“Why Husbands Should Love Their Wives As Themselves” Because Christ Loved the Church
Part 2 Eph. 5:28-33
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 5.28-33 Part 2
Ephesians chapter 5. This is part two of the message that we began last week concerning why husbands should love their wives as themselves. And the answer to that question of why husbands should love their wives as themselves is because Christ loved the church.
So after reviewing last week about the wife, we defined what is the Spirit-filled husband … After looking at the Scripture, we said that the Spirit-filled husband is his wife’s friend, who lovingly leads her.
So, we had 2 functions for the husband: love and leadership. And both of those requirements of the husband are found in Ephesians 5. Our text this morning will be Eph. 5:28-32. And here, Paul is applying the truths from verses 25-27. So, since Paul is applying these truths, we will too! We want to make sure that everything we do as a church and say from this pulpit is exemplified in Scripture. Since Paul majors on the application here, we will too.
And, I can perceive that all that needs to be said by way of application for the husbands will not be given in just this message. So husbands, you will get some more treatment. So to give you all the help that I, as your pastor, feel you need, we’ll give one more message after this which will be a message entirely given over to applications on being a godly husband. We did that for the wife and I don’t want the wives to be jealous … so, we will do that for the husband as well.
But let’s begin this morning by recapturing the apostle’s argument. To do that, let’s read …. Ephesians 5:25-28 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
What is Paul saying in the passage? … What is Paul’s major point?
Ephesians 5:25 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church … And then we are given various ways Christ loved the church.
And then, verse 28…28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
So Paul is saying this… We’ve got the example of Christ’s love for the church. …
[*left hand up/down*] Because of Christ’s love for his body, the church, therefore [*right hand*] the husband ought to love his wife as his own body, since two have become one flesh.
Let me do that again … and feel free to mark this down in your notes or in your Bible’s.
Paul’s argument now is this…here it is … Christ [*left hand up/down*] loved his own body, the church in verses 25 to 27… Therefore, [*right hand up/down*] verses 28-32, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies, since husband and wife have become one.
That’s what Paul is saying in the passage.
So, I’d like to preach a second message this morning on “Why Husbands Should Love Their Wives As Themselves” … which is because Christ loved the church. Because Christ loved his body the church, therefore a husband should love his own wife as his own body. If you don’t get anything else from the message this morning, if you marked that down, you got the main idea this morning.
And we noted last time as well, that love is commanded 3 times in the passage and you could underline these in your Bibles. …
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself
Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
So, 2 times we see the call of the apostle to love his wife as his own body or self in verses 28 and 33. And once to love as Christ loved the church.
Let me remind you that these truths about the family are the kinds of things that the whole church needs to hear. If a church relaxes on the requirements for the husband, we’ll lose sight of what a godly husband is to be. Everyone listening needs this in order to sustain the godly direction of our assembly for generations to come. So, everyone needs this from youngest to oldest for the sake of future generations.
Illustration with Luther
It is possible for husbands to live in a loving relationship with his wife… Last week, we gave a bad example of a marriage from church history. Today, I’d like to balance that with a good example, the marriage of Martin Luther to his wife Katherine von Bora.
Martin Luther lived from 1483 to 1546 and his wife to be, Katherine, was a former nun… Luther lovingly called her by many pet names, one being “Kitty, my rib” the image taken, of course, from Genesis where God takes a rib from Adam to form Eve.
Katherine was born in 1499 and her mother died when she was five years old. She eventually was placed in a convent at Nimbschen in Saxony. When she was 16 years old, she officially became a nun and so was “married to Christ” in the eyes of the Catholic church. And it would be two years later that Martin Luther would nail his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg.
As the fires of the Reformation spread, monks and nuns began to trust Christ alone for salvation as Luther’s works got into the convents and monasteries.
One such work was called On Monastic Vows. In this tract, Luther renounced his own vows and encouraged other monks and nuns to do the same. Well … this tract found its way into the convents and monasteries, including the one housing Katherine.
And 12 nuns decided to renounce their vows, including Katherine. After renouncing their vows, they naturally didn’t belong in a convent. And so they wrote a letter to Martin Luther asking him to break them out of the convent.
You see, they didn’t just let you walk out on your commitment to nunnery and monkery. So you had to escape. If you were caught, that meant very severe physical punishment in some cases.
