Welcome to Proverbs class five. The title of this class is: Are you getting ready for the second greatest day of your life. This is John Barnett speaking and I’m so glad you’ve come with us to our Exploring Proverbs class. We’re going to be looking at three verses. If you can take your Bible, we’re going to look at Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 5:19 especially the second half, and then Genesis 2:18. Now, do you remember, we’re exploring the book of Proverbs. We’re going through it focusing, out of all of the topics, the top 10 topics. Look where we’ve gotten to, we’ve gotten to the fifth, the halfway point, which I call being singular.
One of the biggest elements of the second greatest day of your life, which by the way is your marriage, is that you have a selective and aggressive approach toward one person; that you make a covenant relationship with for life. So, relationships and marriage are what we’re looking at through the lens of living life God’s way. Some of you might’ve just tuned in for this for the first time, you’re not enrolled or anything and you’re going, Whoa, what is this about? Well, this is about the contrast between man’s view of marriage and relationships and God’s truth. We’re looking at the singular focus where, to have a marriage that pleases God in the context of the book of Proverbs.
So here we go, let’s go through Proverbs 18 and look at verse 22. It says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” The second greatest day of your life is the day you find a good thing and favor from the Lord, which is in your marriage. Now remember, the second greatest day is based on there being a first greatest day. I’ve done over 300 weddings and nearly every one of those weddings I’ve started out by saying welcome to the second greatest day in the life of this young lady and this young man. There’s murmuring out in the congregation, the people witnessing it. They’re saying, is this the second marriage for them? That was intentional because what I do is, a part of the ceremony is, I’ll say the first and greatest day of their life was the day that they were saved and became a part of God’s family. So, in God’s family marriage becomes the second greatest day of your life, when you get to be a living portrait of Christ’s love for His church.
Now, not everybody gets married, not everybody is called to marriage, but the vast, vast, vast majority of people throughout all of history and in the word of God; God designed for the vast majority to be married. A few like Paul are called to singleness and that there is great blessing in that. In fact, God even made Jeremiah the prophet in the Old Testament, not be able to get married. So, there is a place for singleness and single focus on Christ. That is part of being singular, doing what you’re called to do and have an eye that’s single.
In this lesson, number five, we’re looking at the second greatest day. When you find a wife from the Lord and favor. Now look across the page in your Bible, look at chapter 19, verse 14. “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,” but what does the next line say? “A prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Back up to chapter 2 and verse 18, right in the beginning of your Bibles. Look at Genesis chapter 2 in verse 18. Now, this again is contrary to everything you hear in society and culture and in the world and probably on Google, because this world is wired man’s way, which is Satan’s way, which is the god of this world’s way. When you get saved, you get rewired from the inside out. You start having God’s wisdom and you submit to His word. You’re saved by His grace when you live humbly.
This is why God designed marriage. For some of you, it might be the first time you’ve ever heard this. Genesis 2 and verse 18. “And the Lord said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him.”
Wow, marriage was designed by God. The second greatest day of our life, being marriage.
God wants to make me self-controlled, not rash. God says that wise people seek a biblical temperament.
- Here’s the first one, God says wise people are self-controlled.
- Second one, God says wise people have a calm spirit.
- Third, God says wise people are slow to anger.
Now look up from your slide. We are going to look at the most powerful contrast between what the world says is the way we should live and what God has designed as the correct operating lifestyle for His creations. I prayed for Bonnie for 27 years, I came from a dysfunctional family, my parents fought. Almost every memory I have growing up, there was hardly a day or a week that went by, there wasn’t tension, fighting, throwing, yelling, whatever. The one thing I never wanted to do is, be married. That’s what I learned from my parents. I didn’t want to be married. Who wants to fight all the time and yell? I knew after I got saved and was called to ministry, that one of the marks of an elder is that they’re the husband of but one wife and they have eyes single for that wife. So, I began praying, from about age 12 on, that the Lord would keep me from mirroring the wrong person. I began studying what we’re going through, right here in the book of Proverbs.
