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The Stabilizing Love of a Godly Husband

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CIT: Paul told the Ephesians husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Proposition: Christian husbands glorify God by modeling Christ’s love for the church in their relationship with their wives.

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As I prepare to preach a message on how God says a husband should relate to his wife, I am keenly aware of how short I fall as a husband. Misty knows that I fail often. But, my success is very important to my home.
CIT: Paul told the Ephesians husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church.
Proposition: Christian husbands glorify God by modeling Christ’s love for the church in their relationship with their wives.
But, as I prepare to preach a message on how God says a husband should relate to his wife, I am keenly aware of how short I fall as a husband. Misty knows that I fail often.
* A man found a magic lamp, rubbed it, and out popped a genie, who offered to fulfill one wish. The man said, "I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I'm afraid of planes and boats. I'd like you to build a bridge from California to Hawaii so I can drive."
*The story is told of a passenger ship that went down a number of years ago. One of the survivors was a young boy that was washed into a large boulder jutting up out of the ocean. He was able to cling to that boulder all night long before a rescue ship saved his life the next morning. After his rescue a journalist asked asked the boy, “How is it that you were able to cling to that rock all night long, in the freezing cold with waves washing up against you? Didn’t you get scared.” The boy responded, “Ma’am, I trembled all night long. But the rock didn’t.”
The Genie said, "That's too much work. Try another wish."
Men, our wives are looking to us to provide the kind of love that stabilizes our home that they can rest securely in. That being the case, we better be looking to our rock, Jesus Christ. His stabilizing love to us is what we draw upon and reflect to our wives.
The man said, "OK. Help me to understand women."The genie thought for a moment, then said, "Do you want two lanes or four lanes?"
That’s the only way that our marriage can be what God created them to be.
The good news guys is that God didn’t command us to understand our wives for your marriage to be successful. For that matter, wives you were not commanded to understand your husbands for your marriages to be successful.
For our marriages to be successful, we have to understand marriage, what God desires marriage to be.
Paul is telling us while marriage has many wonderful purposes, the primary purpose of God that makes all those other purposes possible is that marriage is to be a running illustration of Christ’s eternal marriage of his bride, the church.
While our marriage will dissolve at our death, we realize that our marriages have an eternal and divine purpose. Christian marriage provides millions of illustrations of Christ’s love for his church and how his bride follows him. Husbands, in this illustration, you play the role of Christ. Wives play the role of the church.
In v.22, the primary way the wife relates to her husband is to submit to or follow their godly leadership. Loving their husbands is implied in their submission. The reason for this submission is based on the godly headship that he provides.
Since Christ is the head of the church, the church submits to Christ’s leadership. The husband love our wives like Christ loves the church, and the wife submits joyfully to her husband’s godly leadership.
What’s interesting is that when it comes to directing husbands on how to relate to their wives, he does not say, “Be head over your wife.”
If ‘submission’ is the primary description of how the wife relates to her husband, what is the primary description of how the husband is to relate to his wife.
v.22 says, “Wives, submit.” v. 25 says, “Husbands, love.” Headship looks like love. 6 times in v. 25-33 Paul uses the word love to describe how Christ relates to the church and how husbands are to relate to their wife. 3 times (v. 25, 28, 22) husbands are commanded to love their wives.
The wife displays her love by submitting to her husband. Isn’t that how we as the church display our love for Christ? “Whoever says, ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”
The husband displays the fact that he is the head of the home through how he loves his wife. That’s the way Christ displays is headship to us; he loves us. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
So Christ has a bride, the church. And we have a bride, our wives. And the only way we can display what in our marriages of what Christ love for his people looks like is to study how Christ loves his church and then apply that type of love to our wives.
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Someone may say, v. 20 says that the husband and wife are to submit “to one another.” That is true. The husband submits to his wife by loving her in a very specific manner—the way Christ loved the church.
v. 25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church.” Someone may say, v. 20 says that the husband and wife are to submit “to one another.” That is true. The husband submits to his wife by loving her in a very specific manner—the way Christ loved the church.
But what does that mean? What does Christ example of loving the church teach us about how we are to love our wives?

A. A Sacrificial Love (v.25)

First of all it teaches us that our love for our wives should be sacrificial.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Scripture is clear that Christ most clearly displayed his love for us in his sacrifice in leaving heaven and coming to earth to be our propitiation. He died on the cross and incurred the wrath of God for our sins.
Galatians 1:3–4 ESV
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
1 Timothy 2:5–6 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
“5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
So if our marriages are to be the picture of Christ’s marriage to his church, we are going to have to love our wives sacrificially. We are going to have to give ourselves for our wives.
The first thing that the husband usually thinks of is that he we must love our wives so much that we would die for them. That’s true. We must love them so much that we would die for them.
*We are told in one of the Greek histories that the wife of one of the generals of Cyrus, the ruler of Persia, was accused of treason and was condemned to die.
At first her husband did not know what was taking place. But as soon as he heard about it he rushed to the palace and burst into the throne room. He threw himself on the floor before the king and cried out, “Oh, my Lord Cyrus, take my life instead of hers. Let me die in her place.”
Cyrus, who by all historical accounts was a noble and extremely sensitive man, was touched by this offer. He said, “Love like that must not be spoiled by death.” Then he gave the husband and wife back to each other and let the wife go free.
As they walked away happily the husband said to his wife, “Did you notice how kindly the king looked at us when he gave you the pardon?”
The wife replied, “I had no eyes for the king. I saw only the man who was willing to die in my place.” (J. Boice, Ephesians).
Now, husbands we need to be careful here. What he are called to is not simply to be willing to die for our wives if ever the need arises. But, Jesus actually died for the church. Loving our wives like Jesus loves the church means we love her with a sacrificial type of love.
*One wife rightly told her husband, “Dear, I know that you are willing to die for me; you have told me that many times. But while you are waiting to die, could you just fill in some of the time helping me dry the dishes?” (J. Boice, Ephesians).

