Share This Episode
Grace To You John MacArthur Logo

God's Pattern for Husbands, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2024 4:00 am

God's Pattern for Husbands, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1155 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

March 21, 2024 4:00 am

Click the icon below to listen.

Grace To You
John MacArthur

The heart of being the man God desires you to be is to be.

We'll be right back. The head of the household, he is the leader, he is the one responsible for the success of the marriage, the success of the family, the well-being of everyone involved. So say what we must and we must say it about the women's liberation movement, say what we must and will say about feminism and its agenda, say what we will about the satanic assault on the proper role of a woman. We also cannot ignore the issue of male irresponsibility, the issue of male liberation, which perhaps in the end is even more devastating. It would seem to me that feminism would have a much tougher time surviving, let alone gaining ground in a world where men understood their responsibility clearly. And we are asking the question today, and it's a question that all of us ponder, where are the strong husbands? Where are the loyal, loving, leading husbands and fathers? Where are those men who are the backbone, the solid framework of structure on which you can build a marriage and build a family and build a society? Men have developed their own agendas, their own goals, pursuing their own achievements, living in worlds, for the most part, isolated completely from the family, out of the house, pursuing personal goals, active in their own world of business, and passive largely in the home. They are, in their world, aggressive doers, problem solvers, coming up with all kinds of innovative and inventive ways to make money, seeking promotion, prestige, and respect from the strangers in their other world. They are driven to achieve. And in the home, for the most part, they appear passive, indifferent, and irresponsible. Listen to this letter.

The kids are in bed. There's nothing on TV tonight. I ask my husband if he minds if I turn off the tube. He grunts. As I walk to the set, my mind is racing, maybe just, maybe tonight we'll talk. I mean, have a conversation that consists of more than my usual question with his mumbled one-word answer, or more accurately, no answer at all. May I interject something he dare not do at work if he wishes to climb the ladder of success. She goes on, Silence! I live in a world with continuous noise, but between him and me, Silence! Please, O God, let him open up. I initiate once again for the thousandth time.

My heart pounds. Oh, how can I word it this time? What can I say that will open the door to just talk?

I don't have to have a deep, meaningful conversation, just something. As I open my mouth, she goes on, he gets up and goes to the bedroom. The door closes behind him.

The light showing under the door gives way to darkness, and so does my hope. I sit alone on the couch. My heart begins to ache. I'm tired of being alone. Hey, I'm married. I have been for years.

Why do I sit alone? The sadness undergoes a change slowly, then with increased fervor, I get mad. I am mad. I'm sick and tired of living with a sissy, a wimp, a coward. You know, he's afraid of me. Hostile, you say? You better believe it.

I'm sick and tired of living in a world of passive men. She continues the letter, My two sons like sports. They're pretty good. They could be a lot better if their dad would take a little of his precious time and play catch with them. I'm sorry, catch once a year at the church picnic doesn't quite make the boys into great ball players. But dad's too busy. He's at work. He's at the health club. He's riding his four-wheeler. He's working on the car. He's playing golf. He's tired.

He's watching a movie. So who plays catch with the boys? Me. My husband says, You shouldn't be playing men's sports. So who's going to do it? He says he will, but he doesn't. Remember, he's too busy, satisfying himself, doing what he likes. So my poor sons have to be second rate in sports.

They could have been good, really good. My daughter's a teenager. She likes boys and they notice her. They pay attention to her.

She responds, I know what's coming. I try to talk to her, but it's not me she wants. It's dad. Yeah, dad. If he had just hugged her, noticed her, talked to her just a little, she wouldn't need those boys so much.

But no, so she turns elsewhere for attention and love and there's really nothing I can do. A mom isn't enough. Kids need a father and not just a body, a passive silent presence. And here's the killer. My husband's father did the same number on him. Didn't hug him, didn't take him to anything, let alone watch his baseball games, and he hates his father. Now my husband's doing the same thing.

