Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Gracious Marriage

Eph 5:18 - 33

These are my notes from a co-teach Meryl and I are doing with pastors and wives today. The notes may be a little sketchy, but I hope you can make head or tail of them. I have been fascinated by this text as it is read and applied through the eyes of the gospel - how to live in a grace-filled marriage. Meryl is doing the ladies stories. Here are my notes:

Husbands - Very clear, specific Spirit focus so that there is no ambiguity as to who he is addressing and what their response is to be.

Love - this is not to be determined by personality, prejudice, culture or age. This is to reflect all the forms of love found in the scriptures - phileos [Friendship], agape [unconditional fellowship love - treat her as you do the 'sisters' in the church and then better still], storge [fondness through familiarity / family style], eros [romantic, emotional connection]- this is supernatural! Every man [pastor] is to offer this width of love to his wife - all 4 components that C.S Lewis spoke of

Your wife - this is a clear call to be a “one-eyed man”, where she is the measure of all beauty, chosen by God for collaboration, borrowed but to return as his daughter.

All the following components are linked with the husband’s leadership. Now the ministry has many uniquenesses that we spoke about last month. Let me recap on a few:

  • Living in the pain and privilege of the public life - it is not a curse, but you cannot let it rule you,
  • Living without clear work & home - friendship & function lines - it is imperative that the husband provides clear intentionality or the blurring of the lines will create conflict in the home,
  • Living with the joy of emotional expenditure yet ensuring that I do not get to empty, as my family do have the right to expect me to be a resource to them,
  • Living free - not allowing the family to accrue hurts, wounds, disappointments, people leaving / criticizing / being insensitive
  • Living within our ‘faith means’ - not within our 'budget means', our leadership is essential to lead our family in our budgetary journey - and it must be a faith journey

As Christ loved the church - he is the measure of this love [in the same way] - so how did the incarnate Christ love the church? It is only possible to love your wives this way if we are ongoingly, continuously, filled with the great empowerer...

  • Be filled with the Spirit Eph 5:18 vs drunken debauchery... we get refreshed in beauty, not illicit sensuality,
  • Walk in the Spirit Gal 5:16 vs desires of the flesh [cant get married for the flesh]sexual immorality, impurity...
  • Led by the Spirit - vs vs led by the law [everything is not always right or wrong; good or bad; black or white...we do need to find the discerning wisdom to be Spirit led and not always default to the letter of the law - like Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery]
  • Fruit of the Spirit - vs governance of the flesh - being dictated to by these emotions, but rather letting the Spirit be our guide and fruit producer,
  • Live by the Spirit vs not conceited, provoking, envying...[where some marriages dwell]

he gave himself up for her - he was the giver of grace!

  • Undeserved mercy 1 Cor 15:10 - I am who I am by the grace of God
  • Unmerited favor [approval, acceptance, special blessing]Rom 5:15
  • Free character of grace Rom 3:21 - 26, Eph 2:8 - 9,
  • Distinguished from the law Gal 3:1 - 14
  • Cause thanksgiving... do not lose heart 2 Cor 4:14
  • No to ungodliness Tit 2:11 - 14
  • My grace is sufficient for you - 2 Cor 12:7 - 10
  • To each grace is apportioned - divine empowerment 1 Cor 12 Rocognize, respect, their grace gifts

he might sanctify her - “appears to be the present process of making her holy in character and conduct by the power of the indwelling Spirit” John Stott

he might cleanse her - understanding as Peter said: “Like wise, husbands live your wive in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1Pet 3:7. When are they weaker? Roger Foster said when they “menstruate, gestate, lactate” - monthly cycle, pregnant, nursing... and that maternal instinct is also released if you build your church with the family in mind

he might present her - we will present our wives to their eternal groom... is their beauty more captivating, their perfume more intoxicating, their worship more exhilarating, their affection more liberating, their soul more purified

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies - now what did Jesus do with his body? From my vista, he took it to the cross - in his quest to bring liberty, salvation, redemption to all, he offered himself as a living sacrifice - our wives must have the sense that we are not just laying our life down for 'his bride' but for ours as well

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