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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Adrian Rogers » Adrian Rogers - How to Cultivate a Marriage

Adrian Rogers - How to Cultivate a Marriage

Adrian Rogers - How to Cultivate a Marriage
TOPICS: Marriage

Would you take God's Word and find Ephesians chapter 5 please? And just a moment we're going to look at verse 23, and then we're going to look at some more verses. But I want to talk to you about Kingdom Authority and the home and literally, headship in the home. Now some of us are disappointed in our homes. Somebody has said that the difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in the seed catalog and what comes up. Perhaps we need to learn a little bit more about how to cultivate a marriage.

Look if you will please in Ephesians 5 verse 23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and He," Christ, "is the Savior of the body," and the husband is to be like that to the home. Now we've been in this series on Kingdom Authority, and we have taught you that you cannot function in any area, in the church or out of the church, if you don't believe in authority and don't understand authority. It's everywhere. It's in the traffic laws. I heard of a man who was riding along with a friend and they were going at a good clip. They came to a red light, the light was red, the man went right on through. He said, "Hey, man, be careful. You'll kill us".

Well, he said, "Don't worry about it," said, "I have a brother who is a wonderful driver; he never stops for red lights. Never"! The man said, "Well, alright". Then later on they came to a green light, and the driver of the car slammed on his brakes. He said, "Man you're crazy; that was green". He said, "I know, but my brother might be coming the other way". Can you imagine, can you imagine what life would be like without just the common, ordinary laws that God has put into society? Now we've been teaching you a principle these last weeks, that God wants to give us Kingdom Authority, that God did not make us to be slaves to the world, the flesh, and the devil. But there is a great principle that God does not give authority to those with a rebellious spirit. And the principle is, we can never be over those things that God wants to be under us until we get under those things that God has put over us.

Now we need to understand that. That is the basic key principle in Kingdom Authority. May I tell you what the problem is in America today? The problem is in the family. And may I sharpen the focus? The problem is primarily with the husband. Stu Weber has said, "The problem in America is failure in the highest office of the land, that office being husband and father". That's the problem in America, and we want to point fingers somewhere else, but the problem is that we have not understood responsibilities and Kingdom Authority in the home. We need to see as fathers, as husbands, as dads, our responsibilities, not our rights. When the Bible speaks of the husband being the head of the home, that's not speaking of his rights; it's speaking of his responsibilities.

Marriage is a covenant not a contract. If you think of marriage as a contract, you're going to be looking for loopholes, ways to break that contract. But marriage is a covenant between a man, a woman and God, and it brings with it awesome responsibilities. And there are three major responsibilities that deal with headship in the home. And I want to say to the husband that if you do not exercise the Kingdom Authority that God has given to you, your home is not going to be a wonderful home; your marriage will not be a magnificent marriage. I want to say to our ladies, if you do not understand your proper place, God's assigned responsibility in the home, you're going to miss an incredible blessing.

Now let me tell you what those three major responsibilities are that the husband has as we're talking about Kingdom Authority and headship in the home. The first responsibility that the husband has is this: he is responsible for servant leadership. Now I've chosen to put those words together, servant leadership. Those words are not exclusive, they go together. When the Bible says that the husband is the head of the home, it does not say he is the dictator. It says that he is the head. That does not mean therefore that he's a top sergeant using the Bible as a club rather than a sword to beat his wife over the head with it. He is the one who is responsible. Who is the head of the church? Jesus Christ. True. And the husband is to be the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.

Well I want you to think about Jesus who is the head of the church. That is, He is the Sovereign Lord of the church. He's your Lord. I want to ask you a question. Has Jesus Christ ever, ever forced you to do anything? Not one time. Not one time. Not one time. And yet Jesus is the head of the church, and He is the Lord of my life, and if I know my heart, I would die for Jesus Christ. And yet He is not the dictator of the church; He is the head of the church. And this is what a husband needs to be. Now, you see, headship means to have responsibility. And so if you as a husband say I am the head of the home, then your wife, who is to be submissive to you, listen, has every right to look to you to meet her every need that she has as a wife in the home. Doesn't mean she's to kowtow to you, it means you're responsible to meet her needs, just as the Lord Jesus Christ is responsible to meet the needs of the church.

