God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (8) Marriage and Union with Christ
1. Tonight, we come to the end of our study of an extraordinary passage of Scripture, Ephesians 5:22-33.
2. Just to refresh our memories, let’s outline the whole passage one more time. There is a command, followed by and analogy, then another command, followed by three analogies or illustrations.
3. Here, again, is an outline of Paul’s argument in this passage:
[22-24] 1. The Command to Christian Wives - Be subject to your husbands (22)
* Analogy - Like the church is subject to Christ (23)
a. Elaboration - Be subject to your husbands like the church is to Christ, comprehensively
[25-30] 2. The Command to Christian Husbands - Love your wives (25a)
* Analogy #1 - Like Christ loved the church (25b)
a. Elaboration #1 - Christ’s love is manifest supremely in the atonement (25c)
b. Elaboration #2 - Purpose of Christ loving the church - to sanctify her (26)
c. Elaboration #3 - Ultimate goal: the glory of the church in holiness and perfection (27)
* 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 (28b)
b. Elaboration #2 - that means, specifically, nourishing and cherishing her (29a)
c. Elaboration #3 - just as Christ nourishes and cherishes the church, as members of his own body (30)
[30-33] 3. The Conclusion - Christian marriage can only be understood and rightly lived in light of union with Christ
* Analogy #3 - Union with Christ (esp. 32)
a. We are parts of Christ’s body (30)
b. Husband and wife are one flesh, one body (31)
c. The mystery of union with Christ (32)
d. Husbands, love your wives and wives respect your husbands, in light of union with Christ (33)
4. We have spent three weeks and four sermons reflecting on the love command to husbands, and we have said repeatedly, in light of what we’ve already learned in Ephesians, in light of what Paul says here and elsewhere, that God calls Christian husbands to a radical, God-originated, Gospel-based, Grace-empowered, Spirit-wrought, Atonement-illustrated, 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.
5. We’ve emphasized that husbands are to love their wives in light of Christ’s atonement, and in light of the unique closeness and sharing of the marital union (one flesh). Your bride is your body.
6. Tonight, we come to the last analogy that Paul gives to Christian husbands as to how we are to love our wives.
I. We are united to Christ, and thus members of his body (30)
30 because we are members of His body.
II. Husband and wife are one flesh (31)
31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
III. The union of Christ and his church (his body) –reflected in Christian marriage– is a great mystery (32)
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
IV. Consequently, since we share in that union and image that union, Christian husbands must love their wives and Christian wives respect their husbands (33)
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.