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Mar 05, 2023

The Two-Step

The Two-Step

Passage: Ephesians 5:18-33

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Song & Dance - The Gospel Melody that Moves in Ephesians

Keywords: love, church, sanctify, respect, reverence

We’ve heard so far how the inward music of the gospel has deeply practical implications for life in general and in the community of fellow believers. We shouldn’t be surprised, and should reasonably expect, that it would have implications for our deepest relationships, including marriage. But in order to know what to do in marriage we have to know first the “story” marriage is in–and of what story it is meant, so to speak, to re-tell and re-enact.

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
LEADER: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

PEOPLE: it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

LEADER: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

ALL: Love never ends.


LEADER: Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

CENTRAL TEXT: Ephesians 5:18b-33
18. . .but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

BENEDICTION: Revelation 19:6-9
LEADER: Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Rev. 19:9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

ALL: Amen!


  • Genesis 1:26-28
  • Hosea 2:14, 18-20
  • Philippians 2:3-4
  • Colossians 3:18-19
  • 1 Peter 3:3-6


  1. How would you describe–even characterize–your parents’ marriage? What seemed to “work”? What didn’t? Why do you think so on either count?
  2. Refresh your memory from the sermon (or review the text itself if you weren’t present). What are we meant to learn from Paul in vv. 31-32 about the so-called “mystery” of marriage? What do we learn about the meaning of any given marriage between husband and wife from the connection he draws between marriage and Christ?
  3. “Submit”: how would most define the word today? Name several reasons why that word is found more than problematic? Does your sense of the word change any when you apply it to the context of the church’s submission to Jesus? If so, how so? 
  4. You heard a definition of what submission is and isn’t. What do you make of those sketches of its meaning? Are they supported by the text? 
  5. If husbands also need love and wives also need respect, why do you think Paul emphasized the husband’s need for respect and the wife’s need for love?
  6. How does the gospel rule out compelling submission and instead underscore the place of offering it up in love?
  7. If you are married, talk about the struggle to see this pattern for marriage in your own (or if you are unmarried, did you see the pattern here in your parents’s marriage?)


InView Media Album 03.05.2023


  • I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’Alasdair McIntyre
  • In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to His glory, and calls into His kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, an office. . . . It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. Dietrich Bonhøeffer
  • A wife who wants to dominate her husband dishonors herself and him, just as a husband who does not love his wife as he should dishonors himself and her; and both dishonor the glory of God that is meant to rest on the estate of matrimony. It is an unhealthy state of affairs when the wife’s ambition is to be like the husband, and the husband regards the wife merely as the plaything of his own lust for power and license; and is a sign of social disintegration when the wife’s service is felt to be degrading or beneath her dignity, and when the husband who is faithful to his wife is looked on as a weakling or even a fool. Dietrich Bonhøeffer
  • We must never be naïve enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall…The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the Fall: marriage. Dan Allender & Trumper Longman
  • Our marriages are the testing ground for God to win us to himself. Our marriages are basic training for the one Marriage that will not disappoint. Dan Allender & Trumper Longman
  • The sternest feminist need not grudge my sex the crown offered to it either in the Pagan or in the Christian mystery. For the one is of paper and the other of thorns. The real danger is not that husbands may grasp the latter too eagerly; but that they will allow or compel their wives to usurp it. C.S. Lewis
  • “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” - Odyssey 6, 182-185
    via Susannah Black Roberts, Niece Appreciator @suzania

  • It is certainly pleasant but not unduly extraordinary to be a popular and beautiful woman who can marry a rich and popular man if she chooses. It is less ordinary to see, with Mary’s perfect clarity and uncanny certainty, the life and man you want, and to choose it in the teeth of discouragement with all its disadvantages apparent, to persist single-mindedly in the face of hardship. It’s a Wonderful Life is, in part, the story of someone becoming, kicking and screaming, against all intentions and desires, a big man. Mary sees the big man in George from the first, because she is a big woman. She is, as much as George, a profoundly unusual person laboring under her own personal destiny. In the world where George does not exist, she has not married not because she couldn’t, but because she does not want to. There is not a Mary-sized man in town, and Mary Hatch does not do anything just because it’s what might be expected of her. Her story in this counterfactual is a sad one, but it is not one of passive submission to circumstance.
    To be chosen and known and loved by such a woman is not a small thing.
    - Clare Coffey

  • If you ask me, “What is a woman?”
    I’d tell you that she is a bone made alive, with distinctions that set her apart as does the difference between a firefly and a new pawn.
    A woman is not a man.
    Her calling is not a synonym of inferiority.
    Her distinctions are not the child of patriarchy.
    They come from a creative God.
    Did you see the fingerprints in your hips?
    The whistling shadow of His mind when your body became whole to another name that called you “Mummy”,
    Where all the gladness you forgot could exist.
    A woman submits to her God, her husband, her church.
    She is no weak-willed or brittle-backed woman
    But only a strong as humility and faith may identify her to be.They say, “Submission sounds like servant”
    They say, “That sounds like something to rebel against”
    I say, “Ain’t it funny how being a servant is repulsive to everyone but God?”
    And we wonder why we can’t recognise His face. . . .
    - “What is a woman?” Jackie Hill Perry