In the final message of this miniseries, we shift our focus to some essential truths God’s Word reveals about marriage.
Amen. Amen. Amen. We are wrapping up. Our verse is relationships two nights, and we're tying the bow on it by taking some time to talk about marriage.
Here's. What you need to know about marriage. Right out of the gas is God's idea. It's not a social construct. It's not something that has evolved into existence over thousands of years.
It's not something we've arrived at after a lot of trial and error. God instituted marriage at the very beginning, back in Genesis Two, after we made Adam and Eve. The scripture says this in Genesis 224. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. God designed marriage, and when he did, he didn't set the two new lovebirds free to live their new married life.
However, they wanted to completely detach from him. He created their marriage and all marriages with a purpose, and he alone sets its parameters. When God designed marriage, he placed himself in the center of its design. And like everything else God designed, he designed marriage to be a blessing, so that those who are married would flourish in that relationship. Keep him in the center.
The design works as it was made to, but take him out of the center and the design falls apart. Statistically, marriages are not flourishing in our world today. In the US, almost 50% of all marriages will end in divorce or separation. Researchers estimate that 41% of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce, and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce. It doesn't get much better when you cross the border and come up to Canada where we live.
Although Statistics Canada has not been collecting Canada's annual marriage and divorce rates since 2008, it seems fairly widely accepted that over 40% of Canadian marriages are expected to end in divorce. The Toronto Sun reported that Canada has the 29th highest divorce rate of the 87 countries surveyed, and marriage rates have declined. While common law relationships are becoming more common in every province and territory, data show 21.1% of Canadians were in common law relationships, a number that has increased from 6.3% in 1981. In a recent poll by Angus Reid Institute found 53% of Canadian adults felt marriage wasn't necessary. We shouldn't be surprised when we hear statistics like this, because our culture has been systematically dismantling what God designed marriage to be.
For several decades now, humanity has tried to alter the definition of marriage and infuse it with his own purposes and desires into it. But as hard as humanity has tried to do those things, they have done so in vain. Reject God. Everything falls apart. Rejected the designer.
The design begins to crumble. So if we want our marriages to flourish, we have to align our marriages with God and his waste. So if you have your Bible with you, and I hope you do, go ahead and turn to Ephesians chapter five, verses 22 to 33. If you haven't done so already, this is going to be our text. It's a very well known passage addressed to husbands and wives, a sometimes misused passage.
But when rightly applied, it's a powerful and transforming passage of God breathed scripture. We're going to hear what God says to both wives and husbands individually. Then we'll be able to envision what a Godly marriage was designed to look like. And as you might imagine, and especially if you've been with us for the first three parts of this series, you can guess that not everyone will respond the same way to what I share here tonight. I can think of four different ways a person might respond to this message on marriage.
You might kick back against what you hear, thinking to yourself or saying out loud. Even I don't like that. I don't believe that, and I won't believe that. And that's fine. You can try to do marriage according to your own wisdom.
That's your prerogative. God gives you the freedom to choose whatever you want, but you will not be the exception. You will not be the first one to reject God and his ways and find blessing in that choice, whether it's applied to marriage or to anything else in your life. Or you might be overconfident. When you hear what I share with you about marriage, thinking to yourself or saying out loud, I am nailing it, or I'm going to nail it if or when I ever get married one day.
And if that's you, you might want to take notes of the Rich Young Ruler who came to Jesus one day. Matthew, chapter 19, starting to verses 16, says this. Just then, someone, the Rich Young Ruler came up and asked him, Jesus, Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good? He said to him, there's only one who is good.
If you want to enter into life, keep the Commandments. Which ones? He asked him. Jesus answered, do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.
I've kept all of these, the young man told him. What do I still lack? What was the young man's response? I'm doing everything right. Jesus.
Was he, though? No. But he thought he was. And you could respond to this message on marriage like the Rich Young Ruler responded to Jesus. And if you do, you will probably miss out on anything.
The Lord might want to show you that's lacking in your life. Or you might be crushed beyond hope. When you hear about God's design for marriage, thinking to yourself or even saying out loud, who could ever do that? That sounds impossible. The bar for marriage is set so high, why even bother trying?
And what we're going to hear about marriage is too lofty for any one of us to do in our own strength. And here's the encouragement that I can give to you on the front end. You can't do it on your own, but with God, you can. That's the secret to experiencing the abundant life that God has designed for you. He calls you to an impossible way of life, but he also gives you the Holy Spirit so that you have a power greater than yourself, equipping you to do impossible things that you could never do on your own.
