CHRISTIAN FAMILY LIFE IS A WORK OF GOD’S SPIRIT PART 2
Wives are a beautiful picture of the church, just as husbands are a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for the church. Men, we need to remind ourselves this as we approach this passage with humble hearts seeking to glorify our Lord. As Tim Keller said “You will never be a good groom to your wife, unless you’re first a good bride to Christ.” See! Marriage is a beautiful display of the gospel and we know that was set in place back in the garden in Gen 2:24. Paul reminding us this truth in (v31) plays an important statement to the beauty of the gospel, as the gospel displays God’s love for sinners like you and I. It’s so beautiful Paul calls it “profound” (v32) What Paul is saying is that marriage, like the gospel, is awesome. In creation God has Christ and the church in mind. Christ is the bridegroom and we are His bride. “When 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, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 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;” Rev 19-6-7
See! The ultimate purpose of marriage is namely pointing to the glory of Christ, because everything Paul says here in this passage points to one person. The Lord Jesus Christ. (v22) “as to the Lord In the remainder of this passage we see Christ’s loved the church and what He did for the church (v25-v29). See… marriage exits for Christ’s glory. One theologian said “Christ died for the church, which displays her sinfulness and His saving grace. The biggest problem in marriage is sin. The ultimate solution is the grace of Jesus.” Marriage reminds us that we have been redeemed by a loving Savior; so we are to demonstrate that same love in our marriages men. Let me ask you as we begin this section of Paul’s letter. Is your marriage a picture of the gospel?
Meaning? Are you displaying the sacrificial love of Christ to God’s daughter. Paul uses the Greek word “Agape” and this love is the novelist word of love in the Greek language. (v25). Agape is not kindled by merit or worth; it’s based upon unmerited love that doesn’t seek praise or thanks giving. It unconditional love, the same unconditional love that God demonstrated when He crushed His only begotten Son for our rebellion and sin. This is what we would call a “Golgotha display of love.” 1 John 4:7-21 says “….In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us….” A marriage that is gospel saturated in agape love, desires only good of the one loved….here in this case the wife. Even when the loved one is unresponsive or shows nothing in return. (v25) “Husbands love your wives” meaning, men show unconditional love to your wives “
How do I do that? By demonstrating your sacrificial love for her…”as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Gospel living! Kent Hughes said “There is no honest Christian husband who can hear or read these words and not feel the punch.” Its complete devotion and commitment to seek your highest best in the marriage because Christ is more important to you then life itself. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change, whether the love given is returned or not." Jesus is the plumb line or the example in which we are to follow. When we think of Christ’s sacrifice for the church we immediately think about the cross. When you look at Christ’s sacrifice you understand that His death was not just an act of kindness. It was the pain of rejection when He entered our world to call us to Himself.
See! Sacrificial love is all in, not just part of me.
Death.… (John 15:13) laying down one’s life for another
Suffering…. (1 Peter 3:7) reminding yourself of her personal weaknesses and shortcomings.
Intersession…. (John 17) Jesus High Priestly prayer, praying for her.
I want to ask you husbands a question this morning! Is the motivation of your marriage seen as
manipulation or gospel ministry?
Husbands are never to treat their wives like…. Slaves, by barking command at them; they are to treat their wives as equals, assuming their God-given responsibility of caring, protecting, and providing for them. It doesn't matter how your spouse responds; if you want to love like Jesus loves, you have to put yourself aside. Christ loved the church by giving "Himself up for her." (v25). The husband who loves his wife as Christ loves His church, will give up everything he has for his wife, including his life if necessary. This is what sacrificial love looks like for a heathy marriage. This is how God ordained the covenant union of marriage. Is this easy? No, but we are to none the less imitate the Redeemer in this respect. It is the duty of the husband to labor for her support; to provide for her needs; to deny himself of rest and ease, if necessary, in order to attend on her in sickness. To go before her in danger; to defend her if she is in peril; and to be ready to die to save her.
So let me ask you again the question! Is the motivation of your marriage seen as
manipulation or gospel ministry?
What is your ministry to your wife, you might ask? The answer is found in this paragraph that Paul wrote to the Church. (v26-v32) We already know the husbands duty is love sacrificially without questioning or using the term “But”. (v25) Quick disclaimer: Our ministry to our wives (I’m speaking to the children of God in a godly relationship); as it relates to unsaved or unequally yoked there is some other things that need to happen in the marriage but the principles still apply to all marriage.
The ministry we have as husbands are to love her by spiritually feeding her with the Word of God (v26-v27)
The responsibility for my wife's spiritual growth involves two primary assignments:
One! I am not to lead her into sin.
The second! I am to lead her into righteousness.
Understand! The only way a husband can lead his wife into sin is if he is going there himself. There are many husbands today who are attempting to justify their own sinful behavior by trying to get their wives to join them in it. In Genesis 12 we read about a husband who led his wife into sin. The father of the nation of Israel, Abraham, began his patriarchal career by asking his wife to tell a little white lie. There are three primary ways in which we can encourage our wives to grow. We are to do all we can to help them grow in their personal walk with Christ. We should help provide time for our wives to be in prayer and in their study of God's Word. We can point them to resources for this and can suggest other books to read and podcasts to listen to. We can also make it possible for them to have extended times away for personal retreat and quiet time & refueling. Husbands, we ought to take the initiative and encourage them to grow with us. "by the washing of water with the word" (Eph 5:26). We should set aside time to read with them, to pray and study together. A husband can lead his wife to corporate worship. He should be the one leading them to participate in Sunday worship, as well as Bible studies and fellowship with other believers. It our responsibility men to make sure that your wife have plenty of opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ.
