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The Bride and Christ

Part 4: To Agree With Each Other

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(11/18) Continuing in our series "The Bride and Christ" today, ladies, this one’s for you. Having put that out there I want to apologize in advance… and today we are going to read from Philippians chapter 4, verse 2-9. Now you wives need to know how strong you are, like Samson and Delilah in the Old Testament book of Judges in chapter 16, you are incredibly powerful, not in the weightlifting sense of that word, but in the areas of trust, encouragement, hope, and courage. You are strong. And you are a source of strength in the life of your husband.

Now let’s read from Philippians 4:2, "I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." NIV

This morning the principle I want to share with you is respect. And I ask that you would remember that I am only the messenger, because today we’re talking about the respectful wife. So don’t shoot the messenger.

Now we’re not talking about a wife who’s always flattering her husband, but one that carefully weighs her words so that she would be respectful and in turn would help him become more respectable. That’s the hope. So this is a very simple but profound and powerful concept. Some of you wives, you want your husbands to be more respectable… I don’t think I am making that up. I believe there is a sense of intuition, but also directly the guidance of the Holy Spirit that tells me that you want a man that you can respect.

Now there are two ways to approach that goal. One is that you can nag, disrespect him, and you’ll never get the results you’re hoping for. Or two, you can pray for him, instead… you can respect him, helping him to become more respectable.

You see that’s what God tells us in Ephesians chapter 5:33. "The wife must…" what? "Respect…" not other men, but "her husband." Ladies, let me ask you this… I’ve got to ask because the Lord wants to draw this out; he wants you to bring this to him, that he can cover it, that he can place it under the grace of his Son Jesus Christ. So here is the question. Do you respect other men? Are there other men that you admire, you esteem, you value, or you wish your husband was more like them? That’s called coveting. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. Don’t covet anybody else’s spouse. You’re to respect your husband. And let me say this… this doesn’t just apply to married women. This applies to singles, to married, male, female, young or old.

God said this in Exodus 20:17, "You must not covet your neighbor's house. You must not covet your neighbor's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor." (New Living Translation).

You singles and teenagers… do not covet that guy or that girl. You don’t know what the Lord has in store for you 5, 10, or 15 years from now. So don’t waste your time and imagination… don’t covet… don’t entertain those thoughts of your neighbor, their servant, or anything else of theirs.

Solomon wrote this with the wisdom that God gave him, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Wives do you respect your husband? Here is the definition of respect. Respect is "to notice, regard, honor, prefer, defer to, encourage, love, and admire." Would you admit to the Lord this morning that you’ve got room to grow?

1. Thinking Respectfully

Well here’s where we’re going to start… thinking respectfully. Verse 8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things."

So the question is, how do you think about your husband? Do you think of him in a way that is hopeful or hopeless? Do you think of him in a way that is respectful or disrespectful? Maybe you’d never say it, but God knows your thoughts, and your husband… well he can see it all over your face. He knows what you’re thinking.

You see, sometimes our sin is not just what we say or do. It’s also what we think, and that’s why change begins in the mind. Repentance begins in the mind. That’s why the Bible says in Romans chapter 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." You see, you have to change… you have to think differently before you can feel differently and before you’ll begin to act differently. Repentance and transformation begins in the mind.

Here’s what the Lord is telling us in Philippians about thinking and I would apply this to thinking about your husband in particular… if you can find anything good in your husband, think about it. Make an effort to keep the good things, the praiseworthy things at the forefront of your mind. It has to be purposeful….

One of the most powerful things a wife can do is to encourage her husband. You can encourage him toward godliness and respectability by praying for him and encouraging him. Send him a text, give him a call, write him a letter, send him an email, whatever it is, tell him, "I was just praying for you and I’m really thankful because of… whatever it is." Now maybe he doesn’t do anything. Then pick anything that could be encouraging… start somewhere… but remember that your job is not to change him, but to motivate him. The Holy Spirit will give him the power. You give him words of affirmation… you motivate him to grow in godliness.

It means so much when a wife encourages… and as she does, she breathes life, courage, and dignity into her husband, because he wants to live in such a way that God is pleased with him and that his wife is proud of him. Thinking respectfully… is a real gift to a husband.

2. Feeling Respectfully

So, how are you thinking about your husband? It begins in your mind and it moves to your heart. Do you have a heart of respect? You know… its apparent how you feel about your husband by what you say. Jesus said it this way… "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)

If there’s disrespect in your head, it will live in your heart. If there’s disrespect in how you think of him, there will be disrespect in how you feel about him, and it comes out in your speech. This is one of the reasons why it’s really important to regularly be praying for your husband, because it conditions you… on how to speak about your husband.

What do you say about your husband when he’s gone? What do you say to your children about their father? If you’re calling him an idiot. If you’re saying, "I don’t know why I ever married that guy." Here’s what you’re teaching your children: "Dishonor, disregard, and disrespect your father." You’re teaching them and you’re training them to disobey the Word of God, and you’re driving a wedge between them and their father. Proverbs chapter 20:20 says, "If a man curses his father or mother, his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness." When the children start to parrot the mother it leads to their death. That’s what the Bible tells us.

