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The Sanctity of Marriage – Part Four: The Godly Bride

Sermon Date:March 19, 2017

Sermon Topics:Ephesians 5:22-24

Author:Allen Burns

Sermon Topics:, , ,

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 31:10-31 Sermon Series title: The Sanctity of Marriage Part Four: The Godly Bride Sermon Text: Ephesians 5:22-24 Memory Verse: Proverbs 31:19 MAIN IDEA: Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Be a godly bride to your husband B – Believing in God R – Respecting her husband I – Innocent in her ways D – Dependent on her husband E – Energetic in her doings     NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The audio message will differ because the manuscript is not followed word for word. Thanks for understanding.  

Introduction

God has one purpose which He is bringing about in Creation, and that purpose is to showcase the glories of His beloved Son. In Christ are found all the treasures of heaven. There is none fairer than Jesus. There is none more pure than He. There is none more gentle or kind. There is none more merciful, and there is none more right and just. In Christ, every need is met, and every longing satisfied. Jesus alone is worthy to sit at God’s right hand. Jesus has a bride, and the bride of Christ is the church. The God whose name is love chose to showcase the glory of Jesus’ love for His bride on a hill called Golgotha, outside the gates of Jerusalem. In a magnificent display of unparalleled love, Jesus obeys His Father and becomes obedient to the point of death on the cross. Upon the cross, His blood pours forth as a testament of His obedience. Jesus bears God’s judgment upon Himself, and He spares His bride the turmoil and agony of God’s wrath. At Golgotha, all of Creation witnesses Jesus’ powerful unconditional love for His bride. Jesus’ bride is unworthy, and He makes her worthy. His bride is guilty of disobedience, and Jesus makes Her innocently sanctified. Her stains of sin are made pure, and He dresses her in His garment of righteousness. Such supreme love stands out over all the love in creation. The love of Jesus stretches boundlessly from the beginning until the end of time and to the furthest reaches of the east and west. His love is unequaled in its power. Nothing comes against His love. His love is so great and so fierce, that at the display of His love, all creatures big and small drop to their knees and declare Him Lord. His love spills forth washing over His bride, and she rejoices! Her heart is filled with His Spirt and His love and makes her alive from the dead as a new creature. His presence in her heart transforms her affections and directs them from worshiping creation to worshipping the Creator. She no longer hungers for evil, but her appetite is for holiness and goodness. The Spirit of Christ moves leads and directs the bride. She, all those who take His name and call themselves Christian, are given eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds able to comprehend and fathom His wisdom. The bride sees Jesus as a valuable treasure worth seeking and imitating. The heart of the bride cries out, “Who have I in heaven but You!” She sees the magnificence of her Husband and seeks to bring Him glory. We learn from Ephesians how Sprit filled believers rejoice over the Bridegroom. Ephesians 5:19 tells us, we sing and make melody with our hearts to the Lord. Christians glorify Jesus and sing songs about His marvelous works. Ephesians 5:20 says that Christians filled with the Spirit of Christ, have a heart of thankfulness which spills out giving glory to Christ by giving thanks to God for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus. We say, “Father, in Jesus name I thank you for the wonderful snow. In Jesus name, I thank You for the food I eat which fills my belly. I thank You for the blessings of children and the challenges of my trials. I thank You for my sickness and my health. I thank You for my riches and my poverty. In Jesus name, I thank You Father for saving me from sin and giving me eternal life. I thank You for the gift of Your Beloved Son.” Ephesians 5:21 says that Christians filled with His Spirit, subject themselves to one another in the fear of the Lord. We bring glory to Jesus by following His example. Our Lord subjects Himself to us by laying down His life. We glorify Jesus by looking at His example and imitating His goodness. Our Spirit-filled heart exclaims, “His example is glorious! I want to live like Him. I desire to be a person who loves like my Savior loves. I desire to serve as my Savior serves. I look through all of history, in every culture, and in every land, and I see no greater example to follow. He is my all in all. My life is complete in serving my Savior, Lord, and Bridegroom.” The Christian man and woman have the opportunity to display the love of Christ by subjecting to one another and live as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride. Marriage between one man and one woman is to showcase the love of Christ for His bride and the bride’s adoration of Jesus. Last week, we looked at how the Christian husband may show his wife the glories of Christ by loving his wife as Christ loves His bride, the church. With all humility, unconditional love, speaking truth, believing in God, giving assurance, nurture, and denying self, the husband lives out the example of Christ by subjecting himself to his wife. The Christlike husband becomes a picture to the world of the glorious love of Christ. In the same way, the godly wife is to be a picture showing the world of how the bride, the church, lovingly responds to the sacrificial love of Christ. This week, we look at Ephesians 5:22-24 and see how the Christian wife is to be The Godly Bride. 22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24) The title of today’s message is “the Godly bride.” The main idea of the message is this: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”

A few words about submission

Much has been said in today’s culture speaking against wives being subject to their husband. This teaching of Christianity is said to be antiquated, chauvinistic, and against women. Nothing can be further from the truth. The teachings of Jesus Christ are revolutionary. Jesus spoke fondly and lovingly to women when the culture of His day did otherwise. He counted among His follower’s women of high social standing. He fights for women’s rights. He rescued women from the bondage of prostitution and abuse. Jesus rightfully sets women in a place of honor. Christianity does more to free women from bondage than any other religion. Christianity serves women and helps them reach their full potential. The problem with our culture today is that the Bible is not understood. Listen to what the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth about women being subject to men. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:3) God is the head of Christ. But, that does not make Christ inferior, less-important, or a second-class citizen. On the contrary, Jesus said He is equal with God. Paul tells us Jesus is equal with God. Being subject is not a matter of inferiority. The Father, Son and Spirit are equal, but have different roles and are subject to one another. In the same way, man and women have different roles and complement one another by design. For a wife to be subject to her husband means she is fulfilling her role in displaying the beauty of salvation in Christ. The wife is subject to the husband just as the church is subject to Christ. She does this by endeavoring to display five characteristics of a godly bride. If you are taking notes, you will see the main points in the bulletin.

Five Characteristics of A Godly Bride

There are five ways a wife may be subject to her husband. Last week, we used the acronym of HUSBAND to tell how a husband may be subject to his wife by loving her as Christ loves His bride. This week, we will use the acronym, BRIDE, to describe the characteristics of the Godly Bride.

B – Believing in God

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The church is to believe in God. The church trusts God in all circumstances because the church knows God loves her and is working all things for good. In subjecting herself to her husband, the godly bride demonstrates her faith in God. She trusts that God desires what is best for her. She believes being subject to her husband is God working for her good. The first wife, in the Garden of Eden, did not believe God. She disobeyed God and listened to a voice speaking contrary to God’s promises. She did not consult Adam to ask, what did God say, but listened to the Serpent. Unlike Eve, the godly wife believes God’s commands are for her benefit and bring her to find fulfillment and satisfaction. The church is to pray to God faithfully. The church is commanded to pray continually and to take all things to the Lord in prayer. The church is to believe everything comes from the sovereign hand of God. The godly bride is a picture of the church when she faithfully prays to God. She is anxious for nothing, but in everything, she prays to God with thanksgiving. She prays for her home. She prays for her neighbors and friends. She makes lists of what to pray for and kneels before her God, pleading her case before His throne. She is confident her God hears her and delights in her plea for mercy and grace. Her prayer life brings to her contentment and a calm soul. After praying, her anxiety is washed away by waves of peace which surpass all understanding. God is pleased with her faithfulness and her trust in Him. The godly bride is not a wife who is gloomy and who spends days and weeks in melancholy.  She is never in despair. She never worries, for in her prayers, she commits all things to God. She is familiar with God’s word and believes in His promises. Because she believes in God, she is thankful in all her circumstances. Her hope and her joy find an anchor in her God who takes her by the hand through the storms of life. Her husband and her household are encouraged by her confidence in God’s sovereignty and providence. She is a beacon of strength because God is her refuge and strength; her fortress and deliver. The godly bride believes in God continually. The next characteristic of the godly bride is that she is respecting her husband.

