Colossians 3

Good morning, our opening reading comes to us from the 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly, if which some advice is dispensed to wives as to how to love your Husbands…

In May of 1955, Housekeeping Monthly published an article entitled, "The Good Wife's Guide," detailing all the ways that a wife should act and how best she can be a partner to her husband and a mother to her children.

1.) Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.

2.) Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

3.) Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

4.) Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

5.) Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

6.) Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

7.) Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes.

9.) Be happy to see him. Free him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him.

10.) You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first — remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

13.) Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

16.) Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

17.) Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment of integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

18.) A good wife always knows her place.

Times have changed, have they not? Some of the people in this room were alive when that advice was dished out. Nowadays  - some of those tips sounds very funny and amusing, some of them sound downright offensive and a lot like BAD advice.

Things have changed. Could we reasonably look back at something penned, not 50 years, but thousands’ of years ago – and expect it to be good advice? Well, it must be a pretty special piece of writing, to still stand up so many many years later…. And it is.

We come here each week and we look into scripture together, and it feeds us – it guides, it convicts us, those are the harder messages to share. It tells us about our God, it reveals his nature to us, and you know what it also tells us about ourselves. And especially when we read books like Colossians this morning, it tells us how to live subject to him. Last week  - Lawrence titled his talk Becoming what you already are. And we continue in that vein this morning.

This week we’re going to run into Husbands, love your wives, and Children Obey you parent – and direct instruction of the same type and nature for the other party – the wives, the parents.

Husbands love your wives. And against this backdrop of deep theological themes, and the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ against all this foundational framework and arguments and worldview – the vertical , if you will – what then, is there direct application for us.

We are a hungry people

Thirsting for guidance – this is why people buy those magazine\

  • We want to be told what to do

Husbands love your wives

Lord, how do we honour you and live out of our belief that you are king that you are who you say you are –

Husbands Love your wives

Lord, teach us how to proclaim your Gospel in the dark world we live in

Husbands, love your wives

Lord, we are so afflicted, this earth is going to hell in a handbasket, things just getting worse and worse and we feel so helpless , God, why are you silent


Listen now, and we read together from Colossians 3:15 as God, through Paul's pen SHOUTS CLEAR PRACTICAL APPLICATION to his people. Open your ears, open your hearts, open you minds and hear from Him.

We’ve been going through Colossians together – Paul has set up the basis of the Lordship of Christ, but He want the church to know that knowing Christ needs to lead to living lives that Honour Him. At home, in the work place, outside of the Church gathering, in all things.

Lets read

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers,[c] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

And we see how Paul gears down into the nitty gritty – it doesn’t come more clear and direct than this – Wives, Husbands, I’m talking to you  - Children / Parents – Workers, Bosses – the whole lot.

If Christ is going to be made known  - it’s in the relationships of his people.

Here comes the Gospel revolution, and we’re not marching off to war under a commander King – we have a lowly ordinary servant telling us to treat each other well. If Christ is going to transform a nation – He needs to be in the middle of all of these relationships. What’s the second most important commandment – love one another as I have loved you

And of course the first thing you notice is the balance. Paul pulls out three scenarios, and we’ll only really get stuck into the first two this morning, but notice instruction is in each scenarios given to BOTH parties. It takes two to tango they say. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being on one end of a dysfunctional relationship you will know that one party can’t fix it on their own.

And the second point that is kind of implied here indirectly is that both of these parties are Christian  - are believers, this is practical direction for us in our own homes.

OK, so what must we do  - Wives, submit to you own husbands as is befitting in the Lord.

So, we have a marriage relationship. 1 wife, 1 husband, as setup and sanctioned by God. This is not talking about women in general and men in general, saying men are the bosses of woman, subjugating ladies to second class inferior helpers not – this is a straight, actually quite a simple directive to unlock a strong bond between and man and woman. Submit – and Lawrence spent some time on what submit means last week, it is the voluntary placing of ones self second. Don’t be selfish. And as disclaimers come, that bit about as is fitting in the Lord, there doesn’t come a bigger disclaimer than that.

It isn’t an open ended invitation for the man to take advantage of – it isn’t a life sentence that says no matter what the missus has to put up with the nonsense of the Mister.

