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Being a Christian husband is hard work. In fact, it is impossible to do on your own. The requirements of modeling the husbandry of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives is nothing short of staggering. However, Christian men are to be encouraged with the reality that God graciously supplies the supernatural fuel to accomplish such things.

Many times in talking with guys I have found them overwhelmed with this high calling. I have given this little sermonette on responsibilities of a godly husband countless times to my friends in Christ. So I share it here with an aim towards encouragement and the glory of God.

Husbands are to Love their Wife

It is interesting that God commands the Christian man to love his wife. In Ephesians 5 we see this result from being “filled with the Holy Spirit” (5.18). So, a fruit of being controlled by God the Holy Spirit is a persistent love for our wife.

The stakes are pretty high here though. We notice that the point of reference for the Christian man is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

The Christian man is to be continually engaged in the self-sacrificing, humble, heavenly love that so characterizes the Lord Jesus Christ. This particular love is to be unique to his wife and should be so radical and counter cultural that people scratch their heads with wonder as to the motive for such a love.

I am thankful that whether I am hurting, tired, wounded, despairing, overwhelmed, rejoicing, or excited, my Savior attends to my words, needs and cares. How convicting this is to the husband who so often look right through the eyes of his wife while she expresses her needs, or worse yet judge her needs of the moment as less than worthy of whatever happens to occupy his attention. Does not Jesus’ faithfulness to his bride not convict you?

Men, I want you to do something that has been helpful to me. Every time your wife calls you, whether verbally or on the phone, think of yourself calling upon Jesus for communion. You picture your Savior attending to your needs and you likewise attend to hers.

Further this duty for Christian husbands is not conditional! We are to love our wife…regardless of how lovely or unlovely she is! For sinners like us are the model, and Jesus has loved the horrifically unlovely, and is committed to making us lovely, even through the washing by his own blood.

Husbands are to Lead their Wife

One result of the fall is the inverted headship of the husband and wife. The man is too often content to indulge his flesh and let his wife run the show. Likewise, the wife, has a desire to rule her husband (Gen. 3.16—the word carries with it the meaning of wanting to rule or Gen.4.7). Too often this Adamic epidemic pervades the home. The Bible is clear, the husband is the leader of the home. Therefore, he is to step up and lead like a man of God. This is not a shovenistic, suppressive, or cold leading, but rather a self-sacrificing leading that is fueled by heaven and characterized by love. Simply, this leading is supposed to look like Jesus leading the church. So men, you can be confident that when you pray for God to help you be a better leader in the home, you are praying according to the will of God.

Do not overlook the fact that we are accountable for this leading. We are not just supposed to be taking things as they come standing in a passive posture. Instead, we are supposed to be out front as leaders, ever mindful of our commission, responsibility and accountability before Almighty God.

Husbands are to Learn their Wife

This too, is often overlooked. Peter, as directed by God, commands us husbands:

husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Pet. 3.7)

The word for understanding is gnosis, often translated knowledge in the New Testament. We are to know our wives and live like it.

Well this is pretty simple right? How do you get to know your wife? For starters, you can talk to her. Spend some time getting to know her. In case you have not noticed your wife does not think or feel just like you. Thank God she is different…right?! I don’t know about you but I am thankful that my wife is different than me!

Sometimes Christie and I will be talking and one of us will use the phrase ‘disconnected’. This is an alarm for both of us that we need to sit down and talk. I need to hear what is on her heart, what is affecting her. In short we need to connect, to talk, simply for me to gain some understanding as to what she is thinking about/feeling.

The other side of this is that men are to be working hard at knowing about their wife. Some examples, to consider, what kind of hobbies does your wife have? What are her interests? Favorite food, games, music, style of clothes? Brand of make-up? Type of perfume? What is she afraid of? What makes her cry? What makes her laugh? This is just a list off the top of my head, make your own list of questions :/.

I have found that it is helpful to have a file on my wife. I am a perpetual student at the University of Christie. It is helpful to always try to have your ears open to gain new clues as to who your wife is. I have a file where I write stuff down, plan things, and evaluate our time together.

