27 Jan 2019
Husbands, love your wives. This is easy to say, but very hard to do. Real love takes sacrifice. You have to work at knowing your wife's needs and you have to give up your time, energy and preferences for her. You have to shower her with affection and attention. You are to be the spiritual leader at home. And you are to love her regardless of how she performs. In other words, real love means you are to be sensitive, sacrificial, sweet, sanctifying and steadfast. Perhaps you feel stuck in a difficult marriage. Or you find in yourself no strength to do what is needed. Or maybe, you may not even feel like doing anything about it at all! Know then that the only power to change your marriage is found in the gospel, for this is where you learn of God's amazing love for you. And as you drink in God's sensitive, sacrificial, sweet, sanctifying and steadfast love for you in the gospel, then you can bend that love outwards towards your wife. May you rejoice in, resource from and reflect the gospel in the way you love your wife. May God be glorified in your home as you pray, "Lord bless our home". Find out more in this sermon.
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A little boy went to a wedding service with his mom and after the service, he asked, “Mom, mom, why is it that we men can have 16 wives?” The mom looked at him and said, “Son, where did you hear that from?” “Well, the pastor said so.” “The pastor? When did he ever say that a man can have 16 wives?” “Well, the pastor said, “Four better, four worse, four richer, four poorer.”
Well, this boy has good mathematics, but I'm afraid he has bad theology. The Bible is very clear that a man is to be married to one wife and they two shall be one flesh. All men, the Bible tells us to have one wife and to love our wives well.
Today, we are looking at a sermon that will focus on the role of the husband. This is part four of this nine-part series in ‘Home Fix’. And as I've mentioned, this is the sermon I would hate most in my own life. This is the sermon I feel like I'm a super hypocrite as I teach this. But, I'm, I hope that you're not looking just to whether I live up to the expectations here. But to understand what God has to say. And that we will humble ourselves before Him and say, “Lord, help me, help us to be more and more the kind of husband you want us to be.”
Now, maybe some of you are dragged here by your wives. She made sure you woke up early today. Brought you here by force. But for all wives, alright, I want to say to you again as you hear this message, maybe this has very little to do with you. This is the role of the husband, not so much about you. But even as you hear this message, I hope you're not trying to take down notes as ammunition against your husband.
I hope you're not writing it down so that after service, on the way home you say, “Dear or ah lau, how come you're not doing 12345?” But I hope you come with a humble spirit that say, “Lord, I want to pray for my husband. I want him to be a man after your heart and so these are things, I will be praying for him on.” Alright? I hope you come with that spirit and attitude.
And for all men again, let me ask you, “Please listen to God's Word humbly. Don't fight God in His will. But let us say, “Lord, help us to be a better version of who I am today.”
Alright, so today we're going to look at the role of the husband. What is husband supposed to do? Actually, it's not very complicated. If you look in the Bible it is very straightforward, very plain. In Ephesians chapter 5:25, we are told, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Very simply, God says to all husbands here, “You are to love your wives.”
Verse 28, He repeats, “In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” Again, love your wives. And then in verse 33, “However, let each one of you love his wife.”
So, I think the sermon is super-duper simple. What is your job, husbands? Husbands, love your wives. Like ‘bey kum guan’ [unwilling in Hokkien dialect], like you all say, “Love your wives.” Say it with excitement alright, husbands? Husband …? I think the wives are louder here okay, so we are to love our wives.
I think this is simple. This is plain. But maybe it's not so helpful because you do not know what real love for your wife will look like. So, what we're going to do is to go a little bit deeper. And just understand and see what loving my wife would look like.
A few things I want to share with you. Five simple thoughts about loving your wives, alright! We men, we are so sometimes blur about these things that maybe you got just got to spell it out.
1. Be Sensitive
The number one thing I would say about loving your wives is that we've got to be sensitive. Not in the sense that you are easily irritated or agitated. But sensitive in the sense of being aware; being knowledgeable; being able to understand your wife. Real love means that we work at understanding our wives. This does not come from me, this comes from the Bible. 1 Peter, chapter 3:7 says, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way.” So, please understand your wives. This is your job. This is a priority. We got to live with them in an understanding way.
