The Bride’s Supremacy – Ephesians 5.31b

We’re on our fourth message in our Marriage & Family Series, and the title of this morning’s sermon is, “The Bride’s Supremacy.”

Each week I want to begin by reviewing the foundation we established for this series as I think it’s important to keep these things in mind…and this week I
want to add one more item to our list…







I want to share a story w/ you that helps illustrate this lesson…and I want you to know I received permission to share this…

The week after my first sermon about husbands loving their wives, Steve Arnett talked to me and I noticed his eye was red and bloodied. He said,

“I have a bone to pick w/ you. Do you know what this is from? Do you know why my eye looks like this? After you preached that sermon about husbands
loving their wives, Karen came home and punched me.”

Although Steve was joking – I think – some of you have told me there’s been some tension in your marriages as you’ve been discussing these things. I want
to be able to give you some encouragement, and the encouragement is this: the struggle is a good thing. The struggle comes from God prodding or convicting
or introducing things for you to work through.

If you’re going home, doing the homework, talking about the sermon, wrestling w/ these issues, it’s going to lead to some tough conversations…and that’s
great. Be encouraged. If you’re asking each other the hard questions, you should be hearing some painful responses. If you’re honestly asking how you can
be a better spouse, and if you’re asking your kids how you can be a better parent, then you’re going to hear answers that are tough to hear. And that’s
great: it helps you grow.

Now what’s the alternative to this?

Go home. Be lazy. Don’t apply the Word. Don’t do the homework. Don’t take your marriage and family seriously. Pretend like everything is perfect. Let your
spouse down. Let your kids down. Don’t grow as a husband, father, parent, child or Christian. If you skip the homework, skip talking about the sermon, skip
talking about how to grow and improve, then yes, you won’t have any tough issues to wrestle with…but then there will be even tougher issues later.

So I want to encourage those of you who are experiencing some struggles in your marriages: you’re going to come out of this w/ stronger, healthier

Two week’s ago I wrote on the back of the bulletin about hurting my lower back. It’s been a recurring injury that reminds me of The Fall and the fact that
I’m getting older. As a result, I started going back to the chiropractor again.

If you’ve ever been to the chiropractor, they’re pretty forceful: they’re pushing on you, twisting you, snapping and popping certain things. Sometimes
you’re left feeling pretty sore. But that’s what’s supposed to happen:

· That’s how the chiropractor straightens things out.

· That’s how the chiropractor adjusts things.

Now what if you went in to the chiropractor and he asked you to lay down, but this is what he did:

· He sort of rubbed your shoulders.

· Maybe rubbed your neck and back a little bit.

· Told you everything looks fine.

· Maybe he sat next to you and asked you about your day.

What would this make you think? Besides thinking he was weird, you’d think:

“This isn’t going to help me. This isn’t why I came here. I know if you’re going to straighten out my back you’re going to have to make some
adjustments and that means:

  • There’s going to be some pressure, some pushing and pulling.
  • There’s going to be some tension.
  • There’s going to be some snapping and popping.
  • There probably going to be some soreness afterward.

My chiropractor’s name is Dr. Mark Riomondo and I want to share a quote w/ you that he shared w/ me. He said,

Making corrective changes in the body can initially cause discomfort as the body adjusts to these needed changes. But don’t be surprised or alarmed by
[the discomfort] because it’s part of the natural healing process.”

Now if we’re going to improve our marriages and families – if there’s going to be some straightening out and adjusting – there’s going to be some
discomfort. There’s going to be some struggle and tension. But we shouldn’t be surprised or alarmed by it b/c it’s part of the natural healing process.


Rom 5:3-4
We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
So glory in the struggles you’re having, knowing it’s producing something good as our marriages and families are refined.

I want to share some verses w/ you from Heb 12, and I want to specifically ask you to listen to the way God produces good in our lives…

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the

Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,

And scourges every son whom He receives.”

