Summary: Wives and husbands have the opportunity to draw attention to this good news of salvation in Jesus Christ by her submission and his love.
Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3:18-19. .
Last week we learned from the apostle Paul that we are to ‘put on Christ’; that is, we are to put on the character of Christ if we belong to Christ by faith. His character was described for us with words like compassion, meekness, love, and forgiveness.
That passage ended with this summary statement in verse 17: Whatever you do, in word or deed, to everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. That is, do everything that you do as a representative of Jesus Christ. Put on the character of Christ so people will see what Christ is like and so honor him who is worthy of our devotion and our imitation. And we are to do that out of thankfulness to God for the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ.
Now we’re going to see what putting on Christ looks like in human relationships. Beginning with our passage today and running through chapter 4 verse 1, Paul tells us how husbands and wives are to relate to each other, how children and parents are to relate to each other, and how employees and employers are to relate to each other. Most if not everyone in this room is in one or more of those basic relationships of life right now. So this passage speaks to us where we live. The good news about Jesus is to make a difference every day in our dealings with others.
Today we deal with the relationship between a husband and his wife in verses 18-19, which is the first and fundamental human relationship God created, as well as the most intimate. So let’s read verses 18-19, and then I’ll pray for the Lord to bless the preaching and hearing of his word.
READ COLOSSIANS 3:18-19 / PRAY
I have had the privilege of performing numerous weddings and one of my favorite wedding blessings is called the Puritan Wedding Prayer. Here is an excerpt from that reading, and I think it serves as an excellent introduction to our topic this morning.
"Oh, God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan and only with You can we work it out with joy. You have said that ‘it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmate for him.’ Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other…Teach them that marriage is not living merely for each other, it is two uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and Your righteousness and the other things shall certainly be added unto them. Loving You best they shall love each other the more and faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will be.”
That goal of marriage is well said. Marriage is a gift from God for the welfare and happiness of mankind, and its ultimate purpose is to serve and honor the Lord.
Our text today shows the way to that welfare and happiness in marriage, and shows us how marriage is to honor the Lord. It shows us what it looks like to do [marriage] in the name of the Lord Jesus. So we’re going to find out how to do that this morning.
For those here who are not married and hope to be so someday, this message is preparatory, to help you approach it with the right expectations. For those who are married, it will show us how to have an even better marriage. For everyone else, it will give you something to pray for and to support in the marriages you see around you.
And I can’t preach with integrity on this topic without acknowledging and thanking God for my wife Janette. I’ve received the undeserved mercy of God of having been loved by her for 26 years now as of 21 August. If there is anything useful in this message, particularly as it relates to the role of the wife, it’s because I’ve seen it in her.
There are two main commands in the text. Wives, submit to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives. We’ll examine those two commands in turn. Then we’ll end with the question: Why are these commands in the Bible? Why do husbands and wives need to be told these things in particular and not something else?
So let’s begin with the first command.
1. Wives submit to your husbands.
In our culture, the idea of a wife submitting to her husband is not popular to say the least. Probably the quickest way to draw the scorn of the general public would be to appear on a secular talk show and recommend that a wife submit to her husband.