Now, there's a statement very well known, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”. We come from two very different planets. We are born in Singapore, for many of us, but we actually come from very different planets. We are like aliens to one another. We don't understand each other. Maybe you're not very familiar with this English saying. You might be familiar with the Chinese saying. Chinese saying, for men, we, we hear this often, “女人心，海底针” [nǚ rén xīn, hǎi dǐ zhēn]. What does it mean? It means that the heart of a woman is like a needle at the bottom of the ocean. Try to find it out. You want to try that? No one is going to find a needle. And it speaks of how difficult it is for man to understand our wives. That's, that's, that's a deep sigh. Huh, huh, it's a very difficult thing for a man to understand his wife. Have you misunderstood your wife before? I have many times.
A story is told of a man who wanted to celebrate his wife's birthday and so he asked her, “”What would you like for your birthday celebration?” She thought for a while and said, “Hmm … I really want to be, to be 10 again!” So, he said, “Alright, that's easy!” He booked some tickets for Universal Studios. He booked a space in the McDonald's restaurant. So, they went to Universal Studios, enjoyed all the rides. And then they went to McDonald's and there they have their favourite soft drinks, McNuggets, balloons all over the place. They have nice children's songs and they played children's games with their friends. And at the end of the day, he asked her, “Dear, did you enjoy your birthday today? Did you like the celebration?”
She says, “It's very tiring, Dear! And I … that's not what I really wanted.” “What! I, I, I thought you said you wanted to be 10 again? That's why we had all these things! “Oh no!” She said. “I meant size 10, not age 10.” We often do not understand our wives. It's so difficult sometimes.
Chuck Swindoll, in his book, ‘The Great Awakening’, he listed out some of the needs of husbands and listed out some of the needs of wives. In marriage, there some needs that husbands look forward to being fulfilled and vice versa for the wives. Would you want to guess what are the needs of husbands? A quiet wife. Actually, that's quite biblical, hah, hah, huh. Quiet and submissive spirit lah. Hah, okay I get that!
What do you think they look for? Well, look at Chuck Swindoll's findings, alright? Whether research, he quoted from someone else's research and survey. These are the five needs of the husband.
Number 1, sexual fulfilment. Now, that's where we all get quiet but we are going to look at that next week too, alright! Number 2, recreational companionship. Number 3, an attractive spouse. Number 4, domestic support. Number 5, admiration or respect from the spouse. So, these are the five needs of the husband. But today, we are not dealing with wives, we are dealing with husbands.
So, we move on then to wives, the needs of the wives. Husbands, do you understand your wife? Do you know what she needs? Do you dwell with her in understanding? So, let me ask, “What are the needs of the wives?” This one, the ladies, shhhh [means keep quiet] Guys, you try, alright. Guys, what are the needs of your wives? Hah, Handbags? I think not a need ah, that's an obsession. Alright, alright, maybe handbags, good one. Alright, good one. What brand ah? Okay, okay what else besides handbags? Husbands? Wives, shhhh. Security. Very good, that's a nice one! Good, attention and a listening ear, very good. These are the five needs of your wives alright, according to Chuck Swindoll.
Number 1, affection, affection, that warm tender loving touch or sweet nothings from you, at affection. When was the last time you said something affectionate to your wife? “Ay ler, ler pung, bo ho chiak.” [you didn’t cook a good meal in Hokkien dialect] Okay, affection.
Number 2, conversation. She wants to talk to you and talk with you, alright.
Number 3, honesty and openness. That's interesting! It's almost like husbands are not very honest most of the time.
Number 4, financial support. Probably in the sense of security too.
And number 5, family commitment.
Now, if you were to compare list one, list two, they are very different. And so, if you think that loving your wife means doing the things you want, you've got it real wrong! She's an alien. I mean if you believe men are from Mars and women are from Venus. She's an alien. She doesn't like the same things you do and she doesn't need the same things you do.
