Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Relationships in Jesus’ Name

Leslie Basham: Pastor Scott Patty says a mom or dad who loves Jesus should parent differently from the world.

Pastor Scott Patty: Don’t treat them like property or animals that are to be trained. Treat them with love; treat them with respect. They have feelings—children have feelings, so treat them humanly. You see, “in the the Name of the Lord” transforms the parent/child relationship so that it’s a totally new one guided by the love of Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh, for Friday, September 21, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Dannah, it’s such a joy to have you on the program again today. We listened yesterday to the first part of a two-part message that was referred to us by a friend of ours who attends the church where this pastor is the founding pastor.

Pastor Scott Patty is the pastor of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Our friend contacted us and said, “You know, there’s been a lot of talk recently about women and the “Me Too” movement . . . and women dealing with a lot of pain and abuse and things coming out of their past that had been kept underneath the carpet.

Now they’re realizing these things need to be brought into the light. When we go to the Scripture and we hear a passage about submission, to modern ears that sounds like you’re saying, “Okay, men can abuse women.”

Dannah Gresh: No.

Nancy: And yesterday, Pastor Scott Patty showed us that that is not what the Scripture is saying at all.

Dannah: Amen! In fact, the message, I think, is an invitation for women to get help if they need help, to tell someone. And for that reason, this message is very timely. I’m not really necessarily in the throes of a situation like that, and still, as a wife, this message blew my mind.

I thought to myself, Wow! Here is my motivation for how I serve my husband, Bob. Here is what should inform every reaction that I have to him.

Nancy: Because he talked about how our submission in every realm of life is “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” that transforms what our submission looks like . . . from a kind of “grit your teeth and bear it” to “this is loving, joyful service and actually a gift, a means of protection and blessing.” This is so contrary to how we might naturally think about submission.

Dannah: I encourage you to listen to the first part of this message. You can hear it or read the transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy, I think it would be beautiful to actually read the passage that this message is based upon as we enter into Part 2 of Pastor Scott Patty’s message today.

Nancy: Yes, he was preaching through the book of Colossians; he came to this passage in chapter 3 that I’m going to read in just a moment. He reminds us through this passage of the premise of what the apostle Paul is saying here: that being in Christ transforms all of our relationships if we are a child of God—and that’s something that transcends every culture!

So let’s listen to this passage, Colossians chapter 3, beginning in verse 17]:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. [And] Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality (vv. 17–25).

And so, Father, as we hear the second part of this message, I do pray that You would open the Word to us. Open our hearts to receive and to respond to what You would say to us through your servant this day. And we pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dannah: Here’s Pastor Scott Patty.

Pastor Patty: I read a Bible commentator, F. F. Bruce, and this is what he argues: He argues that there are other sources from the culture of Paul’s day, Jewish and stoic philosophers, and they themselves wrote similar lists to what we read today.

What we read today—husbands, wives, children, parents, bondservants, masters—this is called a “household code” or a “household rule.” It’s not unique to the New Testament. Jewish and stoic philosophers wrote their own list of the ways people should behave in households. So there is nothing unique there.

But it is the addition of this little phrase, “in the Lord” . . . “this is fitting in the Lord” . . . “do this in the name of the Lord.” That little phrase inserted is so profound that it changes all of our relationships—not by degree, but to another kind!

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you just live in your marriage or in the workplace or as a father to children to a better degree than everybody else. It doesn’t mean that. The insertion of “in Christ” means that all these relationships are of a different kind. This is what F. F. Bruce is arguing. It so transforms them that they could just be called “different.”

This means that a Christian, in Christ, being in Christ, is so profound. It’s so profound to do things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that rather than just making our lives better on this earth, we are actually living an entirely new life. We’re not just living by the rules to a higher degree than everybody else, we’re living with the rule of Christ in us that makes all things new.

Bruce goes on to say that if a stoic disciple asks (he’s a philosopher, he’s trying to learn, he asks his teacher in the first century), “Why we do this? Why do we live in such-and-such a way?” The answer would be, “Because it’s fitting. It’s in conformity to the laws of nature.” He’s keeping the rules.

