Summary: Paul describes the great mystery of Christ’s passionate love for the church through the relationship of the husband and wife. What does it look like for the Church to have a passionate relationship with Jesus? It begins with SUBMISSION.
A Nashville newspaper carried a tongue-in-cheek story about a Mrs. Lila Craig who hadn’t missed attending church in 1,040 Sundays (20 years). The editor commented, “It makes one wonder, what’s the matter with Mrs. Craig? Doesn’t it ever rain or snow in her town on Sunday? Doesn’t she ever have unexpected company? How is it that she never goes anywhere on Saturday night so that she’s too tired to attend the worship service the next morning? Doesn’t she ever ’beg off’ to attend picnics or family reunions, or have headaches or need time to read her Sunday newspaper? Hasn’t she ever become angry at the minister or had her feelings hurt by someone and felt justified in staying home to hear a good sermon on the radio or television? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH MRS. CRAIG ANYWAY?”
What’s the matter with Mrs. Craig? Well it could be that she is just overly religious that she is striving through human effort to be pleasing to God. But imagine 20 years without missing a Sunday; I don’t think even the best human effort can be perfect for that long.
What’s the matter with Mrs. Craig? Could it be that nothing is wrong with her, but instead everything is right with her? I believe she may have had a love affair with the Lord Jesus!
Does having a love affair with Jesus strike you as unrealistic or unusual? Can you not imagine having an intimate and passionate relationship with Christ? My desire is that you will fall head over heals in love with Jesus–that you will be so passionate about Christ that 20 years from now the Beacon Journal or Record Courier could be wondering what’s the matter with you!
Look with me at Ephesians 5:21-32. What would it look like to have a love affair with Jesus; how can we know if as individuals –how can we know if we as a church–are truly passionate in our relationship with Christ? I believe Paul shows us what the Church should be like that is deeply in love with Jesus. (Remember, the Church isn’t made up of bricks and mortar, but of individual believers joined together by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, as Paul describes the love relationship between the Church and Christ, he describes what our love affair with Jesus should be like.)
✞ Ephesians 5:21-31 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church (NIV)
Now some of you may be asking yourself, “what does that have to do with a love affair with Jesus?” I’m glad you asked. Within the passion and love of a husband and wife relationship is the love affair between the Church and Christ. What is the profound mystery that Paul describes in verse 32. Paul says, “I am talking about Christ and the church;” the Holy Spirit is showing us that the way husbands and wives should relate to each other is how the Church and Christ should relate to each other. Our relationship with Christ is not dead cold religion; instead it is a mysterious love affair filled with deep passion overflowing into every area of our lives.
Think for a moment about the mystery of the husband and wife relationship: the two become one flesh. Intellectually this is impossible, but for those of us who are married we have experienced the union of two made one. This union is greater than just joining together physically; the husband and wife are united in body and spirit. They are one.
Remember now, the mystery Paul is talking about is Christ and His Church. Think of it–God takes each of us who believes and unites us with Christ. Furthermore, God unites believers from around the world and throughout time into the body of Christ; He makes us one this morning!