R – Respecting Her Husband

Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” In respecting her husband, she is a picture of the church. The church is to be thankful for Christ. The church is to have a reverent awe for the Lord. He is to be highly praised, and His authority is to be sought and enjoyed. The church is to find satisfaction in Christ. The church rejoices in the Bridegroom. In the same way, the godly bride is thankful to God for giving her a husband. She knows God gives her the husband who is perfect for her. She does not look at other men and feel as though her husband falls short. Instead, she knows her husband’s skills, and abilities, are perfect for what she needs. The godly bride rejoices in her husband. In her home, she makes her husband feel like a king. The rest of the world may treat him badly, but he knows when he sees his wife, he will enter the home as royalty. His home is a haven of rest. In his home, he is special. She laughs at his jokes. She listens intently to him as he teaches her the Word of God. She seeks his advice and counsel. When he makes a mistake or a wrong decision, she doesn’t remind him of his folly, but only encourages him to try harder because she knows he will succeed. She is his helpmate, not his critic. The church is called to praise the name of Jesus. We are to sing of His goodness and tell others about His work. As the picture of the church, the godly bride praises her husband to her friends. She speaks highly of her husband in the marketplace. All who hear her speak of her husband marvel at her man. They see in her eyes and hear in her voice, her deep love and admiration. Her love and adoration for her husband are never questionable. Her children, friends, coworkers, and all who know her regard her as a blessed woman because of the joy she finds in her husband. In our culture, there is great humor found in making fun of the bumbling male. Men are made to look like fools and women save them from their folly. The godly bride loves her husband and will never make fun of his shortcomings. She never criticizes him because she knows that she is also imperfect. Instead, she glows as she tells others of his competence and his love in caring for her. The husband never worries about his wife speaking a wrong word to others about him. He trusts his wife and knows she cares for him. The godly bride believes in God, and she is respecting of her husband. Another characteristic of the godly bride is that she is innocent in her ways.

I – Innocent in her ways

The church is to be innocent before the Lord. There is to be no sin in the camp. We are to purge evil doers from our midst. The church is to flee from idolatry and run from the temptations of this world. The church is to be innocent in speech and known for our proclamation of truth and grace. The church is to be a beacon of purity in a world marred by sin. Like the church, the godly bride is to be innocent in all her ways. As the light of God shines through her house, her closets open and there is nothing hidden. She has no secrets in her life. Her life is an open book before her God, and she walks as a child of light. No one hears filthiness, silly talk, profanity or coarse jesting from her mouth. Instead, her lips fill with words of grace. She is as a psalmist in her speech with lyrical praise for her Lord. She bathes herself in the cleansing words of Scripture, and she finds freedom in the beautiful language of truth. The godly bride is innocent of gossip and slander. There are no words which she speaks which insult, tear down, or defame others. She is one who builds others up. Her company is enjoyable and sought because she is known for encouraging the faint-hearted and speaking the ways of godliness. She voices the truth in love. Thankfulness to God fills her speech resonating with the sweetness of her contentment. In all her ways, the godly bride is innocent. Her cell phone has no hidden texts or suspicious numbers, and her Facebook posts are blameless and without offense. She never ventures into a web of deceit. She will not participate in trickery or of taking from others what is rightfully theirs. She is not known as a wine-bibber, nor is she a woman of intoxication. The godly bride does not burden her husband with complaints. She is content in poverty and prosperity. She is innocent of covetousness. She bears sickness with honor. She welcomes trials and difficulties in life as an opportunity to be strong in the Lord and her faith. Entering the household of a godly bride is like walking into a corner of heaven. Outside, the arrows of evil fly from the bow of the enemy, but the evil serpent knows that inside her home, he is not welcome. Innocence drips from the eaves and washes the windows pure. There are no idols to be found. Christ alone is adored and worshiped. The godly woman furnishes her home comfortably with purity and wholesomeness. She paints her walls with virtue and decency. Chastity cleanses the floors. In her home, the weary find rest; psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs soothe the soul, children listen to her speak of the love of her Savior, and the fragrant aroma of the gospel permeates all who enter. The godly bride is believing in God, respecting her husband, and innocent in her ways. The next characteristic of a godly bride is that she is dependent on her husband.

D – Dependent on her Husband

The church is to be dependent upon Jesus. He is our source for all things. When we hunger and thirst, we pray to Him to provide for us. When the storms rage, we find our shelter in Him. When confusion reigns, His truth shows the way. We look to Christ as our example and depend upon His strength to bring us home to our heavenly Father. We look to no other person and no other place. In the same way, the godly bride is to be dependent upon her husband. The wife is to look to her husband as her example. She is to trust his guidance through the difficulties of life. She is to see him as her place of comfort and refuge. She is not to look to another man or go to another place to find her protection. She must depend on her husband. When the godly bride hurts emotionally, she speaks with her husband about her hurts. He does not learn of her hurts from other people because his bride confides in him. She trusts him to guide her through the pain and anguish of life. She finds comfort in his arms and not the arms of another. The godly bride depends on her husband for guidance. In her decision making, she asks for his advice and opinion. She looks to him for his wisdom. She knows he will seek the right answer because he loves her and desires what is best for her. She is even willing to trust him in helping her choose her friends. She depends on her husband to help her manage her time. She trusts God in giving her a man who leads her through the dance of life. Just as the church does not pick and choose which areas of life they will depend upon the Lord, the godly wife is not subject in some things, and independent in others. She is subject in everything. This, of course, does not mean that the authority of her husband is unlimited. His authority is limited by the higher authority of God. She needs wisdom and understanding in knowing what to do if her husband tells her to be subject to him and it offends her conscience. Any man who teaches male superiority or male dominance does not understand the Biblical truth. A man needs his wife just as much as the wife needs the man. There is no such thing as an independent godly bride. Today’s culture encourages women to be independent and that they can make all their decisions on their own. They are encouraged not to rely on men emotionally or spiritually. Some are offended even if a man opens the door for them. A woman being subject to her husband is not about a woman being inferior or in any way less than a man. The godly bride is believing in God, respecting her husband, innocent in her ways, and dependent on her husband. The next characteristic of a godly bride is that she is energetic in her doings.

 E – Energetic in her doings

The church is to be busy doing the will of the Father in building up the Kingdom of God. The church serves Christ. Jesus is our example of washing our feet, and His servants are not above their Master. We, the church, are to be servants in all things unto the Lord. We are not to be lazy or sit back. We are to be the good steward who brings an increase in the Lord’s provision and doesn’t bury it in the ground. The godly bride is to be busy and not lazy. Proverbs 31 speaks best on this subject. Let’s look again at that passage we read during our time of scripture reading. 13 She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. 14 She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. 15 She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household And portions to her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong. 18 She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. This section of Scripture begins with, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” (Pr. 31:10). And all of us husbands married to an excellent wife declare, “AMEN!” Just as the Lord rejoices in His bride, the Christlike husband rejoices over his godly bride because she is a gift from God; she is a priceless treasure whose worth is far above jewels. Before we conclude, let’s remember that all the characteristics of the Christlike husband and the godly bride are to be sought by all believers. We are all to be humble, believing in God, speaking the truth, energetic, innocent, and so forth.

Conclusion – The Supremacy of Christ

The Ephesians passage on marriage finishes with this verse that is summarizing how those who are spirit filled, subject themselves to one another: Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband (Eph. 5:33) The Christlike husband is the glorious picture of Christ loving the church. Men have an impossible example to follow, but follow His example we must. Praise God that He enables us and guides us by His Spirit so we may try, so try we must. Men have a natural tendency to seek achievement. If we are to achieve anything, let us achieve in being Christlike husbands. The godly bride is a picture of the church subjecting herself to Christ her Lord. The wife being subject and depending upon her husband is not an ugly slave and taskmaster relationship just as the church being subject and depending upon Christ is not a dreadful relationship. A woman who is subject to her husband is demonstrating the beauty of the church being subject to the Lord. The relationship of Christ and the church is an eternal relationship of beauty and an expression of mutual love and admiration. It is a picture of the gospel, and the gospel is not to be despised. The godly wife finds all of her needs met in her husband. She is satisfied and looks for no other man. She is content and finds joy in her beloved. In closing, let’s go back to the underlying truth of the book of Ephesians which is that we are to always view the supremacy of Christ as God’s will and purpose for Creation. God did not design creation of man and woman and marriage to be an opportunity to showcase the independence of man and the independence of woman. God created a husband and wife and the institution of marriage to showcase the glories of Jesus Christ. A man and woman join in holy matrimony and become one. In the same way, the church joins with the Lord Jesus Christ in a holy eternal union, and we become one with Him. It is no wonder that God hates divorce. We should also hate divorce because it sullies the gospel and does not glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Glorify Christ in your marriage. Every husband is to love his wife even as Christ loves the church and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.