The Gospel in all of Life

Sunday 21st May 2017. Sermon Series on Ephesians

Text: Ephesians 5:22 – 6: 9

Theme Sentence – Living out the gospel in all of life.

Intro –

Alex is in his mid-thirties – He met His wife Beatrice straight after high schools and they hit it off and got married soon after university. Their marriage was blessed with 3 children who are now going to a local primary school. They also live with his mother who is aging and in need of support. They are both committed members at Gospel Community Church in Ngong. Last year but one, Beatrice was diagnosed with a terminal illness and her employer, though very supportive had to pull Beatrice off the payroll. They have spent all their savings on her medication, especially on that trip to India last year but the cancer is still eating away at Beatrice. She can’t do much for herself and needs round the clock support.  Alex needs to wake up early to prepare the children for schools and also to run the morning chores for the home. He also has to get Betty all cleaned up and administers her daily medicine before hitting the traffic to work. Most friends at church and work have been supportive but lately he is not hearing from a lot of them. His extended family suggested in a recent meeting that he should consider marrying a second wife. He is exhausted and feels the need for help.

Claire is a teacher in a local secondary school and goes to St. Mathews. Her husband Dixon works for an international NGO and makes some good money. They are both in their early forties. They own two cars and they are building their family home in the village. Dixon is part of the men’s fellowship at church and goes along BSF every Tuesday evening. Claire fears however that his power and postion in the office may have gotten into his head. He is a man of ‘to do lists’ and details out what everybody should do at home and expects reports from time to time. He is a loving man, Claire says only that he is a little too demanding and she is struggling to obey him. She is finding herself admiring other women in her Chama whose husbands do not expect much of their wives.  Maybe it was his harsh upbringing or his having been a prefect in high school that makes him such a perfectionist- Claire wonders as she struggles with what her friends call the ‘ancient notion of submission’.

Ernest goes to First Baptist Church. He is in his late 20’s and has a thriving computer business in the city centre. He recently won a government tender to supply IT Equipment to 10 Counties though the Youth Access to Government Procurement Programme. Ernest was raised by a single mom, Felista.  Felista’s life was broken when Ernest’s father left her. She did odd jobs to pay rent for their single roomed house. She could not send him to a good school and she fell into alcohol addiction and was not really ‘there’ for him when he needed his mom most. However, his uncles paid for him through college. His girlfriend Gertude has recently suggested that they consider buying a plot and build a house for her after they get married later this year but he is not too sure.  He has too many dark memories of their earlier days.

Halima is an intern at a Nairobi law firm. She recently finished her studies at Moi University and is looking forward to join the Kenya School of law to enable her to be admitted to the bar as an advocate.. Through a relative, she got this opportunity at Grand Mullah & Associates. Her immediate boss Jabali is a hurried man who does not suffer fools gladly. He pushes all his tasks to her and she ends up putting in long hours drafting court cases for him while he is probably out having drinks with his friends. Sadly, he does not seem to appreciate her efforts and thinks of her as ‘just an intern’. At the very least she wants a thank you from him but nothing gives with Jabali. For him it is all about tasks, more tasks, deadlines and delivery.  She has contemplated leaving but she needs this pupilage before she can go to law school.

 

Context: In the previous section Paul addresses general moral expectations for all believers because of who they are in Christ and hence how they should live it out in the world. In this section, Paul addresses specific people on how the gospel should work out in three important stations in life – Marriage, Parenting and Career.

Main Teaching Points

  1. The Gospel in Marriage : A Picture 5:22 – 33
  2. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. {Unreservedly}
  3. Headship in the family. [Counter-Cultural then and now]
  4. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church {Sacrificially}
  5. The mutually exclusive requirement[ love/submission/ Respect]/ Leaving and Cleaving V31

 

  1. The Gospel in Family life – 6:1-4
  2. Obeying parents
  3. Honoring parents – commandment with a promise
  4. Admonition to fathers ‘Do not Exasperate your children’

 

  1. The Gospel at Work – 6:5-9

Context of 1st Century Labor [Does the Bible Condone Slavery or Comment on a contemporary Issue] {Compare with modern capitalism}

  1. Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear and sincerity of heart – just as you would obey Christ. What a high bar at the workplace!
  2. A motive for obedience – Doing the will of God from your heart – serving wholeheartedly (loyalty) – because you know the ultimate boss.
  3. Masters – held to the same standard, subject to the same Lord [master]. Do not threaten since you know that He who is both their master and yours. [Favoritism]

Application

What does this mean to us in 21st century Kenya?

  1. The words apply to us as it did to Ephesian Christians nearly 2000 years ago. The expectation is the same. Whether you are Lydia in Ephesus in 58 AD or you are Claire in Nairobi in 2017.
  2. The situations may be different but the gospel standard is the same. We are to be loving of our wives, submitting to our husbands, obedient and honoring to our parents, responsible fathers, respectful and sincere workers and considerate bosses.
  3. Culture [and the flesh] militates against gospel and biblical values. It did then, it does so now.
  • Instead of Love and Submission culture pushes for Rights, Equality, Divorce, Pre-nuptials agreements, Open Marriages, swinging, separation etc.
  • Instead of obedience, honour and respect to parents – independence, individualism, separation, hatred. Instead of godly parenting – exasperation.
  • Instead of loyal service in our workplace, we seek our selfish interest. Instead of considerate terms, exploitation of staff.

Conclusion: Our hope in the gospel. [Sanctification] 5:25b – 27

Christ gave himself up for her, to make her holy cleansing her by the washing with water through the word to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain and wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless.

Christ at work in us. May we be daily shaped by His word to be what he wants us to become whether we are Alex, Claire, Ernest or Halima!

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