You can take your Bibles and start going to Proverbs 25:28, and I prayed every day. In fact, the older I got the more earnest those prayers were. I said, Lord, don’t let me marry the wrong person. Don’t let me look for the wrong things. Don’t let me be deceived and you know what? This is not for everybody, this is just anecdotal, this is just my personal experience. But after praying for all those years, from age 12 to 27, 15 years of praying the same thing over and over again… I dated many, many, many girls one time, but I’ll never forget knocking on the door of Bonnie’s apartment. She opened the door a crack, it was at night and I was picking her up after we had arranged for me to take her out. She opened the door and all I saw were her eyes and her smile looking through that little crack in the door. Do you know what inside of me my mind said right then? I didn’t say it out loud. I said, that’s who you’ve prayed for your whole life. You know what? On our second date I looked her in the eye, and I said, did you know, you’re the one person I have prayed to meet my whole life. As soon as I said that I thought I shouldn’t have said that! It sounds like a pickup line or something, but it was true. How did I recognize that she was God’s choice for me? Look at your slide again, and then I’m going to go through it. Verse 28, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit, is like a city broken down, without walls.” God says marry someone that’s self-controlled. If they’re out of control, they’re not under God’s control.
Number two, look at 17:27. So back up in Proverbs, chapter 17 and verse 27. “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” God says wise people have a calm spirit about them. You say, that’s not how I am. You know what I say? That’s what God can make you. Do you know what the fruit of the spirit is, in Galatians 5? It’s a personality transplant. I was raised with tension, with yelling, with fighting and so that’s how I’m wired from birth. That’s my fallen, rebellious, proud spirit. God can transplant the personality of Jesus Christ into me. He’s been doing that since I was saved over 50 years ago. He can transplant His personality into you. Number one, self-controlled. That’s a fruit of the spirit. Number two, a calm spirit. That’s something that is Christ-like. Jesus is meek and lowly in heart. It says in Matthew 11:28-30.
Number three, look at Proverbs 29. So, take your Bibles and get to chapter 29 and look at verse 8with me. 29:8 says, “Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath.” God says wise people are slow to anger. Keep going to verse 11, “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” God says wise people are slow to anger, calm spirit, self-controlled.
Now look back at the slide. Let’s go through the next three. How do you know this is a great marriage partner if you’re meeting someone?
- God says that you should only marriage a wise person by the way, which means a saved person, but they are cautious, not hasty.
- Number five, wise people think before they act. We’ll read those verses.
- God says wise people think before they speak, Proverbs 19:2.
By the way, all these verses are what I spent years and years and years as a single person, reading the book of Proverbs, marking them for what a godly woman looks like and what a godly man looks like. What I want to become is that godly man, by God’s grace, with the wisdom from above. What I want to find and wait on the Lord to marry, is one of those godly women. I saw what I wanted to marry, and I saw what I wanted to be, and I found it in God’s word. I began to pray and see, change me into. “Also, it’s not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet.” God says, wise people are cautious, they’re not hasty. You know what that means? God’s never in a hurry and I shouldn’t be. Hasty words, hasty decisions, hasty actions; God says those are not wise. Watch out for a hasty person. They just make snap judgements and decisions. It’s not an evidence of the wisdom from above.
Next, look at Proverbs 13:16. So back up, Proverbs 13 verse 16 says, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.” God says wise people think before they act. Look at chapter 14. Another verse on this, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.” Thinking before they act, prudence.
