God’s Keys to Marriage – Loving Leadership (1 Pet 3:7)


Ben Tellinghuisen - July 13, 2014

God's Keys to Marriage - Loving Leadership (1 Pet 3:7)

Transcript: Success magazine polled its readers about what were the most important factors for success in life. In general, what [were] the most important factors for success in life and here’s the results: 89.9% said that the most important factor for success was good relationship with family. The second was a good relationship with spouse, also basically 89.6%. Very close to that was 86% was good relationship with God. And, what you think might be on the top of the list in the US – freedom to do what you want – well that got nearly 30 points less at 61%. Isn’t it amazing to see, even from a completely secular viewpoint, that the world recognizes the importance of maintaining our closest of relationships? See, it’s crucial for success in everything we do these relationships we have with our family, with our wife. We see God designed us for relationships. From the very beginning this is what God has created men and women and mankind to do. It’s to have relationships. We even see evidence in the Trinity before creation, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit all dwelt together in perfect unity and harmony and in a perfect relationship for all eternity. And so, we see interaction within the Trinity is the sweetest of relationships with zero sin and sweet fellowship, and yet even in the Trinity, there are different roles. There are headship and submission roles even within the Godhead. God the Father is the Head and God the Son submits to God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit serves the Father and the Son and yet all three are equally and eternally God. And so, we learned last week that one of the God’s keys to marriage, this is really a second part of last week’s sermon, God’s keys to marriage last week was submission on the hand of the wife. Well, this week we’re going to be God’s key’s to marriage is loving leadership. And so we know the context also indicates that submission is not only key for honoring God in your marriages, but it’s the key for honoring God in your workplaces according to chapter 2, verses 18 and following, and then it’s also key to having a successful life with regards to your government in relation to the government in chapter 2, verse 13-17. And so we’ve seen that submission is God’s design for us to have that sort of relationship in many areas of life. Well, this week Peter addresses husbands. This is really the first authority group that he chooses to address and assured to have the largest representation in the churches because I’m sure as he’s writing to these churches there aren’t too many government officials that he’s writing to so he’s not addressing the authority part of the authority and submission in the government relationship, and there wouldn’t have been as many wealthy people who owned slaves. But, virtually anybody who had a husband and a wife relationship would have had a husband and wife headship and submission issue there and so Peter chooses to address husbands because there are many husbands to which he is writing. As we’ll see, not only is submission key to Godly relationships, but so too is loving, servant leadership. And that’s really the theme today – loving, servant leadership. That’s what God calls husbands to have as our role in the marriage. When we learn to interact in relationships God’s way, we’ll be fast headed towards God’s blessing to sweet relationship success not only in our marriages but in every other relationship in life – at your job or with friends or co-workers. Now, we see from the very beginning God has made it clear that he designed for relationships, as I already mentioned. The evidence is in God’s regular communication with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He had a sweet relationship with them, and we also see the relationship that God established with Adam and Eve themselves. We see this in the very beginning – if you want to turn to Genesis, we’ll just look at a couple of verses. You see, God created Adam first and Adam was alone and was naming all the animals and those animals were made, of course, in pairs – a male and a female pair – and he quickly realized that there was not an adequate helper for him. And so you see, chapter 2 of Genesis, verse 18 (Genesis 2:18), God said this: “Then the Lord God said, ‘it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.’” And so He takes, of course, the rib out of Adam and fashions Eve and then He presents Eve to Adam and here’s what the man said in verse 23 of chapter 2 in Genesis (Genesis 2:23), “The man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.’” And so we see instant poetry. I don’t know about you but that’s not what first comes to my lips. Poetry is hard to compose and yet Adam immediately waxes eloquently and has a poetic response to this presentation of his wife. He says, “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man,” and it sounds a lot better in Hebrew as far as the poetry is concerned. But, it was a wonderful exclamation of the blessing that God has provided for him. And so, you see back in verse 18 that God designed a helper that was ‘fit’ for Adam. Well, we see that from the beginning