So, it begins with understanding your wife and I think it's a lifelong study, alright! I don't think memorizing this five is going to solve the problem. You might want to spend time really getting to know what brand of handbags your wife wants and stuff like that. Because that's what it means to love your wife. You are sensitive. You are working at understanding your wife's needs. You're not ignoring her needs. You're not just doing what you want. You are meeting her at where she needs, okay? This is just a simple beginning.
2. Be Sacrificial
But I think number two, real love is not just working at knowing and understanding. But real love means you're willing to do, do something about it. So, real love means - I'm also sacrificial. Real love is being sacrificial. Because you can know about something, but you won't lift a finger to do something, you're not willing to sacrifice your time; your energy or your efforts. And sacrifice is something very hard for us to do. For men, I've said that before, “As a man, I'm selfish; self-absorbed.” And it's hard to sacrifice.
Nevertheless, we draw inspiration, we see our example, in Jesus Christ. He loved His church. He loves us and He does not just understand us. He gave Himself for us. There must be a price. Real love demands a price. Real love demands sacrifice. You have not really love someone if you have not given up anything for him or her, right? So, loving your wife means you're willing to sacrifice.
This is a fictitious story, don't quote me on it. But God spoke to Adam and said to him, “Adam, I'm going to make you a wife; a companion; a helpmeet. She's going to be wonderful. She's going to be able to cook the best dishes for you. She's going to mop the floor, scrub the toilets. She's going to do every household chore you require. She's going to even peel the skin from the grapes and pop it into your mouth. She's going to massage you. She's going to serve you the way you would want her to.”
And Adam said, “Wow, this is great, God! This is a wonderful gift! But God, what would I have to give in order to have someone like that? What will it cost me? God said, “Well, it would just cost you an arm and a leg.” To which Adam thought for a while and said, “Alright, God, what will I get if I give you a rib?” That's why we have what we … Okay, huh, huh, huh, just kidding, alright. Well, we men find it very difficult to sacrifice.
But the reality is for your wife, you're not to give up an arm and a leg only, you are to give up your, your life. Remember, I said some two weeks ago, “That a wedding is like a funeral because it marks the death of two, so that it may become one.”” A successful marriage requires dying to yourself. So, you don't give an arm and a leg, you give yourself. You die to yourself. The KPI, the key performance index or indicator for the husband is not how much you get out of your marriage, but how much you give into your marriage. Real love demands a sacrifice.
Often times, we think of sacrifice like that one-time, super sacrifice for your wife. We, we think of the ultimate sacrifice. We, we, we have this picture that if there's a robber who comes with a knife and is about to stab your wife, you rush in like a knight in shining armour. And you take that stab for her.
I, I, think as a husband you might be willing to do that, I mean for your wife you would think, “I will die for you, Dear.” And so, you think that's what it means to die to self. Unfortunately, not unfortunately but realistically, you're not going to be called to do that, for most of us. But dying for your wife is not just about that ultimate sacrifice when the robber comes but is about the daily little sacrifices you make. The thousand choices you make every day that's where you sacrifice.
That when you are so tired, you sacrifice yourself to scrub the toilet. When you're so tired, you sacrifice yourself to do the dishes. That you will do the little things even when she does not ask you to do so because you're willing to die to yourself to please her.
Now, I'm going to show you a video. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek. It's a comical, it's a skit kind of thing and it's about a group of romantically challenged guys. And we all, I think many of us, as men, we are romantically challenged. And I hope this little video open some humour. In a humorous way, opens up some of your thinking. Take a look.
All men: I'm a man and I'm romantically challenged. My wife is from Venus and I’m from Mars. But we must learn to live together on earth. Although I don’t like to talk or share my feelings, I am here to hide, to do both because I love my life.
Jerry: Hey guys, I'm Jerry and I'm a or was romantically challenged. Remember when we talked about how we're supposed to love our wives, like Christ loved the church. Well, gentlemen, mission accomplished! This weekend, I saw some extra charges on Cindy's bankcard. So yeah, but I, you know instead of yelling and screaming like I normally would. I acted in a more Christlike manner.
