FamilyLife Today® Podcast

The Sacrificial Leader

with Voddie Baucham | June 19, 2012
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Sitting at the head of the table doesn't make you the head of the home. But laying down your life in sacrificial love, as Christ did, might. Pastor Voddie Baucham explains the benefits of headship, which includes sacrifice, suffering and death to self.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Sitting at the head of the table doesn't make you the head of the home. But laying down your life in sacrificial love, as Christ did, might. Pastor Voddie Baucham explains the benefits of headship, which includes sacrifice, suffering and death to self.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Sitting at the head of the table doesn’t make you the head of the home.

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The Sacrificial Leader

With Voddie Baucham
June 19, 2012
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Bob:  In Ephesians, Chapter 5, the Bible says that the relationship between a husband and a wife is a mystery.  It’s a picture of the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the church.  Here’s Voddie Baucham.

Voddie:  This is about Christ’s headship over His body, and it’s about the glory that the body gives to its head.  I love Christ.  He saved me!  He redeemed me!  How can I not turn toward my wife—love, nurture, adoration—if what I’m living out with her is a living, breathing picture of Christ’s headship over His body?

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, June 19th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.   There is more at stake in how you and your spouse relate in marriage than just the two of you getting along.  We’re going to hear about that today.   Stay tuned.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.   You know, if you spend time in Ephesians, Chapter 5, and you read the part on marriage, where he talks to husbands and to wives—


Dennis:  Your toes are going to get stepped on, whether you’re a male or a female.

Bob:  That’s the truth, and what we often have a tendency to do is—Men read the part that’s to the women, and say, “Yeah! Yeah!”; and the women read the part that’s to the men, and go, “Yeah!”  So, today, we need the men to listen carefully.

Dennis:  I have a feeling, after we heard the first half of the message, earlier—this message was given by Voddie Baucham on the Love Like You Mean Itcruise, back over Valentine’s Day—a five-day cruise that we had that was really outstanding.  This is the kind of teaching that you get.  In fact, Voddie is coming back next year.

Bob:  He’ll be on the cruise.  In fact, Voddie—Dr. Eric Mason is going to be joining us, Priscilla Shirer is with us.

Dennis:  You are going to be speaking; right?

Bob:  I’ll be speaking; you’ll be speaking.  We’ve got Denver & the Mile High Orchestra joining us.  Sara Groves is going to be onboard with us.  It’s going to be a great event.  This is Valentine’s week, 2013.  We leave Miami on Monday morning.  We go to Key West, and then to Cozumel, and get back on Friday morning.  Along the way, you’ll get a lot of great Bible teaching about marriage.  It really is a fun event.

If folks are interested in more information about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, go online at, or call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY.  The cruise is filling up fast.  I talked with our team and I said, “Can we do something to encourage FamilyLifeToday listeners to join us?”  They said, “For one week, we can make this offer:  If you will sign up for the cruise and you pay the regular rate for yourself, your spouse comes at half-price.” 

But, again, you have to identify yourself as a FamilyLifeToday listener to take advantage of that; and you have to get in touch with us before Monday, June 25th.  So call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY; or go online at  Plan to be with us for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.  Again, the website:, or call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.

As you mentioned, Dennis, Voddie Baucham, on this year’s cruise, spoke from Ephesians, Chapter 5.  We’ve already heard Part One of the message, where he talked to wives about respecting and submitting.  Yes, he used the “submission” word.

Dennis:  He did, and I can imagine there were a few wives from that broadcast who called their husbands and said, “You make sure you listen to FamilyLife Today

Bob:  —to Part Two.

Dennis:  Exactly!  “If it’s as strong as that was to me, I want you to hear that.”  And it was equally strong.

Bob:  Here is Voddie Baucham, taking us to Ephesians, Chapter 5, and God’s design for husbands.

[Recorded Message]

Voddie:  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her;”   Why?  “that He might sanctify her,”   That means to set her apart for Himself.  That would be a picture of Christ’s headship over His body.  “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself,”

Now, not only has He set her apart, but He is now bringing her to Himself—unity in Christ’s body, “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish,”—which would bring glory to the head. 

“Husbands, love your wives because, if you love your wife, then she’ll respond to you appropriately.”  No!  “Love your wife for the love of Christ.”  I will not tell you to love your wife so that she’ll respond to you appropriately because here’s what I know.  In the real world, there will be times when you love your wife and she doesn’t respond appropriately. 

If you love your wife in order to get something back from her—number one—you have completely missed the idea of these indicatives and imperatives.  Number two, you will stop doing what you’ve been commanded to do because the throne of your life is occupied by you and your pleasure and not by Christ.  But, if you are called to love your wife in this way, because of Christ’s headship over His body and the unity in His body, and the glory that the body gives to its head, then I can say to you in no uncertain terms, you love your wife because she belongs to Christ.  It is your desire for this daughter of God to be more sanctified and more like Jesus as a result of having been married to you than she would have, had she not. 

