people believe that the biblical view of marriage is outdated and patriarchal, but God has a reason for the way he set things up. And his reason is much more than just setting a cultural norm. Today, Pastor J.D. Greer is in Ephesians chapter five, talking about what it actually means for a husband to lead, as well as clearly defining what submission does not include.
It's an important distinction, no doubt. If you missed the beginning of this sermon, I just want to remind you that you can always hear previous broadcasts at our website, jdgreer.com. He titled today's message, God's Purpose and Plan for Gender. So let's get started.
Here's Pastor J.D. Submission does not mean, number two, the dominance of the man as if she existed as a serf in his house to cater to all of his whims. If I am to be the one that lays down his life for his wife, 97.4% of the disagreements in my house I should voluntarily lose because headship was not given to me so I could decide where we go out to eat and what color the carpet should be and how we spend our days off. Man was told to serve and submit to his wife by laying down his life for her. She was told to submit to her husband by submitting to him. Who's got the harder task?
I'm going to say it's the man who's going to lay down his life because that means any power he has, he's using it to leverage for the benefit of his wife. And his leadership is characterized by that question I gave you on the second week. How can I serve you? My leadership is dominated by that question.
How can I leverage, any power I have, how can I leverage it to serve you? Submission does not mean, number three, unconditional obedience by the woman. A lot of people misread Ephesians 5 22 and it says wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. That does not mean submit to your husband as if he were God, but it means submit to your husband as a way of serving God. And what that means is that if your husband is ever telling you something that is clearly contrary to the word of God, then you would disobey your husband and obey God. Paul tells us in Romans 13 to submit to the government, uses the same word.
Right? We'll submit to the government, you know, we submit to the government as a way of obeying God, but if the government ever tells us to do something against the will of God, then we disobey the government and obey God. Same thing is true in Ephesians 5. It does not mean, number four, independent decision making on the part of the man. Remember that God put various attributes into each gender, which means that I, as a husband, am incomplete without my wife.
She's got a whole different set of filters that complete mine. Now, again, not every guy is like me, but I tend to be very emotionally detached. You know, something will happen to me. My wife will ask me, well, how did that, how did you feel about that? I'd be like, I don't really know. I haven't thought about it. So how could you not think about that? That's because, again, stereotype, that's because if you cut open a man's head, what you usually find in the place of his brain is a waffle with these various compartments, because we kind of seal things off and one thing doesn't touch the other thing.
You cut open a woman's head and what you find is not a waffle, but this big pile of spaghetti. One thing's connected to every other thing, and so, you know, how things are working with the kids and the husband and the work and my relationship with mom and all that kind of stuff, it's all interconnected. Is it better to be compartmentalized or is it better to be interconnected?
Neither is better. In the last 50 years, professionalism was primarily described in masculine terms. To act professional means you're totally, you know, disconnected from everything and you're just kind of, all right, that's professionalism. What's interesting is if you read the last 10 or so years of leadership literature, you'll notice this explosion and recovery of female values that are appearing in leadership saying these are really important. All this means is my wife's perspective is crucial. That means it is only a fool of a guy who takes this principle and starts making decisions without the counsel of his wife. If she tells you don't get the second job because it's gonna hurt your relationship with your kids, listen to her. It doesn't mean, number whatever number we're on, that women should not have the highest leadership positions in business or politics.
Let me give you a real quick here. Ephesians 5 and Genesis 2 are both given in the context of the home and ideally where both partners have the gospel as their center. Now Paul and some other places in the New Testament is going to apply this principle to the church, but those are the only two places where this kind of headship relationship between men and women is to be normative. When this principle of headship is enforced outside the home, not only is it unbiblical, it's dangerous because all the other safeguards the Bible puts in place are removed, like gospel centrality, like the fullness of the spirit, like covenant loyalty.
Those are not in place. This principle in no way means that a man should never work for a woman or that if you're a man you should resent working for a woman because it's just not right. It doesn't mean that women cannot or should not occupy the highest places of leadership in society. I plan for one of my daughters to be president of the United States of America.
I'm already planting that vision into them now and you will all vote for her when she gets to that place. Right? I mean it doesn't mean that.
You ever seen one of those stunt shows where a little warning will come on the bottom and be like, you know, warning do not try this at home? Paul would put a warning label on this passage that would say warning only try this at home because it's not something he's put out into society because all the other safeguards are not in place on it. It is not number, what, it's six? It doesn't mean that the man has the power to leverage over his wife. I pointed out on the second week that the first word is wives. You husbands, you get out of your wife's verse. This is not yours to apply to her and demand that she obey it.
Right? You don't like her in your stuff, she doesn't like you in her verse. This is between her and God. D. Martin Lloyd Jones, a very conservative Bible interpreter, said after studying this passage for years, what I can tell a guy is if your wife is not doing what she is supposed to be doing according to this verse, all you can do is pray for her and try to live in a way that earns the submission of your wife. You've got to leave that between her and God.