[applause from the men]
So, I simply turned over her nightstand and her scrap booking table and said, “Get out of here, money changer.” Hah, hah, hah, hah.
Man A: I don't think that's what the Ephesians 5 passage mean.”
Jerry: Uh, uh, I'm sorry. Okay, Bill Gates, who are you?
Man A: You know, I think when it says, “That we should love our wives, like Christ loved the church,” that means we are supposed to serve and sacrifice.
Jerry: Hey, I was cleansing the temple, I was cleansing the temple.
Leader: Okay, different perspective, not necessarily right, just different. Uh, the question is: how many of you have done anything for your wife without desiring anything in return?
Man B: Are you even married?
Leader: Jesus wasn't married. Now, look the point, I'm trying to, no, I'm not and that stings a little bit. I have read a lot. Well, parts of a lot of relationship books and if anyone thinks they can lead this group better than I can … put your hand down, Jerry. I'm sharing my feelings and that's what you need to do with your wives. Practice makes perfect, who wants to go next?
Sheldon : I guess I could give it a shot. Hi guys, my name is Sheldon, I am romantically challenged. I thought I'd share a few things for the program that I've learned so far. First, if your wife says she doesn't know where she wants to go eat, that's pretty much code for Italian and expensive Italian. And secondly, if you're getting her an anniversary gift, the Snuggies not really very good idea even if it's the leopard print. I learned that one the hard way. And then third, the simple act of doing dishes is a big, big win. I mean a big one, so do all the dishes you can. Thanks.
[applause from men]
Leader: I got no idea what you said, but that was good. Bathroom break, isn’t yet [Leader said to Man C upon seeing he wants to leave the room]
Man C: Sorry, I got to go. Sorry guys.
Leader: Oh, Mr Big guy doesn't want to share, does he?
Man C: Not tonight.
Leader: Probably doesn’t care about his wife.
Man C : Okay um, I’ll share. This is a picture of my wife and kids. I've been married for 20 years. We married young and I don't regret it. Have we had our share of storms? Sure. Do we have some amazing memories? Too many to mention. Do I try to fix things? I do. But it's just because after 20 years of marriage, I still want to ride in and be my wife's knight in shining armour. I remember um, when we got engaged, her father looked at me and he said, “Just love her the way Christ loved the church.” I smiled and said, “I would.” Having no idea what that meant and still don't know if I understand it. You know what? I want, I want to be man who wakes up every morning, ask the question, how can I bless my wife? Men, isn't that what you want? Isn't your wife worth it?
Man : Hey wait, O captain, my captain.
Leader: Sit down, Jerry.
Sheldon: O captain, my captain.
Leader: Enough, sit down. What, what, what are you doing? Sit down. Please, sit down. I need a wife...
Well, that's a real man, right? A man who is willing to sacrifice; to serve his wife. So, real love for your wife means you understand her needs and then you go meet those needs. You are sensitive. You're willing to sacrifice because that's what Jesus did, He gave Himself up for her.
3. Be Sweet
Well, we come to the third point, I like to share about love and that is real love means that we are willing to be and we are actually being sweet to our wives. So, you're not just doing things that are ice cold way, but you're sweet and affectionate and warm towards her.
Ephesians chapter 5:29 tells us, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” The word, ‘cherish’ is a very beautiful word. It is a word that means to be warm, to be tender, to cherish. And actually, there is a word picture attached to it. It's a picture of a bird sitting on the eggs to warm the eggs. So that, it may hatch. So, husbands are to cherish your wife. I'm not saying you should sit on your wife but you should warm your wife. You should be tender and affectionate towards her.
Now, this is tough! It's tough for men to show affection, a lot of us. It's tough for Chinese men to show affection. It's tough for Chinese men in Singapore to show affection, because we tend to be standoffish. We tend to be awkward when it comes to showing our emotions. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us if you want to show emotion to anyone, your affection to anyone, let it be your wife. Cherish her; warm her, be tender towards her.
You say, “How do we do that? Me, how you show affection for your wife?” I heard someone kiss her. That's great, yah kiss your wife. Well, you show affection with your touch, right. Touch is beautiful. Touch is, is a way to show our affection towards her. Now, touch again is difficult for a man because the man most of the time you think of touch in two scenarios. One, sex. Two, sports. That's how you think about touch - sex and sports. And it's difficult, so let me tell you story.
A story is told of a man who had some relationship problems with his wife. So, they both went to see a marriage counsellor. The marriage counsellor heard them out and then she sort of found out the, the problem and the source of the problem. And she said to him, “This is what you, what your wife really needs.” She stood up, walked towards his wife and gave her big tight hug. And then said, “This is what your wife needs every day.”
The husband then says, “Alright, when should I bring her here tomorrow?” He doesn't want to hug her. He doesn't realize, he's the one who needs to show the affection. But that's what your wife needs a touch, a hand holding time it's time to hug her. Someone said, “A kiss.” I think kiss is great, of course in nonsexual way all the time. And for those who are not very keen on kissing your wife, there is some study, I'm not sure whether I can verify that. But I've read some studies that say on an average a man who kisses his wife every day, lives five years longer.
So, if you're nearing your nearing your expiry, you know you kiss more maybe you live another few more years longer, alright. For those of you who are not interested in living longer, the study also says that if you kiss your wife every day, you're found to earn 20 to 30 percent more than average guy who doesn't kiss his wife. So, you want to earn more, you want to live longer, kiss your wife. But most of all, I hope you do that because this is the way we are to love our wives, alright.
Love in an affectionate way with our touch. How else do you show affection to your wife? Hold her hand, hug her, kiss her. How else do you show affection to your wife? Spend time? That reminds me of a story. Let me just share. Have, have you ever had this experience? Your wife tells you, “Dear, I need to buy a dress. Can you go … ” Not go home lah. “Can you go, go …” The word, the word that we are scared of the most. “Can you go shopping with me?” Hey, that's a, that's a scary word, right?
“Okay, let's go get a dress for you!” And so, she goes shopping with you. You go shopping with her and you come to this shop. She picks up a dress and she asked you, “Dear, how do I look in it? You say, “You look fantastic! It's great! Get the dress.”
And then she puts the dress down, she goes to the next rack. She takes up another dress and asked you, “How do I look?” “You look gorgeous, Dear! You can get it.” She puts it down and she goes to the next dress and that repeat so many times. And then out of nowhere, she picks out another dress for your daughter, “How does this look for Carrie or for Jane?” Your daughter and that's where you get what as a man, how do you feel? Frustrated. I have, I have looked at like 50 dresses with you. You've gotten nothing and now we are you talking about our daughter's dress. What's up!
Men, do you understand why? I never quite understood why took, have to take so long to find something until I read someone who said, “When we go shopping, as men, we are there to hunt. That's what man, man's thinking, we are there to hunt, we are there to conquer a dress. We are there on a mission and we must fulfil the mission and go back and report to commander, “Job done.”
But for your wife, she's not there on the mission. She's not there for the dress, she is there so that she can spend time with you. All she wants is to share those sights, so that's why it's so frustrating for a man to go shopping. And a wife gets disappointed when a man just walks off, alright.
So yes, you can spend time. What else can you do to show affection to your wife? This is what your wife wants to hear from you the most. And this is what is so difficult for you to say, but almost want to kill you. And what she wants to hear from you is, “I love you.” Isn't it? So easy. Does it take a lot of calories to say, “I love you.” Very little energy is needed, but that's what she needs. For us men, we almost think that I've already said, “I love you on the wedding day.” If there's any change, I'll tell you. Otherwise, I love you.
However, that's not how your wife operates. She doesn't operate by a contract. She operates by emotions. She wants to hear you say, “I love you.” So, loving your wife affectionately can be very, very simple - hold her hand, give her a hug, kiss her in a nonsexual way, say, “Dear, I love you. “Dear, I really appreciate what you're doing.” “I appreciate you for who you are.” Simple things.