We hear so much of the chain of command. It's not primarily a chain of command, it is a line of responsibility, to be the head of a corporation, as we have some here today; means that you are responsible for that corporation. Now here's a key verse, a key verse, put it in your margin. First Corinthians 11 and verse 3, now listen to it, "But I would have you to know that the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God". Now, if you'll put that verse right down along Ephesians 5 verse 23 you'll have it all figured out. Alright now, listen to what God says. Here's what headship means. Here he speaks of God the Father and God the Son. Do you know anything about Christian theology? If you do, you know that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are coequal and coeternal. Is that not right?

It says of Jesus in Philippians 2 and verse 6, "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God". Just as husbands and wives are equal, God the Father and God the Son are equal. But the Bible says that, "The head of Christ is God". Does that mean the boss? Does that mean the dictator? There's no need for dictatorship among equals. Where is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is at the right hand of the Father on the throne, and so it is in the home. We need to understand that the submission of the Savior, the Lord Jesus to the Father is not one that comes out of fear or dominion, but it is one that is based in love because of love.

Let me give you another verse now husbands, you say, "Well, I'm the head of the home". Well, good, you ought to be. We're going to explain that in a moment. But put these verses down, Luke chapter 22. And this is absolutely key to Kingdom Authority and to those of you who want authority. Luke 22 verses 25 and 26, "And He said unto them," now Jesus is speaking, "And He said unto them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercised lordship over them.'" The Gentiles mean the pagans. "'And they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.'" Yeah, I'm from the government, I'm here to help you. Now, they're called benefactors. But now notice what Jesus says, "But ye shall not be so, but he that is greatest among you let him be as the younger and he that is chief as he that doth serve".

That's the authority, servant leadership. You want to be chief? Learn to be a servant. The Lord Jesus was a leader that served. John 13 verse 13. Jesus has washed His disciples' feet. I mean, He is their Lord and Master, and He says in verse 13, "Ye call Me Master and Lord and ye say well, for so I am. If I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done unto you". Mister, you want to be head of your home? Wash your wife's feet. That's the way to be the head of the home. Jesus, the Lord and Master, set the example for us.

You see, what is headship? Headship is responsibility assumed. Not primarily a chain of command, it is a line of responsibility. And you stick out your big chest and you say, "Well I'm the head of the home. I know my rights". You may get in trouble. Marriage rights are like traffic rights. Somebody wrote these words, "Here lies the body of Benjamin May, who died defending the right of way. He was right, dead right as he sped along, but just as dead as if he were wrong". Now, Mister, you can get in serious trouble just sticking out your chest and saying, "I am the head of the home".

Now a home needs a head. And the Bible says that the husband is the head, he has responsibilities. And I've told you before that anything with no head is dead and anything with two heads is a freak. God has put headship in the home and that is the husband's responsibility. That does not mean at all that the wife is inferior to the husband. Everybody knows that a woman is superior to a man at being a woman. And a man is superior to a woman at being a man. But in Christ we're equal. Galatians 3 verse 28, "There's neither Jew nor Greek, neither is there bond nor free, neither is there male or female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus". One in Christ! But equality does not mean sameness.

Friend, God made them male and female in the beginning. And why did God make us different? That He might make us one, that's why. And the devil under the guise of making us equal has tried to make us the same. But the Bible is against shemen and he-women. A man is a man. A woman is a woman. And God created that and God made us different, but God did not make us unequal. When the husband is the head of the home, that doesn't mean he's superior to his wife. His wife may be superior to him in many things. My wife is superior to me in many things; I freely confess it. She made much better grades than I made. Serious, of course, she's smart in everything but her choice of men.