We tend to think these verses are about God punishing sin, but the real context – as we’ll see in a moment – is God working out certain behaviors and
issues to produce fruit and righteousness in our lives.

We all have sin in our marriages and families b/c none of us are perfect husbands, wives, or children. So that means we all have certain behaviors and
struggles that God needs to fix as we grow in our sanctification and become more like Christ…and God chastens us to see that happen. He chastens us to help
us have stronger marriages and families…and it doesn’t always feel good.

I want to encourage you to embrace the chastening. Accept it. Understand God is doing something good and worthwhile.


Now please skip to verse 11 to listen to this wonderful verse…

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, BUT PAINFUL;

How true is this verse?!?!

Nice, gentle back rubs feel good. They’re enjoyable. But they don’t do anything to help our lower back problems.

If you really want to be fixed, you’ve got to experience some discomfort. It’s not easy or enjoyable to deal w/ these weaknesses – nobody wants to talk
about their struggles as a father, mother, husband, wife or child – but when we do that, that’s how we grow and that’s how we allow God to work.

And listen to what it produces…

nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness

This is what the struggle and tension yields in our lives: peaceable fruit of righteousness. This is why it’s worth it!

But here’s what’s interesting: it doesn’t say this is happening for everyone. There’s a certain person that receives the peaceable fruit of righteousness and that person is identified in the rest of the verse. It says…


That word for trained is gymnazō; it’s related to our word gymnasium. It means, “to exercise vigorously.” So improving our marriages and families is like exercising: it’s hard work. It takes effort. It’s difficult.

And b/c of that, the author of Hebrews has a final, wonderful exhortation for us…


Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not
be dislocated, but rather be healed.

This is the exhortation I want to give all of you – and give myself – as we continue this series: let’s strengthen our weak hands and feet, trusting God is making straight paths for our marriages and families to be healed.


Now let’s turn to Eph 5 to continue where we left off from last week…

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

We talked about this verse some last week. The lesson for it was: “Keep the marriage in the marriage…unless you’re looking for godly counsel.”
This verse discourages people from running around gossiping about their spouses to their in-laws or friends.

But there’s an even bigger point this verse is making and I didn’t want to try to deal w/ it at the end of last week’s sermon b/c I didn’t think I would be
able to do it justice; therefore, it’s going to be the main focus of the rest of our sermon. In my mind this is the main point of the verse, and this
brings us to Lesson 2…


The only way to fully appreciate this verse is to understand the groom’s responsibility during a Jewish betrothal…

Typically, the betrothal period lasted one full year, and during that time the groom’s main responsibility was preparing a place for him and his bride.
Then at an unexpected time he would come back and take his bride to be w/ him. This should all sound pretty similar to something Jesus said in John 14. I
want to read the verses and I want to ask you to listen in particular to where Jesus said He would prepare a place for us…

John 14:1-3
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Now where is Jesus going to prepare a place for His Bride, the Church? At His Father’s House! This is related to the Jewish custom of the groom preparing a
place for him and his bride…and guess where that place was? It was on the groom’s father’s property, and oftentimes it was even attached to the groom’s
father’s house! Now this did this something: it kept the newly married couple under the groom’s parents’ authority.

Now w/ that in mind, what do you think it was like when Paul said these words in verse 31? His words could not have sounded more opposed to the culture!
But when Paul said this he wasn’t saying something new; he was quoting one of the earliest verses in the Bible: Gen 2:24 A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” Paul wasn’t preaching a new command for married couples; he was
reiterating God’s divine plan for marriage.

And the point is this:

· If a man is supposed to leave his father and mother for his wife, there’s nothing he should not be willing to leave for his wife. The reason the young
man’s father and mother ARE mentioned, is they’re the most important relationship in a young man’s life, and if he’s told even to leave them for his wife,
there’s nothing he shouldn’t be willing to leave for his wife.

