Love Like You Mean It Main (1)

 

Love That Submits and Surrenders by Rick Burdette

Ephesians 5:21-5:33

Love Like You Mean It – Love That Submits and Surrenders
Ephesians 5:21-33 (pg. 816) February 14, 2016

Introduction:

Did you know this about Valentine’s Day?

“Most believe the holiday finds its roots when Emperor Claudius II of Rome didn’t want men to marry during war time…But a Bishop named Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. For this Valentine was jailed and executed. While in jail he wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter signing it “From Your Valentine.”

There are an average 220,000 wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day.

And also 3% op pet owners give their pet a Valentine.

1 Billion Valentine Cards will be exchanged this year…making it the 2nd largest card sending time of the year…Christmas is the first.

For those who are single February 14 is also “Single Awareness Day.” SAD (I’m not kidding). It’s designed so people can celebrate or to commiserate their single status.

Maybe this is why 15% of American women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.

Women will purchase almost 85% of all Valentine’s Day gifts.

Teachers receive the most cards…followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.

And every Valentine’s Day the city of Verona where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived receives about 1,000 letters addressed to “Juliette.”

I love romance…I think Kari would describe me as “a romantic.” I like surprising her with special gifts at special times…whether it’s a yellow MG Midget for our 10th anniversary or a diamond ring on her 50th birthday (many of you all were there).

But the scary thing about romance is it can often be used “haphazardly, sporadically” as if the time in between the card, the car or the ring doesn’t matter.

I see the same thing happen many times with couples preparing to get married. The wedding day becomes so “central” that sometimes they forget…the “’til death do us part” part…June 27, 1981 was one day…A very special day…but 35 years later I can only remember parts of it, because of pictures.

For that reason I don’t believe any church should be in the “wedding day” business. Many get mad at that…but my calling and the church’s purpose is to glorify God and build men and women who are committed to Him and each other…if you don’t want that…then it’s about “A Day” and not the 35 years or 50 to follow…I’ve heard “But I want to get married in a church!” And I’ve shared “This is just a building…the Church is the body of Christ…the family of God…I want you to get married in it too.”

Important stuff for us to remember before we say “I do” and after.

I. SUBMISSION ISN’T JUST FOR WOMEN

Verse 21 in our text is essential if we are to understand the words that follow…It says “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

That “one another” isn’t gender exclusive…It’s not a guideline just to men or just to women…it’s a guideline for every believer.

Reverence for Christ means…We, both women and men…husbands and wives have made Him Lord…He’s in charge…He is the leader of our lives.

As we shared last week, God designed men and women in His image. He is the glue that binds them together as one flesh…Oneness…As we have accepted Christ’s Lordship, we become one body with Him. “For we are members of His body…for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the 2 will become one flesh…This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the Church.

This submission to Christ’s leadership through His Holy Spirit is essential to a healthy relationship with God…whether you are a husband or wife…it’s the starting place.

Yes it says “wives submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church, his body of which He is the Savior…Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Remember this is written to the Christ revering wife…but often men read this and think, “Alright…I can make her do what I want!” It wasn’t written to you! We’ll get to your part later…it is a choice to submit…if you dominate, abuse, order submission it’s abuse of your own body…Jesus never beat someone into submission…or abused someone into submission…He called followers.

The Greek work used here…in both submission to Christ for men and women, and for wives in regard to their husband’s leadership is “Hupotasso”…it’s the same word used in regard to Church leadership…it’s never involuntary…it’s always voluntary.

Godly husbands aren’t dictators…They are much more like soldiers who take the point and die trying to get their platoon to safety.

[I’ve shared this with every couple I’ve ever married, and I’ll share it with every couple I ever will marry…This decision you’ve made to share your life with someone for 50 or 60 years is the 2nd most important one you’ll ever make…it will affect your life here on earth greatly…but the 1st most important decision is accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord…it’s eternal…and then I share, the responsibility of getting your family to heaven rests on both of you…but I tell the husband…you’re on point.]

I’ve had people ask me…But what if my husband isn’t “on point?” And what if my wife isn’t interested in helping get our family to heaven?

Did you know that before you said “I do” or did it happen after? Either way, It’s heartbreaking, but if you were a committed Christian and married an unbeliever…Please know that your priorities will be different from the get go…and unless they’re unfaithful or abandon you, scripture says “STAY” in hopes that you can sanctify your home…you might win him or her to Christ…and your children depend on you to get them to heaven…alone. (1 Cor. 7)

If there’s physical abuse…GET OUT…Call me or Kari, Natalie’s Sisters, Marissa Castellanos…It won’t stop…and you are to protect the temple of God your body and your children.

Also, you are always to obey God before men, even your husband or wife…Do so respectfully and gently…so they see your hope…but obey God first…Peter said.

1 PETER 3:15 (p. 851)

Easy…No! But God’s Word doesn’t’ warn us about this before we say “I do” for no reason…and eternity is always more important than the temporary…even if the temporary is our life here.

We need to remember that Ephesians 5 is written to men and women who have committed themselves to Christ and the eternal…so let me also say:

II. SACRIFICIAL LOVE ISN’T JUST FOR MEN

Ephesians 5 starts out “Follow God’s example therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (v1-2)

This isn’t just written to men, but everyone who is a child of God…men and women.

The hard part of our text is that “Husbands are supposed to be the model of doing this to their wives in our marriage.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” (v. 25)

My wife Kari is a strong, beautiful, confident, straight shootin’ woman. Choosing to let me be on point can’t be easy for her…but she does…we talk about everything, function as a team. She’s smart and sees things I can’t…but my wife respects my leadership.

Real respect is what most men look for above everything else…women want to be loved sacrificially…this doesn’t mean men don’t want to be loved or women don’t want to be respected…but whether this world likes it or not…God made us uniquely different…in his image.

It’s no wonder that Satan destroys marriages by using schemes that undermine a woman’s respect for her husband, and a husband’s sacrificial love for his wife. Belittling and coldness become walls that create distance, separation…not oneness. It becomes a caustic, continuous cycle…a merry go round from Hell that requires a radical change.

Men are physically stronger than women, or at least most of the time…so when this cycle occurs…many men try to control and intimidate their wives into submission…and the result…fear and resentment replace respect…Peter tells husbands:

1 PETER 3:7 (p. 851)

That word “weaker” doesn’t mean less valuable…it means “smaller in stature,” “less physically strong.”

Agape is the word used when husbands are told to love their wives like Christ.

Coty Pinckney said, “Agape is a love that gives, a love that does not demand or hold onto rights, but has the good of the other at heart. This is the love we need to work on in our marriage in order for our spouse to feel like he or she is married to Jesus.”

True Agape love really does begin at home in the way we treat our mates and our children.

Husbands your wife is your partner and a fellow heir of the glorious gift of life…and the way you love her affects your spiritual life like nothing else here on earth…wives, the same is true for you as well.

Let me end with this story:

In Max Lucado’s book the “Applause of Heaven” reads, Even though by the “book” I’m guilty, by God’s love I get another chance. Even though by the law I’m indicted, by mercy I’m given a fresh start.

“For it is by grace you have been saved … not by works, so that no one can boast.”

No other world religion offers such a message. All others demand the right performance, the right sacrifice, the right chant, the right ritual, the right seance or experience. Theirs is a kingdom of trade-offs and barterdom. You do this, and God will give you that. The result? Either arrogance or fear. Arrogance if you think you’ve achieved it, fear if you think you haven’t.

Christ’s kingdom is just the opposite. It is a kingdom for the poor. A kingdom where membership is granted, not purchased. You are placed into God’s kingdom. You are “adopted.” And this occurs not when you do enough, but when you admit you can’t do enough. You don’t earn it; you simply accept it. As a result, you serve, not out of arrogance or fear, but out of gratitude.

I recently read a story of a woman who for years was married to a harsh husband. Each day he would leave her a list of chores to complete before he returned at the end of the day. “Clean the yard. Stack the firewood. Wash the windows ….” If she didn’t complete the tasks, she would be greeted with his explosive anger. But even if she did complete the list, he was never satisfied; he would always find inadequacies in her work.
After several years, the husband passed away. Some time later she remarried, this time to a man who lavished her with tenderness and adoration.

One day, while going through a box of old papers, the wife discovered one of her first husband’s lists. And as she read the sheet, a realization caused a tear of joy to splash on the paper.

“I’m still doing all these things, and no one has to tell me. I do it because I love him.”
That is the unique characteristic of the new kingdom. Its subjects don’t work in order to go to heaven; they work because they are going to heaven. Arrogance and fear are replaced with gratitude and joy.

Let’s Pray.

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