July 23, 2017 – Ephesians 5:22-24
Lesson Date: July 23, 2017
Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 5:22-24
AIM: To lead students to discover how Christian wives are to relate to their husbands, and to commit themselves to following God’s plans and guidelines.
Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 5:22-24 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Ask some class members who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the following scripture verses and be prepared to read them when called upon: 1 Corinthians 7:4; Colossians 3:18; Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Peter 3:1.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the following case study to the class:
Susan and Richard had conflict in their marriage. Richard was a high school dropout who worked very hard in a low paying job. Susan was a college graduate in a rather skilled profession, earning much more than Richard. Since she brought home most of the money, she felt she should decide how they would spend it. She resented Richard’s ideas about money management and refused to follow his plans.
Tell the class in the traditional marriage vows used for many years, the bride promised to “love, honor, and obey” her husband. Ask: “How long has it been since you heard those vows used at a wedding? What happened to ‘love, honor, and obey?’”
Ask: “Do you want to learn what God thinks about all this? Do you want to discover His plan for marriage?” Tell the class today’s lesson focuses on the responsibility of the Christian wife. In next week’s lesson we will learn what God says to Christian husbands.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Ephesians. Locate Ephesus on the map.
- Remind them that chapters 1, 2, and 3 are primarily doctrinal, while chapters 4, 5, and 6 contain very practical instructions for living the Christian life.
- Read Ephesians 5:15-21.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (being filled with the Holy Spirit).
- Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Eph. 5:18).
- Ask: “Has seeking to be filled with the Spirit made any difference in you this week?”
- Instructions for Wives.
- Tell the class that all Christian wives are called upon to obey the instructions we will discover today, but they will find it impossible to do so without being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is foundational to having a godly marriage.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:22.
- Ask: “What are Christians wives told to do?” (submit to their husbands).
- Explain that the word submit literally means to arrange under, to subordinate, to be in subjection to, and to yield oneself to another.
- Ask: “Who are Christian wives told to submit to?” (their own husbands).
- Tell the class there is a special uniqueness and exclusivity in the marriage relationship. The Christian wife must submit to her husband, not to someone else’s husband.
- Ask: “How are Christian wives told to submit themselves to their husbands?” (“as unto the Lord”).
- Ask: “What do you think that means?”
- Ask everyone to look back at verse 22.
- Ask: “Do you see anything in that verse about the husband demanding that his wife submit to him?” (no).
- Stress the fact that submission that is demanded is not submission – it is slavery.
- Remind the students that the foundation for the husband-wife relationship is found in verse 21: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
- Tell the class that some wives have the attitude: “I’ll submit because God says so, but I DON’T LIKE IT ONE BIT!”
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Colossians 3:23-24.
- Ask: “How are we told to do everything?” (heartily, as to the Lord).
- Ask: “Why?” (because the Lord is the one who will reward us for doing right).
- Summarize: God commands Christian wives to voluntarily submit to the leadership of their husbands.
- The Reason Wives should Submit to Their Husbands.
- Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:23.
- Ask: “What does this verse say the husband is?” (the head of the wife).
- Ask: “What does your head do for your body?”
- Explain that the head is the “control center” of the body. It governs, guides, directs, motivates, and protects the rest of the body. Without the head, the body cannot live.
- Tell the class when the physical body rebels against the leadership of the head, the result is seizure or paralysis.
- The head cannot live without the body and the body cannot live without the head. The head never sets out to harm the body.
- Tell the class since the Bible says the husband is the head of the wife, that means he is to govern, guide, direct, motivate, and protect his wife.
- Ask: “What example of headship does this verse give?” (Christ is head of the church).
- Ask: “What else does it say about Christ’s relationship to His church?” (He is the Savior of the body).
- Explain that just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for His bride, Christian husbands are to preserve and protect their wives at all costs.
- Summarize: The Christian wife should submit to her husband because God called him to be her head. The body needs a head and the head needs a body, but their roles can never be swapped.
- The Example Wives should Follow.
- Read Ephesians 5:24.
- Ask: “What example of submission is the Christian wife to follow?” (the example of the church, which is subject to Jesus Christ).
- Ask: “In how many areas is the wife to be subject to her husband?” (“in everything”).
- Ask: “Is this instruction hard to understand?” (no).
- Explain that these instructions for Christian wives are not hard to understand, but they are hard to DO unless the wife is filled with the Spirit. State the following:
- If the wife is filled with the Spirit she can submit herself and her desires to her husband.
- If she’s not Spirit-filled she can’t
- If she can’t submit, that is because she is not filled with the Spirit.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read 1 Corinthians 7:4.
- Ask: “Who has power over the wife’s body?” (her husband).
- Ask: “Who has power over the husband’s body?” (his wife).
- Read Ephesians 5:21.
- Remind the class that all Spirit-filled believers are commanded to mutually submit themselves to one another. Submission should be a natural way of life for believers.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Colossians 3:18.
- Tell the class that it is fit (“right” or “proper”) for wives to be submissive toward their husbands.
- Ask: “What if the husband is not saved? What then?”
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read 1 Peter 3:1.
- Explain that the Bible says a godly Christian wife who obediently submits to her lost husband may actually win that man to faith in Jesus Christ without “preaching” to him!
- This is the only case in which the Bible says a person may be won “without the Word.”
- Summarize: The Christian wife should submit to her husband in everything, just as the church submits to Jesus Christ. Doing so is right and proper, and may even lead a lost husband to faith in Christ.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “Do you think these commands to submit mean that a Christian wife is required to endure physical abuse and bodily harm from her husband?” The answer is a resounding “NO!” Husbands who abuse their wives are wicked, perverted, and are violating God’s clear commands (Eph. 5:25-33). Christian wives should not subject themselves and their children to physical abuse from their husband – they should leave and seek shelter from him.
Ask: “Based on what we have read in God’s Word today, how should Christian wives relate to their husbands?” (they should lovingly and respectfully submit).
Ask: “What can Christian husbands learn from these verses?” (they must lovingly lead and protect their wives).
Ask: “What do these verses have to say to unmarried Christians?” (marriage is best when done God’s way, so they must learn God’s pattern for marriage, in case God plans for them to be married at some time in the future).
Remind the class that none of these instructions are hard to understand, but in order to obey them we must be filled with the Spirit.
Urge the students to confess their sins and commit to following God’s guidelines for marriage. Lead a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Remind everyone to ask God to fill him or her with the Spirit every day this week. Urge wives to obey God’s commands they have discovered today. Ask everyone to memorize Ephesians 5:22. Next week we will learn about the husband’s responsibility in a Christian marriage.
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