Right? So she's not doing what she's supposed to be doing in verse 22. Man, this is not yours to demand. I mean maybe you could leave your Bible open on the pillow to Ephesians 5 every night. You know, I won't say anything about that.
Maybe you could play this sermon over and over again. You know, but it's not yours to demand, it is hers to give. Those are six things that I know that submission does not mean. Let me give you one thing I know that submission does mean.
Submission does mean that the man breaks the tie in a split decision. I've got a couple of examples of this from my life, but one of the best I've ever heard, Tim Keller in his book, Meaning of Marriage, talks about the fact that back in the late 80s, he was a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia, and there was an opportunity to plant a church in Manhattan down in New York City. After discussing it and praying about it with his wife, he felt like they should do it. She felt like they should not. So they prayed about it again, and they fasted about it, and they spent a lot of time discussing what they should do. And at the end of that long time of fasting and praying, he felt like they should do it, and she felt like they should not. So finally he said, all right, fine. If you don't feel like we should go, then we won't go. And she looked back at him and said, oh no, you don't. You are not putting this on me. God gave you this leadership role, which means you've got to cast the deciding vote. You vote yes, I vote no, you get to vote twice.
And so believing it was in the best interest of his family, he moved his family to New York City, and then the rest is kind of history. That's what submission actually means. Now I'm going to tell you, the number of times that has happened in our marriage, I can count on one hand. It just means that there are times when there is a split decision and the responsibility to decide what is in the best interest of my family, God lays that upon, he lays that upon me. And people who say, well, we'll just work it out, we'll just figure out how to come to consensus.
Yeah, but you know, in any relationship, that doesn't always work. It's like a dance. In a dance, somebody's got to lead. The lead role in the dance of marriage, God gave to the man.
C.S. Lewis says that the physical dance of sex corresponds to the relational dance of marriage. In the act of sex, C.S. Lewis said, man plays the role of initiator.
He moves toward the woman. The woman plays the role of receiving the initiative of the man. We are given corresponding roles, Lewis says, in how we relate as husband and wife.
Now, these are just parts that we play. It's not some statement of superiority or inferiority, which is why Lewis, in his inimitable way, goes on to say, the crowns that men are given to wear in marriage, he said, one is made of paper and the other is made of thorns. Thorns because he lays down his life for her like Jesus did, paper because he's just playing a role in his marriage, not because he is superior. Now, that's about all I can tell you about what submission does and doesn't look like. You're going to need to take these principles and wrestle with them and have a long discussion and just work out what it looks like in your marriage. I want to spend the last few minutes just talking to the guys, specifically about what this means for them. Now, admittedly, in the next few minutes, I'm going to talk more to the guys than the girls. And if that bothers you that I'm going to do it that way, well, just look at Ephesians 5. You'll notice three verses for the girls and six for the boys, all right? So I'm just being biblical.
I'm spending a whole more time on the guys than the girls, just like Paul did, so take up your argument with Paul. Guys, you were given five areas to be a leader in. Remember those? You write those down?
I hope you did. Let me talk about a couple of them. Romance. First of all, college-aged single guys or young professional guys, I do not mean to get off on a soapbox or to be too hard on you, but I've told you this before.
We have raised a generation of guys who don't really lead in anything, including this. They've got no courage to ask the girl out, no courage to state your intentions. You just prefer to coast along, be in what we call a friend-ationship or do what I refer to as the sneak-a-date. Let's just see how things work out, maybe get some sex along the way, we're friends with benefits. That's not a man, that's a boy. A man in Genesis 2 is characterized by one who takes initiative. And girls, I'll just throw this out there.
If he does not have the leadership capacity to lead and state his intentions and take the initiative in romance, I'm thinking he's probably not going to be a leader in the rest of your life, and I just don't think it's the kind of guy that you probably ought to look for. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about our featured resource this month. We want to help you connect easily and quickly without adding something else to your plate, and we have what we call a set of conversation cards.
They're small cards with one question or prompt on them to pull out while you're eating dinner or on a long car ride. It's meant to help you and those you're closest with talk about relationships and faith and even rest. It also comes with a book of 15 devotionals about those same topics. Receive it with your gift to the ministry right now by calling us at 866-335-5220, or check it out at JDGrier.com. Now let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching.
Here's Pastor JD. Married men, we never give up the responsibility to keep romancing our wives. I am still the leader in romance.
Now I will admit to you, I don't do a great job in this, but I'm trying. I have determined that I can never stop competing for the affections of my wife. I was good at it when we were engaged and were dating.
