We are continuing our series on marriage this week, Take A Vow. This week, our focus is on instructions Paul writes to husbands in Ephesians 5. "Husbands… love your wives, just as Christ loved the church" (Ephesians 5:25). While this is particularly a call for husbands, this instruction is a challenge for all of us to love those around us with the same kind of love Christ showed us. Today we are going to look at this command from Paul and talk about what it means to really love our spouses and loved ones with this kind of Ephesians-5 love.
Who in your life has demonstrated Christlike, sacrificial love to you? How did they do this?
1. In your own words, what does it mean to truly love someone?
2. Read Ephesians 5:25-27. According to these verses, what is the standard for the love husbands are to show their wives?
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
3. Do you find this standard of love difficult or easy to difficult to model? Why or why not?
4. Read Ephesians 5:28-33. What stands out to you in these verses? Why?
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
5. Why is unity in our marriages, and all of our relationships with followers of Jesus, important?
6. According to these verses in Ephesians, how can we show this type of love to others?
7. If you are married, are you demonstrating this self-sacrificial, Christlike love to those around you? Why or why not? If not, what step can you take this week to start demonstrating this kind of Ephesians 5 love for your spouse? If you are single, are you demonstrating this kind of love to your loved ones and friends? Why or why not? If not, what step can you take this week to start demonstrating this kind of love for your loved ones and friends?
What is the biggest barrier keeping you from loving your spouse or loved ones with the kind of love that Christ showed you? Tell your group. Think about one tangible step you can take this week to begin to overcome this barrier and tell your group about this step. They can then hold you accountable throughout the week to taking that step. Don't forget to pray for each other as you seek to love those around you with the sacrificial love of Christ.
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Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.