Good morning everyone! What a morning to be here at Hope City Church! If you’re new my name is Pastor Peter. I’d love to grab a cup of coffee with you sometime this week, and get to know you better. Shoot me an email and let’s make it happen. My email is Peter@HopeCitySRQ.com
This week we are concluding our series the Good Old Days. We’ve been learning together what it means to reclaim our relationships and lean into what makes the good old days so good. We’ve discovered that some of the most meaningful days in life are when we are meaningfully connected to others! In week one we talked about how these are the good old days and that what we do today matters to our tomorrow. Last week we talked about our role as parents, coaches, and teachers in the lives of kids and students. We said that parents, you impact the trajectory of your kids’ lives..
Every relationship matters, and yet few are as significant as the ones that we are going to talk about today. It would be impossible to have a series on relationships without talking about the relationship between a husband and a wife. Especially in light of the fact that this week is Valentines day. I mean it’s February & Love is in the air! I’ve just given you fair warning everyone. No excuses this year men!
God talks a lot about marriage. IN fact, God designed marriage to bless and benefit the husband and wife.
Check out what God has to say about marriage..
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Gen 2:18 & 22
We see the first marriage in play here with Adam and Eve.
The book of Proverbs says this about marriage:
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 21:9 also says this,
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Hold up… yes, the Bible does actually say that. Check it out. The Bible has a bit of a sense of humor!
And so should we… Right? Because Marriage is a funny thing. Do you know how to do marriage math? It’s simple. Here’s an equation for you. Let’s see how well you know your marriage math.
Men if you have two tens and a five in your wallet, and your wife has five 5’s in her wallet, how much money does she have? That’s right. All of it!
Okay, but to be fair to the ladies… Men, do you know what’s behind every nagging woman everywhere? A man who’s not doing what He was asked to do. Am I right ladies? Why do we do this men?
Relationships are an incredible gift. Whether you’re married, or single and ready to mingle, today we are going to talk about what God’s word has to say about what it means to have a meaningful marriage.
Marriage is an incredible gift but it’s not easy though. It takes work. Thomas Edison once said, “I never did anything worth doing by accident. Nor did any of my inventions come by accident, they came by work.” Some of you in the room know what I’m talking about. In fact, you would say, I worked as hard as I could and it still didn’t work out for me. There is no perfect marriage, and there is no perfect relationship, if you think you’ve got it you’re either newlywed, or nearly dead.
My wife Tiffany and I will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary this year! 13 years that woman has been putting up with me! She’s incredible. Hang out with her and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. Here is a shot of our wedding. We were babies! Look at us…
Well, like I said, the only people who think that they have the perfect marriage are either newlywed, or nearly dead. In this shot, I would have fit into the newly wed category. Tiffany and I hadn’t had a fight yet, let alone even an argument. I was ready to write books on healthy marriage until the day it went down.
It was a chilly, gray, afternoon. The weather was even foreshadowing what would happen next. The first argument happened…
Do you know what we were arguing over? Tacos. We were in the grocery store walking down the aisle talking about tacos. What should we have for dinner this week babe? Let’s have tacos. Okay grab the hard taco shells she said. I was like, what? Hold up… not in my house. Boom! Game over. I dropped the mic and showed her what’s up. She didn’t even know what was coming. Or so I thought.
Well she fired back, “We don’t eat soft tacos. I grew up only eating hard shell tacos…”
Well we don’t live in your parents house do we!
A woman got in between us and was like, Can I just get a jar of salsa?
Well, then we get to the check out counter. And the girl at the cash registers like… Tacos! Hard shell are my favorite! UGH! We then pay the lady, and get in the car and drive in silence all the way home.
Babies! We were such babies. To think that the most concerning thing in the world was the delivery method of ground beef and salsa to our mouths.
Every marriage is filled with Friction. Friction is the force that one object encounters when in direct contact with another. Imagine, two people, married, living together, they are bound to develop some friction from time to time. Friction can come in all shapes and sizes… It can range from opinions on Flour Tortilla’s to Finances… It can be as silly as which side of the bed is yours or as complicated as understanding sexual intimacy.