This applies to marriage, or you might get emotional when you hear about God's design for marriage. And that's okay thinking to yourself or saying out loud, I'm in a marriage right now, and it's not going good at all. And the thought of it makes my heart break into a million pieces. If that is any of you. I want to take this moment to acknowledge you and the situation that you're in, and I want to do the single best thing that any of us could do in your situation.
I want to pray. I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now. You could pray this prayer silently with me, making these words your own if they reflect what's in your heart and in your life. And if you're not in a bad marriage right now, consider praying silently for your brothers or sisters during these few moments. Who are you?
Close your eyes. Let's pray together.
Dear God, sometimes I'm afraid to open my eyes and see what's going on in my home. I don't want to know. It scares me. But I want to trust you with my life, my children and my marriage. I want to believe that you see what's going on and you want it to stop.
I want to know your wisdom and your ways so that I am not destroyed by the pain I am in. Help me, God, take one step at a time. Amen. Okay. Those are four ways that you might respond to what you hear here and know that however you do respond, God loves you so much, and we are happy that you are here with us tonight.
Okay, so let's jump in to our text, Ephesians, chapter five, verses 22 to 23. Here's what the Apostle Paul says, Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife. As Christ is the head of the Church, he is the savior of the body. Now, as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives.
Just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her to make her Holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the would. He did this to present the Church to himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but Holy and blameless. In the same way husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the Church, since we are members of his body. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the Church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. Paul starts off by addressing wives, and so that's where we're going to start, too. Here's the first fill in on your outline. In marriage, the wife is to submit to her husband according to the Strong's concordance.
Here's the definition of the word submit. It's the Greek word hypotaso, and it means to place or rank under, to subjects or to obey. We see this word submit used in a variety of ways and relationships. In the Bible, this word was used by Luke to describe the way Jesus related to his parents growing up. In Luke chapter two, verse 51, it says, Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them.
It's the same word hupotaso. This word was used by Paul to describe the way citizens are to relate to their government. In Romans 13 one it says, Let everyone submit pupil Castle to the governing authorities, since there's no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. And this word was also used by Paul to describe the way a person's own spirit is to relate to them. Where he says this in one Corinthians 1432 and the Prophet's spirits are subjects.
There's the word to the prophets. And in our text, this word was used by Paul to describe the way wives are to relate to their husbands. Ephesians 522 Wives submit to your husband's. What does this submitting look like practically in marriage? I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but even I can detect that this word submits rubs some people the wrong way.
And I'm not Spiderman either. But even I have enough Spidey sense to know that some women might be getting antsy at this point, and maybe some men, too. If you hang with me, we will see that this submitting that Paul is talking about is a good thing. Not an easy thing all the time, but a good thing nevertheless to get a sense of what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. We're going to make a quick jump to another passage found in one Peter, where the Apostle Peter addresses the same subject, but he talks about submitting to a husband even if he's not a Christian.
I'm going to read the passage and then give you six really quick things that submission is not. And I think this will go a long way in helping us understand what submission is. So here's what the Apostle Peter says in one Peter three, one to six. In the same way, wives submit to your own husband so that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word. By the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.
Don't let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart, the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God's sight. For in the past, the Holy woman who put their hope in God also adorned themselves in this way. Submitting to their own husbands just as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him Lord, you have become her children. When you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation. Okay, six things that submission is not number one and this is going to be the next filling on your outline.
Submission is not agreeing on everything. Submission is not agreeing on everything. For instance, the Christian faith, because some of the husbands in one Peter three, one to six are unbelievers. If in that situation the husband said to his wife, you can't have that religion. In this family we worship Allah or whatever this wife says.
I'm sorry, but I cannot do that. It's possible to be submissive and refuse to think what your husband says you should think. This text doesn't make sense without that. In this text, the wife has sworn allegiance to Jesus. Jesus is now her Lord and her King.
She's an alien and an exile in her marriage. This husband belongs to another God and she's called to live with him. She's not called to get a divorce over issues of religion. If he says, I don't want you to be a Christian, what does she say? She says, I love you.
I want to be submissive to you. I intend to be submissive to you. But on this point I have no choice. I belong to Jesus. You may send her away and that happens in one Corinthians, chapter seven, The Unbeliever Splits which would be a great tragedy.
