Summary: If we love our wives the way Christ loved the church, how could they not want to be subject to us as head of the home? (#10 in The Christian Victor series)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church because we are members of His body.”
Just as I needed to make some fundamental points clear for the wives, in beginning the last sermon, so also do I need to be sure we husbands begin on common ground today.
I want to assure you, men, that as I talk to you, I am talking to myself. Not by any stretch of the imagination, do I suppose that I have a better grip than any of you, on being on any consistent basis, what I ought to be to my wife.
That is not to say we don’t have a great relationship. We do. I often wonder if it’s possible for anyone else to love so much, although being realistic, I have to conclude that of course they do. Someone. Somewhere.
But we’re being told in these verses today that we should love our wives as Christ loved the church. We’re going to talk about that in detail. But I have to begin, acknowledging that neither you nor I measure up to that admonition; at least, not consistently.
We are fallen and in need of a Savior. Only the Christian can be properly aware of that, and no one understands our need better than the mature Christian.
What I mean by that, is that the farther we go with Christ, and the more we know and understand Him by the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, the more we come to see how utterly helpless we are to live the God-life apart from Him.
The common misunderstanding is that the closer we are to Christ the less we need His help on a day to day basis. This is precisely the opposite of the truth.
When Jesus walked this earth, one of the reasons He placed Himself in a position of utter dependence on the Father, was to show us that we will never come to a place of being independent of Him.
In short, the more like Jesus we become, as the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit continues in us, the more dependent we will be on the Father in and for all things. That is the example of the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and we depart from that path to our peril.
Therefore, when it comes to our relationship with our wife, and hearing this exhortation to love her as Christ loved the church, we must first acknowledge in all humility that even to the pathetic degree that we obey that command, we only do so with the help of Jesus.
So with that foundation laid, come with me now, men, and let’s go before the Throne that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES
We may as well start at the beginning. “Husbands love your wives”. Paul exhorted the wives to be subject to their husbands in all things. Y’think maybe he didn’t say ’love your husbands’, because he knew he would be demanding the near impossible?
Frankly, I think it was because he knew that if husbands lived out these things being taught in verses 25-30, wives couldn’t help but love them.
But to the husbands he says, ’love your wives’. Now there are two forms of the Greek for this kind of love; agape, the noun, and agapao, the verb. Here the verb is used.
Husbands, love your wives actively. When I looked this up in Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words, there was a footnote from “Notes on Thessalonians”, co-authored by Hogg and Vine. I didn‘t copy the whole thing here, but the first line was,
“Love can be known only from the actions it prompts”
Husbands, Paul’s first exhortation to you, then, is to look for and perform acts of love toward your wife. But I want to be careful to point out here that he didn’t use the word for sexual love (eros) or friendship love, (phileo), but agape love. Let’s talk about that.
As most of you have heard, probably many times, agape is originally associated with Christians. It denotes an utterly sacrificial, unassuming love, expressed independent of any outside stimulus, and asking nothing in return.