Colossians 3:19

Dr. Steve Viars January 14, 1995 Colossians 3:19

- read Col. 3:19

- now, just like we saw what the Lord said to wives---this verse is
   very easy to understand.
     - no big words
     - no long arguments

     - the problem with a Christian husband who is not growing in what
       this verse is talking about is never that he can't
       understand what God has said he is supposed to be like
          - the issue is always -- he is not willing to submit himself
             to God's plan
              - and he's not willing to put the kind of hard, diligent
                effort into changing that is required in order to
                become a godly husband.


- let's begin with:

I. What God's Kind of Husband Must Do

    - the verse begins with the words, "husbands, love your wives"

    - I'd like to make a couple of brief comments about this word and
       then have you teach this part of the lesson.

    - the word for love here is the word agapn -- for those of you who
        have been studying the Bible, you know that there were three
        primary words in NT times that were translated love
         - it's important to note that the word that is used here is

    - it's also important to note that this is a present tense

         1) an imperative is a command -- something we must do

         2) present tense makes it continuous action -- something we
             must do over and over and over
               - a very legitimate translation of this verse would be,
                 "husbands, keep on loving your wives."

    - with that in mind, let me open it up to you...
    - INPUT - What important biblical truth about love do we need to
         keep in mind as we study this verse?

       (on white board)

        - not a feeling first
        - it is giving (John 3:16, Gal. 2:20)
        - love is a choice of our wills
        - characteristics of love are found in I Cor. 13
        - our Lord and Savior is our Model and Example of love - Eph.

- now, it probably goes without saying that what the Scripture says
   about love and what the world says are radically different.
- there are probably few subjects in which the world's view and the
   Scripture's view are at such odds.
- the thing that ought to concern us about that is that most people
    here this morning rub shoulders with those in the world who hold
    wrong views about love day after day after day.
      - it's important for us to think about the difference between
        what the Scripture says on this subject, and what the world
        says-and then to ask--how much of the world's view has rubbed
        off on us? (or how much we've always had that we've failed to

- what I'd like to do at this point is to quote some contemporary
  secular writers and what they have written about love--and ask you to
  evaluate it biblically:

1) Bruce Fierstein - And so it is February.  We've come to the season
   of snowstorms, the month when we honor our Presidents with fantastic
   sales on washing machines and trash compactors; it's the time of
   year when our thoughts turn to romance and the celebration of
   Valentines Day. Now admittedly, there are many who believe we'd be
   far better off replacing St. Valentine with Saint Jude-the patron
   saint of hopeless causes. - INPUT - how would you evaluate that
   position biblically? (growing
       in biblical love is hard--but it's not hopeless.  God's people
       should/must have hope when it comes to this subject)

2) "Why Love Is not Built to Last" - article in Cosmopolitan, June,
   1988.  I've come to recognize in my two decades of psychoterapeutic
   work with couples in distress: that love is very much a reservoir,
   and over time there may be additions to it or an outflow. People in
   love rarely seem to know how close to empty this reservoir may be.
   Save, perhaps, for an occasional bit of sediment, the next to the
   last drop, even the final one, seems little different from the
   first.  While most of us can vividly recall each step along the road
   to falling in love, the process of falling out of love is largely
   invisible until completed.

   - INPUT - how would you evaluate this position biblically?  (doesn't
       even make sense experientially//concept of "falling in" and
       falling out" is wrong. )

3) (same article) - The Ten Death Signs of Love.  It has been my
     experience that love is dying and probably beyond resuscitation

   - INPUT - how would you evaluate this position biblically?
       (experience based--terrible epistemology//love is never dead
       unless you choose to stop giving).

(these next three are answers to the question - "What starts love and
   what stops love?")

4) JZ Knight, channel for Ramtha, a 35,000 year old warrior, as
    described in her autobiography, "A State of Mind: My Story."
    "Why do we say `fall in love'? You don't fall anywhere. The
    spiritual reality is that we can't love another individual unless
    we love ourselves first. What do you give another person if you're
    empty inside?
       When does love end? I don't think it ever does, if it's been
    established as a reflection of the individual's self-love. What
    ends is not the love but the way it serves us.  When we stop
    growing in one relationship, we're ready for another, one that will
    allow us to explore other, deeper aspects of ourselves."

    INPUT - biblical evaluation?

5) Terry Burman, president of Barry's Jeweler's, a 220 store chain.
    "Love starts when someone makes you feel worthwhile-and an
    important gift, like a diamond, can be part of that. I like to
    watch couples in the showroom, looking at rings.  They get closer
    together.  There's a dreamy look of contentment.
       The end comes when you are no longer made to feel valued and
    validated by the other person.  I wish all relationships were as
    long-lasting as diamonds."

    INPUT - biblical evaluation?

6) Sydney Biddle Barrows, author of "Mayflower Madam."
    "There are people who think they're in love any time someone shows
    interest in them.  But healthy love is when you find someone you
    like, admire, and respect, who likes, admires, and respects you in
    return. Love stops when you discover things about him that you
    don't respect.  He's not kind, or he has attributes that you can't
    stand: horrible manners, no tact.  You realize you can't have the
    relationship you envisioned with this person."

    INPUT - Biblical evaluation?

- so the bottom line so far is that:
   1) husbands are commanded to love their wives
   2) that love is a choice to sacrifice ourselves and give
   3) loving is this way is a command of God and we are to love our
       wives continually
         - there is never a reason for a husband to violate this

-  this approach is radically different than what our world has to say
    and it would be wise for each man here this morning to ask-- how
    does the way i love my wife stack up to what the this passage of
    Scripture commands?

II. How the Context Helps Us Understand the Command

    - there are some observations we need to make about the context of
      Col. 3:19 that should help us as we seek to understand and apply
      this verse:

    A. The narrow context

        - there is a very important relationship between verses 18 and

        - you can't fully understand one without considering the other.

        - when we talk about a husband loving--that especially has to
          be understood in the context of the leadership he provides
          for the family.
             - we say that because the previous verse spoke of the wife

             - so while of course husbands are to be loving in every
               way at every time--that is especially true in the
               contexts in which his wife is expected to submit.

             - God's ideal plan for the Christian family is that the
               wife being growing in the submission of verse 18 while
               her husband in growing in the love of verse 19.
                  - that’s not to say that we don't have to obey "our
                    verse" if our spouse isn't obeying "theirs."

INPUT - how are verses 18 and 19 related?  (it's a lot easier to submit
        to leadership that is carried out in love -- it's a lot easier
        to provide loving leadership in a context where the wife has a
        submissive spirit.)

    - now again, we're not saying that you don't have to obey your
        verse if your spouse is not obeying theirs.
         - but the reason we need to make this point is because:
             1) some husbands who think their wives aren't very
                submissive ought to ask themselves if they provide the
                kind of loving leadership that is easy to submit to.
             2) some wives who are upset that their husbands aren't
                very loving ought to ask if they have the kind of
                submissive spirit where loving leadership is easier to
    B. The broader context

       - we can also be helped with this command when we think about
          the broader context.

       - remember, we've been studying about the superiority of Jesus
            - whether we want to be Christ-centered people
            - whether our love of//and respect for Jesus Christ is such
               that we want to be like Him.

       - a husband who's not concerned about growing in biblical love
          for his wife is showing, not just his contempt//indifference
          for his wife....
            - he's showing his contempt//indifference for the Lord.

- at this point - I'd like us to try to make as many specific
   applications of this subject as we can.
- I'm going to divide you into groups--I'd like you to work on two

    1) List specific ways a husband can show sacrificial love to his

    2) How can a husband exercise biblical leadership and at the same
        time be loving?  What is the balance?

- Come back - discuss

III. What God's Kind of Husband Must Not Do

    - the command in this verse has both a a positive and a negative
         - in other words, here's something you must not, here's
            something you must not do.

    - you must love, and you must not become bitter.
        - or as the NIV translates it - you must not be harsh.

    - INPUT - how does a husband become bitter?

         (go through steps: high expectations....)


    - INPUT - what are ways a husband might be "harsh" with his wife?

IV. Why This Is Possible

    - I realize that you may be here this morning and would say, PV,
       what you're talking about this morning is hard---for a bunch of
        - I'm not sure I like it!
        - I'm not sure I feel like doing it
        - I've not seen it done much
        - in a number of ways, I'm not doing it
        - habits are hard to break
(this outline is from William Hendriksen)

    A. Jesus Christ provides the power

        - throughout history, other philosophers have talked about how
            husbands and wives should live together.
        - but as William Hendriksen says, their teachings are like
            lacking engines.

            - ideas, in and of themselves--will not produce results
(cf.  the statement- after it's all said and done, there's a lot more
                said than done.)

        - Phil. 4:13, Titus 2:11

    B. Jesus Christ provides the purpose

        - we're not talking about living this way so life will be
            - or because the marriage will be smoother
            - or there will be less problems

        - we're talking about glorifying God (3:17)
            - we're talking about the importance of being a good
               picture of Christ and the church.

    C. Jesus Christ provides the pattern

        - in this verse, and each of the succeeding ones about
          relationships in the family, our Savior provided the perfect
          example to follow.

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video