Matt Hagee - Love One Another As I Have Loved You
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Tonight we begin a series on relationships, and we begin by looking at the relationship of marriage. We're going to take a different look at different relationships each and every Sunday night for the next three Sunday nights, because I believe that Psalm 133 is a powerful verse. It says: behold how blessed and good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Because any time God finds unity, that chapter reminds us that he commands a blessing. How many of you would like God to command the blessing on your life? Then you're going to have to live in unity. "Unity" does not mean getting your way. "Unity" simply means "Living together in agreement". And this is something that's valuable in every relationship. In marriage, in the relationship you have with your children, in the relationship you have with your parents, and in the relationship we have with one another.
Next Sunday night, we're going to look at the relationship between children and parents. And then the final Sunday night, we're going to look at our relationship with others in the body of Christ. We're going to look at four generations that are adults these days. These four generations are called "The matures". Those are individuals who are born before 1945. Did you know you were mature now if you're born before 1945? How many matures are in our congregation? All right. We've got some matures. We've got baby boomers. That's between '45 and '65. How many boomers are out there? Then we've got from '65 to '79, "Generation X".
How many generation X'ers are out there? "Generation X'ers" are individuals who are known to be the most cynical, unhappy, and discontented on the face of earth. I'm born in '78, so I'm with you. Don't worry: I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about people you know. That's gen X. And then there's millennials. Anybody born after '79? How many of you are millennials? "Millennials" are people who were given 11th place ribbons at swim meets. And so here on this end of the spectrum, we have young people, who've been told that they're nothing but special. And on this end of the spectrum, we have people who heard it like this: what? You think you're special? And in order for us to live together and to receive the blessing that God commands upon our lives, we've got to know about each other. We've got to understand how we were created, and what demographics and things persuade us. Because I assure you: the one thing that the devil is afraid of is a unified church. And that's what I want Cornerstone Church to be. So for the next three Sunday nights, that's going to kind of cover our topic.
Tonight we begin with an interview with some of my favorite friends. This is Norman and Tujwanda Trail. And I want you to give them a handclap and thank them for their willingness to be interview before the teaching. The reason we're having interviews is because sometimes when a person stands behind a pulpit, you say, well he's just saying things he's heard. But when other people share with you their experience, then you start to relate a little better to their situation. First, let me ask you this question: when did you start coming to Cornerstone Church?
Norman Trail: We started coming to Cornerstone Church in 1998.
Matthew Hagee: '98. When did you meet?
Norman Trail: We met in 1994.
Matthew Hagee: '94: okay. So you met in '94. Tujwanda, what made you want to choose Norman as your husband?
Tujwanda Trail: So in the beginning I don't think I was really that interested in him. I really wasn't. But over time, he actually grew on me and...
Norman Trail: I had to work fast. I had to work.
Tujwanda Trail: And he actually balances me. I am more of a rule follower. If there's a rule, I know the rule. I can recite the rule to you. And I'll you accountable for holding up the rule.
Norman Trail: Lord, have mercy.
Tujwanda Trail: But he's different.
Matthew Hagee: He's different?
Tujwanda Trail: He's different.
Matthew Hagee: All right. Before that hole gets any deeper, Trail, your rule-keeping wife says that you balanced her out. What made you pick her since she likes to keep the rules?
Norman Trail: I didn't know that she liked to keep the rules as much as she liked to, but I was probably already involved in it. But I think the thing that really sets Tujwanda apart is Tujwanda brought a dimension to me that I never experienced before. When I talked to her, she actually talked back to me. I mean, I said, "Hi," and she said, "Hi" back. And I asked her for her telephone number and she gave it to me.
Matthew Hagee: So Tujwanda, when you said that you would marry Trail, when you accepted his proposal, were you ready for marriage?
Tujwanda Trail: I actually thought I was. There's really no hand book or rule book on marriage, so I thought I was ready for marriage. Then once I got married, I realized it's a lot of work. Dating is easy compared to being married. So once I got into it, I realized that I may have been in a little over my head.
Matthew Hagee: Trail, so whenever you asked her to marry you, were you ready to be a husband?
Norman Trail: Yeah. I mean I learned how to be a husband from watching my dad, who didn't grow up in the Lord, so my father drank. So I was following through, so I drank. When things didn't go well, my father played the field: so I figured I could get that done too. Communication between my mother and father was constant arguing back and forth. So I figured I got that too. So I figured I was all set to get married. And when I got married, my wife told me that's not how things are supposed to be. So as you can see, I married up from where I grew up.