The sixth element of what would make a great marriage partner is God says, wise people think before they talk. In fact, Proverbs 12 and verse 23, let me read it to you, says, “A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.” Keep going to chapter 15 and verse 2, it says “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” Now think about this, you know what one of the best ways to find a godly partner to spend your life with? Before you go out with them, watch them for a while, watch how they act, watch how they talk, watch how they make decisions. Proverbs says, watch who they have as friends. Do you remember that, over here? We’re supposed to be selective. You watch for a person who wants to do the will of God. Who is very cautious. Who they have as friends. Who are humble. Who have a singular focus toward their relationships. Who are self-controlled. Unintoxicated living. They have a stewardship mind of their money and time. They realized that they belong to the Lord. They’re studious. You know what that means? They have the right work ethic, a godly work ethic. Do you know God has a work ethic? He says people that are wise and submitted to Him are not sluggards. I can’t wait till we get to this one. Do you know a lot of people that call themselves Christians are sluggards? You know what that means. They’re living foolishly, rebelling against the God who called them, in pride thinking they know what’s best. It says, and you remember our second lesson we looked at this, that they’re going to suffer loss at the judgment seat of Christ.
Let’s go to the next slide, your marriage God designed to be the second greatest day of your life. That’s because our goal is that we have a life, and we have a marriage that’s useful to God. Now, look up from your slide. The greatest desire that we should have in life is to be useful to God. That’s what it means that we submit to Him and that we, by His salvation, humbly come before Him. We want to be useful. We want to be His servant, His slave. The Bible says, that as we come before Him that we start looking…
and this next slide tells us what a biblical marriage and partner really is like. This is what the Bible describes in the book of Proverbs.
I want to read these to you. Just keep looking at the slide, take notes, and I’ll read this to you. Marriage is to be like a joyful river of intoxicating blessing. Well, that’s how God describes marriage. We’re intoxicated. Marriage is goodness and favor from the Lord. Marriage is to be the companion of our youth to whom we make a lifelong covenant.
Next slide marriage is to be such a wonderful attraction. That’s seven years of hard labor waiting for this moment is like a moment, that’s what happened to Jacob. Marriage is to be like a fruitful vine that delightfully grows around our life. So how does this happen?
We’ll see the next slide, it’s what I mentioned to you. We be and become and we wait and find. Now, let me read you the slide. Be and become a person who believes that God designed marriage and that wants to follow His plan. Be and become a person who will correspond to that person God picks. Now, look up from your slide, if you’re married today then you should be the wise man or woman by God’s grace the Proverbs described. If you’re not married, you should be or become a person that believes God designed marriage. Remember this verse? God designed marriage. He designed it for you to complete another person. You should wait and find the person that corresponds to you. What person corresponds to you? One who’s not living the way of the world. Rather, one who is humbly by God’s grace, submitting to God’s wisdom. That’s what He wants.
Look at the next slide, we should be and become a person who will be glued to the other; and we should wait and find a person who likes to be at home and not always running around. That’s what Deuteronomy 6:7 says. Now look up from the slide. That first one, be and become a person who be glued to your partner. Did you know that modern dating is much like one of those self-stick envelopes? Have you ever seen a self-stick envelope? You don’t have to lick it. You pull a strip off and it closes and sticks, but then you realize you didn’t put something into the letter. So, you carefully pry that off, open it up, put it in, and then you try and stick it back. Did you know, after you stuck at once and then unstuck it, and then you try and stick it again it doesn’t work very well. God designed marriage, that you glue to one person for life, not glued to this one for a little while, and then glued to this one for a little while, and then glued to that one for a little while and keep ungluing. Did you know, modern dating as much like getting married and divorced over and over? In fact, the majority of young people live together before they’re married, they get glued and then unglued. Now, I don’t need to remind you that God says living together is fornication. I’m talking about any sexual contact with a person other than your husband or wife, is sin. Any, I didn’t say actually having sexual relations, I said sexual conduct. The Bible says starting sexual desires that can’t be satisfied is defrauding a person. So, before you start sticking and unsticking and sticking and unsticking you should say, Lord, I want to follow your design for marriage, and I want to be a person that believes I’m only supposed to be glued to one. You know what that means? Love can wait. Lusts can’t.
Look at the next slide. Be and become a person who loves children and wants to teach them. That’s what God said. The purpose of marriage is to have a godly home. Be and become a person that wants a pure home. As Deuteronomy 6:9 says, be a person who wants to keep their word and is reliable and then, wait and find someone who loves children and wants to teach them. Wait and find someone who wants to have a pure home. Wait and find someone who keeps their word.
