“Marriage Mission Mystery Solved: Spirit Filled Husbands & Wives”
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 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.[a] 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.
Sermon slides are available HERE.
Pastor Thom Rittichier
I want to share with you that consistently what I am going to talk to you about this morning has been opposed. As a matter of fact, over 45 plus years now of public ministry, I have seen from the very beginning of it, the opposition to this, and I have seen it grow in intensity, to the opposition that we see today. And I’ll demonstrate this to you in a moment, what I’m talking about, concerning this that is opposed. I’m talking about God’s plan and design for human beings in marriage. The intensity of the opposition has grown. Marriage, particularly as it’s talked about in the passage that we come to this morning in Ephesians chapter five, where it is concisely and pointedly stated. God’s purpose, plan, design for marriage. This passage has, both inside the church and outside the church, been challenged and spoken against. We can understand that in the world of unbelievers. But for this challange to come into the church really makes us pause and wonder, especially the intensity that it’s gone to.
I’m going to ask you to turn in your Bible with me to Ephesians chapter five. And as you’re turning there in your Bible, I want to highlight for you sketches of how this is opposed, what I’ve experienced over 45 years of public ministry in the church, and where it has even come up today. Now, I want to say that this sounds pretty dark, what you’re going to hear is somewhat foreboding. As a matter of fact, I hesitate to even have it proclaimed in the assembly of God’s people. But it needs to be because it’s the case. And I also want to point out to you very quickly, that we, however, are not going to focus on the dark side of this, but very much in line with what God understands. We are going to focus on the positive side of the mission that this is, because it is a mission. Let me start this by talking about my very first pastorate in Catawba, Ohio. And if you know anything about this area in Ohio, there is a resort area there, Put in Bay, there on the lake. It’s very close to Cedar Point. The Catawba Island Resort area is where my first ministry was. And I went there, fresh out of Bible college, not married, kind of bright eyed and having ideals about the way it ought to be. And lo and behold, I was preaching through Ephesians chapter five and presenting this to that assembly there on Catawba Island. I noticed someone rustling around at the back. So afterwards, like pastors are supposed to do, I began greeting folks, talking to them, and the man who had been there rustling around in the back, says to me, “You’re nuts!” And okay, I was young. I was idealistic. I was naive. I was probably more enthusiastic than I was compassionate. But that’s what the response was to this, the first time I preached it over 45 years ago. And doing weddings over those years, I have noticed when I communicate this, there is responses. Responses much like Curtis Vaughn noted in his ministry. He said this, “Many people today object, saying that such a view of marriage is not appropriate for 20th century society.” And of course, we’re in the 21st century now, and it is still increasingly looked at as archaic and ancient and out of touch.
Not only by those outside, when I spoke of these things, but now by some not even very far from here, claiming to be on the inside of the church. In our very town, the idea of not doing transgender, weddings, has been accused of being pharisaical. There is teaching, not very far from here, that says the things that are covered here. Let’s just mention these things that are covered, verse 22, the wife submit to her husband, verse 24, in everything. The husband is head, as Christ is of the church. And verse 31, Therefore for this cause a man shall leave…a man defined in the context of Genesis, which is where that quote comes from, from the very origin of God putting marriage in place in human relationships between Adam and Eve…God says, For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother. The man is already been defined as male, and female as the wife. That’s what he said in that context of Genesis chapter one and two. They leave their male father and female mother and the man, the husband cleaves to his wife. They hang together really tight like glue and the two become one flesh. That is now explained away by saying things like, Well, you see, this was an uneducated society, and women lived in this submissive role, and that now is culturally backwards for us. And the intensity increases.
