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Eph 5-22-33 Wives and Husbands (18)_A Beauty Named Gomer

Eph 5-22-33 Wives and Husbands (18)_A Beauty Named Gomer

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Published by Dave McNeff
This is the first sermon on the role of husbands to love their wives. It deals with the element of steadfastness taken largely from the definition of agape.
This is the first sermon on the role of husbands to love their wives. It deals with the element of steadfastness taken largely from the definition of agape.

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Published by: Dave McNeff on Jul 31, 2011
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07/31/2011

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W
IVES
 
AND
H
USBANDS
(18): A B
EAUTY
N
AMED
G
OMER 
(Ephesians 5:22-33)We have divided our study of husbands from Eph 5:22-33 into two major  parts – the Role and the Reason. Under the Role – we have four major divisions: A wise and Godly husband is to be a
leader, lover, leaver and cleaver 
. Last week we finished the role of leader. Today we begin to look at the husband as a
lover 
. This is the
major 
thrust of God’s instruction tohusbands – the
mother lode
, if you will. Just as wives have a primaryresponsibility to submit, husbands have a primary responsibility to love.We will apply to husbands, but the instruction is equally for all believers.Our text: Eph 5:25-27, “
25
 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved thechurch and gave himself up for her,
When we think of love, our thoughtsgo immediately to the definition that our society embraces and promotes.We think of Scarlett and Rhett; we think of Romeo and Juliet; Guinevereand Lancelot; Anthony and Cleopatra; we think of Ben and Jerry. Wops!How did that get in there? Well, some of us love Ben and Jerry’s! The point is the word love brings to mind romance, fluttering hearts, Valentine’sday, romantic dinners, meeting at the top of the Empire State building,diamond rings and weddings. Love – brings a lot of different things tomind. Things we desire for every marriage.But this is
not 
 
what the Bible has in mind 
when it commands husbands tolove their wives. Love as
romance
can’t be commanded. It is a feeling, anemotion;
it either exists or it does not exist 
. It can be encouraged. But itcannot be commanded. God has something different in mind, so He usedthe word
agape
.
Decision-based love. It may start with romance, and oftendoes. But somewhere along the line every husband must say,
You know what? For better, for worse, for richer or poorer; with feelings attached or no feelings attached, I am going to act in loving ways toward thiswoman. She is going to be mine, and I will love her until we die.” 
That is
agape
. God gives
one and only one
 
command 
in this section. Husbands,love your wives.”Simple command. Complex implementation that we willexamine in the next few weeks.Let me introduce the subject by telling you about two older gentlemen whowere out playing golf one day. One of them was just lining up his putt onthe 9
th
hole when a funeral procession went by. The man immediately stoodat attention, took off his hat and waited for the entire procession to pass
1
 
 before he went back to his putt. His playing companion said, “Frank, thatwas a very touching gesture. Stopping your game to show respect for thedeceased. Very impressive.” Frank replied,
Well, it was the least I could do. After all, she did give me the 25 best years of her life.” 
 The point is, the time to love our wives, guys, is not when the end comes.
The time is now 
. Paul actually give us
two examples
of how to do this.First, verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church andgave himself up for her,
 
There the example is
Christ 
. Then verse 28: Inthe same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. Hewho loves his wife loves himself.”There the example is
 self-love
. Then, inverse 31 he says “the two shall become one flesh.”I find 6 descriptions inthese verses. Our love for our wives is to be
 Steadfast, Selfless, Sacrificial, Sanctifying, Sympathetic and Sexual.
The first four are examples fromChrist, the fifth from ourselves and the last from the phrase “the two shall become one flesh.”Together they give us a comprehensive perspective onour role as lovers. First, some general comments.
II.Lover
God instructs in Eph 5:25, “
 
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved thechurch and gave himself up for her.”Seems obvious, right? We
marry
for love. But to Paul’s audience, this message hit like an
atomic bomb
. Loveyour wife? Hard as it is for 
us
to imagine, that instruction was virtuallyunheard of then. Not that it
never 
happened. It did. But it would have beenthe last thing on the mind of any husband in the 1
st
century Greco-Romanworld. Now note -- this is the
only outright command 
that Paul makes tohusbands in this passage – 
the only one
, so
it is the linchpin around whicheverything else revolves
. In contrast, there is no such command found inthe OT, nor in any of the reams of rabbinic literature, nor in any of thehousehold codes that governed life among the Greeks and Romans.
What we take as a given, was an absolutely foreign concept to them
. Romanticor otherwise,
no one worried about loving wives
!The comment by Demosthenes bears repeating:
“We have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation; we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately, and of having a faithful guardian for all our household affairs
.” Men in that culture breathed adultery. It was not onlyaccepted;
it was expected 
. No stigma attached. Wives were a
convenience
for managing the home and giving legitimacy to and tending children. And
2
 
Paul says, “Husbands,
love
your wives.”The natural reaction would have been, “Love my wife? Get outta here! Treat her nice. Okay. But love her?Come on. You can’t be serious!” This was revolutionary in Ephesus.Kent Hughes commenting on this passage says this:
 Paul’s radical call tomarital love was a bare-knuckled swing at the domestic ethics of his time — . . . Taken seriously, the naked force of these words, “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” is staggering! There is no honest Christian husband who can hear or read these words and not feel the punch
.”The ancients “got the message” because it was so foreign to their normal practice that
they could not miss the impact 
. We are much more likely to
miss
the impact because, after all, we
marry for love
. We think we’ve gotit.
The problem is the definition of love.
Love has long ago been
 secularized 
for us. We equate love with
eros.
Romance and sexual contentimmediately spring to mind. Our concept of love was exemplified in an oldTV show called “Love American Style” which ran between 1969 and 1974.I was part of a test audience for that show in Hollywood before it ever aired.It consisted of a series of vignettes – almost like skits – each aimed atshowing some facet of love.
 Romance was the central theme
. We are soengrained in such ideas that it is very difficult to come to a verse like thisand truly “get it.” Many of the exegetical treatments I have read or heardover the years treat this passage in terms of romantic love. We can’t get ridof the baggage.
 And so the interpretation of this verse usually comesdown to have a date night and bring your wife flowers once in awhile.
I’m all in favor of those, by the way. If you’re not doing it, do it. But that point of view is woefully inadequate. Even those efforts can go bad.One guy had a spat with his wife. So, to make up, he bought some flowersand candy and thought,
 I’ll really surprise her.
Instead of barging in the back door, as usual, he knocked on the front. She answered, took one look,and burst into tears. He was dumbfounded. “What’s wrong,” he demanded,“what’s the matter?” “Well,” she replied, “it’s been a horrible day. Johnnywoke up with the flu. I wrecked the car. I burned a hole in my best blouse.Supper’s ruined. And now, to top it all off,
 you come home drunk 
.”Romantic gestures are great. But without the basic structure of true biblicallove, they are
mere gestures – icing on a cake that is not there – thedecorative trim on a house that does not exist – pinstriping that a long 
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