Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ephesians 5:25 Sermon Outline

God’s New Family: An Exposition of Ephesians (XLIX)
God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (4)
Love Your Wife (1)
Ephesians 5:25-29
Introduction (review):
1. We are studying now a section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-6:9), dealing with our household relationships from a Christian perspective. If we are God’s new community, then what should our family life look like. How are we to be different from the world? Paul tells us here. He deals with husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and servants – the sphere of the household in biblical and Mediterranean culture. The timeliness of this for us is obvious. Our culture can’t even seem to define marriage! Much less agree upon the dynamics of husband-wife marital roles and the discipline of children.
2. "The Christian life has to be lived at home. This is the theme of the whole passage we are studying. Paul is not dealing with any other subject. . . . Paul is talking about our homes. Why does he spends so much time on this subject? It is because it can be said of too many professing Christians: ‘he is a saint abroad but a devil at home.’ . . . The apostle sets his face against such inconsistency. Home is where we are known the best, misunderstood the most and are constantly open to scrutiny and criticism. But it is supremely here that the Christian life has to be lived, because it is here that the gospel is put to its severest test. If the gospel is unable to transform people at home, we must conclude that it is unable to transform people at all. Ungodly behavior here shames the gospel. He whose light shines furthest, shines brightest nearest home.’" (Olyott)
3. Today we commence a series of studies of Ephesians 5:25-29, a passage that spells out God’s expectations for Christian husbands.

4. Note the outline of Paul’s argument in this passage:
1. The Command - Love your wives (25a)
2. Analogy #1 - Like Christ loved the church (25b)
a. Purpose of Christ loving the church - to sanctify her (26)
b. Ultimate goal - the glory of the church in holiness and perfection (27)
3. Analogy #2 - Love your wife in the same way you take care of yourself (28a)
a. Elaboration #1 - in a real sense you are caring for your own self when you love your wife
b. Elaboration #2 - that means, specifically, nourishing and cherishing her (29)

5. An important preface to our study:
(1) I speak to you not as one who has arrived but as a fellow traveler.
(2) As we address God’s design for marriage and family, and for husbands and wives, we need to acknowledge complexity and variety of the issues involved and the circumstances of hearers - widows and widowers, those who have been married a long time and those who have not, those who are now or have been separated and divorced, those who are single and happy about it or single and who want to be married, those who are believers married to unbelievers or to very immature Christians, those who are in happy marriages and difficult marriages, and those who are the children, parents, siblings and friends of the above.
(3) This is about marriage in light of the Gospel, marriage in light of union with Christ, and even marriage in light of the atonement.
(4) Our study is an opportunity for change, but also an opportunity for disaster - if we leave here today or in the weeks to come saying to one another "This is how you have failed me" then there’s trouble coming. If we leave here thinking "This is how I’ve failed you, and I’m determined, by God’s grace, to grow in love and service" then there are huge possibilities for blessing. Our attitude must be: how many I serve you (not "how am I being served") and "you first" (not "me first").

God calls Christian husbands to a radical, God-originated, Gospel-based, Grace-empowered, Christ-emulating, self-denying love for our wives
— in which we seek to serve our wives and to care for our wives’ best spiritual and temporal interests

I. God’s Command to Christian Husbands: Love!
[Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church] (25)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her

A. It is interesting that God says not make sure you lead her, but rather make sure you love her (this does not, of course, contradict what we have already learned about the household order established by God. The husband is, as head, to give spiritual leadership in the home).
B. So what does that love look like? How are we supposed to love?
C. What is Christ’s love for the church like? Well, observe the following (Paul's explicit emphasis falls on #5 and #7, in Ephesians 5:25-29):

1. Unmerited love (Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2. Intense love (Luke 22:15) And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
3. Unending love (John 13:1) Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
4. Unselfish love (Philippians 2:6-7) although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
5. Purposeful love (Ephesians 5:26-27) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
6. Manifested love (John 16:33) "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
7. Sacrificial love (John 15:13) "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
[Thanks to Wayne Mack in Strengthening Your Marriage for many of these seven ideas and references]

1 comment:

Paul Schafer said...

Pastor Ligon,

How does being filled with the Spirit correlate with me, loving my wife "just as" Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her?