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The Bride and Christ

Part 3: "Where are you?"

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(11/10) Today we continue our new series "The Bride and Christ" that which the Apostle Paul calls a profound mystery. And I believe as we dig into this mystery, we are going to uncover some riches that will help us understand life in our culture but also our lives personally. This morning as I was getting ready, I was just praising God, thankful for you all… you know it’s a great honor and I consider it a tremendous privilege to be able to teach the Word of God. So I would like to thank you for your attention… I thank you for your desire to hear and know the Word of God. I appreciate you all.

Now last week we talked about friendship. You know how God is one God, revealed in three persons… three beings… three identities... and we call it the Trinity. Another way to look at it is that God is one in three friends... God himself is a friend… God has friends and God makes us in his image and likeness for friendship with him and with one another.

That’s why in Genesis 2:18… before sin even enters the world… God declares one thing to not be good. God says to the man, "It is not good for a man to be alone." God was above him… he visited with him in the garden… but he doesn’t have a partner, a friend alongside of him to journey through life with. And so God’s answer is a wife. And so the first friendship, the very first human friendship in the history of the world was between a husband and a wife.

Picking up this theme in the Song of Solomon 5:16, the wife says it this way… she gives this amazing definition of friendship. She says, "This is my lover and this is my friend." I can’t think of a more beautiful definition of marriage… the woman here, sees her husband, as her lover and her friend.

So God answers Adam’s need by giving him a wife, a partner, and friend. They are there in the garden and everything is just peachy… right? Everything’s peachy until

Genesis 3, verse 1, let’s read together…

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.


1. Responsible

I want you to consider for a moment… suppose a company struggles, fails, and files for bankruptcy. Who ultimately has to take responsibility? Its the CEO right? When a nation struggles or fails economically… who is to blame? It’s the president, the king, or whoever is in charge. How about a sports team that just fails? Who takes responsibility for that? Well, it’s going to be the coach right? Let’s say there’s a military unit that heads out to war, and they’re defeated. Who takes responsibility? It’s going to be the highest-ranking officer right? Now, why is that? Because like the other examples, they are the head, there are others under their authority who may share some responsibility, but they’re the highest authority, they bear the most responsibility.

So, let me ask you a question. When our first father and his wife, our first mother, were in the Garden of Eden, who sinned first, Adam or Eve? Eve did didn’t she? She partook of the forbidden fruit, and Adam watched. And so when God comes in Genesis 3, verse 9, who does he call out for? He calls out to Adam… "Where are you?"

Now why does he do that? Is it that he doesn’t hold Eve responsible for her sin? No, we read in Genesis chapter 3 that God came to her, spoke to her about her sin, and that there are consequences for women today because of the sin of Eve. But God held Adam… he held the man primarily responsible, because he’s the head of his wife.

That’s why we read in Romans chapter 5 that, "sin entered the world through one man and death through sin" (Romans 5:12). It was because of the man’s sin, the whole race fell. Women are responsible for their sin. Wives are responsible for their sin, but their husbands also bear responsibility. What does this mean for us today? Well, it means that the well-being of our wives is our own responsibility.

It says it this way in First Corinthians, "the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3). The Apostle Paul tells us that the Father is over the Son and the woman is the glory of the man. That the man is her head… her covering… her protector… and she is the reflection of his affection and so if she is flourishing, it is because of his loving investment in her life and their relationship.

2. Accountable

So now, young and old alike, you men need to know that we will stand before God. And husbands, in particular, need to know that we will stand before our Creator, the one who knows and sees all, and we’re going to give an account for ourselves, as men. And if we’re privileged to be husbands, we will also give an account for our wife. And if we’re given the great blessing of children, we will also give an account for our children. They will give an account, as well, but we will give an account for everyone that is under our authority because they are our primary responsibility.

This is what it means when the Bible uses the language of "head" …that we are responsible… that we are accountable in the sight of God for the well-being of our wives and children. And so, men, you need to know that if your wife struggles or fails to grow in holiness, if your children struggle or fail to grow in holiness, it is your responsibility in the sight of God; it is theirs, but it is your responsibility as well… and that’s what the Bible means when it uses the word "head," and it does so in many places.

Let’s look at one, Ephesians 5:22-24, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything" (Ephesians 5:22-24)

These are instructions, exhortations, and admonitions that God has, through Paul, for men, because, as head, we have the primary responsibility… we are accountable… to love and serve our wives as Christ loved and served the church. The Bible says that the man, as the head, is to lovingly lead his wife, so that she flourishes and grows in the grace of God.

