Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Your Marriage: The Gospel on Display, Day 1

Leslie Basham: Pastor Trent Griffith explains why your relationships matter so much.

Pastor Trent Griffith: Your marriage will either display or distort the glory of God. Do you know what’s at stake in your marriage? The gospel being known to the world!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Monday, July 3, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, if you’ve listened to Revive Our Hearts for any length of time, you know that we have a passion to call women to God’s Word and to help them find their definition of womanhood there. And sometimes it’s helpful to get back to the very basic principles that guide all of those conversations, and that’s what we’re going to do today.

Trent Griffith is a good friend to Revive Our Hearts. For many years he served on the staff of Life Action Ministries, our parent ministry. And now he’s the pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Granger, Indiana. You’ve heard his wife, Andrea, share on Revive Our Hearts before.

This week, the two of them are going to remind us what Ephesians 5 says about the roles of husbands and wives in marriage. Now, Revive Our Hearts is a program for women, but we wanted to play you these full messages that give a perspective for husbands and wives.

And that’s for a few reasons: When we as women understand God’s calling for men, it helps us encourage them, affirm them, and pray for them. It lays a foundation for our calling, as wives, to respect our husbands.

If you’re not married, let me encourage you not to tune out today. If God calls you to marriage someday, you’ll want to know these truths. Plus, these messages will point you to something grander and greater than marriage, and that’s the gospel of Jesus!

Now, just one more detail: as you listen, picture a green, potted plant on a stand next to Trent. You’ll hear why in a few minutes. Let’s listen as Trent Griffith begins a series called "Your Marriage: The Gospel on Display."

Pastor Trent Griffith: I have my Bible opened to Ephesians chapter 5; I hope you have your Bible open to Ephesians chapter 5 as well. We’ve been talking about Ephesians, the most organized book in the Bible. It is full of indicatives that tell us about our identity, and then the second half is full of imperatives that tell us about our activity.

And so, we are right in the heart of it, and we are about to enter some of the most practical teaching in the Bible—especially if you are married. Now, some of you are single again, and even this whole subject of marriage and husbands and wives brings back some painful memories, we just want to surround you with the grace and the love of God.

Just realize this, the Scripture says in Isaiah 54:5 that the Lord is your husband, the Lord is your Maker and your Husband. The Scripture teaches this: Whether you are married or single, there is not another human being on the planet that can meet the deepest needs of your soul.

Now, having said that, husbands—there are some things that God wants to say to you. Now, before we get to your part, we need to go back in Ephesians chapter 5. How many of you were here last week? Remember winners and losers? Remember how we talked about how to win every day?

How many of you won this week—did some things differently and made some wins? Remember the last thing we said was that winners fill their relationships with submission. We learn that from Ephesians 5:21. Look at that verse. It says, “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

The reason Paul says you have to submit out of reverence for Christ is because, God knows that the person you’re going to submit to is not really all that great. He’s not going to get it right every time, so out of reverence for Christ, you obey Christ to submit.

This is the pattern of submission for all of us if you want to “win.” What it means to submit is to give your life to helping another person win. It’s you coming around and surrounding them. It's you bringing all your strengths and your abilities and your intellect and your experience and your gifts and saying, “I want to be on your team! I don’t even care if I’m in charge. I want to help us win. I want to go the same direction. I believe in you.” And so, that’s the attitude in the church.

Now, having set that up in verse 21, verse 22 targets a specific group of people who I am not preaching to. Relax, ladies! You all are going to be okay. I am not talking to you today. But, I do want your husband to know what God says you’re supposed to do.

Verse 22 says, “Wives, submit [yourself] to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Now, husbands, let me ask you a question" Does that sound like a hard job to you? God told your wife to follow somebody like you! Scary. Hard. Challenging. And on certain days, almost impossible! If it wasn’t for her reverence for Christ, it would be really difficult to submit to somebody like you.

