Marriage 411 - Take God at his word!
Husbands, point her in the right direction!
(Love & Marriage – A child’s perspective-Video clip) Use green intro if video doesn’t work.
Kids have such a unique perspective on practically everything – why would love and marriage be any different? One little boy, Roger age 6 was asked, How would you make marriage work? And he replied, “Don’t forget your wife’s name – that will really mess up love.”
I totally agree that forgetting your wife’s name will really mess up love. Call her the wrong name and you are in deep trouble. But the question is still out there, “How would you make a marriage work?”
Kids have such a unique perspective on practically everything – why would love and marriage be any different? I particularly liked the last question. “How would you make a marriage work?” I totally agree that forgetting your wife’s name will really mess up love. Call her the wrong name and you are in deep trouble. But the question is still out there, “How would you make a marriage work?”
Sharon Jayson wrote an article back in December in the USA Today entitled, “Doomed if “I do…” She said, “People who have doubts about getting married should listen to those doubts. She quoted Carl Weisman’s survey stating that 8 in 10 people getting married felt “somewhat” or “extremely certain” the marriage would end in divorce. Bill Hedrick, Executive Director of Pastoral Counseling in Norfolk, VA said, “I have had people who came to a pre-marriage workshop, and it became evident they shouldn’t be married…” Hedrick believes many people don’t know what a good marriage looks like. “More than any generation in the past we have the most unrealistic expectations.”[i]
Maybe that’s one answer to our question – we have unrealistic expectations of what a spouse is supposed to do which often prevents a marriage from working. The Apostle Paul would agree. Turn in your Bibles this morning to Ephesians chapter 5. Do you need a Bible today? Also – would you please fill out this yellow information card. We simply want to create a connection with you! The Apostle Paul spoke about marriage quite often. When you study verses 21-33 you can see three “do’s” for husbands and three “do’s” for wives. The first do for husbands is found in verse 25. “Husbands, love your wives.” Guys, if you want your marriage to work – here’s our first “DO.” Do this. Love your wife. Love her for her. Here’s a bazaar story coming out of Shanghai. “A Chinese woman is seeking extensive plastic surgery to look like U.S actress Jessica Alba, mainly because she hopes to win back her boyfriend who has always wished she’d look like the Hollywood actress. Obviously that man has issues, but here’s the crazy part. She agreed to the surgeries. She said, “I have never been able to let him go. If in the end he still does not accept me after I undergo the plastic surgeries, I will give up.”[ii] Yikes! That’s not love – for either person. Do you know what love is? Go back to verse 25. Love in one word is giving. It’s giving, not getting. Love is sacrificing. Love is being selfless not selfish! The example Paul uses in none other than Jesus himself. Husbands, if you want your marriage to work – let Jesus be your example. Here’s how Jesus sacrificed for the church! Look at verses 25 & 26. The first time I read verse 26 I went huh? The 2nd time I read it – I thought, “Hmmm?” But I kept reading it and then it dawned on me. Here’s the second “DO” for husbands. Husbands, do this – point your wife in the right direction. Point your wife to Jesus! And here’s why… Go back to verse 26. (to make her holy…) The “her” pronoun has a two fold purpose. Paul is speaking directly about the church and indirectly about wives. Let me ask a question. Does the church stand a chance to be holy without Jesus?
Holy means “set apart for God’s purposes”/to be cleansed externally/ renewed internally/to be free from the guilt of sin.[iii] Does a wife stand a chance to be holy – to be all that she was created to be without Jesus? And let’s not forget husbands – does any husband here stand a chance to be holy apart from Jesus? Go back to verses 26 & 27 again.
Do you consider Westerville Christian to be a radiant church? What does it mean to be a radiant church? John Chilcote told me about a voice mail that Pastor Bobby Gruenwald from lifechurch.tv received from an irritated caller. Listen to what irritates this guy. (Play angry caller clip)
First of all, John Chilcote and I have made a pledge that we will never distribute Westerville Christian Church bumper stickers or license plate holders – EVER! I don’t need anymore phone calls. Something tells me this man does not consider Life Church to be a radiant church! I’m really not being critical of him, but I don’t think he thinks any church is good let alone radiant.
The church is called many things. Some good and some bad. I would call this church stiff since it’s made entirely of Lego’s! Luke calls the church “the way” in the book of Acts. Peter calls the church “the flock of God of which Jesus is the shepherd.” Paul calls the church the “body of Christ.” We are Jesus in the flesh. Paul also calls the church “the Bride of Christ.” Why? What a weird comparison. Because that’s how God sees us right now. As radiant as a bride at her wedding. How many of you have been to a wedding? Everyone’s all dressed up. People are looking good. Smelling good. The groom has on his tux and the bride – the bride is beautiful. Dressed in white and lace and all kinds of frilly things. The day is a day to remember.