One of my son’s, when he was getting married, bought a truck. It was a black, ugly, Ford Ranger, you know what those were in his early days of marriage. And as he drove this truck around, he started to talk to me about something he was noticing and said, Dad, this truck keeps getting hit! I’m parked at Walmart and after coming back out, I see the back end is all dented in. And I park at a different place and come back out and it looks like someone has run into it. And I don’t know what’s going on. And he realized, in talking with me, that he had put a sticker on the tailgate of this truck that had this symbol for male and female. And it also said: male plus female equals marriage, along with a Bible quote. It was after he put this bumper sticker on his tailgate that his vehicle started getting hit. And let me share with you this one, which is very recent. For this one, I’m going to call on a friend. This was presented last Sunday morning at Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana, which has been for years, a ministry that is strong on biblical counseling, and is training people around the nation for doing it. They have several ministries of big counseling ministries. There is a training center, and they have ministries of teaching in seminary. They have a Vision of Hope House where young females who’ve had lives destroyed can come and regain hope and direction. They have a ministry of giving guys occupations and jobs to rebuild their lives after they’ve been destroyed. There are several ministries and Pastor Viars spoke about this thing of opposition. The very thing we’re talking about this morning. It’s rather lengthy, because I want you to get the context. He’s speaking about the ministries going on throught his church right now.
(showing video clip of Pastor Viars speaking at Faith on Sunday Jan. 9th) “Every person who was involved in the development and the ongoing growth of any of those ministries would say what, that was because of Jesus Christ strengthening us. By the way, that’s one of the many reasons to oppose this ordinance, 3121, that’s being proposed by the West Lafayette City Council. Now if you’ve not read the ordinance, I want to encourage you to go to that website, I’ll talk to you more about this organization in a little bit, but go to freedomlafayette.org and just start by reading the ordinance. You need to know what it is that the city council is proposing and I might even say threatening to do. And if you read the ordinance, it starts by giving this list of psychological organizations that believe conversion therapy,so called, is harmful to minors experiencing same sex attraction. And the first time I read it, it sounded very much like Daniel chapter three. You remember when King Nebuchadnezzar made this image of gold, stacked it all up and then he demanded that every person come and bow down to it. That’s Daniel 3:4-6, ‘And the herald loudly proclaim, To you the command is given; peoples, nations, men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king is set up. But whoever does not fall down and work worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.” So this ordinance lists nine different professional organizations, starting with the American Psychological Association, and then the American Psychiatric Association until you have this tall image set up of people who have now concluded that so called conversion therapy is harmful to minors, and if an unlicensed person and that’s the key here, if an unlicensed person practices conversion therapy, that counselor should be fined $1,000 per day with a visit from the West Lafayette police department. So in other words, it’s the American Psychological Association where we’re now supposed to find our truth. And the American Psychological Association, thing about this text, where I’m now supposed to find my strength, because after all, those are the experts. Those are the scientists who are qualified to make the discernments and pronouncements about what is truly harmful. Isn’t that interesting? Because those are the exact same people who told us, not that long ago, in their version of the Bible, which is the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, in their volume two. Do you remember what they said? They call homosexuality a “mental disorder”. We didn’t say that. The world said that. And that has not been that long ago, saying that to people sounds kind of harmful to me. How about to you? People associated with those organizations, the secular psychological world, they’re the ones who came up with classical conversion therapy, don’t ever forget that. So what is that? Well, frankly, I’m sorry to have to even define it in the church house. But you need to understand what all of this is about. Classical conversion therapy, conducted by the secular world is connecting electric wires to a person sexual organs, showing them a picture of a person of the same sex and when they’re aroused sexually, shocking them electrically with the belief that somehow that’s going to change their behavior, or do the exact same kind of thing with a jar of ammonia, etc, etc. I don’t know about you, that seems a little harmful too. Now, those same people want to fine biblical counselors $1,000 per day, because they believe that the act of showing a young person what Scripture says about the 2000 year old standard of chastity in singleness, because after all, we’re talking about minors, the 2000 year old standard from the Word of God is chastity in singleness and fidelity in monogamous marriage. When a young person comes voluntarily to us asking for the information, the world is now suggesting that that is somehow harmful to them. And that’s wrong for dozens of reasons. But one of them is the most harmful thing you could ever do to a young person or to anybody else is to deny them access to the Holy Word of God. And that’s why many of us do not want to be licensed by the state. It’s because we want the freedom to point everybody that we talk to to the possibility of establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, because Christ is the one who strengthens us, and gives us the ability to handle human sexuality and every other aspect of our identity in a way that pleases him.” (end of video clip)
Did you pick up what he was talking about? You can look at it in more detail on the website, Lafayettefreedom.org. In West Lafayette, the city council has proposed an ordinance which would fine anybody who is not a licensed counselor by the state $1,000 per day, including parents who would attempt to talk to a child or anyone who would come to them to inquire about transgender, homosexuality, lesbianism, if they attempted to dissuade them. Faith Church is well respected by the leadership here at Heartland, we have been trained by, have been helped by them and so we feel this is important enough to put out an appeal to you all, it’s ordinance 3121 of the city council there in Lafayette. Now that message from Pastor Viars goes on and defines it more in detail. The point that I’m saying is this, that the truth we’re looking at this morning is opposed, it’s spoken against, it’s challenged with intensity. The intensity is so much that people want to get a law enforcing you’re not to be able to speak about this, even as a parent to a child, unless it’s in accord with, affirming, these things. Things that are very contrary to God’s plan and design for husband and wife relationships, marriage. Now, like I said, I do not want to focus on the dark side, because this is conservative Indiana. And that is an ordinance that is not yet been voted on. But it’s been tabled, because an opposition has arisen to this of diverse people.
