Colossians 3.19 Mystery of Family (Husbands)

December 4, 2011 Series: Colossians

Topic: New Testament Passage: Colossians 3:19–3:19

 

God’s Word
Today’s sermon is the companion of last week’s sermon—both of which focus on bringing the gospel to bear on our marriages.  Women and wives, today your fight is for compassion and forgiveness.  Men, yours is for humility because IF your marriage is devoid of true companionship, respect, or love—though you may have not caused it—you are responsible.   Yes, I have an agenda, and that is to declare that obtaining and sustaining true contentment in your marriage is dependent upon husbands’ leading the fight to have Christ at the center of it—how do we do that? Well, 2Timothy 3.16-17 says, 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  These are critical verses for several reasons. First, if these verses are true, then the words of Paul to the Colossians/Ephesians are the very Words of God.  To disobey Paul is to disobey God.  Second, if these verses are true, then the purpose of Scripture is to do more than just declare truth about God, it is by grace through the power of the Spirit, designed to train you, equip you, and help you walk in God’s ways.

Different Colors of Men
And if God’s Word equips for EVERY good work—this includes your husbandry.   There is a lot of confusion about what it means to be a husband.  Men and women both enter into the covenant of marriage with baggage, perverted understandings about roles gleaned from what they saw in culture, what they were taught in their own families and what they experience personally—everything but ScriptureNever forget that in the garden, the relationship between man and his God, and therefore man and his wife, was not broken by accident or ignorance.   It was broken because a man rejected the Word of God.  Ignoring the word of God then, married couples default into a “what works” way of doing things based on what is natural, convenient, or tolerable.  They lose hope and give up trying to thrive in a fully satisfying marriage and now they are just trying to survive the next 50 years with this other person.  This is not God’s hope for your marriage.  Men, as the head of the family, both the responsibility for the problem and the solution rests with you (inescapable headship)  This is a result of husbands abusing, abandoning, or avoiding their leadership—of men not being men.  Men choose that harder right over the easier wrong.

Generally speaking, Juveniles, cowards, and bullies are the ones who refuse to lead and love to the glory of God according to His Scripture.  JUVENILES fear growing up because it is easier to remain immature and irresponsible.  They transfer the umbilical cord from mom to wife; have a thousand toys and a thousand hobbies—none of which is take responsibility for your marriage. COWARDS fear the hard work of leading because they married women stronger and more capable than them—at least that is what she tells you. So, with her help, you convinced she doesn’t need your leadership and it’s just easier to play the nice guy, do what you’re told—loved by everyone respected by none. BULLIES so fear being disrespected, they rule their marriage with law and an iron first.  They demand respect from everyone, succeed in the world in everything, and provide your family everything but what they really need—love.  AND WE ALL HAVE OUR REASONS for giving up….Your upbringing might explain your natural tendencies, your current situation might help us empathize with the difficulty of the task, your past experiences might help us understand your reluctance,  but none of that excuses you’re refusal to fight to honor Christ by loving your bride. 

Formation of Men
As we did with women, we must go back to the beginning to understand God designed for husbands.  Genesis 2.5-9; 15-17   5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. …15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”   With the creation of woman, we learn a lot about God’s expectations for men, and for husbands:

Men were created as BUILDERS
:  Adam is created first and placed as God’s head of all of creation, bearing the primary responsibility to subdue the world God had created, to represent God and create order out of chaos.  In other words, men are created for WORK.  Men are created for: challenge, competition, innovation, exploration, and construction.  Men are hard-wired as task-oriented builders.  We see this lived out in how they relate to one another, how they relate with the world of work, and even how they have relationships with their wives and children.  Masculinity is cultivated when men are required to create and recreate things their physical bodies and/or with their minds using creation.  Through all of this work they become tough, resilient, disciplined, and unrelenting.  