Look at the next slide, marry someone living a balanced life in an obsessive and a compulsive world. Now look up from the slide. What do I mean by that? God has laid down the most beautiful New Testament summary of the book of Proverbs. Did you know that there’s a book of New Testament that summarizes all these qualities of wisdom into a concise little package? In fact, it’s the only, listen to this, it’s the only curriculum in the Bible for every young man, young woman, older women, younger women, every group, young and old, men and women. Every one of them. There’s a new Testament book that tells you exactly what you are to be and become and wait and look for. Did you know that?
Look at this slide, the pathway of usefulness to God, is in the New Testament epistle of Titus chapter 2. Where in one small passage, every older man, every older woman, every younger woman, and every younger man is addressed.
Look at the next slide. This is the curriculum God sent for His church in Titus 2 verses 1-8, His 12-part plan. 12-character qualities for godly men and godly women. Now look up from the slide for a second. There’s really no passage of scripture like this in the whole Bible. It actually says that the older men, that the older women, that the younger women, that the younger men… let me ask you, in the church is there anybody else that’s not either an older or younger man or woman? No. It’s the only place, in eight little verses. All four groups that make up every gathering, older and younger men and women are addressed with specifics.
Look at the slides, because I want to go through these with you. Like I said, this is an immense topic that we need to take time to understand. Titus 2:1-2 gives these qualities for older men, and I’ll read it to you from the card there. “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine. That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience.” Now look up, take your Bible if you haven’t turned there already, let’s go to Titus 2 and I would like to briefly apply these verses.
- Number one, Titus 2 verse 2, “that the older men be sober.” What does that mean when the Bible says the older men be sober? This is the way I summarize it. Maintaining a balanced life in a world that’s always obsessive compulsive. Do you know what sober-minded means? It means you don’t get drawn away with every pendular fad. That is the goal of every older man, that he has this lifestyle of a straight line that’s not always wavering.
- Number two, Reverence. Getting serious about God in an amused world.
- Number three, Temperate. Living wisely in a foolish world.
- Number four, sound in faith. What does sound mean? The Greek word is hygiainō. It means healthy and it means guarding a healthy mind. Your mind is the connection between the spiritual world and the physical world, between our body and God. This is the connection. This is the interface. This is so valuable. Do you know what most people do? They guard this, their mouth. You meet people, they wouldn’t put a spoon… in fact, we’re in the COVID time, we have a mask on, we don’t want to breathe in anything that’s a contagion, we don’t want to put anything in our mouth that might have the COVID-19 virus and so we’re protective of our physical body. We will let anything in spiritually, into our minds. Through our ears or through our eyes that’s contaminated. This godly older man is sound in faith. He guards his healthy mind in a sick world.
- He’s also the same word hygiainō in love. He has healthy love, sound in love means healthy and what that means is staying tender in a cruel world.
- He’s also sound in patience, he finishes hopefully and in a despairing world he has that long-term view.
So, that’s older men and that’s the goal of every man.
Now look down to the slides at what the younger men are supposed to look like. That’s in verse 6 and I’ll read it to you. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works.” Every young man should want to be a pattern “in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
Now, there are seven qualities you can pull out of those three verses. Look on the right side of that card. By the way, the right side is a card that is on our website. Our website is Discover the Book and it actually has this card, you can see under resources, a PDF you can print off. You can stick this card that has all four of these panels in it, in your purse or your wallet or stick them in your Bible. Back to this, here’s what Titus younger men are to be.
- Titus 2 younger men are, top of the card there on the right, sober-minded. Living restrained in a lust filled world.
- Number two, showing yourself to be a pattern. Following Christ in a Christless world.
- Number three, in doctrine showing integrity. Believing right so I behave right.