So, having said that, God wants husbands to know, you can do something to make her job easier. Look at verse 23 and 24:

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. [Husbands,] Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Do you see the word “as” in verse 24? That word is used over and over throughout this passage. The word “as” is a comparison; it compares one thing to another. So, guys, our wives have a ha-a-a-rd job—at times almost impossible. But there is something we can do to make their job easier, and it is summed up in this simple word—love.

As a matter of fact, look here in verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives.” If you love your wife, it will make her job of submitting to you so much easier!

I brought a “friend” here today. This is a plant, and it came from Vite’s Greenhouse. Gregg Vite is one of the elders in our church, and he grows plants. So I asked him to bring a plant to church this morning.

We had our elder retreat this week, and Gregg told me a story yesterday that’s hilarious. These guys have businesses and they have to deal with customers who aren’t always happy with the products they sell.

Gregg was telling me, “It’s amazing! We sell these, and every now and then, somebody will bring back a plant that we sold them. It was alive when it left the store, but when they brought it back, it was dead!”

And this person’s unhappy. They want a refund or something. They try to do the best that they can [at the greenhouse], but Gregg kind of laughs at these people. Sometimes he looks at the plant, and it’s obvious that it hasn’t been watered. They bring it back dead, and Gregg asks, “Did you water it?”

[They say], “Well, that’s irrelevant. It should have survived!”

“Well, did you want me to come to your house and water it for you?”

It’s an interesting conversation. Sometimes, he says, it’s really funny, because right before they bring it back to the store, for the very first time, they’ll fill up the bucket full of water.

The reason I share that is because, husbands, you have to understand . . . if you look at your wife and she seems a little “dry” lately . . . The same thing happens in my office sometimes with men who come in. I ask, “What’s the problem?”

“My marriage is dead!”

“Did you water it?”

“Last night we went on a date. I took her to a movie. I bought her some jewelry . . .”

Yeah, you just dumped a bunch of that on her before you came in. It’s a process! If you want your marriage and your wife to thrive, there are some things you have to do to feed and water it, so that it grows. And the ingredient that you need to pour into your wife and your marriage is simply love. Husbands, love your wives!

Nancy: We’re listening to Trent Griffith teaching from Ephesians 5 here on Revive Our Hearts. If you joined us halfway through the program, you may be thinking, I thought Revive Our Hearts was a program for women.

Well, it is. Today we’re laying important groundwork from Ephesians 5. Then we’ll build on that later in the week as we explore the calling for wives to respect their husbands. Here’s more from Pastor Trent Griffith.

Pastor Griffith: Husbands, love your wives. And so, the question becomes, “How? How do we do that?” If you ask the average man—a man wants to love his wife—sometimes he doesn’t quite know how.

You get hung up on the word “love,” because that sounds like ushy-gushy, touchy-feely, romantic, emotional stuff. Guys aren’t always that great at that, and so we check out. “I don’t think I can do that!” We need to understand love differently, and here’s what we’re going to learn. Love is not something you feel.

When the writer of Ephesians says, “Husbands, love your wives,” he wasn’t saying, “Husbands, feel something for your wives. Stir up some emotion.” That’s not what he’s saying. He’s telling us to do something; he’s telling us to communicate something. So let’s look at how he says we’re to love.

Paul sums it up in two simple ways. First of all, a husband is to “love [his wife], as Christ love[s] the church and gave himself up for her” (v. 25). So how does a husband love a wife? Two-letter word, real simple, guy. When God speaks to guys, He uses monosyllabic words to help us (laughter) . . . “as” Christ loves His church.

So what is he saying? It is impossible for a husband to properly love his wife horizontally unless he is consumed and brought to his knees with the love—vertically—that Christ has for him. And when you are blown away by the fact that Christ loves you, you will bend that love horizontally to your spouse.

And so, how does Christ love His church? The first thing Paul says is that Christ gave Himself for her. So what does Christ do?