Matthew Hagee: So you brought the tendencies that you saw demonstrated in your parent's relationship, thinking that's what made you ready for your relationship, only to find out that that wasn't true.
Norman Trail: Absolutely.
Matthew Hagee: Now you've been very candid in times working here at the church, sharing the testimony of God's healing power in your marriage relationship. But what was it that made you stick together when quit looked good? We live in a world where quitting is easy. But you decided to stick together instead of giving up. Why?
Tujwanda Trail: I'll go first. I actually was ready to quit. I was at the point where I had bags packed and I was ready to just walk out the door. And then a friend of ours said, you know what? You've got to meet this lady. You've got to meet my pastor's wife. And so what she did is she took me and Trail over to visit with her pastor's wife. It was a very small church here in San Antonio. And we met with him. And at that point, that night we gave our lives to the Lord. We did it at the same time. And then from that point on, I knew that I needed to work for it and to fight for it.
Matthew Hagee: So when your wife has her bags packed, and she says, "I'm done," what did that do to you?
Norman Trail: Pastor, at that time, I was willing to do anything it took to keep my marriage together. If she would have said, give me ten our father's and 50 hail marries, I would have had that done. If she would have said, drop down and give me 50 push-ups, I mean whatever I needed to do, I was willing to do to keep my marriage together. Fortunately for me, she did go to church growing up. So she knew that when we really came up against it, we can go to the Lord. And we gave our hearts to the Lord. It was actually around valentine's day...
Tujwanda Trail: It was.
Norman Trail: ...when we gave our hearts to the Lord.
Matthew Hagee: So you gave your hearts to Christ and that's where the story of restoration begins for your lives and also for your marriage. Give me three things that have changed since Christ came into your life in your marriage relationship.
Tujwanda Trail: Immediately, for me, what I did in my spare time changed. So I began reading my Bible. I began praying. I began getting involved with the church, surrounding myself around people who were like minded. And then another thing that I did that has just truly blessed us is we started tithing. We started giving to the ministry. So that right there, we've been blessed tremendously. And really, myself, taking life to a point to where it's not about me anymore and it's about others, including others, and being more aware and conscious of other's feelings, and helping out others, seeing a need, and helping out.
Matthew Hagee: Trail, what about you?
Norman Trail: There's a whole lot more than three, but if I had to pick just three, the first thing I'd have to say was I wasn't honoring my wife. I wasn't honoring her in how I spoke to her. I was really harsh in speaking to her. And I had to tell myself, speak kindly to her. And that wasn't back in '98 when we came to know the Lord, but that was this morning as well. And then I had to honor the Lord. That was something that, again, I wasn't doing. And I don't know how we could say tithing how it relates to relationships, but it did. That was a turning point in Tujwanda's and my relationship, because one of the things we constantly fought over was we didn't have enough money. It was a decision whether or not we were going to pay the babysitter late or pay the light bill late. And one Sunday you guys invited us to the lobby to pray. We asked a lady to pray for our finances. She asked if we were tithing. We said, no. She said, you need to start. And we did. And what that did for us, pastor, is it set us free financially. Now, we still argue over finances. Like the other night, I wanted new boots to go watch canton junction on Tuesday. She won't let me. So we still have our conflicts but we started to honor the Lord. And I had to change who I rolled with. I couldn't hang out with the same folks that I used to hang out with before I came to know the Lord.
Matthew Hagee: The thing about tithing that it does for married couples, we started the conversation by saying that where there's unity, God commands a blessing. Well in order for you to tithe as a couple, you've got to be unified about your finances. And when you do that, God commands a blessing on your finances. So scripture was fulfilled when you did that. What's the number one thing, last question, that you, as a married couple, work on now and would recommend to other married couples to work on as well?
Norman Trail: You've got to keep it fresh, pastor.
Matthew Hagee: Fresh?
Norman Trail: What "Fresh" means is entertaining, exciting, not mundane and boring. And I don't want to be that couple that's looking forward to watching the news at 10 o'clock before we go to bed as the highlight of my day. I look forward to being that couple that makes the good news as the highlight at the end of our day. And that's, you know we've raised, we're still, well, I've got a 19 year old that I'm not questioning if I'm done raising him or not, but he's out of the house.
Matthew Hagee: He got some 11th place ribbons.
