Conference on relationships and marriage. The main relationship we need to fix is ours with the Lord and change our own attitudes instead of trying to change other’s.
Colossians 3:12-13 “New Outfit, New Outlook”
In chapter 3 verses 5-11 Paul wrote to the Colossian Church about putting off and putting to death the “old man” of our former life. But he didn’t stop there as in verse 10 he told them that they needed to “put on” the new man and here before us in verses 12-17 he tells them new man looks like! Years ago, Bing Crosby sang a song that accurately describes this section as the song went:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative,
And don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”
The Christian life isn’t just about what we “put off”, it’s about WHO we put on! The great thing is each and every day we can put off the old man and put on the new man in Christ! It’s difficult to get up in morning and get going with the old man; Albert Einstein noted this while working on the mathematical equation for the “speed of light”, he turned to his assistant early in the morning and said,… You know that: “The problem with the speed of light is, it comes too early in the morning!” Part of our problem in the morning is that we haven’t gotten dressed in our grace clothes!
II. Vs. 12-13 Royal robes
Before Paul tells the Colossians what the 7 characteristics of the new man looks like he first tells of the four things God has done for them that make it possible to “put on” the new man:
- Vs. 12a He chose them: As was the case with Israel described in Deut. 7:7-8 the choice was NOT based upon earthly qualities or characteristics but was done before the foundation of the world according to Eph. 1:4. If we were saved upon potential or merit heaven would be empty! But because His choice is grace heaven is full to the praise of His glory alone! How do you know if you are chosen? Receive Jesus and apparently you are chosen!
- Vs. 12b He set them apart: That’s the meaning of the word “holy” we are no longer captains of our own ship, we exclusively belong to Jesus, as such we all could wear a shirt that says, “property of Jesus”. No longer are a slave to the world’s ways and our passions, we belong to God.
- Vs. 12c He loves them: Paul says that they are His “beloved”. Though God loves everybody and is not willing that any should parish there remains a difference when a person has not chosen to love God. Some people, by their own choice, remain content to part of His creation that has broken His holy heart. What they may not understand is that as their Creator and Judge, He will respond to them as their Creator and Judge and act accordingly. But when we have chosen to receive the love of God, we are no longer just His creation we are His children and something marvelous happens when we choose to become His child, you see when we break His heart now we do so not just of our Creator and Judge but also of a loving Father, and no He chooses to act towards us as a Loving Father not a Creator Judge! As we grow in His love we will grow in our desire never to allow anything to separate us from His love and walk in His love through obedience.
- Vs. 13-14 He has forgiven them: Bill will take this up more in detail next but thank God that He has chosen to forgive “ALL” our trespasses and sins. His forgiveness is complete and is not conditional or partial because it is based completely on His sons sacrifice on our behalf. There remains no stone unturned in all our past, present, or future failures that needs not be made new in God’s grace.
Vs. 12-13 The phrase “Elect of God” means that God has chosen the Christian to be unique in His plan. Each one of these 7 qualities is expressed through relationships with our fellow man and as such the measure of the “new man” that we are to “put on” is best seen in how we treat others. Having said this now we can look at the seven qualities that are best represented in the life of Christ.
- Tender mercies: The word is literally “bowels of sympathy” and there is a reason why we don’t translate it this way anymore as there is very little sympathy that comes from most of our “bowels”. When this word was first written by Paul it came from a belief that emotions came from within, like we would say today… “I’ve got a feeling deep down in my gut.” Tender mercies is an attitude, a heart of pity and sympathy. We are to put on compassion and pity towards people the moment we get up in the morning. I’ve noticed the older I get the easier it is to put “tender mercies” on as I’ve lived enough life, had enough tuff experiences now that I want to be a blessing towards others and not just demand to be blessed. Human heart ache and suffering demand tender mercies and the older you become the easier they are to put on as we have experienced those same things.
