Our New Nature Changes our Relationships
Today we are talking about Whatever you do in Relationships.
“Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (3:17)
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (3:23)
He talks to husband and wives, parents and their children, bosses and their workers, and friendships. And all of the conversations are about being having Relationships that please the Lord…I must add that, when they please the Lord they are most pleasing to us!! I
What happens when a person becomes a Christian? Our Relations change… All of a sudden, our ways have changed. We now live in Our New Nature. The husband says, my wife became a believer, she changed. The wife says the same. A mother said, “My child accepted Jesus, and changed.” An employer said, “You know that guy who works for me — something happened in his life. I don’t know what it was. It had something to do with Jesus….the employee says something happened to my boss… when he became a Christian.”
If we remember, the key last week was our new nature…
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” (3:10)
Paul has been talking about our new nature, and now he talks about how our new nature impacts our relationships.
I. Husband & Wives
A word to wives: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.“ (3:18)
- Submission and Obedience are two different things… Please notice that the emphasis here is not on the idea of authoritative, rather it is about submission.
- Submission doesn’t mean Inferiority or Absolute. It doesn’t mean you’re less than your husband or that every word is the word .
- Not at all. Jesus wasn’t inferior to God, He submitted to Him didn’t He? That isn’t the idea. Women have great dignity in the New Testament. Paul emphasizes it in I and II Timothy and in Titus.
- In Acts 5, Luke says you have some times to choose, “You choose whether we ought to obey God or men.” Your husband may ask you to do something that you can’t do in good conscience before God.
- Submission is in Love. This is your own husband, you are intimately, inwardly, vitally in love with. That’s why Paul picks this word. Women submission to their husbands is tough.
- Remember Submission honors the Lord, “as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord” (3:18) The only justification for this is that this is the way God intended it. Wives who belong to the Lord, submit to their husbands.
a word to husbands: “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” (3:19)
- Keep on loving your wives. That’s the meaning in Greek. Keep on!! All the love was there before the marriage, and then, when the marriage happens, all the love seems to drain away. And wives start getting treated harshly.
- And Paul knows this; the Holy Spirit knows this. You can replace love with bitterness. “Keep on loving your wives…” Your whole life together!
- Love is activity. Don’t sink to the level of assuming that love is an emotion. It is the act of self-sacrifice.
- “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will.” – Keith Green
- Don’t let what was love turn into being harsh. Don’t irritate your wife. Don’t exasperate your wife. Don’t be cross against your wife.
? Howard Hendricks said, “a lot of frustrated husbands are shouting, ’I’m the head of my house,’ and they’re the only ones that are convinced.” The reason they are not, he says, is because there is no love. Remember to ‘Keep on’ loving.
- Men struggle with Love. The tendency is to love stuff rather than their wife. They love their money, their trucks, their guns, their teams, etc.
II. Children and Parents
a word to children: ”Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.” (3:20)
- There is only one command in the entire Bible given to children/youth living in their parent’s home, “always obey your parents”
- Paul is Encouraging children and youth to honor their parents and be obedient to their instruction. “For this pleases the Lord.” This is how God set it up!
- I must note, This is limited. If a parent is telling their children to do things that violate scripture, they need to follow the Word, rather than parents.
- Often when young people become Christians their parents disagree, but at they point they need to follow Jesus no matter what their parents say.
- Parental power is limited by what God allows and says.
a word to parents: “Fathers, (pä-t?’r, ‘parents’) do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” (3:21)
? “Don’t aggravate” Irritating our children is wrong and can be very discouraging to your children. It is kind of a nagging that leads to depression.
John MacArthur gives a great list to actions to avoid as parents :
- Controlling. Parents often seek to control their children. It can lead to a lack of trust and an over emphasis of rules. Quite often it leads to rebellion. Make sure you give your children a sense of trust.
- Favoritism. Make sure you don’t play favorites. It is so easy to do. It means you constantly compare one child to another. Make sure you find out what is special about each of your children.