here that Adam was given the headship role. He was the one that named the animals; he was the one that had the authority to do that. He actually named Eve as well and so there is a sense that Adam was given this headship role, we see that in 1 Timothy 2:13 that because Adam was created first, he was called the head. We also see that Eve was a helper fit for Adam, not the other way around. And so Eve was the perfect helpmate for Adam. Well, quickly this esteemed position is vacated by Adam, as we will see in Genesis 3. See, in Genesis, chapter 3 Satan engages Eve, not Adam, even though Adam was with Eve. He twists, he maligns and he misrepresents and misquotes God’s word. He doesn’t even rebuke him, but engages him and eventually is deceived. You know the Puritan proverb, “When Adam was away, Eve fell astray.” Well, that’s not exactly how it went. You see, the Bible records that as she was arguing with Satan, as Eve was ultimately agreeing with Satan and then conspiring with Satan to disobey, dishonor, and disregard God’s commands, Adam was there all along. Look at Genesis, chapter 3, verse 6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a light to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate and she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate.” And so you see, from that point onward, this wonderful God-designed relationship turned sour with the consequences of sin. Women have pain in childbearing, try to rule and manipulate men, and men have a more difficult time working and prone to abdicate their God-given leadership responsibilities in the home. So, that’s the context that we find even our marriages in today. As men, we are supposed to lead, we’re supposed to love our wives perfectly, but our precious wives resist and we are far from perfect leaders. And as men, we tend toward two extremes. We tend toward the passive cowardice extreme like Adam, or the overbearing, chauvinistic, pig-headedness on the other side. If you’re like me, there are times and circumstances where each side rear their ugly head. The best fix is to realize when you’re wrong, to realize when you are falling into one of these extremes, and in order to realize it’s helpful to bring some of those bad examples to light. And as I was reading this week, preparing for the sermon, that’s exactly what a number of authors and preachers did that would outline a various different stereotypes of men, of chauvinists and cowards. And so, that’s what I’m going to do first for you just because I think it’s helpful for us to recognize these bad attributes in our own lives. So first we’re going to look at the four different chauvinistic character traits. We’re going to call it “Don’t be that guy.” Don’t be that guy – the chauvinist. Well, the first guy we’re talking about is the “Whatever mom is… I’m not” guy. This is the guy who views masculinity as the opposite of femininity. [He] can never participate in a sport that you have to point your toes to begin, right? You can’t wear clothes that actually fit, you have to wear baggy clothes because that’s what women do. Real men, they ride their Harleys, they shoot guns, they hunt, they participate in sports, they pass gas the stinkiest. They can’t hug, they can’t kiss you, they can’t say, “I love you.” They can’t cook, they can’t clean, they can’t change the children’s diapers. Well, this type of man, this “Whatever mom is… I’m not” guy is terrible in marriages, because he’s the one who’s unable and unwilling to help his wife. There’s no tenderness there, there’s no affection to the kids, or wife for that matter. He often has a very, very hard time expressing himself. Well, a second negative attitude of “Don’t be that guy,” is “Let’s get back me” guy. This is the “Let’s get back to me” guy. This is the guy who says, “Well, that’s good Bob. I hope your wife recovers from cancer. Did I tell you about my new car? I might get a promotion too.” For this guy, success is primarily about work. It’s about money and success at home is making sure everyone is wearing nice clothes, that they have fancy cars, that they have a great vacation planned, that everyone puts on a happy face when they go out. It’s a good looking, put together family. But this chauvinist is never home. His family, his wife are more a part of his image than his life. This guy lives like it’s all about him. The third guy we aren’t to be is the “Yeah, I work out. You better watch out” guy. This is the guy who walks through doors sideways. His arms are always propped open like he just bench-pressed, even if it’s been several weeks since he’s done so. This is the guy that when you were younger he would have been known as “The Enforcer.” The guy that you don’t mess with him, you don’t mess with his friends because he’s going to lay the ‘smack down’ type of a guy. And even as this type of guy gets older and rather stereotypically larger because all of that muscle goes straight there, it still rears its head in an ugly situation. The family, sadly this type of man is quick to raise his voice, is quick to get angry, some actually hit wives and children. Many threaten; raise their hand to physically threaten their spouse. Sometimes they physically restrain their family members or give them ‘the look’ with the terrifying anger in their eyes as if to say, “You