- Kindness: When we are putting on “tender mercies” we are putting on an attitude but when we get “kindness” we are moving beyond the attitude to action. It comes from that empathy, but it can take on many forms to a warm smile, a kind word, a hug, or an invitation to get together or an offer of help. Augustine wrote of this in his confessions where he wondered into a church and was converted not by the preaching of Ambrose but by the kindness of this man. Don’t ever underestimate the value of kindness as it is the key that unlocks the door of most hearts!
- Humility: Humility in the ancient world was not seen as a virtue as they valued pride and arrogance. Humility is not thinking “poorly” about oneself it is thinking “properly” about oneself. John Stott call humility the “rarest and fairest of all Christian virtues” as it is the opposite of the worst of sins, “pride”! It was the lack of this virtue that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as we are told in Ezekiel 16:49 “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” We are to consider other better than ourselves and act accordingly with a heart that says, “THEY deserve better, instead of a heart that says I deserve better.”
- Meekness: This word is also rendered “gentleness” but I’m afraid that in today’s world it often gets mistranslated as “weakness” but in reality meekness literally means “strength under control”. It’s the kind of inward strength that doesn’t need to display itself or show off as its will to let go its rights for a good cause. Meekness doesn’t demand to be satisfied instead it’s willing to suffer the loss that others may gain. It’s the opposite of rude abrasive behavior.
- Longsuffering: Or patience endures that which would normally cause folks to fly off the handle. It means to hold back and restrain oneself from becoming upset before we behave in a way that destroys another instead of encourages another. I witnessed the lack of patience at a store the other day as there was a mom with a young teen who wanted the most expensive item on the shelf and wasn’t listening to the reason of the mom. Instead of just ignoring the selfishness of the young daughter she let her have it with a profanity laced tirade that made the young teens look tame. Saint’s that’s what happens when we don’t put on patience as we end up looking far worse than the person or event that was trying our patience.
- Bearing with one another: “Forbearance” or “bearing with one another” is the positive side of the coin for patience. It means to uphold and support someone whereas patience means only to restrain yourself. Man could I ever use putting on this quality on more than just hanging in there with someone who is trying my patience actually being a blessing. That’s what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 5:41 in the “sermon on the mount” where He said, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”
Bill will now pick up the seventh quality or characteristic of the new man (forgiveness) next as we look at what the Christian ought to look like in the world today.
We are exhorted that we are now ABLE to put off the old man/putting on the new man because:
- we have been chosen
- we have been set apart
- we have been loved
- we’ve been forgiven
It serves as a MODEL for how we interact with the world and the people around us. But why?
- For our sanctification. To walk with Christ, to know Him and to be transformed by that knowledge more and more into the image of our Lord.
- For evangelism. We are who the Lord has voluntarily chosen to be the channels by which He proclaims His redemptive plan to a dying world.
The reality is that we have to live WITH and AMONG other people. This section of scripture speaks to us about what it’s like to live and interact with one another when Christ is not only in view but when Christ is supreme in our hearts.
[READ Colossians 3:14-17]
Paul says, “And above all these…” What were “THESE” things?
- Compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.
Let’s look more closely at that last virtue: forgiveness from the second half of Verse 13, “…as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU. And how did the Lord forgive you and I? He caused us to become aware of our sinfulness, we went to the Lord, and we asked Him to forgive us our sin, nd He forgave us. 1 John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
“…as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” See it? AS THE LORD, SO YOU ALSO. It’s our guiding principle in forgiving one another. If someone comes to you and asks for your forgiveness, you MUST forgive them just as the Lord has forgiven you. AS THE LORD, SO YOU ALSO. That’s the pattern. Consider this: there isn’t ONE SINGLE PERSON IN HELL who has ever gone to Jesus and asked for forgiveness and was rejected. So with Christ as our model, what’s our exhortation? AS THE LORD, SO YOU ALSO.