He pursues her (v. 25–26). He pursues. Do you understand? Christ is in heaven with God having a great day. He doesn’t need you. He doesn’t need me. He looked at the planet and realized, “There are a bunch of people down there who are not so lovable. As a matter of fact, they’re kind of ugly!” They are not necessarily something that would be attractive to Him.

And yet, as an act of His will, He left heaven. He gave Himself up. He gave up heaven. He gave up royalty. He gave up comfort. He gave up time. He gave up safety . . . to pursue us as His Bride!

And He says, “Husbands, do you want to love your wives? Do it like that!” Give yourself up. Give up your time; give up your money; give up your comfort; give up your independence; give up your right to be right—and go to where she is. Pursue her!

Now, I’m sitting here, and some of the single guys are like: “I’m all over that! I’m pursuing. I’ve got flowers and cards and I’ve written poetry, and I am in pursuit.” Single guys, man, we are o-o-on it. Here’s the problem: the wedding day happens and guys default thinking is, that’s the finish line.

We let off the accelerator, and we kind of coast around the track. Then we divert from the track, and we go off and we start pursuing other things. And with all the energy and the effort and the time and the money and emotion we spent pursuing our wives, we start pursuing sports and a career and an education and a job and even children and the acclaim. We pursue everything but our wife after the wedding day.

Christ doesn’t stop pursuing us on the day that we get saved. That’s the starting line of the relationship! Dating is not something you do to find a wife; dating is something you do to build a relationship. And if you stop dating your wife, what’s going to happen to the relationship? It’s going to die!

You’re going to bring it back and say, “Look, God, it died!”

[God]: “Did you feed it?”

“No, I was feeding everything else.”

"Yeah, see that’s the problem!”

So a husband pursues his wife. Fellas, date your wives!

Another thing that Christ does for His bride is, He purifies His Bride. Look at verse 26: “That he [speaking of Christ] might sanctify her . . ." That means “set her apart.” She’s in one place, and we’re going to get her to a better place. That’s what Christ does for us. He found you here; He wants to move you over here.

So He sanctifies her. How does He do that? “Having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .” That implies that she’s dirty, and Christ wants to get her to a better place, and the thing He uses to do it is His Word.

So, husbands, this is a responsibility God has given us—to know this Book, and to use this Book, the Word of God, to wash our wives.

“Trent, if you knew my wife and how jacked-up she is, you would realize why it’s so hard to love her!” So here’s the deal: you’ve identified some need in her life. Now, go find what meets the need in the Word, and apply that to the practical component parts of her life—the things that she struggles with, the things she worries about, the fears, the anxiety, the sin issues.

It is our job as husbands to disciple our wives. The mission statement of our church is “Glorifying God, making disciples.” Why do we think we can do that with our children, with our neighbor, with our men’s group and not our wives? It starts with the person closest to us.

What does Christ do? He washes us, sanctifies us, with the water of His Word. Husbands, get into this Book, use this Book to wash your wife. Get her in a better place. He purifies her.

He polishes her.  Look at verse 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.”

It is so interesting to me how the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul—in a passage on marriage—to somehow sneak in the words “wrinkle” and “blemish!” Masterful! Only under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit could a man talk about wrinkles and blemishes in the context of marriage. 

Here’s the reality: There are so many wives that see all of the wrinkles; they see all of the spots; they see all of the blemishes. Inside the heart of every wife there is a twelve-year-old girl wondering, Am I lovable, or do you just see the spots, the wrinkles, and the blemishes?

It is the job of a husband to iron out the wrinkles and to look past those things the way that Christ looked past those things. He covered those things. He absorbed those things. He sanctified, He justified those things.

As a husband, we understand: “I love you in spite of spots, wrinkles, and blemishes . . . forever! Because it’s my job. I’m commanded to love.” So, he polishes her.

And then, the last thing is: He presents her. Verse 27: “So that he might present the church to himself in splendor.” That is an amazing concept! You think about giving a present to somebody else. Christ is in the process of giving a present to Himself.

