WONDERFUL SERMON PREACHED BY PASTOR RICHMOND LEIGH, MY HUSBAND!
Pastor Richmond Leigh continued preaching on the topic of ‘Marriage’. His text was taken from the Book of Ephesians. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph 5:25-33; NKJ).
Today, Pastor Richmond Leigh addressed the husbands. He said that the great Apostle Paul made some remarkable statements here. He tells us what Christ has done for the Church and why He has done it. From this he deducts what is the duty of the husband towards his wife. He says that just as there is a mystical union between Christ and the Church, so the husband and wife must be united! The union between Christ and His Body is a mystery. In a similar way the union between husband and his wife is both spiritual and physical. This is also a mystery.
These revelations about marriage are based on the Word of God only! These are spiritual matters that are absolutely essential to our marriage relationship, that it may be successful! But there are other matters, though important, but not absolutely essential to the success of marriage. In these series we are dealing only with the spiritual matters that are absolutely essential to the success of our marriages. Once you seek God in your marriage, thru the study of His Word and prayer, every other thing will fall in its place! This is the Word of God!
In the days of the Apostles, there were three Greek words translated as ‘love’: eros, phileo and agape. The first one is ‘eros’. It describes the erotic lustful ‘love’ of the flesh. It comes from the Adamic nature. It is selfish, sensual and very hard to control. This word does not appear in the New Testament but it is implied. This is the word that today describes a man ‘falling in love’ with a woman.
The second word is ‘phileo’. It describes the love between brothers, sisters or friends. It is better translated ‘I am fond of you’. It is the root of words as philanthropy (Helping your brother) or Philadelphia (Brotherly love).
The third word translated ‘love’ is ‘agape’. This describes the sacrificial love of Christ. Each time the Bible says that ‘God loves us’, it uses the agape love. It is the love of the true shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. For example: “God demonstrates His own (agape) love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). As sinners we deserved punishment, to be tyrannized, but the agape love of God sent Christ to die for us. This is love! Not to punish and destroy, but to redeem! The husband must love his wife in the same way. Not to look for her faults and punish, but to teach his wife, to help her and show her mercy no matter what her weakness is. As you can see, the New Testament raises the standard of love to a greater height. Agape love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the soul of the believer (Gal 5:22). The husband must love his wife like God loves him. Please notice that this type of love does not exist in the unbelieving husband. The man who is not saved cannot exercise this type of love. The command to love like Christ loves the church is given only to the believing husband. God will not ask you to do what you are incapable of doing! But to exercise agape love the husband must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Practically, one of the ways a man can show that he is born again and filled with the Holy Spirit is the way he behaves towards his wife, when they are at home. This is test! Look at the countenance of a man’s wife and you will know the truth about the husband!
The first injunction to the husbands is this: “Husbands, love your wives!” This love is the great emphasis in the godly marriage. Please observe that love is an injunction. It is God’s command to the married men! In respect to the wives, the controlling attitude is submission. The controlling idea to the husbands is love! In other words, for a marriage to be successful, the wives must submit and the husbands must love! That does not mean that the wives should not love their husbands or that the husbands should never submit to the counsel of their wives. Submission and love are both basic spiritual attitudes in the Kingdom of God and must be observed by all.
Describing the love of the husband towards his wife, the Apostle Paul does not rule out the other two elements of love: eros and phileo. There are many Christians who are in trouble over this matter. The Roman Catholic doctrine of celibacy is ultimately based on this misconception. They insist that all priests must be celibate unto death. They seem to think that the Christian is no longer human; he no longer has natural desires. They regard sex as evil. That is a wrong doctrine. The reason why they went astray is because they do not understand the doctrine of the union of the believer and Christ. This is the truth: in Christ, the believer has been crucified, died, been buried and raised with Christ! He is now seated in the heavenly places with Christ. This spiritual amazing union applies to our souls only. Our ‘mortal bodies; are not crucified with Christ. Sin lies in the body. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are commanded to sanctify, to mortify, to kill the misdeeds of the body of sin. “If you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13). According to the Bible, sex is created by God, for procreation and for pleasure. It is to be used only within the boundaries of marriage. The devil did not create sex. God di it! But all sexual activities outside marriage are sinful and are prohibited.
The natural man cannot receive or manifest the agape love. These scriptures are also a warning against marrying unbelievers! No matter how nice, generous and religious they seem to be, the unbelieving husbands can never love their wives with this supernatural agape love of God! Agape love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit found only in the children of God. Husbands, you must be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit to be able to love your wives with this sacrificial agape love that never fails! Then your wives will submit to you without fear. This is the Bible’s ‘formula’ of success for all godly marriages!
In the marriage, the phileo love must manifest too. Husband, you must not only love your wife, but you must like her as a person! Your wife must be your friend too! You cannot marry a woman that you hate to spend time with. You must like her character, as friend likes a friend. You cannot ignore certain natural affinities. Study each other during the period of courtship. If two people marry based on eros love alone, that marriage will soon fall apart. The effect of phileo love lasts much longer than that of eros love. No matter how great the passion of sexual love, it is good that the people who get married should have similar affinities and enjoy doing things together. The phileo love has a lasting calming effect to the marriage. But never forget! The greatest love of all is agape love. This love will sanctify the eros and the phileo love in the marriage. “Agape Love suffers long and is kind… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1Cor 13: 4-8). Worship the Lord!