Returning to Verse 14, Paul continues, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”. Love is the “glue” that binds everything together in perfect harmony. Love is the foundation upon which compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness rest and are built upon and are bound by. Paul says, “and ABOVE ALL”, so it is the all-encompassing, overarching virtue. Are the virtues described in verse 13 NOT reflective of the very virtues of Christ? If a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness were a brick building, then Love would be the mortar and the foundation upon which that building stood.
Walking further through the text, here in Verse 15, Paul writes: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful”. You are a living illustration of Christ to those around you. We are living examples of Christ to a lost, hurting, and dying world.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts? To which indeed you were called in one body? Could this exhortation exist because by nature, our hearts are anything BUT peaceful? You know what the Bible says about our hearts: that the heart is desperately wicked. Peace should be the HALLMARK of our relationships with others and should certainly characterize our relationships with one another within the Body of Christ. Let peace rule – let peace GOVERN our hearts. Sin not only separates us from God but it also separates us from one another. So when Paul says “…to which indeed you were called in one body”, he’s talking within the context of COMMUNITY. That is, the OUTWARD expression of peace. The demonstration of peace, within our relationships.
There is no shortage of division. If anything, division abounds within the context of our relationships with others and sadly, that includes fellow believers. HOW do we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts practically? We simply remember our pathetic state before Christ. Speaking to gentiles, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:12-13, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” If we take hold of THAT reality, that once WE were separated from Christ, strangers to His covenant, having NO HOPE and WITHOUT God until Christ, the Peacemaker Himself, brought us to the Father through His shed blood, I think it’s a big help in letting the peace of Christ rule our hearts.
Paul continues, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Being exhorted to let the PEACE of Christ rule in our hearts we are now exhorted to let the very WORD of Christ dwell in us. So not only does CHRIST The Word literally dwell in us (those of us who are in Him) but we are to let His Word dwell in us, to inhabit us. And not only dwell in us but dwell in us RICHLY.
There’s kind of an interesting pattern I saw here when I was looking over this verse last week. See, we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. But then we are also to teach and admonish each other in all WISDOM. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. It can be said that wisdom is “applied knowledge”. Wisdom is using the knowledge you have and placing it in practice. Spurgeon was once quoted as saying, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge […] to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” So not only are we to cultivate wisdom (by correctly using the knowledge we’ve been given by letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly) but that we are to use that wisdom to teach and admonish one another. But wisdom doesn’t come from being in solitude. You can gain all sorts of great knowledge in solitude; Godly knowledge even. But knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is gained relationally. So teaching and admonishing one another in wisdom implies being around one another.
“…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God”. What a picture of joy and happiness we are to have as God’s people. And make no mistake about this: singing songs and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to God is not done merely as a DUTY, it’s an expression of profound gratitude for what has been given to us. It’s an expression of profound PRAISE for Who He is!
Paul, in verse 17 writes, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”. The context here is quite clear. Paul is speaking of maintaining proper relationships. In all our dealings with one another, that we are to do ALL these things AS UNTO THE LORD. We acknowledge that, as living illustrations of Christ to those around us, that we represent Christ in our homes, in our workplaces, in the way that we treat others, in the way we relate to people.
Paul spends a handful of verses at the beginning of Chapter 3 here in Colossians describing those things which we are to throw off, to keep out of our lives because they destroy relationships. But beginning with Verse 12, until now we saw the things which we are to ADD to our lives, to put IN our lives because they foster, and build, and cultivate peaceful, loving, and happy relationships.
And there’s some good news and some bad news with regard to the relationships that we all have. The bad news is that we will always have to interact with and live with difficult people. But the good news is that WE are the ones that are the MOST difficult to fix. The one staring at us in the mirror each day. How is that good news? Because you CAN control YOU. It’s true that someone else may be able to push all our buttons and hit our sore spots. But no one can MAKE you react in anger. Or MAKE you anxious. Or make you HAPPY, for that matter. Only YOU can do that. WE need a “right heart”.
So in conclusion:
- Keep in mind that we are MODELING Christ.
- We are living illustrations to a lost and hurting world, full of lost and hurting people.
