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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Four words that can change your marriage. Husbands love your wives. It may seem all too simple, but Pastor Greg Laurie says those four words can transform a difficult relationship into a rewarding marriage. Husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church. I believe that men should take point on this. Paul doesn't say, husbands love your wife when you've got that love and feeling. You should love her if you feel it or not. Nike made a lot of money telling us all to just do it.
Well, the shoes may have helped, but it still takes a lot of work to get out there and run the race or play the game. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us good counsel. It's simple and yet it's a challenge at the same time, but we'll learn to unleash the power of four words that can change our marriages and our homes. Are you ready?
And for a copy of this insight, go online to harvest.org. Well, my smoke alarm went off a few weeks ago at four o'clock in the morning. What is the deal with alarms going off at four o'clock in the morning? Now look, if there's a problem, thank God for the alarm.
But there's never a problem. I jumped out of bed, I mean, just like I went from a dead sleep, I jumped out of bed, quickly put on my Hello Kitty slippers, and well, it matches my Hello Kitty onesie. No, I don't. It's Felix the cat, not Hello Kitty. No, whatever. So I run downstairs. My heart is beating.
There's no smoke. It's just another false alarm. Why can't alarms go off at four o'clock in the afternoon? Is there something these guys program that when the battery's low, make sure it goes off in the middle of the night?
I don't know. But it's at a point now where if someone's alarm goes off in a parking structure in a mall, no one even looks. We don't think someone's car is being broken into. We think, well, someone lost their car and they're trying to find it. How many of you find your car with your alarm? Am I the only one?
Wow, I'm among the very few I see. I think it's called Malzheimer's disease when you lose your car in the mall. So it's kind of the point now where when alarms go off we don't even pay attention. And you want to make sure that doesn't happen in your marriage because remember in my last message I talked about an idiot light in your car that might light up when you need to get fuel or something else. And if you are getting a warning in your marriage you want to be careful to pay very careful attention because if you are running low on fuel, listen, you cannot run on empty in your marriage. God is giving you the power, the resources, and everything you need to have a strong, vibrant, happy, and yes, lasting marriage.
And there is a right and a wrong way to do it. If you see a successful marriage that did not happen by default or by accident. That happened and I might add it's happening because two people are applying themselves to keeping that marriage vibrant.
And so we need to go back to what God says in His Word because He tells us how to have a marriage that will last a lifetime. That is why I am calling this series Home Sweet Home. That is what I want for you. I want your home to be a place that you look forward to returning to.
A place of warmth and love and support. But sadly in many cases it is home broken home or home miserable home. So let's go back to what the Scripture says. Now listen.
Some of you are newly married and if you want a strong marriage then there are things you need to do now. In our last service I talked to a couple that were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. Isn't that amazing? And you know what their names were? Their names are Joseph and Mary. I am not kidding.
Isn't that great? 65 years they have been together. Listen. If you want a marriage like Joseph and Mary it starts now. Because the evening of your life is dependent on the morning of your life. The end by the beginning.
So start now with good habit patterns. With obedience to what the Word of God says and you can have that very thing. Because God will give you the strength to do it. And we have already pointed out that our secular culture is doing everything it can in so many ways to sabotage marriage and the family.
So we have to disregard that and come back to what God says in this Word. Now I have told you when I counsel couples who are having marital problems I always ask a few questions. And I want to ask them of you right now. First of all I ask are you a Christian? How many of you are Christians?
Raise your hand up. Ok. Good. Then I ask them do they believe in what the Bible teaches on every subject? How many would say you believe them with. Ok. Good.
And then I ask them if they are willing to do what the Bible tells them to do even if they find it difficult how many of you would agree to that as well? Interesting. Not as many hints. No there are.
There were. But that is the hard part. Am I going to actually do what the Bible says?
Let's review what we have looked at together. To have a successful marriage two things must happen. There must be a leaving and a cleaving. Remember that statement in the book of Genesis. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined unto his wife and the two shall become one flesh. Then we read later and God called their name Adam. So God saw Adam and Eve as one person.
And when a man and a woman come together in marriage and it is consummated by sexual love they become one flesh on the side of God. So now what you want to do is leave and cleave. And that is something to do for the rest of your life. First you leave.
