The Loving Husband
Why did Jesus die on the cross for us? The simple answer would be to save us. But the reasons for the death of Jesus on the cross are many. In fact, John Piper has a book titled, “Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die.” This morning I want to mention four reasons Jesus came to die as we prepare for communion. Reasons that clearly relate to our message a little later this morning.
First, Jesus came to die for us as a sacrifice.
Sacrificial – to give Himself for us
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Sacrifice has the idea of substitution. Someone or something takes the place of something else. For Jesus, it was his giving of Himself for us, it says in our verse. He was sacrificed for us. Jesus willingly gave of Himself in taking our place as a substitute for the penalty of sin that we deserve. Jesus died on the cross to be our sacrifice.
Second, Jesus came to die to make us holy.
Sanctify – to make us holy
Jesus came to do God’s will by taking away with the sacrifices and offerings that were brought to the temple for sin and by doing God’s will Jesus established a once for all sacrifice where Jesus becomes our High Priest.
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We are sanctified, made holy, through the precious offering of Jesus as a sacrifice, once for all. He wanted to present to God the Father a people who can stand in His presence for eternity spotless, blameless, and holy. That sanctifying work continues in our lives today. Jesus died, not only to be our sacrifice. Jesus died to sanctify us.
Third, Jesus came to die to show us what real love looks like.
Selfless – to show us real love
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 3:16
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Unfortunately, our concept of love is wound up on how we feel, our emotions. We only show love when we feel the one we love deserves to be loved. But God shows what real love looks like. Jesus died on the cross for us while we were yet in rebellion against Him. Jesus died to show us selfless love, to sanctify us and to be our sacrifice.
Fourth, Jesus came to die for us to unite us with Him.
United – to make us one with Him
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
We are also told in Romans 6 that we are united with Jesus in His death and we will be united with Him in our resurrection. In other words, physical death is not our end. Because we are one with Him, united in Him, we will be with Him for eternity.
Why did Jesus die on the cross?
· to give of Himself for us as our substitute for our penalty, He is our sacrifice.
· to make us holy and righteous before God
· to show us what real selfless love looks like
· to unite us with Him for eternity
Think about this for a moment. Jesus did this for the people He calls His bride. The New Testament calls believers His bride. This concept becomes very clear in the end times as the book of Revelation talks about His bride five different times. Jesus gave His life to save us from our sin. Through our faith in Him, we are not only united with Him, but we are called His bride. What powerful imagery of our relationship with Him.
This morning as we celebrate the sacrificial death of our Savior on the cross of Calvary for us, may we keep in mind all his sacrifice entails. He died that we might may be made holy, love like Him, be one with Him, live for Him, and show His love to the world.
The Loving Husband
Last week we began a seven week focus on marriage. We saw God’s design in marriage: Companionship, Completeness, and Unity. We found that marriage is God’s plan, God’s idea, not man’s. Our spouse was created in the image and likeness of God, they are made of the same flesh, blood, bone, etc. Your spouse was designed to complete you, and make you more of what God intended for you to be. And most importantly, you are to be as one in all that you are, . . . one flesh.
Today we want to look at what it means to be a loving husband. The reason I chose the four reasons of Jesus death that I did for communion was because of how they align with our passage in Ephesians 5. As husbands, we are told to love our wives like Christ loves the church. Though the wife should show love to her, husband she is never told to love him like Christ loves.
So, the love of a husband should be special, unique, simply because it should be Christ-like love. But what exactly does that mean? The first reason for Jesus’ death was a sacrificial giving of Himself for us. Thus, the love of the husband should be:
Sacrificial – gives of himself for his wife (v. 25)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Just like we mentioned earlier about Jesus’ love. He died on the cross as our sacrifice because he wanted to give of Himself for us. For Jesus, it was His love for mankind that He willingly sacrificed His heavenly home, His place at God’s side, His place as the Lord of the universe to become born as a human in a stable. The point is simply this, God loves us with an everlasting love that puts us, you and me, above everything else.
For the husband in a marriage relationship, his love for his wife should be above everything else in this life on earth. The only love that should surpass the husband’s love for his wife is his love for God. Love is an interesting word from a biblical context. We actually translate four different Greek words from the original text of the Bible as “love” in our English language.
First, there is “Phileo” love. This is friendship love, brotherly love, a love that simply desires to be in their company. Philadelphia means the city of brotherly love. “Storgay” is a word that generally refers to the kind of love you have for your relatives. It is a love for those who you are connected to through family. Then there is “Eros” love. This is a sensual, physical, sexually, and emotionally driven love. This is where we get the word erotic.
But the love we have here in Ephesians 5 is the kind of love known most in the Bible as God’s love. It is “agape” which is a word that indicates a love that is beyond all other loves. It is sacrificial love. This is the kind of love God has for us and the kind of love He expects husbands to have toward their wives.
Agape love is a selfless love, a giving love, and a sacrificial love! A love that does not seek anything in return! Instead of taking, it gives! This love is the kind that loves even if the person doesn’t deserve to be loved! It loves even if the person is utterly unworthy of being loved! It loves with no expectation of love or some kind of favor being returned for it.
