Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage. We continue today with our look at the scripturally given order and structure of a God shaped marriage.

Thus far in this series we have discovered that there is in fact a God-ordained order and structure to a God Shaped Marriage. We have identified where that order is outlined for us in scripture (1 Corinthians 11:3) and have acknowledged that order is reflective of the framework of authority found in the triune Godhead. In the last episode we began to look at how a God Shaped Husband interacts with His wife. There we focused on Ephesians 5:25 and the command given there for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. We recognized it must be a selfless love, one where the husband puts the needs, cares, and desires of his wife above his own. Just as Christ did for his bride when He left the glory of Heaven to come to earth to fix her sin problem. We also saw that a Christ-like husband will understand the differences between himself and his wife, seeing them not as flaws requiring change but rather as things of beauty to be cherished. With this understanding, a righteous husband will be gentle with his wife, especially when she responds in different ways than he might.

Today we will continue with our look at Ephesians chapter 5 and how it illuminates the actions and attitudes of a Christ-like husband. Allow me to read from that passage again beginning with verse 25. 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.

Last time we looked at what it meant for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church. We carefully considered what the scripture meant when it says Christ’s love for the church was exemplified by His giving of Himself for her. I talked about the fact that this did not only elude to the fact that Christ died for His bride, though it was His ultimate sacrifice, and He offered it willingly for her good. In addition, we discussed some of the various ways we as husbands are given opportunities every day to lay down our lives for our wife. There the connection and application of the command were clearly defined. However, let me be abundantly clear here. The second part of this passage does not indicate that because Christ is in process of making His bride perfect for Himself, as men we can take license to direct our wives how they could be made perfect in our eyes. Remember, Christ is superior to His bride. He is perfect in every way, and we (His bride) are not. Therefore, in order for Him to become one with us, our perfection becomes a necessity. With that in mind there is a need for Him to sanctify and cleanse us so that He can present us to Himself the perfect match, just as He presented Eve to Adam, the perfect match. We on the other hand husbands, are not superior to our wives. Their imperfections do not render them incompatible to be joined with us because we too, are imperfect. Therefore, there is no need for us to interact with our wife in this same way.

If that is the case, why mention it here following the command to love our wife as Christ loved the church? Excellent question…I am so glad it has an excellent answer. When we take a closer look at the totality of the three verses I just read, we can see an interesting truth. In the past Christ loved the church by offering remedy for her sin problem that she was unable to fix by dying in her place. He offered His life as a substitutionary sacrifice and satisfied the high cost of her sin. The bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. In effect then, Jesus ransomed us by dying in our place, and so as that verse concludes, the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23). In the present, He is sanctifying His bride and cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. This simply means that right now, Christ is through His word making us perfect for Himself, a perfect match in every way. It is through our obedience to His word that we become cleaned. Jesus told Peter at the last supper, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) In the future, this same passage tells us that He will present us to Himself…perfect…without blemish, spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He promises us that in the future He will take us to live with Him forever in His Father’s house. There, as His bride, we will have access to everything He has access to, just as a wife ought to have joint ownership of all that is her husbands’. From this passage we can conclude that Christ loves the church by taking complete care of her, past, present and future. There is no time when His focus is not on what she needs and what He is trying to bless her with. In this moment, Christ is trying to position us, His bride, to be able to take hold of all of the immeasurable blessing He has for us. In that way husbands, we can love our wives as Christ loves the church. We can love her all of the time and we can give our full attention and effort to the goal of making sure she is positioned to receive every available blessing.

This passage then continues with that very idea. Verses 28 & 29 say, 28 So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church.