Men were created as PROTECTORS:   As God’s property manager, the man was expected to protect God’s creation including his bride.  He was to provide her security for her body AND her heart. They were also “naked and unashamed”, meaning, she would find security in him emotionally and spiritually.  I remember when I became a husband.  I remember with pride what it felt like to have responsibility for my bride.—that I was the one to provide for her, I was the one to protect her, I was the one who would defend her if need be.  And then I remember the weight of protecting a woman’s heart—not fully understood until I had a daughter.  God’s enemies are to be man’s enemies (Genesis 3.1-15) and, therefore, we were built for battle, for attack, for defense, all to protect truth, justice, and the weak. 

Men were created as CULTIVATORS:  We must do more than just create new things and protect what is created—we cultivate what is created.  The image of cultivation is one of intentional and careful nurturing. Men are called to cultivate the garden, and husbands to cultivate our wives emotionally, physically, and spiritually—to draw out beauty, pull weeds, and promote fruitfulness.  Being a cultivator requires we be devoted to the study of the object being nurtured.  Cultivating an object is one thing.  Cultivating a person is like cultivating a garden.  It requires careful and enduring dedication to observing, evaluating, feeding, pruning, and even enjoying (learning, listening, loving).

Deformation of Man & the Silence of Adam
But God’s ideal was destroyed by man’s sin.  A serpent entered the garden and spoke lies to Eve about God and His Word.  And the question all women should ask is, where was her husband? 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Adam’s was silent. And because he refused to stand for the word of God, it destroyed everything.  The narrative says that Adam was with her, which seems to imply that he is standing there listening to what the poison this snake was pouring into his bride.  He watched silently as SHE LOOKED at the TREE, he watched silently as SHE TOOK the fruit, he watched silently as SHE ATE.  And then, instead of leading, instead of honoring God, instead of rebuking his bride, he followed her into sin. The problem with marriages is the silence of men who watch as their families falling apart. Your waiting for someone to do something—when everyone else is needing you to do something. Adam may have not known exactly what to say, or what to do, but he still should have done something.  God told Adam that “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…(Genesis 3.17-18).  Work became a job, privilege became duty, joy became pain.  Leading is hard because that we are a broken man, with a broken tool, trying to cultivate someone who is broken.  Apart from Christ, men give up.   Instead of building, men destroy with their words, their fists, or their indifference.  Instead of protecting, men defend their own territory, attack others, and leave those they love defenseless.  Instead of cultivating, men take, consume, and exploit.  And God knows it’s hard, I know it’s hard, but Jesus did all the hard work so that we can rest and walk in Him.  

The Reformation of Man in Christ
The person and work of Jesus Christ changes everything. But he doesn’t change us so that we feel better about our failure, he comes to save us from our enslavement and empower us to lead in Him.  The first thing he teaches us is that leading His way is the most glorifying thing you can do.  The second thing he teaches us is that leading His way is the most loving thing you can do for your bride.  The third thing he teaches us is that leading does not mean that we just start calling the shots, bossing our wives, or making sure our will prevails.  Leading her means loving her like Christ loved you. Ephesians 5.25-27 says  25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish 

Men you are commanded to love your wives.  And that command is NOT fulfilled when you love according to what culture says what you were taught, or even what you feel.  It is not being really affectionate as you tell her what to do.  The commandment is only fulfilled when you love like Christ loved the church.  

How did Christ love the church
Christ loved the church in a very specific way—a way is very difficult for us. And I hesitate to give you 5, 7, or 10 ways to love your wife because I believe that minimizes what the comprehensive attitude we are to take toward this other person with whom are “one flesh”.  This is not about a task, a rubric, or a checklist.  This is about a lifestyle, a rhythm, or a family aroma whereby your commitment to is obvious to everyone who interacts with you as well as observed in the effect it has on the beauty of your bride.

Self-Sacrifice
Christ’s love for the church was characterized by SELF-SACRIFICE. And though the Bible commands wives to submit to their husbands, a loving husband under the Lordship of Christ submits his own desires to her needs.  Her concerns become his, her needs, her comfort, her joy, her beauty, her self-fulfillment, her very life more important than his own.  A loving husband is to do all that he can to promote her personal well-being, her contentment, her honor.  He doesn’t do everything, but he sacrifices  everything in order to relieve the burden on her or everything.