The key to a lasting marriage is managing the friction. Managing the opposing forces that are between two people. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 5 minutes, or if you’ve been married for 50 years, every marriage needs to manage friction.
Marriage doesn’t take God by surprise. In fact, there is nothing in your relationships that God would be surprised about. There is no argument that you’ve had, no thought you’ve had, no feeling that is new to God.
Today I recognize that I’ve only been married for 13 years, I haven’t arrived, nor do we have the perfect marriage. John Piper recently wrote that he waited 40 years in his career as a pastor before he wrote anything on marriage. Today my desire is to show you what God has to say about marriage. Here at Hope City we believe that following Jesus makes your life better and makes you better at life—which includes your relationships and your marriage.
In Ephesians 5 we find that God has a plan for husbands and wives. Today I want to invite you to turn in your Bibles, or click over in YouVersion on your smart phone. Did you know that YouVersion has hundreds of different reading plans to help you connect with God’s word on a daily basis! Check that out. Best of all, it’s free! You should try it.
Today we are in Ephesians 5. Starting in verse 21… Let’s look at what God has to say about how to have a marriage that lasts and defines these Good Old Days.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
This entire passage is built on an opening statement. Everything that we read, and hear is fixed on the fact that husbands are to submit to their wives and wives are to submit to their husbands. This is a radical thought. Some of you are going to walk out this door this morning and be like, Pastor used the S word! Can you believe it? Yes I did… I said it. SUBMISSION. I know that when you hear the word submission, it causes you to tense up in your shoulders. This passage has been misused and abused for 2000 years, and today I want to help unpack an ancient text that has incredible implications for today.
My son Noah is in the phase of life where he likes to wrestle with me. He wants to see if he can beat me. This year he has started to want to play mercy with me. You know the game where you inflict pain on the other person all in the effort to get them to tap out and say mercy… He’ll try to push on pressure points in my shoulders or pinch my finger nail. He works to find this spot in my shoulder… He’s not got me yet! His goal is to bend my will to his. He is trying to use His power to dominate his dad and cause me to cry out, “MERCY”!
This is the way that some of you interpret submission. You think of someone who is going to pressure you, who will show their superiority through force and demand the surrender of your will.
This is not what submission in a marriage looks like. Godly Submission is the yielding of yourself , or your will to the will of another. One of the first steps in creating a healthy marriage is you have to yield yourself to your spouse! As you drive around town, there are traffic circles, there are some over on Bee-Ridge, and some on Honore, you’ve seen them. The approach to the traffic circle is that you are yielding to the car that is coming. You pull up and wait to pull out until you can safely enter the flow of traffic. When you yield yourself to your spouse you are allowing them to go before you and put their needs ahead of your own..
Unlike the game of Mercy, submission is putting the other person first before the pressure is applied. For some reason we get freaked out over the word submission and it gets us on guard. You may be on guard because you have been the victim of marital friction, and someone used force to manipulate you, belittle you, or make themselves feel better at your expense, and it felt like you lost something for their gain—You lost dignity, you lost nights of sleep, you lost your innocence, and maybe you even lost your trust in others. I’m sorry. That is never the intention of God, nor does that behavior honor Him. That type of manipulation is what the Bible calls sin and should be repented of.
Sin is choosing to live life as if you are the only one that matters. Sin is all about your self. It’s believing the lie that you are self created, self sustained, and self governed.
For those of you who have been sinned against, I’m sorry that has happened to you. But don’t allow what someone else has done to you prevent you from living out what God has designed for you. Some of you need to just sit on that one for a minute.. Ephesians is clear that if we are going to restore, reclaim, or reignite our relationships we need to take a look at the way that we interact with one another.
And yet maybe you still flinch a bit when we talk about submission for fear that you are going to loose something. Submission is not about loosing something but Submission is actually a way of gaining. Submit your spouse, and see what happens this week..