Thankfully, Luther was in the business of breaking nuns out of their covenants. And there were 12 nuns at the Nimbschen convent and, because of Luther’s teachings, they sent word to Luther that they wanted out. And so he arranged for their escape.
Luther sent the merchant Henry Koppe and his nephew Leonard to the convent with a wagon load of 12 fish barrels. He put each of the 12 nuns into a barrel and drove off!
A somewhat of a suspicious escape caught the eye of an onlooker to ask what was in the barrels. Koppe’s reply was “herring.” Three of the girls returned to their homes and the other nine were taken to Wittenberg so that Luther could marry them off. It came about that after two years, all of them had husbands…except for Katherine. Why? Well … it’s reported that even Luther thought she was unattractive and unpleasant….he said she was proud and stubborn.
Luther had tried more than one time to find a husband for her but it failed each time. Finally, Katherine let it be known that she would be willing to marry Dr. Luther if he would agree.
And Luther, because he was a wanted man and thought he would soon be a martyr, thought it best not to marry. But, in the end, he decided to marry Katherine…. and his romantic reason for marrying her, as he wrote to a friend, was “to spite the devil.” You see, Catholic clergy are, to this day, forbidden marriage….and this we know from 1 Ti. 4:1-3 that forbidding marriage is, Paul says, a doctrine of demons.
So to get back at Satan and his demons, as a clergymen, just get married …and you will have successfully spited the devil, or have been mean to the devil!
So, when Luther was 42 and Katherine was 25, almost 17 years apart… they were married on June 13, 1525 … on the same day he asked her to marry him! One of the shortest engagements in the history of the world.
The Luther’s had six kids and he faithfully taught them the Scripture each morning before starting his own teaching and preaching schedule.
During one very difficult period, Luther was carrying many burdens and fighting many battles. Usually jolly and smiling, he was instead depressed and worried. Katherine endured this for days. One day, she met him at the door wearing a black mourning dress that you would only wear to a funeral.
“Who died?” Luther asked.
“God,” said Katherine.
“You foolish thing!” said Luther. “Why this foolishness!”
“It is true,” she persisted. “God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful.” Snapped him right out of it! She knew how to care for a loud bombastic personality.
He was kind and affectionate toward her … he would write her letters and address her this way …
“To the deeply learned Mrs. Katherine Luther, my gracious housewife in Wittenberg”; “To my dear housewife, Katherine Luther, Doctress, self-martyr at Wittenberg”; another reads … “To the holy, worrisome Lady, Katherine Luther, Doctor, at Wittenberg, my gracious, dear housewife”; and another … “Housewife Katherine Luther, Doctress, and whatever else she may be”!
And because he liked pork so much, she became a pig farmer. And so he called her “My Lord Kate, Mistress of the Pigsty.”
So he was quite affectionate… Especially as you read his letters and as you read about how she cared for him and how he tenderly spoke to her…well, most of the time anyway … they built an amazing friendship.
Luther said … “There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.”
Men a loving, patient, and understanding and rewarding relationship with your wife is possible if you understand Christ’s love for his church, as Luther in his reformation, no doubt, was distinctly aware of.
Let’s read the rest of the passage now … Ephesians 5:28-33 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
The husband’s responsibility to love his wife is in verse 28-29a. Paul then motivates husbands to do this in verses 29-30 with two illustrations… The first one is the illustration of a husband’s care for his own body. As husbands care for their own bodies, they should also do the same for their wives. Husbands, care for your wives just like you would your own self.
Second illustration is Christ’s care for the church. As Christ cares for the church, so also should husbands should care for their wives. Husbands, care for your wives just like Christ cares for his church, and you already know He cares for His church. How does Christ care for his church? … We saw that earlier, but also we’ll learn about nourishing and cherishing.
After the two illustrations in verses 29-30, we come to verses 31-32….We won’t spend time here, because these verses merely serve as Paul’s footnotes to substantiate his argument. And we have been explaining the passage with these verses in mind already, so there really is no need to go into detail on them. They simply are the footnotes to support his argument in the broader passage. Verse 33 then sums up the passage from back in verse 22.
Now first then from verse 28, men, the responsibility to love your wife as your own body.
The Responsibility to Love Your Wife as Your Own Body (Eph. 5:28)
Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Why is that the case? Have you read this verse before? Have you thought about it? Why is it that … “He who loves his own wife loves himself?” … why is that true?
Because, if you drop down to verse 31 ….
Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.
The argument of the Holy Spirit in this passage is this …
Because a husband is [*clap*] one with his wife…
And because a husband loves himself.