When I was a teenager, she beat me in a better speaker's tournament; that's church history. Listen folks, it doesn't mean that one is inferior or one is superior when God has put headship in the home. I watched some football, when the quarterback calls the play that doesn't mean he's superior to the running back. It's just that there has to be somebody to call the plays so you're all going in the same direction. And who says who calls the play? The coach. Who says that the husband is the head of the home? Almighty God. It doesn't mean that the husband is superior, it doesn't mean the wife is inferior, but there must be authority. Folks, do you know what we're having today? We're having some crazy thing called mutual submission. That is absolute nonsense.

Now there are times when you may submit to her and she may submit to you on certain issues. That's not the point. But mutual submission on any point is not submission at all. Let me tell you what Admiral Rickover had to say. You remember Admiral Rickover and the atomic submarine? I have read this many times, listen to it. He says this concerning authority. He says, "Responsibility is a unique concept. It can only reside and inhere in a single individual. You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it's still with you. You may disclaim it, but you cannot divest yourself of it. If you do not recognize it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it. If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you've never had anyone really responsible".

And I'm telling you gentlemen, in the home the responsibility is on the husband, on the husband. And you cannot dodge it. And I have been around long enough to know that the major problem in America today is not feminism and rebellious wives, it is slacker husbands who are not doing what God called them to do. Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church," and that is loving, serving leadership. A leader who serves. But now remember, no man can be the head of his home until he's under the headship of Christ. If he's not willing to be under, what right does he have and what expectation does he have to have the anointing and the power of God to be the husband that God wants him to be?

Here's the second thing he's responsible for. The first thing, serving leadership. Got it? Serving leadership, okay? Here's the second thing: sacrificial love. Now I didn't say just love, I said sacrificial love. I didn't say just leadership, I said serving leadership. What is sacrificial love? Well, how are you to love your wives? Look if you will in Ephesians 5 verse 25, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it". That's not mere love, that's sacrificial love. How am I to love Joyce? I am to love Joyce as Jesus loved the church, and He died for the church. What kind of love is sacrificial love? Well number one, it is passionate love. It is passionate love.

When I'm talking about passion, I'm not talking here about sexual passion. That's a part of married love, but I'm talking about something far deeper than that. I'm talking about emotion and commitment that comes from the deepest part of your being. You are to love sacrificially. That is, there's nothing, nothing too precious for me to give up for my wife, except my relationship with God. Nothing. I'm the pastor of this church, but I wouldn't have to think about it if I had to give up this church or give up Joyce. You can get another pastor. I am her husband. She is my highest love on this Earth apart from the Lord Jesus. Jesus gave Himself up for the church. What does a man owe his wife? Passionate love. But not only passionate love, purifying love.

Look if you will now in Ephesians 5 verses 26 and 27. Why did He do it? "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish". Jesus loves the church with a passionate love and with a purifying love. And how is a man to love his wife? What responsibility does he have? Well as Christ is pastor, priest and prophet to the church, the husband is to be prophet, priest and pastor to his wife. He is to intercede for her. He is to teach her. He is to lead her. He is to protect her spiritually. You know there's something very interesting in the Bible. The Bible says if a woman goes to church and she has some questions, some things about the Bible that she doesn't understand; do you know what the Bible says she is to do? She is to go home and ask her husband what it means.

Let me give it to you. Put it in your margin, First Corinthians 14 verse 35, "And if they will learn anything let them ask their husbands at home for it is a shame for women to speak in the church". Doesn't mean they can't utter a peep, doesn't mean they can't sing in the song service, it doesn't mean that they cannot pray. But what he is saying is that God has put male authority in the church and God has put male authority in the home. That doesn't mean the man is little Lord Haha. But I'll tell you what it does mean; it does mean that a man is to say with Joshua of old in Joshua 24 and verse 15, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Why did God say, "Go ask your husband"? Well, what would happen today if, if the women in America kept asking their husbands, "Darling what does this mean? Tell me that. Teach me this".

