Summary: Out of thanks for the love that God has shown us, the Christian husband and wife will submit to one another in humble love in the roles that God has given them.
Today we continue our series about building up families in a post-modern world. And I have been assigned the task of talking to you this morning about marriage. And you know, I don’t think it would be too wise of me to preach today based on the vast knowledge that I have acquired after two whole years of marriage. So, this morning we are going to look at what God teaches us in his Word about how to have a good marriage.
But before we look at what God says, let’s take a look at the state of marriage in what we call today’s “post-modern” world. Marriage seems to be outdated. People are opting for less commitment. Living together outside of marriage is up 72% from what it was ten years ago. Divorce is also up from ten years ago, now destroying well over half of the marriages in the United States each year. Experts estimate that 40-65% of all married men have been unfaithful to their wives and that 30-45% of all married women have been unfaithful to their husbands. In this enlightened age, the holy estate of matrimony is in a state of ruin.
But, I don’t think we want our marriages to be a disaster. I would say that the majority of people who take that walk down the aisle really want it to last their whole life. But soon you hear: “The love is gone in our marriage,” or “We don’t love each other any more.” Well, I propose to you this morning that many of those that say such things really don’t understand what love is. This morning I could give you some really sound advice on things that I have learned about better communication in the marriage, what to do and not to do to make your marriage better. But I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to talk about your attitude, about what love really is and then we’ll see how that applies personally to us as husbands and wives.
I. Submit to one another
The Apostle Paul in the verses that precede our text for this morning is not talking only to husbands and wives, but rather to all Christians. He encourages all of us to be imitators of God, to act in a way that is fitting for children of God. The transition to our text that speaks specifically to husbands and wives is just one little, but important verse, verse 21 which says: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Submit to one another. The Greek word for submit literally means, “to put one’s self under another individual” God wants us to put ourselves under everybody else, to show true humility, to show true love. You see, that is what love is: to put the needs of another person ahead of yours, to consider yourself nothing and the other person everything. That is love. Love isn’t a feeling. It isn’t romance. It isn’t sex. Though all those things are intricately tied together with love, love is much more than that. Love is more an action than a feeling. Did you get that? Love is more an action than a feeling.
Let me ask you this: Why do you love your husband? Why do you love your wife? “Because he makes me feel special. Because she makes me feel like a man. Because he provides what I need.” Is that love? “I love because of what I get out of it.” Well, we have the example of true love in our text for this morning. Speaking to husbands Jesus said: Love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In Philippians chapter two Paul explains that love further saying: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
That is true submission. Jesus acted on his love for us. The all-powerful, eternal God was born in a smelly stable to a lowly virgin and her carpenter fiancé. He lived a poor life owning only the clothes on his back. On the night before he died, he gave his disciples an example of humble love by doing the dirty job of a servant, washing their feet. He suffered whippings, taunts, a crown of thorns, and being nailed to a cross. Even more, he suffered the punishment of hell on that cross for the sins of all people of all time.
That is love. And why did Jesus love us? Did we do something to earn his love? No. We are undeserving sinners who have rebelled against him in so many ways. He saved us by his grace, the love that we don’t deserve. Love doesn’t think about what I get out of it. You know, coaches often say that there is no “I” in team. Well, there is no “I” in love either.