This Mystery is Profound - Part 2
September 22, 2019
As we wait for the return of our Lord, we are to walk in a manner worthy of his gospel… in our relationships. And the most profound relationship on earth is that of a husband and a wife.
Last Sunday we considered Jesus’ command for husbands. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. And a husband is to use his headship and authority to be a blessing for the spiritual well-being of his wife.
This means that husbands are to speak the gospel of Christ to their wives and remind them about the big picture of Jesus and his salvation. This means that husbands are to encourage and assure their wives and pray for them. This means that husbands are to lead their wives through times of trials or testings and provide spiritual protection for them. This means that husbands are to rejoice in their wives and tell them how beautiful and beloved they are.
This is what Jesus Christ does for his heavenly bride. An this is what every believing husband ought to do for his earthly bride. What a profound mystery.
And that’s just half of it. For the Lord does not just command husbands in marriage relationships. The Lord also commands wives.
Today we turn to the sisters of Highland and especially to the wives in the room. Here we go. Sisters, brace yourselves for what I am about to say next. Christ Jesus, who is your King, commands you to respect the headship of your husband as he loves you and lives to be a blessing for your spiritual well-being.
What does it mean for a wife to respect her husband in a marriage relationship? To answer that question, we are to do the same thing that we did last Sunday. We need to look at the perfect marriage between Christ and his church. And we need to see what it means for the church to respect or submit to her Savior and King. So listen very carefully, especially if you are married.
Christ Jesus loves his church. He loved us back then. He loves us now. He loved us before he created the heavens and the earth. He will love us forever in the new heavens and the new earth. Jesus loves us, Highland. And in response, we love him for his steadfast love toward us who do not deserve it. This mystery is profound.
Christ Jesus saved his church. He lived a perfect life for us. He credited us with his record of obedience and righteousness so that we would be blessed. And he died a perfect death for us. Our disobedience and sin was credited to him so that we would not be cursed. Jesus loves us, Highland. And in response, we have a heartfelt reverence and a high regard for who he is and what he has done for us. This mystery is profound.
Christ Jesus gave himself up for his bride that is the church. He humbled himself for her. He sacrificed himself for her. He laid down his life for her. He paid it all to have her back. As one pastor put it, just as Adam’s flesh was torn open to create a new bride, so Jesus’ flesh was torn open to create a new bride. Jesus loves us, Highland. And in response, we give him thanks and praise for lowering himself for our sake. This mystery is profound.
Christ Jesus sanctifies his bride that is the church. He feeds and leads us. He encourages us and disciplines us. He cleanses us and grows us. He speaks to us and assures us. He does all of this by his written word that is the Bible and his sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. And soon and very soon, he will present us the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we the church might be holy and without blemish. Jesus loves us, Highland. And in response, we trust him for his good work in our lives. This mystery is profound.
Christ Jesus cherishes his bride that is the church. He is warm and relational as his heart goes out toward his church with deep and lavish affection and care. He is united to his church and treats her as if she were his own body. And he rejoices because of her. Jesus loves us, Highland. And in response, we put him first in our lives, we have a biblical fear of him, we acknowledge his kingship, and we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of his gospel. This mystery is profound.
Therefore, sisters, this is what your respect for your husband ought to look like in real life… in Christ.
First, dear sisters, have a heartfelt reverence and a high regard for your husband. It is true that there is a friendship dynamic going on in married life. And it is good and healthy to see your husband as the best of friends. But he is not first and foremost your friend. He is first and foremost your husband. And your relationship with him is not merely a friendship. Your relationship with him is a marriage. And God gave your husband to you and God gave your husband headship over you… so that he can live for and die for you - so that he can live for and die for your spiritual well-being in Christ. This calls for a heartfelt reverence and a high regard unlike anything else. This is what it means to respect your husband.
Second, dear sisters, be thankful for your husband and give him praise. As he humbles himself and sacrifices himself and gives himself up for you, give him thanks and acknowledge what he is doing for you. As your husband speaks the gospel of Christ to you on a regular basis and reminds you about the big picture of Jesus and his salvation, as your husband encourages you and assures you about the person and work of our Lord, praise him for his efforts to obey the Lord for his glory and for your sake. Remember that marriage is a dialogue. Your husband’s words matter a lot. But your words matter a lot too. So bless your husband with words of thanks and praise. This is what is means to respect your husband.
Third, dear sisters, trust your husband as he works for your spiritual well-being. If he makes a good and wise decision on a matter regarding your spiritual well-being or the spiritual well-being of the marriage as a whole, then trust him and follow his lead and support him to the end. If your husband plans to do Bible reading times for the whole family during the week, then trust him. If your husband senses the need for both of you to repent of certain things and make certain changes in both of your lifestyles, then trust him and follow his lead. If your husband seeks greater obedience in the stewardship of the money, greater wisdom in the disciplining of the kids, greater service for the life of the church, greater love for the Lord Jesus Christ, then trust him and follow him and support him to the end. The future is bright. Trust your husband in these matters. This is what is means to respect your husband.
Fourth and finally, dear sisters, love your husband. Rejoice in your husband. Take the time to tell him how much you love him. We who are the church love Jesus. May you love your husband as the church loves Christ. This is what is means to respect your husband.
Sisters, this is what your respect ought to look like in real life. This is Christian marriage at its best. Sisters, keep the mystery. And keep the mystery profound.
May the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and strength, sisters, as you obey his word for the sake of his glory and for the sake of your husbands.
Soli Deo Gloria
Summary of Sermon
Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us commands and gospel truths about the relationship between husband and wife. This is real and relevant for all.
It is important to see that the primary focus of this text is on the relationship between Christ Jesus and his church. Before we think about what we need to DO in order to have great marriages, we should think about what we need to LOOK AT: the perfect marriage between the groom that is Christ and the bride that is the church. If we focus solely on the commands, then the mystery is gone.
The church has a heartfelt reverence and a high regard for who Jesus is and what he has done for her. The church gives Jesus thanks and praise. The church trusts in him. The church puts him first, fears him, acknowledges his kingship and conducts herself in a manner worthy of his gospel. The church loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
Wives, respect your husbands like this. Love your husband as the church loves Christ. And submit to his headship and authority as he strives to be a blessing for your spiritual well-being.
Sisters, this is what your respect should look like.
Have a heartfelt reverence and a high regard for your husband… just as the church does for Christ. Be thankful for your husband and give him praise… just as the church does for Christ.
Trust your husband as he works for your spiritual well-being… just as the church does for Christ. Love your husband… just as the church does for Christ.
Sisters, may the Lord give you grace and strength as you obey his word for the sake of his glory and for the sake of your husbands. Keep the mystery. And keep it profound.
Questions for Discussion & Sharing
Christ Jesus loves his church. And the Bible describes this relationship as that of a husband and wife. In what ways might this profound mystery change the way that you look at our church? How does this text help you to better understand the amazing love that Jesus has for us?
A wife is to respect her husband as he uses his headship and authority to love her and be a blessing for her spiritual well-being. In what ways does this truth change the way that you (both sisters and brothers) view headship and authority in marriage?
Dear sisters, take a moment to confess sin and recommit yourselves to respecting your husbands as the church respects Christ. What are some aspects of the church’s love that you want to better reflect in your marriage?
Having a heartfelt reverence and a high regard for your husband
Being thankful for your husband and giving him praise
Trusting your husband as he works for your spiritual well-being
Loving your husband
Dear wives, take a moment to be encouraged by the Lord and by your husbands. And take time to pray and ask God for grace and strength to respect your husbands as the church respects Christ.