The Bible instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and as they love their own bodies, providing an example of sacrifice and a warning against neglect. Addressing this challenging, yet straightforward, directive, Alistair Begg provides husbands with practical application on how to think and act in obedience to God by selflessly loving their wives.
Sermon Transcript: Print
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Now, let me begin by reading to you the introduction to the Service of Holy Matrimony as it is provided for us in the prayer book of the Anglican Church, in the 1662 edition; there’s nothing like being up to date. And so, here are words that have stood the test of time since the seventeenth century. I read them because it sort of is striking, partly just in the use of language itself. I won’t try and bring it up to date. So this is the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprized, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but [rather] reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
Well, there’s a reason why it’s called the Solemnization, isn’t it? And purposefully so.
Stands in direct contrast to Joni Mitchell’s work in the early 1970s on her album Blue. Remember that song,
My old man,
[Is] a singer in the [band],
He’s a walker in the rain,
He’s a dancer in the dark.
And then she says,
[And] we don’t need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true.
We don’t need any of that seventeenth-century stuff. We don’t need any of that biblical stuff. We need nothing. We just go with whatever our instincts are, and whether she’s living in a cave with a hippie in Greece or whether she’s hanging out with someone else in California, she unashamedly said, “We have no interest in this at all.”
And here we are, all these years later—that was 1971, we’re now 2018—and inasmuch as that kind of mentality was expressive of a shift in Western culture and thought, we find ourselves today where the solemnization of marriage is actually regarded as bizarre and the trivialization of marriage is regarded as, frankly, routine. The numbers of people who are now living outside of any kind of marriage relationship increases on a month by month basis, and those who are living as a result of the dissolution of their marriage is a sad and increasing number too.
Now, it is in light of that kind of cultural climate, as we’ve tried to say, that we want to learn what it means to pay careful attention to the Bible. And I gathered my thoughts—I don’t know how well, but let’s say I tried to gather my thoughts—around just three simple headings: the importance of thinking biblically, of living obediently, and of loving selflessly. All right?
So first of all, this whole matter of thinking biblically. Kep just mentioned that one of their tasks in South America is training pastors, helping them to think biblically. And so it’s vitally important that the pastors do so, and then that they in turn encourage those who are under their care to do likewise.
Now, if you turn back just one page in your Bible to chapter 4, let me point out to you that Paul has been urging his readers—actually all the way through, but we might say particularly from the beginning of chapter 4—to understand who they are, so that they might realize that there has been a radical change that has taken place in them: not that they were irreligious and have become religious, but they were once darkness, and now they’re light in the Lord; they were once enslaved, and now they’ve been set free in Jesus, and so on. And so he is saying to them, “It is vitally important that you understand your identity so that your activity may flow out of your identity.”
Now, for example, 4:17: “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” In other words, they’re thinking in an entirely different way. Why is that? Verse 18: “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Then he says this has implications: “They[’ve] become callous,” and as a result, the practice of their lives does not bear testimony to anything that would be regarded as true of Jesus. And he says, verse 20, “[But here’s the point:] That[’s] not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you [really] … heard about him … taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,” you’ve been taught to “put off your old self, which belongs to [the] former manner of life … is corrupt … and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”
Now, remember that these people who were the recipients of this letter in its first instance were within this community to which Paul is referring. And he is reminding them of what has happened to them. They were once part and parcel of that complete mindset. They were part and parcel of thinking in a way that had no reference to Jesus at all. And the wonder of the gospel has broken in upon them, and now they are different. And because they are different in terms of their identity, it is impacting their activity. So it’s changed the way they view marriage, it’s changed the way they view work, it’s changed the way they view bringing up children, and so on. And he’s addressing that now here.
And what it’s done also is remove them from the realm in which their friends would have perhaps just felt entirely comfortable in their company. And as they have spoken to their friends about the mystery of the gospel, their friends have said, “I don’t know if it’s a mystery. I think it’s probably crazy. I don’t know what has happened to you. You used to be a relatively decent soul. You were fun to get along with. We used to hang out together a lot. And remember all those different places we went in the evenings as a bunch of guys? And now, apparently, you’ve got to be home by five o’clock. You’re hanging with that girl all the time. I mean, what’s wrong with you?”
“Well, I’ve become a Christian.”
“Yeah, okay, well, you can become a Christian if you want, but you don’t have to take it to extremes,” you see. That’s the kind of thinking.