John MacArthur puts it this way: "Men, if you love a woman, you will do everything in your power to maintain her holiness, her virtue, her righteousness, and her purity . . . every day you live. You'll never put her in a compromising situation where she would become angered, because that's a sin. You would never induce an argument out of her, because that's a sin. You would do nothing to defile her. You would never let her see anything or expose her to anything, or let her indulge in anything that would in any way bring impurity into her life. Love always seeks to purify."
MARRIAGE IS SANCTIFYING LOVE (v26) In what ways do you need to take responsibility for your wife’s sanctification?
1. Show leadership in getting your family actively engaged in your local church. Lead in finding conferences to attend, messages to watch online, and other means to grow in the Word together and to spur each other on in the faith.
2. If you have children, take the lead in creating opportunities to worship together as a family in your home. This can be as simple as extended family dinner time to include Bible reading and prayer or can be expanded to be a mini-church service in your home.
3. Pray with your wife. Its tragic how many husbands never do this simple and wonderful gift given to the believer? The simplest and most regular way to lead your wife spiritually is to pray with her every day — to help her bring her burdens to the Lord through your intercession on her behalf.
4. Serve the Lord Together and find ways to do ministry together in the church.
5. Counsel your Wife with the Gospel…live to her as Christ does for you daily. Be a husband and a shepherd to her.
The ministry we have as husbands is to love your wife by demonstrating the same love you have for yourself. (v28-v30)
This is a hard one to do! Why? Ultimately, we are loveless, because we love ourselves more than we love God and are dissatisfied with God’s provision. How do we change that? The more you love God the better equipped you will be to truly love your wife. “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” Col 3:19. Paul is saying, “Husbands, love your wife because she is your body.” You are one flesh. You cannot be separated. You are more connected to your spouse than you are to anyone….even your children. Christ’s love is both a picture of how to love your spouse and your source of strength to do so. The danger of ignoring this… affects you just as much, if not more so….What do I mean? Defeating my wife with my harsh or insensitive words is as senseless as standing in front of a mirror and arguing with myself. Refusing to encourage or nurture my wife by providing for her, is more foolish than not feeding myself. Failing to wash her in the word of God is more repulsive than overlooking my own hygiene. Christ’s love is not only a picture of how I should love my wife, but my source of strength to live it out. Gospel saturated marriage. His love exposes my sin and gives me power to overcome it. He empowers me to see that she is me, and to love selflessly and sacrificially as I have been loved.
Love Her Body—Physical Love
At the most basic level, by physical love a husband strives to meet his wife’s physical needs. An able man who consistently chooses not to provide for the physical needs of his wife does not love her. Physical love is also complimentary. Your wife needs not to be a supermodel to receive regular, sincere, compliments from you. “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” 1 Cor 7:3
Love Her Heart—Emotional Love
The Bible uses the word “love” over 350 times. Almost 10% of these times are in the Song of Solomon (which comprises less than 0.5 percent of Scripture). One thing we learn from this is that a husband should use words to express his love for his wife. As the Song of Solomon says “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” SOS 2:4. We are to have ceaseless love for our wives men. Because God says these words to us “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jer 31:3 ; also see Rom 5:1-11 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Love Her Mind—Intellectual Love
A loving husband graciously convinces his wife that, to him, she is the most important person in the world. Intellectual love also means engaging your wife’s mind. Many men win the hand of their future wife by thoughtful, engaging, conversation. Too many men fail to take this habit into marriage.
Love Her Relationships—Relational Love
Take the time to take her out for dinner or somewhere where it’s just the two of you. Don’t be like this husband! “A story of a husband and wife were lying in bed during a storm when all of a sudden the funnel of a tornado lifted the roof right off their house and sucked the bed their bed away with them still in it. The wife began to cry. The husband said to his wife “This is no time to cry.” To which his wife replied “I can’t help it I so happy because this is the first time we’ve been out together in twenty years.” Please don’t be this guy. In your marriage men continue to pursue and win your wife by your love for her, just as you did before you said your vows. This should never stop this side of eternity men, being marriage doesn’t stop the romance, but it should increase it.
Love Her Soul—Spiritual Love
Men tend to be focus on other things and often we neglect one of our greatest responsibilities; the cultivation of godliness in our wives. "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth,….But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15. Joshua understood that as a covenant head, his choices had a profound impact of those under his care. He must always think of the spiritual good of his family.
Why is this all important? Prov 31:10 says “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Prov 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” 1 John 4:8 says “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
What is a husband’s responsibility? To love his wife. Without selfishness, without reservation, and without conditions and demands set by yourself that you would do yourself. Love her as Christ loved the church unto death. John’s gospel says “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 13:1. As Mathew Henry said “Eve was not taken out of Adam's head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.” A husband’s greatest motive for loving, purifying, protecting, and caring for his wife is Christ’s love.
Men & future young men who seek marriage in the future…….. Love her, seek her best good, sacrifice for her benefit, give yourself to her wholeheartedly, and, when that’s all done, love her some more! This is what a gospel ministry looks like in a marriage!
Here is a beautiful picture of gospel ministry men! May God give us the ability to love like this.