THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER
Welcome to week three of the Ultimate Fighter we’re doing. This message is called Tap Out, and in this message, we’re talking today about the power of submission. Now in the octagon, if you have to submit and tap out, that means you’re in such pain cause you’re about to break your arm, or got you twisted all up or something, to where they have got you in, in their control and so you tap out. And so tap out means that they have submitted you, and that’s a bad thing in the octagon. But in the Bible and in life, submission is a good thing, not a bad thing. In fact, submission will really help you. Submitting to authority is something we don’t like to talk about, it’s something that’s very unpopular in scripture. A lot of people are not real keen on these verses, because we really don’t like to submit to anyone, most of us just want to do our own thing, but the Bible actually talks about the power of submission as a very good thing, not a bad thing. In fact, Ephesians chapter 5 and chapter 6 are all about submission. But the reason that God has us submit to authority may surprise. It’s not because he’s trying to beat us down or keep us down, or somehow cause pain in their lives.
Now when someone is submitted in the octagon, it’s painful and the match is over, but when you submit in life, it actually keeps you from pain. When you don’t submit to authority, it causes pain in your life, so it’s a little opposite in the real world. And so let’s look at some scripture today, starting in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 21, it says: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Now prior to this verse though, there’s a precursor verse, there’s a reason behind the submission. We’re about to cover three levels of submission; before we get to that, there’s a reason behind, and the reason is found in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 15 through 17. You may have never connected these verses together, but they go together. If you read the full text, it makes sense, and so let me put this in a context. The reason we submit to one another is so that Ephesians 5 happens. It says: “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise, but as wise. Making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” If you want to know what God’s will is for your life, the best way to get God’s will is to submit to your authority. There’s no greater way to get to God’s will. Now it got real quiet in here. People aren’t real up on this kind of stuff. You don’t really like this is, this isn’t really a rah-rah scripture, but it is the truth. That if you will learn to submit to authority, God will open doors for you like no other way can do it. And so in fact, there really are three things that being under authority will do for you, and the first one is found right here in Ephesians chapter 5, the precursor to who you were to submit to, is found here, which is the why and number one: it will direct you. When you submit to authority, the authority will direct you into God’s will. It really will. And so it actually is a good thing and not a bad thing. Now I want to jump into the next scripture, which is probably arguably one of the most unpopular, and misquoted, and misused, and abused verses in the entire Bible. But it’s important because we need to look at the right meaning of it. Ephesians chapter 5 verse 22, women typically do not like this verse; men that park on this verse, probably are abusing it, but let’s talk about what this verse means. It says: “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he’s the Savior.” It says: Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. It doesn’t say wives submit to your husbands because he is the Lord. It says wives submit to your husband as to the Lord. Don’t confuse those two. Now this verse is not popular, but if I’m going to go ahead and talk about unpopular verses, let me go ahead and throw in another one, alright. Look at the next set of scripture that has to do with submission, also in this same lineup of verses. This is Ephesians chapter 5:6, it says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” But both these verses have something in common that I want to get to because I, I believe I know the reason why these scriptures are really hard for people to take.
I believe that the same reason these are hard to take are the same reason why it’s hard for some people to go to a church and submit to a pastor, same reason why it’s hard to submit to a boss. And so I’m going to invite a good friend of mine to join me on stage, and so Pastor Mark _____ is going to come out, we’re going to talk about this concept together a little bit. Come on out Mark, appreciate you guys, would you guys give him a hand if you would. (Applause) We love Mark, and he means a lot to our church. The second point I want to talk about real quick here that Mark and I are going to really discuss number two: It will protect you. That submitting to authority brings protection to you for a wife, a good husband; a good husband protects his wife. A good father and mother protect their kids. But I believe I know why we don’t like this scripture. And so I just want to talk about this and it’s pretty gritty, and we’ve already had a lot of tears shed, but I feel like this is important that we talk about this, this weekend. So Mark, we already know each other very well, but you, when I was talking about this in the car with you, we started talking about the subject of fathers and, and you said something that was really powerful. Would you just share the story that you shared with me in the car, as a little, little boy? Pretty, pretty amazing story.