A submission does not mean you must agree with the opinions of your husband, even on things as fundamental and serious as the Christian faith. God has made you with the mind. You have to think you are a person, not a body and not a machine. You're a thinking being who is able to process whether the gospel is true, and if it's true, you believe it. If he says, you can't believe that you humbly and submissively, do not submit to that number two in the next Phillip on your outline.
Submission does not mean leaving your brain at the altar. Submission does not mean leaving your brain at the altar. Now maybe this is the same point, but it needs to be said this way too. Any man who says, I do the thinking in this family is sick and has a sick view of his authority. John Piper shares that he dealt with a couple one time the wife said her husband demanded that she get permission to go to the bathroom.
That really happened. Piper just looked at him and said, you're not well. You have an unbelievably distorted view of this fellow heir of the Grace of life. You don't understand the Bible. You're taking a word like authority or leadership or submission, and then you're stepping away from the Bible and filling those words up with stuff that you want to do.
You are not getting this from the Bible. As a Christian man myself, who is also a husband and a father, it makes me very angry when I think about the fact that there are terrible men who are husbands and dads doing terrible things to their wives and kids, all because they terribly misconstrue what the Bible says. It makes me angry at them and it makes me sad for the woman and the kids who have to endure the very opposite of what God designed for them to experience in the home. If you've ever been hurt by a husband or a dad, I want to share this quote with you by an author named Leslie Vernick from her book entitled The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. In it, she says this when you are rejected or unloved, disrespected or abused, it is awful and hurts you deeply.
But it is not a statement about who you are. It doesn't mean you are unworthy of love or care any more than the rejection of Jesus meant. He was unworthy of love and respect.
There might be someone here today who needed to hear that submission never leaves the brain at the altar. All throughout the marriage, the husband would he relating to and conversing with and problem solving alongside their wife, who is an individual who thinks and feels and dreams and wonders and processes things independently from him, often in ways that are much different than his and that has thoughts that are very much worth listening to. It should be the working out of a one flesh Union. Leadership does not mean you do not listen. Leadership doesn't even mean always getting the last word.
Good leadership often says you were right and I was wrong. Not dictation, never listening, not even having the last word. If you asked my wife Jessica, what does submission look like for the Church in AZ, one thing she would say is that this isn't an issue for us. We agree that if we can't agree, BJ's going to make the call. That's really basic.
And you know what? It almost never happens. One of the reasons almost never happens is that we've been together a long time and we know what each other thinks. Another important reason is that I often yield to Jess. I don't need to be right or to have my way or to have the last word.
Number three. Next fill in your outline. Submission does not mean you do not try to influence your husband. Submission does not mean avoiding the effort to influence or change the husband. The whole point of the text in one Peter three is win him.
Her life is devoted to changing this husband from an unbeliever to a believer. Can you imagine if somebody said submission means stop trying to change your husband? Well, I would get what they might be saying with that. But if your husband is living in sin or your wife is living in sin or unbelief, you want them to change. And you wouldn't be a loving person if you didn't if you stopped wanting that.
Number four, submission is not putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ. Christ is for Lord now and for the Lord's sake. She will submit to the husband, but he is not her Lord. Therefore, whenever she must choose between the two, she chooses Jesus. If her husband says, let's get involved in a scam or let's watch porn together, her choice is clear.
I go with Jesus on this. The point is that you have a higher authority and any time your husband would ask you to do something that God has said is wrong, you are in no way to submit to these requests, these types of asks, or these kinds of demands. You do not submit to sin. You would not say it with a haughty or arrogant attitude, but rather with a winsome submissive longing. One, he will be able to discern in you a longing that he not do that wrong thing so that you could enjoy his leadership in your marriage.
You feel that I will not follow your lead on this. I want to follow your leadership, but I cannot in this moment in this way. Number five, submission does not mean getting all of her spiritual strength from her husband. He's not giving her any spiritual strength in our text, and she's got lots of it. Her hope is in God and she's probably going to Church on Sunday without him getting her strength elsewhere, getting her worldview elsewhere.
And six, submission does not mean living or acting in fear. This Godfearing wife Peter is talking about is fearless. I love the Scriptures and I'm a complimentarian, and I believe that men are called to a unique kind of leadership in marriage. I believe that women are called to a unique kind of submission in marriage, and I think it's a beautiful thing the way those two roles complement and serve one another. If we probe the depths and keep digging into the Scriptures, even though they're written in another time, they will shape a marriage today into a beautiful thing.
