Text: Eph 5.1-33
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
We are discussing marriage as a reflection of a real & spiritual relationship
God designed marriage to be that reflection
And it works best when we apply what we can know of the real
Last week we looked at the nature of marriage: It is a commitment
However, under the wrong conditions commitment is a burden not a privilege
The wrong condition is married to someone ‘incompatible’
– Irreconcilable differences
Commitment in such a situation can be extremely difficult
* ‘Not sharing values/morals’ a top 5 cause for divorce
For some demographics, greater than Infidelity
Men and women are dramatically ‘incompatible’.
This is a ‘feature’ not a ‘bug’ of God’s design
Hard to believe, I know
This makes marriage hard, ok… impossible
How can two walk together except they be agreed (Amo 3.3)
Sharing life with someone who really shares no common interests: Hard!
Perhaps solution is for both to be identical…
(However, a marriage of two identical people is worse
Two left feet, two right hands, two left hemispheres…)
The problem with marriage built on shared experiences, ‘compatibility’
For instance: Liking the same musician (vs enjoying artistic expression)
No room for personal growth if you partner with a duplicate of self
Marriage affords us an intimate second-perspective into life (T. Keller)
By knowing our spouse intimately, able to see the world thru eyes
How they would respond, react
This affords us opportunity to react, respond differently
This is a gift, not a curse
Where does that leave us?
Bound in commitment to a person that, in the ideal conditions, is wildly different
This can’t work long term except we find common ground
TRUE: Two can’t walk together except they be agreed
Obviously, most serious minded Christians (as yourselves) don’t think that:
Food, movies, and vacation spots are sufficient
But what is? (Obviously, the title of the sermon is a huge spoiler.)
By “Values” I don’t mean:
Interests, Tastes, Opinions
– Not even strong opinions (aka convictions)
In marriage, we spend far too much time worrying about facts.
– ALSO, goals, objectives, and desires are not your values
[this will work in later, explaining that we can ‘shoot’ for success,
but if we have designed for failure, we are most likely to fail]
What we should be focusing on is values
Our marriage, our job, our friendships will only be successful
if they are aligned with our values
Values are even more significant than facts.
Modern man has been told by ‘Science’ that facts are objective, values subjective
The result of this has been (predicted by Christians) that now even facts subjective
What is a ‘male’, a ‘female’???
The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum.
— C. S. Lewis
– Values are more significant than facts, because:
1) Facts don’t speak, guide, direct
1Cor 13: Knowledge on its own is nothing, technically, emptiness
2) At same time, nearly impossible to state a fact without implying value
– The stove is hot. Don’t touch it; Cook an egg on it; etc.
3) Facts are physical, values are spiritual
Facts are subjective to natural order, values (Christian) rooted in eternity
We will look at this a little deeper later
4) God speaks in values; he molds the facts to his will.
Calls things that are not as though they were
However, if those values are inferior, then ‘success’ is actually failure
If you design a car to crash then success is failure
* It is far more unsettling and telling to succeed at failure, than to fail at success.
What do I mean by this?
When we build for success but fail, that is disappointing,
but can review design (value system) try to figure out where the problem is.
But when we build for failure, adopt and habituate incorrect values,
and we then succeed at living up to them, that is condemnation.
The first is a values problem, the second is an execution problem.
Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish. — C. S. Lewis
What are values (Christian)?
Values are deeply held beliefs that inform and guard our attitudes and actions.
They transcend our tastes, opinions, and even ‘convictions’
These are not ideas or ideologies that we learned in college or pickup from friends
They can be, over time, but it takes a long time
Values are like ruts in the road
You can force yourself to drive outside of them, but when you relax, back in
The are like voice accent and intonation
* They are what is referred to with the well-worn saying:
“You can take the boy out of the country, but you cannot take the country…“
— John Jennings Watts, Second Junior Annual of the
Detroit College of Medicine, 1914 (Citing a Dr. Snyder)
These inculcated values are what are referred to in Pro 22.6
Pro 22.6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
– This proverb is building off of the metaphor of children as arrows
However it is very commonly misunderstood metaphor
The point isn’t so much of how you aim them, but how you build them
Badly designed arrows do not fly straight
Preaching, lecturing, hectoring on the right way isn’t of great value
if their fundamental design is flawed
But when designed one way (better or worse) it is painful to fly diff.
Think of values like your bone structure, your skeleton
And morality, ethics, willpower, etc as your muscles
Doesn’t do good to be a bodybuilder if all your bones are broken.
The psychological pain many people suffer is because they exert morally
Without the ‘bone structure’ — value system — to support it
Before Paul lays out the specific practical framework of marriage, (submission, sacrifice)
He lays the much broader, more fundamental groundwork of Chr. values
Because, without shared values Submission & Sacrifice do not make sense
They seem anything but terrible burdens.
To be successful in marriage (as Christians) — and in life —
We must inhabit and be possessed by the values he lays out:
Marriage does not require special values
That would be subjective.
Let’s look at them.
1) Walk in love not in lust – v.1-7
As much as anything: Lust = fact, Love = value
Lust: Tangible, Immediate.
Desiring something that results in a benefit to yourself
Love: Transcendental, Sacrificing
Pursuing a good that is not good for you.
Even proper lusts pull us away from our values and towards the facts
Our culture promotes lust not love.
Consumerism, Pornography, Entertainment
2) Walk in light not in deceit v.8-17
Delusion, fantasy, unreality, shame, sneakiness
Light = transparency, honesty, exemplary
Our culture is more deceitful than perhaps ever before
Not only does it engage in deceit
It is deceit: It purports to be honest and raw, but it is cowardly
Social media, crouched behind you monitor lobbing truth bombs
Our culture is a massive facade
3) Walk in joy not in revelings v.18-21
Those things which bring lasting fulfillment, not momentary satisfaction
4) Walk in Christ not in self v1-21
There is no greater value than to walk in Christ
A marriage that follows the design of God cannot ‘add’ Christ in on Sundays
It needs to be the result of two people who live and walk in Christ whole lives
This is said so often in Church that it is practically cliche
So, what does it mean exactly to walk in Christ?
It means to look to Christ for:
1) identity = who
2) value = what
3) meaning = why
4) affirmation = whom (do I serve, what does he think of me)
– When we look to ourselves we stand on the razor’s edge of:
1) Imposter syndrome, or,
– When we look to our spouse we are
1) clinging to the slipper face of idolatry (looking for them to be god)
2) at the edge of the precipice of eventual disillusionment (they can’t)
* Marry within your value system!
Success in marriage (and in life) is encapsulated in the NT wisdom
2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
1 Cor 7.39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. [walk in Christ]
“Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.” ― Shannon L. Alder (LDS author & influencer)
But the only true value is Christ: “only in the Lord”
Christ is our value, that is what makes the gospel objective, not subjective
For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value of any of them is that they bear the image of the king.
— G. K. Chesterton
That is why this value system is not subjective, rather it subjects all the facts to it
Perhaps some of us are in a quandary: We acknowledge that we don’t have the values
Weren’t raised to have them
Our bone structure is broken, dislocated, and has healed in wrong positions
What can we do? NOTHING
The more effort, force you exert the more you hurt yourself
The solution for a crooked arrow is not to pull back harder on the bow.
You must let Christ break you
It will feel like he hates you, that he is trying to hurt you
But he has to break apart all the poorly set bones that have grown crooked
So that he can set them, pour the oil of H.S. on them, and bind them
Only then can you exert yourself morally without only hurting yourself
Only then can your success be real success – succeed at succeeding.