Mark>> Yeah, my parents, they were divorced when I was really little, I was like three weeks old or something. And my relationship with my father was really scarce, maybe four or five times my entire life, up until this day that I, that I actually hung out with him or seen him. And most of those times, actually all of those times, it would, it would start out and it would be, my mother would tell me: get ready, your dads coming to get you, and I would get so excited, get pumped up, and I’d sit out in the front, cause I wanted to, you know I wanted to wait, I wanted, I wanted him to see me that I was waiting and I was excited. And he would, he wouldn’t show up. And I would wait, be about four o’clock, five o’clock, six o’clock, seven o’clock, eight o’clock, and it started getting dark and moms like, you got a come in. And I’m like in my head, I, I thought that if I go inside, he’s going to pass by and he’s not going to stop. He’s going to think I’m not there. You know and so I remember as a kid just, just waiting and waiting, and be you know ten o’clock, eleven o’clock when mom forced me to come inside. And she, I can remember just banging on the door thinking, he’s going to pass by, he, he’s going to think I don’t care, he’s going to think I’m not there, and, and just my heart was breaking, and I remember just that consistent heartbreak over and over again. And, and I think through that heartbreak, I began to take it to a really, I, I was a little kid, but this continued to happen all my life. And when I just kind of got to the age of what am I, who am I, am I a man, what am I, you know? I began to take that to a very dark place and I began to think that being a man was running through girl after girl, I’ll find my manhood there. That didn’t really work. So being a man was running through drug after drug, that didn’t really work. Being a man was drinking after drink, and it didn’t really work. And I kept trying all these other ways to be a man: working out, I’m going to be a man, you know, didn’t work. There were so many things that I tried, so many things, music, I, I could name them all, that’s going to make me a man, and it didn’t work. And, and I know that it was heartbreaking. In my heart I thought this is how I’m going to become a man, this is how I’m going to define it. I had no direction, I had no man telling me this is how to be a man, this is what you’re supposed to do.
Pastor Bil>> You know we talk, thank you for your honesty, this is not an easy discussion, and I know a lot of people can relate to this pain. We have a culture today that has become fatherless in many ways, and it, it’s very difficult to talk about this, because there’s a lot of guilt, a lot of pain in the room when we talk about this, but I think we’ve got to understand that we can’t really even discuss submitting to authority unless we first admit the reason why we don’t like these scriptures; is because we have not had a good role model in place to make it exciting, enjoyable, and, and something that works frankly from a functional standpoint, to submit to authority. How do you submit to a dad whose not there? You know how do you, how do you, how do you submit to a husband who is checked out emotionally, it’s very difficult to do. And so, man I really appreciate you just sharing this. I know this is tough.
And, and what I want to encourage you, if that’s the pain you feel as well, I want to encourage on this to know this; that God always brings a surrogate. And you talked to me about Jesse and David, why don’t you tell a little bit about that, what you’ve learned through that, that lesson in the Bible.
Mark>> Yes. David’s father, Jesse, he is kind of, he kind of left him out of the picture. David had a problem, you know I’m telling like, you know all this. But…
Pastor Bil>> No, no, but I want you to just, just…
Mark>> Like Bil, did you know in the Bible that… (Laughter)
Pastor Bil>> But it’s powerful because David felt a rejection from his dad, he had to have.
Pastor Bil>> His dad blew him off.