- Number four, reverence. Staying focused on God in a world of distractions. Look up for a second. Wow. That is the most transformational of all these points for younger men. Staying focused on God in a world of distractions? My son, I’ll never forget, when he went to visit a Christian school on college visit week, he went to one of the premier Christian schools, at that time was charging 30 some thousand dollars to go there and he said he stayed in a dorm with all the students. The room he had, had two other guys in it. He said he got there, so excited to go to classes and meet the faculty and go to chapel. He said, those guys stayed up until 4:00 AM playing video games, whet to sleep at five, slept through their classes, and didn’t go to chapel. Now, look back at that card. Is that the kind of person to marry? That can’t stay focused on God because they’re distracted by the world. No. Reverence is a God given discipline of focusing on God.
- The next one, incorruptibility. Keeping an un-corroded life in a decaying world. Everybody’s rusting with sin and lust and the evils of this world. A godly young man keeps an un-corroded life. That means that he won’t let things into his life that are going to eat him from the inside out. He repents and he says no to them.
- Finally, he has sound speech. Speaking God’s word in a godless world.
Look at the next slide. What do Titus 2 godly older women look like? What should be the goal of every woman to become? It’s in verse 3, “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given too much wine, teachers of good things. That they admonish the young women.” Now look up ladies, what I’m going to share with you right now should be the goal of every one of you, if you’re college age or down, every one of you should say, when I grow up this is what I want to be. Now, if you’re college age and up, this is what God expects you to be. This is actually the curriculum for women. Just like I read to you the curriculum that the church was teaching the men to be, this is what Bible study, small groups should focus you toward. Now look back at that slide and this, let me read the right-hand panel.
- Godly older women are reverent in behavior. That means they live holy in an unholy world.
- Secondly, they’re not slanders. That means that when they speak, they speak gracefully in a world that’s graceless.
- Number three, they’re not given too much wine. What is that? A drinking guide? No. They discipline their appetites in an undisciplined world.
- Number four, they’re teachers of good things. They have a goal to model godliness in the midst of an ungodly world. They become representatives of God.
- Finally, they admonish. What is admonish? The word noutheteō, it means they place God’s word; they invest in others in a detached world. They invest the word of God. They attach themselves and put the word of God on people’s minds.
Now look up from the slide. Just the first one, reverent in behavior is the most gripping picture for me because every woman of God should have this picture in their mind. The word, it says reverent in behavior, though the word that God gave is, in Greek it’s the word hieroprepēs. It’s a compound word, hiero/hieron is the word for temple in Greek. Prepēs is representative.
Now remember, I told you in the first class, the first law of textual interpretation or understanding the Bible is what did the Bible mean as it was read the first time, to the target audience, that letter was written to. Now, wait a minute. What I mean by that is, we’re reading Titus 2, which is from Titus1, which says in verse 1 “Paul, a bondservant of God,” “To Titus.” Whoa, that’s amazing. In verse 5, “I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things…” So, this is a letter from God through Paul, to Titus, to a congregation that got this letter, on the Island of Crete. Titus took the scroll, unrolled it, stood in front of the congregation, and read these words to them. When he read that word a picture flashed in the mind of every single person in the congregation. Why? Hieroprepēs is something they’d seen their whole life. They saw women who represented the pagan gods at the temples of the Greco Roman world.
I’ll give you a quick word study. I love taking people on tours to the Land of the Book and actually take them to the sacred ways and tell them this story. Here’s what it is, in every town of the ancient world, here’s the town and outside of town, so town, temple. All the cities, let’s say city because little, tiny towns didn’t have this, but every Greco Roman city… here’s the city…. and at least a mile it was regulated. At least a mile outside of town was the temple, the connection between the city and the temple, this is where the gods lived. There was a road, and it was called the sacred way. You go to any city in the ancient world, you go to Corinth, you go to Ephesus, you go to Pergamum. You go to any city, Rome, every town. Athens. We just took a group to Athens and I walk them down this sacred road, it’s still there in the archeological park. You can walk on it. It connected the people in the city to the temple of the gods. But watch, when you start on the sacred way right here, after you got out of town, got on the sacred way, you came to a gate. By the way, there was a temple precinct, they had a little wall around the thing. Here’s the gate and at that gate, you would be met by a hieroprepēs. What would they be? Always a woman dressed in white that would come up to you and say, are you coming to Zeus? Are you coming to Athena? Are you coming to whoever, to the god of that temple? She says, go take a bath and change your clothes into the temple wear. So, you had to at the gate go into the changing rooms, take a little bath, put on a robe because you were going to see the god. Now watch, she didn’t just turn you lose after you got dressed. She said, are you ready? Follow me. That woman walked reverently down the sacred way and took you to meet the god. She was the representative of god.