What I want to focus on, in Ephesians 5:22-33, is what this passage has to present to us as a very positive mission that we have. The mission is very clear. As a matter of fact, look with me at verse number 32. After quoting in verse 31, Genesis 2:24, where God institutes marriage, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and hold fast to his wife, and shall become one flesh”, this man, this woman coming together, one flesh. This mystery, verse 32, is profound. It’s a great mystery. It is something that was formerly hidden, but now unveiled, and I’m speaking concerning Christ, Paul says, and concerning the church. What God is laying out for us here, which is often too often even I have often overlooked this, is the marriage mission that he says is a mystery. And the mystery is solved by this, this is it: spirit filled husbands and wives, carrying out God’s design and plan. That’s going to be our focus, what our focus is to be on God’s mission. And this mission is for everyone, for those who are married, for those who are single, for those who are anticipating marriage, for those who are living and reeling from some difficulties in marriage. And what we’re going to look at this morning in this mission is this 1) On her side of our mission, which God speaks very clearly to concerning His plan and design. And then we’re going to talk about 2) On his side of our mission, which God is extremely forthright. And as a matter of fact, it’s quite eye opening. And then 3) On God’s side of our mission. That’s what we’re going to take up this morning, we’re going to look at the bright side of this, because the bright side is that even though this is opposed and spoken against, we have to understand that’s what Jesus was to be experiencing from the day that he was born and dedicated to the Lord. Do you remember what Simeon said when he took Christ in his arms? He praised God of Christ being the light of revelation to the Gentiles, the glory, the honor, the respect of his people Israel, and then he said to the parents, this child is appointed for the fall and the rising up again of many in Jerusalem. He is a sign, a marker, an indicator who will be opposed. Our mission in this lines up exactly with what Christ’s mission was. It will be, and has been, growingly opposed. But like Christ had a mission, we have a mission. And my, is it powerfully impacting.
Let’s talk about this first from her side. It’s understood, as directed, I want you to go with me to verse number 22. I’m going to read it like the Greek actually says it here. It says, Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord. Now, what do you notice that is missing in the way I just read that? The word submit, because the word submit, the verb there, is not in the verse. It actually says, Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord. The word submit, isn’t there. It is in verse number 24. But in 22, it’s not because the idea here of submit is understood. It’s understood from what has just been said in verses 18 through following. Remember what’s said in verse 18? He says, Don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit of God. This filling with the Spirit of God has evidences that come out in your life. You’re addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, you’re singing and you’re making melody in your heart to the Lord, you’re giving thanks always for everything to God, and you’re submitting to one another, out of reverence, respect for Christ and who he is. And then immediately he starts to talk to wives and he says, Wives, understanding that he’s talking about submission, to your own husbands as to the Lord. Here’s the point that I want to be made here. To be spirit filled, with the evidences of it, is to be the context of marriage, of her side, being spirit filled with those evidences, making melody in your heart, being spirit filled with giving thanks for everything, being spirit filled in submitting to one another, specifically wives to husbands. It’s understood, it’s to be what is present for us.