I was really good at competing because I knew I had to beat out all these other losers, right? But now after I became a husband, I started to just kind of take it for granted and just coast along. Now I do not think that in a thousand years my wife would ever be unfaithful to me. I'm not saying that, but I'm saying that I have to continue to compete for my wife's affections the way that I did when we were dating because I want to make it ridiculously impossible for some guy to come along and out woo me in how he treats her.
One of my counselor friends gave me this piece of advice years ago that's really helped me. He said, you've got to become a student of your wife. You've got to learn how she, what turns her on.
You've got to learn how she feels loved because it's not the same as how you would do it. And then he gave me this concept. Some of you have heard this, and I don't have time to spend a long time on it, but it was a concept of the five love languages.
Have you heard this? It's a really popular book. And basically the love languages concept is that we tend to speak and receive love in a language. And it's like any other language.
The person that you're talking to has to speak the same language or they're not going to hear what you're saying. And so Gary Chapman, the author of this book, identifies five different love languages that people have. The first one, words of affirmation. That's where just hearing words means a lot to your spouse. To say, I love you.
You're doing a great job. Some people give and receive affection that way. A second one he identifies is acts of service.
You just serve them by giving them help that they didn't ask for. A third one, gifts that are given. You just bring your wife a bouquet of flowers after work. You buy her perfume or clothes.
That's a language. Physical touch. Hugs. Holding hands. Touches of affection. Five, spending quality time. That's where just full undivided attention just speaks volumes.
Now here's the catch that most people don't get. How you speak and receive love is not always the way that your partner is going to speak and receive love. For me, when I got married, my love language is kind of two or three, I like kind of all of them, but it was words of affirmation, little gifts, and occasional acts of service. You want to make my day? You come up here, tell me I'm awesome, give me a gift card, and then, I don't know, wash my car, and I'll just love you forever, all right? Well, so I thought, well, that's how I'll love my wife.
You know, occasional give, occasional acts of service, but a lot of words. And it's just not, it wasn't communicating with her. And I had to learn that there were different ways that she would, you know, the one that is not my love language is touch. Don't come up here and touch me. I'm not going to like it, all right? I'm just telling you, you know, just, I just for like, let's just all stay in our little quadrant, you know, you stay over there, I'll stay over here, we're all going to be fine.
Tell me I'm awesome from over there, okay? But hers, you know, just the occasional reaching out while we're watching TV and touching my wife, that it was in a way that was obviously not designed to move from one base to the next, but just that the affection and touch just did all kind, it's, it's becoming a servant to her and learning how I can lead in romance. Guys, if you quit doing that, what happens is I'm not excusing her having an affair.
I'm just telling you, you should make it really difficult. You're responsible to lead in romance. Guys, this also means that you're responsible for where your relationship is.
I mean, how many times do I see this in our office? Some woman dragged in some guy who doesn't want to be there, but their marriage is in trouble. Now, there's a lot of things I haven't done right in my marriage, but I will tell you that when my wife and I needed help in our marriage, it was me who arranged the counseling. It was me who even took care of arranging some of the childcare for it.
Because I knew that where my relationship was, was my responsibility. I'm the leader in romance, and I answer to God for it. Let me talk for a minute about spiritual leadership. God gave you the responsibility for your family, for which he is going to hold you accountable. I would just make sure you see Ephesians 6, then when he starts talking about the discipline of the children, he addresses fathers. Fathers, are you leading in the discipline of your children, or is that something you've turned over to your wife and just like, keep them off my back? It's not what I do, I make money for the family, you raise the kids.
That is wrong, it is unbiblical, and it is setting up your kids for certain disaster. I love the words of Tony Evans who said, spiritual headship is essentially God telling the woman to duck so he can punch the man. That's what headship is if you really want to get to it. Guys, that leadership is a sacred responsibility. You are the servant leader. You are there to take initiative for the benefit of others. Spiritual headship is not license to do what you want to do. It's empowerment to do what you ought to do. Now single guys, listen, if you become a leader in these five areas, I cannot explain to you how attractive you are going to become.
Thank you, all right. Because this is what she was created for, and it makes you in the image of Jesus who is the most attractive person in the universe. And here's the other thing that just burns in my heart for this, men. I know that as God heals the man, the healing of the family and the healing of society will just follow. You ever look at the Genesis 3 situation, how it went down? It says, read it later, says that here's the woman, Genesis 3 opens up with the woman having a conversation with the serpent, and it says that the man was in Hebrew with her. Now with her in Hebrew doesn't mean he was with her like over there doing something else. With her means he was standing right there beside her.
He was given the responsibility to protect her and to lead her spiritually. But he knew that God had said, the day that you eat of that fruit, you will surely die. And Adam was like, I wonder if that's true. He's offering the fruit to my wife. He's listening to this conversation.
The dirt bag says, why don't I just let her take the fruit, and if she drops dead, I'll know it's not true. So he's like, I don't know, go ahead. It's not that he did anything wrong, he just didn't do anything. He wasn't there. It wasn't a sin of commission, it was a sin of omission.