Man this is hard, but it is also fun. My wife is so different than me and really it is the differences that are so attractive. So buckle up men and be committed to learning your wife so that you may more effectively lead her and more thoughtfully love her.

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8 thoughts on “A 5 Minute Sermon for Husbands”

  1. Jacob says:

    Thanks for that brother, I know I certainly need to be reminded of these kind of things. I’m a pro at taking my wife for granted and slacking off on my obligation to put her before myself. I appreciate this encouragement to be strong and act like men.

    Hey bro, I have just started podcasting. I’m going to be doing a weekly show by the name of “Reformation In progress” I’ll be covering theology, apologetics, polemics and various other issues that impact the church. I’d love your feedback and suggestions. I only have one “pilot episode” that was more or less off the cuff. Maybe you could suggest some future topics.

  2. Phil Ogilvie says:

    I just wrote a post a little on these lines about being a “minister” at home. It goes in line with a series I am posting about “Doing” Christianity verses living a self focused,”self-help book” version of our faith.

    As this fits so nicely, If you would not object, I am going to link your great words of wisdom to my little speck of a blog. Thanks for the great posts.

  3. Steve says:

    This is very well said. I am a student of the University of Shelley.

  4. Matt says:

    Amen. You’re personal applications of these biblical responsibilities are the most challenging to me. As someone frequently categorized as a newlywed, my affections for my wife are often dismissed as sentimentality that is sure to fade away. I am hopeful and even confident in Christ that I can maintain (and Lord willing improve) this commitment to displays of love and knowledge for my wife through the years that follow. Your example after many years of marriage encourages me in that (a file, WOW).

    I’m aware that I am beginning to slack off in certain areas that my wife really enjoys (giving flowers, holding doors, writing kind notes or poems). Your challenge reminds me to consider how much my wife appreciates even these little things and refocus my attention on her again.

    This is certainly not to neglect the more weighty issues of marriage, but these small things show me my heart because they are things that I do only because I know how much she appreciates them. Thanks!

  5. Tony says:

    Erik, hello brother! Just listened to Piper’s recent message “God is the Gospel” and he reminds us that marriage is temporary. Q: Then what’s marriage for? A: To illustrate the relationship of Christ and the Church. Classic Piper moment. Thought it was an interesting statement. Blessings! Tony

  6. Tyler says:

    Great post. I thought Fridays were for Q&A? I guess you just answered a question most of us guys should have been asking. I received your sermonette many moons ago as you know and it has helped me tremendously.

    P.S. Are you mourning Dennis J today?

  7. erik says:

    I have been pretty much unplugged from blog land lately. This is the reason for the lack of interaction guys…so–here is a one comment, multi-response:::

    Jacob–good job. Keep working, just make keep making the main thing in your life the main thing.

    Phil–link to whatever you like/or dislike for that matter. It looks very warm there in CostaRica!

    Matt–thanks man. good reminders: we must view husbandry as a full time job…w/o vacations.

    Steve–good to hear man. It also looks warm in Old Red Hat land. I’ll be there in a little over a week.

    Tony–it looks really cold where you are. We miss you down here man. thanks for note and encouragement from Piper, I look forward to hearing him at the Shepherds’ Conference.

    Tyler–I actually met DJ when I was like 10. He was really friendly and pretty funny…btw, when I was 10 the Celtics were awesome. have a good weekend man. See you Sunday.


  8. Nancy says:

    On October 28th, my husband is changing our legal seperation to dissolution. We have been apart for a couple years now due to some bad occurences for which I was holding him accountable. He refuses to speak to me, even sent someone to give me the notice on the status change ct. date. Yet, since he has been back in the church for the past 5 months, the Pastor speaks of his change, being saved etc….I clearly don’t understand why he would now seek to be divorced (the Pastor says not to seek to be loosed but to wait on God) instead of letting God work it out & why he refuses to speak to me if he is saved. Am I missing something ??

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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