The wife, under the influence of the spirit, taking her life along, voluntarily submits to her husband. It’s explained this way, verse 23, for the husband is the head as Christ is the head of the church. Submitting to one another, specifically wives to husbands. I want you to know that this idea of submitting is not something that is forced or coerced. This is from the heart of the wife, a voluntary action that she undertakes. And she undertakes this not because of relative ability or skill. But out of assignment, it’s not ability. It’s assignment. It’s for order and operation. So the idea is like, when you’re in class. Have you ever noticed that when classes are going somewhere someone usually says, This is the leader, let’s everyone arrange ourselves behind the leader. We even had that in football. And I remember our coach one time getting very, very upset with us. Because we didn’t have a leader, I remember it very well, coming up from junior high into freshmen, high school football, they took our two star athletes and move them up to varsity, so that the freshmen and the junior varsity teams didn’t have them anymore. This was our leading running backs. These were the guys who kind of set the pace and the tone. So for the next two high school years, freshmen and junior varsity football, we didn’t have our leaders. And then when we moved up as juniors into varsity football, suddenly those two guys had been playing, no longer as leaders, because they were with seniors and juniors as freshmen, they just kind of went along. So when we came up, they weren’t our leaders anymore. Matter of fact, we didn’t have any leaders. And we didn’t line up behind them. Oh they could say this is the captain, but that never got established that there was this voluntary thing in our heart of lining up because this was just the arrangement of it. For the wife, it is the voluntary, lining up not because of ability or inability, but because of assignment. And is explained by, do this to the husband who is head as Christ is head. It’s the assignment. It is a voluntary, not forced or coerced. It’s assignment, not ability or inability.
Now I’m going to quote someone who is rather renowned on this topic, his name you’ve heard a few times here. This is John MacArthur. And he says this just to substantiate what I’m saying. “The command is unqualified, applying to every Christian wife, no matter what her own abilities, education, knowledge of Scripture, spiritual maturity, or any other qualification might be in relation to those of her husband. The submission is not the husband’s to command but for the wife to willingly”, voluntarily, “and lovingly offer.” This submission is to her own husband, “to the one man God has placed over her, and also gives a balancing emphasis that he is hers as a personal intimate possession. She submits to him as to the Lord.” Now, this is where the chafing comes in inside the church, with feminism, Christian feminism saying, That was for that culture because women weren’t educated and they weren’t allowed to be developed and to grow. But it’s not cultural. Matter of fact, this isn’t the only place the Bible talks about this, it talks about this in Genesis, it talks about it in Peter, it talks about it in different passages. The purpose is for order and for operation not because of ability and education. It’s an assignment.
And there’s a point that I want to emphasize right here, that it looks different in different people’s marriages. It’s always submission, the voluntarily lining up behind her husband and going along. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t open her mouth. That would be against the scriptures. Proverbs 31:26 says “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue”. She speaks her point of view, she does it wisely. Like we see people in the Scriptures, wives in the Scriptures doing, sometimes for very foolish man, wives are doing this and helping. She does this. And it looks differently in different marriages, depending on the need that she is fulfilling, the need in her husband, the need in her family, the help that she is fitted to be and to do, the submission looks different. For example, the wife may be completely in charge of the finances, it’s an assignment of this as her allotment because it’s the need. But it’s voluntary on her part, maybe that he’s an accountant, and she has no need to be handling those funds like, it looks different. And it can look different. But it always is this, the voluntary lining up of the female behind the male who is the head, not because of ability but because of assignment, just like Christ is the head of the church.
Final point on her side of the mission, its modeled. It’s modeled in verse 24. The mission of this is to model, notice what he says, verse 24, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands”. It’s modeling. It’s the mission we have. It’s the mission to model all over the world, every culture, every location, where the Gospel goes and believers are, there are these little models that are set up all over with various differences, depending on the personality and the abilities. But they are all set up, all over the place, these little models of what the relationship is that God has established for human beings, a relationship with Him, Christ. And the church is being modeled, the relationship that God has, made available for people through Christ and the church, is held out, to be seen. That’s why he starts verse 24 by saying, “as the church submits to Christ”, that’s how this is to be. It’s to be modeled. Even if it’s opposed, and it is. It is to model the spirit filled church, making melody in its heart, speaking to each other, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs that build up, with thanks giving in everything, submitting, submitting even if it’s opposed, it’s the model. And quite frankly, that it is opposed shouldn’t shock us. Because Christ was given as the sign of God to be opposed, to be talked against, laughed at, mocked, insulted, it’s going to be, it’s going to be.