B. A Beneficial Love (v. 25)

Sacrificial love is a beneficial love.
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
“for her.” This is pretty obvious, but Christ died to benefit his bride.
v. 25 “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This is pretty obvious, but Christ died to benefit his bride.
Therefore, we are to love in wives so that we seek their benefit.
This is clearly seen in the word for “love” that is used here.
There are four different words used in Greek. All of them certainly apply in some degree to the way a husband loves his wife.
1) ‘Eros’-a love of passion;
2) ‘phileo’- a love of fondness and affection
3) ‘Stergo’-a love of contentment and satisfaction. None of these are used here. They all get swallowed up by the word for love used here.
4)’Agapao’- which is a love that love sacrificially finding one’s joy in someone else.
This is the word used of Christ and the command for the husband. Christ died because he found great joy in obeying his Father and great joy in saving his Bride.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This means husbands are to love in such a way that we find great joy in benefiting our wives.
*I like the way one writer described this type of love. He wrote:

“Let me try to tell you what it really should mean if a fellow says to a girl, ‘I love you.’ It means: You, you, you. You alone. You shall reign in my heart. You are the one whom I have longed for, without you I am incomplete. I will give everything for you, and I will give up everything for you, myself as well as all that I possess. I will love you alone, and I will work for you alone. And I will wait for you. … I will never force you, not even by words. I want to guard you, protect you and keep you from all evil. I want to share with you all my thoughts, my heart and my body—all that I possess. I want to listen to what you have to say. . . .I want to remain always at your side.” (Walter Trobish)

C. A Sanctifying Love (v. 26)

The most important way we benefit our wives is that we love her with “a sanctifying love.” Let’s return to the picture of Christ’s love for the church. Why did Paul say that Christ died for the church?
Ephesians 5:26 ESV
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
v. 26 “that (purpose clause) he might sanctify her.”
v. 26 “that (purpose clause) he might sanctify her.”
The word ‘sanctify’ means ‘to set apart.’ The world is not holy. We were not holy.
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So Christ died to set us apart from this sinful world and to make us holy, like him.
So Christ died to set us apart from this sinful world and to make us holy, like him.
How does Christ cleanse the church and make her set apart from this world,
Ephesians 5:26 ESV
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
v. 26 “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” This is a clear reference to baptism which is a symbol of salvation, a symbol through which one shows that he or she is a follower of Jesus Christ.
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” This is a clear reference to baptism which is a symbol of salvation, a symbol through which one shows that he or she is a follower of Jesus Christ.
How does one get to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Through the word. The word used for word here is not the typical word “Logos” that means the content. The word used here is “rhema.” Which refers specifically to the spoken word. So the church is sanctified by the spoken word, the Gospel.
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
“ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word (rhema) of Christ.”
So Christ sanctifies the church through the spoken taught word of Christ.
Now let me tell you what that means for us as husbands. We have the responsibility to take part in the sanctification of our wives by teaching them the word.
The Spirit of God using the Word of God is the agent of sanctification. In Jesus prays for his people,
John 17:17 ESV
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
Let’s be real honest here. This poses a real problem for many of you because you would tell me, “But I don’t know the word well enough to teach it to my wife and children.”
Here’s my advice to you. LEARN IT! Put the sports paper down, turn off the nightly news and read your Bible. You want to learn about God. Read books on God! Read theology and the great preachers of old. Where are the men of God have a passionate desire to know him and are devoted to making sure his wife and children know him as well?

D. A Delightful Love (v. 27)

The reason Christ sanctifies the church is
Ephesians 5:27 ESV
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
v. 27 “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
“so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
The imagery used here is one of a Jewish wedding ceremony. On the night of the betrothal ceremony, the bridegroom will go with his bridal party to the bride’s Father’s house to receive his bride. He will then take her to his home where the wedding celebration begins.
While waiting on the bridegroom to come for the bride, the bridesmaids will be doing their very best to make the bride the most beautiful woman on earth.
This is exactly what the bridesmaid does now before the bride walks down the isle. She does the bride’s hair and her make up. She helps the bride put her dress on. Her goal is to make her look absolutely perfect before she walks down the isle to meet her groom. The bridesmaid takes great delight in making the bride beautiful.
We are the church, the Bride of Christ. Our groom is going to come for us. What is interesting is that in this wedding, Christ plays both the role of the bridegroom and the bridesmaid.
He is the one sanctifying his bride. He is purifying us and making us holy. He is the bridesmaid, preparing us so that he might present us to himself, the bridegroom. His goal is to present us, his church, his bride, to himself “In splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
What does this means for Christian husbands. It means our roles are not only as the bridegroom, but also the bridesmaid. We should take great delight making our wives spiritually beautiful. Because we are not only preparing her to present her to ourselves. But we are preparing her to present her to Christ.
The example of Christ teaches us to have a sacrificial love, a beneficial love, a sanctifying love, and a delightful love. Just think of how husbands loving their wives like that would change their marriages. That’s a marriage that God is glorified in. And, that is a marriage that is full of joy that you desire.
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