He'd have to learn wouldn't he? You think what a release that would be for pastoral counseling. I mean and think how much difficulty that would solve. But you see, God wants to work on your husband, ma'am, and when you go to somebody else to get the answers or when you try to give him the answers, God is saying get out of my line of fire. I'm working on him. I am working on him. He is the one who is to have leadership in the home. He has responsibility. He is to love her passionately. He is to love her purifyingly. My assignment from God is to make Joyce a more radiantly beautiful Christian, just as Jesus is purifying the church. I'll tell you another way he's to love her: sacrificial love is protecting love.

Look if you will in Ephesians 5 verse 28, "So ought men to love their wives as their own body". What do you do with your body? You protect it. A man is sick who does not care for his own body. And a home is sick when the husband does not protect his wife. Peter tells us in First Peter chapter 3 verse 7 that, "The wife is the weaker vessel". Doesn't mean she's inferior. Gold is weaker than steel; it's not inferior. Silk is weaker than blue denim; it's not inferior. It's more refined. It's more fragile. It's more intrinsically beautiful. God made you to be a man of steel. He made her to be an ornament of gold. But he made her as the weaker vessel. And you need to protect the wife, not only physically.

And I've told you before, I'm not the man I used to be and I might not be able to do it, but if you touch my wife, if I can, I'll put you on the ground so quick you won't know what happened. Because God has given me an instinct to protect her. But not only protect her physically, my responsibility is to protect her emotionally and to protect her spiritually. Did you know, mister, that Satan can't get at your family unless he has to come through you? Because you're the head. You're the door keeper. God made you to keep the garden. That means to protect it. You can't rob a strong man's house except you first bind the strong man. And Satan wants to get at your wife and your children, but if he can go through you, he can get at them easily. But if you stand at your place where God has put you, then you're the protector.

You say, "But wait a minute; I don't have what it takes". I'm glad you recognized that. That's all the more reason that you, as you assume your responsibility, must understand that you have to be under the One who is going to assume His responsibility to take care of you. See, you can't be over until you are under. Now, here's the fourth thing: sacrificial love is providing love. Look if you will in verse 29 of this same chapter, Ephesians 5, "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but he nourishes it," that means he feeds it, "and cherishes it," that means to warm with body heat. That is, he wants to provide her needs, her emotional, physical, spiritual needs. It's providing love.

Now when you're hungry, you want to eat. When you're cold, you want something over you. You're to love your wife as you love your own body because she is a part of you. If you were wise, you would be good to yourself by taking care of your wife. And the married man who does not meet his wife's needs is committing spiritual and matrimonial suicide. You are to provide for her emotional needs. And how do you do that? You need to constantly praise her, constantly admire her. Do you know why we have so many women in the work force today? Some need to work and my hat is off to them, my heart is out to them, my prayers are on them. But do you know why many are in the work force rather than taking care of their babies at home?

Somebody is saying, "I appreciate you". I mean, just when they get that paycheck it says, well I am worth something. Sir, it is your duty, your joy, your responsibility to give to her that thank you, that emotional paycheck that says, "Sweetheart, thank you. I appreciate what you do". And it needs to be more than physical traits. Now don't forget, you need to be wise about these physical traits. I mean, you need to say as many nice things as you can. Heard about a guy in a banquet I was at, he said, a wife came out and said, "Husband, does this dress make me look fat"? He said, "No, it's your hips that make you look fat".