I know that's true. What was the first question God asked when he came looking for the couple? Adam, where are you? Where are you? You could really translate that, Adam, where were you?
Where were you when you were supposed to be leading and protecting? You think that conversation should have gone? Should have gone with the serpent coming up with the woman, and as he's starting to get into his sales pitch, I'm like, whoa, wait a minute, snake, what are you doing talking to my wife? My wife doesn't talk to snakes. My wife and I were just on our way over to the tree of life where we were gonna have a succulent buffet of the tree of life. And you're here talking about this trashy tree of knowledge of good and evil?
Not in a million years, snake, go back in your hole. That's how that conversation should have gone down. The fall of mankind happened, not through a sin of commission by the man, but through a sin of omission, and it is still the question that God is asking to men. Adam, where are you? Where are you in the leading of your children?
Where are you in the church? My friend John Bryson says we got a generation of males that just never grow up to be men, who never take the role of servant leaders. We've created a new name for this group of guys who, they're not boys because they're, you know, post-pubescent, but they're not men because they're not leaders. We've got a new name for it, we call it dudes. Most guys, he says, feel like they're good husbands if they provide food and shelter for their families. That's the standard.
He said, possums provide food and shelter for their families. Is that really the standard of what we've given for what a man is? A true man is a servant leader, leading spiritually, romantically, taking responsibility. Boys blame, men own. Boys take, men give. Boys complain, men figure out. Boys pout, men endure. Boys wish, men do. Boys start, men finish.
Boys stiffen their neck, men bend their knees. The world fell into sin through a failure of a man to lead, but God saved the world by sending a new man, a second Adam, who would lead where the first Adam followed, who would serve the church where the first Adam served himself. That, of course, was Jesus. Jesus displayed more manhood in the manger than Adam did in the garden. In the garden, Adam looked like a man, but he acted like a boy. In the manger, Jesus looked like a boy, but he was doing the most manly thing imaginable.
He was fighting for the ones that he loved. And that means that salvation will come to the world as men begin to follow the second Adam and they become like him. Listen, every sociological study done points to the fact that the leadership of the father is the greatest determining factor on how the kids turn out. Tony Evans said, as goes the man, so goes the family. As goes the family, so goes the church. As goes the church, so goes the community. As goes the community, so goes the nation. So you want to change the nation, you change the community. You want to change the community, change the family.
You want to change the family, change the man. God give us a generation, listen, of men who will lead as servant leaders the way that God has called us to lead because I'm telling you, when that happens, it all begins to flow. And you say, well, how can you do this? Well, again, the clue is back in verse 21, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. The gospel is the power for your marriage. It shows you a God who served you this way, a God who submitted and laid down his life for the church. And as you become more aware of who this God is, it shows you what power looks like. It shows you a God who is a lover. And so you become the kind of lover that he is. After seeing what Christ did for you, you begin to look at your spouse and you begin to say, what can I do to serve you? Because his question was, what can I do to serve and lay down my life for you?
If you do this because of your spouse, you're going to lose motivation. That's why he says, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. When your horizontal service to your spouse has a vertical dimension of worship, then it becomes joy and you have the strength to endure.
Marriage, you see, at its core, listen, is gospel reenactment. That's why, by the way, some of you resist this. The reason you resist this, first of all, is we hate the word submission. We don't want to submit to anybody.
Right? And so, of course, you resist this because you're a sinner. But God appointed various relationships that you would learn to submit in.
If you're single, that's why this still applies to you. Because you might not be in a marriage, but you're in a bunch of other relationships where you got to learn to submit, where you got to learn to serve. The point is not marriage. The point is Christ's likeness.
The point is gospel reenactment. For many of you, listen, what is missing from your marriage? The reason none of this makes sense is because the gospel is missing from your marriage. You don't know a God who is a servant, so you've turned other people into your servant. And you getting connected to Christ, you trusting in Christ as your Lord and Savior would do more for your marriage than 10,000 sermons or seminars or books would ever do because it would reconnect you to God. And that's the decision some of you need to make is you need to receive Christ.
You need to surrender to Him because that's why your marriage is falling apart, or that's why your dating life doesn't work, or that's why it's all in shambles because you're not connected to the source. And if you've never done that, you ought to do it today. The conversation cards have a question or prompt to kickstart dialogue around important topics.
Some will be more lighthearted and others will get you into deeper conversations quicker. It's because of your partnership that others around the country and even the world can hear God's truth. So when you give a financial gift of $35 or more, we'll send you our brand new set of resources. Request them both today when you call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or donate online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vitovich. Join us Tuesday when Pastor JD continues in Ephesians Chapter 5, bringing us clarity and direction for intimacy and healthy relationships here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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