Ephesians 5:22-33 Spirit Filled Living In The Home
Our text this morning is found in Ephesians 5:22-33,
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
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. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
This week I met with Preston and Mariah who will be getting married in less than a month. They told me that they wanted to have Ephesians 5:22-33 used during the ceremony. They said that they wanted everyone to know that they are having a Christian marriage. Because of our cultural apprehension to this text I was encouraged that they have made this a priority in their marriage.
I wondered if their zeal for this passage would wear off after they experience together some of the difficult challenges that husbands and wives face in a marriage?
I cannot look into the future and see how Preston and Mariah will be applying Ephesians 5:22-32 within their marriage in the years to come; but I can share with you an example of a couple who desired to have a marriage that reflected what we find in Ephesians 5:22-33.
In 1855 Charles Spurgeon wrote a letter to Susannah Thompson one month before they were to be married. In it Spurgeon says these words,
How I love you! I long to see you; and yet it is but half-an-hour since I left you. Comfort yourself in my absence by the thought that my heart is with you. My own gracious God bless you in all things, - in heart, in feeling, in life, in death, in Heaven! May your virtues be perfected, your prospects realized, your zeal continued, your love to Him increased, and your knowledge of Him rendered deeper, higher, broader – in fact, may more than even my heart can wish, or my hope anticipate, be yours for ever! May we be mutual blessings; - wherein I shall err, you will pardon; and wherein you may mistake, I will more than overlook.
What a beautiful letter from Charles to Susannah. (Is this a letter to Susannah or a prayer to God?)
After being apart for only half an hour, Charles wrote to Susannah and penned this letter. In it,
He desired that God’s blessing would rest upon her.
He desired that her faith in God would flourish.
He prayed that her love for Christ would deepen.
And he assured her that their union would be one of mutual blessing.
How would they be a blessing to each other?
When Charles would sin, she would pardon.
When Susannah would make a mistake, he will more than overlook it.
Great marriages are not produced by perfect people. Marriages are blessed when two imperfect people are lavish in pardoning sins, overlooking faults, where forgiveness is granted often and where new mercies are extended each day.
Charles and Susannah experienced many hardships during their marriage. Spurgeon was burdened in his ministry, he struggled with depression and he had physical ailments with gout. Susannah was an invalid for most of their marriage and for fifteen years she never left their home.
One might wonder if Charles and Susannah’s love and respect for each other would endure?
We may wonder if their passion ever become cold?
Or wonder if their faith and devotion to God and each other would ever weaken?
Fifteen years into their marriage, in 1871, Spurgeon wrote to Susannah these words, “No one knows how grateful to God I am for you. In all I have ever done for the Lord, you have a large share. For in making me so happy you have fitted me for service. Not an ounce of power has ever been lost to the good cause through you. I have served the Lord far more, and never less, for your sweet companionship.”
Even after Charles’ death, Susannah testified to the beauty of their marriage. She compiled the letters that Charles had written to her and put them into an autobiography. In that book she wrote these words,
“I have been trying in these pages to leave the ‘love’ out of these letters as much as possible, lest my precious things should appear but platitudes to my readers, but it is a difficult task; but little streams of tenderness run between all the sentences, like the singing, dancing waters among the boulders of a brook, and I cannot still the music altogether. To the end of his beautiful life it was the same, his letters were always those of a devoted lover, as well as a tender husband; not only did the brook never dry up; but the stream grew deeper and broader, and the rhythm of its song waxed sweeter and stronger.”
Charles and Susannah‘s marriage is a profound testimony to this generation that husbands and wives will thrive when they decide to obey Ephesians 5:22-33.