Now let’s go to the other side of this, on his side of our mission, his side of our mission. The direction here is given, it’s directed and it’s short and to a point, verse 25a tells the totality of it. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church”. The love here that is used is that well known agape word. We all know what agape is, right? It’s the word for love that God coined. He actually made this word appear in the New Testament, used by the apostles first time ever, and it has circulated everywhere from that. The word agape is a love of decision. It’s a love, not of feelings, not of emotions, not of stimulation in a sensual sense, it is a love of decision, to do what’s best for this other person, regardless of how you feel, regardless of the consequences that may come. It is the love of decision and short and to the point, the mission in marriage, on his side, is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Modeled for us guys, this is modeled for us guys, it is modeled by Christ and his actions. Notice what it says verse 25, “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. The action is clear. Christ loved her, he demonstrated this and gave up his life. When this is talked about in Philippians, chapter two, it calls for us to have the other persons concerns more important than your own. Look not only for your own interest, but for the others. Counting them as more important than your own, have this mind in you that was in Christ. Though he had the position equal with God, he gave it up. And he came to the point of service, the service that he gave himself up to the cross, even the death of the cross. That is our salvation, that is looking out for our need. That is the model. That is the model that we have. That we, as husbands, give ourselves up to her, our wife’s, interests.
I want you to know this is powerful. This is powerful. I remember out in Illinois, the Lord granted the church that I was in, because it was a small area, the Lord granted us the opportunity to have a radio ministry. And we would actually broadcast every single day over the radio. Sometimes we’d do 15 minute segments, we divided that into five, three minutes segments because it radio is more like snippets that you catch. And I remember doing things in a series where I talked about God’s plan and design for marriage. And I remember one day, after that being broadcast, being out and about and there was this one lady who came up to me and she said she was a feminist, and she heard me on the radio, it was a small town and she said, I want you to know that if I met a guy who filled what you said about love, I’d submit to him. That just about took me off my feet. Because it’s a powerful thing. And it’s a need and it’s modeled.
And we can model it and God has a purpose here. It’s a purpose that’s even in the present. This is a past demonstration, that you love her to the point of making decisions that are contrary to what you want and what you feel, for her. It’s demonstrated from your past, more than words, it’s demonstrated. And then being demonstrated, it has a present practice, a present purpose in it. Look at what he says, this is the purpose, verse number 26, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”. The model here is Christ. That’s the model for us. His purpose is to set her apart to God and His ways in increasing measure, taking her farther and farther and farther down the road on God and His ways for us, which are the best ways even though they are opposed and spoken against in the world, even in the church, that we sanctify her. Guys, I have a question here. Your leadership, with your wife, in your family, whatever the age, question for you. Are you presently helping her to go increasingly God’s way at a cost to yourself? That’s the model to sanctify her. And he says for the future, to present to Christ. Look at what he says in verse 27, “so that he might present the church to himself in all her splendor, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, that she should be holy and blameless.”
Now you have to know a little bit about marriage then and their customs then. You see, it’s much like the custom that we have only ours is very abbreviated. We all draw together, we have him come in, we have the preacher come in that’s going to do the wedding or however we set it up, and then all of a sudden this specific music. And what happens? All of a sudden, folks stand up, and they turn and they look, and doors open, or she steps around the corner. And there she is. The bride being presented, I want you to know, the Jewish culture was even more dramatic than that. We do that dramaticlly for effect. And I’m glad, I think it’s a good thing. The Jewish culture was even more dramatic than that. Because they would have this whole parade and the wife coming to be presented there. And then there would be other changes. And he goes and gets her and brings her back to it. I mean, it was even more dramatic than what we have.
