"HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES": A HOMEY TALK
Maurice M Johnson
Öwives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. [Eph. 5:25]
You who have been listening to the last few broadcasts know that I've been on the general subject "Enemies of the Home", "Enemies of the Home". I gave three messages on the subject "Delinquent Preachers" in which messages I brought out some of the unmistakable weaknesses, some of the glaring weaknesses of modern clergymen, denominational hirelings who cannot preach clearly, and probably they don't know the truth, unmixed, but denominational hireling preachers cannot preach clearly, consistently, and with spiritual conviction the truth that I have just given.
Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Do you think Christ loved the Methodist Church and gave Himself for it? Do you think the Baptist Church is accurately described in Acts the 20th chapter as the church of God which He purchased with His blood? Do you think the so-called "Church of God", headquarters Anderson, Indiana, with its unmistakable denominational use of that Bible description, one of the Bible descriptions of the church of God, small 'c' church: the church of God, the churches of Christ, the church of the living God, the church which is the body of Christ; all of those are Bible descriptions of the church, not a one of them of course is a name.
But anyway, "Delinquent Preachers". What preacher that does not believe, believe from his head down to his feet, believe all day Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, that Jesus Christ is the head over all things to the church which is His body, what preacher who doesn't believe that, believe it so surely, believe it so sincerely, that the truth has laid hold of him, and he dares not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers and a man-made religious corporation falsely called a Christian church, I say what denominational preacher can preach with passion, with Biblical clarity that husband... "that the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church"?
I dwelt on that in two messages "that the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church". I called to your attention in each one of these, or at least more than one of these messages in the immediate past that it isn't without sickening significance that in the day, this day, when divorce courts, overcrowded ... they're handling divorce cases almost like a mass production assembly lines in modern three shift mass production factories. But anyway, it isn't without sickening significance that in this day of increasing divorces and rampant and alarming juvenile delinquency that preachers, the trusted, the trusted ministers, professedly ministers of Jesus Christ, cannot order with Biblical conviction and Biblical authority, cannot order the homes of their congregations aright because the church home is usually a Mulligan stew of contradictions rather than Christians meeting together because they are together in Christ, recognizing the headship of the Son of God and recognizing the church epistles as being the full, therefore final, and altogether sufficient rules for faith and practice.
Oh I plead with you to soberly face what I'm saying. Don't you see that it's the truth? Do you believe or not that in probably exact proportion to the way the truth of the headship of Christ has been ignored and denied in organized Christendom, so also has the headship of the man in the home been ignored and denied. And as professed children of God have been increasingly disobedient to the head of the church, so also have children been disobedient to their parents and to all properly constituted authority.
But now today, "husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church". And by the way, let me say just here, sometimes I feel almost like throwing up my hands and quitting, saying, "What's the use", as I know that multiplied thousands of people rush to the post office responses to mens' and women preachers' requests or exhortations to them to write in and get this new picture, miraculous picture of Jesus, or this latest copy of a goggle-eyed miracle working racketeer healings magazine, or this trick or that trap in order to get your money, and I plead with you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to write in for free copies of such studies as "Civilization and Co. Home Wreckers", a study I wrote with no desire to scratch itching ears, with no desire to enhance my personal popularity in a day of increasing divorces and lawlessness, in a day when more and more emphasis is being placed even by religious leaders upon beautiful houses with all of the worldly gadget craze, and less and less is being preached about the God ordered home. But anyway I'm again mentioning that I shall be delighted to send to you a copy, hoping that after you read it you'll write back and ask for more copies of my study "Civilization and Co. Home Wreckers". And read it carefully, and see if you isn't a timely, if you don't think it's a timely message.
But now back to "husbands love your wives even as Christ Loved the church". I wonder how many men I'm speaking to that are deeply concerned about themselves along this particular line. How many of us husbands love our wives not because ... let me speak for a few moments to older men. I'm a grandfather. I have ten grandchildren. Our three daughters have married and have children. Our son has recently married. We have only four children; they're all gone from our immediate home circle.