And someone else said, “Listening.” Right. It's also very important also to listen to your wife. Don't, don't when you talk to your wife, hear her or let her talk. And in the meanwhile, you're thinking about what to say next. Just listen to your wife because so often we think that when we listen to our wife, it's a problem. And we need to solve her problem but I think after some time and learning from others, I realize a lot of times, your wives don't need your solutioning. She doesn't need you to be the smart aleck. She doesn't need you to fix her problems. But she just wants you to listen. Actually, for a man, I don't understand how that works. But she just wants to listen and that is good enough; that's great. That's what she's looking for.
Let me show you a video, alright. Take a look.
Wife: I just, there's all this pressure, there's you know. And sometimes, it feels like it's just right up on me. And I can just feel it, like, literally feel it in my head. And it's relentless and I don't know if it's going to stop. That's the thing that scares me most. That I don't know if it's ever going to stop.
Husband: Yeah, well, you do have a nail in your head.
Wife: It’s not about the nail.
Husband: Are you sure? Because, I mean, I'll bet if we got that out of there.
Wife: Stop trying to fix it!
Husband: No, I am not trying to fix it! I'm just pointing out, maybe the nail is causing...
Wife: You always do this. You always try to fix things when I really need is for you to just listen.
Husband: I don't think that is what you need. I think what you need is to get the nail out.
Wife: See, you are not listening now.
Husband: Okay, fine. I will listen. Fine.
Wife: It's just, sometimes, it's like, there's this achy, I don't know what it is. And I am not sleeping very well at all. And all my sweaters are snagged, I mean, all of them.
Husband: I,.. that sounds really hard.
Wife: It is. Thank you.
Wife: Oww [wife’s nail on the head hits the husband]
Husband: Oh, come on, if would you would just..
[end of video]
It's not about the nail, alright. As men, let's understand this. Let's love our wives with understanding; with affection; with a listening ear. Alright, so that's what it means to be sweet, to cherish your wife, alright.
4. Be Sanctifying
I got to move on and point number four, to love your wife, to you want to be sensitive, you want to be sacrificial, you want to be sweet. And number 4, this is a big one, you got to be sanctifying. What does it mean? Well, the Bible tells us Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her. Why? “So that, he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” [Eph 5:26] So, the word, ‘sanctify’ means to set apart; to cleanse; to make holy.
So, Jesus gave Himself up so that the church will not be mired in sin and filth. But that the church will be pure and clean and beautiful. And that's where the husband is to do. We are to be that sanctifying influence leader in our homes. We are to lead our wives, to lead our children away from the ways of the world, to be more like God, to be more like Jesus. That we will be cleansed by the washing of the water, by the Word.
In other words, what your wife needs from you the most is that you will be a spiritual leader for your family. Now, if your wife is not a Christian, maybe she does not bother with it. But if your wife is a Christian, she's a follower of Jesus, she loves God, she loves Jesus. There's nothing more that will thrill her heart than to see her husband be the spiritual leader at home.
You may not be great in a lot of things. You may not be great in cooking. You may not be great in driving. That doesn't really matter, if you are a spiritual leader. If you are the one who will be leading your children to love God and to put God first in their lives, if you are the one who will be sharing the Scripture to the family, if you're the one who will be making good spiritual biblical decisions at home, God wants you as a husband, to be the spiritual leader.
You know, when Adam and Eve sinned against God, who sinned first by the way? Eve sinned first. But in Genesis chapter 3 verse nine, when they sinned against God and God said, “”Adam, where are you?” Not “Eve, where are you?” In other words, God is holding Adam accountable for his wife. Men, we are to be spiritual leaders at home, whether you like it or not. Whether you realize it or not, God sees you as the leader. And it's better for us to realize that and to rise up to that calling then for us to ignore that.
Now, some of you say, “But I'm a new Christian, my wife has been a Christian for 20 years, how can I ever lead her?” Well, your job now is to catch up with her. Your job now is to catch up on knowing God through the Scriptures, in growing in faith. So that, you may be able to lead them, your family better and better as the days go by. But don't quit. Don't say, “My wife is a, is a Christian for a longer period of time than I am, so let her lead.”
No! You are the leader. And to love your wife means you pray with her; you read with her; you encourage her. You set the right example in the way you treat people, the way you look at finances, the way you prioritize the means of grace, the way you bring them for Bible studies and community groups. You model all that! Be that sanctifying leader at home. That's what it means to love your wife!
Men, don't quit on this! Because I think is so common in church that we see maybe men, we take a backseat role in spiritual things. “Let my wife decide.” “Let my wife do this.” “Let my wife plan for the kids’ studies and even Bible studies.” This is one area you can't delegate, alright. I think you can delegate a lot of household chores, but I think this is where as men we got to lead.
5. Be Steadfast
The last thing I want to say about love is that real love has to be steadfast. What does it mean to love my wife? It means to love her every day steadfastly. Real love is not sacrificing once a year. Real love is doing it every single day steadfastly.
There's a story told of a man who met a girl. He liked her, wanted to date her, but had no courage to do so. So, he arranged for a florist to send a rose to her every day. After a while, the girl asked the florist, “Who has been sending these roses to me.” The florist then divulged, “Oh, it's that .. it's that guy there! His name is Jake.”
So, after a while they got to know each other, they got engaged. And you would have thought that Jake would have stopped sending the roses. But Jake still sent roses every day to this girl. After they got engaged, they then got married. Anywhere for then, you would have thought roses would end but he still kept sending the roses after they had children. You thought the roses would end, but he kept sending the roses, and soon Jake died. And you guessed it, the very next day after Jake died, the roses still kept coming.
So, she said to the florist, “You know you have been sending flowers to me for decades now. Jake has now passed away, I think you can stop doing that already.” The florist then said to her, “No ma'am, Jake had ordered that until the day you die, one fresh rose will be sent to you every single day. That's Jake's commitment to us.”
In a very simple way, that's how we should look at our love for our wives. It doesn't end, but it's steadfast, every single day. You see, that's the way God loves us. God doesn't love us in a volatile way. God's love for us is strong and unchanging. We read of how “Nothing in this world will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” [Romans 8:28-29] God loves us unconditionally. God loves us while we were yet sinners. And men, you are to love your wives unconditionally.
Now as a man, I find myself falling into this trap. That if my wife fails me, disappoints me, does not meet up to my expectations, I somehow find in me a wicked excuse to say, “Let me cold shoulder her. Let me ignore her. Let me not be so kind to her.” But no! We love our wives not because she meets our expectations. We love our wives because that's the way God loves me. It's got to be a steadfast; strong; unconditional love. We don't love because she is lovely, we love until she becomes lovely. As the song I've always quoted here, “Love to the loveless shown, that we might lovely be.” Love your wives steadfastly.
Agatha Christie, heard of her? She's an author. She married an archaeologist. And people ask her, “What did you marry an archaeologist?” Someone who looks into the historical stuff or ancient stuff. And she said, “Well, marrying an archaeologist is the best decision one could make.” “Why?” “Because the older I get, the more interested he is in me.
Now, the opposite happens in many marriages, right? The older she gets, the less interested we are. No, real love is steadfast. It's unconditional. Because that's the way Jesus loves us.
Now, in this whole sermon I must say once again, I feel like a super-duper hypocrite. Many things I fail, many things I don't do well. And maybe like myself, you may say, “Wow, this is a tough thing!” I know we laughed a lot, but to really do this on a daily basis, it's tough.
But I want to remind you that we do all these things not because of anything else, but because of the Gospel. And what inspires me and I hope what inspires you to love your wife well is to realize that all the things we have spoken of is the same way Jesus loves you.
Jesus understands your needs. He's sensitive towards your needs. That's why God did not just send His Son to give you money and to heal you from the diseases. He knows your real need and your real need is cleansing from sin. Your real need is justification. Your real need is a reconciliation with God. That's why Jesus died. He knew your need and He gave Himself up for you. And you know something about your God? He affirms His affection for you over and over and over again in His letter to you.
