Hi, this is Pastor Ken and I want to welcome you to the Monday Marriage Message. Today will be the seventh installment in our series on Ephesians 5:21-33.
I will begin today with the verse we focused on last week and lead into the next two verses for this installment. Beginning with verse 25 and ending with verse 27.
Ephesians 5:25-27 says; 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
The command given in verse 25 as we discovered last week is for Husbands to love their wives. This is notable as it follows the command for wives to be subject to their husbands in all things (verse 24). Worldly wisdom would dictate, it is not necessary for a husband to love one who is subject to him. Rather, he need only rule her utilizing her subjugation to him to control and limit her words and actions to those he finds pleasing and profitable for meeting his needs. However, the command to the husband is to love his wife. Love being actionable will necessitate that he be careful with his words and his actions to ensure that they are found loving by her. If adhered to, this command will remove any submission motivated by fear. 1 John 4:18 tells us, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. The argument has rightfully been made that a wife would likely be more than willing to submit to a husband whom she found to be loving to her in all ways and at all times.
So if the command to husbands is to love…and it is, how is he to accomplish the instruction given him? The answer: As Christ loves the church. In these three verses, there are three different examples of how Christ loves the church. They are listed in order of accomplishment, past, present, and future. Verse 25 lays out how Christ did this in the past tense. He gave Himself for her. We dissected this verse last week and I spoke as to how a husband can lay down his life for his wife short of and yes, including the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. I spoke farmore about how we are to lay down our lives for them in ways less than sacrificing our physical lives, because it is in these “lesser” ways that we have greater possibilities of correctly and authentically following this instruction.
Verse 26 indicates a way that Christ is loving the church presently. 26 “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”. This means that Christ is currently busying Himself with our sanctification. He is setting us apart. Giving us His own special attention. He is providing for us through the work of the Holy Spirit the ability to fulfill our potential and be all that He has created us to be. He is accomplishing this through the perfecting process of washing us with the cleansing agent of the word. In His prayer for us in the Garden, Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified by God’s truth and then stated that God’s word is truth. (John 17:17) Through the application of His word, Christ is even now cleansing us of our fleshly desire which our enemy attempts to use in order to separate us from our bridegroom.
Verse 27 follows with the futuristic example of Christ’s love for His bride. 27 “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”. On the glorious day that we see Jesus face to face, according to 1 John 3:2 we will be like Him, perfect, not having any residual blemish from our past sinful condition. This is a necessary act of His love. Christ cannot be joined and made one with anything less than perfection or else, He by association would also become flawed. As God, He must remain perfect and therefore if He is to be married, it must be to a perfect bride.
So if we as husbands are to love our wives as Christ loved the church…and we are…what do these verses offer us in the way of instruction? We spoke last week of how a husband can lay down his life for his wife. Certainly, we can see how verse 26 illustrates that we should set our own wife apart, giving her a place of prominence in our thinking and actions above all others. Each husband should love his own wife in such a way that she has no question about the fact that she is more precious to him than any other woman on the planet.
Additionally verse 27 indicates that he should make every effort to utilize his God ordained leadership role to facilitate her perfecting process. Men: take caution! Understand that it is not for you to perfect your bride…for you…it is for you to give of all that you have to make every provision for the two of you to be perfected…for Christ. Spiritual leadership is just that…leadership…not lordship. A leader is simply the one at the front of a line clearing the way for those behind him to accomplish their mutual goal. He has no greater value than those following him. If anything, the position of leadership would indicate an expendability that exposes the leader to risk while shielding those behind him from the danger.
Another example of how a husband can love his wife as Christ loves His bride that we should absolutely take from these three verses is offering a love without interruption. Christ loved in the past, loves in the present, and looks forward to the future expression of His love for the church. As husbands, we can follow His example by being careful our love for our own wife is offered to her uninterrupted. We should keep in our minds the love we had for our wife when we were first joined in marriage. We need to regularly take inventory to make sure that our love for her is as easy for her to recognize now as it ever was. Finally, we ought to be planning for future loving action that will ensure her security that she is indeed loved and will continually be so without fear of cessation.
Next week we will look at the final all-inclusive instruction given here in this scripture as to how husbands are to love their wives.
Questions to answer:
Husbands – In what ways do you try to convey your love for your wife?
Wives – In the past and or the present, have you understood those words and actions your husband just noted as evidence of his love for you?
How do the two of you think you do at expressing and understanding love?
Actions to take:
Discuss the past, present and future expressions of Christ’s love for the two of you, and talk about the impact those have had on your marriage as well as the impact you both think it should have going forward.
Thank Jesus for the expressions of love that He has been so free in showing the two of you.
So, now gentlemen, loving your wife with the same intensity that Christ loves you…go be awesome!