So we can learn a little bit about what submission is by learning what it isn't. But why is it that the wife is called to submit to her husband and not the other way around? Here's the answer and it's a really popular one in this day and age we live in. Please note my sarcasm and it's the next film in your outline. The husband is the authority in the Marriage verse 22 says this in our text back to Ephesians, chapter five, verse 22.
Wives, submit to your husband's as to the Lord because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. We're given a parallel comparison by Paul. He tells us that Christ is the head of the Church. No Christian will disagree with that. Then he tells us that the husband is the head of the wife.
Some Christians will disagree with that, but Paul draws a connection between the two using the word as wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. Submit is a hard word for some people, and I don't think the word authority is any easier. I'd like to remind you of something we looked at earlier in this series that a person's value is not tied to the role that they have in society or in any relationship that they are in. If you have a different role in a relationship from the other person, you maintain the exact same value as the other person who has a different role than you do. Remember, this is a Mago day stuff.
Everyone is made in the image of God. Therefore everyone has the exact same value regardless of their role. I'd also like to remind you of something. Jeff caught us a few weeks back when he delivered the message to us about COLVID. In that message, he devoted some time to talking about offices of authority.
You remember that if you were here with us that week, it was a great message. God has established various offices of authority in the world and the office is meant to be respected even if the person holding the office isn't doing respectful things. An office of authority is good, but the person occupying an office can be either a blessing or a curse. Examples of Offices of Authority Parents, Employers teachers, political leaders Husbands Pastor All of these are good offices of authority, but we can imagine what it would be like to have bad parents or a bad boss, or a bad Prime Minister or a bad pastor. But just because some of the people who are in these offices aren't good, it doesn't mean the office isn't good and worthy of respect.
The office of a husband is a good office. It's just a sad reality that not all men who are husbands are good husbands. Okay, but why do husbands have this office of authority in marriage? Why not the other way around? Or why any distinction at all?
Well, it's true, and it's good to know that the Bible does call for mutual submission between and towards all members within the body. Of Christ in Ephesians Chapter In verses 21, which is the verses immediately preceding the passage that we're looking at, we see that Paul calls for a mutual submitting to every other Christian. All brothers and sisters in Christ are to submit to one another in love. But not all brothers and sisters in Christ are married to each other. Not all brothers and sisters in Christ become one flesh with each other.
Marriage is a special Union of two people into one shared life together, and this shared life is lived out in the context of the whole Church. What Paul says in Ephesians chapter Five, verse 21 does not contradict what he says in the next couple of verses. There's a unique relationship between a husband and a wife when they become one flesh in marriage. There is a lead help dynamic that exists in the new oneness that they share. Back in part one of this series, we looked at God's design for relationships in Genesis chapter one and two before a sin came into the picture and ruined everything we saw in Genesis three.
That tension regarding the roles within marriage came about as a consequence of sin, but the roles were established in the garden. The husband leads and the wife helps. God put that in before the fall. And the same truth is taught throughout the Scriptures and the Bible is uniform on this position. Husbands are never called to submit to the authority of their wife.
In the Scriptures, it is only wives that are called to submit to the authority of their husbands. I'll put a great verse in the Bible to help people who have a hard time with this idea. One Corinthians, chapter Eleven, verses Three I think I have it on your outline that says, But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man and the man is the head of the woman and God is the head of Christ. This is a great verse is shows us that husbands are not free from being under authority. They are not an autonomous authority walking around doing whatever they want or they shouldn't be anyway.
They are under the authority of Christ. And in case wives still feel left out thinking they are singled out as the only ones who are under authority. Paul says in this verse that even Christ is under authority. He is under the authority of his heavenly Father. Jesus didn't have any problem being under authority.
This would be a good thing to keep in mind if you are a wife who has an issue with the concept of being under the authority of her husband. If you do have a problem with it, are you saying that it's okay for Christ to be under the authority of an equal? But it's beneath you to be under the authority of an equal? It's just something to think about now. We don't see it until we get to the end of our passage in Ephesians, but there we can see that marriage was designed to paint a picture to the world, a picture of the gospel.
Pick it up in verse 31 says, for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I'm talking about Christ and the Church. In the living parable that is marriage, the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the Church. How the husband and wife interact within their marriage is supposed to show the entire world a picture of how Jesus interacts with his bride. The Church.
