God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (5)
Love Your Wife (2)
1. We are studying now a section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-6:9), dealing with our household relationships from a Christian perspective. If we are God’s new community, then what should our family life look like. How are we to be different from the world? Paul tells us here. He deals with husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and servants – the sphere of the household in biblical and Mediterranean culture. The timeliness of this for us is obvious. Our culture can’t even seem to define marriage! Much less agree upon the dynamics of husband-wife marital roles and the discipline of children.
2. "The Christian life has to be lived at home. This is the theme of the whole passage we are studying. Paul is not dealing with any other subject. . . . Paul is talking about our homes. Why does he spends so much time on this subject? It is because it can be said of too many professing Christians: ‘he is a saint abroad but a devil at home.’ . . . The apostle sets his face against such inconsistency. Home is where we are known the best, misunderstood the most and are constantly open to scrutiny and criticism. But it is supremely here that the Christian life has to be lived, because it is here that the gospel is put to its severest test. If the gospel is unable to transform people at home, we must conclude that it is unable to transform people at all. Ungodly behavior here shames the gospel. He whose light shines furthest, shines brightest nearest home.’" (Olyott)
3. Today we commence a series of studies of Ephesians 5:25-29, a passage that spells out God’s expectations for Christian husbands.
4. Note the outline of Paul’s argument in this passage:
1. The Command - Love your wives (25a)
2. Analogy #1 - Like Christ loved the church (25b)
a. Purpose of Christ loving the church - to sanctify her (26)
b. Ultimate goal - the glory of the church in holiness and perfection (27)
3. Analogy #2 - Love your wife in the same way you take care of yourself (28a)
a. Elaboration #1 - in a real sense you are caring for your own self when you love your wife
b. Elaboration #2 - that means, specifically, nourishing and cherishing her
5. An important preface to our study: (1) As we address God’s design for marriage and family, and for husbands and wives, we need to acknowledge the complexity and variety of the issues involved and the circumstances of hearers - widows and widowers, those who have been married a long time and those who have not, those who are now or have been separated and divorced, those who are single and happy about it or single and who want to be married, those who are believers married to unbelievers or to very immature Christians, those who are in happy marriages and difficult marriages, and those who are the children, parents, siblings and friends of the above. (2) Paul, stunningly, says her that we (and especially husbands) are to view marriage in light of the Gospel, in light of union with Christ, and even in light of the atonement. (3) Our study is an opportunity for change, but also an opportunity for disaster - if we leave here today or in the weeks to come saying to one another "This is how you have failed me" then there’s trouble coming. If we leave here thinking "This is how I’ve failed you, and I’m determined, by God’s grace, to grow in love and service" then there are huge possibilities for blessing. Our attitude must be: how many I serve you (not "how am I being served") and "you first" (not "me first").
God calls Christian husbands to a radical, God-originated, Gospel-based, Grace-empowered, Spirit-wrought, Christ-emulating, self-denying love for our wives
— in which we seek to serve our wives and to care for our wives’ best spiritual and temporal interests
I. God’s Command to Christian Husbands: Love
[Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church] (25)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her
A. It is interesting that God says not make sure you lead her, but rather make sure you love her
B. So what does that love look like? How are we supposed to love?
C. What is Christ’s love for the church like:1. Unmerited (Romans 5:8); 2. Intense (Luke 22:15); Unending (John 13:1); 4. Unselfish (Philippians 2:6-7); Purposeful (Ephesians 5:26-27); 6. Manifested (John 16:33); and 7. Sacrificial (John 15:13).
D. What is Christian love supposed to be like? 1 Cor 13:4-7 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1. Love is patient–has a capacity for endurance. It hangs in there.
2. Love is kind–is good and seeks to serve others
3. Love is not jealous–not envious/displeased w/others success \ generous
4. Love does not brag and not arrogant–not prideful, puffed up, windbag humble
5. Love does not act unbecomingly–does not do indecent/dishonorable
6. Love does not seek its own – it is not selfish or self-seeking
7. Love is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered – not ready to be offended
8. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth – loves what is right
9. Love bears all things – it forbears
10. Love believes all things – it thinks the best
11. Love hopes all things – it is confident in the future
12. Love endures all things – it perseveres
13. Love never fails – it never gives up, it never stops
* Christian love is deliberately seeking the best interest of another, even at our own cost, for love to Christ. So, the love that God calls us to is realistic, practical, committed self-sacrifice (not simply strong passions). Marriage is school of love – easiest and hardest place. This kind of love needs divine grace.
E. Practically what does this look like for a husband?
1. Manifesting our love with words: Saying "I love you" God has set great example in this.
2. Providing for her needs: 1 Timothy 5:8 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Ephesians 5:28 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. . . .
3. Protecting her: physical protection; trying to do more than she can do; demands of caring for children; criticisms or expectations of others
4. Assisting with chores and responsibilities: Be a help to her
5. Showing sacrifice for her: you’re tired, but she needs help, or wants to talk, shop, etc. Do it for her.
6. Sharing your life with her: tell her what you think God has put you here for
8. Demonstrating that she is first in your life: before business, hobbies, children, parents, house.
9. Expressing your love with tenderness, respect and courtesy: especially in your speech - tone, gentleness, respectfulness, as someone valuable
10. Expressing appreciation and giving praise in large doses: Make a list of 90-100 things you appreciate about you wife and then begin to systematically express them.
11. Leading in love and regard: Lead her in such a way as that she cannot doubt your love and profound senses your respect for her, as a peer, as a treasured and best friend, as one for whom you have the profoundest intellectual respect and admiration of character.
(Thanks to Wayne Mack for many of these ideas)