Mark>> And what got me was like man, you know David, this guy was a king and he did something amazing. I said where did that happen, or how did that happen, you know his dad was blowing him off, he wasn’t there. And it was later on when I read that Samuel anointed David and said you know, Samuel told him you were a king. And, and up you know, and up until you know I had that, come and obey your fellowship through, through, through you, and through you anointing me and saying a long time ago, there’s, I can’t, there’s a, I can count, there’s probably 10-15 times, very unique special times you just walked over to me and you put your hand on me and said: you’re going to do something great for the kingdom. And I was like, and I was like dude, I’m just like cleaning the floors in the _____, what do you mean, you know? (Laughter) And you, and you, you know would say well I’m just, and I didn’t, cause I didn’t, I didn’t understand. And I believe any of, on my birthday last year when I, when I was ordained as a pastor, I understood that you gave me that anointing, and you said Mark, you are a king. You are a man of God. And it was, it’s been hard because I have a child and I don’t know, I’m playing a role I’ve never seen, you know. I have an amazing beautiful wonderful wife who I love, and I’m playing a role as a husband that I’ve never seen. And so I don’t, and so what I’ve done this whole time is I’ve watched you, and I’ve watched Paul, and I watched the other pastors. But I’ve watched you, and I’ve watched how much you love Jessica, and how you interact with her, and I was like okay, I’m just going to copy him. (Laughter) It’s like there, there’s, there’s something I could see and…
Pastor Bil>> But you know what the truth is, is that all I’m doing is copying my dad, and that’s the point. Is that, we were talking about this, this is, it’s such a powerful principle here that, you know we talked about, you know okay, that rewind fast, rewind five years, is when you came in the bay area, God began to do some great things in your life, okay. But let’s look at the ten years before that: the difference between my life and yours in that ten year window, which is basically roughly right out of high school, somewhere in there, and you know, you’re you know, you’re approaching you know what- 25, 30, something like that, okay in that, in that time period. That’s a time period when a lot of guys really make some bad mistakes. And in that time period, the difference between you and me, am I smarter, am I sharper, no, that’s not it at all. You know what it was? I had a guide, I had a guide. My dad would say to me you know son, let me tell. What, what would be different in your life from then, and obviously God’s restored, God’s done some great things in your life, but if your dad would have come along and said son, I see who you’re going out with, I know this kind of girl, you need to stay clear of this, this kind of girl. Or hey, I see these guys you’ve been hanging out with. I’m not dumb, I know what you’re up to, you know this is the last time I’m going to see you come in at three in the morning and doing this. What would that have protected you from if you’d of had a father to say: no, that’s not what you need to be doing. You see what I’m saying?
Mark>> Absolutely, that’s good.
Pastor Bil>> That’s the differ, I’m not so much sharp or smart, no. I just had a guide. And so we have young men that don’t have a guide on a daily basis. And Mark, I just want to encourage you that, you know we talked about this last night, we talk about this a lot actually. But you’re going to be a great father, because you’re going to be the father you didn’t have. That’s the difference. You know and the great thing too is in the same way, Jesse was not. Yeah. (Applause) This is so cool to share this. Jesse was not the father he should have been to David, so what did God do? He brought Samuel along over Jesse to say I’m going to make sure this king knows there’s a king in him. And I’ve got news for all the men in here, listen. You, hear my voice: every little boy has a king wanting to come out in them that they just need the prophet or the father, who should be the prophet, to bring the king out in him. And if they don’t have the king brought out in them, then one day when they are a king, the boy in them will run them.
Mark>> That’s right.
Pastor Bil>> Every little boy has a king in them, and every king has a little boy in them, and it takes a male figure. I’m not trying to be sexist, I’m just telling you the truth, I’ve seen this in my own life and in other men’s lives, especially little boys; you need that male figure and that’s the difference. And so I just want to encourage you as we look at the scripture, it will not work aside from the right leadership. So what does God do? He brings a surrogate. I really believe that a lot of men are antichurch, because they’re anti-pastor, because they know there is a man doing the job that they should be fulfilling. And so women should not have to come to church to see a spiritual man, they should be able to see one in their own homes before they ever come to church, (Applause) they should have already seen it in their own homes.
Mark>> That’s right.
Pastor Bil>> So I just want to encourage you today, if you feel like man, I never had that father. God will always bring someone in your life to fulfill that role. And I’ll tell you right now, I have no problem saying this, and this is a fundamental shift for us as a church and I want you to hear my heart: I will gladly be a spiritual father to you. I’m not perfect, but I’m not going anywhere. And God wants to bring spiritual fathers; not just me, there’s a lot more people that are better at this than I ever will be, but God wants to bring those kind of people in your lives. This is a power of a leader that is honoring the Lord in your life and in their life, and it’s a powerful thing. And you know Mark, you had to, you had to navigate those waters on your own.
Pastor Bil>> And God brought you to the church, because there’s a divine order in the church, and it’s powerful what God is done in your life, and now you are a leader. And now God has brought, raised you up to lead other men who need to hear this story, who need to know okay, I have what it takes and God can use me in a great way too. And maybe I didn’t have that role fulfilled, but I will fulfill the role I didn’t have.
Mark>> That’s right.
