Sunday School Material 12-30-12: Christ's Love For The Church

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that believers should be so controlled by the Holy Spirit that it shows in their church and biological families. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be so controlled by the Holy Spirit that it shows in our church and biological families.

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Body:

Read Ephesians 5:18-21

I. Family of God. In this section of our Sunday School material Paul urges his readers to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, as opposed to by wine. Spirit controlled people should edify one another in worship. They should submit to one another in reverence to Christ.

Applications –

- Christians and alcohol. Notice in vs. 18 that believers are to avoid being filled with wine. That is, we should not be getting drunk. Whenever we get into this neighborhood of thought, the question of how much can a believer drink comes up.

The Bible doesn’t teach “no drinking.” But it does teach “no getting drunk.” To add to this discussion is the fact that people do not make plans to become alcoholics. What was supposed to be a sociable drink or two has become alcoholism on too many occasions.

Those who don’t drink would probably do well not to start. Those who cannot handle alcohol should stop all together. Those who can handle a drink or two still has the issue of being a stumbling block to others. Let’s work on avoiding the dangers associated with alcohol.

- Spirited filled living. Notice in vs. 19 of the Sunday School material that believers are to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. One of the first demonstrations of being Spirit filled is to worship in a way that edifies others. It also includes worship being heartfelt and unto God.

There are too many who claim to be Spirit filled but so dead and unhelpful in worship. There are others who enjoy the attention given to them, when they do a good job in church. However, there are questions about does their service center around the Lord or the satisfaction they get from doing church work.

If service is God centered then it should continue whether you are in charge or not and whether you are given human praise or not. Let’s work on living as those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Such living impacts how we relate to people and how we relate to God.

Read Ephesians 5:22-6:4

II. Family in Christ. In this section of our Sunday School material Paul talks about spousal duties to be carried out because of reverence to Christ. Wives are to submit to their husbands, as the church is submitted to Christ. Husbands are to love their wives, as Christ loves the Church.

He goes on to talk about children obeying their parents. And then he talks about parents, especially fathers, raising their children in the Lord.

Applications –

- Godly wives. Notice in vss. 22-24 of our Sunday School material that Christian wives are to submit to their husbands. To submit is to voluntarily obey or comply. There is something seriously wrong with a woman who claims to be spiritually mature and yet doesn’t submit to her husband.

There are too many who even submit to their Pastor but do not submit to their own husband. Wives should work on submitting to their husbands because of their relationship with God.

- Godly husbands. Notice in vss. 25-30 that Christian husbands are to love their wives, as Christ loved the Church. This is such a sacrificial love that Jesus gave His life for the Church. Similar to how a woman’s real spiritual strength is suspect, if she doesn’t submit to her husband, a man’s spiritual strength is suspect, if he doesn’t sacrificially love his wife.

Sacrificial love doesn’t abuse with words, actions, or negligence. Husbands should work on sacrificially loving their wives, as Christ loved the Church.

- Marriage centered families. Notice in vss. 31-33 that Christian families are supposed to be marriage centered, not children centered, nor parent centered. We learned from our children are supposed to grow up, move out, and live their lives. Parents should develop their lives, instead of trying to relive them through their children’s lives.

As an archer releases an arrow, parents are to release their children, instead of playing manipulative mind games to keep the children under their control. Let’s work on developing strong families that place a high value on Christian marriages.

As needed, aged parents need assistance. Family reunions ought to be given some attention. But the center of the family structure should be the marriage.

- Godly children. Notice in vss. 1-3 of the Sunday School material that Christian children are to obey and honor their parents. For especially minor children, the importance of obedience should be obvious. Parents should be instructing children how to develop great habits to live by (e.g., get enough sleep, exercise, eat right, share, polite language, etc.).

Honor is especially important as minor children become adult children. There are no perfect parents; however, many parents did the best they knew to do. And no matter how imperfect they were, we all made it to where we are somehow. Let’s work on being obedient and honoring children.

As we strive to live out this application, we can expect there to be some clashes between obeying and honoring parents, loving or submitting to spouses, raising children, and other issues that claim our attention. The need to pray for wisdom, courage, and energy should not have to be explained.

- Godly fatherhood. Notice in vs. 4 that fathers are to avoid exasperating their children and give themselves to raising their children in the Lord. To exasperate is to irritate intensely. Father’s must not use their power to abuse and unnecessarily irritated their children. They are to be active in raising their children to be mature Christian adults.

Too often men leave child rearing to the mothers. This is a serious mistake, especially with boys. Fathers should work on being godly fathers.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being so controlled by the Holy Spirit that it shows in our church and biological families. God has much for those who obey His will.

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