Now look back at the card. Reverent in behavior means God wants every woman to desire to live a holy life in an unholy world. Now look up. Do you know what that means? Young lady, you should go through life, looking at people and say would you like to know the true living God? The one that created the universe, the one that created me, the one that came down in human flesh and died on the cross and forgive me of all my sins. Would you like to know Him? Then just follow me because I’m going toward Him with my life. If you follow me, you’re heading toward Him. Is that what most of us think about? Is that what you have been trained? That your whole goal in life is? This is the first and highest priority that God gave to every woman, to start preparing to live a life of being a representative of God everywhere you go.
Look down to the slides, let’s keep going. What are the younger women supposed to desire? Titus 2 verses 4-5. The older women are to “admonish the young women to”, and here’s the priorities, they’re in order. The first one is the most important. It’s the first one that God said. “To love their husbands, to love their children.” Verse five, “to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Look at the right-hand side of the card.
- Love their husbands. That’s self-sacrificing love in a selfish world.
- Loved their children. That’s nurturing love in a loveless world.
- Focusing on God in a foolish world. That’s right out of Proverbs.
- Pursuing modesty in an immodest world. That’s chapter seven of Proverbs.
- That’s chapter 31, pursuing homemaking in the homeless world.
- Pursuing kindness in a harsh world.
- Obedient to their husbands. Pursuing submission in a rebellious world.
Wow, look up from your card. What I just read is a summary of the book of Proverbs. Did you see that? Submission versus rebellion. Wisdom versus foolishness. Saved versus the lost. A humble lifestyle versus pride? Wow.
So back to your sides, God designed marriage as one of the most public displays of His plan and purposes for the world to see. We’re to go out and live in a dark and hopeless world that’s chasing after elusive treasures and never finding lasting satisfaction. That’s what the worldlings are like and we’re supposed to radiate Christ. Oh, wow. Did you catch what that just said? Did you know that marriage is one of the most powerful witnessing tools? Did you know that you can live in such a way that people go, Oh, I don’t understand you. You’re totally different. You’re acting differently than I am. Why? You say, I was going the same way you are. Did you know, salvation is much like going down a river? Here’s a river and a river always flows from its source to its destination. So, it’s flowing following gravity like that. There are two ways of living in the world. You and I were born, man’s way is that we were born into the river of all humanity and we drift along following the crowd, going toward the destination. Most people don’t even know what the destination is. They just try and have as much fun on the river rafting party as they can.
God says you were born drifting down the river and you bump into Jesus Christ. He stops you in the river. Now people get saved at all different times. Some people are saved near the end of their lives. Some people are saved at the midpoint. Most people come to know Christ as a young person, but you know what. When we get saved, Jesus turns us from going toward the broad way, the way of destruction, the way that the world is going, and points us the other way; toward the narrow gate, the way of wisdom, submitting to Him, of salvation, of not being proud like everybody in the world. He turns around our little raft, our boat, our canoe. You know what the Christian life is? It’s paddling upstream. Here you are and you’re going this way. Everybody else is going that way. That’s what’s called persecution, opposition. Everybody in the world is going, Whoa, you’re going the wrong way. Come on, we’re going this way.