And she goes on with a few words and ends the letter. She paints a very individual scene, but it's not an uncommon one, is it? It just feels like those are kind of things that all of us know are experienced by women. And we can explain the problem with men sociologically, historically, and I tried to give you somewhat of an insight into that. We can explain it by virtue of the Industrial Revolution and the fact that we have basically created a world outside the home and we don't have much choice but to go there and live in that world. We can explain those things sociologically, but that's really only a force.

That's really only a pressure. That's really only a venue of temptation. That's really not the explanation. The explanation for the breakdown of male leadership is the fact that men no longer obey the Word of God. In fact, throughout our society, most men have no idea what it says and when they find out, they're not interested in following it. There are so many passive and indifferent and weak men in the home who out there in the world are strong and aggressive. But when it comes to their families, they have abandoned the responsibility to their wives, they have forfeited their character, they have really forfeited their manhood, and they have abandoned their leadership. Therefore their marriage forfeits the ideal, so does the family.

And what do you expect but chaos? And where can we start? Where can we pick up the pieces of all of this? I think for Christian men, we have to start here. The heart of being the man God desires you to be is to get a grip on the responsibility you have for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of your wife and your family. That's where you begin. Moral and spiritual leadership, as well as emotional and physical security, strength and protection, lifelong provision and support, that is what male headship is all about.

It's not something physical, it's something very practical. And if we're ever going to get back men in leadership, it's going to begin in the home. It's going to begin when men take their responsibility given by God, Christian men, for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of their wives and families. Far more important than that you have some kind of success in your career, even with a view toward having a good testimony, far more important that you express the unique role that you have as a man, first of all, in your own home.

Over in 1 Peter, if I might remind you, 1 Peter 3, 7, look at it for just a moment because I want to incorporate this text because I think it's a rich one. Here you have a command to husbands, verse 7, 1 Peter 3, you husbands likewise live with your wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel since she is a woman and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered. This spells out a dimension of that love that's very important. Your love means to live with your wife in an understanding way. Understand her.

That is to be considerate, not harsh domination, gracious, respectful understanding. You are to understand God's plan and purpose for marriage. You are to understand your wife's needs, desires, longings, and frustrations. You are to understand her strengths and her weaknesses. And you are to understand how to please God by honoring her as a fellow Christian, a fellow heir of the grace of life. And when you do that, there's a great reward.

Your prayers are not hindered. So this love involves understanding, understanding everything about her, treating her with consideration, bringing strength to her weakness, providing leadership. But getting more specific about that love, we go back to Ephesians chapter 5 and Paul says, first of all, it is a sacrificial love.

Look at it in verse 25. It is as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. It is a love that knows no tyranny, only sacrifice. It is a love that does not exalt itself but humbles itself, as evidenced by the great self-giving of Jesus Christ for unworthy sinners who were His chosen bride. The standard is thus set for this love from husbands.

Even if it is undeserved, it is given lavishly and sacrificially. Second, we saw last time, it is a purifying love. Verses 26 and 27, Christ loved the church enough to sanctify her.

Verse 26, to cleanse 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 should be holy and blameless. You are to love your wife in such a way that you work toward her godliness. It is a love that sacrifices. It is a love that purifies. In other words, it's a spiritually uplifting love.

It's a spiritually beneficial love. It has the effect of making her more holy, of leading her to the place where you allow her full beauty to shine. The beauty of a woman is not external. The beauty of a woman is internal. It is her glory that shines through her, the work of God in her heart. A man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart.

The Bible says women don't be concerned about adorning the outside, but adorn your heart. Husband, it is your responsibility to sacrifice yourself to meet her needs. It is your responsibility to lead her to ever-increasing virtue.

Your goal is to give your life on her behalf and to lead her to godliness and virtue, that she should be holy and blameless even as Christ endeavors to lead His church. Thirdly, it is a caring love. It is a caring love. Verse 28, so husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. Now what does it mean to love your wife as your own body?

Well, it's just a very simple concept. We take care of our own body. We care for it. If it's sick, we put it down in bed so it can get better. If it's hungry, we feed it. If it's thirsty, we give it to drink. If it's disheveled, we clean it.