Except for one bride. A minister long time friend of mine, Jim Borton, told me about a bride that had too many mints and way too much diet coke before the wedding. Not a good combination. Her dress was white but so was her face as she started to walk down the aisle. And you guessed it. She threw up - at her wedding – with everyone watching – video cameras rolling. I imagine she tries hard to forget her wedding day. Go back again to verse 25.
What makes us holy? Our acceptance of what Jesus did. BS & AS – BC & AC. Everything changed after the cross. I often forget that. I bet you do too. When Jesus died on the cross – all debts were paid in full. Yours and mine. The sins of the whole world were forgiven. I know this more than anybody here. I am not holy. You aren’t either. And neither is your spouse. But because of the cross we are seen by God as holy – radiant – even though we’re not.
The question is – will we remain faithful for the long haul? Do I even have to remind you that this world is really evil? One day Jesus will come back and he wants to see a radiant church. Husbands, love your wife by helping her be faithful to God. Point your wife in the right direction. Point her to Jesus! Remind her that she too is the Bride of Christ! The question is of course – how! Did you know that Paul prayed allot? He prayed for the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians. Not to mention, Philemon, Timothy and Titus. Husbands, do this. Love her. How? PRAY FOR YOUR WIFE! I confess. This is how I used to pray for my wife. “God, I need to talk to you about you know who. God, why does she need me to talk with her so much and be with her? God, why doesn’t she see life from my perspective. God, help my wife see that I was right and she was wrong. PS Help her to like football as much as I do. Amen! My prayers for her were so selfish. My prayers have changed for Tricia. “Lord Jesus, I bring to you my wife. I love her. I pray she knows that. I pray my love is obvious. Your word tells me to praise her because she fears you and is fearfully and wonderfully made. I pray Tricia will love who you’ve made her to be. I thank God that she loves and obeys your word. God, thank you for our kids. May Tricia not find her self esteem in being a Mom but in being a Christ follower. God, help the kids to not drive her crazy. Help her to take all her frustrations to you and to me. May I be of help to her. May I listen and not just hear. May my words be kind and not harsh. I thank you God that she puts up with me.” AMEN! Pray for your wife. Pray with your wife. Now how else can husbands point their wives to God. Love her by GIVING HER TIME! Go back to verse 26. This passage is referring to immersion. Time to do what? Time away from your kids so she can immerse herself in the word to hear what God is saying to her. Time to get alone with God to read and apply his word. Time to weekly meet in a small group. Why? Because topics, issues and problems are going to come up. Folks, I apologize for wasting your time. Apparently NBC has solved our problem – they came out with a new show last Thursday Night called The Marriage Ref. Jerry Seinfeld is the host, but comedian Tom Papa is the ref. Papa makes the final call. Celebrity panelists like Madonna, Larry David and Ricky Gervais help him make the call. So a tiff is presented and if the ref sides with the wife – she gets the prize. If he sides with the husband – he gets the prize. Nothing against Jerry Seinfeld or NBC but this is the ultimate Marriage Ref. Point your wife to the Bible. The Bible says we should be baptized. The Bible says we should be generous. The Bible says we should trust God and not worry. The Bible says marriage works when we show mutual love and mutual submission. If you want your marriage to work – do what the Bible says. After all, faith is taking God at his word. Dr. James Dobson officially retired from Focus on the Family this past week. Dobson had allot to say about marriage. He once said this, “Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) finding the right person and (2) being the right person.” I do not want my wife to look like Jessica Alba. I also do not want her to look like Jesus – after all, Jesus was a man. I do not want her to look like a man. I do though want her to act like Jesus. And here’s the big so what! If a husband’s primary role is to be his wife’s lover. One of the primary role’s for wives is to be his influencer. The old saying goes, If the husband is the head - the wife is the neck which of course turns the head. To all women – your power to influence a man is staggering. Can you tell me the food most likely to choke a child under the age of 4?[iv] Hotdogs! American Academy of Pediatrics thinks the danger is so prolific they are encouraging food manufacturers to change the shape of a hotdog. Make it look more like a chicken nugget or flat like a patty. Ladies – you can’t change your husband’s shape, but you can influence his mind. A man could be stronger-faster than you – doesn’t matter – men often turn to putty in the hands of a woman!
Now wives – you could say right now – YEAH! I’ve got the power or you could say “Whoa! I’ve got the power. I’ve got to be careful in how I’m influencing my husband and my family – am I pointing them to God?
[i] Leadership Magazine, Currents, “Doomed if I do..” Winter, 2010, 12.
[ii] Royston Chan, Reuters/Yahoo News, Jessica Alba Makeover, 2/17/10
[iii] Logos Library System, Holy/Ephesians 5:26