Therefore, a husband should love his wife.
Because in marriage, two have become one, a husband’s loving of his wife is a loving of himself. And men, you already love yourself! So also ought you to love your wife.
Because 2 are now 1, as a husband loves his wife, in a real sense, he is loving himself. That is a reality. So, this is more than just loving your neighbor as yourself. When a husband loves his wife, because they are uniquely one, it is a real loving of himself.
TRANS: But the problem is, we husbands need motivation on this. So, Paul gives 2 illustrations to motivate us to love our wives.
The Motivations to Love Your wife (Eph. 5:29-30)
The first one is in verse 29 …
Ephesians 5:28-29 28 … He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it
Husbands don’t hate their bodies
Husbands, since you take care of yourself, you also need to take care of your wife, since you are one with her. And you’re already doing this! You already care for your own body. And since you take care of your own body, you should care for your wife.
Paul says … “no husband ever hated his own flesh, his body.” This is true for every husband. No one hates his own body… But surely a husband uses his body for what he views as good for himself. He doesn’t neglect his body … but he pays attention to his body’s needs.
It says here that he nourishes and cherishes his own body. These are affectionate terms, the very opposite of hatred. If there is a need in his body, he cares for that need. If he is hungry, he feeds himself. If there is an injury, he looks after it. The husband clothes his body and sustains it so that it thrives in order for it to meet his requirements of it.
This language nourish and cherish is language typically used to refer to attitudes toward children. Later in Eph. 6:4, this word translated ‘nourish’ is translated “bringing up” to refer to children.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up [that’s the word nourish in Eph. 5:29] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
It’s best to take this word … nourish … as nurture. The idea of nurturing has the whole person in view. A husband is to nurture his wife. He is to care for her physically and emotionally and spiritually.
He is to be the one who provides for her physical necessities, and to be the shoulder to cry on, and to lead her spiritually and to be sure that she gets the spiritual care that she needs as well.
A nurturing love is patient, kind, and is not easily offended.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not envious; love does not brag and is not proud, 5 does not act rudely; it does not demand its own way, it is not irritable, it doesn’t write down wrongs suffered, 6 it isn’t glad about injustices, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Men, be careful to be patient with your wife, be kind to her…don’t act rudely toward her nor demand your own way…don’t be irritable against her and don’t tally up all her mistakes! But instead, nurture her and be attentive to her needs, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Support her as she serves in your household each day.
And cherish her. This word cherish is translated “tenderly cares for” in 1 Thessalonians 2:7. You could make note of that cross reference in the margin of your Bible …. Paul says of himself and his team in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 that “we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.”
What a picture! There’s nothing that tugs at the heart of a man like seeing a nursing mother gently and tenderly caring for her own children …. Men, be gentle with your wives like that …take that picture with you as you care for your wife. Get down low, humble yourself, as you would care and be gentle with children.
You can be one way with the guys, but your wife … she is to be treated with gentleness like a mother gently cares for her own children.
Men, your wife doesn’t need thicker skin to be able to handle your personality; you are commanded to be gentle with her.
You do this with your own body. If you are caring for your body and it hurts, you stop and try to make it feel better. Do that with your wife! You don’t rub salt in your body’s wound, neither do that to your wife with your words! Bandage her up and care for her!
Just as a husband nourishes and cherishes his own body, so also should he nourish and cherish his wife.
TRANS: Men, if this wasn’t enough, we have an additional motivation. Paul returns at the end of verse 29 to the motivation of how Christ loves the church. We were told in verses 25-27 of five different ways which Christ loves the church. And here in verse 29, we have the testimony that this nourishing and cherishing is exactly how Christ treats us, the church!
So Paul appeals to us men to consider nursery terms as we relate to our wives. Nourishing and cherishing … These are nursery terms. Becoming like a nursing mother, tenderly and compassionately caring for your wife.
And now, Paul’s testimony is that this is exactly how Christ treats the church. And he treats the church this way, verse 30, because we are members of his body.
Christ nourishes and cherishes the church
Just as Christ nourishes and cherishes his own body, the church, so also should the husband nourish and cherish his wife.
So, how does Christ nourish and cherish the church?
He gave himself up for her dying on the cross for sins. He made specific sacrifices on her behalf, He is eternally loyal to her and has the utmost care and concern for her spiritual growth…
And even though the church is imperfect, he longs for the day when he will present to himself the church in all her glory having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing….
