Text: Ephesians 5:23-29 (NKJV)
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Intro: That’s their problem! I cannot believe the number of people who have told me that they don’t need to be here for the month of February because I am preaching about marriage. That is part of the problem, everyone thinks it their business no one else’s (really!)
1. God's Plan for the Christian Husband: vs. 23-29
He Must Be a Leader: vs. 23
The man is responsible for the spiritual climate in his home. He is responsible, before the Lord, for leading his spouse and his family into a deeper relationship with the Lord. The husband will give an account before the Lord concerning his leadership within the home: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
I realize there are times that a woman wished the husband would be the one who would have the babies, but it doesn’t work that way. The same is true with the man, he is to be the spiritual leader of the household! THIS WAS GOD’S PLAN!
He Must Be a Lover: vs. 25
If the pastor mentions sex behind a pulpit on a Sunday Morning, jaws are going to drop, mouths are going to open and a gasp will resonate throughout the assembly! It was God’s plan that sex could be and should be pleasurable with the spouse and spouse only! Husbands are to be lovers. This verse says that the husband is to love his wife. The word used is “agapao.” It speaks of the kind of love Jesus demonstrated when He died for sinners: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
This love is selfless, sacrificial and steadfast. All the characteristics of Christ's love for the lost are to be seen in a husband's love for his wife. When a man loves his wife after this manner, she will respond by willingly submitting to his leadership within the home.
He Must Be a Laborer: vs. 23, 25, 28-29
These verses explain the work which a man is called upon to put into his marriage relationship.
1. He Should Be A Protector: vs.23 - Most women have a deep seated need to feel safe and protected. A wise husband will create an atmosphere of safety in his home. He will live and love his spouse in such a way as to show her that he can be trusted to take care of every need she has. She needs to know that she can trust in his protective care of her life.
2. He Should Be Pro-Active: vs. 25 - That is, like Jesus, the husband should make the first moves. It seems that many times, both spouses sit back in the relationship and wait for the other to make the first move toward reconciliation or in any other area. The Bible teaches us that the first move belongs to the husband. If it seems that these verses are requiring more from men than from women, they are! With leadership, there also comes a greater measure of responsibility.
3. He Should Be Precise: vs. 28 - A wise husband realizes that meeting the needs of his spouse will prove beneficial to himself and will make his life happier. Most men want their homes to be havens of rest and peace and quiet. This will become more of a reality when the husband learns to take the necessary steps to meet the needs of his wife.
4. He Should Be A Provider: vs. 29 - Just as a man looks to the needs of his own body, providing food, rest, etc., he realizes that the wife is part of his flesh and he makes whatever provisions are necessary to see that her needs are met. The husband is to give tender love to his spouse. This is the primary "want and need” of most women. They just want to feel loved and they crave special attention. Can I give some good advice here? Give it!
Often this is hard for men to grasp. It is also hard for most men to come to the place where they can provide these things on a consistent basis. However, I am convinced that if we men could learn to treat our wives like the special creatures they are, it would result in a far more harmonious home life for everyone. Amen men?
Women need to remember in this area that men are wired up totally different than women. Most men equate affection with sex. For the husband, sex is the "main event.” When we are involved in that the act of sex, we are showing affection. The wife, however, may see affection as the main event. Therefore, a vicious cycle is often created because men become guilty of giving affection just to get sex, and women give sex to receive affection. When, in my opinion, if men would take the initiative to meet the woman's need for affection, he would find that his own need is met more often and more willingly. But, some men will surely say, “I am just not that way!” Then my advice to you is change. After all, what is more important in the long run, your male ego and macho pride or your relationship with your spouse? Ultimately, men, the ball is in our court and how we play it will often determine the temperature in our homes and marriages. Women, I would suggest that you pray patiently for your husband. The truth is, you are a mystery to him and he will never fully understand your need. Just help him all you can.
2. God's Plan for the Christian Helpmeet: vs. 22
Paul gives three words to the Christian wife that will go a long way toward producing the desired results in the home:
A Word about Rank:
Submit - A military term meaning to arrange in a military fashion, to maintain one's rank.” Can also mean “A voluntary attitude of cooperation.” When a woman submits to her husband, she needs to realize that she is simply honoring God! God did not give this command to dehumanize the woman or to make her into a slave. He gave this command so that His order might be maintained in the home.
Christianity gave women more freedom that they had known in 4,000 years. Up until now, women had been seen as property, disposable at the husband’s whim. When this freedom came, the desire to dominate in the home also developed. God's words to Eve tell us that woman was to be ranked under the man and that she might possess a desire to take over the headship in the relationship. Paul reminds women to maintain rank in the home: “Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (NLT)
A Word about Respect:
The idea of submission speaks more of respecting one's husband than it does of becoming his servant. Women could learn a valuable lesson here. While women thrive on attention, time and affection, a man loves nothing more than having his ego stroked. When a woman makes a man feel that he is absolutely essential to her existence, she has made him feel respected and important. When he does get it right, make a very big deal out of it. Tell him how strong he is and how much you need him. It will do a lot for his self-esteem. Men like to appear macho, but actually they are little boys who need reassurance, all the time.
A Word about Realization:
In maintaining her rank under her husband, the woman needs to realize certain truths.
1. It honors God - It may make it easier to submit to your husband, especially if he is less than you think he ought to be, if you do it "as unto the Lord.” When your husband is walking in God's will and you submit to his leadership in the home, it is in fact a submission to God.
2. The husband will answer for the home - At the judgment seat of Christ, the husband, not the wife, will answer for his leadership of the home. If there is no submission, however, the wife will answer for her rebellion to the will of God!
3. Submission cannot be forced - Submission is an act of the will. You will either walk in obedience to the clear teachings of the Scriptures or you can live in rebellion to the will of God. Genuine submission begins in the heart and works its way out into the body. It is possible to be outwardly submissive and inwardly rebellious. I would remind you that God peers into the heart.
4. God's law always supersedes that of your husbands - God never expects a woman to go against the clear teachings of the Word of God. Of course, a godly husband would never ask his wife to do anything that contradicted the Bible. “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.” Colossians 3:18 (NLT)
What if the husband is lost? The wife is still to submit, but she always has a higher allegiance to her Lord. God's will is always paramount!
More often than not, problems in the home do not lie with the wife, but with the performance of the husband! Now, you men will probably disagree with that statement, but I'll stand by it, because I believe it is true!
Has wedlock turned to dreadlock in your home? If so, the Word of God has just told us how to fix it. The strength to fix it comes from time spent on our knees before the God of Heaven. Let us begin the repair process by coming before Him during the invitation and asking Him to strengthen our marriages. Then, let's take these truths that have been revealed here and put them into practice. As we do, I believe that we will see a change take place at home. God help us all to do what we know we should do.
Let’s face it, the world and a lot of people in the church just don’t like this biblical arrangement, and we wonder why the divorce rate is staggering.
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