- More than anything else, we’re to put on love, so that compassion, humility, kindness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness are all bound together in perfect harmony.
- That we allow the peace of Christ to characterize our interpersonal relationships.
- We are to let the word of Christ live deeply within us and to teach and admonish those in our lives with all wisdom.
- Express praise and gratitude to Christ for Who He is.
- And we are to do ALL these things as unto the Lord. Our guiding principle should always be, “AS THE LORD, SO YOU ALSO.
Men’s and Women’s Roles
Ephesians 5:22-24 “A Walk in Marriage, wife”
From Ephesians chapter 5 verse 22 through chapter 6 verse 9 Paul is going to give us practical ways to deal with the most difficult human relationships we will encounter:
- Vs. 22-33 Husbands and wives
- Chap. 6:1-4 Parents and their children
- Vs. 5-9 Employee’s and employers
Our attention will be specific on marriage. Paul has already given his readers what every walk consists of, “two steps” repeated over and over. And those two steps were seen in chapter 4 verses 22-24 where he told the Ephesian believer’s to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man” and “put on the new man which was created according to God”. Here we see just what that “new person” in Christ looks like. First there are a few general observations:
II. Vs. 22-24 Wisdom for women
Vs. 22 As we get into this section of scripture I notice a few very important things:
- There are only three verses that show women what the “new woman” looks like while there are nine verses that show what the “new man” looks like. I think this reveals three very important things about this section:
- Wives apparently need less instruction on what the “new women” looks like than men do as it relates to the “new man”.
- Second, by the sheer volume of verses as it relates to this admonition it is very apparent that God holds the husband more responsible in the marriage. Which is what “headship” is all about to begin with.
- Lastly, these admonitions are exclusive in nature no matter if the spouse fulfilling their biblical role!
************** Denise To Teach *************
Paul’s words of submission of wives to their own husbands needs to be placed into the 21st verse where he uses the same word telling believers “Male and female” to “submit one another in the fear of the Lord”. In other words, as we are filled with the Spirit our desire ought to be the yielding of our lives for the benefit of our spouse. The word “submit” literally means, “the voluntary relinquishing of ones rights” which helps greatly in our understanding of God’s command. Until I understood the biblical meaning of submission related to my husband, it used to make me cringe. When I fully understood God’s order and that He placed my husband over me as a protection, and that submission was as unto the Lord, it made it much easier for me to be submissive. I find it interesting that God calls the wife to respect her husband and says nothing about love. He then tells the husband to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Just as God created woman with the need for love and security, He also created man with the need to be respected, honored, and supported.
Notice that Paul did not use the word “obey” as he will in chapter 6 verses 1 and 5 as it relates to children to their parents and slaves to their masters. The word here does not give carte blanche for the husband to treat his wife as a servant, to be ordered about responding to his every whim and command. Paul gives 5 things as it relates to wives’ submission to their husbands:
- Voluntary: This word suggests that the wife is voluntarily relinquishing her rights and not being ordered to do so by her husband! Yet with that said, this voluntary relinquishing of her rights is not to be selective only when she agrees with her husband. The relinquishing of rights has to do with trust and this trust as it relates to wives is not in their husbands but rather in the Lord! She is not voluntarily relinquishing her rights because her husband deserves it; no, it is out of her relationship with the Lord Jesus. In fact, I believe you can usually gauge the degree to which a wife is willing to yield to the Lord by how willing they are to do so to their husbands. This idea is caught in Peter, the master fisherman’s response to Jesus’ exhortation to launch out into the deep and let down his nets even though Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Peter simply stated his position then said, “nevertheless at Your word” TRUST! Neither is this verse saying that she is to worship her husband, which is only to be reserved to God.