· Second to a husband’s relationship w/ Christ, his relationship w/ his wife must be the supreme relationship in his life. Let me say that one more time:
second to a husband’s relationship w/ Christ, his relationship w/ his wife must be the supreme relationship in his life.

Last week when I covered verses 28 and 29 I talked about husbands loving their wives as they love themselves, or being as concerned about their wives as
they are about themselves. I’d like to elaborate on that a little more, b/c here’s what this means:

· Wives should never feel threatened by anyone or anything in their husband’s life.

  • Wives should never feel like 2nd place to anyone or anything in their husband’s life.

· Wives should never feel like their husbands have a relationship w/ anyone or anything that’s more important than his relationship w/ her.

Now let me make a very important point…

When wives feel like 2nd place, they don’t usually feel like this b/c of another woman. That might happen occasionally, but most of the time
women feel like 2nd place b/c of some activity or hobby in their husband’s life that takes priority to them. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but
here are some of the things women feel like their husbands make supreme to them:

  • Sports
  • TV
  • Cars
  • Poker night
  • Alcohol
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Hobbies
  • Video Games
  • Education
  • Children: our wives have to be supreme even over our children:

o I love my children, but I try to let them know I love Katie even more.

o For me, this means when I come home from work I try to kiss and hug Katie before I kiss and hug my kids.

Last year Katie felt like my relationship w/ the church was more important than my relationship w/ her. I mention that b/c I want to point out the things
we put ahead of our wives aren’t always “bad.” IT’S THE HUSBAND’S RELATIONSHIP to these things that’s bad. Most of the things husbands put ahead of their
wives could even be good things – like work, friends, church, or children – but the moment our wives take a backseat to any of these things is the moment
the husband’s relationship to these things becomes bad. You could say the husbands have the responsibility to make sure our relationships to these things
aren’t bad.

Now here’s an important point…

Husbands can’t claim that just b/c the Bible doesn’t forbid something there’s nothing wrong w/ it. I knew two wives in CA and they felt like second place
to their husbands’ water skiing and their husbands’ horses. Now b/c the Bible doesn’t forbid water skiing or horses, the husbands felt like there was
nothing wrong w/ what they were doing.

But here’s what the Bible does forbid…

It forbids anything that makes our wives feel like 2nd place. The Bible doesn’t forbid the action itself, b/c the action itself isn’t the
problem; the husband’s relationship to the action is the problem.



I deliberately worded the lesson this way for a reason: I said wives must FEEL like the supreme relationship in their husband’s life, as opposed to saying
wives must BE the supreme relationship in their husband’s life b/c…

  • If I say, “A wife must BE the supreme relationship in her husband’s life” a husband can say, “She is the supreme relationship in my life’ there’s nothing more important than her”, but she might disagree; she might not feel that way.
  • But if I say, “A wife must FEEL like the supreme relationship in her husband’s life,” it’s about how the wife FEELS and not what the husband

We can all imagine situations – or maybe we don’t even have to imagine them b/c we’ve witnessed them or are experiencing them…

  • Where a wife says: “I don’t feel like you love me” or “I don’t feel like I’m the supreme relationship in your life.”
  • But the husband says, “That’s not true. Of course I love you. Of course you’re more important to me than anything else. I came home from work today, didn’t I?” as
    he turns the television back on and invests 19 more hours that week watching his favorite shows.

So husbands, I want to ask you to ask your wives a question this week, and I put it on the back of the insert for you as homework. Ask your wife: “Do YOU FEEL like second place to anything in my life?”

And then, let me tell you what NOT TO DO and then let me tell you what TO DO:

· DO NOT go home and start arguing w/ your wife when she says she doesn’t feel like the most important relationship in your life. Don’t try to convince her
that she is; don’t try to talk her out of the way she feels. Don’t tell her she’s wrong.

· Instead show her she’s the most important relationship in your life. Do the things she says are necessary to help her feel that way. Make the appropriate
changes. And we’ll be talking in a moment about what that looks like.