And when we study the Bible together, we realize that we all come from different backgrounds and places of discovery. And there may be some of you here this morning, and as you’re trying to work your way through this passage with us—perhaps you’ve been here for a few weeks—you’re still at the point where you think it’s relatively crazy. And the reason that you will think it’s relatively crazy is because the mystery to which he keeps referring, which is this mystery of the love of Christ for his church—that mystery means something that is actually inaccessible to the unaided human mind. Okay? So it’s not a matter of intelligence—clearly not. It’s not even a matter of instruction, because we’ve all been sitting under the same instruction. So why is it, then, that someone could sit under the instruction and actually then live in the light of it, and somebody else will walk out the door and they do nothing with it at all? That in itself is a mystery.
But the mystery is because “the natural person,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 2, “the natural person does not receive or accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they’re foolishness to him.” I love the clarity of the Bible in relationship to this. People say, “Well, I explained it to my friend, but they just said, ‘No, I don’t get it at all.’ Why don’t they get it? I mean, I tried my best. I read it to them three times.” They can’t get it! This is not trying to understand a mathematical formula. This is not trying to embrace a series of ethical principles. This is not an endeavor to try and convince somebody of a constructed view of the world. This is explaining to somebody that which, to the unaided natural mind, is regarded as complete folly. Well then, how could anybody ever, ever be changed? Well, you see, only by the Spirit of God.
I just had a wonderful story somebody told me this week of a couple that are now regularly here with us at Parkside, and the reason that the fellow began to come was because of the parking lot. You know, we think we’re doing a terrific job of evangelism and talking and giving out New Testaments; the fellow says, “I’m going to go to church because of that car park. I’ve driven up and down here so many Sundays, I need to go in there and find out what they’re doing—whether they’re giving away free ice cream or what’s going on.” He came in one Sunday; he went home, he told his wife, his wife came back the next Sunday, they’ve been here ever since. The car park. What’s that?
Well, you see, the Spirit of God is at work. He uses his truth. He uses means—full car parks, and strange friends at work, and the honest testimony, and the willingness to be sincere about marriage and how hard it is, and how living as a Christian is no walk in the park, and how to be sincere about these things is a demand upon us that demands something bigger than us and better than us and outside of us and so on. And the more we talk, our friends say, “I told you, you’re crazy. You’re crazy.” We do not understand them by nature because these things are spiritually discerned.
We look at Jesus, and he may be only to us a figure of history, he may be something of a religious guru, he may be a matter of consideration, but we would never call him a Savior, we would never call him a friend, we would never call him Lord—until our eyes are opened to see that we need a Savior and that there is no greater friend.
Now, it is this Jesus who is the focus of this whole section. He is referred to here in terms of the bridegroom, with the church as his bride. And what we’ve been learning is that Jesus is committed to the well-being of his bride—that is, of the church. That’s one of the metaphors in the New Testament for what it means to be part of the body of Christ. And the picture is a lovely one. These people in Ephesus had heard the word of truth, they had discovered it to be the gospel of salvation, and they had believed. So they heard, they discovered, they believed, they were included, and Paul is now instructing them about the way in which God is at work fashioning the factors and elements of their lives—not least of all within the structure of marriage—not in order to secure their short-term happiness but in order to secure their long-term holiness. That he has, if you like, chosen them and put a Reserved sign on them—said, “She is mine,” in the same way that you might go to a restaurant, and you have a Reserved sticker there, and someone says, “May I sit there?” you say, “No, I’m sorry, that is reserved for somebody.” Well, God says, “This church is reserved for me. I have reserved these people for myself. I have loved them, I have wooed them, I have won them.”
And what we discovered last time, which is so staggering, is that it is the love of Christ for the church which is to be the model and the measure of a husband’s love for his wife. That’s what makes this so solemn and so staggering, isn’t it? And so, “Husbands, love your wives,” verse 25. How should we do that? “As Christ loved the church.” How did he do that? He “gave himself up for her,” sacrificially, taking the initiative, wooing her and winning her, and providing for her, and caring for her, and so on. That’s the measure.
We found it, I found it… I mean, somebody came to me last week and said, “Do you know how hard it is to listen to this?” And I said, “Excuse me?” I said, “Yeah, I just listened to it three times this morning. You ought to try preaching it as well. And with your wife in the congregation!”
There is no place to hide. No, no, no, no. The Bible… we just prayed, “Through the preaching of the Word, preach to us, Jesus. You are the head of the church. You are the preacher. Preach to us. Speak, Lord, we’re listening.”
Yes, of course it’s difficult. Of course it’s challenging. And I think, in a sense, when he comes to verse 28, Paul is recognizing this, and he comes around and he says, “You know, in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” It’s almost as if he says, “If the concept of loving your wife the way Christ loved the church is a little bit lofty—you know, if it’s like, ‘I can’t get my head around that,’” he said, “well, think about how you look after yourself. Think about how you look after your own body. Think about the way you care for yourself.” Perhaps we should think about it in those terms: “That’s how husbands should love their wives: as their own bodies.”
