Mysterious Marriage (part 1)

I have had more requests for the audio of my first sermon in the two part series on marriage titled, “Mysterious Marriage”. This sermon focused on the Gospel duties for wives. Well, the bad news is that the sermon wasn’t recorded. The good news is that I do have my sermon notes posted below. Please note that these notes are constructed for my eyes only and not written or edited for public consumption, so beware of typos and choppy structure 🙂

Mysterious Marriage, part 1

1st – Some words on singleness

–          Creation to Consummation

  • Marriage arranged by God, norm in OT (singleness was more circumstantial), positive gift in NT (singleness is a gift; eunuch, chastity for kingdom); singleness norm in consummate state (like the angels), Consummate marriage with Christ

–          1st marriage is prototypical in some ways:

  • Not good for Adam to be alone – we’re created for relational and physical intimacy, even before sin
  • Animals make good pets, but they weren’t sufficient, which forbids bestiality
  • God gave him a sole woman, which forbids polygamy and homosexuality
  • Not prototypical in that God directly arranged this marriage, however God pledges His grace over marriages consummated today according to His will

–          OT marriages

  • Forbid marrying foreigners
  • Arranged by Father (Laban with Leah and Rachel for Jacob)
  • Generally 13-15 for girls and men a couple years older

–          NT marriages

  • Forbid marrying “foreigners” outside of the faith (equally yoked)
  • “Calling” – institution created by and ruled over by God
  • Not necessarily arranged (voluntary union), arranged not forbidden or commanded
  • Sanctifying covering for sexual sin (better to marry than burn with lust)
  • Procreation mandate lessened as singleness is actually spoken of in positive light (commended by Jesus and Paul)
  • 1 Corinthians 7:6–9 (ESV) — 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
  • Paul walks the fine line of holding singleness in high esteem without dissing marriage as some necessary evil, as were some of the early Christians espousing.

–          Courting/Dating/Arranged Marriage/Age?

  • All fair game, but wisdom necessary
  • Clear things that are forbidden
    • Unbeliever
    • Fornication
    • Adultery
  • Set solid standards for what you’re looking for, but spend even more time on becoming the person God wants you to be.
    • There is a natural neediness that is normal, if too needy then will have little to offer and be overly demanding and high maintenance in the marital relationship
    • If totally self-sufficient, then will not be humble enough to have your needs met in another, maybe called to singleness
      • Fine line between unhealthy neediness and self-sufficiency that boasts in what you can offer someone else
  • Parents – prepare your children for marriage by passing on certain skills
    • Boys: hard work, manage money, self-defense, fix things around house, respect women, manners
    • Girls: teach them how to be beautiful both outward and inward, teach them how to prepare meals, how to shop, how to decorate, aesthetic beauty,
      • Now, I’m not restricting females to the home and men to the workplace…it all depends on what your calling is in life, but these are general rules that apply to most for some season in their lives.

–          I’m not getting into divorce and remarriage in all of its intricacies other than to state that it is okay in some circumstances, discouraged in others, and forbidden in others.

 

Ephesians 5:22–33 (ESV) — 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 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. 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. 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.

Christological – Paul roots his theology of marriage in the Trinitarian relationship of the Godhead. He has previously noted the need for Spirit-fulness and now draws heavily upon the relationship of Christ to His church.

There is not finite verb in 22, it is immediately supplied by the mutual submission described in verse 21, which is rooted in the imperative to be full of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:19).

Verses 25-33 is framed by the imperative “love your wives”.

Two “kathos” adverbially clauses describe the imperative to love; Christ’s love and sacrifice for the church and care for one’s body.

Purpose clause is in verse 27; Christ’s purifying work in the church, which is a beautifying ministry.

The section is bookended with another guideline for wives, that she “respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33).

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

–          “submit” – ordered relationships in social structure, distinct from obey, middle voice means voluntary, ultimately with Christ in view

  • If you don’t get Christ in view and only focus on your husband and his worthiness or lack thereof, your submission will be conditional and ultimately not glorifying to Christ.
  • Employees are told to work for their difficult bosses as unto the Lord and children are told to honor and obey their parents in the Lord.
  • In all my marriage counseling, I try to get folks to realize that there is plenty of fault in your spouse for anger, bitterness, depression, etc, but that they are singularly held accountable for their submission nonetheless as unto the Lord as an indication of their OWN sanctification.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

–          Here is the basis or reason for the implied command in verse 22, the headship of the husband over the wife