It points to a standard  - a model of submission, and example of submission – Set by a Holy God, set by a far higher authority than a mere man. Submission is fitting in the Lord because it is Keys to our whole relationship with the Lord. And it recognizes that the Lord of the Wive is not Man, but God Himself. We are all subject to God, and need to submit to his will for our lives. You will hear shortly that it’s really a two way injunction – is his letter to Ephesians Paul is going through a nearly identical set of instructions, and the phrase Submit to one to another is used. Which applies here too I believe. But how can than be – surely that can’t be? If you have this guy and that guy, and the one submits to the other, that’s it? Power struggle over – he is in charge and he isn’t? Superior inferior? Strength / Weakness. That’s what we would usually think, and by all accounts, that’s how the wife/husband dynamic of the time was played out, so you can just imagine the gasps in the Church gathering as the next part was read out – Husbands, Love your wives, and do not be bitter towards them… And for the Greek scholars that’s that Agape love – the the Sacrificial, deep love that God has for man and Man has for God – it’s not the general brotherly love, its not the eros physical love. It’s the love the Paul defines in Corinthians when he says love is patient love is kinds it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud it does not dishonor others – listen it is not self seeking.

Does that sound familiar – do you see the similarity – this is a picture of mutual love and respect and treating each other well and submitting one to another. This is this point of the verse – NOT to set up the Husband as the boss man. The point of the verse is to heal relationships – in the year whatever, back then, in the year 2022. It is putting Christ and his modelled behavior right into the middle of your relationship. This is a practical way to behave towards one another – this is modeled in love that is centered in submission that is given to us and shown to us by Jesus. Committed sacrificial love.

Just consider the scriptural metaphor that pictures the Jesus and the Church in a bride and bride groom relationship. And consider all that Christ has laid down for his church.

Jesus comes before his bride, and says it’s you and me – I always be there for you – I will pursue – nothing you can do will change my love for you  - I am willing to give you everything I have. (Your love never changes it never run out It never gives up on me).

That’s the example for us men. Not masters, not dictators – but bride grooms willing to lay our lives down for our wives. Because of our love for them.

Is it easy? Sounds simple, reduced to a few words of text there, but lets be honest – no. We find it hard.

Yes, even us Christians – who have Christ living in us – we have all the assistance we need – we have this new self that we are able to put on readily available to us – we have power through Christ over our old sinful natures…. Yes, even us…

Are you aware that the statistics for divorces rates, inside and outside the church, are identical? Sad, but true.

Because just like the world out there, we view our marriages as these things that consumable, these things that are supposed to serve us, and not for us to serve.

The moment it stops  - the very moment I stop getting what I need from it – drop it. Oh, the missus, given your best years to support me in my career, given me some beautiful kids, ok, cool got what I wanted, thanks, and I’m getting older so my other ‘marital needs’ are dropping – cheers lets call it a day. Don’t need you anymore. Wives your husbands used to be these young good looking charismatic charmers, who were strong and bold and passionate and now they are overweight, depressed stressballs who sit on the couch the whole time… forget them – they have nothing left to offer you -  time for a newer model.

  1. NO NO. We know that’s not right don’t we. That’s maybe the saddest thing – that we know that Paul is making sense. Paul’s never been married – what gives him the right to weigh on this topic? And todays speaker’s - who made him the authority on marriage – what a cheek. Fair enough. OK, do yourself a favour then– find one of the older couples in the church, and ask them to tell you how they managed to keep their marriages going through many decades of ups and downs, of triumph and loss, and hardship and good time. I guarantee – you will hear a story of the kind, patient, sacrificial submissive AGAPE love of God being worked out – being worked at over years. Good times bad time, but never giving up.

This is how the revolution happens, believers. This is how the nations are changed. This is how our faith in Christ is demonstrated, is lived out in practice. Number one – in how we treat those who are closest to us. Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus – what does that mean Husbands Loves your wives. You cannot claim to be a sinner saved by Grace, to have Christ living in you, to know and love God, and then walk out the Church door and be a terrible spouse. Those two things do not jive.

Lets move on to the next verse, as we turn seamlessly to the next family relation – Child and Parent

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Children obey your parents – Maybe we should call the kids back from Sunday school for this one hey. OR at least crank up the volume of the PA so the kids can hear this one – Children OBEY YOUR PARENTS. What can we add to that really, that’s nothing new is it…  =we all = mostly adults in the room now, we all would agree with this – and those of us with kids also see it from the other side – having children who are under our care and our instruction – who need to be raised and trained and instructed in the proper way.