We take care of it, feeding, clothing, comforting, whatever. And that's the essence of this. The issue here is to give attention to meeting needs, to being concerned to fulfill each requirement with great alacrity, great speed, and great devotion. We are called to treat our wives with the same preoccupation we give to ourselves. Now notice down in verse 31 that you compare this verse, very important. For this cause, this is quoting obviously from back in Genesis chapter 2, for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.

Just bring that in at this point because I want to make a single point out of that. When you got married, you became one. You became one. So in a sense, you are one body. And back then in verse 28 when he says you ought to love your wives as your own bodies, you want to remember this, that when you got married, you became one body. And if her needs are met, your needs are met. If her needs are not met, believe me, your needs won't be met either. You give her the same care you give yourself, you take care of her as if she were you because you are one in an indivisible oneness.

Is that not true? When you were married, you became one flesh. If you want real happiness in your marriage, care for your wife and all her needs with the same devotion you give to yourself because you are inseparable. We have a little sign that hangs in the kitchen.

I don't know who gave it to us. It's a good reminder. It says, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

And I'll tell you something right now, that goes for you. If you want to be a happy husband, you have a happy wife, right? If you want to be a fulfilled husband, you have a fulfilled wife. You want real happiness in your marriage, then treat her as you treat yourself. You could even embellish that a little bit and say this, since she is a Christian, remember that she's not just one with you, but she's one with Christ as well. Careful how you treat her. Remember Matthew 18, one of these little ones who believe in me, if you lead them into sin, lead her into sin, you'll be better off.

A millstone hanged around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea. If you cause your spouse to sin, you'd be better off dead. You lead them to holiness. In that same 18th chapter, Jesus says, you are to receive these little ones in My name and you're receiving Me. You're not to look down on them, treat them with disrespect. You're to guard them and protect them.

That's even a compounding responsibility. In marriage, she is one with you, men. In salvation, she is one with Christ, therefore you are bound together with Him. He comes to you through her. How you treat her is how you treat Him. If you don't love your wife in a caring way, you don't know how to take care of yourself appropriately because you're going to be miserable.

You're going to be miserable. So in verse 28, we are to love our wives as our own bodies and that's exactly how Christ loves His church. The end of verse 29, as Christ also does the church. Verse 29 says, no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it and she is your flesh.

You are one flesh and you must take care of her as yourself. That's how Christ cares for His church. He meets the church's needs. In John 14, verses 13 and 14, we read this, Whatever you ask in My name, Jesus said, That will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. That's the Lord Jesus saying to His people, I will meet your needs.

It's repeated again in different words. Philippians 4 19, My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God will meet all your needs through Jesus Christ. God says, Seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added. He meets all our needs, not in all our wants, but all our needs. Men, we are the providers, we are the protectors, we are the preservers, we are the resources for our wives and our families and that is our responsibility. And when their needs are met and we care for them as we would care for ourselves, then we have the kind of relationship that God wants us to have. Back to Ephesians chapter 5 again, verse 29, which we commented briefly on.

I just want to be a little more specific. Paul says, No one ever hated his own flesh. I mean, it is not normal to hate yourself. You take care of yourself.

That's normal. You take care of yourself with great concern and great care. And that is precisely the way you are to take care of your spouse.

Nobody hates his own flesh. You nourish it, you cherish it just as Christ also does the church. So if you want your marriage to be blessed, you take care of your wife. When you know she has a need, you seek to meet it. When you know she has a secret longing in her heart and it's certainly reasonable and will add to her virtue and her well-being and her happiness and her ability to fulfill her role, you do everything you can to meet that need. Something is seriously wrong when a man sees his wife as a cook and a clothes washer and a babysitter and a sex partner and that's it.

Something is seriously wrong when he puts her in the place of the breadwinner. She is a God-given treasure to be cared for, to be cherished, to be nourished, to be your loving helper, to fulfill your need for companionship, for the fulfillment of physical desire, for the fulfillment of love and partnership and friendship and to produce children in a home. Notice those two terms, nourish and cherish in verse 29. Nourish means to feed, ek trefo. It's a word used primarily of bringing up children.

