We are in a series on the fulfilled family, God’s design for marriage and the family, all those things that need to be understood for us to be fulfilled in our marriages and in our homes. And since that’s where we live most of our life, fulfillment at that particular level is so absolutely crucial. We have laid some foundation over the last couple of weeks, and I want to build on that foundation, if I might, in our message tonight. We stated the fact that for good marriages and a good home, there are some prerequisite spiritual considerations, according to Ephesians chapter 5.
Let’s go back there, because we’ll at least launch our thoughts tonight from that same passage, which will be our touchstone throughout this series. In Ephesians chapter 5, starting at verse 18 and reading through verse 21, we have read: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
Now, we have basically looked at those verses as prerequisite and foundational to the instruction that begins in verse 22. Having laid that foundation, the apostle Paul then speaks to the wives, in verses 22 through 24, and to the husbands, starting in verse 25. And starting in chapter 6 verse 1, he speaks to the children, and then in verse 2, to the parents. But all of those specific instructions related to wives and husbands and children and parents are built on the foundation of the principles of verses 18 to 21.
And we noted for you there four things make for sound relationships: being Spirit-filled, being filled with joy, being thankful for everything, and being submissive to one another; and we’ve gone over those very, very important prerequisites. We talked about - finally in the last lesson - the fact that though God has designed us to be mutually submissive, He has still designed in the family an authority and a submissive role. The man is given the authority in the marriage, and the wife is to follow. The parents are given the authority in the family, and the children are to follow.
There is spiritual equality. There may be intellectual equality. There is equality often in wisdom, and many other areas. But when it comes to the responsibility, it is the man’s responsibility to provide, to protect, to shelter, to nourish, to cherish, and the wife’s, to come alongside and enjoy the fullness of that kind of loving leadership. She submits because he submits his authority to her greatest needs. He submits to using his strength and energy to meet her needs, and she willingly submits to that kind of provision.
We said that in Genesis chapter 3, after the fall, God cursed man, and in the cursing, the curse obviously found its way into the marriage. And in a marriage, you have a woman who desires to rule – typically, fallen women want to take charge - and you have a man who wants to dominate in an insensitive and an overbearing way, and that’s why there is marital conflict. It all started in Genesis 3 with the curse, where God said, “From now on, her desire will be to rule over you and you will subdue her,” and therein lies the conflict.
So, conflict began in Genesis 3, but it really continued to escalate all the way through the book of Genesis. Let me remind you of something - in chapter 4 and verse 23 of Genesis, you have the first case of polygamy, and God’s original intention of one man and one woman for life was violated. Polygamy became a common thing, as we know, throughout Old Testament times, and still today, in many cultures of the world, is practiced. In chapter 9 and verse 22, you have the first lustful look; pornography, you could say, begins in chapter 9, and it corrupts the purity of single-minded devotion.
In chapter 16 verses 1 to 3 in Genesis, you have the first case of adultery. In chapter 19, you have the entrance of homosexuality, with all of its perverseness. In chapter 34 verses 1 and 2, fornication is introduced. In chapter 38 is the first case of incest. In chapter 38 verse 24, is the first prostitute, the first woman to sell her body. In chapter 39, the first specific incident is recorded of a seduction. So, before you ever get out of Genesis, marriage and the family is under a major satanic assault.
No wonder marriages face such terrible conflicts. A woman struggling to gain rule over her own husband, a husband dominating unkindly his unruly wife, both exposed to the influence of a satanic society, both possessing unredeemed flesh, which is pandered to by the society in a myriad of temptations. They are exposed to polygamy, evil thoughts, vile words, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, incest, prostitution and seduction. And you could ask the question, “What chance does a marriage have?” And in our day, slim.
To make it worse, the worst of all of that is exalted in our culture as acceptable and normal, and in most cases, even desirable. That kind of behavior, which we just described - polygamy, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, incest, prostitution and seduction - makes up much of the theater of our time, the movies of our time, the books of our time, the songs of our time, the television of our time. People are bombarded with a fantasy world of super-beautiful stars and images and super sex, all designed by Satan through the world system to create discontent with your spouse.
And in our day, this particular and diverse and specific attack on marriage continues with tremendous force; tremendous force. It is one of the - it is one of the great ideologies that we have to assault today. Look for a moment with me at 2 Corinthians chapter 10, a passage that is of great importance for us as Christians. You can be thankful it is here, because it is so instructive. In verse 3 of 2 Corinthians 10, Paul says, “Though we walk in the flesh” - that is, though we are human; he simply means we’re human, and we have all the limitations that our humanity imposes on us.
“And though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” - we are engaged in a battle. We are engaged in a warfare. We are engaged in a great conflict. And he says, “We cannot fight in that war in human strength.” We cannot fight with human wisdom. We cannot fight with our own initiative and our own ingenuity. We engage in a war that cannot be won with fleshly weapons. Verse 4: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh” - they’re not human. You can’t fight this battle with human wisdom, human cleverness; it can’t be won that way.