My wife has lived a very busy life, and in many, many respects a very difficult life. She taught our three girls at home till they-were in the 9th grade in high school, that is at that age, that place in school. And she taught our boy, I believe as I believe in the '7th grade or 8th grade. That because I believe she wanted to. And since she wanted to, and I drought it was a fine thing, though I knew it would be very severe on her, I gladly agreed to it. She used the Calvert School Correspondence Course from the Calvert School, Baltimore, Maryland; a very fine course. (I'm not making a plug for them in a commercial sense, but ...) And of course she shielded our children from some of the things children get into in the public schools. It meant a great many hours of extra toil for my wife, in addition to the busy life, the exacting Life of a minister ... the wife of a minister.
Our home of course was more or less a public gathering place. That should be true ordinarily say... speaking I would say of a minister's home. We believe that the home is the God ordained social center. And we were glad to have when we could, to have our children's friends in our home.
But all of that added up to more and more work and responsibility for my wife. I'm soon will be 63 years of age. My wife a few years younger. Now I don't ask you to pardon me for these personal references because I believe I'm using them to help, to help you in some respects. My wife is not at all strong physically now, nor of course as young as she used to be. Neither am I.
You know, one of the most vicious, one of the most unfair, one of the most egotistical, one of the most devilish things I know of today is for us older men to cast a lustful or at least, what shall I say, a sort of an anxious eye toward younger women, with a stupid egotistical presumption that we really would like to have a younger wife, one that doesn't show the years of ... of what? having lived with us. As though we were just as young and attractive as some of you were maybe when you first married.
Now these are very homespun, practical things I'm saying. Thinking of the subject, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church". Now while I'm not insinuating that my wife isn't lovable, I am asserting, I am declaring that the Christian husband is to love his wife because of what the Christian husband has in his heart and mind first, and second of course it's a wonderful thing for a Christian husband to have a wife that he can easily love and respect and want to protect, as I do; I mean the wife ... a wife as I have.
But I repeat, the love referred to there in Ephesians 5, "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it," that love, certainly the love that Christ had in saving us who are members of His church was not the love prompted by our loveliness or lovableness, but only His love, only His love. Now of course all the members of the church of Jesus Christ are all Christians; there's no such thing as a counterfeit or a hypocrite in the church which is Christ's body, of course. Because "if any man be in Christ, he's a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." It's only the new nature of Christians that is the vital member of the church which is His body. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels."
But oh what a beautiful thing if every Christian husband loved his wife. It seems as though I must almost weaken that statement because we ... I know I fall so far short, and I dare say every Christian husband listening in is saying,
"Well I do too." Nevertheless it's God's Word, "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it."
Wouldn't it be an easy job comparatively speaking for our wives to be devoted, to be obedient, because the wives are commanded to be obedient to their husbands: "the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church", I'll get on that phase a little bit later, in a later broadcast God willing, the wives subjection to their husband. I've touched it of course in speaking on, "the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church". But wouldn't it be comparatively easy and even delightful for a Christian wife to be subject to her husband if the husband were functioning as the godly head, loving his wife even as Christ loved the church.
I wouldn't refer publicly, I hope I wouldn't, to my father's cruelty to his wife, my mother, were it not that after mother died, my father was brought low. Thank God he was broken-hearted, he was broken in body, he almost just collapsed when his life partner rather prematurely died; she was only 45 when she died, leaving a 7 month old baby girl ... 11 months old baby girl and a 7 year old boy, and older children of course. I repeat, were it not that my father was so broken and humbled under the mighty hand of God, and so penitent.
After mother died I wouldn't think of referring to his unkindness to my mother, but I want to do it as an admonition; it's certainly been used of God in my life, not that I've always remembered it. But my mother was a beautiful Christian wife to my father who was a cold, stern, disciplinarian. How Many times I recall, I was only 16 and a half years old when mother died, but how many, many times since then I remember: wounded look, hurt. Maybe mother wouldn't burst into tears while we were present, but many a time I've seen her come out of the room, or come out of the neighboring woods, or come out of the hen house where she went presumably just to do some work, or out of the storm cellar, wiping tears out of her very red eyes. And later on my older sister, after mother died, went to be with the Lord, my older sister told me, "You never dreamed how broken-hearted, how crushed, mama was," because of the treatment papa gave her. He was inconsiderate. He was thoughtless. He was ungrateful.