And so what this does not mean… it doesn’t mean… that as men, as head of the family, we’re not the boss. We’re the head. We’re not like a boss at work, delegating duties to our wives and children. Instead, we are to be the head like Jesus, so that in every way the relationship between Jesus and the church is the pattern of our household relationships. You see the husband is supposed to take the example of Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, be something like Jesus to his wife, so that she’s cherished, nurtured, loved, pursued, and forgiven, so that she grows in holiness and grace, and so that she reflects the glory of God.

So here’s the bottom line, guys. You are accountable. Your wife is your garden. And if you don’t like the way the garden looks, you’re the gardener. You can’t just yell at her, give demands to her, or pass judgments on her. You need to love her like Christ loved the church. You need to take responsibility like Jesus took responsibility. You need to pursue her… invest in her... take care of her… cherish her and nourish her with the grace that God gives you.

3. Commendable

So how is it going? Has your leadership… your headship… been commendable? You are responsible… you’re accountable… so are you preparing to hear those coveted words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:23).

You see the very essence of masculinity is that of being responsible. Seriously now… it doesn’t matter how much you can bench press… it doesn’t matter how much pizza you can eat… it doesn’t even matter how loud you can belch… that doesn’t make you a man. A monkey can do that. We live in a day where masculinity is defined by exaggerated displays of physical strength, courage, aggressiveness, and even a lack of emotional response… but at the end of the day, masculinity is about taking responsibility.

Now you may not be big. You may not be tough. You may not even be able to win a thumb-wrestling match, but if you take responsibility in Jesus name, you are a good head, and a godly masculine man. I need you men to hear that, because there are guys right now who drive trucks, shoot guns, and beat women. That’s not a man. Real men love their wives, love their children, and take responsibility for them… Those are men. Those are men who are commendable.

So ladies… sons and daughters… how is your head? Are you encouraging him to be a godly man… are you lifting him up… are you praying for him regularly? You see God’s intent was that you would have a covering… his purpose is to protect you from harmful and destructive relationships… to protect a daughter from other boys who want to come along and be some kind of false pseudo head, to tell her what to do, to abuse her, and endanger her. God initiated the headship of a father to protect her from other young men who would selfishly come to usurp and take that place of headship in her life.

And the same goes for the wife. If the husband loves her, like Christ loves the church, and he takes responsibility for her… he protects her from bad men, from bosses, and perverted men with wicked intents. His headship puts her in the context where she is lovingly cared for and protected. And in our day, when one in three women is sexually abused… when women are mistreated, slandered, and taken advantage of, it’s good to know that God’s intent is that men would be the head, and that husbands and fathers would be the head of their household, and that they would lovingly lead and protect their children, and to be sure, especially their wives.

And so the bar has been set high… the standard is way up there… but when your wife is not flourishing, or your children are not blossoming, we must ask the same question that God asked our first father, Adam, "Where are you?" And so what you’ll want to do… husbands and wives, sons and daughters, is take responsibility, be accountable, so that your legacy is commendable.

And this is exactly what Jesus did for us right? This is what Jesus does for the Church. This is the gospel… it is the good news… it is amazing! That God would come to the earth as the man Jesus Christ. God becomes a man and he lives a life without any sin… no sin… not even one! And he goes to the cross and he dies! Why does he die? The Bible says it this way, over, and over, and over, and over: "for our sins." "He was delivered over to death for our sins" (Romans 4:25). You see, "the wage of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). We should all die, but instead, it’s Jesus, the Son of God, who suffers and dies.

So what does that mean? It means that Jesus took that which was not his fault, and he made it his responsibility. That’s why Jesus… he’s the God-man… he’s the perfect man… and he is our example. You see, whose fault is it that I sin? Is it Jesus’ fault that I sin? No… it’s my fault. He didn’t make me do it! And so Jesus goes to the cross… he substitutes himself in my place for my sins… and what he’s doing is he’s taking responsibility for me. You see, it’s my fault, but he takes responsibility. That’s what Jesus does for the church, and so that’s what husbands are supposed to do for their wives. That’s what fathers are supposed to do for their children, not in a saving way, but in a serving way… just like Jesus.

At this point, we’re given the opportunity to respond, and some of you may not be where you need to be with God, and that really is the most important relationship, first things first, turning from sin and trusting in Jesus. You see He took responsibility, even though your choices, your life, and your sin is your fault. And so today Jesus invites you to give him your sin by faith, to receive his forgiveness and love, and you can begin that most important relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Before you can work on any other relationship that’s the most important relationship… make that connection with God.

Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.

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