- Specific: “to your own husbands”, Paul’s words are not the general placing of all women under all men as some understand it. In fact, there are only two areas in which male headship or authority is ordained by God, marriage, and leadership in the Church. Paul uses the very specific word “own” as it relates to voluntarily relinquishing women’s rights. She is not under the same obligation with other men that are not her husband other than the generally yielding of our lives for the benefit of others spoken of in verse 21. Let alone men who seem to think it their place to order women around as their personal servant as some inferior species to them. Men who do so are not men but rather “boys” who need to grow up and start treating women as the blessing they are. Several years ago, my husband had a conversation with a fellow who was going through a divorce. They were driving and he told my husband he had a theory that the only women that he would ever consider marrying was found in who would be driving the car (even her car) when they would go out on a date. If she would not give him her keys to drive her car it would be the last date. My husband took issue with his theory and understood why his wife no longer wanted to be tied with him.
- Attitude: “as to the Lord”. Here then is the only way that this command is possible. The wife who voluntarily relinquishing her rights is doing so because it is the Lord’s will that she do so, and in so doing she is “pleasing the Lord” as well as voluntarily relinquishing her rights to Jesus! Now then the opposite of this would be true as well to not do so would not be pleasing to the Lord and not relinquishing her rights to Jesus. When a wife doesn’t obey this word to submit to your own husband, as to the Lord, she isn’t only falling short as a wife. She is falling short as a follower of Jesus Christ. OUCH!! It is a tragic truth that at times a husband makes this a burdened instead of a blessing by the way in which he responds. Far too many husbands are “thoughtless, abusive, ungrateful and inconsiderate” of our wives as they seek to obey the Lord in their voluntarily relinquishing of rights.
- Vs. 23 Example: “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church”. Here we are given both the reason for this command as well as the example of it in Jesus being over us. Paul elaborated on this idea further in 1 Cor. 11:3 where he said “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” It is the words “the head of Christ is God” that we get a fuller understanding of headship. Because clearly Jesus is in no way inferior to the Father yet in authority He laid down His rights. In fact, you can go through the gospel of John and find four elements of headship as it related to Jesus towards God the Father:
- Cooperation: John 5:17 “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Jesus’ submission was in cooperation with what the Father was doing. In other words, He yield His rights to further the work that they were both committed to do which was to redeem mankind together!
- Authority: John 8:29 “The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” The authority that the Father had over the Son was one that Jesus desired to do which was “always please Him”. In other words, it was not simply an obligation it was a privilege to do so. Jesus saw His submission not as “I got too” but rather “I get too”!
- Honor: John 8:49, 54 “I honor My Father,… It is My Father who honors Me”. Jesus’ submission was a mutual honor; in other words, His willingness to place himself under the authority of the Father was both “honoring an honor”. So as a wife so honors her husband by voluntarily relinquishing her rights she receives the greatest amount of honor that could come her way.
- Identity: John 10:30 “I and My Father are one.” It was in this submission that Jesus’ identity was most clearly visible, submission to the Father did not mar His identity it manifested it! So too when a wife voluntarily relinquishes her rights she is showing her oneness and equality with her husband not her inferiority to Him. This point is further illustrated by the words about Jesus being the “Savior of the body.” These words define the meaning of the phrase “Christ is head of the church”. How is Jesus the head of the Church? Well, He is its Savior, His role is to always seek to “provide, protect and preserve” His bride the church. I doubt there would be any wife who would have a hard time “voluntarily relinquishing her rights” to a person who continually loves his bride the way in which Jesus does us. Now I’m not suggesting that we wives wait to submit until the husbands begin to perform their responsibility. What is suggested is that husbands can help the wives out in their “voluntarily relinquishing her rights” by so loving their wives!