Submission is not easy, and it is developed over time. There are three principles that will help ensure a healthy foundation is set for submission to honor each spouse. The first is love.. Everyone wants to be loved… But love is not a feeling. Most relationships are based on feelings. Whoever you marry you will fall out of like with. Emotions come and go. The essence of marriage is not emotion but commitment. This is why we move from feelings to decisions. Love is not a feeling. Love is a decision that is based on a commitment. There are times when I know that Tiffany loves me, even though she may not like me in that exact moment. Like when we argue over taco shells!
Vs. 28 defines the way we ought to love our wives men.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church
Ephesians says that our love for our wives should be to the same degree that we love ourselves. Just as we feed ourselves, and care for our every need and desire, this is how we should love our wives. We are so aware of our bodies… Our nervous system sends signals from our nerve endings all over the body. These nerve endings provide feedback on what is going on in our environment. It alerts us to potential hazards, and pain points. We are to be as in tune with our relationships with our spouse as our body is with its needs.
The second principle for Submission to work properly is respect. We see in Ephesians that wives are to respect their husbands. You’re to have a deep admiration for your husbands, a sense of honor and high regard for them. Men, before you feel all high and mighty, this goes without saying for you.. Scripture doesn’t say husbands have respect for your wife, because that is already implied.. In fact, Scripture lays it out pretty clearly that you are to not only respect your wife, but be willing to lay down your life for her. Husbands and wives are to have a mutual respect for one another.
The third principle for Submission is forgiveness. Forgiveness is essential in any relationship, but even more important in a marriage. Imagine, you put two imperfect people together in one room, they each come from drastically different backgrounds and circumstances, they have different thoughts, desires, and goals… Friction happens! Sparks fly… And not always romantic sparks. Forgiveness says, I release you from my right to hold you accountable for your behavior. I release you from what you owe me. Forgiveness is powerful. It can change a person in incredible ways. It can change the one who is forgiven, but it can also change the person who offers the forgiveness.
The tendency is to see these three things Love, Respect & Forgiveness as things that you are owed rather than things that you need to give. To have the type of marriage that defines the Good Old Days you need to reorient your attention. Marriage is not about you, but the other person. Too often we see people getting married because they think about what it will do for them. I won’t be alone, I will have someone to help me, or she’s got lots of money… But marriage is not about you. Marriage is about committing yourself to the other person for the rest of their life. Loving them despite their flaws, despite their annoying habits.
Maybe your spouse likes to chew their ice… Anyone chew their ice? That can feel like nails scratched across the black board. Or maybe your spouse leaves their clothes all over the bedroom and the house. It was cute for a while, but now they NEVER pick it up. Or maybe your spouse is always late to everything.. You’re sitting in the car like, COME ON ALREADY!.
Marriage is about committing yourself to the other person no matter what it is that annoys you. It’s about flipping the perspective.. It’s about them not you..
The best way to care for yourself is to care less about yourself and more about your spouse. Imagine if as a couple you each started doing this. The needs of the relationship would be met. The satisfaction in the relationship would grow exponentially. Godly submission in a marriage is putting the needs of your spouse ahead of your own needs. It is prioritizing your spouse.
If you want to have the type of marriage that causes you to look back and remember the Good Old Days, scripture is clear that husbands and wives are to submit to one another. My guess is that there are some of you in this room who are still on the fence, you’re wondering if this would even be possible in your marriage. Maybe today is your first day here at Hope City… That’s incredible because I believe that today could be a day that changes not only your relationships, but also your life based upon some of the decisions that you will make today.
This morning I am fully aware that what I am asking us to do, what I am proposing is counter cultural, it’s counter intuitive, and it’s just all around opposite of what you may even feel like doing. But Here at Hope City we believe that following Jesus should change the way that you live your life. It should change the decisions that you make, it should change the way that you spend money, it should change the way that we relate to one another. Because of Jesus, our marriage relationships should be different.
So why should we submit to one another? Look back at the first verse we looked at today. This is the key ingredient…
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
Out of Reverence for Christ! Reverence is not a word that we use a whole lot… it simply means a deep respect for someone or something. It’s holding someone in high regard. And Ephesians says that we should submit to one another out of the deep respect we have for Christ.
