Summary: The love of husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33 shows us Spirit-filled husbands.
Today we continue our sermon series in Ephesians 5:21-6:9 that I am calling, “Focus on the Family.”
The governing command for this entire section is Ephesians 5:18, where Paul commanded Christians to “be filled with the Spirit.” Then Paul said being filled with the Spirit would have four consequences, or evidences (that correspond to the four participles in verses 19-21): fellowship (5:19a), worship (5:19b), gratitude (5:20), and submission (5:21).
This final consequence, or evidence, of submission (in Ephesians 5:21) then became for Paul the command for all that follows. Paul’s command of mutual submission is in fact the necessary foundation for the three sets of relationships (of wives and husbands, children and parents, and bondservants and masters) in Ephesians 5:22-6:9.
Last week, we examined Paul’s direction to Spirit-filled wives. Today, we will examine Paul’s direction to Spirit-filled husbands.
Let’s read about Spirit-filled husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33, although for the sake of context, I shall also read verses 18b and 21:
18 …be filled with the Spirit,…21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ….
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
John MacArthur mentions in his book on The Fulfilled Family that several years ago, the Saturday Evening Post published an article titled, “The Seven Ages of the Married Cold.” It revealed the reaction of a husband to his wife’s colds during their first seven years of marriage. It went something like this:
The first year: “Sugar dumpling, I’m really worried about my baby girl. You’ve got a bad sniffle, and there’s no telling about these things with all this strep throat going around. I’m putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food’s lousy, but I’ll be bringing your meals in from Rossini’s. I’ve already got it all arranged with the floor superintendent.”
The second year: “Listen, darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough. I called Doc Miller and asked him to rush over here. Now go to bed like a good girl, please? Just for papa.”
The third year: “Maybe you’d better lie down, honey; nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I’ll bring you something to eat. Have got any canned soup?”
The fourth year: “Now look, dear, be sensible. After you’ve fed the kids, washed the dishes, and finished the floor, you’d better lie down.”
The fifth year: “Why don’t you take a couple of aspirin?”
The sixth year: “I wish you’d just gargle or something, instead of sitting around all evening barking like a seal!”
The seventh year: “For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?”
This is humorous but, sadly, true of too many marriages.
The Apostle Paul gives us God’s prescription for healthy marriages. His prescription applies only to Christians who are filled with the Spirit.
The love of husbands in Ephesians 5:25-33 shows us Spirit-filled husbands.
Let’s use the following outline:?
1. The Duty to Love (5:25a)
2. The Manner of Love (5:25b-31)
3. The Model for Love (5:32-33)
I. The Duty to Love (5:25a)
First, let’s look at the duty to love.
I mentioned last time that in Paul’s day the marriage bond was virtually meaningless. Wives had no value at all, and husbands had multiple relationships apart from their wives. So, Paul’s directions to husbands and wives was utterly radical. Paul was calling for a covenant renewal of marriage vows.
Paul’s command to husbands is in verse 25a, “Husbands, love your wives.” Paul said (in verse 21) that among Christians there is to be a mutual submission to one another. In the marriage relationship, wives are to lead in submission and husbands are to lead in love.
But, what does “love” mean? What does it mean for a husband to “love” his wife? I like Walter Trobisch’s definition: