Pictures of Marriage: People think in Pictures

Marriage is more like a “workshop” where God works on your Soul, Marriage is intended to be much more Transformational than Pleasurable, not that it can’t be Pleasurable, just not Primarily about pleasure.

Ephesians 5: 22-33

In Ephesians, Paul describes marriage as an object lesson to a more profound mystery. Marriage is a picture of how Christ loves his bride, the Church.

Marriage and Mystery – vs. 31-32

Paul calls this union a profound mystery, a mega musteerion in Greek– something when seen you stand back and cover your mouth, afraid to speak; something so wonderful that you might ruin it if you tried to use words to explain.

Paul uses this same word, mystery, in Ephesians 3 to describe another union of relationships. This is the healing of relationships between cultures – specifically in the New Testament the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. In the New Testament the racial, cultural and national barriers that for so long divided people from one another, have now be obliterated in this new body, the Church. When this works well in a church people stand back in awe!

A Godly marriage is one of the greatest pictures available to visually display the relationship of Christ to his carefully chosen bride, the Church. When you stand back and observe this life long commitment of two people: one loving unconditionally, one submitting: you stand back and say “Only God could make this happen”

What You Witness at a Wedding

Women/Bride represents the Church. Husbands/Groom represents Jesus Christ! I want you to feel the full weight of this statement. If you are married, if you intend to get married, as a husband you are supposed to be one of God’s greatest visual displays of how Jesus loves his people, the Church.

“Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her.” -vs 25

So if someone asks: “What does it mean that Jesus loves me? Can you show me picture of this kind of love?” All of society needs a picture, people in this church need a reminder of Jesus’ love for them every week, your wife and children everyday are looking for a picture of Christ’s unconditional, unrelenting, immeasurable love. Husbands, you’re it! This is Humbling; What a Leadership Challenge!

The Command: Love – vs. 25a

After reading vs. 22 “Wives submit to your husbands” what might you expect vs. 25 to say? “Husbands govern, rule, exercise authority over” Instead, it says something very different than expected Paul commands us to Love.

Unfortunately there are been men who read vs. 22 and stop, assuming then the command for them to follow will be to Rule. Instead the command is to Love; this Love is primarily displayed not through governing but through sacrifice.

“The husbands crown is not made of Gold but of thorns” – C.S. Lewis

Jesus could have legitimately come and set himself up as the ultimate ruler. The symbol for following Christ could have been a symbol of power and control, like a sword.
However, something just the opposite of what you might expect happened. Something truly Incredible; Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give his life. The symbol for the Christ follower is not a Sword but a Cross. Crucifixion might be another picture to hold in your mind.

Your marriage is formed in the fire of everyday, mundane routines and habits. Your marriage isn’t a series of big events, there are only a dozen or so big events in your marriage, but there a millions of mundane moments; this is where your marriage is formed! So you wouldn’t want to say: “O that little moment of anger, being cold, bullying her, it’s no big deal, she knows that I Love Her!” – NOPE: These little moments display what she really means to you.

Your habits, your routines are the tracks on which your marriage runs.

The Command to Love is Not Conditional

Husbands, Your response to your wife is not conditioned on how you feel and it is not conditioned on her response to you.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us” – I John 4:10

Think about it. The sin, weakness and failures of your wife are not an accident; they are an opportunity for your wife to experience Grace as you deal with her. This is how Jesus is dealing with YOU and YOUR sin, weakness and failures!

Hosea 3 is a powerful and sobering illustration. The Old Testament prophet Hosea was married to Gomer who was a prostitute. During the time of Gomer’s waywardness Hosea continued to supply her with food and clothing. Finally, when she was being sold in a slave market God instructed Hosea in 3:1 – “Then the LORD said, “Go again and Love.” WHAT!? How about tolerate, rule, govern; but Love? Give me a break.

For what POSSIBLE PURPOSE? – Hosea’s love for his wayward wife was a visual display for a nation living in adultery with God.

Men, this is tough. Your relationship with your wife; especially the Grace you display to her in her sinfulness is an object lesson for her and your family. Your Grace displayed is how your wife and children see the Grace of God displayed!

The Command is Pro-Active not Reactive

The reason the Gospel is called Good News is because God is coming for us. It wouldn’t be Good News if we had to get to God. One way to picture God is as a LOVER! Jesus is in pursuit of His Bride! Nothing is going to stand in his way, not even a Cross.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16

I am afraid one of the most common pictures of marriage, the husband that is in hot pursuit during the dating and early stages of the relationship declines. What may have been love in the beginning of the relationship turns into the worst of emotions in a marriage – apathy. You don’t hate your wife, something worse, you just don’t care. What a POOR example of a relationship with Christ.

About 6 weeks ago I sent out a survey to married women at CCC asking them questions about Spiritual Leadership in the home. The number one request was for their husbands: Guess what the one word was that women said? Initiate, to take the Initiative, Prayer, Communication, Spiritual Conversation

“You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” -Galatians 5:13-15

When you enter into marriage you are bringing in the baggage of your sinful nature, which is “Indulgence”. I want what I want and I want it right now. I will give you opportunity to talk about the way your sinful indulgences shipwreck your marriage.

Success against “indulgence” come through the discipline of saying NO! No to yourself. When you agree to get married you signed up for saying “NO” to yourself; where is that a challenge for you?

“Love your wife as yourself” – consider how you love yourself. Your needs and wants: You try to satisfy them. Your sin: you want people to be forgiving, get over them quickly, and not bring them back up. You usually think you are right. at least you meant well even if you were wrong.


1. When you think about marriage what picture came to mind?

2. Talk about mundane moments, habits you have formed in your
marriage, Good and Bad. Where do you need to take the initiative in
your marriage?

3. Why is your display of Grace to your wife so important? What’s most
challenging about unconditional love?

4. How does your sinful “indulgence” shipwreck your marriage? What
would “loving your wife as yourself” look like in your marriage?


Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips

Pastor, Christ Community Church

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