You have to fight it - verse 4 - with weapons that are “divinely powerful”; “divinely powerful”. In other words, you have to have supernatural weapons. You have to carry - if I can borrow Paul’s expression in Ephesians 6 – “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”, if we are going - at the end of verse 4 - to engage in “the destruction of fortresses”. Now, Paul depicts our enemy as very strong and fortified. We’re fighting against a formidable foe. You can picture some massive granite stone fortification somewhere on an acropolis, a high place in the ancient world, an impregnable fortress.
And he says that’s what we have to lay siege against. That’s what we have to assault; and you can’t do it with just your human strength. You have to fight against those fortresses with weapons that are divinely powerful, or mighty before God. They carry the very might of God with them. And then - notice, please - he says “the destruction of fortresses”, and then he tells you what they are. Here’s what the fortresses are. “We are destroying speculations,” first of all. That’s ideologies, philosophies, systems of human thought, as we talked about a few weeks ago.
That’s what we are assaulting. We are attacking these great ideologies, these great philosophical systems, these moral systems that men establish. He further describes them as “lofty things” - that is, they are characterized by proud, human intellectualism, further described in Romans 1 with the words “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” In reality, they are fools, but in their own mind they are intellectuals.
And so, we are destroying these ideologies, these philosophies, and every element of proud, human intellectualism that is raised up against the knowledge of God. We are attacking everything that is contrary to the Word of God. We are engaged in that war. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies” - that is where the battle is fought.
It is a spiritual and supernatural battle of ideologies – listen - ideologies that men have concocted under the influence of demons. Satan concocts the ideologies, they become the doctrines of demons, they are espoused through those who represent Satan’s domain. Fortresses are built out of these ideologies, they are solid in their foundation, they are rooted in the world and in the culture, and we have to go after them with supernatural weaponry. And what is our goal? End of verse 5: to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
We’re dealing with thoughts here, folks. We’re dealing with thinking, concepts, ideologies, philosophies, viewpoints, and we have to assault those and take them prisoner. We have to get them out of those fortifications and bring them under the authority of Jesus Christ. That’s evangelism. It’s part of our evangelistic strategy to assault these fortresses, and to take captive those that are there, and bring them into the captivity that is called here the obedience of Christ. This is a tremendously formidable task.
One of the great fortresses that exists today I want to address tonight. It is the feminist agenda. Three years ago - or maybe a little more than that - when we were going through Titus, we talked about some of these things, but I want to remind you of them again, because they are absolutely crucial. But before I talk about this ideology, let me just remind you of what our text says. Go back for a moment to Ephesians 5, because I want to set in your mind what the Word of God says; what obedience to Christ is, as revealed in Scripture, with regard to women.
Ephesians 5 - I’m going to read verses 22 to 24. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything.” Wives submit - that’s the idea - to your own husbands, just as the church does to Jesus Christ. Comparing with that, 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3: “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
God, the head of Christ, Christ, the head of the man, the man, the head of the woman. The man has the authority, the woman submits. I want you to turn then to Titus chapter 2, because in Titus chapter 2, we have further instruction with regard to the role of the woman - Titus 2 and verses 4 and 5: “The older women are to teach the younger women” - and what they are to teach them is this, verse 4 - “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind” - here it is again – “being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonored.”
I think the most simpleminded among us can grasp what I just read. The man is the head of the woman, the woman submits to the husband. The woman loves him, gives her life to her children and her husband, maintains sensibility and purity, works at home, all of this with an attitude of kindness, that the Word of God may not be discredited or dishonored. Over in 1 Timothy chapter 5 - and I’m just going to read these, ’cause I want to set them in your mind - it talks about a widow.
She is one who has been a one-man woman, verse 9 says – “the wife of one man.” It doesn’t mean that she only had one husband - she may have had one die, and another die - it simply means a one-man woman; chaste, faithful, pure. Verse 10, this widow must have a reputation for doing good works, the very thing that Titus instructs the young women to do. She is to have brought up children, shown hospitality to strangers, washed the saints’ feet, assisted those in distress, devoted herself to every good work.
And you can see from that, that’s the kind of woman that fulfills God’s design. Go down to verse 14 - he speaks here about younger widows. They need to “get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.” A woman finds her place under the authority, the loving authority, of a man, raising children, caring for the home; that’s God’s design for her. Now, all of that is very, very clear; there’s really no way, scripturally, to evade those things. But it’s amazing to me how confused women are today, even in the church, about their role.
And they are confused because there is a massive effort - the troops have been sent out from the fortress called the “feminist agenda” to spread their philosophy throughout this society. Radical feminism has so brainwashed our culture that church leaders and church members have even capitulated to the lies. And as a result, marriage and the family, the primary building blocks of social and moral order, are in shambles.
