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*Valentines’ Day: Love and Respect*
*/ /**Ephesians 5:21-33*
*/February 13, 2011/*
* *
*Scripture reading: 1 cor 13:1-8a*
* *
Happy almost *Valentine’s* *Day*!
Guys this is your last chance to get something together.
Between Valentine’s Day and a friend’s *wedding*, marriage is on my mind.
My favorite have of doing weddings is the *homily*.
It’s like a sermon, only shorter.
·         It is my one final chance to say impart some wisdom to them and everyone listening; I want to do that today.
As I preach, I know there are many *different* *situations*: Happily married, miserably married, engaged, single, and divorced.
I can’t possibly address each specific situation.
But I’ll do my best to remind us of *God’s* *ideal*, not just to help us move towards that, but also because the ideal is supposed to be a *reflection* of God’s relationship with us.
At its best, marriage is picture of *your* *love* for us, and it is and *example* to us.
Build the *marriages* in this *church*.
Happy or Holy
·         “Marriage is what bring us together...dream with in a dream.”
I’ve been to and preformed a lot of weddings, and I hear *variations* on that that message (without the *speech* *impediment*).
But marriage is *hard*.
Here is my *definition* of marriage: At its best it’s two sinful, self-centered people learning to get along.
Happy Valentines’ Day!
BTW: One of the profoundest things I have ever heard about marriage is that God didn’t give us marriage to make us *happy*, but to make us *holy*, like Jesus.
Now, when you are holy, you will be happy (because sin is that which...), but one of the *quickest* ways to get *miserable* is to pursue happiness.
·         The best, most enduring happiness comes as a *result* of doing what is *right*, not pursuing it.
(That tidbit is for everyone.)
Submit to each other
Now, in marriage, God has created a picture his *relationship* with us, and how we are to *function* together.
[Please turn...].
And it is within this that we can learn more about being holy.
I know this is a *controversial* passage; but I have learned that the parts of the Bible we like the least are frequently the ones we have the *most* to *learn* from.
·         Ironically, this was controversial *when* it was *written*, but for very different reason, beginning with v. 21:
*Ephesians 5:21-33 * 21 ¶ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This is the *foundation* for everything that follows.
All believers submit and serve all believers.
We are equal before God.
“There is neither *Jew* nor *Greek*, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
(Galatians 3:28)
Inferiority complex
 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Q   Why do we this dislike this?
We think *submission* implies *inferiority*.
Q   Doesn’t this spring from an *ancient* *misconception* of women as less intelligent then men, and in need of strong leadership?
Verse 23: “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,” doesn’t that imply the husband is superior to his wife?
Keep your finger here, and turn to:
*1 Corinthians 11:3 *  3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Basic Christian doctrine: *Jesus* is *not* in any way *inferior* to God (John 1:1, Phil.
Submission and headship has nothing to do with relative *value*, *worthy*, or *capabilities*.
·         Submission is all about *roles*.
“Roles” means we all have a *job* to do, and when everyone does their job, everything works better.
*Football* is a great example of roles – there are offensive, defensive, and special teams.
Each has an area they excel at.
Sure they can improvise when needed, but do best in their area.
·         God has designed these *roles* in the *marriage*; it works best when the husband leads and bears the final responsibility.
Slacking husbands
Q   But what about when the husband *isn’t* a *Christian*, or he isn’t leading, or *demanding* *ungodly* things?
*Submission* is not the same as “*obey*.”
This is the same word used when the Bible says to submit to the *government*.
·         In the same way there are times we must respectfully disobey the government, there are times wives must disobey.
Obey whenever you can.
But if you are told to *violate* God’s commands or *harm* yourself or your family, respectfully disobey, in a way that honors God.
Man up
·         Now at this point, some *guys* may be thinking “I am so *glad* you are preaching on this *passage*, my wife needs to hear it.”
It’s *our* *turn*; the only reason a guy would *want* a sermon on this passage is if he *doesn’t* *understand* it!
·         As I said, leading means we have the *final* *responsibility*, which is not necessarily something to be envied.
Speaking again of *football*, what is the first thing that happens when the season is over?
We hear about all the *coaches*, not players, that are being fired.
·         Husbands must “*man* *up*” and take responsibility for their family; the *buck* *stops* you – this is a heavy responsibility.
Here is an example of responsibility: (EG: Man asking for *help* for his *family*.)
Q   Do you have you wife do the *embarrassing* *tasks*?
When I went from being an *assistant* pastor to being the *lead* *pastor*, I quickly learned the meaning of that responsibility.
My first day on the job.
Even though equality among the Elders, and we submit to each other, I bear the responsibility.
I have a quote on my computer, “*Never* *complain* about what you tolerate,” it is my reminder of my responsibility.
·         In this same way, you husbands will stand *responsible* *before* *God* for how you lead for family.
loving leadership
Let’s see *how* God wants us to lead:
*Ephesians 5:23-28 * 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
I remember in High School at *Mt*.
*Vernon* *Christian*, the guys quoting this passage and telling the *women* that they need to *submit* (didn’t work well, as you can imagine).
·         But I told them they needed to take a closer look – who *served* who?
Who *washed* who’s feet?
In the Christ~/church relationship, who got the *killer* *deal*?
Jesus leaves his home in Heaven, born in a barn, puts up with the disciples, is tortured and murdered, and what does he get?
·         The church.
The same church that is constantly unfaithful, constantly screwing up, and is generally one big mess.
Here is the *Biblical* *model*: To *lead* is to *serve*.
I’ve said before that *swing* *dancing* is wonderfully sexist, it delights in the roles – it is the males job to lead, and by leading to make the girl look good.
Q   What if you wife *isn’t* *following*?
What if she is making you *miserable*?
*Love* her, give yourself up for her.
Just as *Christ’s* *love* for us is unconditional, so your love for her must be *unconditional*.
Love and Respect
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