Do you make fun of your husband? Do you like to point out his faults and flaws? Are there certain embarrassing things you like to bring up? Those are always good for the holidays right? Those embarrassing things… they’re always good for dinner parties, but let me assure you… you’re not being funny... it’s disrespectful!

How do you think about your husband? How do you feel about your husband? Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. One of the greatest cures is to pray for your husband. It will change how you speak to your husband… it’s not that the path may be crooked… it’s not that you’ll never deal with the tough things… it just means that your tone will change.

3. Serving Respectfully

Now how about serving respectfully? Verse 9 says, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice." What do you do for your husband? How are you serving him?

You see, I believe that most men interpret everything in either terms of respect or disrespect. Some of you would say, "Well, I love my husband." And you know, most men want to be loved, we’re grateful to be loved, but the truth is… many of us have seen our wives love some total losers. Seriously… the fact is most of you ladies have had boyfriends that were losers, there’s nothing respectful about them, but you loved them. And so you know that sometimes women can love the worst of men. What matters more to a man is, "Does she respect me?"

And that respect shows up in her thinking, her feeling, and in her serving. It says this in Genesis 2:18. Before sin entered the world, God said there was one thing that was not good. "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18).

Ladies, your husband needs you, but he doesn’t need you to condemn him, because Satan is already doing that. He doesn’t need you to criticize him, because his enemies are already doing that. He needs you to be his cheerleader… he needs you to encourage him. And so God made the woman to be a helper. She is equal to her husband. They both bear the image and likeness of God, but they work together in a complementary way like a right hand and a left hand. He’s the leader and she’s the helper… to help him become more like Jesus… to help him to lead the family in the purposes of Jesus. And so he needs her to help him to glorify God… he can’t do it alone… they’re good for one another. The wife is there to help.

And so this is not an attempt to reduce or dismiss the importance of a woman to be called a helper, because the Bible says that God is "an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalms 46:1). The Bible says that God the Holy Spirit would come as our "helper" (John 14:26). The Bible says that God helps us. So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid" (Hebrews 13:6). So, ladies, God is inviting you to join with him in helping your husband become more like Jesus… to love and lead your family in the purposes of Jesus… and part of that is how you serve.

4. Disagreeing Respectfully

In closing, just because he’s the head and she’s the helper doesn’t mean you’ll always agree… it doesn’t mean you will always get along… it doesn’t mean that a woman doesn’t have independent thoughts. But what do you do when you disagree? How do you disagree respectfully?

Well in a perfect world, a husband and a wife would lovingly and patiently keep working for a unified decision, because all the way back in Genesis, God said he wants you to be one. So, the husband and wife they’re going to pray... they’re going to talk... they’re going to do the research... they’re going to do whatever they need to do to prayerfully, carefully come to a unified agreement. This should be the majority of decision making in a Christian marriage… a unified agreement… but honestly there are times when you just can’t come to an agreement. So you have options.

Some of the time… there’s a serious underlying problem of trust, maybe there has been unfaithfulness, a theological disagreement, or something of that nature, and a couple just can’t agree. So they bring in a third party. Now this can’t be your mother or father, this can’t be your friends, don’t make your case at the mothers and others prayer group. If you can’t agree, bring in a third party, such as a biblical counselor or pastor, to help you come to a resolution and to make the decision. It happens… it’s acceptable… and it’s understandable.

The third option when disagreeing respectfully is this… some of the time, the husband makes the decision as the head of the home, he’s responsible, and the wife follows by submitting. Sometimes he makes ungodly decisions, you just can’t agree, but that’s a whole other message… maybe the marriage conference January 10th & 11th. You know sometimes you’ve talked to other people, you need to make the decision, so the husband says, "Honey, I’ve heard you. Your input’s been considered. I’m going to take responsibility. Please trust me… follow me… and if we fail, it’s on me, it’s not on you. I believe this what we should do." And so you disagree respectfully.

Ephesians 5:21 says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." There’s unity, there’s mutual submission, but it’s the husband’s responsibility. If he’s wrong, he repents, she forgives, and together they work to fix the problem.

Now as we close and conclude our time together, it’s really important to honestly take some time, so that going home today, your husband doesn’t have that awkward ride home wondering if he should ask, "Well, what did you think about the sermon?" Let me encourage you to go first. Tell him, "Honey, I heard it. Here are some things I’m thinking about. Please forgive me… pray for me… help me with this area." Begin a loving, gracious dialog, instead of an argument or worse… walking home… or going to bed with your backs to each other.

You guys, if you’ve been, or are being, disrespectable in any way, repent of that and tell your wife, "I know you’ve had a hard time respecting me, and it’s because I haven’t been very respectable, and I ask your forgiveness for that."

For those of you who are single, this includes you as well. Is there anything in your life where you are disrespecting the Word of God, where you’re disrespecting your father, and maybe even disrespecting the spouse that God may bring you one day? Repent of that… remember that Jesus died for that, to get rid of it, and to forgive it.

For those of you who haven’t trusted Christ, or maybe you have walked away, or even angrily pushed him away. He’s here. He’s right here waiting for you to come back. He welcomes you with open arms. Respect the Lord Jesus not just by hearing about him, but trusting in him… not just by listening about sin, but putting your sin to death, because Jesus died for it… give him your sin and receive his gracious gift of salvation.

Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.

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