better not say what you’re about to say.” And the family lives in fear of men like this. You don’t have to be huge or some massive, ripped man to struggle with anger. See, lashing out in anger is a very common problem. It can be the smaller guys who struggle with this as well – lashing out to those who are weaker than they are. This angry and abusive man makes a terrible husband and terrible father. Well, the fourth chauvinistic guy that we should not aim to be is the “You’ll have to kill me before I think I’m wrong” guy. Once it comes out of this guy’s mouth, there is no going back. “No, seriously 4+4 is 9 in some countries,” he might say. And when it comes to submitting to leadership in their lives, there’s absolutely no way. This is the man who has to start his own business, not because he’s some great business man but because there’s no way that he’s going to listen to anybody else in his workplace. Well, this guy exists in churches as well. They come in and they immediately volunteer to lead in ministry and they won’t serve in ministry unless they’re leading. They’re always doubting what the leadership is doing. This type of man, according to one pastor, he writes about this type of man, he “bounce around from church to church because they couldn’t find a pastor stupid enough to listen to them.” And some of these guys end up setting up “house churches” and have church at their home because they can’t find a church that, you know, fits their ideas of what church needs to look like. Being married to this man, as you can expect, could be a real trial. Well, it’s not just the chauvinists that exist and it’s not just that chauvinistic tendencies that we can struggle with as men, well, it’s also the “passive cowards.” So here’s “Don’t be that guy: The passive coward list.” First is, “Is there something wrong with living in my mom’s basement for the rest of my life?” guy. This is the guy who never grows up; his mom does his laundry and everyone says, “He’s just a sweet kid. He’s just a nice, nice fellow. He doesn’t say anything mean. He’s just a soft spoken… Jobs? Well, I might get a job here and there. That full time work… Man, that’s just so hard. It’s draining. I need my rest.” This type of guy is the one who says, “You know what? I can’t have a job right now because I’m finishing up my college degree and I know it’s taking ten years but I really got to study hard for this next exam that’s coming up. It’s 8 months away but I really got to study for this.” This is the guy who is the grand master expert in all the latest video games. Well, some women actually fall for this guy and she’s the one who has the house and the job and he volunteers when the time comes to be a stay at home dad. “After all, you got a better job than I do, so let me just follow what I should be doing in my heart and that’s to stay at home with the kids. I love kids.” The reason why [he] loves kids is because he is one. Well the “Passive Cowards: Don’t be that guy,” another example is the “I got the class clown award in High School” guy. This is the guy who’s always, always making a joke. He can’t to somebody without a joke coming out. And he’s completely unable to have a serious conversation, and at home, as you know it’s impossible to be funny all the time so this type of man frequently let’s his wife deal with the important matters while he tools away his time on the TV, on internet, on his hobbies, or some sort of job. Well, another passive type of man that we may struggle with at times is the “I have the answer to all your problems” guy, and at first blush you might think that this is something that should belong on the other list because this man is that every interaction, he turns it into a personal therapy session. He thinks he has the answer to every single one of your problems. You say, “Well, I got this trouble coming up.” “Oh, well here’s what God says about this here and here’s how you should really be thinking about this here,” and he seems to answer every single problem that you have and he always thinks he has the answer. He puts on the guise of being spiritual often and can talk about theology. He might be well read Biblically and sometimes these types of guys are soft spoken, very somber, very serious. He takes himself too seriously at times, you may think he has the soundtrack of the Gladiator going through his mind as he’s walking through life. [Whispering, lightly talking to himself] “I’ve got everything under control. It’s a war, I know what to do here.” He’s quick to talk about theory, quick to solve everyone else’s problems, but in life, in marriage, in family, this type of man creates a mess. Never has truly a close relationship with wife or family because he doesn’t listen – just always talking – so he’s not leading and his wife doesn’t follow. [He] create[s] a very difficult situation. Quite frankly it’s easy for pastors to get into this particular trap. Well, the fourth passive cowardice type of guy that we shouldn’t be is the “I’m the bread winner, period” guy. This is the guy who holds down a job, comes home every night and then checks out, is silent, sits in his Lazy-Boy, picks up the remotes, he passes the time, reads the paper, watches the news, and his interaction with the kids is limited to a kiss on the forehead before they go to