He presents her to Himself. And so, as husbands, our job is to present our wives and to brag on our wives and to boast on our wives. How do you talk about your wife—to other men, to other people? Present her with splendor! She’s a splendid thing, and it is my honor to love my wife.

How does a husband love his wife? As Christ loved the church!

Here’s the second thing. Now, before I reveal it, understand this: I know, guys, we struggle with this. The word “love” has such connotation that we think it’s an impossible thing for us to be emotional and romantic and touchy-feely, warm-fuzzy. It is hard. That is why God gives you a second way—a second reason—to love your wife. He says this, “Husbands, love your wife as you love yourself” (v. 33).

Look at verse 28. Paul says, “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” You see, God knows something about guys. God knows it’s kind of unnatural for you to love your wife, so He says, “I want to give you an assignment—to do something that you already are doing every day.”

“Love your wife the way you’re already loving yourself.” Guys have no problem loving themselves! We think about ourselves; we feel sorry for ourselves; we find excuses for ourselves; we spend money on ourselves; we pamper ourselves; we lay our bodies down to sleep; we feed ourselves.

What God is saying is, “You want to know how to love your wife? Why don’t you use the same money, the same time, the same emotion loving your wife as you already spend loving yourself! Husbands, love your wife as yourself.” And God gives us a couple of ways to do that.

Look at verses 29 and 30: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it . . .” [underline the words “nourish” and “cherish”] “. . . just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Get it? Earlier in the passage, Paul said that the husband is the head, the wife is his body.

The head takes care of the body. It builds the body up; it protects the body from pain, and it feeds the body. That’s the way we’re to love. Ephesians 5:31: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”

By the way, verse 31 is one of the most-often repeated verses in the Bible. In Genesis chapter 2 is the first time we read that. Jesus preached it in Matthew chapter 19. Now, here, we’re in the Book of Ephesians, and Paul says it over and over and over again: God’s design for marriage is for one man and one woman to come into one-flesh-relationship for one lifetime.

That is God’s design, and that’s the target, and that is still what we—as Christians—give ourselves to. In verse 32, Paul says that this whole thing is a “mystery [but it’s] profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and [His] church.” Do you know what that means? Your marriage will either display or distort the glory of God!

Do you know what’s at stake in your marriage? The gospel being known to the world!

Nancy: That’s Trent Griffith, the pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Granger, Indiana—not far from the Revive Our Hearts’ ministry center. Trent’s been giving us basic solid truth from Ephesians chapter 5, that’s so needed in our world today!

How much pain and brokenness could be avoided if men and women would embrace God’s design for their relationships? And let me encourage you, if you’re married and you see your husband living out some of the things Pastor Trent has explained today, would you take some time to encourage him and thank him?

It’s easy to hear a message like this and focus on the ways that men may not be measuring up. But God’s given us, as women, a powerful voice—to speak life and to encourage our husbands. What can you find that he’s doing right, and cheer him on for it?

Well, Pastor Trent has focused on God’s calling for men today. And that lays an important foundation as Trent and his wife Andrea describe our calling as wives. That’s coming up later this week.

Now, I want to encourage you to dig deeper into some of the themes we’ll be talking about in this series. You can do that be getting a copy of a Bible study that I co-wrote with my dear friend, Mary Kassian.

It’s called True Woman 101: Divine Design. The study will give you a biblical perspective on why God created you to be a woman. You’ll discover how to live out your femininity for His glory, and you’ll find practical ways to put the beauty of Christ on display through your womanhood.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount, we’ll say “thanks” by sending you this Bible study, True Woman 101. Not only will you receive this book, but you can also know that you’re helping Revive Our Hearts share truth with women around the world who are hungry for this message.

Now, for some reason, people are less likely to give during the summer months, and we usually see support for the ministry drop. Your gift today will help make up that difference. You can donate at ReviveOurHearts.com or give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow, Trent and Andrea will be back with practical examples of how marriage can put the beauty of the gospel on display. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants your relationships to point to the gospel. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion