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Better Together

"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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. 28 So husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are parts of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad you're here.
There seems to be a grand illusion in our culture, for those people who are single, which is that somewhere there’s this perfect person hanging around out there and you just have to find that person. Nothing could be further from the truth. All you really want is a godly partner, all you want is somebody who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and I’ll give you a little bit of a warning: you can find your ideal mate; you can find the one that looks, speaks, acts and behaves the way you think the perfect - the perfect spouse or prospective spouse should look, speak, act and behave.
The point is they may look like you would want them to look, and they may be interested in the things you would want them to be interested in. They may have a wonderful sense of humor, and be intellectually stimulating, and all sorts of things. And you can marry that person, and that person may feel the same way about you, but let me tell this, if you don’t walk in the Spirit, sooner or later, that marriage is going incur massive problems. 
However, when you find someone who loves Christ, and has a heart to serve the Lord, and walk in the Holy Spirit, and if you’re in that same path, and that person is in that same path, you will grow into the kind of union that will fill your life with complete joy and blessing. 
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this great Word, the foundational truths. Lord, I pray for the men who are with us, asking for Your grace, Your wisdom and strength. Touch their hearts, that they would receive Your message for them today. That they would love and respect their wives as You have called husbands to do.
Father, if any of those men are in sin, we pray that You would burden their hearts, convict them of their errors and restore them. Lord, we know there are many broken relationships and marriages, even among Your people, who are living as the world lives. Draw them close, guide their hearts and minds to be the husbands and fathers to their families they ought to be.
And we pray the men and women, who have been dealing with a less than perfect relationships, that You might bring forgiveness and restoration into those homes. That those families would get back to what You designed them to be.
And for those who are single, hopelessly waiting, we pray that You would restore the broken places in them and lead them to find the one You have destined them for.
May it all glorify You, for Christ's sake
In His precious name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Better Together
One of the greatest tragedies in the Christian home today is when the husband fails to demonstrate selfless love toward his wife. The failure often stems from a basic lack of trust, fear or ignorance to exercise faith in the Word of God. And failing to exercise faith in the Word of God robs many a marriage of the joy God intended. Since faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God, listen to God’s Word to husbands. There will be conflict in marriage, because there’s conflict in life, but marriage doesn't have to be conflict.
Husbands are commanded three times in this passage to “love your wives”? The Greek verb used for love is "agapao" which is a God love, a sacrificial and selfless love of actions. Agapao love is based on your sincere interest for the best interests of your wife. Agapao love will do what is best for your wife and says you are to love your wife in spite of what she does. Therefore, you are to love her sacrificially and unconditionally because Jesus loved the church that way. When a husband exercises faith in God’s plan for marriage, the Holy Spirit goes to work blending the two lives together.
God’s word tells husbands that "agapao" love suffers long, and is kind; it envies not; it vaunts not itself and is not puffed up. "Agapao" love does not behave itself unseemly, it seeks not his own, is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil. "Agapao" love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. "Agapao" love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It is a love empowered by the very Spirit of God for the purpose of making two people one.
However, the key to all of this is to be obedient to Christ, to love Christ, to love each other, to walk in the power of the Spirit, and watch the Lord overcome those things and fill your life with profound joy and blessing beyond anything you could ever imagine.
Open with me your Bibles to Ephesians chapter 5, verses 25 through 33. Today we will be looking at the husbands responsibilities in the marriage. I know some of you men were gloating last time, while the women received their portion of the Word, well, now it's your turn. And no sleeping during the message gentlemen.
I encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get this text set in our minds. Ephesians 5:25-32

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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. So husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are parts of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
There are some of you who like to argue over this particular portion of God's Word. However, if you choose to do, you must argue from a place of inconsistency in your beliefs, rather than in God's Word. 
Men and women are equal before God. And at the same time, men and women have different roles and responsibilities in marriage. Both of the points are true. Men are not superior to women, as many have misinterpreted this text to mean. Nor does it I would also like to add as a footnote, that submission does not imply inferiority. God is simply saying each have their perspective roles. 

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God. They are equal in power, in holiness, in wisdom, and knowledge, and love, and glory, and in every other divine attribute. There is nothing you can say about what the Father "is" that is not equally true of the Son. Jesus Christ is 100% God. And yet, He voluntarily submits to the authority of the Father. He is equal in every respect, and yet He willingly obeys the Father. How is this possible? Again, because submission does not imply inferiority.
As we carefully read verses 21-33, the first thing I’d like you to note is that the submission God requires of wives is limited. It doesn’t say that every woman is to submit to every man, but only that a wife is to submit to her own husband.
This limitation is beneficial to the wife, because she only answers to one man. And, in some cases, that is challenging enough. She is responsible to him, and to no one else. What that means for the husband is that he has a responsibility to intervene and say "no" if he sees that other people, and especially other men, are putting too many demands, or expectations on his wife. His authority over her also shields and protect her.
A wife’s submission is limited in another way. It appears to be unlimited, because she is called to submit in "everything." And that’s true. In principle, there is no area of life where her husband’s authority does not apply. However, a husband’s authority is not absolute, because his wife is to submit to him "as to the Lord." In other words, he cannot require her to disobey Christ. And finally, as I have stated before, submission does not require a wife to tolerate physical or emotional abuse. In those cases, she should seek help from others; either from the church, or if necessary, from the authorities. There are some men who like to take their position of authority to extremes, and Scripture does not endorse that behavior.

All right. If that is what submission isn’t, then what is it? What is it exactly, that God wants wives to do? Well, first of all, it’s not a matter of doing. Like the rest of the Christian life, it’s fundamentally a matter of heart attitude. We all know that a wife can be "obedient" to her husband, in the sense of doing what he says to do, fulfilling the letter of the law, and yet be anything but submissive. If in her heart she is grumbling, and resentful, and discontented, and bitter toward her "head," then she is not being submissive - to her husband or to God. If outwardly she is paying lip service to the idea of submission, while inwardly she is thinking of how to manipulate her husband into doing what she wants, then she is not being submissive. Submission is a matter of the heart. It involves a wife willingly following the leadership of her husband, in spite of his flaws, and sins, and mistakes. It means willingly yielding to him, and deferring to him. It means choosing to let him have the final word. Not because he’s always right, but because he’s her husband.

What happens when two people become dissatisfied and disillusioned with one another? Most often, they begin to think that the problem is that they are married to the wrong person. However, when they first met it seemed like they had found exactly the right person. They enjoyed being together, they spent hours talking, they shared so many common, they thought about each other all the time. Then they married and now, they find it difficult to remember just why that woman or that man seemed so interesting and appealing in the first place. And the temptation is to think it was a mistake, and this isn’t the right person after all. We were young and foolish, and we made a bad choice. The grass on the other side looks greener. Sure, it looks greener, but that is usually because of a lot of fertilizer!

Divorce appears to be inevitable. Allow me to share a passage from Malachi 2:16. "For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with violence,” says the Lord of armies. “So be careful about your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."

There are a number of people seek to meet their relational needs is through an affair. While others may seek to meet these needs through the fantasy of pornography, or bars and clubs. And sometimes, people choose to "stick it out," for the sake of the children, in a joyless marriage.

But is that really what God expects? Does he want us to stay in a joyless, loveless marriage just to uphold some divine law? Does He care more about rules than His people? Absolutely not! God wants us to have the real thing, and to have it within the context of a lifelong marriage relationship. He desires that we be "ever" captivated by one another’s love, and that we "rejoice" in the husband or wife that we married in our youth. 
This may be shocking to some of you, however, we have to begin by dumping the idea that there is such a thing as the ’right person’ or the ’wrong person,’ a soulmate, someone with whom you instantly and perfectly and effortlessly mesh. This is Hollywood fantasy with paid actors, who likely can't even stand each other, making nice with each other for a nice big paycheck at the end of production. However, it’s not in the Bible.
While it's true, some people are easier for you to get along with, and you feel naturally more compatible with. But there is enough sin in all of us that even the most ’compatible’ couple will have difficulties. The ’right person’ isn’t someone you find; it’s what you and your spouse become as you learn to meet one another’s needs by the grace and power of God.

The problem is not that you are hooked up with the wrong person. The problem is that you have the wrong attitude! You are unwilling to meet one another’s relational needs, or that you are unable to do so because of a lack of understanding. I've have great news however! Both of these, unwillingness and inability, are completely curable.

So let's take a look at some fundamental ideas to help us understand this issue of the different relational needs that men and women have. Let's start with why meet one another’s needs? As an act of obedience to God. He has commanded that we are to love one another. Because of the consequences of not doing so - it opens us up to temptation. Because of the rewards of doing so, it results in a more joyful, satisfying relationship. Because it brings honor and glory to God.

Ephesians 5:25 teaches us "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her" The relationship between a husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church. The love of a husband and wife for one another is a picture of the love between Christ and the church. So when a husband and wife serve one another and seek to meet one another’s needs in love, it reflects well on Christ; it honors and glorifies him.

You see, God is not honored by a tepid, lukewarm, just-putting-up-with-one-another kind of relationship. That’s not an accurate picture of His love for His people. God’s love for us is an intense, passionate, no-holds-barred kind of love. His love for us is so deep that He was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for His beloved - He gave the life of His own Son. Jesus Christ suffered torture, ridicule, betrayal, and death, all to rescue us from sin and death. That is the kind of love that marriage is intended to represent. We must approach marriage with an attitude of humility and servanthood

We must develop a fundamental attitude. Mark 10:43-45 says "But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many."