Pastor Bil>> And just make sure that your kids can’t say the same in their situation, because you live out the life. Mark, thanks for sharing with us man, God bless you.
Mark>> Thank you.
Pastor Bil>> Great story, (Applause) powerful. Thanks guys. Wow, the reality is, is that when you have that role model functioning well, it’s amazing the direction you get as well as the protection. And so we’ve got unprotected and undirected little boys and little girls, and then not to mention wives and girlfriends, and when they hear this concept of submitting to this kind of guy. He’s not even there to, what are you talking about submit, he’s not even around. And does he care about me, is he, does he have my best interests in mind. It says here in scripture, says wives submit your husbands, but it says husbands: “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” How did Christ love the church? He submitted his own life on a cross to meet the needs of the church. It’s pretty easy for us to submit to that, isn’t it? Because he has shown us, he really does put our interest above his own. And so that’s the difference, that’s why these verses don’t need to blown off, instead we have to look at the divine order. So what do you do when this happens? What do you do when you have a father that’s, that’s towing the line and that’s honoring God, what do you do? You rush to the other orders, those are the orders. And so there’s several divine orders I want to talk about real quick, is because what you’ll do, you’ll find protection in the other divine orders. Look at this next scripture: we’ve got a wife to a husband, we’ve got children to their father, which keep in mind, a husband is also a child, right. Look at scripture. It says in Ephesians chapter 6 verses 5 through 9: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” Now by the way, this is not saying that slavery is a good thing and it’s not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s saying it is. So keep that in mind: the Bible does not affirm slavery, but it also doesn’t deny it. It is a reality that slavery does exist. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord, not men. Because you know the Lord will reward everything for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters. See he doesn’t, he doesn’t just talk about slaves; he says let’s talk about those in leadership. He says and masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them; since you know that he who is both their master and yours is in heaven and there is no favoritism with him. That’s a bold statement. He’s saying hey look, you think you’re in charge?
God can reverse that order real fast. And so we have to keep in mind, those of us who are in charge or over others, obviously hope we’re not masters. No one’s a slave to us in our culture, but at the same time, there are people that we have great power over if we employ people, things like that, that we’re to treat them well. But this is important to understand this concept, is that being under authority will direct you, it will protect you, and number three: It will project you.
It will move you forward. It never ceases to amaze me how people believe that they’re going to knock their boss regularly, and yet their boss is supposed to give them a raise.
Well basically what we’ve got is, we’ve got multiple layers of protection, direction, and projection, in projecting someone forward, that’s pushing someone into the will of God. And so there really are three or four in particular here that I want to talk about. One is the family; we’ve already touched on that. Another one is the church, in the spiritual authority of the church, and another one is the workplace. Then there, there’s a fourth one which is the civic, the place for civil service and government. And so we’ve got these four layers. Now here’s the deal. When things are not going well, you’ve said okay, Pastor: I understand this concept of submitting to authority and how God wants to direct me, protect me and project me with it; but you don’t understand, my father or my husband, those who are wives, he doesn’t even know the Lord, doesn’t even care about the things of God, and I’m supposed to submit to that? Here’s what you do: you honor them as much as you can, but then you pull away, not, not that you divorce, or leave, or blow off your spouse, or your husband, or your, your father, that’s not what we’re talking about. But you lean on the wisdom of the church. I really believe this is why a lot of ladies come to church first before their husbands, because they don’t really want that guy pointing at their life. The last thing a guy wants is another guy telling him he’s wrong. That’s why a lot of them don’t come to church. And so the reality is that, that many times we have men are the hardest to get into church, cause they’re just not ready to admit that they need wisdom in their life, and it’s also pretty frustrating whenever their wife goes home, and life starts to click for them and they realize it’s not because of them, it’s because of the spiritual leadership of their pastor they’re getting. But listen men, its real simple: be a dispenser of wisdom living a life that honors God, like the Bible says and it wouldn’t happen. Because the first place a woman is supposed to see a godly man is in the home, long before she sees it in the church. So as first to be a dispenser of wisdom; that’s the top of the food chain in any organization, and any structure, and any divine order should be dispensing wisdom, protection, and direction, in projection lifting people up. That’s our jobs, and the reason we’re higher, is so we can pull everyone else up, that’s the whole point. Does that make sense? When a better, it’s just a divine order of God. So you’ve got a husband who’s supposed to leading a wife. If that’s not happening, then she is to, and the family is to look for that direction of wisdom in the church. If it’s not happening in the church, you can find it, and I’ve been in this situation where I was on staff at a church, and the pastor was not honoring God, and I remember thinking, this is unbelievable what the pastor is saying publicly, they’re not living privately. The, the language he uses in staff meetings was not the same language he’d used on stage.