Norman Trail: And I've got a 15 year old that just can't wait to get out of the house. So before we know it, we're going to be what they call "Empty Nesters". And the goal that I've got now is, since we had kids so young in our marriage, to fall in love all over again without the dis, I say "Distractions". The kids might not like me saying that. Without the kids.
Matthew Hagee: Give Trail and Tujwanda a great hand.
Tujwanda Trail: Thank you.
Matthew Hagee: If you would, turn in your Bibles to the book of John 15:12. These are the words of Jesus Christ. And he extends them to us as a command, not only in our relationships with our spouses, but in our relationships with all people. It's a very simple verse that's easy to commit to memory. And I want you to read it with me. John 15:12. If you're there, say, amen. Amen. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Let's read that again. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Jesus Christ gives us a commandment. It's not a suggestion: it's a directive. And the directive requires that we recognize some things in us and things in others so that we can accomplish what he has given us to do. And what he's given us to do is the currency of the Kingdom of God.
Love one another, not like each other: love each other. And in order to do that well, you have to recognize that sometimes the relationships you're in, the people that God pulls you to, those that he connects you with, they're just not normal. As a matter of fact, this teaching on marriage is entitled "You're just not normal". My grandfather, Bythel Hagee, he was a pastor for five decades plus, and he served the Lord for 60 plus years. And he had this very simple statement that would help us understand a lot about relationships. When you saw two people that were together and you couldn't understand how they ever got that way, he would look at you and say, "Well son, Gods has a crooked pot for every crooked lid".
And the problem that we have in our world today is that we really don't understand what normal is. We look at the relationships we see on TV, and we say, well those relationships must be normal. And predicated on which decade you watched television in, would determine whether or not I would suggest you would even consider that pattern. Some of you grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet and I love Lucy, not so bad. Some of your kids and grand kids are watching the Kardashians. Don't ever watch them and think, normal. One of the problems we have with normal is we bring the behaviors of our parents and our grandparents into our relationships. And we say, well the way they did it, that's normal. You heard Trail just a few moment ago share how he saw his father drink, and he saw his father speak to his mother, and he saw his father behave with those in the city around him. And he thought, well since I'm doing all three of those things, I'm normal. And Tujwanda, when she found these behaviors in him, she said, "That's not normal".
And some of the times, what we need to recognize is that whenever it comes to the standard of normality, when it comes to what is supposed to be, we've got to quit looking at the world. We've got to quit reading the magazine racks in the grocery store as we walk out. Don't act like you don't do that. Oh, pastor, I don't ever buy it. Yeah, but you stare at it real long and sideways while you're there in the grocery store. Baby found with how many heads? You've got to quit looking to all of these sources to determine what normal is. And you've got to recognize that the standard that we, as Bible-believing Christians, live by is the standard of the Word of God. When it comes to a marriage relationship, I appreciate what your parents have taught you. I appreciate what my parents taught me. They're a great point of reference, but they're not the standard of normal.
When I look at a marriage relationship, I don't consider those who have succeeded and I don't consider those who have failed. I knew a lady that used to tell people, oh, every time my husband cheated, he'd bring home flowers. Well guess what? I've never cheated and I bring home flowers. And so when I bring home flowers, I don't want my wife to look at me and go, where have you been? I want her to enjoy the flowers. So and to understand what marriage is, we have to recognize who created marriage. And the answer to that question is this: God created marriage. There is no court in the land that gets to define what God has created. In Genesis 1:27, it says: he created them male and female. He said that on purpose because those two genders are very different. These two are equal beings in the eyes of God. He created them male and female because they were intended to complement each other, not compete with one another. And when he created them male and female, he set aside a very significant and special covenant relationship called "Marriage": that these two could exist in the bond of holy matrimony, and that they, together, would be the foundation of society.
Do you want to know what is wrong in the country? We have a foundational issue. And the foundational issue is not in the documents that formed us. It's not in the people who sit in the offices that lead us. The foundational structure that we are having the most trouble keeping together in the United States is that of the family. If you have strong families, you have strong churches. If you have strong churches, you have strong cities. If you have strong cities, you have strong states. And with strong states, you have strong nations. And that's what makes a great nation. The reason we begin by looking at that relationship of marriage is because this is probably the most specific and important relationship of all that we need to work on saving. If there's anything that should be added to the endangered species list, unfortunately, it is biblical marriage. 1 John 3:14, it says: we know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. Say that with me, we love the brethren.