Do you know what Peter said? He said, people get upset at you because you don’t want to do what they’re doing. You don’t want to go to their parties. You don’t want to get drunk. You don’t want to get high. You don’t want to live for materialistic goals in life and abandoned your family and your relationships just for yourself and you say it’s time for me to live for myself and achieve everything. No, I want to submit to God. I want to live His way. Wow.
Marriage, when lived out the way Proverbs describes it and Titus 2 gives the curriculum for every older and younger man and older and younger woman, radiates Christ. Look back at your slide, we’re to go out and live in a dark and hopeless world and the worldlings are chasing elusive pleasures and they never find lasting satisfaction. We’re supposed to radiate Christ.
Look at the next slide. How does that work? God wants husbands who reflect Christ’s love for His church. What does Christ’s love for His church look like?
That’s the next slide. How do we, as a church reflect our love for Christ? Here’s how.
How does Christ love His church? Now, this is just a little Bible study on Ephesians 5:22 to 25. He loves us daily. Jesus loves us every day. He sacrifices for us. He cleanses us. He affirms us. He nurtures us. He protects us. He pursues us. He never gives up on us.
Now look up from your slide. If you want to have a good study, look at how Paul in Ephesians 5 describes a husband. A husband is supposed to treat his wife the way Jesus treats the church. How does Jesus treat the church?
Number one, He loves us every day. He said, I loved you with an everlasting love. I’m unchanging in my love. You can’t do anything to make me love you more or less. I have constant constancy in my love toward you. That’s what a husbands supposed to say and do for his wife. Wow. So how does Christ love His church?
- He loves us every day.
- He sacrificially loves us.
- He cleanses us.
- He affirms us.
- He nurtures us.
- He protects us.
- He pursues us.
- He never gives up on us.
So that’s how Christ loves His church.
Look at the next slide. God desires wives who reflects Christ’s love for His church to their husbands. Now that’s the other half of Ephesians 5:22-33. Husbands are supposed to live out Christ role. I used to love, remember I told you I did 300 weddings, and I used to love getting that couple up there and they’re standing and looking at everybody. Then I say, turn and face one another and then I would look out at the congregation. I say, you know what? This young man has signed up for hardest job in the world. He said, he’s going to go through life saying I’m representing Jesus Christ and so the way I treat my wife is the way Jesus Christ treats His church. I would say those words and I’d have grooms go, they’d look up at me like wow, I didn’t think of that. I thought I got the most beautiful woman in the world and I’m marrying her. It starts dawning on them that marriage is a living portrait of Christ’s love for the church.
So, wait a minute, let’s go back, let’s look down at your slides. Men, are you thinking about Christ’s love for you daily, that Christ sacrifices for you, that He wants to cleanse you, keep you pure and clean, and sanctified, that He affirms you and said you’re my beloved, and you belong to me. He nurtures. He feeds us in His word, and we should, as it says in Revelation 3:20, He’s knocking at the door. We should let Him come in and eat with us. He protects us. Jesus is pursuing us… even when we’re not faithful, he is. He never gives up on us. Whoa, look up from your slide. Is that what you’re becoming? Christ-like.
That’s how you get ready for the second greatest day of your life. That’s a singular focus on your greatest relationship that you can have, of merging your life with your wife. You be and become more and more Christ-like.
Now, ladies, look back at your slide. If men are supposed to reflect Christ, women are to reflect Christ’s love for His church to their husbands. How does a wife do that?
This is what the Bible describes as God’s plan for every woman. Just like we love Jesus Christ, we follow him. Just as we love Jesus Christ, we honor him. Just as we love Jesus Christ, we respond to him. Do you understand that? Just as we love Jesus Christ, we enjoy his presence. We follow his lead. We feel his love. We seek time with him. We love his plan. Now look up from the slide. Ladies, let me just rehearse for you. If you’ll take the time to begin with prayerful openheartedness, reading Proverbs shows you how to get ready for the second greatest day of your life, that delight of marriage. How do you do that? By reading bride’s magazine and watching every chick flick romance movie possible and just being a little giggly about getting married every day of her life? There’s nothing wrong with that, but you want to really get ready?
