A Picture of Christ and The Church – Merle Burkholder

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This sermon – A Picture of Christ and The Church – was originally preached 2013.05.05 by Merle Burkholder.

This Message is part of a series of messages preached by Merle Burkholder at the Bethel Mennonite Spring Weekend Meetings.

  1. Interpersonal Relationships – Saturday Evening
  2. A Picture of Christ and the Church – Sunday Morning (1)
  3. Why God Created Families – Sunday Morning (2)
  4. Meaning for Life – Sunday Evening

Passages used: Ephesians 5.

God Calls Husbands to Lead

God expects husbands to take leadership in the marriage relationship. Husbands are meant to be leading out in the spiritual life of our homes. This is to be done in all aspects of life, sitting, standing, and walking. It isn’t something that just happens at one time every day or at one time per week.

Men must take the initiative in Bible reading with their wives and families. There is something very powerful about doing prayer and Bible reading as a couple.

A good leader knows how to use other people’s skills and abilities to supplement his own weaknesses.

Marriage and leadership are both growing experiences. It takes some time but it is possible to do well at both.

There is something extremely powerful about praying with each other. The heart connects at a deeper level through conversation with God together.

Marriage Represents Christ’s Relationship with the Church

Husbands are to love their wives just as much as they love themselves. This love is to be the same type of love that Christ has for the church, sacrificial and always for the good of the other. That is a pretty tall order! There are no limits and there are no boundaries to this type of love!

This type of love really shows up in the little things, not just the big things, like being willing to die for her. Instead it shows up in things like washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, etc… The love that Christ has for the church is a daily provision, Husbands need to be daily giving up their own desires and agendas in order to please the one they love.

Being a husband is a full time thing. If men are going to love it must be done with feeling, passion, and emotion. There is a difference between doing the right thing and doing the right thing with feeling and emotion and passion. It is important to not just go through the motions of being a husband and be able to connect the motions of being a good husband with the emotion and feeling of a good husband.

God Calls Wives to Submission

Leadership and submission are often misunderstood. Leadership isn’t supposed to be a domineering, power hungry thing.

Your husband (and yourself) are going to be much more successful if you, the wife, support your husband. Your God given role is to work together with him, helping him be the best leader that he can be. Strengthen his strengths and strengthen his weakness.

The submission of the wife doesn’t mean she has no opinions or that she doesn’t say anything. Instead she should share and the husband and wife should work it out and come to a mutual, respectful conclusion.

Communication, encouragement, and positive feedback is very important for a Husband to be able to lead well.

Passion and Excellence in Your Marriage

A lot of couples reach a “plateau of tolerance” and don’t find a deep emotional connection. Don’t settle for a marriage that is “good enough.” There is no time when you reach the point where you have reached an excellent marriage. Strive for excellence, but know that the striving is the important part, excellence is a journey, not a destination in your marriage.

Working together as a team will allow you to go down the “river of life” successfully. Working together will allow you to make it through crisis and end in a better place.

Marriage is for Life – Commitment

The commitment of marriage is a lifelong commitment. This makes marriage one of the biggest decisions that we will ever make as humans.

Marriage isn’t like a career. Choosing a lifelong partner is a lifelong thing, you don’t get a second shot at marriage. You are committing yourselves for life and your friends and your church stand behind you as you make this commitment.

Some Things Learned over 40 Years of Marriage

  • I am not right nearly as often as I think I am.
  • Husbands don’t need to be the “best at something” to be a good leader.
  • The beauty of a woman is not skin deep. Physical beauty is something that will fade, inner beauty will last forever.
  • The way I experience something isn’t the same way that my spouse experiences it.
  • Repentance is powerful and necessary. The closer the relationship the more need there is for repentance and forgiveness.
  • Sometimes a marriage is carried along by deep feelings of love and other times it is carried along by the commitment that has been made. I will be faithful and I will fulfill my commitment to this person.
  • Failure at marriage is not an option. Marriage is more than whether we get along well, it is a picture of Christ and the Church. Marriage is worth doing well.

Strive for a marriage that is deep and meaningful. Engage each other on a deep heart level. It is important and it matters!