Now I want to share a personal story w/ you from our marriage, from 8 yrs ago. This is embarrassing. I hate talking about it. I hate thinking about it.
It’s humbling. But I learned a lot from it. It’s influenced my view of marriage and addiction and sin, and more than anything I hope this might help some
of your marriages…

When I was an elementary school teacher I always tried to teach summer school. One summer that opportunity wasn’t available, so I came up w/ the terrible
idea of playing something called World of Warcraft. It’s a very addictive online game where you play w/ people all over the world. Since it was summer and
I had so much free time, I played a lot, and pretty quickly I became addicted. I remember at one point Katie was talking to me, and she wasn’t upset and
she wasn’t threatening me, but she said something like, “I just never would’ve imagined you like this. This isn’t something I ever pictured you doing.” I could tell she was losing respect for me.

I previously told you about the marriage and family evenings we put on w/ our friends Dave and Naida. One evening when I was in the middle of teaching
about husbands loving their wives I became really, really convicted about my addiction and how much it was hurting Katie. When the evenings were over and
everyone had left, Dave, Naida, Katie and I would review how the evening went. I just vomited out how badly I was feeling about what I was doing. Dave and
Naida tried to give me some advice about using a timer and only playing a certain amount of time, but that was like telling an alcoholic to only have two
drinks. I tried that what they said, but as you can guess, it wasn’t long before I was playing the exact same amount of time I had played before.

I probably played for about a month or two. I know it wasn’t longer than that b/c I stopped playing before school resumed. Then things improved in our
marriage and Katie was much happier as you could imagine.

But the following June when the school year concluded, I thought of something really, really, foolish, and it happened to be the same lie many people
believe regarding life-dominating sins. I thought:

  • I’m more mature now.
  • I can have this in my life in moderation.
  • I can play but I won’t play too much.
  • This won’t become a problem again.

So I convinced Katie of all this, started playing again, and of course very quickly I was back to playing as much as I had the summer before.

Then Rhea was born in July and about one week later I remember Katie breaking down. She just started crying. It was difficult for her to see me like this
as her husband, but now that I was a father it was even more difficult for her b/c she was worried about our kids. She shared her fears w/ me:

  • She said she was afraid of how it would affect our kids.
  • She said she was afraid for our future.

· She said she was afraid of me being the spiritual leader of our home.

So I repented and by God’s grace I immediately stopped playing. I thought it would be very difficult to quit, but it was actually really easy.

I can even remember the day that I got up and decided I wouldn’t play anymore. I told Katie I was done, and she told me she was so proud of me.

What’s interesting is, here’s how I expected to feel when I quit – this is sad, but this is really what I thought b/c I was believing the lies the devil
always wants us to believe – I thought:

  • What’s life going to be like now?
  • What will I do without this?
  • I’ll be so unhappy now.

But when I stopped playing I just remember feeling very free. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t feel like a slave any

And wonderfully, there were some terrible feelings I no longer experienced:

  • I no longer felt the strong conviction and condemnation.
  • I no longer felt the guilt and shame.

· I no longer felt the constant pull to go back and play, which was what made feel like a slave in the first place.

· I no longer felt the terrible addiction that had been weighing on me.

And w/ those terrible feelings gone, there were some wonderful feelings I experienced as a result too:

· I felt my self-respect return. It was very hard to respect myself when I was addicted.

· I felt very thankful to Katie for patiently loving me during that time and pouring out her heart to me; I know how hard those two seasons were for her.

· And I felt very thankful to God for giving me victory over a life dominating sin.

Brothers, I share this in the hope that if there’s something you can’t imagine not having in your life, you might be encouraged by the fact that if you
repent, humble yourself before the Lord, and genuinely want to be delivered, you can experience the freedom and relief that will bring:

  • Freedom from bondage.
  • Freedom from guilt and shame.
  • Freedom from losing your wife’s respect.