Number one, follow Jesus Christ every day. Start following Jesus Christ. How do you follow Him? By the way, this is true for men and women. This isn’t just heavy on the wives thing and the young ladies. We follow Him by opening His word and saying, I want you to speak to me. This is the word of God. The Bible is God talking. Prayer is me talking to Him. The Bible is Him talking to me. If you’re following someone, you listen to them. You find out where they’re going. You find out what they want you to do. You follow them. The most important thing for a wife is, learn to follow Christ. So that, when the young man that represents Jesus Christ, that is seeking to point his life in biblical wisdom towards submitting to Jesus Christ, because he is saved and humbly following him, she’ll have no trouble following that young man. So, do you want to have a wonderful romantic, godly marriage? Follow Christ today and He will bring into your life, in His perfect time you will see a young man as you observe him, that you will be drawn to, that is Christ-like, and you want to follow him.
Secondly, you want to honor him. We honor Christ. How do we honor Christ? No one in their right mind that’s Christian, speaks evil, denigrates it. Do you know why that’s so important? Did you know that men, married men, are crushed when their wife criticizes them? I guess it’s because we have pride, all of us, and they’re not saying, oh criticize me all you can. Let’s be real, as a four-decade long pastor, I began analyzing why wonderful marriages got destroyed. One of the elements I saw over and over was that a husband did not feel honored at home. Every time he was home, he was told all the things he wasn’t doing well. Do more of this and all that but when he got to work that receptionists said, boy are you wonderful. Now flattery? Yeah, it was probably untrue what she was saying, but see every man needs respect. Why do I say this? Because it says in Ephesians 5, if you read on the wife’s side, that the wife see that she honors or respects her husband. There has to be this treating him special, that a man responds to.
The next one on the list, respond to him. You know what the Bible says in Titus 2? That first word husband lovers, the word is philandros. Philandros, this is the word, the command for every woman toward her husband. Phileō, means best friends. Phileō, is friendship. Andros is men. So, your man is your husband, you’re supposed to be best friends with your husband. Do you know what many young ladies are best friends with? Their mom. Best friends with their sisters. Best friends with their girlfriends. Their husband is just their husband. Marry someone that you can choose by grace, God’s grace to become best friends for life. Bonnie is one person in the whole world I’d like to spend all my time with. I like to share every part of my life with because Christ is that way toward me. I want to be that way toward her. Do you know what makes my marriage wonderful? That she wants to be best friends with me.
On that list enjoy his presence. We enjoy Christ presence. Enjoy your husband’s presence.
Follow his lead. Oh boy is that unpopular, but God actually said that men have a gender specific role and that women, their wife in particular is to follow them. Now, a lot of men have a condition, that they are passive, the passive male syndrome. I call it, they have PMS, passive male syndrome. They don’t want to be the leader. They don’t want it. They’d rather have their wife lead. Men, you’re supposed to lead as husbands. Wives, you’re supposed to follow.
We feel his love ladies. Feel your husbands love, seek time with him.
We’re to seek time and love his plan.
Look at the last slide. That’s how you get ready for the second greatest day of your life. That’s what Exploring Proverbs teaches us in this fifth class, that we’re supposed to be getting ready for the greatest day of our life. How? By following the curriculum. You know what the best way to get ready to be married is? Become a godly older man. Live as a godly younger man. A desire to be a godly older woman. Be and become a godly younger woman. That’s the curriculum based on the book of Proverbs that God said is the best way to live life on Earth.
Let’s bow for a word of prayer.
Father, thank you for all those that are taking this class with an open heart, that they can hear your voice as they read your word, that they can submit and say, Lord, speak to me by your grace. Give me the strength to respond and obey. I want to be and become this kind of person. I want to find and join my life to that type of person. We want to be that radiant representation of Christ in a dark and hopeless world. That’s what you designed in marriage, may that be what we desire. In the name of Jesus Christ and all God’s people said, Amen.