When you read the Bible one of the most common and beautiful metaphors used for the church is that of a bride. It tells us that God in all of His glory has created a bride to share Himself with in covenant love.
You see He created a people to take on His name & to bear His image to the world. But what makes this especially beautiful is the way that He loves us. He loves us un-conditionally, He loves us covenantally.
Even in our unfaithfulness and in our rebellion God in His sovereignty has made a way to purify us & restore us to Himself and all of this happens through an incredible love story with His Son Jesus that culminates in a marriage. A marriage between Christ & His church.
When a husband & wife come together it is meant to be a picture of that love story. It’s a tangible expression of how God loves us. Jinson & Angela – That is what your marriage is intended to be. It is a living testimony to the love that God shows us in His Son.
That is why I love the Colossians 3 passage so much!
Not only does it give us explicit instructions for husbands and wives but those instructions are preceded with a reminder of WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST and WHAT WE NOW HAVE ACCESS TO IN CHRIST.
Let me read these few verses again for us in Colossians 3 — this is verses 12-19.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and lead them with all gentleness and care.
Now before I get to some specific exhortations for each of you I’d like to point out a few observations from the text that will help us understand God’s design & intention for marriage.
1. You do not marry for love – YOU MARRY BECAUSE OF LOVE
This is very important. As God’s children we are designed to live from our identity not to work for our identity. Notice how this passage begins by reminding us that we are God’s chosen ones holy & beloved.
This could not be more profound. Jinson & Angela, you are God’s chosen ones, holy & beloved. Not only have you been rescued by God’s love but you have now been invited to reflect His faithfulness & love to the world around you. Isn’t that incredible?
Through your marriage you as 2 flawed people you get to experience the limitless grace & unconditional love of God. And then you get to express that through marriage to the world around you.
That’s why you must always remember that the primary purpose of your marriage is not to fulfill you or to make you happy. It is to further display God’s glory to the world around you.
Marriage is not just a contractual arrangement between two people. Marriage exists to magnify the truth & the worth & the Beauty & the Greatness of our God.
That means marriage is not your personal vending machine of happiness. Anyone here who’s been married for more than a week will attest to that.
Nor is your marriage an agreement in which you help one another achieve your personal goals. The purpose of your marriage is way more significant than that…
Your marriage is a display of the depth and richness of God’s love and faithfulness to you and to all of His creation.
OR — I could put it this way. Marriage was created by God // for God // to reflect God. It was designed to be an image of the heart of the one who invented and created it…
So — that’s the 1st observation. That we marry because of the love that God has poured out into our hearts and our marriages are a reflection of that love to the world.
The 2nd observation is that Christ is the only way to sustain the type of love.
Listen again to Colossians 3 — — verse 15
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
You see — marriage is not based on a commitment. Marriage is the commitment. It is two becoming one. It is a love that doesn’t just share common interests & desires & plans. It is a selfless love where each of you is willing to forsake your image & become one with each other.
Despite one another’s faults & quirks & failures you are one. And so — you don’t have to hide or perform or pretend. There is no earning in your marriage, there is safety.
This is the message of the gospel that you are no longer identified by your failure to reach God’s holy standard but instead you are identified in Christ by his perfect love and sacrifice for you. As I said earlier you are now free to live from your identity in Him…
That is a characteristic of covenant love. It means that our relationship with God is not dependent upon performance but upon His promise and so it is with the covenant of marriage.
Just as God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us you are saying that you will never leave or forsake one another. You are becoming one flesh.
And so — your covenant is to love one another like God loves you and your marriage is now a daily reminder of His great love and faithfulness to you.
Please hear this. This is only possible if the word of Christ dwells richly within your hearts. You need the peace that comes from being accepted based on grace and not performance and we find that peace when we rest in the gospel.
The final observation I would make is something that I’ve already eluded to. Marriage is not the end but a means to fulfill our purpose.
Listen again to verse 17…
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Adam was put in the garden to enjoy God and bear His image to the world. Adam couldn’t fulfill that by himself. He needed a suitable partner to accomplish God’s purposes.
As you live out God’s purposes in your life you get to do that in a way that shows people the beauty of God. That is why I can say confidently that your marriage is mission.
You get to display God’s love for the world through the way you are committing to love one another. Your marriage has the most profound purpose —
TO DISPLAY THE GLORY OF GOD!!!
Isn’t that beautiful?
So – Jinson & Angela – In light of that there are 3 things that I would like to encourage and challenge each of you in today. 3 practical ways that you can reflect God’s love to the world as you love each other.
Jinson — I’ll start with you…
First, I want you to remember 2 words: Repentance & Forgiveness – You must learn to practice repentance and forgiveness quickly and often.
Now — Jinson — we all know you’re a great guy. But I promise you there will be plenty of opportunity for you to practice these 2 things.
When you hurt your wife or your wife hurts you as the leader of the household — it’s up to you to pursue your wife to seek reconciliation. (This is a reflection of God’s heart for us)
“God being rich in mercy while we were still sinners died for us.”
Jinson — In the same way seek and pursue your wife. There is no greater display of Christ to the world then this type of love.
Second, Be Patient, Humble & Gentle with your wife — always
When things don’t go as planned and your expectations are let down. Look to God for the strength to be patient and gentle towards your wife. Look to Jesus as your example.
Your wife is not a foe to be bested or an obstacle to get around. She is your very flesh. She is you – You are her – She takes on your last name as a symbol of unity – You are TOGETHER in this.
Finally – Seek to provide for your wife
Now — it’s important that you know, I’m not just talking about money. God is our provider, He clothes us & feeds us & gives us shelter.
You are both hard workers and I trust that God will provide for you in that way. What I’m talking about is that as you submit to Christ and depend on Him to provide for both of you in every way that you also provide for your wife in the most important ways.
You provide Security – She needs to know that no matter what – You are not going anywhere.
You provide Love — She is the standard of beauty from this point forward. There is no other person besides Christ who should capture your affections even close to the depth that Angela does.
You provide Leadership — you provide a spiritual refuge for your wife to dwell in. You are always to lead Angela toward Christ not away from Him. Your heart is to desire God for her and want her and your children to know, cherish, obey & pursue their creator.
Now — Angela — it’s your turn
First, Practice repentance & forgiveness quickly and often.
Where you recognize what God has done for you, you get to display that same type of love and forgiveness to your spouse.
Again — I promise you, there will be plenty of opportunities for this. There will be more than enough time to learn how to say I am sorry and I forgive you.
Second, Fight for your husband’s Honor.
Angela… Do you know what Jesus says to The Father about the church?
Jesus says “she (the church) is clean and pure and holy and righteous” —- “She is spotless and perfect”
Because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for you the Father sees nothing but perfection. In the same way that Jesus upholds your name, you do the same for your husband among others.
The Bible says that you shall leave your mother and father and the two shall become one flesh. Realize that whatever picture you paint of Jinson to the world is really a picture of yourself. Seek to always see Jinson and your marriage as a reflection of God to the world.
Finally, Pray for your husband constantly.
Recognize that the strength that Jinson needs to lead you and care for you does not come from you and it doesn’t come from him. It comes from the power of Christ’s death and resurrection and it is sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit which He has given us.
Only Christ can sustain your marriage and that is the way it was designed to be. When you spend time praying for your husband and praying for your marriage to be a display of Christ’s love to the world you will Hold your Marriage as precious.
If your marriage is going to make God look glorious, you must find more satisfaction in God than in your marriage.