************** Dale to teach *****************
- Vs. 24 Extent: Now based upon what Paul has already said the wives voluntarily relinquishing of rights is to be in “everything”. The word is defined again by the phrase “as the church is subject to Christ”. In other words, so long as what the husband is asking the wife to voluntarily relinquishing her rights” in it does not violate her subjection to Jesus. If what the husband wants her to do is immoral, unethical, and illegal then she is not to relinquish her rights. What if her husband tells her not to go to Church, read her Bible or pray? Well, she then only needs to look at whether or not this would violate God’s word. How about in the area of moving or finances? Well, clearly the litmus test is “as the church is subject to Christ” so in every area that does not violate this, then wives are too voluntarily relinquishing their rights. Now with that said, let me say that our wives are our “helpmates” and as such we want to always seek to please them and if we did not value their opinion and listen to their advice we would be pretty dumb. However, after she is heard and you have prayed together sought the Lord and you still feel the Lord is guiding you in a way that is different than your wife, then you have the final decision. Now before you get all in a power trip you need to realize that you have the final decision, but you also are the sole person who God will hold accountable for it! With power comes responsibility and with responsibility comes accountability!
Ephesians 5:25-33 “A Walk in Marriage, husband”
Vs. 25-33 Wisdom for men
Vs. 25 Paul had already explained the mutual relinquishing of rights in verse 21 and now here he explains to them how this looks for husbands. Husband’s headship is to be seen in their “loving their wives”. Paul’s words were in a culture in which women had an obligation to their husbands, but men had none to their wives. Notice that the women’s role of voluntarily relinquishing of her rights is placed before the husband’s demonstration of headship. Their position was not to be based upon their husband’s performance. Husbands, the true definition of “husbands loving their wives” is to be found in the words, “just as Christ also loved the church”. There is nothing to question as to what he means for husbands to love their wives. God only gave each partner “ONE” rule instead of some exhaustive list. These two commands reveals a difference between how men and women sense “love” and the reason why:
- Men: Define love generally speaking by “support”. Support the husband and he will know that you love him. That is why Paul writes for the wife to “voluntarily relinquish her rights” as it is the way to maintain harmony in the home.
- Women: Define love in terms of “security” which will be further explained as we go along. A woman needs to feel secure in her marriage and that is how she defines her husband’s love.
God intends our marriages to be harmonious in which we sing a duet and not a battle in which we have a duel. I believe that we are to demonstrate “Love” to our wife as Jesus demonstrated it to us (His bride) and that is seeing in two ways:
- Serving her has Jesus served us sacrificially
- Leading us by example
Paul gives four views on what “loves security” look like for a woman.
- Vs. 25b Sacrificially: “gave Himself for her” Ladies this does not mean that the husband is to “give in” to you and men this does not mean that you are to “give up” on her. Paul is very specific as he uses Jesus’ example for His bride, as he says that Jesus “gave Himself” for her. This kind of sacrificial love can be seen in two ways:
- Positively: It can be seen in Jesus’ example of sharing Himself with us. When husbands give of themselves to their wives we are sharing all of ourselves, emotions, dreams, and thoughts with our wives. This kind of sharing is sacrificial for us ladies and it requires for us to feel supported because when we do we are vulnerable to you.
- Negatively: It can be seen in Jesus ultimate sacrifice for us, Jesus loved us to death of Himself. If we are loving our wives as Jesus loves us we will be dying to all our self-seeking pursuits and instead we will be placing our wife’s interest’s above our own.
Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself for His bride and that is what we husbands are to do as well.
- Vs. 26-27 Specially: Paul lists several things that Jesus does for the Church and looking at all of them you can see that Jesus treats His bride as being extremely special. Jesus’ love for you and I is the kind of love that wants us to “be all we can be”! But more than just wanting this He makes it His goal to say us to that end. Paul lists two specific ways in which Jesus sees His bride, then Paul reveals the two ways in which Jesus accomplish His goal for His bride, (you and I). Remember Paul is giving these examples of Jesus towards us as what we husbands are to do towards our wives:
- Vs. 26 Sanctify: “He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”. The first area deal’s with set apart for the designed purpose. That is what Jesus does with us in as much as you and I were created for fellowship with God so Jesus saves us and then continually cleanses us so that we can enjoy that fellowship. Notice the instrument He uses to ensure that we mature, “the washing of water by the word”. As this relates to our wives they were created to be our companion to compliment us in what God has called us too. You see it is the water of the word of God that cleanses the character of a person and a character that has been cleansed will be equipped to function as God has designed us!
