Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"New Life in the Home" Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending May 24, 2009

Purpose: To recognize that God calls all Christians, male and female,young and old, to lives of mutual submission.

Scripture Text: Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4 (NRSV)

Background: Ephesians 5:1-6:4

Ephesians 5:21-33
21) Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

(22) Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. (23)For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. (24)Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

(25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (26) in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, (27) so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. (28)In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (29)For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, (30)because we are members of his body. (31)‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ (32)This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. (33)Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.

Ephesians 6:4
(6)Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (2) ‘Honor your father and mother’—this is the first commandment with a promise: (3) ‘so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ (4) And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

As I read the title for today's lesson, it made me very nervous. I am not sure at my age “New life in the home” would be the title I would have chosen, I am trying my best to stay out of the “home”. All of that aside, the make up of the home is a very important part of the family unit. As our leaders have taught us we must use the scriptures, tradition, experience and reason, to help us as we interpret the bible. It is why we study the bible and not just read it.

The traditional family of the first century in an eastern culture, would be considerably different than today's family structure, therefore some statements made by the writer need the light of today in our existing culture to shine on them to make them relevant for today. That is not discounting the scripture, it is simply applying truths after studying, and using what we have been taught and have reasoned by experience.

There are too many examples of women leaders in both the Old and New Testament to make an assumption that women have no place in God's church. The writer of Ephesians is talking about mutual submission.

In today's world, there are many examples of relationships that fail, or are very difficult. On TV there are some reality programs that try and deal with the conflicts and problems of a relationship. “Jon and Kate plus Eight” offers an example of a husband and wife struggling with their relationship and eight children, and that may not survive the present difficulties they are going through. Another program called “Wife Swap” whose premise is two mothers and wives swap places for a short period of time and deal with each others dysfunctional families. Usually one is real strict while the other is laid back and does not believe in discipline. Amazingly they come out of the experiment with a better understanding of what is important for a family relationship.

Our text covers many of the problems these TV programs highlight. Relationships are difficult, and they are especially difficult if God is not involved in the marriage or in the home. Our relationships need to be based on the same love that Christ has shown to His church. If we claim the name of Christ our relationships need to reflect His love, whether it is husband and wife, employer/employee, parents and children, or older parents and older children.

This subject is so important that it is covered almost identically in two books of the bible, this passage in Ephesians and the passage in Colossians 3:18;-4:1.

Is there a secret for making a relationship work that you would like to share? There are many single parent families, how does this scripture text apply to them? How can the Church best minister to these families?


Anonymous said...

In all relationships, the backgrounds of the individuals must be revealed and examined, the merging of the individuals' lives should be examined, and finally common goals should be set and then a determination is made if the goals are attainable by the individuals.

Burgess said...

I find the comments very interesting, but they seem to leave out any possibility of love.