It's used over in chapter 6 verse 4 where it says, bring them up. We think about bringing up our children. We think about nourishing, feeding, developing, curing our children, but do we think of that with regard to our wives?

I think most men just disregard that responsibility, see the wife as responsible for the kids and go charging out into their own world. We're responsible to nourish her so she, in her marvelous role, can effectively nourish the children as she has been given opportunity. Then the word cherish literally means, a beautiful word, to warm with body heat. It's sometimes translated to melt. It means to soften. It is used of a mother bird who just pulls in all the little baby birds and keeps them all cozy and warm in her feathers. It means to provide a nest, warmth, security, to soften her to a meek and quiet spirit, to support her, to care for her.

I tell you, pretty challenging in the world in which we live today when women are raised to be tough and independent. It takes a great man, it takes a tremendous amount of spiritual leadership to soften a woman, to warm a woman, to melt her down to a meek and quiet spirit, to provide a nest and security and strength and warmth. She is not the nourisher. She is not the provider.

You're to do that. That is the man's responsibility. And if a man doesn't do that, according to 1 Timothy 5.8, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture, the man is always the provider as Christ is the provider for His church.

That's key. We provide nothing. The church provides nothing. We just receive Christ's provision, protection, preservation, His care, His nourishing, His cherishing. It comes to us, in a sense, it's very one-sided. Men, we are to provide that in our homes. You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. His lesson today comes from our most popular study through the years, The Fulfilled Family.

Now, you know, John, when you talk about male leadership, yesterday you mentioned how unpopular that subject is today. Husbands providing for their wives and serving their wives and meeting their needs and protecting their children. Not only is that pattern what God demands, it's also what actually works best. There's a practical benefit to being obedient in this area.

Well, it's simple. The Bible is not complicated as it lays out the family. The husband is the head of the wife. He's the leader, and she is to be a keeper at home, a lover of her husband and a lover of her children, and maintaining the home and the house. The husband is the overt leader. The woman is the influencer. If she lives a godly, virtuous life, she makes the greatest impact on her children. This is so foundational, so basic, that you can't even argue the results of it, because they've been designed by God to be successful.

I want to mention a book to you that will help you with this. It's called Divine Design. I wrote this a number of years ago, and it explores the reality of God's special design for men and women, and they are different. Men can't get pregnant. Men aren't women, and women aren't men. Neither can they be. Going back to the basic, obvious reality of men and women, in this book I talk about how God has designed each for the most effective, fulfilling life.

I know it's counter-cultural, but it's just the truth. We'd love to get a copy of Divine Design into your hands. Here's the good news. If you have never communicated with grace to you before, we'll send you a free copy of Divine Design, just a way for us to introduce you to the ministry and all the resources we have. Obviously, the offer is good for a limited time until we run out of these, but make the initial contact today. Request a free copy of the book, Divine Design, again, free to anyone contacting us for the first time. Thank you, Jon, and friend, this book by Jon is something of a classic.

It has helped tens of thousands of men and women come to grips with God's unique roles for them in the family and in the local church. To get your copy of Divine Design, again, we'll send it to you free if it's your first time getting in touch. Contact us today. Email your name, address, and request to letters at, or drop your request in the mail to Grace To You, Post Office Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. Or you can simply request a free copy of Divine Design when you call 800-55-GRACE. Again, we'll send you a free copy of Divine Design if you're contacting us for the first time. And if you've been in touch before, or if you'd like an extra copy or two to give to loved ones, you can order the book Divine Design for $10.50 and shipping is free. To order, call 800-55-GRACE or go to

That's our website, And while you're there, know that there are thousands of resources available to you free of charge. You'll find more than 3,600 of Jon's sermons, including messages from his current series on the fulfilled family, free to download.

All of that and much more is there for you at Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and be here tomorrow when John looks at how you can be a forgiving, loving spouse, even in a difficult marriage. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 05:37:26 / 2024-03-21 05:48:00 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime