Nobody would doubt that we live in a world and in a culture which desperately needs to see Jesus. Notice the theme of the songs this morning all revolving around the concept “I want to see Jesus!” I can think about Christians are supposed to reflect the character of God to the world around them, and one of the ways in which the Lord has chosen to reveal himself apart from scripture is through Families committed to faithfully living out His word.
Faithful Families begin with the relationship of the husband to his wife. And we continue that theme today. Gentlemen if we’re going to have faithful families that function in accordance with God’s revealed nature and Character than we’re going to need to apply this particular text because it – more than many others – binds together the concepts of the Character and work of Jesus Christ with that of marriage. Take a look at this text; which you ought to be familiar with in Ephesians 5:25-33.
Love Her and sacrifice for her Eph 5:22-ff
Last week we ended with this admonition from Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church… ” The place where we ended then is the most logical place to pick up again where Leadership finds its direction not by exercising supreme control but rather in sacrificial Love.
Notice the Context of the passage backs up into the issue of Headship again. That’s because a proper marital relationship hinges upon headship and submission which is only understood accurately as it relates to the nature and Character of God. But LEADERSHIP takes on a more significant role going beyond the issues of Making your Marriage Stable and Making your wife happy. It goes to the heart of the gospel, it goes to the heart of the reason for incarnation, it goes right to Jesus and it goes right to sacrifice.
In light of the nature and Character of God: a husband’s relationship with his wife is one of both Leadership and Love and the two cannot be separated – or you end up with a family that is not functioning within the prescribed parameters set forth in God’s word. If you fail to temper the husband’s leadership with love as is the case in so many marriages not only in the world but in the church, you get an autocratic ignoramus whom regularly steps upon his wife’s freedoms and crushes not only her freedoms but presses down also upon her spirit in such a way as to make a mockery of the purpose for which she was created and therefore throws an insult at the God who created her to be at your side.
If, however you fail to place sacrificial love within the context of leadership demanded by the scriptures you run the risk of mirroring even more marriages today in which the woman “wears the pants in the family” and the husband – stripped devoid of both the dignity and the necessity of headship for which he was created will be forced to function below the role God has designed him to occupy – thus snubbing again the nature and Character of God and repeating all over again the sin in the garden in which God’s communication is ignored and broken – this time because personal preference would choose to go with the cultural flow rather than obedience to God’s word.
No! Brothers I call upon you as men to not merely Lead and to not merely Love your wife but to flavor them each one with the other so that you will personally reflect the nature and Character of God to a watching world. Knowing this: That not only is the world watching, but your children are watching and the angels are watching – let it not be your ignorant lovelessness nor your cold fish leaderlessness that gives the enemies of God a cause to blaspheme.
Now in light of that do you remember the words of Jesus when he said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends… ? The significance of that men, is that as we are commanded to love our wives here the way that Christ loved the church – which means that the summation of our love expression to our wife is not flowers and chocolate’s (although not many of you would make a mistake in providing them) – but the summation of our love expressed to our wives is that of the sacrifice of self for her benefit and glory. And now you might be thinking: What kind of sacrifice am I called to make?
I’m glad you asked because God doesn’t leave us guessing. The short summary answer is this: YOURSELF. That means you from this day forward men, in the grand priority list you keep in your heads you place your wife above your own name. What is the measure of Love Jesus gave to the inquisitor who wanted to know the top commandments? Was not the first one to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and the second was like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Look at Ephesians 5:28 – do you see the answer there? “husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” On this earth men, there is no more sacred and glorious gift given to you by God save salvation alone which is more precious than your wife. Does she know that you feel that way about her?
Let me give you some Specific ways men that you can sacrifice yourself for your wife. Starting with the text we just read, the first one is easy:
Provide for her Physical needs.
I would invite you to keep Ephesians 5 in view but to also take a look at 1 Timothy 5:8 “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.” The context of the passage demands that family and extended family take care of the needs of widows who haven’t any other method of income or self-care. But the principle of the passage can readily be applied to the family: it is the duties of a family to provide for the needs of each member of that family. And since the man is the head of the family the burden of that provision falls primarily upon him. The application here at least is that a husband ought to give himself to his work not for the sake of self-worth or glory but for the sake of provision at home. Second…
Provide for her need for intimacy
1 cor. 7:2-4 briefly notice the context in which Paul declares that in marriage the authority over our own body is given to our spouse. Why does he say that? Because men, we’re normally pretty selfish. What does that mean? It means men – since I am speaking to you – that we must not be selfish concerning our own needs but look out for the needs of our wife. If you don’t know what those needs are – then you need to have a talk. Selflessness is the key here, so that we need to intentionally choose not to be our normal selfish selves. Husbands you must sacrifice your needs to hers; and the reverse is also true. If each spouse is focused on the other than the emotional and physical intimacy needs of both will be met. And the third specific sacrifice is related to this one.
Stay True to Her
(Exod. 20:14; Matthew 5:28) It is the text of the seventh commandment found in Exodus 20:14. And it involves lots more than just what you do with your body. Let me ask you men, on a daily basis, where do you allow your hearts – your minds – and your eyes to travel? I’ve heard the mantra from every sort of person – upright and not so upright – “You can look as long as you don’t touch.” Really? Have you read Matthew 5:27-28 recently?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
I say this to all the males in the room married or not: Guys your wife present or future has every right to demand that she alone has only you. It is not easy in this loose society to keep your eyes on one woman. Ladies you need to know that men are wired visually – so the way a Christian girl or woman dresses needs to reflect modesty not only for your sake but for his. It’s not an issue of legalism it’s a mandate of morality. We men are weak and we need your help.
Look at the next two verses in Matthew 5:29-30. If your hand or your eyes cause you to sin cut them off! Do whatever you have to in order to protect yourself. But let me push this for just a moment – if what you wear causes your brother to sin, are you living in love toward him? How much better to swallow your pride and wear a different fashion even if it means being out of fashion? Better not only for him but for you as well. Men that’s not the whole recipe either.
The opportunities for your eyes to wander are endless aren’t they? The internet is wide open with every kind of vice and sin you can imagine. Advertising for everything from clothing, to cars to bubble gum is wrapped up in one simple three letter word: S.E.X. Boys and men Let me talk to you frankly. – Do whatever you have to do – to maintain moral purity. If that means canceling the cable, throwing out the internet and throwing out your magazines than do it. If it means changing who you hang around with, or making yourself accountable to another man whom you trust – do it. Better yet, make yourself personally accountable to your wife – because you already are. But at every cost – sparing no effort – maintain sexual purity in what you see, what you think, and what you do. Your wife deserves it. Your marriage needs it. And you have to do it. It takes faithful men to make faithful families. May God help US to be faithful.
AMEN. – And that’s the truth.