I mean he’s treating people horrible, I just couldn’t believe it, I was just in shock. This, this can’t be happening in God’s house. I didn’t know what to do, so what did I do? I ran to my divine order: dad, call dad. Dad, what do I do?
He says okay, this is what you need to do and he led me through that, but what about the person who doesn’t have them to lead them through it? See the problem here? So I ran to the place where I did have the divine wisdom. Some of you may say well I didn’t have it at home, so I got it at church, or I didn’t have it at church, so I ran to divine wisdom and had a friend or a mentor in my workplace. Some of you have bosses that are just great people that really, really love you, that aren’t just an employer, but really care for you and that’s wonderful to be in that kind of environment and so you run to them. And some of you didn’t have it at home, they didn’t have it at church, they didn’t have it in their boss, and so they are running to leadership of the government. And so fathers are supposed to be protectors and leaders, and dispensers of wisdom. So if we don’t get it in the house, we’re going to look for it in the church, we’re going to look for it in the work, we’re going to look for it in the government. And all of them do have an important role, but it always comes back to function. Are we willing to rise up and be men and women of God who will lead and become dispensers of wisdom and truth? And the best way to do this if you have someone, you say what about David, he had to submit to a king, he had a dad who blew him off, he had to submit to a king that was psycho. What did he do? You tell him he should stay in an abusive situation? No, not at all; in fact the Bible clearly shows that David, when he was, when his life was in threat, he was, he ran, he had to get out of there. And so God is not asking you to stay in a bad situation to where your life is in threat. Oh no, God’s very clear about this, he does not intend for you to be hit, or hurt, or damaged, or sexually abused, no. God’s word is clear about saying get out of there. Now what do you do when you’ve got abuse in one area? You go find the wisdom of another, that’s what you do. But I want to challenge you: could your problem with authority come down to the fact that it’s not that we don’t want authority, it’s that we desperately do want authority, but we want authority that works and really loves us. I find that most people that are scared and fearful of the church, or knock the church and criticize the local church: I always ask them, what was the pastor’s name that hurt you? What was the pastor’s name that abused you? What was, what did they do, did they steal? Was there a moral failure, what was there that made you so distrusting of leaders? You know, the woman who can’t stand this verse and sometime, I’ve been _____ in the past where women have said to me, before I marry them and their, their future spouse will say: can you take that scripture out of the wedding ceremony?
I don’t want that scripture about wives submitting to their husbands. And I always say, you know what, I’m not going to do that, but a bigger question is who hurt you? How’d you get hurt?
See divine authority still works. Just because someone’s damaged you, doesn’t mean a divine needs to change, it just means that they need to change, or you need to run to a divine order that is healthy, to help you get the other divine order back on track. I know this is a gritty message.
My prayer is you’ll understand that God has authority and it’s good, it’s not bad, but because we’ve seen it done so poorly for so long, we run from it all together, and that leads to lawlessness in families, that leads to lawlessness in our society, in companies and organizations, even in churches. And God has a divine order of protection if you will just honor the Lord; he will direct you, protect you, and projects you to the authority over you. Would you bow your heads with me? With your head bowed and your eyes close, I just want to encourage you that the divine order begins with the ultimate submission; that Jesus Christ died on a cross, submitting himself to our need. That’s the ultimate leadership, is to submit everything you are to the need of the day. With your head bowed and your eyes closed, you can receive Christ right now by saying a simple prayer. You can say: Dear Jesus, I realize he died for me. You paid the price for my sins and you rose again from the grave, proving that you’re God, and I invite you, I ask you to come into my life, change me from within, I want to follow you from this day forward. Lord, I love you, I thank you for the divine order that you have protected me, that you have directed me and you will project me forward into your will. Lord, we love you, your name we pray, Amen, amen. Isn’t God good?