Now, Paul in all of this section is anticipating, if you like, the close of it: verses 31, 32, and 33. If you like, all that we are now considering is built upon the foundation to which he’s about to come. And so, verse 28, the idea of “as their own bodies,” needs to be read in light of verse 31. And in verse 31, Paul is referencing Genesis 2:24. Right? “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,” and what will happen? “The two [will] become one flesh.” One flesh. Now, there is a graphic picture there of union at its most intimate physical level. It’s impossible to miss. It’s clearly there. And that’s why those who teach asceticism and teach somehow or another that sexual engagement is for, you know, a kind of low-level existence—if you’re a true person then you’ll be able to stay away from all of that—not so! Not from the Bible, no. For this very reason, a man will leave his father and mother, being united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
So in other words, in the bonds of Christian marriage, mathematics go as follows: one plus one equals one. One plus one equals one. I always say to couples when they come to be married, I say to them—before they go back down the aisle—I say, “You are no longer what you were when you came in here. You came in here singly. You don’t go out singly. You are now united. You are united. You have made promises before God, before each other, before the congregation, and you are now in an irrevocable position in relationship to your union with one another. That brings with it all kinds of joys, and wonderful challenges too.”
We’ve got good friends in California; they’ve been married for over sixty years now. I’ve always envied their number plate. The number plate, I think on the wife’s car, is WE2R1: “We two are one.” And they’re a wonderful testimony to the reality of that.
So, what Paul is actually saying here is even something more than, “Now husbands, you know the way you treat yourself? You know the way you treat your own body? Then you should treat your wife like that as well.” No, I think he’s actually saying more than that. He’s saying, “She is you. You are her.” In other words, given that I have become one flesh with my wife, it would be unnatural, if you like, or against nature, not to love her in this way. Because after all, no one hated his own flesh.
“Well, she is my own flesh.” Yes! That’s his point. He’s not simply saying, “You’ve got yourself a hamburger and fries, that was nice, so why don’t you get your wife a hamburger and fries—you know, kinda treat her eeksie-peeksie, you know.” No, that’s not what he’s saying at all. Listen to Sinclair Ferguson. If in doubt go to Sinclair: “If [anyone] hates his own flesh we regard him as unbalanced, perhaps psychotic. For a husband not to love his wife—who has become one flesh with him—is not only to be a poor husband, it is to be a dysfunctional Christian.” You get it? You see how radically it is presented to us when we say, “Now we’re going to think biblically.”
Now, you see, your wife is not your partner. She’s your other half. And in most cases, she’s your better half. We often say that somewhat, you know, funnily. But it’s actually true. She definitely is my better half. Anyone who knows me knows that. And probably, husbands, you may find yourself in the same position.
You see, this is not two people that have just decided to walk through life together. This is something far more significant than that. This is not the irrelevancy of Joni Mitchell in 1971. This is not the superficiality and trivialization of relationships—male and female—that has been part and parcel of our culture. No, this is solemn. This is solemn. Because in the vows of marriage… and incidentally, one of the expressions of the sort of disinterest in marriage is the prevalence of young people to want to write their own vows. But when they come to write their own vows, they’re lousy. They’re terrible! I mean… yeah, they are. They are. They’re not vows.
So, it’s like, well—I always say to them, “Show me what it is you’re going to say.” And then when I see that, I say, “But I thought you were writing a vow? This is not a vow. This is a Roberta Flack song.” You know, you want to stand up and say, “The first time ever I saw your face, I felt the earth move in my hand.” Who gives a rip? That’s got nothing to do with anything! But if that’s your view of marriage, you see—“I felt the earth move”—what happens when the earth stops moving? Where are you going to be that Tuesday? You’re going to have to go look for somebody else to make the earth move for you.
No, that’s why they’re vows. “To love and to cherish till death us do part.” That is all the Bible anticipates in the dissolution of the bond of marriage: death. What about divorce? “He allowed you a certificate of divorce because of the hardness of your hearts.” It was an accommodation to the chaos. It is never the design of God. No! But it’s tough; of course, it’s tough. But, you see, God’s interested in your holiness. He’s not first of all concerned about your happiness.
“No one … hated his own flesh … nourishes [it] … cherishes it.” They’re almost synonyms, aren’t they? Tenderness, nurture, care, supplying what is necessary for life and for health and for growth. This is what the husband is doing. It would be very strange if he didn’t care in this way.