Now you need to recognize that your spouse is included in "The brethren". God considers her your equal. God considers him your equal. You say, well pastor, there's verses in the New Testament that call them the weaker vessel. This is what we call "Ontological equals". Now that's a big word. But what it basically means is that you are the same but you're different. When it comes to your value in God's eyes, you're the same. When it comes to how you were created to exist, you're different. In God's eyes, he sees her as your sister in Christ. And he sees him, your spouse, as your brother in Christ. The reason that I bring this up is because I, as a pastor, see people in the church who have no problem loving the brethren. They just can't help but hate their spouse. They walk into church like this... Looking over their shoulder at their spouse. And then they bump into a friend, and they go, oh, God bless you. God bless you.
You can't love a stranger any more than you love the woman that you're in covenant relationship with. Your spouse is not only the person that God has you loving in covenant, but he wants you to demonstrate this love for them so that your matrimony does not become a morgue. Next Sunday, pastor's preaching "Raising your marriage from the dead". Trail just gave us a new word. He said, "You've got to keep it fresh". Love one another and find out what God can do with that kind of love. When you love one another, recognize that the standard for love is also found in the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said it this way. He said: without love, I am nothing. Without love in your marriage, your marriage is nothing. Paul goes on to define what love is in the next four verses. But he gets to the key ingredient in 1 Corinthians 13:5. He says: "Love does not seek its own". Say that with me, "Love does not seek its own".
Do you know why we have so much trouble with marriage relationship and relationship in general these days? Because we are constantly looking out for number one. And we've put ourselves at the top of the list. We seek our own. Jesus Christ, who is our example, he very clearly said: even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. He didn't seek his own: he served many. And yet, we seek our own, which gets to be a barrier when it comes to love. We've become the people that Paul described in the book of 2 Timothy when he said we would become lovers of ourselves. When you watch a man walk out on a marriage after 15 years and three kids, he did it because he loved himself more than he loved the family. When you see a mother, who will consider her children a hindrance to her career and an inconvenience instead of an inheritance of the Lord, you see someone who considers herself more than she considers her family.
This is why "Irreconcilable differences" has become a household word rather than "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder". We use phrases like, "We just grew apart". No, you didn't just grow apart: you grew deeper in love with you than you grew deeper in love with them. We cannot love ourselves and fulfill what the biblical definition of love is. This is why Jesus said: love one another as I have loved you. How did Jesus love us? He loved us, first and foremost, completely. Jesus loves you with all of your faults. Understanding everything there is to know about you, knowing what you deserve, knowing what you have not earned, knowing all there is to know, he still loves you. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we weren't loving, he was willing to go all the way to show his love, and he died for us. This same love needs to be attributed in the marriage relationship.
Often times, people come to the church, and they say, well pastor, I just can't. I can't love my spouse. I can't love my husband. I can't love my wife. Or they put a condition on it, I'll love them when... I'll love them when they get a better attitude. I'll love them when they start to treat me well. I'll love them when, when, when, when... And the truth is you may have some very legitimate needs in that marriage, and you may have some very serious things that need to be worked on. But the point is if you're going to love like God loved, if he loved you when you weren't right, then you've got to love them when they're not right, because this kind of love is a healing kind of love. This kind of love is sacrificial. Sacrificial love makes all things possible. Sacrificial love is built on the Word of God. Psalm 127:1, it says: unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vein who build it. You just heard a testimony from a couple that was trying to build their house, their marriage relationship, without the Word of God in it. But whenever they surrendered their lives to Christ, they began to grow in his word. And then they built their marriage upon his word. And now, how many years is it, Trail?
Norman Trail: Twenty years.
Matthew Hagee: twenty years, two decades. Give the Lord a handclap of praise. Now you gave God a handclap of praise for 20 years of marriage. Give Tujwanda a handclap of applause for living with Trail that long. Build your house upon the Word of God. What does that mean? That means build the covenant relationship that you have based on God's definition of marriage. Build your relationships with your children based on God's definition of parenting. Build your relationship about finances, based on what God says you should do with your finances. Build your relationship with others based on how God says that you should build your relationship with others. God says, when it comes to marriage that your spouse is first and everyone around you is last.
Remember this: you got married, not because you had kids. You got married so you could have kids. That means that wives, from time to time, have to recognize that their husband is not their third child. I get to hear that all the time. And it's a very disparaging statement even though it's often said tongue and cheek. How many kids do you have? Well, if four if you include my husband. Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah. So the fourth one pays all the bills? You see y'all are in this together or y'all aren't in it at all. You've got to love sacrificially, not based on social status, not based on public opinion, not based on materialism. You've got to build each other every day, because God has brought you together for such a reason. So where does this kind of love in a marriage relationship begin? Young man, sir, mister, dad, it starts with you.
1 Corinthians 11:3, Paul writes to the Corinthian church. He says: "I want you to know the head of every man is Christ". Say that with me, "The head of every man is Christ". And the head of every woman is the husband. God doesn't begin by putting him in charge of her. God begins by putting the man underneath Christ. And in order for a husband to expect his wife to submit to him, he first must submit himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you're not walking in proper submission, how can you expect her to do what you will not do? Why should she follow you if you won't follow Jesus Christ? You're not submitted to him spiritually: you have no right to ask her to follow you spiritually. You're not submitted to him financially: you have no right to ask her to follow you financially. You're not living a physically subjected life to him: you have no right to ask her to physically subject her life.
You say, well, it's mine. No, it's not. It's yours, because the Bible says: God sees both of you or he sees neither of you. You say, so how do I do that? First, you must recognize that submission is how you accomplish the mission. Say that with me, submission is how you accomplish the mission. Just a few moments ago, we were talking about how much God loves us. And we often hear about the love of God in our modern world. People say, well, in spite of our faults, God loves us. That's true. God has always demonstrated his love for us. The question that we have to ask and answer for ourselves is: do we love God enough to quit? And whenever it comes to husbands, they should ask themselves the same questions about their wives. Do we love our wives enough to quit? Because when you stood and you gave those vows, that's exactly what you said. It might have sounded a lot prettier and more poetic, but what you basically said is, I love you enough that I'm going to quit being the man I used to be and I'm going to be the man you need me to be.
Now that was pretty half hearted from the guys and it was dead silent from the girls. Don't worry: we've got a lot of rowing to go. Submission is how you accomplish the mission. Jesus Christ submitted himself to God the Father and he accomplished the mission of redeeming mankind. In order for men to accomplish their job in the home, they must they must submit themselves to Jesus Christ. In order for the wife to accomplish her mission in the home, she must submit herself to the husband. Once a man submits to Christ, he has no problem living a life of sacrificial love, because that kind of love leads to a successful marriage. What does sacrificial love look like? I'll give you some practical points. You don't fit your wife into your schedule: you put her at the top of the schedule. Oh, baby, I'm just too busy today. You may be too busy for everybody else, but she's not normal: you treat her better than normal. You're not too busy for her.
You say, well I just don't know if I can do that. Sure you can. Heb's given you a great advertising, "Go home a hero". You ever heard that one? You're leaving from work: pick up the phone and say, hey, babe, I'm on my way home from work. Can I get you anything at the store? Oh, ain't that just Romantic talk? You know what she'll say most of the time? No, I'm fine. But do you know what you got credit for? Putting her at the top of the schedule. Now guess what. If she says, yes, you can get bread, and you can get pickles, and you can get cheese, and you can get milk, and you can also get this, and you can also get that, that's whenever you say, baby, I need you to text me because I'm about to have a wreck. And then pull the battery out of the back of your phone and make sure it's not working whenever the... No, I'm kidding. You put her at the first of everything, not just the schedule. You put her at the first of all things, because you want her to know that there isn't anything about her that's ordinary. In your life, she's extraordinary.
That's what happens in Ephesians 5:26 whenever we read about Jesus Christ sanctifying the church with the washing of the water of his word. We are to sanctify our wives by setting them apart, letting them know that there isn't anything normal about them: they are everything us. They're one of a kind, the rarest of treasures, the most priceless of gems: that it is your high honor and privilege to be her husband. As a matter of fact, if you just want to score a quick point, just look at her and say, it's my privilege to love you. Go ahead. It's my privilege to love you. Don't worry: these are all free tips right here, guys. You can buy the tape and put them in an illustrated sermon later. It'll be great.
Now after you give her sacrificial love, which puts her at the top of your priority list, the important thing that you need to recognize is that the Bible requires that we dwell together with understanding. That's a command that we're given by Peter to the New Testament church. There are two things that every man should devote his life to studying. One is the Word of God: the other is his wife, because it will take an eternity for you to grasp both of them. Now here's what it means to study. When you study something, you do not just take a glance at it while everything else in your life is taking place. As a pastor, when I study the Word of God, it needs to be quiet and I do not need to be distracted because I am having an intense conversation in which I'm asking God to show me something.