bed, his wife showers them and bring them before dad. “Go in peace, my son.” And they go to bed. He doesn’t talk, he keeps to himself, he’s not leading his home. He just brings home the bacon and thinks that he’s doing enough just by working in that way. Now again, these are stereotypes and quite frankly, not many of us fall into one of these stereotypes, but if we’re honest, men, we struggle with several of these stereotypes at many different times in our lives. We can fall into one or more of these. Sometimes we’re utterly chauvinistic and really 5 minutes later, we can be completely abdicating our leadership. So men, you need to recognize your struggle in these categories if you’re going to have any hope of changing. So with our faults clearly before us, we need to learn how to positively, lovingly lead our wives. What should we then be doing? Well, we’re going to look at one verse, like I already mentioned, in 1 Peter this morning that is quickly becoming my life verse the more I realize that this is a lifelong process of nurturing the most precious relationship that I will ever have, my marriage. And so, we’ll see in this passage 5 ways to loving lead your wives and the basic command is here: Husbands, love your wives. Husbands, love your wives. Husbands, Love your Wives: 5 Ways to Loving Lead your Wives. We’re going to see 5 ways in which we can lovingly lead our wives and I’m admittedly borrowing this command to love from other passages in the Bible, which we’ll get to in a little bit, Ephesians 5:25 commands husbands to love their wives, and so that’s where we’re getting this main command here. Well, the first way in which we can love our wives is to love her with understanding. I) Love Her with Understanding (v. 7a) We see that at the very beginning of verse 7: “Love her with understanding.” He says, “Likewise husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.” Live with your wives in an understanding way. Now he begins this passage with ‘likewise’ here, because at this point he is making connection to wives what was previously said. He had just finished addressing wives in saying, “You have a role, wives, in your marriage. Likewise men, you have a role as well. And here’s what this role is: Likewise husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.” Literally, in the Greek you could translate this, ‘live together according to knowledge.’ Now if you have the NIV or some other translations in front of you, you might see that it says, “Be considerate as you live with your wife,” and of course you need to have some knowledge of your spouse to be considerate, but the idea is actually much more broad in greek. You got to know and understand a lot about your wife. And quite frankly, this doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a lifelong process. So, I want to ask you: do you know your wife? Are you constantly studying her – her likes, her dislikes, her desires? For example, I know my wife hates pickles, and I know she loves dark chocolate. Okay, and so if I come home with a milk chocolate bar with a hamburger from Five Guys Burger and Fries loaded with extra pickles, that would be unwise of me, wouldn’t it? Because I know my wife and if I know my wife and I want to love my wife, I’m going to pay attention to what she likes and what she doesn’t like. And by the way, these things can change over time. Just remember when your wife was pregnant. Yes, those things can change in an instant. I also know that my wife enjoys surprises. You know, those well planned dates. The ones that you used to do before you were married right? Those were the ones that she enjoys. But knowledge is more than just simple knowledge of likes and dislikes. It can mean her greatest source of spiritual encouragement. What really encourages your wife? What is her greatest source of joy? What is her greatest source of satisfaction in life? What [are] her goals - personal goals? What are her weaknesses? What are her temptations? What are her emotional tipping points? We all have them and yes, ladies, you have them, I know you do. And when you, men, realize that your wife is approaching that emotional tipping point and you know and recognize that, do you stick through that and encourage her or do you just run away. “I got to get away now.” No, we got to be those who constantly are there for our wives, helping them in every situation. Do you love her enough to gently walk with her in every difficult situation? Well, notice also it says in verse 7 that you are to “live with your wives.” Live with your wives. This is an ongoing, day in and day out reality. This will most definitely involve endurance. Endurance because marriage is for a lifetime. We are those who are day in and day out living with our wives, studying our wives, trying to understand what are wives are like, how we can best serve them today, which is different than maybe we can best serve them yesterday. And even as sin complicates and sours relationships, we need to continue to seek to know your most precious wife. Living with that knowledge is not just gathering information but applying it to better serve, love, and cherish your wife. Well as we live with our wives, we are also to be living with our wives in great humility as well. As you get to know her, it’s not just to