· And freedom from the conviction that constantly plagues your relationship w/ Christ.

Now one of the things I learned from my sin brings us to the rest of Lesson 2…




Husbands, there’s a chance you might be able to get your priorities in order, and whatever it is that’s making your wife feel like 2nd place,
perhaps you can allow it to stay in your life, but here’s the hard truth…

If your wife already feels like second place to something, it’s going to be very difficult to keep that in your life w/o her continuing to feel like 2 nd place. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but here’s what your actions have already shown:

· Your actions have already shown you have an unhealthy relationship or obsession.

· Your actions have already shown you have trouble having this in your life in a healthy or moderate way.

· Your actions have already shown you have trouble making your wife supreme over this relationship.

So what does this more than likely mean? It means…

· You’re probably not going to be able to keep this in your life in some healthy or balanced way.

· You’re probably not ever going to be able to make your wife the priority she should be if you allow this to remain in your life.

The truth is, you’re going to have to be ruthless and severe and do what Jesus says: I’ve told you the Bible is repetitive when it wants to emphasize a
point and Matt 5:29 & 18:9 both say

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish,
than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Husbands, if there’s something in your life that prevents your wife from being supreme, you can try to keep it in your life, and keep it in check, but my
suspicion is this is what’s going to happen…

You’re going to start off well, your wife is going to be happy for a few weeks, but it’s going to creep back into your life until it’s just like it was
before you supposedly “got things in check.”

Too often I have been in counseling, witnessed a wife’s pain associated w/ some area of her husband’s life, and the husband says, “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll get my priorities in order. I’ll make sure things are in balance. I’ll make sure to do this in moderation.” But
this is all code for:

“Things are going to change superficially for a couple weeks, but before you know it we’re going to be right back in the same situation w/ you feeling
the exact same way. Actually, you’ll be feeling even worse b/c you’ll see me fail again, increasing your confidence that things are never going to

So what’s the solution husbands? The solution is to get this out of your life. Put your wife in her rightful place. Make her your queen. Make her the
supreme relationship in your life. Then enjoy the blessing of:

  • An improved marriage.
  • A healthier, happier wife.
  • A wife – and possibly children – who can respect you.

· A wife – and possibly children – who see the sacrifice you’re making and love you that much more for it.

Now here’s an important point…

This means some men will have liberties other men don’t:

· For example, one guy might love working on cars, but he does it a few hours per month, his wife doesn’t mind, so for him it’s not a problem.

· But another guy works on his car every day. He’s obsessed w/ it. His wife hates it. She resents him b/c of it. They can’t even talk about it w/o it
causing a fight. So he doesn’t have the same liberty as the other guy. He can’t turn around and say, “Well, so-and-so works on his car, so I should be able to work on mine too.”

o It might not be a problem for the other guy, but if it’s a problem for your wife, then it’s a problem for you.

o This relates back to spiritual liberties and why some people have liberties that others don’t.


Now ladies – and possibly children – if you see your husband – or father – give something up for you – if you see him sacrificing to make you the supreme
relationship in his life:

  • Make sure you thank him.
  • Make sure you encourage him.

· Make sure you recognize the sacrifice he’s making for you and your family.

· Make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him doing something very few husbands do.

We’ve dealt w/ this a little bit in our courtship class, but I’m going to say it here as a reminder for the young people…

Young single men, please hear me when I say this: you’re not ready to get married until you’re ready to put a wife ahead of everything else in your life
except Christ:

  • More than likely this will mean some really serious changes.

· This could mean giving up some of the things you really enjoy.

Young ladies – and fathers who will be helping your daughters look for Mr. Right – this means looking for a young man that doesn’t have any addictions,
hobbies, struggles or activities that could possibly put their wives in 2nd place.