Much of this can be laid at the feet of the feminist movement, because it has overturned the thinking of women so dramatically that they have abandoned their God-intended role, and consequently, the family has felt the consequences. Unthinking believers, untaught Christians, have become prey to the ideology of the feminists. And frankly, most of us probably have no real idea of what the feminist agenda is at its core; it is frightening, and it is fatal.
What the public sees is that women want equal pay. Well, you can’t really argue against that. What the public sees is that women want to be free from certain social strictures. Well that’s certainly reasonable. But it goes way beyond that; way beyond that. A cry for equality, a cry for opportunity, a cry for equal privilege to use their abilities unhindered and unrestricted, and the rhetoric sounds fairly sensible. But the real agenda is much more serious - listen to it.
Gloria Steinem - editor of Ms. Magazine - quote: “By the year 2000, we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God.” Satan’s ideologies can’t ever just stop with social issues; they always go to theological ones. It can’t just stop on the social level, it’s got to assault God; because unless God is dethroned, and the God of Christianity is eliminated from their thinking, they’re going to have to deal with the Bible, and that’s a problem. So, we get rid of God and everything supposedly attributed to Him; the Bible is out of the picture.
Radical feminist leader Sheila Cronin - and you’ve heard the name, I’ve heard it so many times - she says this: “Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women’s movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.” As far back as 1971, there was produced by these feminists a document called “The Declaration of Feminism.” It says this: “The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women.
“Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not live individually with men. All of history must be re-written in terms of oppression of women. We must go back to ancient female religions like witchcraft.” I’ll say more about that. By the way, this is largely lesbian-led, and that’s why they have that attitude toward men. Annie Laurie Gaylor, writing in The Humanist - and I’ve given you several quotes in the last month or so from The Humanist- writing in The Humanist, July/August 1988, has an article called “Feminist Salvation.”
This is what she says - and this affects the elite thinkers at the university level, and it gets taught to the students in the system, so it works its way into the culture - she says this: “Let’s forget about the mythical Jesus.” Again, it never stops with a sociology; it always has to ascend to a theology, because you’ve got to get God out of the picture, so you can make the Bible a non-issue. “Let’s forget about the mythical Jesus and look for encouragement, solace, and inspiration from real women.
“Two thousand years of patriarchal rule under the shadow of the cross ought to be enough to turn women toward the feminist salvation of the world” - end quote. Get rid of Jesus; the real salvation of the world is not in Him, it is in feminism. Dr. Mary Jo Bane, the feminist and Assistant Professor of Education at Wellesley College - a elite women’s college - Associate Director of the school’s Center for Research on Women - there’s a deadly think tank - says this: “In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.” We’ve got to get them away from any male influence.
Margaret Sanger - founder of Planned Parenthood, leading the parade in abortion - said, “The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is kill it.” Now, the reason we have to take these ideas seriously is because they constitute the fortress - they constitute the speculations, the ideologies, the proud intellectualism - that is erected in this culture and has a formidable place. They are influencing law. They are influencing the courts. They have a massive influence on education.
All you have to do is realize that this is how the university system thinks; that’s where the school teachers are all trained, and you see how it filters all the way down through the educational system. They’re creating laws at the highest level in our land, laws we have to live by, laws that are obliterating all sense of historic culture. They’re being taught through every avenue to our young people, and even Christians, as I said, are falling under the spell of the feminists.
Sheila Cronin - again, one of their most respected leaders - says, “Since marriage constitutes slavery, we have to attack marriage” - attack marriage. And from the National Organization of Women Times: “The simple fact is, every woman must be willing to be recognized as a lesbian before she is fully feminine.” This isn’t something - this isn’t something philosophical; this is something theological. But it’s not just philosophical, social and theological, it’s moral.
What you’ve got here is the perversion of lesbianism, mixed with all of this ideology, driving something that is at every point satanic. From the standpoint of the social, it destroys the family. From the standpoint of the theological, it destroys God. From the standpoint of the moral, it destroys the normal human relationship, and replaces it with an abnormal, wicked homosexuality. Now, most people would say, “This is new. This is a new movement. This is something brand new.”
But the truth is, it is very, very old; very old. In fact, it’s Satanic, and its origins came very early after the fall. You remember Eve? Liberated herself from Adam’s authority, plunged the whole human race into sin, wanted to operate independently without the headship of her husband. That’s precisely what Satan wanted, and that’s when it all got cranked up. So that you’ll understand it, I want to take you a little bit deeper into the feminist agenda, if I can, and share some things with you. I think you’ll find them shocking and very helpful.
Feminism, with all its assorted features, is an old, old heresy, meant to destroy God’s design on every front. It is an ancient form of paganism - in fact, the very same one that Paul faced in the first century A.D. When Paul’s talking about - in 2 Corinthians 10 - the ideologies of his time, they wouldn’t be any different than what we face, even in this. In fact, the best way to understand it is that it is a repackaging of what we know - if we study church history and the history of religion, ethnology, the history of peoples - this is what could be called ancient Gnosticism.
Full sermon may be listened to or read at this link -