romance her or to have her make you your favorite dish or to get something from her, but at all times we need to be those who are seeking to know our wives even if it means we get nothing in return. Do everything you can to know your wife. Patience is another way in which we need to know our wife. We need to be those who are asking good questions, questions that get to the heart of the matter. Not just, “how do you feel?” questions but, “Why do you feel that way? What’s going on? Help me understand.” This is often difficult even for us to discern how or why we think or do what we do and the wife is no different. That’s why it’ll be a lifelong process that you and your wife will grow together, closer and closer over time. We need to be those who continue to patiently study her. This point, I think it’s good to say, women, many of you women in the audience, be grateful for some of these attributes in your husband and if you are not married, look for a man who is like this, who is putting on and pursuing these type of characteristics and if you are married, praise your husband as he is pursuing this and help him to patiently work his way through, putting off some of these difficulties or chauvinistic or passive ways. We want to be those who are encouraging our husbands. It’s also, “live with him in an understanding way.” Well, husbands often come home and ask the standard question, “how’s your day?” ‘How’s your day’ questions, right? - Just because that’s what we do. One young mom put her response in writing. Here’s what she said: “How was my day? Well, today has been a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. There were moments when my heart was so full, I thought I might explode. And there were other moments when my senses were under such intense assaults that I was certain that I’d explode. I was both lonely and absolutely desperate to be alone. I was saturated, just bombarded with touch, and then the second I put down this baby, I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed with so much to do. Today was too much and not enough. It was loud and silent. It was brutal and beautiful. I was at my very best today, and then just a moment later, at my very worst. At 3:30 today, I decided that we should adopt four more children, and then at 3:35 I decided that we should give up the kids that we already have for adoption. Husband, when your day is completely and totally dependent upon the moods and needs and schedules of tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats, your day is all of these things, and none of these things – sometimes within the same 3 minute period. But I’m not complaining. This is not a complaint, so don’t try to fix it. I wouldn’t have my day any. Other. Way. I’m just saying – it’s a hard thing to explain – an entire day with lots of babies. But I’d be too tired to say all that so I’d just cry, or yell, or smile and say “fine.” And so husbands, we need to be those who are trying to fair it out of our wives these responses. We need to be getting to heart of the matter. “What’s wrong, honey?” So she’s yelling and assumed that there’s something else behind why she’s yelling. She’s crying, it’s hardly a simple matter. We need to ask those good questions. Ask “why are you feeling this way?” And above all – listen when your wife talks. [It’s] so easy to ask a question and go in one ear and out the other. So we need to be those who are loving her with understanding, patiently and with humility and endurance seeking to know and understand our wives in a closer and closer way every day. II) Love Her with Honor (v. 7b) Well, we also need to be those who love her with honor. We see this in the second part of verse 7. Husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way “showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel.” Showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel. The word ‘wife’ here is actually not used but the word ‘woman’ or the one who’s intrinsically feminine by nature is used and that’s because Peter wants to focus more on the common delicacies found in the fairer gender, not just your wife in particular. And that’s because wives here, and women in general, are considered the weaker vessels and this can mean several different things. Most people understand this to mean that most women are physically weaker than their husbands. That’s not always the case, I know some pretty strong women out there and some pretty weak men, but that’s a general rule – women are physically weaker than men. We also see that women are weaker in the marriage relationship. See, women have just been called to submit to their husbands and so they’re in a place of more vulnerability than men because they have just been given this command, and so there’s a sense in which they’re the weaker vessel in that regard. And some people would say that women would be weaker emotionally and some say, “Well, you can express emotions, women, and that’s a good thing. But we also know that as you express emotions that are more sensitive to them, if emotions are unchecked, they can rule your actions and that’s not a good thing either.” So, there’s several ways, and it’s complicated in understanding how women can be weaker than men. But I’ve heard it described like this: Men are thick German steins. You know