"HUSBANDS AND WIVES"
(A Series on Ephesians)
C.R.4/26/87a.m. Ephesians 5:21-33
PROPOSITION: The Christian husband is to love his wife
in the same way that Christ loves the church and the Christian wife is to respect and honor her husband in the same way the church respects and honors the Lord.
- GOD has a tremendous plan for the family.....for that household that comes under your roof.
* The family is God's #1 plan for effective evangelism.......and passing the baton from generation to generation.
* It is His most effective plan for discipleship and training in righteousness.
* If we succeed in building a vibrant, dynamic church in Cedar Rapids and fail to pass the baton of the faith on to Vanessa and Kathryn, we will have failed in our #1 mission.
* And it is NOT just bringing the family to church, or them seeing you teach SS or sing in the choir...it is the spiritual atmosphere created by your home and marriage relationship that speaks louder than any other thing.
* What's the point of revival in the church if there is hatred and unforgiveness and war at home? It is the home that is our front line in this battle.
- THE very fact that we are standing here this morning is evidence of God's plan that was worked out through the Rowlands and Coleman families.
* Description of Grandparents......Newtons and life in the Coleman family.
* Spiritual heritage and family atmosphere.
* Description of Rowlands......Quaker......Hugenoets.
- HIS plan is for the excitement and adventure of the faith to be caught and passed on from generation to generation.
* Serving the Lord was exciting in our family....I had little desire for the things of the world, during my teen years, as a result.
- IT was true for Cornelius' and his household in Acts 10.....and the Philippian jailor and his household.
- FROM the very start, the New Testament church was built on the foundation of the family....and so the baton has been passed down through the generations since then.
- SO the family is a priority with God....and if it is for Him, then it certainly should be for us.
* I think it is a priority for us....explain......nothing is more important.
* Tell about early lesson/ pastor Dresselhaus.
- THE family seems to be the devil's primary target as well.....those inside and outside the church.
- AND his success rate is frighteningly high. The divorce rate for Christian families is not much lower than for unsaved families.
- DOBSON describes the scenario perfectly for the family under attack and in decline. Read pg.93-94.
- HE says that they become a matched team...."He works like a horse and she nags."
- THE Christian family is in a life and death battle right now....and the future of the kingdom is very much influenced by the welfare of the family.
- HOWARD HENDRIX said, "If your Christianity doesn't work at home, it doesn't work. Don't export it."
- HOW can we make it work at home?
- WELL, I think that in our home the success of our marriage has been largely influenced by two things....the two things that will form the outline for what we share with you this morning.......found in our text, Eph. 5:21-33.
* The first is husbands love your wives in the same way that Christ loved the church.
* The second point is wives respect and honor your husbands as the church does the Lord.
II.HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES
- READ Ephesians 5:25-33a.
- This coming June we will celebrate our 18th anniversary. And I can promise you they have been very exciting years...in all kinds of ways. But as we considered sharing this morning, I began to think about the things that have made our marriage and our live in the Lord so very special.
-Above all else, It has been our mutual commitment to our relationship. I haven't had to carry it alone. We decided together, a long time ago, that nothing was more important than "we" are! No job, no person, no emotion one of us might be holding...nothing was more important.
- Alec has fleshed that out in very tangible ways for me.
1.We talk about everything. There is nothing left unsaid for any reason.
2.This requires vulnerability on his part, something most men have a hard time with. He lets me in on his life, feelings and work. He doesn't push me away.
3.Through the years, he's had a commitment to my needs as a growing individual...intellectually (my mind doesn't stagnate...talking baby talk day in and day out), spiritually (concern for my devotional time before the Lord, appreciation and room to develop in the areas of my ministry gifts, and to share insights and burdens), physically (he has taken great pains to learn my need to be touched...in loving ways ...that don't always lead to intercourse. I need to be held just to have his arms close around me), emotionally (as a mother of two darling pre-schoolers and in the death of my mom, when he knew there was nothing to do but be there and hold me).