Jesus and his Church have different roles and they relate to one another in different ways. That picture can only be seen in a marriage where there is a distinction in the roles within it. The fact that the Church is the bride of Christ makes sense because it's the wife who represents the Church in the marriage analogy, and the fact that Christ himself is a man makes it necessary that husbands will be the ones to reflect him in the marriage analogy. This is why husbands and wives have the roles within marriage that they have right here in the picture. Christ has the authority over the Church and that is portrayed by the husband having authority over the wife, and the Church submits to Christ and that's portrayed by the wife submitting to the husband.
When you understand this mystery that marriage paints a picture of Christ and the Church, not only could you understand the role distinction within marriage between a man and a woman, you can also begin to understand why same sex marriage isn't marriage, why it can't be because marriage is ultimately about the gospel. Marriage has nothing to do with our perceived personal rights and desires. Two men in a romantic relationship or two women in a romantic relationship cannot paint a picture of the gospel since God says that the picture of marriage is the man Christ dying for his bride. Did Christ die on the cross for Christ? No.
But that's the picture you get if two men are in a marriage relationship together. Or does the bride of Christ submit to the bride of Christ? No, but that is the picture that two women in a marriage relationship would paint for us. When you understand the main point of marriage is that it paints a picture that displays the glory of the gospel in how Christ the husband loves his bride. The Church, you will have to concede that there's no such thing as same-sex marriage.
It doesn't exist. It can't next question, what realms or areas of life is this submitting to occur? This is the next feeling on your outline. The wife is to submit to her husband in everything. I take this point straight from the text.
This is what it says in verse 24. It says, now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Now, everything doesn't include sin, and I hope this is obvious. You don't submit to your husband if he's leading you to sin. But other than that, wives submit in everything.
Are Christians to submit to the authority of Jesus and everything? Yes. And Paul says, as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands and everything. Again, there's a parallel and a pattern, and this parallel is one clue to understanding this verse. Wives are to look at how the whole Church lives submitted to Christ as a model for how she is to submit in marriage.
Now, an obvious discrepancy should pop up in your minds right away. And if it hasn't popped up yet, let me just go ahead and tell you what it is. Wives, your husband is not Jesus, and this is a big deal. The Church can submit to Jesus in everything, and it can do it blindly because of who he is. He is perfect sinless, the source of all wisdom and goodness.
He is God. There could be a lot of confidence submitting to someone when he is God, but that's not your husband. No matter what he tells you, your husband isn't God, and he doesn't make only wise choices all the time. He doesn't operate in love all the time. But Paul is still telling wives to submit to these imperfect men in everything.
Yes, that's what he's saying. Now I'm going to hold off on explaining this further until after we see how Paul addresses husbands, because there's another clue in the verse is to come that will help us understand this verse to wives here more clearly where Paul tells them to submit in everything. So we're going to come back to this. So let's switch gears now and talk to husbands. And we have some work to do, men, because one of the reasons we have so much work to do is that for the past several decades, we have been like frogs in a frying pan, slowly and systematically being conformed by the world into the image of Albundy and Homer Simpson, instead of being transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Culture has made Amen into a joke, a caricature, and we haven't resisted. Well, generally speaking, we have bought in hook, line, and sinned. The bar has been set so low for what men and husbands and fathers are to be, and on a whole, we have settled for it. So pay attention, brothers, and let's begin to write the ship. Sound good?
Your next feeling on your outline. In marriage, the husband is to love his wife. In marriage, the husband is to love his wife. Before we look at the ways in which husbands are called to love their wives, I want to point out an observation. I want you to notice how it's love that Paul calls husbands, too.
Paul doesn't tell them here to rule or dominate they aren't told to exercise authority here. It's the wives that are reminded of the husband's authority back in verses 24. But Paul doesn't reiterate that fact to the husbands here. In verses 25, he doesn't tell them that. He doesn't tell them they are the authority he tells them to love.
Do you know what kind of love Paul is talking about here? We looked at this word a few months back in a series we did on the topic of love. Paul is calling husbands to agape their wives, and agape is the best kind of love. When you agape love something or someone, you value the object of your love so much that you would do anything that was required of you that would produce the very best outcome for them, regardless if they deserved it or not, and regardless of what it may cost you to secure that for them. Agape love is a love of the will.