Again this kind of add on about pleasing the Lord – again, we all are to be under obedience to our ultimate Father – God, please him as highest authority, but in the home – here is the model. And while the command is simple, there are so many things you can infer out of the few words.

The family unit is the pattern, designed by God in which you are to grow and develop. We don’t send our babies off to academies to be raised by professionals = we don’t  - or at least we shouldn’t expect the schools and the aupairs and the nannies and the grannies to raise our kids. The picture given is simple child and father – This is your duty. Or to put it differently – a child cannot be obedient to a parent who is not there. A child cannot follow an instruction if an instruction is not given.

Did you know that South Africa, for a number of underlying reasons, has one of the highest rates of fatherlessness in the world. According to the 2017 census survey, 62 percent of children under the age of 18 in South Africa , are growing up without their father - . And if you think about it, you could easily consider that of the remaining 38 percent, a good portion are disengaged parents, workaholics, Dads who , just don’t seem to find the time for their kids, Parents, who aren’t bold enough or brave enough to call their kids to account – to give instruction.

We know this, it’s easy to sit back and let the kids do what they want – or to defer to the default parent, aka, the mother, who it seems so often seems to be the one to whom the sole responsibility of raising a child can be thrust upon – so that Dad when he eventually gets home from his crazy long hours work, gets to be fun Dad – you now, take the kids out for ice-cream – The good cop.

But again, that’s not the picture here – there is a two way injunction – children obey your parents – but they need to be there, they need to be present, active, giving Godly instruction, I would say MODELING a Godly lifestyle to follow – there is no way you can expect a Child to follow instruction if you are not living it out, that is a surefire path to disaster.

My son was invited to a birthday party yesterday – it was a hike up skeletons gorge and on the invite it basically said, you can invite your dads along for the hike as well in you want to, so my lovely 11 year old says to me, sure Dad, you can come along, but please don’t embarrass me…. How dare you! Me? Embarrass you? I said to him son, I am you father, it’s my job to embarrass you.

No, it’s not my job to embarrass him, but it is my job to instruct him.

And remember again, just like how we were looking at the mutual submission between man and wife against the background of Christ living in us and being present in our relationships – does the same test apply here – is the same application valid…

Let me phrase it differently – do we see a clear picture of Christs submission to his father coming through in scripture – yes of course we – what did we remember this morning – as Christ himself looks towards the horror of the cross that awaits Him, what does he say to his Father – not my will but yours be done. Obedience in all things, as is fitting in the Lord, as is pleasing to God.

Fathers, Mothers, Parents, Grandparents Uncle Aunts, who has stepped into the parent Gap you should expect obedience – but not to serve your needs, not so you have a little slave running around serving you – no – because the little person is growing up and you have a duty to guide to shape to model, to spur on, to discipline when necessary, sometimes the hard talks and the hard words are necessary, but you are shepherding on this child to adulthood.

There are so many picture and types of intervention – but I like the one picked out in this verse. See that they don’t be discouraged. And that is good advice – if there’s one thing above all that you have to be as a parent -  you have to be an encourager – you have to be on your childs side, and pushing him or her forwards towards whatever their full potential looks like. Kids are fragile, we know how easy it is to break them down some times, but we need to be building them up. I can tell you, I spent 5 hours yesterday encouraging my boy up and down that mountain.

Lets summarise quickly – we’ve spent this morning in practical application land – but the direct instruction and practical guidance comes from a solid background. Christ is the Lord – the only true God – he needs to be Lord in your life – you need to be submissive to him you need to be obedient to him, he is your master now – and that needs to work its way into your home. It needs to work its way into your marriages – it needs to work its way into your relationship with your children. When Christ is to be honoured in all things, they really mean, all things. So we are not left without guidance – we are not left searching for clues on how to fix our marriages from 70 year old magazines that age horribly – but we have instruction from Holy Scripture. Thousands of years old but as applicable as ever. And even more than Paul and his writings, we can look even to a model of submission, a model of obedience lived out by Christ himself, who knew that the key to changing the world wasn’t by power or might and ruling as such, but by serving. Amen? Amen.

We’ll leave it there for today – please do join us next week where we’ll discuss how to treat your slaves properly.