the real thick glass ones that are about a quarter inch thick? You throw them against the table and they clink and so what – a chip gets off? It’s not a big deal. Women are like a delicate French champagne flute. So, the idea is that they’re so much more delicate – we need to handle them with much care and much esteem because we’re not going to throw a champagne flute along the table, are we? It would break. It would fall. However you look at it, it’s because women are generally weaker in a variety of areas that they should be shown higher honor. Now ‘honor’ here is assumed if something is weaker, delicate, and in many ways, more precious. Notice it also says, “Show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel.” This is an active command. This is something you are to pursue. It’s not passive. Some people think that, especially men think that, “You know, I don’t drink with the guys. I don’t go out and commit adultery. I don’t abandon my kids; therefore, I’m honoring my wife,” but that same husband maybe looking at porn, maybe completely absent in his relationship at home. See men; remember there’s always some worse lowlife than you, and an absence of doing the lowlife things in this life is not honoring your wife. It’s something active that you have to pursue. It’s something that you got to think and plan about. So yeah, that means we should be chivalrous. We should be those who let a lady go first, who open up the door. We want to be chivalrous especially to our wives. We want to be complimenting them in public, in front of the kids. Something I’m constantly working on is I try to praise Leah at mealtime in front of the kids. I say, “This meal is awesome! Thank you so much, Leah, for making this. Eli, can you say thank you to Mommy?” I’m trying to teach him to say the same thing. I don’t always do it and I fail often in that regard, but it’s something that we’re trying to work on. We should be complementing our wives in public and in front of everyone. We should be affirming God’s work in our lives. Be effusive with your praise of a God that responds to a situation that your wife might have or a God that response that your wife might have to a certain difficult individual. Be effusive with your praise. Show and point out evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in her life. Commend her character, her gifts, her accomplishments. So honor is not actively expressed is really not honor at all. Just as gratitude not expressed is not gratitude. Make your honor for your precious, sweet wife evident to everyone. III) Love Her with Grace (v. 7c) Well, the third way we should love our wives is love her with grace. We see this in verse 7 as well. Love her with grace. We are to honor our wives as the weaker vessel “since they’re heirs with you of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Now, the ‘grace of life’ here may be taken as the common grace, the natural blessings of a nice walk on a warm, summer evening, the crisp, fall air in the apple orchard, or simply enjoying the sweet relational intimacy that you have with your family. We all have great times with our kids, with our husbands, with our spouses. God has blessed us with life, the enjoyment that we get from our close relationships can be a very sweet gift that He gives to us, but the grace of life can also be the grace of the gospel – the grace of the gospel, which is shown specifically to both men and women. Women are heirs with you of the grace of life. They receive the same blessings in this life that we do. They specifically receive the same blessings of salvation that each of us do as well. Women are not there to serve us, but are co-heirs in Christ. Galatians 3:27-29 – we read it last week and it says it like this: “For as many as you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There’s neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither slave nor free. There is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs to the promise.” We are all joint heirs together. [It] doesn’t matter male or female, there is no hierarchy in God’s eyes with regards to all of these different relationships. We are all equal with regards to salvation. We’ve all been given the same exact promises – God has adopted each of us equally as His children. That allows then these blessed promises that we’ve seen throughout 1 Peter to be applied to both men and women, both the husband and the wife. 1 Peter 2:10 says it like this: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” And we see chapter 2, verse 5, Peter writes this: “You yourselves, like living stones, being built up to be as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.” Both men and women equally are part of being built up into this spiritual house. Men are not some superior subset of humanity just because they are called to be heads. You see, chapter 1, verses 3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to His great mercy, he has caused to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept in Heaven for you, who by God’s power, are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This applies equally to both husbands and wives. So we should be seeking to honor our wives, to lovingly know and understand our wives because ultimately they are incredibly precious in God’s