So if that's how I study the word, then when it comes time for me to study my wife, I cannot just ask her to be a part of all of the chaos that's happening around me. I've got to take time, set it aside, and I've got to focus on her, which means that whenever the kids go to bed, we don't turn on the TV and get out our cell phones and go, like, like, share, like: oh, look what they did: like, like, share, like. That's not studying: that's cohabitating. Studying is whenever you put all that stuff aside, and you look at them, and you say, how was your day? And you have what the old folks call "A conversation" where you use words, not hashtags. Because it's here where you begin to dwell together with understanding.
Here was one of the greatest revelations that ever came to me in my marriage. Therefore times when my wife just wants me to listen. Whew. Here's why that's hard: because I like to solve problems. Oh, I enjoy it. You come to me, and you say, "I've got a problem, pastor": I'm all ears. You come to me, and you say, "I've got something we need to figure out": I love to figure it out. But there are times when my wife just wants me to listen. I'm like a Labrador with a problem to a tennis ball. You pull out a problem, I'm like a lab looking at a ball. I'm going, throw it, throw it, throw it, throw it. You throw the problem, I go get the problem, I solve the problem, I bring it back. And when Kendal says, "I just want you to listen," she pulls out this tennis ball, and she shows it to me, and she throws it.
And after I go try to get it, she says, "Stay". And I go, let me go get the problem. And it took us a while, because we used to argue about this. I'd say, you're not listening to me. And she says, I don't want to listen to you: I want you to listen to me. And then it clicked. She doesn't want every problem to be solved. She just wants somebody to tell that problem to. And if that's me, I should accept the privilege of being that person. That's not my responsibility to tell her, you have no idea how much I enjoy solving that problem. It's my responsibility to dwell with her according to understanding and know when she just needs me to listen. You say, well where does that come into your favor? Because if I'm learning how to listen to her, then she'll learn how to follow me. And when it comes time that I say, "Hey, I know that you need somebody to listen, but we also have to solve that," then we can go do what really needs to be done.
That's how you dwell together according to understanding. It begins with the man. He has got to submit himself to Christ before his wife is expected to submit herself to him. Now that doesn't mean that women are not given responsibility in marriage. Remember, you're ontological equals. You are different but you're the same. If God has a role for him, he's got a role for you. And the role that he has for a wife is that she is to be his help mate, not his hindrance. She is to be his complement, not his competitor. 1 Corinthians 11:3, it says: "The head of a woman is man". Say that with me, "The head of a woman... is a man". Just making sure it didn't get stuck in your throat.
Psalm 128:3 it describes a righteous wife. It says that she, a righteous woman, is like a fruitful vine, and the children are like olive plants. It's a beautiful picture of how productive a God-centered relationship can be. And sometimes what we need to ask ourselves is: is the quality of fruit equal to the quality of care? If your husband is giving you quality care, wife, do you produce what God expects you to produce? Does he treat you like a diamond? Then shine: don't act like a lump of coal. Just as man needs to have a proper perspective of his role where he is submitted to the king, every wife must have a proper perspective of her role. God gave you a role. Genesis 1:28, it says: "He blessed them". He created them male and female, and he blessed who? Them. If God wanted this blessing to come from your husband to you, it would say that God blessed him and told him to bless her. But God blessed them and he said: be fruitful and multiply.
The blessing of God is distributed equally when a godly wife is submitted to a godly husband. Remember submission is how you accomplish the mission. So here is what the Bible says about submission for a wife. It says: as it was in former times, every wife should submit to her own husbands. Which husband is she to submit to? Her, her, own, not Sally's. Sally's husband takes her out every Friday. Not Janie's. Janie's husband went and got her a new car. Not Sue's. Sue's husband knows how to dance. But to her own husband. Why? Because that's the one you picked. Every crooked pot has a crooked lid. You chose him. You weren't assigned him on the day that they picked numbers. You picked him out. This is something that you need too understand creates a great blessing in your life.