The Bible is God's love letter to you and the Bible is written with such tenderness; such affection. So that, we feel His love, we know His love. And Jesus' love for you, cleanses you; sanctifies you; washes you. And Jesus' love is steadfast, it never goes away. So, if you have a hard time loving your wife, remember the Gospel. We source from the love of Jesus in the Gospel. And may this inspire you to faithfulness, stepping up to the role of a loving husband.
I end with a story of Robertson McQuilkin, I've shared this before but it's always so good to hear him again. He is a Bible teacher. He planted churches for 12 years in Japan and then went on to be a president of a Bible college. He's married to his wife, Muriel, who in the later stage of her life developed Alzheimer's disease. She lost a lot of her memories and is disoriented in many ways. And now Robertson McQuilkin shares about his thinking and decisions in taking care of Muriel, his wife. I's worth listening to, so take a look.
Robert McQuilkin: I haven't in my life experienced easy decision-making on major decisions. But the one of the simplest and clearest decisions I've had to make is this one, because circumstances dictated it. Muriel, now in the last couple months, seems to be almost happy when with me and almost never happy when not with me. In fact, she seems to feel trapped, become very fearful, sometimes almost terror. And when she can't get to me, there could be anger, she's in distress. But when I'm with her, she's happy and contented. And so, I must be with her at all times.
And you see, it's not only that I promised: in sickness and in health, till death do us part and I'm a man of my word. But as I have said, I don't know with this group, but I've said publicly that the only fair thing, she sacrificed for me for forty years to make my life possible. So, if I cared for her forty years, I'll still be in debt. However, it's much more, it's not that I have to but I get to, I love you very dearly. And you can tell it's not easy to talk about. She's a delight! And it's a great honour to care for such a wonderful person.
My brothers, godliness is not something you put on every Sunday when you step into this church building. Godliness is a way of life, and it begins at home. And it begins with the closest relationship you have with any human being here on earth. It begins with your wife. I know if you're married for any period of time, you have your fair share of trials and tribulations, arguments and tiffs. But today, would you be reminded about that vow, that covenant you made before God and man. That you hold and cherish your, till death do you part.
Will you be reminded that your marriage with your wife is not just about you, it's about the Gospel. It's about portraying the love of Jesus. Don't you know that you are a preacher, you are a preacher with the way you love your wife. In a world where marriages are breaking up, in a world where there is so much darkness in relationships, God has called you to shine the light of the Gospel through the way you love your wife. Don't quit on your wife. Don't quit on your marriage. Your marriage is worth fighting for because Jesus and His Gospel is worth fighting for.
Today, look at the cross. Look at God's strong love for you. Preach to yourself the Gospel every day, so that as you are filled up with this love in your heart, you can then bend this love outward to your towards your wife and love her in a way worthy of the Gospel. And brothers, let me say this, “If you obey God, things change. Your marriage will change, your family will change, you will change. God will be glorified. Husbands, love your wives.”
To all our friends and guests who are here. Yes, this is a sermon about the husband, but don't you see that the Bible's intent is not just for us to know about husbands, but to know about Jesus. And the way He loves and even though we are so repulsive and wicked and rebellious, Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. He sees our deepest needs and He went to the cross, suffered a cruel death and He gave His life up so that you may be saved from your sins. This is not a message that is found in some corner of the Bible, but throughout the whole Bible. God is saying, “I love you. I love you and I have given My Son to die for you. And for those who repent and believe in Jesus, you would never drop out of His love. It's a strong, unbreakable love!”
Today, I invite you to come to know of the love of God in Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin and believe in Jesus, let Him save you today. Father, thank You for this morning, we can hear Your Word. Something very simple, very practical. I pray this will not just remain also on this practical realm, but let it transcend to the Gospel realm. Let it transcend to an eternal realm, that we would reflect and rejoice in Your love for us through Jesus, Your Son. And may it change our lives, our hearts, our families and homes, our church and our town and our country and our world. Bless Your people today. Lord, bless our homes. We give our homes to You. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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