But when a Christian convert asks the same question, the Christian convert is told, “We do this because it is fitting in the Lord. We do this for the Lord’s sake, we do this for the Lord’s glory.” And these simple added words transform everything!

So first, we’re saying this morning that the key to this passage is a new principle for those who are new in Christ, and it makes all things new. That principle is verse 17: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do. . . [it] in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Cultural considerations are important—especially when we get to verse 22 and talk about bondservants and masters. But the first principle that helps us unlock this passage is not the culture, it is this new principle, this new life that we have in Christ. The first principle is the key.

We’ve seen it all through Colossians. This first principle is, Christ is preeminent. He is all and in all (chapter 1). Christ in us is the hope of glory—changes everything. In Christ, by faith, we are dead to sin and the old self, the old life, the old way of living.

In Christ, by faith, we are alive to God, and we are new selves, and we put on the new self with all of its qualities of love. We are forgiven, reconciled and alive. Christ, then, in us—the hope of glory, making us dead to sin and alive to God, forgiven and reconciled. He calls us to a life of putting off the old attitudes and actions and putting on the new qualities of love and therefore doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus as unto Him, by His power, in His love, for His glory.

Now, without this first principle, then this whole passage that we just read—the household rule—would be just that. It’d just be a rule. It would just be a behavior—just like the Jewish and stoic philosophers of the day. Maybe a degree or two better, because we’re trying to be better people, but without the first principle, we’re just pretty much like everybody else—just trying to be better.

But with the first principle . . . The first principle that Christ is in us as the hope of glory, and now we’re, out of this new life, doing all things for His glory and in His name. That means that we live in a different kind of way altogether—not a degree better than everybody else, but a different way. The rule of Christ in us makes what we do simply a different kind, and not just a better kind of the old.

Dannah: That idea, says Pastor Scott Patty, has a transforming effect on the way wives respond to and support their husbands. We heard about that yesterday on Revive Our Hearts. But, of course, wives are not the only ones changed by the phrase, “in Christ.” Here again is Pastor Scott Patty, teaching from Colossians 3.

Pastor Scott: Then he says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (v. 19). That’s different! If it’s the old stoic philosophy of, “Husbands, you’ve got a responsibility, now make sure you do it.” There’s no love there; there’s harshness there.

You know how it is when you’re responsible to do something and people won’t cooperate with you. You start snapping at them and telling them what to do, with harshness. You see, if it’s a law, that’s the way it will work.

But if it’s in the name of the Lord, then a husband loves his wife, and he is not harsh. What he is saying here is that husbands are to serve their wives with love and with gentleness. The harsh husband is in sin and should repent.

And, since he’s talking about husbands to wives, we also should say that just because . . . When we said about wives submitting to husbands, we said that it’s not calling women to submit to men, neither is he saying that men tell women what to do. He’s calling them to a love and a service.

That said, husbands are to love. They are to serve; they are to lead; they are to do so with gentleness, because they know they have an accountability before God in this. If this is a rule only, then it will be kept with no heart, and there’ll be harshness. But if it’s in the Name of the Lord, then it makes it a new kind of service altogether as a husband has clothed himself in the love of Christ. He’s put on Christ, because Christ is within.

You see, in the Lord, marriage is a whole new relationship. It’s not just a degree better than others. Christian marriage is not just a degree better than others. “You want a better marriage? Become a Christian.” That’s not the gospel. The gospel is, you become a Christian and it will so transform your marriage, it will be of a different kind. And that kind is where there is submission and service as the complementing part of a totally new dynamic that reflects Christ and His Church and His glory! Don’t ever read verses 18 and 19 without reading verse 17!

The next relationship is parent to child, verses 20 and 21: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” There it is. “This pleases the Lord.” So the context is a Christian household, assuming that these children want to please the Lord.

As the child grows and confesses the Lord, they increase in their consciousness of being raised up with Christ, new in Christ. So their obedience is transformed into a new kind. It’s not just a rule that they have to obey; they actually want to please the Lord, children do, when Christ is in.

I remember this happening to me. I remember, as a younger child, obeying my parents because I had to. I was afraid of them. And then, I remember there was a time when something started happening in my mind. I had become a Christian, and now I wanted to obey my parents because I wanted to please the Lord. That’s the transformation he’s talking about here.