Now, like all Christians are called to submit to one another, all of us are called to love one another too. We are told this by Jesus in Matthew chapter 22, verse 39, where he says to love your neighbor as yourself. And in John 1334 to 35, Jesus says to his disciples, I give you a new command, love one another just as I have loved you. You are also to love one another. By this, everyone will know that you're my disciples if you love one another.
So every Christian has a responsibility to love every other Christian. But that doesn't contradict the fact that husbands are called to love their wives in a special way. Godly leadership and authority by the husband in marriage is all about loving his wife. How Paul says in verses 25, Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the Church, and this should leave us all awestruck. As Christ loved the Church, we are called to meditate on all the ways Jesus demonstrated that got a love to his people, and then husbands are to love their wives in the same way as Jesus did.
Jesus is the model we look to to see how a man should treat his life treat his wife. How did Jesus love the Church? Well, Paul points to two ways in verses 25 and 26. First, he says Jesus gave himself for her to make her Holy. We see this at the end of verse 25.
Jesus loved the Church so much that he gave his life as a willing sacrifice so that she would he saved. Jesus loved his people so much that he was willing to die for them and not just willing. He actually died on the cross for their sins so that we could live forever with him. Paul says that husbands are to love their wives in the same way our sacrifices husbands doesn't forgive our wife's sins. Only Christ's sacrifice does that.
But the sacrifices we are to make for our wives demonstrates the love we have for our wives. We choose to lower ourselves to die in a sense so that our wives can be lifted up and blessed. We choose to be wronged if it serves to bless our wife. We choose to be uncomfortable if it means that she can know comfort we choose to go without if it means that she can have. We choose to be the ones to begin the process of reconciliation after a fight.
Even in those rare moments when we are only 1% to blame, we are to be the first ones to say, I'm sorry. These are all ways we die figuratively for our wives. But we will die literally too if we need to. We will give our lives so that our wives can live. That's one of the reasons that men go to war.
It's not just because Amen are generally bigger, stronger, and faster than women, because we are. We go to die so that our wives can live like Jesus died for his bride, the Church so she could live. Dying figuratively might be harder than dying literally. If I literally died for my wife, that would be a one time decision and then it would be over, and I'd be in heaven and it would be great.
When I figuratively die for my wife, though I am dying constantly, again and again and again so that she can flourish. And there's no quota that we can where we reach, where we can say as husbands, you know what? I think I've died enough. Her turn to die.
No, we die so that they can live. And we do that till death do us part. Husbands, love your wives. As Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. Paul goes on.
He also says that husbands are to love their wives like Christ did the Church by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the Word. We see that in verses 26 Jesus said this about the relationship between the Word and our spiritual cleansing. Speaking to his disciples, he said in John 15 Three, you are already clean because of the Word I've spoken to you. What's the connection between the Word of God and our cleansing? Well, Jesus speaks the Word, the eternal truth of the Gospel, and his Word reveals everything that we need to know about Him, about us and our world, about what he has done to make us right with God, and about his will for our lives.
And when people hear the Word of God and respond in faith to it, they are cleansed of their sin. The finished work of the cross is applied to their life, and when they continue to hear and heed the Word of God, they are continually cleansed by it. The Word of God does many things, but not the least of them is that it spiritually cleanses, the one who hears and responds to it in faith. Husbands are called to love their wives by speaking teaching, modeling the Word of God to them, washing them with the water of the Word. Of course, husbands are to speak or to first speak and teach it to themselves.
But then it's their responsibility to relay the Word of God to their wife and to their family. This right here is what can help us understand verse 24 from earlier Remember I said that we had a clue that would help us understand why wives are to submit to their imperfect husbands in everything. This is it. Wives aren't supposed to submit to their husbands in everything according to the husband's own will, desire, foolishness or imagination. Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything because husbands are to relate to their wives what God has to say to them and their family about everything.
This is how we are to understand money, work, giving, serving, friendship, Ministry, sex, kids, parenting, etc. Etc. Etc. But what the Word of God has to say about them. We want and God wants everything in our life to be sanctified, cleansed, set apart to Him and for Him.
He wants this for us so that he can be the center of everything that he has designed for our good. And when he is at the center, we can experience abundance and flourishing in everything. God's Word is the authority, and that's why the wife should submit in everything, because the husband is supposed to point to what God's Word says about everything. And wives know the Word because this will bring you great joy when your husband leads you according to the Word. You can follow Him with great confidence and joy when you recognize he is leading you by the Word of God.
