“HUSBANDS: Love your wives AS…”

By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

“… submitting to one another in the fear of God … Husbands, love your wives, just AS Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives AS their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife AS himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

— Ephesians 5:21, 25-33 NKJV

A little humor to lighten your day…

GIRL: “Did you kiss me when the lights were out?”

BOY: “No!”

GIRL: “It must have been that fellow over there!”

BOY: (starting to get up) “I’ll teach him a thing or two!”

GIRL: “You couldn’t teach him a thing!”

It gets worse:

JOHN: “You MUST marry me! I love you, there can be no other!”

MARY: “But John, I don’t love you. You must find some other woman,

some beautiful woman.”

JOHN: “But…but…I don’t want a beautiful woman. I want YOU!”

Let’s review last week’s lesson, entitled, “A Gentle Quiet Spirit”, or how a wife is to love her husband, according to the Scriptures:

Wives are to be submissive to their husbands:

Just as Christ is submissive to the Father, AND

the Christian is submissive to God, AND

the Christian is to each other, AND

husbands and wives are to each other (VERSE 21)

even so wives are to be to their husbands.

It’s understood that the church loves Christ.

It’s understood that the wife loves her husband.

NOW she is to place herself under, to be voluntarily in subservience to her husband.

This is an high calling, a lifting up of WOMEN to a place of importance which early history robbed from her. She places herself willingly under his care. AND if he isn’t a godly husband, First Peter says for her to have a gentle, quiet spirit. She is to have a winsome spirit, which will be the ministry of the Word of God through her to her husband’s heart.

Since last week’s message was geared to the wives, my wife had suggested that she give the message of the husband’s responsibility to his wife. Just a thought. For some FUTURE time!

I personally believe the husband’s role is harder, because of the Example he is following. Note the Apostle Paul’s instruction of the love of the husband for his wife. In particular, note his use of the two letter word, “AS”.

The husband is to love his wife: First, AS Christ is Head (verses 23-24).

“Do you have the book, “Man, Master of Women”, the young man asked the librarian.

“Fiction counter to your left,” she replied.

The word “HEAD” is a literal word! Yes, it is a part of the body, between the shoulders! It is used figuratively here as the One of authority. Please note Ephesians 1:19-23, a good Easter passage, which in our context of Ephesians 5 fitly describes the love the husband is to have for his wife AS the Lord Jesus is Head of the church:

* A giving of Himself (verses 19-20)

* An eternal Headship (verse 21)

* A Headship purchased (verse 22)

* A Headship wherein He finds fulfillment (verse 23)

As should the husband!

Now read Ephesians 4:11-16 and note the completeness the Savior has in His Headship, His love for His church (us!). This is a completeness TOGETHER, a maturing TOGETHER.

MEN: how NOT to love your wife as Christ loved the church. You are sitting at the kitchen table, sitting pretty close to the refrigerator. Your wife is at the other side of the table, preparing a loving meal for the two of you. Suddenly, you are thirsty. So, without saying a word, you bang your drinking cup up and down several times on the kitchen table. The wife lovingly without a word gets up, walks over to the freezer, gets out a couple of ice cubes and puts them in your cup. THEN she opens the refrigerator door and gets out a soda and lovingly pours it into your cup. THEN she goes back to her seat and continues to prepare the loving meal. Hmmm…

HOW TO LOVE YOUR WIFE AS CHRIST IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH: The husband is head as protector, caregiver, and deliverer. In turn, the wife submits out of surrender to his protection, caregiving, and deliverance. Wow.

The husband is to love his wife: Second, AS Christ loved (verses 25-27).

GIRL: “Do you love me?”

BOY: “Yes, dear!”

GIRL: “Would you die for me?”

BOY: “No, mine is an undying love!”

Our Savior’s love for the church is an “AGAPE” love. The Greeks knew of 3 types of love: (1) “Eros” – an erotic love. Today we would call it “porn” with easy access on the internet. This Greek word is NOT used in the Bible! (2) “Phileo” – “as one, brotherly”. For example, the name of the city, “Philadelphia” means “city of brotherly love”. This word IS in the Bible. (3) “Agape” – a godly, sacrificial love, a word frequently used in Scripture. This word describes our Savior’s love for the world. In particular, it describes above how the husband is to love his wife – as Christ loved. As the love of Christ is a godly, sacrificial love, so is the love of the husband to be for his wife.

For example, in Matthew 5:43-44a, the Lord Jesus uses “agape” to describe His love as it should be on display in His followers:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, LOVE your enemies…”

The love of the church (as the Bride of Christ) may sometimes fall short, but the love of the Lord Jesus (as the Bridegroom) will never! Such a love is seen in the consummation of it at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (in Revelation 19:7-8):

“7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

The husband is to love his wife: Third, AS he loves his own body (verse 28)

What are my main interests in life? Well, that’s easy! I am extremely interested in golf, which I’ve been playing since age 8. And I have a tremendous interest in model trains, which my dad was collecting long before I was born. Since we’ve been married, my wife, too, has a love for golf – a sport we both play and watched on TV until our TV died. She isn’t so excited about model trains, but she will go to museums with me. How did that happen? This love is more than a DUTY. It is a natural duty, an extension of our love for each other.

The husband is to love his wife: Fourth, AS himself! (Verse 33)

This is what I call The Fulfillment Verse. He loves her as a oneness! In turn, she respects and reverences – that is, honors, esteems, praises, adores. It is ALMOST an idea of veneration (worship) as the love of the church for Christ.

Allow me to wrap up this study with a quotation of Proverbs 18:22:

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing,

and obtains favor from the Lord.”

Does this describe your love for the Savior and your oneness with Him?

Does this describe your love for your bride?