4.Alec has so kindly flowed with my crazy schedule and demands. (Meals...ironing...rehearsals...dirty house).
5.Alec has never fit into the self-centered "Get me this..." syndrome...Master and slave or boss and employee relations. We've become each other's best friends. We share interests and just plain enjoy each others company. I'd rather be with him....than anybody else on the face of the earth. Why shouldn't I? He allows me to be me...we laugh and have a great time together...we can talk about spiritual things and share in each other's passion and pursuit of the Lord. I love him for it. He's the greatest thing that ever hit my life.
- MEN, your wives cannot make it on their own.....God never intended for that. He intended that you would love her, nourish her, protect her and give yourself for her so that she can reach her full potential.....THAT IS SPIRITUAL HEADSHIP...not some Neanderthol caveman approach to subjugation.
- (TELL Dr. Brock's illustration of spiritual headship.)
- YOUR wives are under attack today. Everything they have been taught from childhood is being subject to ridicule.
* The idea that motherhood is a valuable investment of their time is attacked daily.
* The idea that wives should submit to the leadership of their husbands is considered medieval.
* The fact that the Bible says that two shall become one flesh....one life...and not two separate and competing individuals....is scorned by most today.
* The belief that divorce is an unacceptable alternative has been practically abandoned by everyone....even believers.
* The biblical role of the wife as help-meet, bread-baker, wound-patcher, love-giver, home-builder and child-bearer is nothing short of disgusting in today's society.
- RELENTLESSLY these values are being bombarded......and your wife has no place to go to be built up.
- IT is about time you gave her some help....and not just in vacuuming the livingroom and helping with the dishes.
- IT is time you gave her some emotional help and agape love.
* Talk to her. Tell her who you are and how you feel.
* Make her feel like a lady......compliment her on how she looks...build her ego.
* Give her at least one day of your week......to recreate with you.....take her out to dinner.
* Tell her that you love her.
* Thank her when the house looks good.
* Thank her for the job she is doing loving and caring for your children so that you have the privilege of making a living....which is what God called you to do.
- WE must stop putting our careers and hobbies first and enter into the delight of obeying God and putting our wives second only to the Lord. (Read song in Dobson pg. 97.)
- AGAPE love means action, not just an attitude.
* It is involvement, not comfortable detachment.
* It is unconditionally loving the unlovable, the undeserving and the unresponsive.
* It is a permanent commitment to the object of your love.
* It is constructive, purposeful giving based on the knowledge of what is best for your wife.
* It is consistency of behaviour, showing an ever-present concern for the highest good in your spouse.
* It is the chief means of blessing your partner and your marriage and your family. (Sexual identity comes from Dad's role in the family.)
- CHOOSE with your will to love this way.
- DEVELOP the knowledge you need in order to do the very best for your wife......biblical knowledge and personal knowledge. (Understand her innermost needs and desires or you will never be able to love her with agape love.)
- POUR your life into it.
* Touch her physically.
* Touch her emotionally....sharing private time, interests, feelings, thoughts, goals, dreams and fears......without fear of rebuff, criticism or rejection.
* Touch her mentally.....talking about the family goals and plans.
* Touch her spiritually.....have some time in the Word and prayer together daily.
III.WIVES HONOR AND RESPECT YOUR HUSBANDS
- This passage in Eph. 5 does lay a heavy charge at the feet of our men. But the passage is not unbalanced, for we wives are instructed to submit and respect.
- FOR our second point in the outline we have to go back to verse 22 and 33b;
" Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."
" ...the wife must respect her husband."
- THAT'S a real sore point in today's culture. There is a difference between the sexes. God created it that way including the different roles of the wife and husband in the family relationship....and it won't work any other way.
- I THINK that there is a real sense of equality in our family. Ephesians 5 is balanced. The husband cannot be a dictator and follow Ephesians 5. But the wife cannot be Gloria Steinem and follow Ephesians 5.