And what he’s saying here, in the future, the purpose of this, demonstrating love beyond words, is that she knows, she gets it, you do make decisions contrary to the way you feel. And you think, regardless of self, for her good. The husbands present purpose is to take her increasingly God’s way so that ultimately, she is presented to Christ, without spot or wrinkle. Spot is something from the outside that gets on you, like in the world, the world’s way, it gets on us. And wrinkle is something that comes up from the loss of elasticity in your skin. It’s called decay, getting older, everything goes south, down, including your eyelids, down they go. Have you noticed this? I’ve noticed it. No such thing, no spot from the outside, no internal decay when we’re presented to Christ. Now that’s accomplished with Christ. But Christ is our model in our actions with our wives. This is what we’re doing. This is the marriage mission. It’s caused, to be happening by, being spirit filled. Warren Wiersbe says very, very clearly that all of us are born selfish. It’s always my interest. You see that with kids. Right now we’ve got some grandkids and when they get together it’s like, I want that toy! Well, that’s my toy! I want it though! And you know, you have to train that out of them, right? You don’t have to say, Okay, get more selfish, go grab things harder, you know, be more aggresive. You don’t need to do that. Because it’s born into us. But when we’re born of the Spirit, Spirit filled, that’s what accomplishes this. And even though it’s opposed, and by the way, it will be, Jesus was opposed, spoken against. This is where we go.
Let me add this, applied to life now, it looks like this, verse 28 and 29. He says this, “In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own body. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just like Christ does the church”. Applied it’s this, guys when you so love the wife, it’s you that your loving, because God made you one flesh. When you take care of her, you’re taking care of yourself. And the way you do this is that you nourish her. Now, this is something in this message that I have needed to rethink, because there are some things that I’ve done with my wife over the years to kind of stimulate her growth, but things have changed. And now it’s a new dimension that I need to enter in. And this really provoked me to think, I’ve got to re-do this, to nourish and to cherish, a warm affection that expresses care and concern for her, nourish and cherish. It’s warm expressions of affection. You know, this is why that feminist woman said to me, If I found a guy who would do that, I’d submit to him. That’s pretty amazing. It’s powerful. It’s powerful. And by the way guys, when you do this, when you grow her, you’re also sanctifying your own family, according to 1 Corinthians 7:14. You are dedicating them to God and His way.
Finally, this God’s side. God’s side of our mission is this. He does this first of all, as directed from the origin of marriage, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve would have asked God, Mother? Father? What are you talking about? Father, mother, For this cause show a man leave his father and mother, Adam and Eve didn’t have a physical father and mother. They didn’t have that. God is speaking to us in posterity, in their descendants when he says this, in the origin of marriage, he made that point. But Paul’s point here, as is understood, this great mystery, this great mystery, two becoming one, here’s what I’m talking about. Look with me after he quotes verse 31, he says in verse 32, “This mystery is profound”. It’s great. But what I’m talking about here is Christ. What I’m talking about here is Christ and His Church. It’s Christ and his Church being modeled. Folks look at this. He speaks more in this passage about Christ and the church being modeled. He speaks about it seven times in this passage, that Christ and the church are being modeled. Everwhere, all over the world, these little models are being set up, of the relationship with God as it’s being modeled, husband to wife, Christ to the church. This is his intent. This is the mission of marriage. It’s profound, but it’s Christ and the church.
“However”, he says, verse 33, “let each one of you love his wife as himself”. It doesn’t mean you love it like your own body. You’ll love her as part of you, because she is, “as himself, and let the wife see that she respects”, the same word he used in verse 21 when he brought this all in, “respects her husband”. Reverence her husband, like for Christ. And the idea is not because he is so reverent and respectable. But it’s because of her respect for Christ. Folks, the positive side of this is now on display from all of us, if we’re getting ready for marriage, or if we’ve been in marriage, or if we’re trying to handle the things that are there, like the fallout from marriage, if you are married, you are displaying Christ and the church, right where you live. As we conclude here this morning, I want to say that I know there are guys in our church who have this and are growing in this and have made it their commitment to model, model as the marriage mission what this is. I know and it’s so needed. But unless you’ve fully arrived, we’ve all got room to grow. Anybody got room to grow? Anybody in a need to grow? I’m there, room to grow.