When you submit to your own husband, recognize what 1 Peter says, "As it was in former times". He goes back and he picks out the mother of all mothers, Sarah, the wife of all wives, the lady of all ladies in the Jewish culture: the one who brought Isaac, who then gave Jacob: and Jacob, who had the twelve sons from which Israel was formed. When you want to find the example of all examples in Hebrew, you go back to Sarah. And here's what it says about Sarah. Sarah submitted herself to Abraham. When they faced impossibilities, Sarah didn't remind Abraham what she told him five years ago. When they faced circumstances that didn't make sense, Sarah didn't go to Facebook and post "Having a bad day". When it seemed like their relationship was no longer productive, 1 Peter 3:6, it says: Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "Lord". She willfully submitted herself to this man. Not only did she submit herself, but she revered him.
You say, how do you know that? She called him "Lord". That means that she gave him a title of honor. She didn't say, hey, you! She said, hey, honey. Wife, what does your husband expect to hear when he comes through the back door? Hi dear, welcome home from work. Or hey you, get in here! Sarah willfully submitted to Abraham. She respected him. She honored him. She encouraged him. She didn't walk into the tent and say, you old goat, I am so sick and tired of all of this sand and all of this dust. You're talking about this city who's got a builder who's God. We don't even have a flat screen, Abraham. You promised me children. We don't even have kids. You promised me all of these wonderful things and an inheritance. We don't have any of that! Year after year, day after day, when it seemed like what God promised was not going to be provided, she called him "Lord".
When Abraham bore the burden of his own powerlessness, he'd walk back into the tent. And Sarah would say, how was your day? It's good to see you, Abraham. I'm so glad I'm your wife. I'm so glad God put us together. I know that it hadn't been everything we thought it would be, but I think God is still going honor his answer, and he's going to send us a son some day. It didn't matter how bad, how tough, how wrong Abraham got. Peter tells us she still called him "Lord". You remember that time when Abraham told Pharaoh that that was his sister? She still called him "Lord". My wife would have called me "Dead" in the past tense. Well when he was here... But in spite of these tragic mistakes that Abraham made, she still called him "Lord". You say, so what's the point? The point is that when God finally moved upon Abraham and gave him the power to perform the promise: Abraham was willing to perform the promise because Sarah called him "Lord".
Wife, if you do not compliment that husband, if you do not support that husband at a time when God chooses to move in his life, he will not go with God because he doesn't want to go with you. God moves on Abraham and says, it's time for Isaac to be born. And Abraham says, not with her. But because she submitted herself to her role as a wife, when God moved, the promise arrived, because they were in it together. Behold how blessed and good it is for brethren, take out "Brethren" and consider "Husbands and wives". To dwell together in unity. The devil doesn't have to get you to throw in the towel. All he's got to do is divide you. And sooner or later, quit will look good. But if you'll lay that desire aside and live submitted to God and submitted to each other, then you'll receive blessings in your family like you've never known before. And every promise that God has made you, because you're in it together, they will be fulfilled. Give the Lord a handclap of praise.
Can we stand? With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're in this place, and you say, pastor, today I need true love, sacrificial love, not self-serving love, to be a part of my marriage. If that describes you, I want you to raise your hand right where you are. Others of you in this place say, pastor, I need to become the husband that God calls me to be. I need to be the wife that God wants me to be. And I'm not doing that right now. If that's you, I want you to raise your hand right where you are. Or lastly, you're here tonight and you say, pastor, my wife and i, my husband and i, we're believing God for a promise. And tonight we want to recommit ourselves, right here in this place, to the kind of powerful covenant love that commands that blessing in our life. If that describes you and you want God's power and his covenant love in your life, in your marriage, I want you to raise your hand right where you are. Hands all over this room. So tonight I want everyone to raise both hands and repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Creator. Help me to be what you have created me to be. Help me to be the husband, the wife, the spouse. That I need to be: to dwell with understanding so that my home would be a unified home: and that we might receive the blessing of God on every facet of our relationship. Lord we need your blessing.
Now I want you to tell the Lord where you want that blessing. We need your blessing in our finances. We need your blessing in our relationship. We need your blessing in our emotions. We need your blessing. Wherever it happens to be, if it's in forgiving each other, ask God to give you the strength to forgive. If it's in putting each other first, ask God to give you the strength to walk away from yourself that you might embrace the other like God wants you to. Whatever it is, God knows it. He needs to hear you say it, so that with the confession of your mouth, you have submitted it to the name of Jesus Christ. Now I want you to continue in this prayer.
Lord, I thank you that you've heard me. And that you're going answer me: and that my family will be a family that's unified and blessed of God, in Jesus' name. Amen.