And if they aren't leading you according to the Word, then you can lovingly speak into your husband's life to encourage him and point him back to the Word. But you can only do this if you know the Word yourself. In a perfect world, the husband and wife are learning the Word together and the husband is taking the initiative and leadership in this area. But if the husband won't lead you in the Word, wife do whatever you can to learn it one way or the other. It will be lonely to do it by yourself.
And that's not the way it was designed, but it's the way that it has to be done if you want to follow Jesus. Husbands want this from your wives want them to know the Word and to help keep you accountable to lead the family according to it. Be open to them discussing the Word and how it impacts the direction of the family. Invite it. Make it a spoken and unspoken reality in the home.
The husband and wife can talk about anything in life and anything the Word has to say about it. So to understand everything in verses 24, you need to know that it's connected to the husband leading in everything according to what God says about everything. So Paul finishes thought on how husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, Jesus demonstrated his love by dying for the Church and by washing her with the Word of God. But Paul isn't finished with husbands yet, and so neither am I. Verse 29 to 30 he goes on to say that a husband is to love his wife as his own body.
Verse 29 says, for no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the Church. Since we are members of his body, when you get married, you become one with the other person, mysteriously, spiritually and in a sense, even physically. Paul says in our passage in Ephesians that husband and wife are one flesh and that the wife is his own body. But it's just not that the wife is not just that the wife is her husband's body only because we read Paul saying this in one Corinthians, chapter seven, verse four. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does.
In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. There's a oneness that is mutual in the marital Union. And this doesn't mean that the wife is free to do whatever she wants to her husband, because now he's her body. This doesn't mean that the husband is free to do whatever he wants to his wife. It means because they are one, the husband is to love his wife.
Gas is she is his own body. Husband, what do you want for your own body? And this is not a trick question. Food, water, clothes, home, comfort, safety. Protection.
Fun. Pleasure. Purpose you want those things for you. This verse tells you to make sure you give these things to your wife. That's how you love her.
That's how you lead her and you do them for her sake. But you're also doing them for your own sake because she is your body and you are hers. Verse 29 says that you are to provide and care for her. Remember last week in our message about singleness, we look at the self test to see if God has called you to marriage. If you're single.
Single women. If you are looking for a husband, do you look to see if he exhibits Godly leadership in the relationships he is in while he is single? Does he let the word of God have authority in everything in his life? Because if he doesn't, what makes you think he's going to leave you with the word of God being the authority in everything in your life together after you're married? And if he can't or won't provide for and care for himself while he is single, if he won't fix the broken shower, what makes you think he is capable or willing to provide for and care for you after you're married?
Paul ends the passage this way for this reason in verse 31. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I'm talking about Christ and the Church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband. So here's a vision of how this works together when we live.
According to the designer's design, husbands love their wives by laying down their lives for them and leading them not according to their own whims and dreams and desires, but by advocating for and aligning everything in their life together according to the Word of God. And they treat their wives as if they were their very own bodies, providing and caring for his wife's needs. Wives recognize the role that God has called their husbands to fulfill, and they longed to submit to their leadership. That takes the entire family into the will of God. They give themselves to help their husbands accomplish all that God is calling their family to do, using her unique strengths and gifting and personality to complement the unique strengths and gifting and personality of her husband.
And there's no competition. There's only teamwork to get the job done of living for God's glory in everything. In a marriage like this, a husband will feel respected and a wife will feel loved, which shouldn't be surprising, since this is how God designed it to be. I'm going to wrap up this message by addressing a question that I received a couple of weeks ago. When I asked you to submit your questions about marriage and singleness.
I had one person ask a question, and it was a good one. So I'm going to answer that here, and then I'm going to talk to some individual groups of people who are here in this room tonight in light of some of the things we just heard about marriage. Okay, so here's the one question that came in, and it was referring to this text in Ephesians. They asked, who are single women supposed to submit to if they don't have a husband, and how would they do it? This is a great, thoughtful question, and here's the short answer.
Every family has a head, and that authority is the husband or dad. Your father is the head of the family until or if you get married. When a woman gets married, she comes out from under the covering of her father and is now under the covering of her husband. When a man gets married, he comes out from under the same covering and now provides that covering for his new wife. When it comes to submitting to dad's authority in the family, you can use the same parameters we've heard regarding submission in this message as a guideline.
If that was a short question, short answer. Now I want to just talk to a couple of different groups of people in the room here right now. Two women who are married to an unbelieving husband or two men who are married to an unbelievable wife. Don't stop praying for your spouse. Don't stop living a godly life in front of them since you can't experience intimacy in Christ with them.