Let me say again, I wouldn't say these things about my father, who now has gone to be with the Lord years ago, I wouldn't say these things about my father were it not that I can say, "Oh-h, thank God, I lived to hear him say, "Son, I'm homesick for heaven."" He was suffering excruciating pain with arterial sclerosis. And he would write me some times at two or three o'clock in the morning. I was in Los Angeles, he was in Ft Worth, Texas, where our mother, from which place she went to be with the Lord, and he too later. But my father would write me saying, "After I meet the Lord, our gracious savior, I want to meet your mother," that was of course his wife, "and fall at her feet and beg her forgiveness."
So I'm glad I can give the beautiful side to this, or show you the rainbows to this otherwise ugly, ugly cloud that my mother endured. I think my father will have that privilege. I don't know whether he'll fall at mother's feet, but I believe in heaven they'll be some confessions. I know everything? It be all right.
Here's a touching poem,
If I had known your eyes would turn away
From smiling into mine, that I, alone,
Should stand beside your form today,
I should have been more tender had I known.
I would not hear the silent waters creep
Close to your feet, or I, you knowest dear,
Would not have said those words that made you weep,
Nor left unsaid the words you longed to hear.
So many years I saw you in your place
I never dreamed that you could steal away.
That I should lose the rare and gentle grace
Of your sweet presence in my life someday.
The word unspoken, kindness left undone,
These rise in tears of vain regret today.
I knew your worth and loved you gentle one.
Would I had told you 'ere you went away.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it." Oh how considerate Christ is of us. How infinitely tender, exquisitely near. How patient and understanding. How unwilling to took for, of course the Lord's not only unwilling, but He never Looks for the worst except in the sense that He's holy, and He must help us to see and acknowledge for us to confess and forsake everything in our lives that's contrary to our own best eternal interests and His glory. But how easy ... Let me say this reverently, how easy the Lord Jesus is to get along with. Have you ever thought of that? So far as He's concerned, so far as His side of it is concerned. How easy our savior and head is to get along with.
And how easy each of us husbands would be to get along with so far as our wives are concerned, if we loved our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Nothing weak about that love. Nothing soft and spineless about that love.. It's holy, strong, majestic, magnificent. It's the kind of love that can be lavished on our wife and not weaken her, not spoil her. It's the kind of love that gives oneself for the object loved.
"Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it." "And gave Himself for it." How many of us Christian husbands are in the business of giving ourselves for our wives? I've been away from home a good deal in my Christian ministry. Since our children came, I've been away from home too much. Iíve gone halfway across the continent more than one time, and a couple of times clear across the continent, as far as the Atlantic Ocean, and been away from my wife and children as long as three months. I think probably Iíve been away about three or four times three full months, several times two months. That of course has added to the responsibility and the burdens of my wife. I doubtless was intemperate. I was on preaching mission shall I say. I was preaching and teaching the Word of God. Those times, ... and it seemed that I needed to be gone that long each time, though as I look back now and look around and see that unquestionably my wife has had too heavy a burden to bear, and that our children have needed their father at times when I was gone. I regret it very much.
I'm saying these things to let you know that this subject, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church," is a very personal subject to me, a matter of real personal concern. I covet for my son the life that will profit by some of his father's mistakes, as well as some of the things he will be able to recall that he believes God ordered in my life, enabled me to be and do. I covet for my sons-in-law, maybe only one of whom will hear this, two of them have gone clear to Virginia on the Atlantic coast, but I covet for my sons-in-law, I covet for every Christian husband, a young Christian husband, the kind of headship and place in their home that only God can enable them to have and fill.
Oh-h preachers, preachers, may God give us all holy hatred and contempt for all of this tendency to invent and build institutions called "churches", and encourage fathers to reject and neglect, to ignore, their God-given place.
Why don't you Christian husbands, or will you, get alone, get alone before you forget this exhortation, and pray to God, asking Him to give you a sensitive conscience, making you clear in your thinking as to what you are to your wife. Are you a ... I don't like to use the word 'sweetheart' because it's banded about so today; ... it's usually such a lustful thing. But of course it could be, and probably originally was a beautiful word, 'sweetheart'. Is your wife, speaking now again to you older husbands, is your wife still your sweetheart?
A man can build a mansion,
And furnish it throughout.
A man can build a palace
With lofty walls and stout.
A man can build a place
With high and spacious dome.
But no man in the world can build
That precious thing called home.
Only God can give us homes. And He gives it of course in and through us when we are workers together with Him.
I hope you have been profited by this, shall I say, homey talk today.
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