Riverside Community Church

Submit to One Another

You probably won’t like this sermon, it may rub you the wrong way. You may be tempted to disagree with it citing a wrongful interpretation of the Bible even though the Bible is pretty clear. It may make you uncomfortable because it goes against our natural inclination, our carnal nature of wanting to be on top, to control rather than be submissive to others. But the Bible says what it says and it is not interested in your comfort when hearing God’s Word. So here goes a sermon you probably won’t like

Ephesians 5:19-21 (NIV)   BODY LIFE

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.


Submit to one another. I don’t like that. Here are some synonyms of submit

Succumb to, acquiesce to, defer to, give in to, yield to, and surrender to.

Before we jump into Submit we need a building block underneath to help us understand and grasp why we need this in the church for real authentic body life.


Romans 12:5-8 (NIV)

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

We belong to each other (a family of brothers and sisters), not only do we belong with each other but also “to each other”. We need each other (interdependent on each other, the body needs all of its parts). No one is above the other, an eye isn’t better or above a big toe, or an ear better than your liver.


1 Corinthians 12 (NIV)

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.

5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (you have a spiritual gift)

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, (many parts but 1 body)

14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (many parts and all needed)

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (all parts are equal –every member a minister!!!)

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

One of my favorite toys as a child that I never owned but my grandmother had one and when visiting her us kids would rush to find it and play with it. It’s Mr. Potato Head, with all the moveable parts. It is like the church body. My comparison to the church body, Riverside, is Mr. Potato Head.

Take the eyes away. And something cannot see. Who can’t see, the body can’t see, not the eyes can’t see, the body can’t see.

Take a leg away. And something cannot walk. Who can’t walk, the body can’t walk.

  • We all have a part in the body, the Bibles states this clearly.

So when you’re not here or you don’t pick up your gift and serve in the church, when you skip or neglect, you affect everyone here, yes here at Riverside

  • The whole body can’t be just an eye, or a foot or a liver, we’re all needed.

You are all needed every one of you if the Church is to have real body life,

but there is no room for pride, No one can say I’m more important.


Nor is there any room for trying to control others, for the eye to tell the

liver how to function as a liver properly.

  • Our guidelines in body life are the one another’s, love, encourage, serve and

yes submit to one another: we submit to: God first,

we submit to God’s Word second and we submit to each other thirdly.

The Bible also speaks of submitting to governments and to those who labour for you in the church.

In fact, this word ‘submit’ is used some 38 x in the NT and 23 times by Paul

Here is my dominant thought

      “For the body to function properly we all need to work together and do all the one another’s including submit to one another”.

Submit: A Biblical definition of submit is “to yield one’s own rights”.

The first beatitude is Blessed are the meek, this is a study on yielding one’s own rights and it is what Jesus said, “GIVE IT UP, YOUR OWN RIGHTS”

ISN’T THIS WHAT Jesus did He gave up His rights, His heaven, His power,

His control, and humbled Himself as a servant (yielded His rights).

American army personnel while in training are taught that to have an effective fighting force your mindset, your priorities are this:

      MISSION       #1 priority is to complete the mission

      MEN             #2 COMRADES –they are more important than you

      ME               #3 –it isn’t about you as the #1 concern

In order to put Mission and Men above yourself you have to submit/surrender to that order.

It’s like the Christian walk and life:

         Mission:     God #1, to glorify Him, our great God

         Men:                  Others, the great commission, go to others

         Me:            to serve not be served

We used to have an acronym for Christian JOY

J          Jesus

O         others

Y          you

Let me state this very clearly, we are to submit to one another and if you have trouble with submitting than you have trouble with Christianity.

I want you all, including me, to add another spiritual discipline to our list of spiritual disciplines, like prayer, like fasting, like reading the Bible, like quietness before God (waiting). Please add AND PRACTICE the spiritual discipline of not getting your own way, of submitting.

Submitting to one another is a life style discipline of invaluable gold in the  treasure chest of peace and harmony in the body.

Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,


Are you marching to the beat of the body or are you marching to your own beat?

What part are you in the body?

Are you joining in fully, are you serving, working for Jesus in this Church?

Here is my dominant thought again:

      “For the body to function properly we all need to work together and do all the one another’s including submit to one another”.

Let us practice this ‘submitting to one another’. Why?

Because we respect Christ’s and His example when we submit. Amen