- Vs. 27 Glorify: “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.” The second thing we see here is how Jesus’ goal is to continually beautify His bride. He only does those things that attribute to her inward beauty. Looking at this section of scripture the inward beauty of a wife is the direct result of the continual work of the husband to love her in a special way. Practically we husbands should always be asking ourselves does my actions towards my wife help develop her more and more into who God has designed her to be? Do they make her inward character more like Jesus?
- Vs. 28-30 Unconditionally: The words “So husbands ought” are words designed to tell us husbands that we have a divine obligation to do this. The husbands love for his wife is also to be just as he automatically cares for himself. What is interesting is this verse suggests that we are to treat our wives, as we would treat other parts of our bodies. Think of this, we don’t treat our hands with anything, but the utmost care do we? When my big thumb gets in the way of the head of the hammer I don’t call it stupid or laugh it. No, I scream in pain stick it in mouth protects it at all cost. Then in verse 28 Paul tells us that there are two things you and I always do with regards to our own bodies:
- Nourish: We spend time every day making sure that our bodies are taken care of. Paul says just treat your wives as you treat yourselves. Your mouth tells your brain, “Hey I’m a bit thirsty sure would be nice to have a glass of lemonade!” Then your brain tells the legs, arms, and hands; “Hey, fellows’ mouth is a bit thirsty let’s go get him something to drink!” Now the legs don’t say, “Man I’ve be on my feet all day and what has the mouth been up too?” “Brain you tell mouth to stick out its tongue and pray for rain!” No, your leg’s get right up go to the fridge and poor a nice glass of lemonade for mouth and you know what? Mouth doesn’t say thank you! And you know why mouth doesn’t say thank you? Well, it’s because “He who loves his mouth loves his leg’s”
- Cherish: In the Greek this word means to “foster tender care”. Not only are we to provide for the physical well-being of our bodies we are constantly trying to pamper them. Husbands we need to spoil our wives all the time not just on special occasions. Can you imagine your mouth wanting an ice cream Sunday and your brain saying, “Hey, it’s not your birthday, who died and made you boss”? No, your brain says, “Sounds good to me!” and even though the brain feet and hands won’t enjoy one bite they know that mouth is going to enjoy it enough for all of them!
- Vs. 31 Unbreakably: The greatest human relationship apart from marriage is that between parents and child. Yet so powerful a love is this that we husbands would rather rip off our arm than have anything tear into our relationship with our wife. You see how secure that would cause our wives to feel if they experienced love that won’t ever allow anything or anyone to come in between us? Paul says that it is for “loves” sake that we will leave our parents and be “glued” bonded, to our wives’ men. And this bound is meant to be permanent. Our bounding with our wives’ fellows is to be unbreakable.
Vs. 32-33 Finally Paul speaks to us all in summation of the goal of marriage which is the same as the goal of our relationship with Jesus, “Oneness”! Throughout this section Paul has NEVER spoken about our “rights” in marriage, instead of spoken to us about our “duties”. The plain fact is our “needs” will only be met to the degree that we seek to make our spouses lives enriched in Christ.
- So, wives biggest challenge is to continue to love their husbands by respecting and supporting them by “voluntarily relinquishing their rights”.
- And husbands biggest challenge will be to continue to love their wives in a way that cause them to feel secure, which will be sacrificially, specially, unconditionally, and unbreakably.
It is here that it is important that we speak about intimacy in a marriage. As this is an area where the husband needs to both serve and lead in his marriage. I recommend first honesty, if you have had intimacy with your spouse before you were married you need to take her aside and apologies. Leadership is admitting when and where we were wrong. Furthermore, we need to lead in the area of prayer before intimacy. Men, it’s time we invited Jesus back into the bedroom of our marriage. I recommend praying before as intimacy with your wife was His idea and plan for us. I also believe it’s important that we communicate with our wife when it comes to our intimacy and ask her about what is pleasurable as we are to serve her in this area as well.