Now, don't be that way. Be smarter than that. But I want to tell you something. You need to find those traits, that ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit that God says makes her radiantly beautiful and praise her for that. "Sweetheart, thank you for your patience". "Thank you for your prayer life". "Thank you for the way you love our children". "Thank you for the way that you provide for us and make our home beautiful". Thank her for things over which she can control. And encourage her. Meet her emotional needs. Meet her spiritual needs. That's what God has put you there for. Now sometimes it's hard to find out when she's talking because women are emotional creatures. I mean, you have to listen to figure out what they're saying. She transmits emotionally and you receive logically, and you're in trouble. Don't figure out what she's saying, figure out what she means. That makes you a detective. Your job is to translate.

Now if you men, listen to me for just a few moments, now, just listen to what I'm saying. I'm going to help you to understand a woman 200% better. 200 times 0 is still 0. Don't try and figure them out. Love them! Love them. Your love is to be providing love. Now here's the last and the final thing. What does responsibility mean? What does headship mean? What does the Bible mean when it says in Ephesians 5 verse 23 that the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church? It means serving leadership. It means sacrificial love. And it means steadfast loyalty, steadfast loyalty.

Look if you will in Ephesians 5 verses 30 to 33, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, of His bones". He's talking about the church in Christ. And you see that's the reason that woman was made from Adam's side, because He's teaching us that she is a member of our body. Just as the church is taken out of the wounded side of Christ, woman was taken out of the wounded side of man. And so the Bible says, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband". For this cause a man will leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife. Steadfast loyalty.

Now, if you're the head of your wife as Christ is the head of the church, let me ask you a question. Are you ready for it? When is Jesus going to walk out on the church? When is Jesus ever going to walk out on the church? He will not. Amen? What has He said? He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you", Hebrews 13 verse 5. Today, we have men who stand at the marriage altar and make a holy vow, a covenant, not a contract, a covenant and then they walk out. God have mercy on them.

You say, "Well I owe it to myself to be happy". You owe it to God to keep your promise. You owe it to your wife who came to be your wife. You owe it to your children. You say, "Well it'd be better for the children". Why don't you ask the children about that? Why don't you ask the children about that? You say, "Well I have prayed about it and God told me it was alright". You're a liar. God does not transgress His Word! Don't walk out on your wife. Love her as Christ loved the church. The husband is the head of the wife. Servant leadership. Sacrificial love. Steadfast loyalty. And when we begin to live that way and men get under the authority over them, they can have the authority that God has put under them and wives can submit to a man who is willing to die for her and shows it by the way he lives for her. And homes will be what God wants them to be one more time.

Now folks, this entire chapter, Ephesians chapter 5, listen, comes in the context that tells us to be filled with the Spirit. The only way that you can be that kind of a husband, the only way that I can be that kind of a husband is to be filled with the Spirit. I don't have what it takes. I don't have what it takes, but neither do you. But I'm telling you this, when I give my heart to Jesus Christ and surrender to Him, the Holy Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit of God comes into me and gives me the Spirit of Jesus so I can love like Jesus. Isn't that the way it is? And so to begin with, you've got to give your heart to Jesus so you can give your home to Jesus. Is that not right? That's right. And He wants to come into your heart right now.

So I want you to bow your heads. Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. While heads are bowed and eyes are closed, if you know already that you're saved, there's no ifs, ands, and doubts about it, you know that, then I want you to begin to pray for those who may be around you. I'm going to pray for you right now, right now.

Father, I pray that You will help these today who do not yet know You in reality, that today will be the day that they will say an everlasting yes to Jesus Christ. Open their hearts that they might receive the Gospel, the Good News. And friend, if you want Jesus as your Lord and Savior and Master and Friend and Brother and Guide and Helper, if you want to go to Heaven when you die and you want Heaven in your heart right now, let me help you to pray this prayer.

Would you pray like this?

Dear God, I'm a sinner and my sin deserves judgment, but I need mercy. I want to be saved. Jesus, You died to save me and You promised to save me if I would trust You. I do trust You. I do trust You right now, this moment with all of my heart. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, come in. Forgive my sin. Save me Lord Jesus, and begin now to make me the person You want me to be. And help me never to be ashamed of You because You died for me. Amen.

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