And he is working to that end. Ever so gently and tenderly… Patiently leading along those who are saved in Christ Jesus … though we are far from perfect, and so easily provoked and irritated, questioning His goodness, failing to read His words and failing to know Him and failing to know His will and failing to speak to Him in prayer … though we utterly fail, He gently leads His church along and puts gentle pressure on us to grow. He provides shepherds to encourage the church corrects us when necessary.
He is a tender, kind and compassionate friend who meets our deepest needs, despite our lack of praise and thankfulness.
Husbands, do likewise for your wives, who may seem to you unthankful and unrighteous and ungracious.
Now, some more applications….number 1 …
1. Know the love of Christ from His Word! Men, there is no room for harsh, biting criticism toward your wives. You think of all of the tender love that Christ has shown to you and to think that husbands can get angry and embittered against their wives….men this ought not to be! Christ … think of Christ! Know Him to be like Him toward your wife!
This is why over and over again, Paul exhorts us to consider what God has done for us in Christ. Have you done that this past week? Have you praised God for Christ! If we spend time prayerfully considering the love of Christ for the church, men, we’ll grow in our relationship with our wives. This is the design of God in the passage. But if you neglect learning about Christ… If you are not walking with Him in the word, then you will grow short in your spirit toward your wife, you’ll lose sight of the tenderness of Christ, and you’ll find yourself giving harsh and bitter criticism’s against your wife.
But if you pour your heart out before him and pour your heart into being diligent in his word in order to know him and his love his word, then … you will grow in your understanding of the love of Christ for the church and by default then, you’ll grow in your love for your wife. This is the design of this passage. Therefore, know Christ and seek Him to better love your wife!
2. Men, you are commanded here to love your wife as your own body.
Generally, you husbands will give much thought, time, energy, and money to care for yourself. You are acutely aware of your dreams, your comforts and hobbies … These are all very important to you. You eat when you’re hungry you drink when you’re thirsty you sleep when you’re tired … You care for your wounds, you protect yourself from harm …. You are passionate about nourishing and cherishing yourself and you will go to great extent if necessary to accomplish this.
But do you do anything at all to the neglect of your wife? Men, it ought not so to be! It should be the same way with your wife. As you satisfy yourself, satisfy her more. As you provide for yourself, provide for her more care, even more sacrifice on her behalf … to an even greater extent than you would yourself. No love could be too great if we are to love and care for our wives like Christ loved the church!
Humble yourself and consider her… Get inside of her heart, inside of her life. Do that by applying the principles we learned when we discussed at length how to build friendship in marriage.
Third application … husbands are you noting these ? …
3. Live with your wife in an understanding way. Let’s turn over to 1 Peter 3:7 for this one. Live with your wife in an understanding way …
1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Live with your wives in an understanding way. One of the most common frustrations for wives is that their husbands don’t understand what they’re going through and they don’t take the time and energy to do so…
Todd Wilson, in his hilarious book “Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom” gives this humorous picture …
He sympathizes with the men…ladies don’t take offense at this now … he writes … “it’s difficult being a homeschool mom but it’s even tougher being married to a homeschooling mom. Instead of being greeted by a put-together woman resembling June Cleaver [from the show “Leave it to Beaver” for us younger folks … the point is always ‘made up’ and never a hair out of place … ], the husband of a homeschooling mom is met by a woman who looks like a serial killer waiting for another victim. The unsuspecting husband naively offers his great wisdom in response to her terrible day, but that only adds fuel to a fire that is already burning out of control. “I forgot to thaw the meat,” she says while looking at her husband like it’s his fault. “You got any ideas for dinner?”
Jim knew this was bad. The home atmosphere alert had been raised to defcon 4. Without thinking, he offers, “Why don’t you cook up some of your world famous lasagna. It’s not that hard, is it?” She rolls her eyes in disgust and estimates that it will take two hours to get it on the table. “That’s okay, Dear,” he reassures her, patting her shoulder. “That will give me time to read the paper. It’s been a tough day. Besides, I ate a late lunch at Applebee’s with some of the guys.” The next thing he knows, lasagna noodles are dripping from his head. “What? Did I say something wrong?” he asks.
Men, did you get the point ? … I hope so, that guy was not living with his wife in an understanding way … Men, live with your wives in an understanding way. … she is weaker, Peter says … I’ve always appreciated that wording… It doesn’t say that you are stronger says that she is weaker. You are weak and she is weaker… And women can be weaker emotionally and physically and so you, as her husband, must show honor!