Leave what? You leave all other relationships. And by that I mean I am not saying you are no longer a son or a daughter to your parents or a sibling. But I am saying now there is a number one relationship in your life. And that number one relationship is that with your spouse who is bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh.
So I leave all other relationships and I make this my number one priority second only to my relationship with God. Does that make sense? Number two there is a cleaving. Now the word cleave means to be permanently glued together.
Actually the word implies there will be irreparable damage if the two are separated. So it doesn't mean I am stuck to that person. But I am glued to that person.
Big difference. In other words I am holding on to the person. So I leave other relationships. I am holding on to my wife or to my husband.
See you want to get this right now because what you don't want to have to do is remodel. Years ago we came back from a trip to Israel as a matter of fact. And we were very jet lag. So Kathy my wife was washing some clothes. She had some in the sink.
And so we decided to go out and eat because we didn't have any food in the refrigerator. And so when we came home we realized she didn't turn the faucet off and the water was overflowing. And we had about two feet of water over our entire kitchen floor. Needless to say it was destroyed.
And so you call in the people and they have these big giant blowers you know. And you try to dry it out so you don't get mildew. But it was destroyed. We had to replace it. So we remodeled our floor. Or excuse me remodeled our kitchen at this point. Now then a number of years later fast forward we had a leaky hose that came disconnected and it flooded again.
And this time we redid our floor. So here is our philosophy of remodeling. Flood. Remodel. Flood. Remodel.
You don't want to remodel if you don't have to. It is a hassle. It is a mess.
There is a lot of noise. It seems to go on forever. And it is not a fun thing to have to rebuild your marriage if it is falling apart. But if that is what it takes do it. But better yet lay a good foundation and you won't have to be remodeling all the time.
Because we have families that God has given us and there is a devil who opposes them and wants to destroy them. Now listen I don't know what shape your marriage is in as you are listening to this message. Maybe it is great. It is strong.
It is vibrant. I hope that my message today encourages you. It makes it even stronger. But there might be some of you that on the outside you look to have a happy marriage but underneath there is big time trouble. There is a communication breakdown.
There is a lot of arguments. Even yelling. I hope that this will be a time where you will maybe shore up your foundation. But then there are some others that maybe have a marriage that is hanging by a thread. You even use the word divorce. You have even gone to a lawyer.
It has gotten that bad. And what I want to say to you is God can restore your marriage. There is hope for hurting marriages. So don't give up. HOPE. H-O-P-E. It is an acronym for Holding On With Patient Expectation.
Hold on. I received a letter from a listener to a radio broadcast and actually listens to our program through her app on her iPhone. I don't know if you know but we have a Harvest app that you can download for the iPhone, the iOS system, the Android system. And you can watch our messages and read our devotions and a lot of other things and it is free. But anyway she says, I listened to your radio program on my iPhone through the Harvest app. Your sermons and devotionals have kept me afloat during a really dark time in my marriage.
A time where I felt as though my life was crumbling and I had no idea how it could be rebuilt. While driving to work back and forth every day I listened to you and felt God speaking to me and through your teachings I was able to get through the dark times and see God's amazing light and love that He had for me once again. Now by grace my marriage is turned around. My husband is seeking the Lord with all of his heart.
See so those were not my words. Those are God's words that helped this lady and these are God's words that will help you as well. Five minutes.
It's the most precious five minutes of my day. Thank you. We're grateful to hear how Pastor Greg's daily devotionals are touching lives. And if you'd like to send a note to us, email Pastor Greg. Greg at harvest dot org.
Do it today, would you? Again, that's Greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting a message from his Christian family series titled Four Words That Can Change Your Marriage. Let's listen. So let's come to our text. Ephesians 5 is the first one and we're going to identify four words that can change your marriage. Ephesians 5 verse 25. Husbands love your wives.
Those are the four words. Just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with a 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 that she should be holy and without blemish. So what husbands to love their wives is their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself for no one ever yet 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 will 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 love his own wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband. We will stop there. Notice four times in eight verses men are simply told to love their wives. How are we to love our wives as Christ loved the church? Now you might say now Greg that is kind of a tall order isn't it?
Oh yes it is. It is not something I can do humanly. It is not something I can do on my own strength. But I want you to notice when God directs His words to a marriage He starts with the man. That is not to say He doesn't have a lot to say to the woman. But God says husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church. I believe that men should take point on this. Men should be the spiritual leaders and we are told what we are to do.
But sometimes a lot of times we are just not doing it. I heard about a married couple that was having severe problems. They thought they should get divorced. But they wanted their pastor to give his approval.
So they made an appointment. They went in to see him and after listening for a few moments the pastor realized there were no biblical grounds for divorce. And by the way there are exceptions and there are times when there are biblical grounds to end a marriage and I will identify those in a later message with the title How to Divorce Proof Your Marriage. But we will get to that later.
And by the way those are rare occurrences. But anyway they are sitting there with the pastor and the pastor looked at them both and he said to the husband right now, listen you need to love your wife as Christ loves the church. The man said, well you know what I can't do that. Ok the pastor said.
Let's go to a lower level. The Bible says you are to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you love your wife as much as you love your next door neighbor? Husband said, no that is still too hard.
I can't do that. Finally the pastor said, look buddy you are not getting off the hook. The Bible says love your enemy. Start there.
Listen you are not getting around those guys. You are commanded by God to love your wife. This is where it all has to start for each one of us. But what does this mean to love our wives? Well this is from the Greek word agape. Agape. This word is translated into the word love more times than any other word for love in the New Testament. For instance John 3 16, For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son. That is the word agape. For God so agape'd the world. 1 Corinthians 13, which is often called the love chapter, defines what love is and what love does.
If you have a King James Bible it says, charity suffereth long and so forth. But most translations have the word love there. That is all from this Greek word agape. And by the way this is the love that is only available for the follower of Jesus Christ. In fact the Bible even says God is agape. So when you believe in Him and put your faith in Him the Bible says the love of God has been poured out into your heart through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
That is over there in Romans 5 5. So the idea is the love is there. The love is available. All that you need to have this love is right before you.
Now you need to start applying it. But the problem is is maybe we don't feel it. I am not feeling love.
You know that doesn't really matter. Remember that old righteous brother song. You have lost that love and feeling. Remember that. Good song.
But it is kind of a weird concept. What is this guy saying. You know what. You don't close your eyes when you kiss me anymore. And your fingertips don't tingle.
Who is stinking cares. Forget about that love and feeling. And get back to the loving reality. Paul doesn't say husbands love your wife when you have got that love and feeling. He says love your wife as Christ loved the church. You should love her if you feel it or not.
Listen girls. You should love Him if you feel it or not. Now in the English language we have one word for love.
And it is largely meaningless because we use it for everything. From oh I love my job. I love to go to the beach. I love sushi.
I love Mexican food. I love my dog. I love my wife. I love my husband. Now someone might ask well are you saying that you love your wife as much as you love your dog. No I love my dog more actually. That is the problem. No. Ok. Well they are unconditional love.
The dog loves me no matter what I do. True. But still. So the Greeks you know and we have the New Testament translated from Greek had many words for love. Eros. Phileo.
Agape. And even some other words. So I want to focus on three of those because it helps us to understand how all three kinds of love work in our marriage.
Let's start with eros. We get our word erotic from it. Usually it has a negative connotation. That is erotic. Well erotic isn't always bad. In fact eros is probably what brought you and your spouse together. Eros is just attraction. Attraction. So the first time you saw him or her you went oh they are attractive. Or I hope you did. You know yeah that is an attractive person.
So you notice them. Now eros played out. Does include sexual love and the boundaries and safety of a marriage.
You should express yourself sexually. It is fine to have eros in your marriage. I encourage you to have eros in your marriage as does the Bible. Because the Bible says that the wedding bed or the marriage bed is undefiled.
So basically God is saying hey I have given this to you for your pleasure and for your expression of oneness and ultimately to bring children into the world. Proverbs 5 15 says, Drink water from your own well. Share your love only with your wife.
May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice with the wife of your youth. Here is the problem with eros. It is basically a selfish love. Eros says, I love you because I find you attractive. You do something for me.
I want that something from you. That is eros love. It is not a giving love. But phileo.