I'd like to point out, this command applies to all of our relationships, with everyone. However, it applies especially to our relationship with our spouse because that is where it is the most difficult.

Our attitude must not be one of "how can I make sure my needs are met?", or giving in order to get. We must imitate Christ’s attitude of humility and service. The irony is, as we serving our spouse, meeting their needs, we will often find that our deepest needs are met as well. But our motivation must be to honor Christ by imitating his humility and service in our relationship to our spouse, not in meeting our own needs.

So, what are a women's needs? Well, guys this may come as a shock to you, but it's not a new kitchen appliance, vacuum cleaner or tool for the workshop. Openness, honesty, communication and intimacy.
And for the record, Scripture makes no provision for "white lies." Lying is contrary to the nature of God. A husband should tell his wife the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

So, why do men lie to their wives? Desire to "protect" them. Desire to avoid conflict. Desire to hide sin, Desire to mask weaknesses.

Openness: A woman needs openness because she needs to be able to trust. In order to trust, she must have information; the husband must tell her what he is thinking.

Husband: "if you trusted me, you wouldn’t need for me to explain everything."

Wife: "if you don’t have anything to hide, why won’t you tell me what’s going on?"

For the husband, it’s a question of task efficiency. Information is on a need-to-know basis. If the decision is his to make, then it is inefficient to share the reasoning process behind it. Why waste time discussing the details. When his wife demands he explain, he feels indignant, because to him this indicates a lack of trust.

For the wife, it’s the relationship. The task is not the only thing. The process of making the decision is important also, because it is the process that builds intimacy. By withholding information, the husband is withholding an opportunity for intimacy. And lack of intimacy makes women feel insecure and unsafe. And fella, might I dare say, they tend to nitpick and complain more when they feel insecure.

The term partner or co-heir implies that you share information with one another. Your wife is your silent partner. Seek out activities which you both enjoy. Find a way to participate in your spouse’s activities. Be intentional about scheduling uninterrupted time to spend with one another. Look, the best way to understand what your spouse wants, is to ask!

The real issue is a heart issue. This is where we need God’s power. Look the purpose of all this is not to show how foolish men can be, I'm sure most of you men have already accomplished that, am I right? I want to illustrate how deep-seated this need is in the man’s psyche. The wise wife understands this and does what she can to keep her husband’s "admiration quotient" high. Why? Because a man who is suffering from a deficit in this area is extremely susceptible to temptation if he encounters a woman who builds him up and openly admires him. Which girls get asked out on dates? Not necessarily the prettiest ones, but the ones who show admiration for the boys. So that’s one good reason for a wife to admire and respect her husband. But here’s an even better one: it’s God’s will that you do so.

Verse 33, "Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." So what does it mean for a wife to respect her husband? First of all, she must respect him with her words, she should refrain from contemptuous speech, speech that tears down, degrades and destroys. This does not rule out all criticism or rebuke, however. This means she should engage in respectful speech, speech that builds up. It means observing and commenting on her husband’s positive attributes or accomplishments, rather than criticizing his faults. The impact of a wife’s speech, either respectful or disrespectful, is magnified if it occurs in public.

I'll be honest, it’s really a bit pathetic just how eager men are to hear these things, and how powerful a few words can be, for both good and ill. Positive encouragement can inspire a man to do great things, accomplishing much and contempt can emotionally devastate him, causing him to accomplish little. 

Next, she should honor her husband with her behavior.

How can a woman show honor and respect to a man whom she does not respect? Especially one who is not a Christian? First, ask God to show you things about your husband that you can respect. Few people are completely without any redeeming qualities. Sometimes, an inability to see anything praiseworthy in another person can be a symptom of bitterness, resentment, or an unwillingness to forgive. If that's the case, you may need to repent of that.

Secondly, even if you can’t respect your husband’s person, show respect to your husband’s position as head of the household, just as we are to show respect to the governing authorities. If you can honor your husband for his personal qualities, then do so. If not, then show respect for him in his role as your husband.

Ultimately, showing respect is an act of grace that is only possible by the power of God. It must be given in spite of the husband’s imperfections and failings, not because of his innate worthiness. When does a husband need his wife’s respect the most? When he deserves it the least. When he is receiving it from no one else. Unfortunately, these are the times when it is most tempting for a wife to withhold her respect. And so her ability to respect the husband depends on the power of God.

I do believe it's much more difficult in our culture today, because the people who are trying to be married today, don’t have a generation behind them that can model what a good marriage looks like. We’ve had enough generations of bad marriage now that we have a whole generation of young people growing up who have no model of what a good marriage looks like. It's sad. 

Marriage is not a constant waging of war, it’s bliss till death, a relationship that fills everybody’s needs and gets sweeter and richer as the days go by. It's not a relationship with any conflict, but has a love strong enough to work through and overcome any conflict that arises. 

Love never fails because love never quits.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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