Lean into your Church family for that and for support, and do not divorce them if they are willing to live peaceably with you.
Sorry. To women married to a believing husband who is not exercising his authority in a God honoring way, and to men married to a believing wife who is not honoring her husband's authority in a God honoring way. Don't stop praying for your spouse. Don't stop living a godly life in front of them. Don't deceive yourself into thinking you have a biblical marriage if you don't actually happen to have one.
It's not a biblical marriage just because you are both Christians. Here's another quote from Leslie Vernon. I quoted her earlier from the same book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. When you are the only one in your marriage caring, repenting, being respectful and honest, sacrificing and working toward being a better spouse. You are a godly wife or husband, but you don't have a healthy or biblical marriage.
End Quote remember, you don't live a godly life because they do or because they don't. You live a godly life because you are a Christian. You don't wait for them to get their act together before you start doing the right thing. Listen well. Ask good questions.
Speak the truth in love. Don't Nag. And this is for men and for women. Enlist help from the Church. Ask brothers in Christ to reach out to your husband.
Ask sisters in Christ to reach out to your wife. Do not be ashamed of this. Talk about it, because what's the alternative? Suffering in silence alone. Reach out for help.
Fight for your marriage and use any Godly means possible. Biblical counseling cannot be off the table. Jessica and I entertained this idea back when I preached the sermon series on love. I shared with you all about a hard patch that we went through not too long ago where I was really detached from her emotionally. I offered to go to counseling.
It didn't come to that, but if it did, I would go. My marriage is worth that. And yours is to women married to a believing husband who is exercising his authority in a God honoring way, and to men married to a believing wife who is honoring her husband's authority in a God honoring way. Don't stop praying for your spouse. You see a theme here.
Pray for your spouse. Don't stop living a godly life in front of them. Be grateful for this marriage because many Christian marriages struggle. Don't become complacent. Just because it's good today, it doesn't mean it will be good tomorrow.
Don't be afraid. Just be aware that the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. But celebrate God's goodness in your marriage and thank him for being the center of it. It's rare in our day to have a great marriage. Praise God for it and to married men and women who feel convicted after hearing a message like this.
If the Holy Spirit has shone a light on any area in your marriage where you have fallen short and have sinned against your spouse in any way, humble yourself. Confess that sin to God and to them, and ask them for their forgiveness in areas that are big or small. Small issues left unaddressed eventually will become big issues. And if you feel overwhelmed and under equipped to love your husband or wife the way you know God is calling you to simply ask the Lord for help. He wants your marriage to flourish infinitely more than you do and has made himself available to help you.
When your marriage flourishes, you get joy. And when your marriage flourishes, God gets glory in this world because people will see the picture of his son loving his bride. We pray with me in the worship team. Could you come back up and get ready to lead us, Lord, because we're your kids, because we're saved by your Grace and given your Holy Spirit and adopted into your family and are one with you now, Lord, all we want is your people is to have your word and to know your word and to live out your Word. I pray, Lord, for a growing conviction for every single one of your people across the globe, a firm conviction to say, Just give us the word of God and Lord, in that give us the Grace and the help that we need to understand what Your word says and the power that is greater than ourselves, that we need to actually walk out what Your word is calling us to do.
We confess, God, this is too lofty of a thing for us to live in a marriage like we just heard about from Paul in Ephesians Five. This is too great. It's too wonderful. I can't, but you can. And I pray, Lord, that you would pour out you'd lavish your mercy and your Grace on married couples in Gospel City Church.
I thank you for the marriages that are doing great, Lord. Pray, we praise you for that. And, Lord, we thank you that you haven't abandoned the ones that are struggling in their marriages today, right now. So we pray, Lord, for a special Grace on them, a special anointing, Lord, that you'd comfort them, that you'd lead them in the truth, that you give courage and wisdom, Lord, you give them everything that they need in order to leave this place tonight and know what they're being called to do by you next. I pray, Lord, that we would be a Church that rallies around our single brothers and sisters, our married brothers and sisters and there would be such a source of encouragement for everyone who is just trying to honor you in the areas of life that we are called to be glorified in us individually, Jesus and be glorified in us, corporately as your Church at Gospel city bless us, bless us, Jesus it's not wrong to ask that bless us so that we can know you more and walk with you more intimately in Jesus name we pray Amen.