Let's say it is love on a higher plane. The word phileo is translated to English words philanthropy, philanthropic, and Philadelphia. These are all words that express brother love or love that expresses itself and shows itself.
In fact even in Titus 2 wives are told to specifically phileo their husband. So it is a word that is used in this way. What is phileo? Well it is a love that comes as a result of the pleasure or delight one draws from the object love. So in contrast to eros which says I want this from you. Phileo says you know you bring something to me that I like.
And because of this I am going to bring something back to you. As I said it is a give and a take love. But agape is different. Agape says I love you regardless. Eros says I love you as long as you are attractive.
When you cease to be attractive I may not have much left. Phileo says I love you because you are attractive and you bring something to me. But agape says I love you no matter what you look like. Agape says I love you no matter how you behave. Phileo says I love you if you treat me nicely and then I will treat you nicely.
Agape says even if you don't treat me nicely I will still show kindness toward you. Even if you have lost that loving feeling I will still love you. Pastor Greg Laurie with insights on the different types of love and the importance of cultivating love in our marriages. And there's more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. It's a study called Four Words That Can Change Your Marriage.
Well Pastor Greg we're making available a great book by Dr. Tony Evans and actually all of his kids as well. It's called Divine Disruption, talking about hope in spite of tragedy and crisis and loss. That's right. Is it fair to say that we're all either going through a crisis or we've gone through a crisis or are about to go through a crisis? Yeah. You know the person who says no crises here I don't need that book and that's just foolish isn't it? It is.
Give it time. You know as I've often said you're either going into a storm or you're pulling out of one. Hey enjoy those in between times for sure. But you know here's the reality Dave in our times of crisis in the storms of life if you will we learn things that we don't learn anywhere else. As I've said before fruit does not grow on mountaintops it grows in spiritual valleys. So if you're going through a valley right now a hardship if you've lost a loved one recently or you yourself are suffering this book is really going to be an encouragement to you because it's written in real time. This is um this is a book that is honest it's heartfelt it's candid it's biblical it's hopeful it's it's encouraging.
So it kind of fires in every cylinder as you mentioned written by Tony Evans and members of his family in light of the loss of their wonderful mother and Tony's wife Lois Evans. But but this is a book that just tells you how to deal with these issues how to grapple with it because you know when when we lose loved ones as Christians we we mourn and we should mourn. In fact it's very important to mourn the bible even says there's a time to laugh and there's a time to mourn. But during that time of mourning during those times of sorrow you come closer to the Lord. Jesus said blessed or happy are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
It's almost as though you could translate that happy are the unhappy. I know that doesn't make sense but here's what it's saying it causes you to turn to God and find the strength you need. One little quote in the book that I love goes as follows there is no better summary of a successful life Lois Evans served the purposes of God in her generation and then she fell asleep. You know Dave this phrase falling asleep is used in the bible and it is only used of a believer dying never of a non-believer. And I think it's just the perfect picture because when you think of falling asleep that is not the worst thing that can happen.
In fact as you get older you start enjoying naps right and it's worth noting that when young Stephen was actually dying a violent death the bible says he fell asleep. And I love this part where they write Lois served the purposes of God in her generation. Look every one of us has a beginning a middle and an end to our life. Here's the question how are we going to live that life?
We have nothing to do with the date of our birth really nothing to do with the date of our death but we have everything to do with that dash in the middle. Lois Evans lived her life well. She served God's purposes in her generation raising amazing children that all love the Lord and are serving the Lord today. Also there alongside Tony I know he misses her so deeply but you're going to be blessed by this book because it's going to help you as you go through your times of difficulty as well. And the title of the book is Divine Disruption and we'll send you a copy for your gift of any size whatever you can send in return we will invest in this ministry so we can continue to bring a message of hope to people literally around the world. Yeah that's right when you give to us you're really giving through us. We take your investment and put it to work reaching those who need biblical hope and direction those who need to hear the gospel. We hear from people every day who've had their lives impacted and changed through this outreach and you can have a part in helping it continue with your donation today. When you make that donation be sure to ask for this new book Divine Disruption.
You can call us at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 and you can call anytime 24 7 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg comes back with more counsel for husbands and wives. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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