- THAT'S the way God has worked in the Rowlands family......I have never had cause to question Rita's basic respect of my leadership.
- EVEN when I have been acting foolishly....eg. MG purchase in San Diego.
- HER constructive criticisms never have ridicule woven into them.......like when I am neglectful of my daily schedule....her challenge is always forward-looking and positive.
- RITA has always believed in me. (Tell about my reservations about pastoring and Rita's encouragment.)
- AND when we have had our times of problem, miscommunication, I never have had to worry about who she is talking to. Our problems stayed between us. She never even talked to her Mom about our problems. I believe that's what "honor and respect" mean.
- Because of the influence in recent years of the women's lib movement the words, submit and respect, have been relegated to the spineless, dishrag wife who allows herself to be abused in every sense of the word. Our "rights" have always been a problem for we members of the human race. To consider laying our lives down for anyone fills us with indignation.
- When you consider that we are to submit and respect our husbands as a response to the headship granted him by God, at the moment of creation, and as a response to the sacrificial love he's been instructed to show us....the task seems less formidable.
- But still difficult! Why so? I believe it's because we've allowed our priorities and motivations to become confused.
- We see ourselves as 24 hr/day maids, cooks, nannies, chauffeurs, bookkeepers, sex partners. We feel taken for granted...our only thank-you being dirty socks left on the floor and the constant whine of cranky kids!
- We have surrendered control of our emotions to the circumstances and pressures of the day. We have lost our sense of God's destiny....of His divine purpose for our lives. The potential for the creative touch, God has granted woman, has disintegrated into flares of temper and impatience toward our children and disgust at our husbands for his lack of help and leadership in the home.
- The negatives take over...in our attitudes , in our speech, in our body language. Our complaining turns to nagging and our love becomes begrudging!
- Our husband never talks to us anymore, he never helps around the house, he's not spiritual enough, he is totally insensitive to our needs. We tell him what a terrible husband and father he is...and we tell anybody else who will listen, including our children and girlfriends.
- All of these things about him may be true...but to be quite frank...you 'll not have to answer to the Lord for him (believe it or not!). You must make account for you! And we are told to submit and respect.
- "How can I", you may ask, "when he's such a slob?"
- First, make a conscious effort to surrender your heart and emotions to the Lord. Ask for His help in controlling your personality. As a believer, Christ lives in you....You have every resource to live a life full of peace and blessing....not in yourself...in Him!
- Next, accept your husband as he is and surrender him to the Lord! Give up your "right" to re-make him into your image....and let God do His own work. You are not your husband's Holy Spirit! Resist the urge to live from day to day waiting for the necessary changes. Trust God in prayer to complete the work in God's own time and way.
- Affirm his strengths. Husbands need to be built up by the women they love. They need proof of your love.
* Welcoming him home.
* Let him know you still admire the things you saw in him when you were first attracted to him.
*Guard the tone of your voice. Speak gently. Nobody likes to be spoken to like a 2nd class citizen. Don't talk to him like a naughty child. Be the love of his life.
* Be sure to tell him you love him. Assume nothing!
- Choose to capitalize on the positives of your relationship. Instead of concentrating on the flaws in your husband and permitting them to dominate your relationship, remember and speak the positives.
* To him, to your children and to your friends.
* Ex: Mike and Shirley Hart.
- "There is nothing so ugly as a husband or wife who bitterly attacks and demeans his mate. But nothing is so beautiful as a loving relationship that conforms to God's magnificent design...We'll conclude with a brilliant example of this divinely inspired love...written by the surgeon who experienced it...
- I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had cut the little nerve.
- Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed, and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry-mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks.
-"Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks.
- "Yes, " I say, "it will. It is because the nerve was cut."
- She nods, and is silent. But the young man smiles.
- "I like it," he says. "It is kind of cute."
- All at once I know who he is. I understand , and I lower my gaze....Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works....I hold my breath and let the wonder in." Dobson, p. 111-112.
IN OUR HOME LORD BE GLORIFIED