Summary: A look at the different roles that God gave the wife and the husband and how he empowers each to carry them out as they look to Jesus, their Savior from sin.
Follow God’s Plan for Holding Marriage Together
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word of Truth through which the Holy Spirit guides us is Ephesians 5:21-31
[And keep being filled with the Spirit] as you submit yourselves to one another in the fear of God.
Wives: Submit yourselves to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church. He himself is the Savior of the body. Nevertheless, just as the church submits itself to Christ, so also wives are to submit themselves to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands: Love your own wives, just as also Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for it. [He did it] in order to set it apart as holy by cleansing it with the washing of water in the word. [He did it] in order to present it to himself as the Church, which is glorious, without stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but to be holy and blameless. In this way, husbands are to keep loving their own wives as their own bodies. The one who loves his own wife loves himself. No one ever hated his own flesh, but he feeds it and keeps it warm – just as also Christ [does for] the Church, because we are parts of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be closely united to his wife. The two will be one flesh.”( Ephesians 5:21-31)
Dear friends, who belong to Christ’s Church,
Thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars goes into a wedding. Months, even years, of planning precede it. The future bride and groom talk it over again and again. Reservations are set for the church, the hall, the band, the photographer, the flowers, the cake. People commit to helping out in one way or another. Maybe many of you may have a more simple wedding, but it still was day you remembered. Much planning goes into holding the wedding together.
Sadly not nearly as much planning goes to holding the marriage together. Each year over a million marriages in the United States end in divorce. And this doesn’t even account for the countless marriages that survive, but are anything but what the bride and groom dreamed of on their wedding day – marriages plagued with lovelessness or abuse.
What is the glue that holds good marriages together? Maybe the most popular answer is love. But love can mean so many different things to different people that it really isn’t an answer at all. Considering the focus of the worship today, maybe you’d answer that God’s Word is the glue that holds good marriages together. That answer is a good start, but we need to dig deeper. We need to ask: What does God’s Word show us about God’s plan for holding marriage together?
That brings us to theme for this sermon: Follow God’s Plan for Holding Marriage Together. In his Word God reveals his plan and he has specific words to address to wives and other specific words to address to husbands. And take note that God does not tell the husband to make sure that his wife carries out her role and he does not tell the wife to make sure the husband does his. God wants the wife to examine herself and the husband to examine himself.
God’s plan for wives
a) What God says
First, let’s look at God’s plan for wives. Husbands, these words are not addressed to you. If you want to take a nap now, that’s fine. God’s Word for you will come next.
Now, wives, I realize that I have a couple strikes against me in talking to you about your role in your marriage. First, I’m a man so it’s easy to simply dismiss what I say as male chauvinism. Second, what I’m going to say is contrary to what our society teaches. They would label me as bigoted and backwards. But please take note that I’m simply speaking what God says. These are not ideas that I or some other man invented. This is what your God has revealed to us. He designed you as a woman. He created marriage. And as I stand her in the pulpit, it is his Word that I am speaking. Listen to his plan for you in marriage.
Your God says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22 NIV). Submit – that’s a strong word. Maybe we can understand it better if we first examine what God is not saying. Submitting does not mean that you are a slave and your husband is your master. That’s an entirely different relationship which has nothing to do with a Christian marriage. Submitting does not mean that you have less value, less importance, less skill, less intelligence. For example, when a truck drive stops for 12-year old crossing guard in a school zone, he is submitting. That doesn’t mean he is less valuable or important or intelligent. (From Sermon Studies on the Epistles (ILCW Series B), ed. Richard Balge, Northwestern Publishing House:1993, p. 243Likewise, in no way is the wife of lesser value than her husband. The Bible highly praise the value of a good wife.