Summary: The apostle Paul compares a husbands love for his wife to Christ's love for the church. How should men love their wives? He must have a sacrifical love, sanctifying love, and sensitive love for his bride.

Valentine’s Day 2016

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 2/14/16

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, for those of you who don’t have a date, happy Singles Awareness Day. When Ashley and I first got married, I used to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, but things change a little when you’ve got kids. Romance is a little tougher. I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing I want to see is a chubby toddler coming at me with a bow and arrow.

I wonder how many of you know the story behind the origins of Valentine’s Day. Despite popular opinion, it’s not an invention of Hallmark and Hershey. And it is called Saint Valentine’s Day for a reason. (I shared this story about 4 years ago…)

Around 250 A.D., there lived a priest by the name of Valentine. He lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius, who was committed to rebuilding the once-great Roman army. However, Claudius believed that men would fight more valiantly if they volunteered for service, rather than being drafted against their will. But, given a choice, most young men in the Roman Empire refused to serve. They’d rather stay at home with their wives and children than go off into battle.

Claudius came to believe that only single men would volunteer for service, so he issued a royal edict that banned all further marriages. He actually outlawed weddings in the Roman Empire, earning himself the nick-name Claudius the Cruel.

Valentine thought it was ridiculous! One of his favorite duties as a priest was to marry people. So after Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine secretly continued performing marriage ceremonies. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.

One night, Valentine did hear footsteps at his door. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Valentine tried to stay cheerful. Many of the young couples he had married came to visit him in jail. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love and marriage.

One day, the daughter of one of the prison guards paid Valentine a visit. They sat and talked for hours. Over time, they grew very fond of each other and on the day Valentine was executed, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love, your Valentine.” That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D.—a day set aside in honor of a man who gave his life because he believed in the splendor and sacredness of marriage.

Not too many people believe in that anymore.

In his book Sex Begins in the Kitchen, marriage and family psychologist Kevin Leman tells the story of a little boy who was once asked by one of his neighbors, “Is your sister still dating that nice young man? They always seemed so much in love.”

“Not anymore,” he replied, “They hardly even talk to each other these days.”

“Oh,” said the neighbor lady, “I’m so sorry to hear that they broke up.”

“They didn’t breakup,” the boy told her, “they go married!”

Someone once said, “Marriage is nature's way of keeping people from fighting with strangers.” Sadly, that’s how many of us view marriage these days.

A guy ran into his buddy outside of the pet store and said, “I just got this golden retriever for my wife.” He friends asked, “Do they have anymore? I’d like to trade my wife in for one of those.”

The truth is—if you do marriage right, it’s like heaven on earth. If you do it wrong, well… you can figure that out. In honor of Saint Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share a passage of Scripture with you that can revolutionize your relationship.

The passage I want to look at is Ephesians 5:25-30. This passage is addressed specifically to husbands. But that doesn’t mean the rest of you should just tune out for next twenty minutes.

In fact, wives, you probably want to take some notes because you might want to remind your husband about this message later on. Single guys and young men, you want to pay attention because this passage describes the kind of love you ought to have for you future wife. And, young women, you’ll want to pay extra attention, because this passage will supply you with a standard by which you should measure every future relationship. If a man does not treat you with the kind of love this passage describes, then he is not a man you want to marry.

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