If two Christians in a marriage can't humble themselves and resolve conflict and forgive each other, how are they ever going to have a message for anyone else about the love of God and the forgiveness of Christ? A good marriage is a good witness. A bad marriage is a bad witness. Marriage is about more than making you and your spouse happy. And as Skip Heitzig shares in his message today, the sacrificial love of a Christian husband is a powerful picture of the love God has for us. Then after today's teaching, stay tuned as Skip and Lenya share more about how marriage is a witness to the world. I think that your kids can observe that other people can observe it when you're watching a functioning marriage. I can think of several friends that I see that dynamic and I go, what a beautiful marriage. And then it does make me think of how Christ loves me.
Now, here's an exciting resource that will help you connect with the heart of the Psalms. Betty White said, it's not easy being a mom. If it were easy, fathers would do it.
That's not a sly shot at dads. It's a compliment to the wonderful work of mothers. Here's a great way to show your appreciation for a mother in your life. It's the heart songs package, which features a teaching series on the Psalms led by Lenya and Jenae Heitzig. Psalm 45 is a love song. And in it, you're going to find a groom and a bride and it's their wedding day.
And it includes an ornate dress and bridesmaids and perfume and gifts and guests. The heart songs package also includes a beautiful theology quiet time journal and a bag of skips library roast coffee. It's a great gift to honor a special woman in your life with encouragement and strength as she studies God's word and spends time in prayer, all while enjoying a delicious cup of the coffee pastor Skip loves. The heart songs package is our thanks for your gift to help share biblical teaching and encouragement with others through the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig.
So be sure to request yours when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, let's turn to Ephesians five as we join Skip. Now, husbands, let's think of our roles like that. Tending a garden to bring forth fruit.
Tending a garden because let's be honest, marriage is the most challenging relationship on the planet. And so God gives the pattern. Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives. That's the pattern. If something goes wrong in the relationship, it's not because there's a problem with the pattern.
It's because somewhere along the line in the process we got tired and we've left the garden untended. That's the meaning of a husband's love. The cultivator with an extraordinary all-out love for his wife. Let's look at the second, the manner of a husband's love. Now, I want you to notice something because it'll all be based on this. There are two analogies in the text that Paul uses to describe love and both of the analogies begin with the word as. Whenever you want to make a comparison you use words such as like or as. This is like that. This is as that. And there's two of them.
Can you find them? The first is in verse 25. Husbands love your wives as.
That's the first comparison. Christ loved the church. Now, you know why he does this. If Paul would have just said this, husbands love your wives, period. What would we do, men? We would read that and we'd say, I do love my wife.
I told her so 20 years ago. I'm a man of my word. But when he says no, love your wives like Jesus loves us, then it gives us pause. We go, oh, that's the standard I can't attain. So he gives us a standard also we can't attain and both of these he's going to demonstrate what he means. He lowers it down and says, okay, love your wives as you love yourself, your own bodies. So with those two analogies in mind, let me make four statements that describe a husband's love. A husband's love is to be sacrificial. That's what it means, sacrificial. Love your wives, verse 25, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. It was extraordinary love extraordinary love that motivated Jesus Christ to step out of heaven, come to the earth, take upon a form of the flesh and die on a cross and give us everlasting life. Love motivated him to do that. It was sacrificial love. And while he was here on earth, he was rejected, spat on, mocked, yelled at.
Some of you are thinking sounds like a typical day in my home. I hope not. The key idea here is sacrifice. He gave himself sacrifice. Men, do you sacrifice for your wives? If I love like Christ loved the church, I'm willing to give something up for my wife.
Now, if I know the male mind, we immediately go to the far extreme or the bottom line and we say, let me tell you something. I'll take a bullet from my wife. That's good. That's the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesus gave his life for the church. You're saying I'll take a bullet from my wife. But think about that statement. If you're willing to take a bullet, the ultimate sacrifice for your wife, doesn't that necessarily mean that you would be willing to make sacrifices short of the ultimate sacrifice? I'll take a bullet from my wife, but I won't give up that show, that game, that activity. So to love means we sacrifice. Get into her orbit, find out what she wants.
It's not easy. Furthermore, to love like Christ loved the church means that we will love whether she fulfills her role or not, whether she does what is right or not. We'll love her irrespective of that. Romans 5, God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. That's unconditional love. That's irrevocable love. That means I'll love my wife even when she fails or sins.
That's the whole point of this. Jesus doesn't love people who deserve his love. He loves them unconditionally.
It's not based upon their worthiness or their performance or how good they look or if they do everything that is right. It is unconditional, irrevocable love. In other words, sacrifice. I always love to listen to kids and ask them questions. And kids were asked the question, what is love? Describe what love is. One kid said, love is when a girl wears perfume or a perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other. Another child said, love is all the things written in Valentine's Day cards and then he qualified it, you know, all the things you'd like to say to someone but you'd never be caught dead saying them.
But another child said this and I love it. Love was when my grandmother got arthritis and she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore so my grandpa did it for her all the time even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love. Well, that is certainly sacrificial love. So what is the manner of a husband's love as Christ loved the church? In other words, he gave himself, he sacrificed.
Here's the second statement. A husband's love is to be sanctifying love. Look at the 26th verse. 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. When you hear the word sanctify, I know that you think of a religious word because you don't really hear that word when you go to a gas station. Sanctify is like a churchy word, right?
It's like a religious thing but originally the term sanctify was a secular term that simply means to set something apart for its original purpose. When you walked into this building and sat in that chair, you sanctified that chair. You fulfilled the very purpose for which that chair was created. Chairs were not meant to be picked up and carried or to have wheels put on them and run down a hill or be stuffed in your car. They're meant to sit in.
You did that. You set it apart for its original purpose. For a husband to sanctify his wife is to help her grow and mature to fulfill her role in the relationship. He's the initiator. He's the gardener. He's the cultivator and he is cultivating her and helping her grow to reach what her role is in the relationship. Do you remember the role that she is to fulfill in the relationship back in Genesis when we read it a couple weeks ago?
God said, I will make for Adam a helper that is comparable or suitable to him. Or remember we said it's one like opposite him. He's the north pole. She's the south pole. Or maybe we should say she's the north pole.
He's the south pole. Either way they become a unit. They orbit together. So when he helps her realize she's a partner with him, there's so much satisfaction she gets out of that. There was a husband and wife. They were sitting in a doctor's office.
His arm was around her. She was filling out the form to go see the doctor. And when it came to, you know, name, address, phone number, it came to the word occupation. She wrote in the blank line, housewife. And he, being close to her, looked down and said, oh, honey, you're not just a housewife. You're my wife. I'm looking at guys and they're going, huh? What, what, what? Well, I guarantee you those women know exactly what that means.
The rush of excitement. When that husband embracing his wife made her realize you're not just wiping a house. You're mine. We're partners.
I couldn't be what I am without you. That's the idea of sanctify. There's a third description of a husband's love. It is to be secure love. Verse 28. So husbands ought to love their own wives.
Here's the second one. So husbands ought to love their own wives. Here's the second as, as their own bodies. He who loves his wife also 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, his flesh, and his bones. A wife is the extension of her husband. That's why typically she takes his name. They have become one.
They are a unit. That's what Adam realized when God brought the woman to the man. What did Adam say?
Did he go cool? No, he said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called woman because she was taken out of man. Love your wives like you love you, your bodies. We take care of our bodies. We feed them. We clothe them. We put vitamins in them.
We take them to the gym and we work them out. And whenever we do that, we develop a sense of wellbeing, right? You feel really good when you eat right and you exercise, you just feel good about life. It develops a sense of wellbeing.
Okay. In the same manner, when you take care of your wife's needs, you develop in her a sense of wellbeing. Very interesting. One place in California decided to put a mirror outside at a public building with a camera to observe sociologically how people react to it. They discovered two things. Number one, people like to look at themselves. Number two, men stop to do it more than women.
Interesting. I thought I'd give you gal some ammunition for the future. We're very body conscious. We love our flesh.
Guaranteed. You woke up this morning and looked in the mirror. You didn't like what you saw. You spent time doing something about it.
I did too. We put something different on. We did something with what's up here or the lack thereof.
And we showed up, right? We care for our bodies. That's the point that he's making. The one reason I've discovered that a wife has difficulty submitting to her husband is because she doesn't feel secure in his love. She has to feel secure. A husband's love is sacrificial, sanctifying and secure.
And here's the fourth statement. The manner of a husband's love, it's to be stable love. Stable love. Verse 31. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife. The two shall become one flesh. That oneness speaks of stability.
He's quoting the book of Genesis here. It's the stability that comes from days and weeks and months and years of leaving, cleaving and weaving. I'm pushing away that relationship. I'm saying no to that influence. I'm separating myself from that so that I might concentrate on this. I'm being glued more to you and we are weaving those threads by what we do with each other year in and year out.
That provides stability. And it's a constant process. Now, I did say something to you I do want to go back to. Back in verse 25, I said that the word love was second person plural present active imperative. And then I said if that helps.
Let me tell you how it helps. Present active imperative means it's a command to keep on doing something. So listen to it as it should be stated. Husbands keep on actively repeatedly without stopping loving your wives. Here's the typical pattern.
This is what the text said but now here's the typical pattern. Man sees woman. Man likes what he sees. Man goes out of his way to impress the woman that he sees to make her think he's awesome. She thinks he's awesome. Man proposes to woman.
Woman agrees to his proposal. They get married and then the man thinks conquest over. The great hunter has taken its prey. It's what I wanted.
It's what I searched for. I went out of my way to show her how awesome I am and then I got what I wanted. And so often what happens instead of the continual romancing and continual nurturing and sacrificing, it comes to a halt as he stops romancing and stops nurturing and stops nourishing and stops communicating and the whole thing comes to that horrible grinding halt.
Stable of is that continuation. So we've looked at the meaning and the manner. Let's end with where we ended last time really, the mission of the husband's love.
Last time we talked about the goal of a wife and submitting and now we end with the goal of a husband and loving. It's the same verse. Verse 32. This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and his church.
Now just think about that statement that he writes. I write about Jesus and his church. I've been telling you about the body of Christ and that husbands ought to love their wives like they love their own physical bodies because Jesus loves the church.
In other words, please get this picture. Marriage is intended to become a horizontal microcosm of a vertical reality. I need to explain that. Anytime we relate with another person, it's vertical. It's person to person.
It's on this level. Husband, wife, friends, we're dealing horizontally. The marriage is to be a horizontal microcosm, example, picture of a vertical reality. That is our relationship with God. And because the relationship people have with God is so abstract to other people, God has provided a means, a horizontal way of looking at something and saying, oh, that's what it means when Jesus loves the church and the church submits to Christ. I can see it in this marriage.
That's the idea. A good Christian marriage is a good witness. It makes redemption visible. Make sense? When you have a husband loving, leading, sacrificing, nurturing, and a wife who is responding by submissively meeting her husband's needs, you have a visible picture of the church and Christ.
Think of it this way. If two Christians in a marriage can't humble themselves and resolve conflict and forgive each other, how are they ever going to have a message for anyone else about the love of God and the forgiveness of Christ? A good marriage is a good witness. A bad marriage is a bad witness.
So the purpose, the mission of a husband's love is to speak of Christ in the church. Now, I'm a man, and I'm speaking right now to men. Husbands, do you know that our role is under attack? The family is under attack. But principally, you as a man are being attacked by the forces of darkness, satanic darkness, to have your role undermined. And understand the strategy behind this. Understand that to neutralize an army, you kill the commanding officer. You want to demoralize a nation, kill its king or its president. You want to ruin the church, destroy its pastor. You want to ruin a marriage, devastate a family, take out the leader. That's the strategy. The enemy, Satan, would love it if you as a man became a passive man.
But God would be honored if you became a tender warrior, servant, leader, initiator, cultivator in the home. Love her. Show up for her. Listen to this. There was a young man who saw a young girl and wanted to win her heart. So you know what he did? He wrote her letters. But he never showed up. He wrote a letter every day, a love letter by hand.
Every day. She got six, seven letters a week. And then, but he never showed up. And then he started upping the ante. He started writing three letters every 24 hours by hand. But he never showed up. That gal got a total of 70 handwritten love letters over time. But he never showed up. And so you know what happened? She married the mailman.
He showed up. May not have been his love letters, but he was there at the door, hand delivering those letters. Men, go win your wives. Show up for them. Love your wives.
Cleanse, nourish, cherish. That's how you win her. There's a statement that I put to memory. I've loved it so much. It actually comes from all places, from singer-songwriter Roberta Flack.
Remember her? She said something that I've committed to memory and I share often at weddings. She said, getting married is easy. And before I finish the rest of the quote, anybody who's gotten married would take umbrage to that statement. With all the planning, all the preparation, getting married is not easy.
But listen to the whole statement and you'll get it. Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime is considered among the fine arts. Men, become a Rembrandt, a Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Renoir.
Pick your artist, a Michelangelo. And decide today that by God's grace, your attitude and your actions toward that woman that you have a covenant relationship before God with is to be the cultivator, the husband-man, the farmer, the tiller of the soil. I believe that is key. That's Skip Heitig with a message from the series, Keep Calm and Marry On. Find the full message as well as books, booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, let's go in the studio with Skip and Lenya as they share how marriage can be a powerful witness to the world for Christ. Skip, how have you seen God use marriage, ours or maybe even those we know, to show unbelievers what godly love really is and help open their hearts to the gospel?
That's a really great question. It's great because Paul, in Ephesians, a classic passage on marriage, said that marriage between a husband and wife, love in a marriage, is to model the love that Christ has for the church. And we talk all about God loves you, Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life.
Well, where do you see that in a way that is compelling? It ought to be in a Christian marriage, that a husband loves his wife in such a compelling way, people go, not only is that beautiful, but if you're saying there's a God who loves me like that, I'm in, sign me up. So that's a big job, that's a big thing to live up to, but that's what we're called to do. You know, I think of that movie we love, Princess Bride. And remember at the beginning, Wesley's a servant boy and she keeps telling, Wesley, reach that pot. As you wish. Exactly.
Wesley, go feed the pigs. As you wish. Exactly. And then one day she realized when he was saying, as you wish, he was saying, I love you. And so it's so neat when you can see that between a couple. I'm showing you I love you by doing things that are practical, but they are expressions of love. And I think that your kids can observe that, other people can observe it when you're watching a functioning marriage. I can think of several friends that I see that dynamic and I go, what a beautiful marriage. And then it does make me think of how Christ loves me and how I can re-express my love to him by being obedient, by saying to Jesus, as you wish.
You know, being able to... Yeah. When you frame it that way, it tells me that the best apologetic is sacrificial and conditional love. It's not necessarily a tract, it's not always a book or an argument, but it's a display. Thanks, Skip and Lenya. We hope this helps you view your marriage through God's eyes and live in that purpose. And we want to invite you to help encourage others to do the same with a gift to keep these biblical teachings on the air. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. We hope you'll tune in tomorrow for Skip Heitzig's message, Homemaker or Homebreaker. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on his way.
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