Sanctification by the Word
But don’t misunderstand, Christ’s love had a specific purpose—his intent was to SANCTIFY his bride—not just make her happy.  He sacrificed, he experienced pain, he subjected himself to loss, so that His bride might be set apart and more devoted to God. Sanctification doesn’t happen by giving your bride everything she the world or her sinful flesh says she needs.  You build, protect, and cultivate your bride by washing her with God’s Word.  Sometimes this meanings using God’s word to bring hope and encouragement, and sometimes the most loving thing for you to do is to use God’s Word to bring correction and rebuke.  This is not a call for a husband to become a sin-hunter for his wife and brow beat her into submission with a pile of verses.  Instead, it is to say that like Jesus, you are called to love her enough to take responsibility for dealing with her sin.  That is why God bought you two sinners together into one flesh.  God brought this particular woman, all her personality, giftedness, quirks, irritations, and gave her to man to not only be cared and protected by, but to cultivate and be cultivated by. Together glorifying God more than you could alone—and, husband, you are to lead in this—leading in confession, leading in forgiveness, leading in the love of Christ.

Paul says that Jesus goal in cleansing her by the Word was to:  that he might present his bride in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.   If you have a daughter, as yourself who is good enough for her.  For me, the answer is NO ONE. But I realize one day that a boy will take captivate her heart in the way that I do now.  And one day, that boy may ask her hand in marriage and I may walk her down the aisle and GIVE HER TO HIM.  How do I expect her to care for her heart? That is exactly what God did to you.  He brought you an amazing helper, companion, and love-but ultimately, he gave you one of his daughters.  And one day you will present her back to God.

Do Not Be Harsh
Paul also warns us not to be harsh.  This seems somewhat obvious considering he just commanded us to love. As we fight to put on Christ’s love, let us not forget to put on Christ’s meekness, patience, and forgiveness. The word harsh literally means embittered.  I would argue that some of you men are harboring bitterness and refusing to forgive your wife for something—whether it is having enough respect for you, having enough sex with you, or whatever it is that your justify being harsh and unloving with her. Confess that today.  Like Christ, love starts with intentionality and initiative—don’t wait for her to make the first move. 

  • Jesus did not wait = He came down to us.
  • Jesus did not wait for his bride to listen= He loved and spoke the truth
  • Jesus did not wait for his bride to be loveable = He loved when she was sinful.
  • Jesus did not wait for his bride to respect him. = He loved the bride who hurt him.
  • Jesus did not wait for his bride to repent = He loved and offered forgiveness

Husbands, you are not to love her because she deserves it, earned it, or even that you find her lovable—but because they Lord has asked you to.  Through grace, by His Spirit, you can do it.  

Conclusion: BIG CHANGES
Love your wife. And love her enough to lead her in God’s Word.  To lead your wife, but not in a way that aligns with the Word of God is not loving—even if it “works”. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married, or how long you’ve done it this way, if it’s not biblical it is destructive and devoid of the fullness of Christ.  If you are have made or are making decisions that don’t orient your marriage and your lives toward God’s design for family, then know that you are not leading or loving your brides.  Your decisions might even sacrificial, but they are not the right sacrifices and if she is burdening the responsibility to work of the marriage OR, if you are her cherished helper versus her being yours.

A living Sermon about Jesus
How many husbands do we have here?  How many want to be husbands one day?  If you choose or chose to be a husband, you have chosen to become a preacher.  Jesus is the motivation, means, and model for a husband.  And as Jesus is THE HUSBAND, if you are a husband, you reflect CHRIST by your actions or your silence. 

Benediction – 1Corinthians 13.4-7
Love [MAKE ME A HUSBAND WHO IS] is patient and kind; [MAKE ME A HUSBAND] does not envy or boast; [WHO] is not arrogant or rude.  [A HUSBAND WHO] does not insist on  [HIS] own way; [A HUSBAND WHO] is not irritable or resentful; [A HUSBAND WHO] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [HELP ME, AS A HUSBAND] to bear all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endure all things [THROUGH THE GRACE OF CHRIST, BY YOUR SPIRIT, AMEN].