Understand her, honor her! Honor her in what way? Honor her as a fellow heir of the grace of life. You understand that? If you understand this phrase … fellow heir of the grace of life … if you understand that, that will motivate you and empower you to honor her as someone as such.
She is a fellow heir of the gift of eternal life is the idea … and that, with the husband, when both husband and wife are saved… You’re not unique in your relationship to Christ. She trusts Christ, too.
She is your sister in Christ. She is a coheir, a fellow heir of the gift of eternal life. There is no superiority here… You honor her…. Do you value the fact that you have been given the gift of eternal life? You don’t work for that, you trust Him and receive that … Do you understand that value? If you do then you will be empowered to honor her as one who has received eternal life even as you have.
And the consequence of not doing so is spiritual …. the hindrance of your prayers. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age in Christian living where that doesn’t matter much to men who would call themselves Christians. …. Your prayers, husbands, can be specifically hindered somehow because of your choice not to honor her as a coheir of the gift of eternal life.
Men, understanding your wife is going to take you listening to her. If she’s talking and stops and asks you, “Now what I have said?” … could you repeat back to her?…try that during the conversation men, say “Oh, ok,… so you’re saying this” …. And you repeat it and put into your own words. Men, this wins her because it shows her you are nourishing and cherishing her!
And don’t try to fix every single one of her problems, unless she is asking for a solution, most times you need to just listen to her and care, put your arm around her and comfort her with your words.
And don’t dismiss the way that she feels, value the way that she feels. Even if her feelings seem out of whack or illogical to you, don’t dismiss the way that she feels. Tell her that you appreciate her words and her wisdom and what she is sharing with you.
Also, apologize to her, take some initiative with work around the house, and express appreciation for what she does for you and the kids. Be with her when you are with her…get off the phone and focus your energy on her!
I’ll be saying more about these kinds of things next week.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 5.28-33 Part 2
But let me conclude this morning with some thoughts on Martin Luther’s marriage.
Men, be thankful for your wives…. At the time of Luther, they slept on straw beds and those beds often needed a change of straw like we need a change of sheets.
Luther says … “Before I was married, the bed was not [changed] for a whole year and became foul with sweat. But I worked so hard and was so weary I tumbled in without noticing it.” But when he married, his wife began to care for him and the house!
Men give voice to the blessing that your wife is. Tell her you love her and talk to her about the good that she does for you.
Luther also learned that marriage is a sacrifice …
And he keenly sensed the need to meet his wife’s needs. He writes … “There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage,” … “One wakes up in the morning and finds a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before.” Keen observation, doctor Luther …. !
Roland Bainton, in his biography of Martin Luther, Here I Stand, comments, “He soon discovered that a husband must take the wishes of his wife into account” (226).
As we’ve already said, lead her spiritually …
He writes to one of his friends …  Bainton quotes Luther … “My lord Katie greets you. She plants our fields, pastures and sells cows, et cetera [Bainton asks … how much does that et cetera cover?]. In between she has started to read the Bible. I have promised her 50 gulden [those are gold coins… I have promised her 50 gold coins] if she finishes by Easter. She is hard at it and is at the end of the fifth book of Moses.”
That’s one way to motivate your wife to read the Scripture! Wives…there you go! Men are you a spiritual testimony of walking with Christ toward your wife? Are you teaching her where she needs teaching? If your wife is shrivelling up spiritually, men, this is your responsibility to get her the help that she needs.
Men love and cherish your wives ….
After a year of marriage he wrote to a friend, “My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of [king] Croesus [of Lydia].” How much more could he honor her but when he called Paul’s letter to the Galatians… he called that letter … “my Katherine von Bora.”
He began to become concerned of his love for his wife when writes …. “I give more credit to Katherine than to Christ, who has done so much more for me.” But men you haven’t loved your wife enough, you haven’t nourished her enough, you haven’t cherished her enough until you love your like Christ loved the church!
309 … softly and tenderly … I want to leave this picture of Christ with you …softly and tenderly…this is how Jesus drew you and loves you, do likewise.
Weirsbe, Warren. 50 Christians you should know. ↑
Mack, pg 39 ↑
The Reformation Era By Robert Dean Linder page 26. ↑
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther By Roland Herbert Bainton page 298. ↑
Bainton, 299. ↑