For most of us, this is much harder than we think. We are kind of self-centered and, honestly, there are times that our wives are not the most loveable. But when we love our wives, when love is not deserved or warranted, that is sacrificial agape love. This kind of love is not a forced love or obligated love, it is a love that is so intense that it sees well beyond unlovable traits in our spouse. This is how Christ loves us. The husband is to love his wife with a sacrificial love, a love that gives of himself.
Let’s continue in Ephesians 5 at verse 26. Here we see that a husband’s love will:
Sanctify – helps his wife to become holy (vv. 26-27)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Jesus’ death on the cross brought about sanctification for His bride, the church. She is made holy and there is a cleansing by the Word of God that takes place, indicating that believers are continually becoming more and more like Christ. Why does Jesus do this? Because in the end he will present believers to Himself in the glories of heaven without spot or blemish before God the Father.
This is a powerful statement. Christ not only died for us and gave Himself for the us, but that He continues to work in the our hearts, to change us and mold us so that he can present the church holy and without blemish.
If men are to love their wives like Christ loves the church, then the husband’s love for his wife should have a sanctifying effect on her also. The picture is of a wife who becomes more and more like our Savior because of her husband. It is of a woman who throughout her life has grown to be ever more like Christ because of the leadership and influence her husband has on her.
The question I have to ask, just like every husband here, is simply this: “Is my wife more like Christ because she is married to me? Or is she like Christ in spite of me? I encourage you to stop for this moment and think about the question. Is your wife more like Christ, grown closer to the Lord, has a sweeter more passionate walk with her Savior, because of being married to you?
The love we have for our wife is a love that is not only sacrificial, but it is a love that continues to display Christ in such a way that our spouse draws nearer to God because of our love. Third, the husband’s love is:
Selfless – shows his wife real love (vv. 28-30)
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
I am not sure that any of us would want to say we love ourselves, but even if we do not say the words, our actions back up that truth. Many of the things we do, we do because we love ourselves. We eat, bathe, sleep, exercise, enjoy recreation, buy the things we buy, etc., because we love ourselves.
Remember why we said that part of the reason Eve was made from Adam’s side rather than just spoken into existence is so that they would know that they are the same, same flesh and blood, same image of God, and the same life. You are in a one flesh relationship for all of life.
The Golden Rule of Matrimony is, You shall love your wife as yourself (cf. Leviticus 19:18), and when you love her as yourself, you will be loving yourself because the two of you are one flesh.
When our love is selfless, the things we do for our wife is not to receive a different response from her. When we do things for our wives out of selfless love, we do not expect anything in return. We do it simply because we love her. It is a Christlike love. A husband’s love is sacrificial, it is a sanctifying love, it is a selfless love.
United – becomes one with his wife (vv. 31-33)
31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband
Last week we found that the “one flesh” relationship goes well beyond the sexual intimacy, it is the whole of our lives in union with each other. Just as our life in Christ is found in our union with Him, the life of our marriage is found in our union with each other. In our unity with our wives, we know what gives them joy and pleasure, we know their needs and desires, they are a part of who we are; and all of this ties back to the concepts of sacrifice, sanctification and selflessness.
Just as Jesus demonstrates His love for us through His sacrifice for us, we demonstrate our love for our wives through our sacrifice for them. What we are willing to give up for them. What we are willing to do for them. Do we sacrificially give our time for them? The loving husband is sacrificial
Jesus’ highest goal for His bride, the church, is holiness. Every husband should love his wife, not just to make her feel good, but to help her become more like Jesus. I am not talking about preaching at her, continually admonishing her, making her feel guilty, or any kind of superiority complex. That is not at all what we are talking about.
A husband loves his wife by growing in his relationship with the Lord and as he lives out the love of God in his marriage, she also grows in her relationship with God. When a husband aims at bringing both himself and his wife to a greater level of spiritual maturity, he truly loves his wife. When a man desires to become a person who lives for God, loves God supremely, he is on the road to loving his wife in such a way that he has a sanctifying effect on her life also.
Jesus saw His bride as a means of bringing good news to the surrounding communities. The Lord knew that the good news of forgiveness, eternal life, and abundant life would best be promoted through the life and ministry of His bride, the church. Similarly, husbands and wives make a great promotional team for the life found in Christ. When a husband and a wife share a ministry of love, reconciliation, and service they are not only drawn closer together, but they put the love of God on display to the world around them. The loving husband demonstrates a life of unity with Christ in his one flesh relationship with his wife.
Jesus saw His bride, the church, as possessing incalculable wealth, beauty, and dignity. We are called royalty, a chosen people, a precious possession. Every husband who views his wife as one who is as valuable as precious jewels will love and cherish them.
Just like Jesus Christ does for His bride, the church, the husband has a ministry of affirmation, commendation, and thanksgiving, assuring his wife of his love. Praying for her, helping her when she is sick, protecting her from danger, praising her, thanking her, surprising her, but most all, being a strong spiritual leader for her.
If you are like me, this seems overwhelming. But I think I can guarantee, that as you grow in your relationship with the Lord, step by step we will begin to love our wives like Christ loves the church. Believe me, little steps can have a huge impact as we are showing love to our wives.
It will take time, it won’t always be easy, but God will truly bless as you determine to become the man of God He intended you to be.
Commit to God areas of your life?