In other words, it’s the opposite of doing what many of us are tempted to do as husbands, and that is, instead of creating a context that stimulates, if you like, the growth and well-being of our wives, we actually detract from it. We stifle it. We’re not adding ice to the orchids, you know. It’s starting to dry out. We’ve started to be preoccupied with ourselves. We have neglected the need to provide and to protect—to do so by showing her honor, by treating her in a way that is understanding, and all the time recognizing that it really’s going to take a lifetime to learn how to do this. A lifetime.
Now, there’s the biblical framework, and so we need to think that out. And then we need to say, “Are we going to live obediently in light of it?” I mean, that’s really it. Are we going to do what the Bible says?
“Oh, but this is hard.”
Uh-huh. Are we going to do what the Bible says?
“Well, this means I’m going to have to—”
Uh-huh. Are we gonna do what the Bible says?
“But you don’t realize what she’s like.”
Got it. Are you gonna do what the Bible says?
You see, marriage in some ways is like a golf swing: it’s not easy, but it’s straightforward. I mean, you’re supposed to turn away and turn back, and have the clubhead square to the ball at impact. You can expand on that, but by and large, that’s it. If you watch the tournament this afternoon, you’ll find that everybody’s essentially doing the same: they turn away, they turn back. It’s really hard. Straightforward! Like marriage. Straightforward: “Love your wife as your own body.” “Oh, come on. Do you know how hard that is?” Well, you’d be psychotic if you weren’t taking care of yourself. It would be unnatural for you not to love your wife in that way.
Now, let me just anticipate this evening by giving a couple of practical pointers in relationship to this. What is it going to mean, then, to love selflessly? How then are we going to apply this? Well, the answer is that each husband is going to have to figure it out for himself. And at the very baseline is the attitude of our hearts. You know, we can give each other lists of things to do, but if the heart is wrong, then the lists are superficial and ultimately ineffective.
And not everybody comes to marriage with the same set of expectations. I mean, I remember being with good friends of ours in California and entering into a little bit of a contretemps between the husband and the wife because he thought he had done his wife an amazing thing by providing her, for Christmas, with a new dishwasher. Right? And let’s just say that that hadn’t gone over quite as well as he anticipated. From his perspective it was selfless, it was loving, it was necessary, it was helpful—but it didn’t ring her bell, that was for sure. So in terms of loving people…
“You know, I really love tea, so I’m going to give you tea.”
“But I don’t like tea.”
“Well, tough! I like tea. I’m not making tea and coffee.”
And says, “Oh yeah you are.” That’s yourself saying that to you.
So, let me give you four Ts, since I’m talking tea. Here’s tea time—actually talking golf and tea. Okay? Tee time. Tea time. Work them out for yourself.
Number one, touch. Touch. Actually touching each other. Now, we’ve got a mixed audience here; we’re not going to take it any further than that. But touch means a lot of stuff. Tanya Tucker: “Hold me like you want to, not because you have to.” “Touch me.”
You think about life, think about when you fell in love with this girl. Golly, you couldn’t wait even to—anywhere in proximity to her, it was like gold dust. You actually could reach across in church and get your pinky alongside her pinky, it’s like electricity! You’re married for forty-three years; you gotta work at that. ’Cause the buzz is not the same. Touch.
Along with touch, time. Time. The gift of time is worth far more than money. Time is everything. Time is the one thing that just is running through our fingers. I’ve run out of time to tell you about the men in the course of pastoral ministry who were always explaining to their wives that when they got through with the next project, they were definitely gonna “make time.” And in the one particular case that’s in my mind, the man who was gonna “make time” for his wife in this way had a major stroke, and she nursed him to the end of his days. He was a sweet man, but he just could not free himself from his commitment to all of his projects. He wasn’t loving his wife as his own body. He was loving his use of time.
Touch. Time. Talk. Talk. “Talk to me.” Our wives will often anticipate that we will give to them the benefit of what our days have been. The trouble is that many of us have gone through those days in such a way that we’d rather not talk about them at all. I mean, it’s just, “Let’s do something else”—like touch. And… sorry. But if talk matters to her, talk matters. “Talk to me.” That’s another song: “Talk to me, like lovers do.” I can’t remember who wrote that one. Or maybe read to your wife. Do you read to your wife? Yeah. You read? I read to Sue, but only as long as she keeps her eyes open; if she closes her eyes, I stop. ’Cause I’m not reading to her if she’s asleep. It’s too demanding.
Okay, the last one. So, touch, time, talk, travel. Travel. Go places. Like where? Well, like down the street. The post office. The young fellows always ask me, they say, in pastoral ministry, “And what do you do with your wife?” You know, “What do you like to do with your wife?”
I say, “Nothing.”
They’re like, “No, I mean, seriously.”
I’m like, “No, I’m serious.”
“You mean, like, nothing?”
“Oh, we, sometimes we go down there, and then we come back up.”
“You didn’t go on amazing adventures together?”
“Yeah, some. But that’s not really the issue.”
You see, because it is the companionship. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the Mentor Headlands. Or, you know, if you’re in the groove, you can go to the Mentor Headlands and have a blast. If you’re not in the groove, you can go to the coast of New Zealand and have the worst time in your entire life. Because we never got the touch and the time and the talk, and we thought that travel would do it. There’s not a trip you can take to fix the absence of touch-time-talk on a routine basis.
The last thing by way of practical application is just to help us in case we’re in danger of NAG-ing. And this is under the heading of “loving selflessly”—just three words.
Number one, the danger of neglect; it’s inherent in what I’ve been saying. Neglect. To neglect our wives physically, emotionally, spiritually. And if career or if church or if club interferes and causes us to justify that kind of neglect, then we need to look very, very carefully at those things.
N for neglect. A for abuse. Surely, we’re not going to give any credence whatsoever to the dreadful stuff that is part and parcel of our contemporary society. It’s possible to abuse our wives, to belittle them, to talk down to them, to treat them with disregard, to act as if, you know, they’re really very fortunate to be married to us.
And, along with that—and I wrote G for granted. It doesn’t really work, I know, but, NAG: neglect, abuse, granted, as in “taken for granted.” So easy, isn’t it? Especially as time goes by.
And what it really confronts us with is two things: one, the ugliness of self, and two, the loveliness of Christ. The ugliness of self and the loveliness of Christ. Paul is not here exhorting the husband to love his wife as simply an extension of self-love, or because it would be to his benefit or to his advantage. No, the love he’s speaking about is the cross-shaped love of Christ for his church.
And it is that same giving up that is demanded of the wife in the opening verses and is demanded of the husband in these subsequent verses, because both husband and wife are by nature sinful and selfish. And therefore, any progress that we make is only by his grace, isn’t it? So that, as we often sing,
Every loving word we say,
Every tear we wipe away,
Every sorrow turned to praise,
Is only by his grace.
And where’s that grace revealed? Well, it’s revealed in the Lord Jesus, who, although he had all in and of himself and in the Trinity—was in need of no one and in need of nothing—he came, gave himself up, in order that we, in our need and in our rebellion and in our emptiness, may be caught up in his embrace, and may be welcomed into his heart, and may be brought into his family, and may be made part of his bride. And we find ourselves saying, “Why would he ever love me like that?” Well, he didn’t love his bride because she was lovely. He loved her so that he might make her lovely.
And when you see the unfolding story of life; when we deal with the changes of life; when we realize as husbands that it means something very, very different for our wives in terms of physiology and psychology to be the mothers of our children, to be the postmenopausal ladies of our world, to be confronted by their own sense of frailty, by their own mortality, by the awareness that they have of the potentiality of living life now on their own in the absence of the one who has been for them both protection and provision and nurture and cherish; when I even begin to approximate to that kind of thinking, then along with you, I find myself saying, “Well, God, I really need the enabling of the Holy Spirit so that I might think biblically, so that I might live obediently, and so that by your help I might love selflessly.”
Father, we commend our study and ourselves to you. We want desperately to live in obedience to your truth. We pray that you would open our blind eyes and soften our hard hearts that we might hear the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, and that first of all we might believe, and then that in believing who you are and what you’ve done and trusting in you, that you will help us to behave accordingly. We thank you that it is to your Word we look, that your Word is faithful, it’s true; it hasn’t died out a few centuries ago, it’s right up to date.
So come and help us, we pray, and make us—in our individual lives, in our homes, and as a congregation—help us, Lord; fix things for us. Save us from our selfishness, so that we might be as lights in the midst of a confused and chaotic and dark world when it comes to the matter of relationships, and not least of all what it means to be a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. For we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
 The Book of Common Prayer.
 Joni Mitchell, “My Old Man” (1970).
 1 Corinthians 2:14 (paraphrased).
 See 1 Corinthians 2:14.
 See Ephesians 1:13.
 Ephesians 5:31 (ESV).
 Sinclair B. Ferguson, Let’s Study Ephesians (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2005), 154.
 Ewan MacColl, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1957). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Matthew 19:8 (paraphrased).
 Paul Davis and Bobby Emmons, “Love Me Like You Used To” (1987). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Annie Lennox and David Allen Stewart, “Here Comes the Rain Again” (1983).
 Scott Wesley Brown and Jeff Nelson, “Grace Alone” (1998).
Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.