- Discouragement. Children can feel that no matter what they do, it is never enough. No matter what their grades were, it was never enough. No matter how well they did, it was never enough. The child will be discouraged.
- No Affection Demonstrated. Affection builds self-esteem. If you don’t ever go out of your way to love, hug, kiss, pick them up…the child begins to feel alienated and unacceptable.
- Criticism. They learn to doubt their own judgment, and ability, and end up not trusting anyone. Don’t irritate your child with criticism. Create a positive environment, an uplifting, up building one.
- Over-discipline. You scream at them, or holler at them or yell at them, or shut them in their rooms for minor things. This can make a child lose their hope.
III. Slaves & Masters
a word to slaves: “Obey your earthly masters in everything you do.” (3:22)
? Children and slaves are both commanded to “obey.”
Since somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of all Romans were slaves, we have to think that these verses are instructions for employees. This means you have authority, and you are working under the authority of another.
Paul writes 3 challenges for Christian Workers,
- “Try to please them all the time” in other words, work hard, and obey what they tell you to do.
- “Serve them sincerely” because ultimately you are seeking to please the Lord and he will reward you for your hard work.
- “Work willingly” at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (3:23)
? The principles that make a good employee or good offspring are the same. Be sincere, and work like God is your boss.
a word to masters: “Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.” (4:1)
? Play on words, Masters you have a Master.
- In the Slave and Master relationship (or employee and boss), masters needed to know they had responsibilities before God also.
- Employers need to realize they too will be held Accountable before God for how they handled their position and authority.
- The employer too is will answer to God. The Christian businessman has a higher standard to work with.
- Peter adds to this conversation…
“Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” (1Pet 5:3)
IV. Followers & Friends
a word to followers: “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
I believe Paul is saying look we have talked about all these relationships, here are somethings to make your relationships rich and powerful…
- Devote to Prayer. Make your life a life of prayer for others. When you pray, pay attention and be thankful.
- Live Wisely. Speak in love, pray for others, share Christ, pray that the message of Jesus is proclaimed with clarity, use your words in love.
“Make the most of every opportunity.” (4:5)
a word to friends: “He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work.” (Tychicus, 4:7-8)
Paul has developed wonderful friends through his ministry and mission. I tell you the same things happen now. Some my closest friends are ones that I have served with in mission and ministry.
- Paul as talks of Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother. Paul helped Onesimus get out of slavary. (4:9, See Philemon)
- Aristarchus, Mark and Justus, send greetings to the Colossians
“they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been!” (4:10-11)
- Epaphras, founder/member of the Colossians Church. “servant of Christ Jesus.” He was always praying hard for their church. (4:12-13)
- Dr. Luke, “sends his greetings…” (4:14a). Luke is a great friend, served on missions trips with Paul and he is the author of the Gospel of Luke.
- Demas, “so does Demas.” (4:14b). But Demas was no longer a friend, he deserted Paul “because he loves the things of this life.” (2Tim 4:10)
- Nympha (nü’m-fä), Paul sends his greetings to her in Laodicea, and to the church in her house. She was a wealthy and zealous Christian. (4:15)
- Archippus (Christian teacher in Colosse), “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” (4:17)
? Paul’s Instruction: After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them. (4:16)
HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you. (4:18)
- The Apostle Paul was able to accomplish his ministry only because of the faithfulness of many dear friends who have stuck by him and who have been helpful to him in his ministry.
- Paul’s connection and love for these friends adds a very warm, personal touch to what is a very doctrinal letter.
- So the Apostle Paul has always been the kind of person who needed help from his friends. As great as he was he could never do it alone. And it’s still true. We can’t do it alone. We have to have each other. And that’s the message of this text.
So whether it is Husbands and Wives, Children and Parents, Slaves and Masters or a bunch of great friends serving together… we all need to love each other and serve with each other and always walk…
Relationships that Please the Lord