When we talk about husbands making their wives supreme, we have to keep going back to Jesus making His Bride, the church – you and me – supreme:

· The reason husbands are supposed to make their brides supreme in their lives is Jesus made us supreme in His life.

  • He set the example for husbands to follow.

There are three parables back-to-back, all in one chapter that discuss the Father’s love for believers and the joy He feels when He “finds” one.
The three parables are in Luke 15:

1. The 1st parable is The Parable of the Lost Sheep: a man finds one of his lost sheep and he says, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

2. The 2nd parable is the Parable of the Lost Coin: a woman finds one of her valuable coins and she says, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

3. The 3rd and most famous parable is the Parable of the Lost – or we commonly say, “Prodigal” – Son. Now we all know how much joy the Father
had in this Parable! He rejoiced so much the other brother got mad!

Now these three parables are about the Father’s love for believers and the joy He feels when He finds one, but there are two lesser-known parables about
the Son’s love for believers and the joy He feels when He finds His Bride, the Church.

Please turn to Matthew 13:44…we’ll close w/ these two verses…

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure
hidden in a field, which a man

found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a
merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Let me tell you what to circle in these verses:

  • First, in verse 44 circle the word treasure and in verse 46 circle the words pearl of great price and write, “ Me.”
  • Second, in verse 44 circle the words a man and in verse 45 circle the word merchant and write, “Jesus.”
  • Third, in verse 44 circle the words sells all that he has and in verse 46 circle the words sold all that he had and
    write, “Phil 2:7-8” which says, “[Jesus]

    made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in
    appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
  • Finally, in verse 44 circle the words buys that field and in verse 46 circle the words bought it and write “ Redeemed.”

Both stories are about a Man who views something as so valuable or supreme to Him that He’s willing to give up everything He has to purchase or redeem it.
That’s how Jesus feels about us.

Now in verse 44, Jesus didn’t really care about the field that He bought, He wanted the treasure that came w/ the field…and that’s you and me. He purchased
the field not b/c of the field, but b/c of what came w/ the field…and that’s us. Spurgeon said, “Jesus at the utmost cost to Himself, bought the world to gain His church, which was the treasure which He desired.”

Now I want to tell you there are two completely opposing ways to view these parables. The OTHER view is this: we’re the man or the merchant who found the
treasure, and the treasure is salvation or the Kingdom of God and we give up everything to buy it.

There’s a lot I don’t like about this view:

· First we’re the initiators: it’s us finding God, it’s us seeking Him…but Rom 3:11 says There is none who seeks after God:

o God is the initiator.

o He seeks us out.

o He pursued us.

· Second, we become the heroes of the story. It’s all about what we do. It’s basically a works-based interpretation:

o We sell everything.

o We purchase our salvation.

o We earn the Kingdom of Heaven.

· But maybe the strongest reason I reject this interpretation is I believe the OT prefigures or foreshadows the NT and there’s a great picture of this in
the OT…

A rich man named Boaz purchased a field that he didn’t really care to have so he could have the treasure that came w/ that field, and that treasure was a
woman named Ruth. Then he took that treasure and made her his Bride…just like Christ does w/ us.

Now last week I was talking to someone who was struggling w/ his or her value. The person said, “I have nothing offer.” That’s the lie the devil
wants us to believe. The truth is the Lord sees you as a pearl of great price that He would give up everything He has for. This shows how
valuable we are to the Lord.

In verse 44, notice the word joy. You’re the treasure Jesus found, and finding you brought Him so much joy Heb 12:2 says,
[Jesus] endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him.”

  • That’s how much Jesus loves you…
  • That’s how valuable you are to Him…
  • That’s how supreme He made you in His life…

He was willing to go to the cross joyfully to redeem you back from sin and death.

So be encouraged by this great love the Lord has for you, and husbands:

  • Be inspired to love your wives w/ this same love…
  • Be inspired to make your wife supreme in your life…

Like Jesus made us supreme in His life.







Author: Scott LaPierre