And my obedience to my parents, as a Christian young man, was not just a degree better from before I became a Christian. It was a totally different kind of obedience. Again, we probably need to say that no obedience, human-to-human, is absolute. So a parent cannot demand that a child submit to abuse or participate in sin. “In everything” means “in all the areas of life,” and should not be used to include abuse. That’s why we step in if we think there might be abuse of a child happening.

And you know what else we need to teach our children (because we’re talking about “children obey your parents”)? We need to teach our children that they don’t have to obey all adults. There are some adults who are not worthy of the obedience of children. I remember teaching my daughters how to kick and punch and scream if an adult acted toward them in a certain way. We actually rehearsed it.

We need to teach our children that they’re to be wise. “Children, obey your parents . . .” Now, having said that, I go back to the text. The believing child obeys the parent in the Lord, which is a totally new kind of obedience altogether.

And [verse 21] “Fathers,” he says. We should probably include mothers here, because verse 20 speaks of parents, but the Father is the one addressed, probably because he has the responsibility and the accountability to serve this home.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children.” Don’t discourage your children. You’re new in Christ. Don’t give your children commands just for commands’ sake. God never does that to us. There’s always a reason for His commands, and always a good one.

Don’t give discouraging commands. God doesn’t give those to us; He instructs us. Build up your children, encourage them, show them how. Children are not property. Children are humans! They should be treated as such.

Sometimes I get a little tweaked when I hear the way parents speak to their children. It’s like they’re barking at them. They talk to them like they’re animals to be trained, instead of humans to be matured and loved. That’s what he means by, “Don’t provoke them, don’t discourage them.”

Don’t treat them like property or animals that are to be trained. They’re humans. Treat them with love; treat them with respect. They have feelings. Children have feelings! If someone yelled at you, you’d feel bad. So when you yell at your child and your child cries, and then you say, “Don’t cry!”. . . what?

Treat them humanly. You see, “in the the name of the Lord” transforms that, the parent/child relationship, so that it’s a totally new one. It's guided by the love of Christ.

Then the third relationship is the relationship of bondservant to master. Now this relationship is included within the household rules because the bondservants generally lived within the household of their masters.

I want you know that in 2010, I was preaching a series of sermons on the book of Ephesians. There’s a parallel passage to this one in Ephesians. I preached a whole sermon on this one concept of bondservants to masters. I don’t have time to preach the whole sermon today. It is online: 2010, Ephesians 6, it’s called "Gospel Transformation." Listen to it as we talk there about how the passage fits with the slavery that was in our history.

But here’s the short version: the short version is that this passage should never have been—nor should it ever be—used to justify slavery. The gospel is the seed that should end all of the attitudes of the heart that ever led to slavery in the first place.

And if there’s slavery in our history where there was so much gospel, it’s not a failure of the gospel. It’s the failure of the Christians! For today, here are some things we need to consider. 

The situation in Colossians is not the same as the slavery in our nation. Bondservants in Paul’s day were so by class or to pay off debts or other reasons. And it was not due to kidnapping, man-stealing, threat of abuse and death, racial superiority—which is what was happening in our nation’s history. So it’s not the same context.

Bondservants were laborers; they were sometimes professionals. They were often teachers and doctors and financial workers and some even practiced law. They were caretakers of households. The person they worked for was called the “master.” He was the household head.

In the Roman empire, there were about sixty million bondservants. Some of the cities were made up one-third to one-half of bondservants. Bondservants in Paul’s day had a way of being released. They could be released from their obligations of service.

Now, the new Christians in the first century that Paul was writing to, did not find themselves in a system of slavery like we had in our nation. They found themselves in their own unique context. The new Christians of the first century found themselves in households. They found themselves in churches—new ones, by the way—that were trying apply the gospel that makes all things new. So, for instance, when we get to Colossians 3:11, it speaks of class and race and former religious background. It says this is neither rank nor obstacle in the church.

In fact, there’s evidence that some of the bondservants were actually the leaders within the church where their masters were. And we see from another book in the New Testament, the book of Philemon, where Philemon is urged by Paul to receive back his runaway bondservant not only freely, but as a brother. 

