The Sanctity of Marriage – Part two: The Sacrificial Love of Christ

Sanctity of Marriage

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March 5, 2017

Ephesians 5:25-27

Allen Burns

Scripture Reading: John 19:16-30 Sermon series title: The Sanctity of Marriage Part Two: The Sacrificial Love of Christ Sermon Text: Ephesians 5:25-27 Memory Verse: Ephesians 5:25 MAIN IDEA: Worship Jesus Christ who gives all of Himself for our joyous glorification Jesus Gives to the Bride Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (5:25)   Jesus Cleanses the Bride so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (5:26)   Jesus Glorifies the Bride that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (5: 27)     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.  


This morning we continue with our second message on The Sanctity of Marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is a holy, sacred, and blessed, covenant relationship instituted by God at creation. Last week, we looked at The Mystery of Marriage. The Bible teaches marriage is a picture of our marriage to Jesus in Heaven. When we look at marriage, whether as newlyweds, as a young person desiring to be married, or as a couple together for over 30 years, whatever our situation, we need to look at marriage through the eyes of God who created marriage. All which God does in the universe, including marriage, is done to exalt Jesus Christ. Everything in this universe is created to showcase His excellencies. Because Jesus is exalted, our relationship with Him of supreme value. Marriage is designed to help us know the value our relationship with Jesus. The title of the message is The Sacrificial Love of Christ, and it is based on 5:25-27. The beauty and radiance of Jesus shines brightly in the verses we are looking at this morning. If you are taking notes, you will see the main points in the bulletin. The first point is this:

Jesus Gives to the Bride

The Sacrificial Love of Christ is one in which Jesus gives Himself up for His bride. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Eph. 5:25) Jesus is the example all husbands are to follow. Jesus loves His bride and gives her His all. He gives Himself up for her. His bride is in serious trouble. The bride of Jesus lives in a Kingdom ruled by a just, good, and righteous King. The King declares right and good laws every citizen must obey. Those living in the Kingdom must obey the laws of the King perfectly. The laws protect the citizens and to keep the Kingdom from evil. The penalty for breaking any of the laws is eternal death. The bride of Jesus disregards the law. She lives recklessly and without abandon. Even from childhood, the bride is guilty. The King declares, “Thou shall honor thy father and mother.” But, the bride does not obey. She regularly does things to dishonor her father and mother. She tells her friends that her father and mother are cruel for making her help around the house. She cares not for her parents and speaks badly to their faces. She frequently disobeys them. She is unthankful as an adult and tells others her sins are because of the way her parents raised her. She dishonors her father and mother and, in doing so, she breaks the law of the good and mighty King. The King declares, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” But, the bride does not obey. She lies to school teachers; her friends, her employers, people in the marketplace, and many others. Deceit is on her lips. She lies about lying. She is guilty of breaking the King’s law. The King declares, “thou shall not steal.” The bride is a thief. She steals candy from her friends. She cheats her employer by not working the hours she said she works. She steals from the government by not reporting her income and paying taxes as she should. She takes merchandise from stores without paying. The bride is a thief; guilty of breaking the law. The King declares, “thou shall not covet.” But, the bride is not satisfied with the King’s provisions. The bride covets much. She is jealous of her neighbor’s new automobile. She covets houses, jewelry, and electronics. Everything the bride lays her eyes upon is one more thing she desires. She is never satisfied. It is her nature to covet those things which do not belong to her. The bride is guilty of many trespasses of the law through the years. She murders and wages wars, commits adultery, is a drunkard, selfishly withhold from the poor, is greedy, and many other crimes. There are many laws the King declares, but the most important law He made is that all who live in His Kingdom must worship the King and the King alone. The citizens of the Kingdom must not bend their knee to any other King. He alone is King, and they shall serve no other. The bride lives life oblivious to the King; as though the Kind does not even exist. She does not worship Him or bend her knee to Him. She walks by His house and does not stop to come in and give Him thanks for being a good King. Instead, she uses the King’s name as a curse. She hates the King and ridicules all those who follow and obey His ways. The King is rightfully and justly angry with the bride. All the powerful heavenly armies of the King are poised and ready to pour out the King’s just punishment upon the bride. They stand by, awaiting His command. The bride is helpless and unaware of the army poised and ready to bring upon her eternal punishment. There is nothing she may do to save herself from destruction. She is guilty. She goes about her day continually breaking the laws of the King because she can’t help herself. Her nature is that of rebellion and disobedience. The bride has sworn her allegiance to the enemy of the King who goes by the name Satan. Because Satan hates the King and Jesus, He also hates Jesus’ bride. He seduces the bride to disobey the King in every way imaginable. Jesus is torn. He sits at the right hand of the King. He loves the King and loves justice. And, despite her pitiful state, despite the truth the bride is unlovable, Jesus loves His bride. Jesus sees the predicament of His bride. And He weeps for her. He desires to unleash His mercy and compassion upon her. He know that He alone can save her from destruction. There is none beside Him.  Only Jesus is mighty and powerful, good and loving, compassionate and merciful. He alone is able to save the bride. Jesus humbles Himself from His position of power. Jesus becomes a servant for His bride. He washes her feet. He shows her He loves her. He lays down His life for her. Jesus stands in place of His bride and absorbs the full punishment of the King. Jesus takes all the sins of the bride upon Himself. He who knew no sin took on the guilt of the bride’s sin. The King pours out all of His anger, all of His just wrath, and all of His punishment upon Jesus. The King holds nothing back. Jesus bleeds and dies and suffers the complete punishment the bride deserves. There is no greater display of love in the Universe. Jesus demonstrates on the cross the greatest love ever witnessed on earth and in all the heavenly places. There is never a greater display of love before Jesus’ death on the cross and there shall never be a greater display of love in all the days to come. Jesus gives Himself for His bride, and in doing so, Jesus shows Himself to be the most desirable treasure; the Pearl of great price, the Captain of the Army, and the beloved Bridegroom for the bride. Jesus sacrificial love is a love which He gives Himself for His bride:

Jesus Cleanses the Bride

so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (Eph. 5:26) Jesus doesn’t complain or grumble about the shortcomings of His bride. He doesn’t get angry at her and strike her when she is wrong. He doesn’t ridicule her when she says something foolish or out of ignorance. Jesus doesn’t make fun of His bride’s clothing. Jesus loves His bride sacrificially. He does nothing to tear her down. He only cleanses her and builds her up. When she has shortcomings, He comes alongside her to help. When she is wrong, He gently tells her the truth. When she says something foolish, He teaches her with His wisdom. When she wears clothing that is unflattering, Jesus clothes His bride with His righteous garments to make her beautiful. Jesus gives His bride an incredible gift. Jesus places in His bride His Holy Spirit, and she awakes to a new life. The Holy Spirit of Christ removes the bride’s heart of stone and replaces it with a beating heart of flesh. The Holy Spirit gives the bride new eyes and new ears. Her mind is made to be one of wisdom and understanding because of her being joined with Christ. Before going to the cross to die for His bride, Jesus prays for her. He asks His Father, “Sanctify her in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus places in His brides hands the truth of His Father; the Word of God. She formerly did not know of His Word, but now the words are like honey on her lips and the Word brings her life and joy. The Bride is cleansed each time she opens the Word and reads about the love of her Savior. She reads and learns it is a love letter from Him written to her. Each word on every page touches her soul and makes her glad. When she is sorrowful, she reads the beautiful poetry to find words of comfort. When her soul cleaves to the dust and she finds herself wanting in the wilderness of life, the Word quenches her thirst and is a satisfying bread for her hunger. She reads and finds joy in her Bridegroom; she need not look for another lover because He is faithful and true. All His promises, He keeps. There is none beside Him. Her Bridegroom is worthy of Her praise and adoration. He is one she may trust. There is never a word of deceit upon His lips, and His hands never do evil. She reads the Word, and her old ways are washed clean. Her mind is renewed, and her nature is changed. She meditates upon the Word, and she is like a tree planted by the stream which yields fruit in its season, its leaves never wither, and in all she does she prospers. She experiences that the cleansing words of His commandments bring her blessing upon blessing. The Word keeps her ways pure. She treasures the Word in her heart so she might not sin against her Savior. The Word is a lamp unto her feet and a light unto her path when the way is dark and the storm clouds billow. She reads and learns of her Bridegrooms care for her throughout all of history. He is there all along. When she was in bondage and slavery, she cried out to Him, and He rescued her. He defeated great armies and conquered mighty kings for her behalf. He fights evil continually. He makes a mockery of the serpent upon the cross; showing victory over him. Jesus establishes righteousness and justice everywhere He sets His foot. Shadows dissipate in His presence. Although ten thousand of thousands set themselves against the bride, they will not prevail for the Bridegroom looks after her. She knows all who find refuge in Jesus are blessed. She treasures the words telling of Her Savior’s love for her. She reads that Her Savior gives her the nations as an inheritance (Ps. 2:8). He is bringing her to the Promised Land. She knows her Husband is gone for only a short time. In the Word, she learns of the great plans of Her Savior. The plans for her are more marvelous than she may imagine. They are beyond her imagination. Her future is filled with great hope, and she knows her Husband is faithful to bring it to pass. No matter what trial she may face or what difficulty lies ahead, she places her hope in her Savior. She knows He is able. The most wonderful part of the sanctifying Word is that the truth sets her free. She learns she is no longer a slave to disobedience, but a child of righteousness. She learns how she may live to please her Savior and she finds joy in the cleansing of His truth. Because she believes the Word given to her by her Savior, she knows she becomes one with Him. She is joined with Him, and nothing may separate her from His love. The bride of Christ is convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate her from the love of Christ Jesus Her Lord. She reads the Word and learns of Her Bridegroom. He is the Alpha and Omega, Captain of Salvation, Desire of the Nations, Holy One of Israel, Light of the World, Lion and the Lamb, Bright Morning Star, Prince of Peace, Sun of Righteousness, Bread of life, and the King of all the kings. The Words of the book wash over her like a giant cleansing waterfall. The promises of the Word wash away her guilt. In place of guilt, she has faith and assurance in the perfect, righteous work of her Jesus. The Words are springs of water which wash over her to remove her wrong thoughts of deception and lies. The spings of water are the beauty of truth covering her skin and making her glow.  The commandments and precepts of the Word cleanse her mind from wrongdoing and teach her ways she may please Her husband. The bride stands in a downpour of cleansing rain making her pure and holy. The sacrificial love of Jesus cleanses His bride with His Word. Last, the sacrificial love of Jesus glorifies the bride.

Jesus Glorifies the Bride

that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (Eph. 5: 27) There is a reason Jesus cleanses His bride. Listen to what Jesus prays to His Father on the night before His crucifixion The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:22-23) Jesus cleanses His bride so the bride may be perfected and be in unity with the Trinity. Jesus desires for His bride to be in fellowship with Him. He desires for the bride to enjoy all which the Trinity offers. He desires for the bride to be one with the Him. He desires that we receive joy forevermore in a marriage made in heaven. Jesus giving us His glory is like a wedding announcement to the all the inhabitants of the earth. The entire world may know the Father sent the Son to be betrothed to the bride and the Father loves the bride just as the Father loves the Son. Jesus goes on to say: Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me … (John 17:24) Jesus desires for us to be able to see His glory. Imagine being with Jesus forever, but being unable to enjoy Him. Our having fellowship with Jesus in our current state is comparable of an ant having fellowship with a giraffe. It is completely impossible. There is no way the bride may enjoy the glory of her glorious bridegroom We have no joy with Jesus without our glorification. Our being glorified and made pure removes all the obstacles for our being able to enjoy Jesus and for Him to enjoy us. There are no obstructions, barriers, or complications to our being able to enjoy our Bridegroom and for the bridegroom to be able to enjoy His bride. We are made perfect so we may be in perfect unity. The joy of our being with Jesus is this. When we walk down the aisle on our wedding day, we may look upon our Bridegroom and see Him in all His perfection. He will be seen to us in all His glory. No longer will we look through a dim glass or gaze upon Him through broken lenses. We will have perfect eyes to see and a perfect mind to enjoy Him. John Milton writes this: The Bride eyes not her garment, But her dear Bridegroom’s face; I will not gaze at glory, But on my King of Grace: Not at the crown He giveth, But on His pierced hand; The Lamb is all the glory Of Immanuel’s land. But, our joy is not just gazing upon the King of Glory. Our joy is that as we walk down the aisle on our wedding day, we will have no doubts that our Bridegroom loves us. When we see Him, we will be like Him. We will be just as beautiful as He. Jesus sacrificial love makes His bride loveable. He longs for His bride because of who He made her to be. Jesus love is not love which loves His bride despite her faults. He doesn’t look at her weakness and defects and decide to accept her anyhow. Jesus works in His bride to make her loveable. He transforms her, so she is beauty from ashes. She is light from the darkness. She is transformed from being an object of guilt and scorn to being a person who is holy, blameless and above reproach. Jesus transforms His bride, so she becomes His wife of beauty and she is the one who He desires. We need not worry about being unworthy, for He makes us worthy. We need not worry about our not being beautiful enough for Jesus because He makes us beautiful. Jesus is our all in all and meets our every need. He gives us His wisdom, life-everlasting, and He gives us His holiness. We become the desirous object of Jesus’ love. He looks upon us in the same way we look upon Him.


The sacrificial love of Jesus is a love which He gives His life for His bride. He gave all He could give and did not hold back. The sacrificial love of Jesus cleanses His bride with His Word. He changes her completely and washes her, so she is without spot or wrinkle. And, the sacrificial love of Jesus glorifies His bride. He makes her the glorious person of His affections. He makes her so she is beautifully adorned and a radiant bride who He loves and adores. The bride of Christ is the most blessed of all people. The bride of Christ is not one person, but she is made up of all who put their faith in Jesus. The bride of Christ is the church. This morning, we had three people give testimony of being the bride of Jesus. In being baptized, they declare they are deserving of the punishment for their sin. They believe Jesus gave His life for their sins and took their punishment because of His great love. All who are baptized in Jesus put their faith in the death of Jesus on the cross. In baptism, they testify they are together alive in Christ with a new birth. They are born again by God’s Holy Spirit, and they desire to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. What about you? Are you one who may be counted as His bride? Do you give your life to Him? Fall in love with Jesus because Jesus gives Himself for His bride.