The key to managing the friction in your marriage is Christ! Christ Changes Everything. This is the key! This is the piece that unlocks the entire marriage equation.
What is the key ingredient in every car engine? You may be tempted to say that it’s the fuel that powers the engine, and causes it to burn hot. It’s not gas, but Oil! Try running your car without oil. You will not get very far. The engine will over heat, the pistons will warp, and it will shut down on you. In fact, if you were to run an engine without oil, it would seize almost instantly.
What oil is to an engine, Christ is to a marriage. If you are missing the key ingredient in your marriage, it will seize, maybe not instantly, or in total. But without Christ in your marriage, it is easy to start making decisions based upon our own wants, needs, and desires. A marriage, which is designed by God, but not lived according to the original design will never operate properly. There will always be something clunking, always something that needs attention, and continual improvement.
Men, you cannot expect to be happily married while looking at other women longingly. Even if you are just looking… you are letting your mind play pretend. And that means that you aren’t giving your full attention to your own wife. Don’t let your eyes lead your desire to someone other than your wife. Don’t let your eyes linger on another woman. Christ calls us to think differently!
Women, your marriage will suffer when you let your words show just how powerful you are. Men may be naturally strong, but women, you are just as strong, and you can show us with your words. There is no quicker way to crush your husband than by belittling him with your words. Reminding him of how bad he is at something, or telling him that he is incapable is no way to develop your marriage. Christ challenges us to speak differently..
Just as a car needs to go in to the mechanic for attention, so do our relationships. This past week we had to bring our van into the shop because there was a loud rattle coming from our van. It needed to be checked out. It may be time for you and your spouse to sit down and have a quick Check In. Or maybe that Check-in reveals that you need to have a larger conversation. Or quite possibly, you need to see a counselor to help you process what is happening in your relationship right now. If you are interested in finding a counselor, and you just don’t know where to begin, email me, and I would love to help you find someone who can help you..
I’d encourage everyone in this room to do one of those three things. It will at the very least show them that you care enough about your relationship to ensure that it stays healthy.
Christ Changes Everything, even your marriage. Some of you would say, if you only knew my spouse. It would take an act of God to fix this relationship. Well the good news is that God has already acted. Ephesians says Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, and not only who Christ is as the son of God, but as what He did for us. Verse 25 reminds us of what Jesus did for us. It says, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Why? 1 John 4:9-11 says this,
9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
God loved us so much that He was willing to send His son to earth to not only show us what it means to love one another, but to make it possible for us to change. God invites us to into a relationship with Him, to move our faith from being in our own effort, and our own strength, to His effort and His strength. And it isn’t because of anything that we’ve done but because of what God has done. It isn’t because of how much we loved God. It was that God loved you enough to do something about it. God sees you and your relationships the way that they are right now and He says, I died to change that. He sees your brokenness, He sees your pain, and He says, I rose from the dead to heal that.
The Bible tells us that our sin separates us from God. Our selfishness, our self-centeredness, our brokenness, our sin keeps us from being connected with God. But God made it possible for us to be changed, to be forgiven of this. And that was accomplished on the cross through Jesus.
It is because of Jesus that our marriages can be more than what they are. It is because of Jesus that we can have relationships that are greater than our mind can imagine. It is because of Jesus that we can live out the Good Old Days.
And today we want to celebrate that. We want to give you an opportunity in just a few minutes to come forward and to remember what Jesus did on the cross. We are going to take communion today.. The Bible calls this the Lords supper and it says that this is a time when Christ followers pause and remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross..
Jesus was with His disciples on the night before he was arrested, and beaten and He was sharing a meal with them.. He took a piece of bread and He said, this is my body, which has been broken for you, anytime you eat of this remember me. Then he took a cup and passed it around and said that this is my blood which has been poured out for many. Anytime you drink of this remember me.
Today we have some crackers and juice available here in the front. In just a few minutes I am going to invite you to come forward to receive communion today. What you’ll do is take a cracker, and dip it into the juice and return to your seat.
Let’s celebrate together that our hope, our future, our present is found in Christ Jesus!