eyes. In fact, in many texts, the widow, the orphan, the more vulnerable in this world, many of which are women in this world, have a special place in God’s eyes. Psalm 68, verse 5 says it like this; you don’t have to turn there, you can just listen: “God is the Father of the fatherless, and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 146 says it in a similar way. And so if God has a special grace, special protection for the more vulnerable, shouldn’t we show the same honor and respect for our wives? Also remember that we are also precious in God’s eyes. All have been recipients of lavish, undeserved grace, and so if we’ve been given that wonderful grace so too ought we to show grace in our relationships. This means that we’re quick to forgive, that we don’t hold onto grudges. I want you to turn to Ephesians 5. We’re going to look at this to get our next couple points. But, we see that we are to love her with grace in Ephesians 5, verse 25 as well. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…” Christ loved the church. He gave Himself up for her, for us. He loved us with much grace. So we are to love our wives with the same grace. Well, in this verse we actually see another way to love our wives. We are to love her sacrificially. IV) Love Her Sacrificially (Eph. 5:25) We’re to love her sacrificially. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” This is gospel love. Our highest example of how we are to sacrifice everything for our wives. He continues in verse 28 of Ephesians 25 this way: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” This means we are to willingly give up even your own body for your wife. I’m sure that many of you have heard stories of men giving up their lives to protect their families. In 2010, a man swerved so that an out of control car would hit his side rather than his pregnant wife in the passanger seat. He was killed instantly, but her and the baby were saved. In 2011, a man laid his body over his wife in their tub while their house was being torn apart by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri. He died and she survived. These are indeed inspiring stories, but by the grace of God, most of us in this room will not have the opportunity to lay down our lives for our wives. But frankly, we don’t act like we would. Are you willing to sacrifice your Saturdays for your wife? Are you willing to sacrifice what you most want to do for your wife? Are you willing to put down the remote control, to turn off the TV, to put up the golf clubs, to lock up the hunting rifle, to sell your motorcycle and boat, to close your laptop, to turn off your iPad, to put down your book and spend serious quality time with your wife and family? Are you willing to do those things? Are you willing to forgo everything precious to you to serve and honor your wife? You say, “Oh sure, I’d give up my life for my wife any day,” and yet you’re unwilling to stop sitting in front of the TV for twenty minutes to have a good conversation with her. You want to love your wife sacrificially. Start setting aside your hobbies, your desires, and pursue her, not just her desires, but her as a person. This love of course, that’s used in Ephesians 5 is agape love – it’s selfless love, it’s sacrificial love by nature. And I know loving like Christ love is indeed a tall order, but you got to begin with humbling yourself and totally devoting yourself to studying, serving, and honoring the most precious relationship that God has given to you – your wife. But even if we were to love in this way, it would all be for naught without this final way to love our wives: We are to love her with spiritual leadership. V) Love Her with Spiritual Leadership (Eph. 5:23) We are to love her with spiritual leadership. We see that in Ephesians 5, verse 23. Paul here writes: “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.” Here headship is authority and ultimate authority lays entirely with the husband. See, men are called to respectfully lead their families. We are called to be the ones who make the hard decisions and live with the consequences. We are called to shepherd, to gently guide, yet always operate on Word centered convictions – on Bible centered convictions. This includes how you operate with your children. You see, we are to be “Pastor-Dad.” Ephesians 6:4 says it this way: “Fathers, don’t provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Men, we’re to be the spiritual giants of the home. We’re to be the ones who have the Scriptural knowledge to train children and to encourage our wives. Husbands, fathers, we’re to be the ones who are the primary family shepherd, the primary family pastor – “Pastor-Dad.” Just this week as I was studying this, I was impressed upon by how earnestly I need to take advantage of the teaching opportunities I have with my children. I need to train my children to love the Bible, to have devotions, to understand the basics about God, about His sovereignty, about His power, about what Jesus did, about who Jesus is. And sometimes as you have this as your goal, you wonder if it’s getting through as your son and daughter continues to deliberately disobey and other times you see sweet fruit of your labors. As my son this week came in with his Bible and says, “Daddy, we haven’t read the Bible today. We got to read the Bible today.” Granted he does that when he doesn’t want to go down for a nap, but there are times when he does it just out of the blue; “Daddy, I want to read the Bible.” As we try to make it a daily habit, we sit down, we pray, and we read his little children’s Bible. Also actually yesterday, my son was sitting at the piano that we have in our living room and he was writing a song, you know, scribbling on different pieces of paper and had them displayed up over the music stand there, and he put on the demo music on the piano and he was playing, you know whatever the demo was going on, and he’s singing his little heart out and I said, “Eli, what are you doing?” He said, “Oh Daddy, I’m writing a song.” “Great! Well, what’s this song about?” He said, “Well, it’s about Jesus and how He died for us.” It’s times like that that just warm your soul – make you grateful that you have the privilege to shepherd your family. Men, that’s what we’ve got to do. Your role as a “Pastor-Dad” is central to being a godly husband and it’s central to love your wife. It’s amazing how much a woman will endure with an otherwise inept man if he genuinely loves and serves their children. You want to love your wife? – Love and lead your children. Now with wives, we’re not to necessarily instruct them as much as we are to encourage them, to have theological, purposeful conversations, conversations seeking to apply messages. You don’t just go to church together and never talk about what you heard. Talk about what you heard; “Hey, how can we apply this this week?” Read a Christian book together. At a minimum, it means praying together with your wife. Now the results of loving leadership are many faceted, but if you are not lovingly leading your wife it can be far from a joy, this relationship that you have with her. 1 Peter 3:7, the very last phrase of our text: “You are to love your wives. You are to live with them in an understanding way. You are to treat them with honor, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Literally this means that God will turn a blind-eye to your prayers. Your spiritual life will be seriously stunted, men. Do you feel like you can never get any traction spiritually? Maybe your relationship with your wife is not what it needs to be then. Think of it this way: your wife is God’s daughter, isn’t she? If someone mistreated your daughter, your relationship with that punk would be seriously damaged, wouldn’t it? When we mistreat our wives, you’re that punk in God’s eyes. So may we endeavor to grow closer to Christ, but realize that we must concurrently grow closer to our wives. This is a very difficult calling for us as men, but we must be those who are totally dependent on God for strength to fulfill this high calling. Gary and Betsy Ricucci in the wonderful book, Love that Lasts, it’s a book that we use for pre-marital counseling here, it’s a wonderful book if you want to go over a book with your spouse – this would be a perfect book to get. It’s called Love that Lasts. And he helps capture the idea that we are both desperate and dependent on help to fulfill this calling we have as husbands and as fathers. Here’s what he says, this is a quote that we’ll conclude this message on: “The desperation and inadequacy I feel when considering the fullness of the task before me (and I hope you feel the same way) is in fact the only response that can position me to succeed! Desperate is exactly where God wants us. Far from being a desperation devoid of hope, it is a self-despair that acknowledges absolutely no inherent adequacy, sufficiency, or competency for the task. It is a desperation that turns the eyes of faith toward the God of grace. There, and there alone, do we discover the complete and perfect adequacy, sufficiency, and competence. It comes down to this: we can love and lead our wives because, and only because, Christ first loved us. Our role originates in the gospel, is empowered by the gospel, and is perfected through the gospel. We can love and lead our wives because our Savior, Jesus Christ, loved us, gave Himself up for us, and leads us each day in mercy and grace.” May we likewise com in desperate humility to the hope-filled cross for help to loving lead as we’ve been called to do. Let’s pray: God, we thank you for this opportunity that we’ve been blessed with to look into your Word and to study and understand what you have called men to do as those who loving lead our homes and our wives. And I pray that you would help us to be those who are convicted by many areas of our life that need to be changed, that need to be adjusted, to know I am. And I pray that you would help us to forsake the chauvinistic tendencies that we have, to forsake the passive, neglecting of our responsibilities to lead that we have and I pray that you would help us to be those who gently, graciously, lovingly, sacrificially, and in a servant-like way lead our families. I pray that you would help us to be also those who study and know our wives so that we can better serve and honor them, so we can better encourage them to know and to love you. We pray all these things in your Son’s name. Amen.

Scripture References: 1 Peter 3:7

From Series: "1 Peter: Standing Firm in this Shaky Life"

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