We see the seed that would change the first-century relationships and certainly the seed of the gospel that would forbid altogether the structure of slavery that we experienced in our nation. The point I’m making here is that no one should ever use Colossians 3 and Ephesians 6 to say it’s okay to enslave people or that in the structures of slavery that the slaves should just obey their masters and the masters should just try to be a little nicer. That’s not the point. In the structure of Paul’s day, where the bondservants are as such that we described; they are to serve in the name of the Lord.

They weren’t just to pay off their debts and fulfill their obligations, they were to do their work as unto the Lord with heart, pleasing the Lord with the honesty of work. This is the same for us today, as we have obligations that we are to fulfill for people that we owe or that we have contracted to work with or that we’re employees of.

We should work as unto the Lord, not just to fulfill our obligation, but knowing that we work unto the Lord. The masters were to pay a just wage and to treat them fairly and not to cheat their bondservants knowing that ultimately they have a Master in Heaven to whom they will give an account, and there is no partiality with Him.

If I could just put a little sidenote in here. Often chapter 3:22 and on through chapter 4, verse 1, "bondservant/master" was used to justify slavery. Let me just throw in here that any serious reading of this would have ended slavery in America because the master in Paul’s day was to be just and fair. There was absolutely nothing just or fair about the system that we experienced. Rather than justifying it, it would have condemned it.

“In the name of the Lord”—back to the point—introduces a dynamic into the bondservant/master relationship such that Paul envisions them being brothers in a church. This is so new that it is a different kind of relationship altogether. Wow, the power of being in Christ!

The power of doing all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the principle. It’s so profound that every human relationship in a believing household, and in the church, are not just a degree better than they would have been without Jesus. But they are of a totally new kind, characterized by service and love and the awareness that we’re all accountable to God.

And shouldn’t this principle then apply, today, to our families, to our congregation, to the way we engage in social media, to our friendships, to our dating relationships, to our workplace relationships?

How many places can we creatively ask, “How do we do things in the name of the Lord in a way that doesn’t just make what we do a degree better, but makes it something absolutely totally new that brings glory to our Savior?” That’s the point of this passage!

Nancy: I love that, Dannah. I just love the fresh insight that Pastor Scott Patty has brought to this familiar passage from Colossians chapter 3. We’ve seen how our vertical relationship with Christ does so much more than just improve our horizontal relationships with others. It actually should completely change the way we interact with each other.

Dannah: In the last few years, Nancy, I was really trying to correct the way I interacted with one of my children. It was futile! I was focusing on her behavior. I was focusing on my behavior. Quite honestly, mostly I was focusing on her behavior!

Nancy: It’s easier to see the problems in the other person, right?

Dannah: And a wise mentor encouraged me, “Just step away from the problem, and step up the solution, Jesus.” And for a few days I took some time and just focused on my relationship with Christ. I had the most radical heart change about how I interact with my daughter because I worked on my vertical relationship with Jesus!

I realized that, in Him, I was able to have hope for this relationship. And you know what, Nancy? That happened at a True Woman event just a few years ago.

Nancy: I remember you sharing that at the time, and what a significant marker that was for you—as each True Woman conference has been for a lot of us who have participated, and for the thousands of women who’ve attended them.

And the tenth anniversary of the first True Woman conference is just a week away, and what a great opportunity this is going to be! Not only for the 7,000 women who will to be with us at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, but for tens or hundreds of thousands of women from around the world who will be joining us by means of a livestream—especially hosted event. We’re designing it this year so that there are backstage interviews with the different speakers that only the online viewers will get to see. 

Dannah: Oooh!

Nancy: It’s going to be designed so that if you get a small group of women together in your home or your church or in another setting, you can go through this conference together with other women that you do life with. You can interact with them about what you’re hearing and what it looks like to live out these truths in everyday life.

Dannah: That sounds so powerful, Nancy! Is there a cost associated with joining the livestream?

Nancy: No cost for the livestream! You just need to go to ReviveOurHearts.com to sign up for it.

Dannah: We so hope you’ll join us for this special tenth anniversary!

Now, what does it look like to view your marriage through a gospel lens? Next week Jani Ortlund will address that topic on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to experience the beauty of a life transformed by Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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