The point being made here is that as Christ-like husbands, we give our wives the place of high regard that we give to our own bodies. This means two things. First, we meet our needs…and second, we avoid harming ourselves. We eat when we are hungry, because our body asks us to. We clothe ourselves when we arise from a warm bed, because our body asks us to. We seek medical attention when we are sick, because our body asks us to. We rest when we are tired, because our body asks us to. I could go on and on listing all of the ways we meet the needs of our body because our body calls out to us, pointing out its need, and we respond accordingly. We do not respond in anger, frustration or intolerance. We simply respond because there is a need. These verses make the point that when our wife voices a need…we should simply respond by meeting the need. Remember from our discussion last time that we don’t necessarily have to see her need as a need we also have. We are to interact with her by meeting her needs with the understanding that her needs may be different than ours, but that makes her or her needs no less valuable than ours are. So, as this verse points out, we meet our own needs, we should then also meet the needs our wife has in order that we might love her as Christ loves the church.

The second way I noted that we take care of our own bodies is that we do our best to avoid personal injury. The list I mentioned a moment ago highlighted how we meet the needs of our own body, but now I want to take a look at how we cherish it. Because we cherish this physical body God has given us, we try to keep it safe from harm. Some of that is done consciously as we take measures to make sure we don’t get hurt. For example, when we undertake a particularly risky activity such as cutting down a tree with a chainsaw, the wiser of us use specialized personal protection equipment to avoid injury. Other protective measures are purely instinctive, but still invoked because we cherish our body and we don’t want to get hurt. This would be illustrated by our instinct to run if we sense the tree we are trying to cut down begins to fall in our direction. In either case we do these things consciously and unconsciously because we cherish our body. In this scripture we are admonished that if we are willing to do these things for our bodies, meet our needs and protect ourselves, we must also be equally willing to do them for our wife because we are joined with her in a one flesh condition. As this scripture points out, He who loves his wife…loves himself, and Christ our example is busy doing these very same things for His bride, the church.

The next 3 verses are of great interest and offer an incredibly close-up view of how our marriages are intended to be reflective of God in a unique way. Many times I have used a mirror as an analogy for marriage. I conclude that analogy by saying that our marriages are intended to be a marital mirror that God desires to look into and see Himself. In the next few verses that analogy is taken to a new level. An infinity mirror is one that is actually made of two mirrors connected to one another and positioned such that what is reflected in one is reflected by the other and so on and so on…seemingly forever. These next verses illustrate how the marital mirror is actually intended to be an infinity mirror. Ephesians 5:30-32 reads as follows: 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

This scripture applies to both the husband and the wife. However, as we are currently engaged in a discussion of how men can be God shaped or Christ-like husbands, we will continue with that intimation and return to this passage later in the series as our focus shifts to that of a godly wife. Here men, we are reminded that as Christ followers, we are members of Christ’s body. We are His chosen bride. However, we do not enjoy that distinction alone as men. The Apostle Paul pointed out that we are equal heirs in the grace of God. In other words, our wives are also members of the church if they are Christ followers. Therefore, they are also members of His body. If we take more than a moment to consider this, then a new and profound truth is realized. If my wife is a believer, then she is one with Christ. Because they are one, how I interact with her is in actuality how I am interacting with Christ! Men we all know that if someone is unkind to our bride, we take it personally. Christ is no different. If I act negatively toward my wife, Christ says that He considers it the same as if I have acted negatively toward Him. I don’t know about you other gentlemen, but that isn’t something I want to occur. If someone is kind to our wife and offers help that is needed, we are grateful to that person, as if it were us they helped or were kind to. Jesus said He sees it the same way when we are kind to our wife. If our wife has placed her faith in Jesus Christ, the way that we interact with her is the way we are interacting with Christ himself according to this passage. For more on just how personally Christ takes our actions toward our spouse, I would encourage you to read Matthew 25:31-46, though I won’t be covering them here.

The passage in Ephesians 5 ends with its instructions to Christ-like husbands with the beginning of verse 33 – Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself. The command here is simple and selfless, but never easy. Men, love your wife like you love yourself. Meet her needs… not the ones you think she should have; the ones she tells you she has. Avoid her being harmed. She reacts differently than you do, consider that and be understanding. Avoid allowing her to be injured even if such action would have no ill-effect on you. Love her like Christ loves the church…like Christ loves you.

So now, learning be a Christ-like husband like it matters…because it matters…Go Be Awesome!