–          An illustration by way of analogy is provided that is rooted in reality and actually mysteriously correlates directly to the marital union:

  • Christ is the head of Church, his body
  • Is its Savior

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

–          Exhortation based on comparison to the relationship of Christ and Church

  • The church struggles with submission to Christ in everything
  • Wives struggle with submission in everything.
    • There are plenty of qualifications, yes, but if you seek qualifications for simply seeking an out of something that doesn’t apply, then you are sinful in your attitude towards your husband.
      • Some qualifications: no submission to sinful behavior, don’t need to be called names, yelled at, abused, etc. You have every right to walk away even when your husband is demanding your presence or following you around IF his actions are sinful towards you.
      • You need to have a good reason to walk away from your boss, coach, the president when being addressed, so also your husband. There’s a balance between abuse on one hand and not being able to handle some level of hardship on another. I got yelled at, cursed at from coaches. Deameaned from teachers. I also won their respect by not quitting and walking away but enduring and respecting them in the midst of some “abuse” (sin).
      • This doesn’t demand absolute silent obedience, in fact, true submission means doing something out of respect for authority without necessarily agreeing with the action as the wisest course. But you need to respect your husband and get his back when the decision is made.
      • You are a help-mate, which means that you can often offer counsel that should be taken into consideration by the husband and helpful for both parties.
      • A coach, captain, boss would be stupid to ignore concerns and good ideas.
  • Yes, your husband is a sinner, and so are you
    • Submission in this context as to do with the wife. In other words, your lack of submission is your issue, not His. The husbands will get their marching orders here in a minute, but the wives are being addresses right now.
    • Lack of submission has more to do with YOUR sin, and less to do with HIS sin. Paul was well aware that husbands were sinners when he penned this by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You are to respect and submit to your husband as if he were the very person of Christ in your home.
  • BTW, guys, it doesn’t help when you quote these 3 verses and ignore the following 9 verses for you. Be more concerned about what the Lord says to you. your love for your wife is unconditional as her submission for you is unconditional. You can’t exact this out of your wives. Wives, you also need to stop quoting the following 9 verses and ignore these 3 verses. Both of you, you need to stop saying you’ll do what is asked of you when the other starts doing what is asked of them.  It will be a stalemate till death.
    • Wives, resolve in your heart to render submission and respect to your husband as your fitting duty unto the Lord. Your joy will actually increase when you obey from a willing heart seeing God’s glory as your treasure.

Colossians 3:18 (ESV) — 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1–6 (ESV) — 1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

–          “subject” – submit

–          “conduct”

–          “respectful and pure”

–          “beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”

  • The adjective gentle (praüs) only occurs three other times in the New Testament (Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 21:5), twice referring to Christ, but its related noun, translated ‘gentleness’ or ‘meekness’, is more frequent (Gal. 5:23; 6:1; Jas 3:13; etc.). It means ‘not insistent on one’s own rights’, or ‘not pushy, not selfishly assertive’, ‘not demanding one’s own way’. Such a gentle and quiet spirit will be beautiful to other human beings, even unbelieving husbands (vv. 1–2), but even more importantly it is something which in God’s sight is very precious. Why? No doubt because such a spirit is the result of quiet and continual trust in God to supply one’s needs, and God delights in being trusted (cf. 1:5, 7, 8–9, 21; 2:6–7, 23; 3:12; 5:7).[1]

–          “lord”

–          “do good and do not fear” – trust God for your protection, don’t be petrified by fear, but resilient in your respectful conduct, gentle and quiet spirit, do not return evil with evil, render submission as unto the Lord

–          Augustine describes the faithful witness of his Christian mother Monnica to his pagan father Patricius:

  • She served her husband as her master, and did all she could to win him for You, speaking to him of You by her conduct, by which You made her beautiful … Finally, when her husband was at the end of his earthly span, she gained him for You.[2]

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

–          The command to love wives is completely foreign to the “household codes” of the day, the general cultural view of marriage, and even in Jewish texts of the day.

–          Example of Christ as the illustration

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.

–          3 purpose clauses

  • That he might sanctify her
    • Means: Having cleansed with the means of water and word
  • Might present church to himself in splendor, without spot wrinkle, any such things
  • Might be hol

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. 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.

 

[1] Grudem, W. A. (1988). Vol. 17: 1 Peter: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (148). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] Clowney, E. P. (1988). The message of 1 Peter : The way of the cross. The Bible speaks today (130). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press.

 

© 2011, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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