If she never reciprocates, you continue to give that to her nonetheless because you do it for the love of Christ, not for what you get out of it.  By the way, that may not sound pleasant to you; but can I ask you something?  When am I more like Jesus?—when I am loving my wife and getting everything in return that I want, or when I am dying for a bride who doesn’t even have sense enough to know that that’s why I am laying down my life?  [Applause]

You love your wife because she belongs to Christ, and you desire to be used of God as a sanctifying influence in her life.  So that, when your marriage is done—when you die—you can literally offer her to your Lord, as a gift, because of your love for Him.  “Is it just completely selfless like that?”  Get to the next part of this.  God is so gracious.

“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.”

You love your wife, not only because she is a child of God and it is your desire that she be more sanctified as a result of having been married to you than she would have had she not been married to you, but you also love her because she has been gifted to you by God.  She’s not just yours; she’s you!  As you love her, you are actually fortifying the gift that God has given to you.  “God, You’ve given me this woman.  I love her because she’s Yours.  My desire is to give her to You, as a more sanctified vessel, because of the love with which I’ve loved her.”

“Thank you.  Enjoy!”

“Yes, but see; I’m giving her to You.” 

“Yes.  Thank you.  Enjoy!” 

Can I just sort of pull the shade back on that, just a little bit?  The marriage relationship is a living, breathing picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church.  As you know, the relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride, the church, has not yet been consummated.  The church always lives in longing anticipation of the day when Christ, her bridegroom, will return at the end of the age, and the consummation of all things will occur.  It is an ecstasy that we cannot imagine—except in one moment. 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God,” not your own armor, “that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, and against authorities, against cosmic power over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil,” where?  “in the heavenly places.” 

Where is Christ, according to the first three chapters?—in the heavenly places.  Where have I been seated, according to the first three chapters?—in the heavenly places.  I’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing.  Where?—in the heavenly places.  The church is designed to show off God’s majesty.  Where?—in the heavenly places. 

Wait a minute.  In the first three chapters, Paul tells me I’m seated, in Christ, in the heavenly places, and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places—that the church is displaying God’s majesty in the heavenly places—and that Christ, who is God, in the flesh, the Creator of the universe, is there, ruling over the heavenly places.  In Chapter 6, He tells me to, “Stand firm.”  Where?  In the heavenly places—that belong, not to my adversary, but to my advocate. 

What’s wrong with your marriage is that there’s assault from heavenly places, and then you go try to fix it by using earthly techniques.  What do you need?  To remind yourself of the Gospel, of who you are in Christ, of where you have been seated, and what you have been given.  What do you desperately need to be mindful of?—that your marriage is a display of the beautiful picture of Christ’s headship over His body, the unity in Christ’s body, and the glory that the body gives to its head.

Wife, I know it’s hard for you to submit to your husband; and there’s no technique that’s going to make it un-hard for you to submit to your husband.  But if you have been born again, you delight in Christ.  What does He tell you?  “Submit to your husband, as to the Lord.” 

“God, this imperative is so hard!”  That is because you’re not looking at the indicative.  To whom do you belong?  “I belong to Christ.”  With what have you been blessed?  “With everything I need.”  Where have you been blessed with it?”—“in the heavenly places.”  Submit to that man.  “Yes, but I don’t know what will happen.”  Do you have to?  As an act of worship to your Savior, and Master, and Lord, submit to your husband—not because he’s more valuable.  He’s not.  It’s not about value; it’s about order. 

Husbands, love your wives, not just because your wife is a responder.  Is she a responder?  Yes, she is a responder.  Praise God for wives being responders, but that’s not why you love your wife.  You love your wife, first and foremost, because she is a child of God who has been entrusted to you so that Christ may be glorified as she is more sanctified as a result of the relationship that she has with you.

By the way, did I tell you 17 things that you have to do to disciple your wife?  No!  But I will tell you this:  If you understand that phrase—that God has given your wife as a gift to you, that she’s a child of God, and it is God’s plan, through marriage, that she be more sanctified as a result of having been married to you than she would have been had she not been married to you—that ought to get you thinking about some ways that you can get her discipled.

By the way, doesn’t this change the whole recipe, too?  “Well, you know, see, here’s the problem.  My wife is further along spiritually than I am; and therefore, I cannot disciple my wife because she’s further along spiritually than I am.  So what I’m going to do is nothing!”  [Laughter]  In the words of that Texas theologian, Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”  [Laughter]

Let’s see if we can put that in a different scenario.  “Jim, how are you doing?”

“I’m doing great, boss.  You wanted to see me?”

“Yes, Jim.  I’m going to promote you.”

“You’re going to promote me?!”

“Yes, Jim.  You’re going to be over this entire division.”

“Wow!  That’s awesome.  I will do my best.  But, oh, you know what?  Wait a minute.  There are people in this division who have been in the company longer than I’ve been in the company.  There are actually people in this division who know their particular job better than I know their job.  I think, boss, that what you need to do is maybe give this job to somebody else because I can’t lead people who know more about stuff than I do.”

What do you say?  You wouldn’t do that at work because you’ve got a worship problem.  If you wouldn’t do it at work, how dare you do it at home?  Here’s the irony:  Not only do you take that job, but you tell your wife that she has to sacrifice time with you for a while so that you can burn the midnight oil and get up to date on your new responsibilities, so that when you get to work, you can be on the ball and lead even those people who have been there longer than you have because you will not fail!

Why do we do that?—because we see ourselves seated in earthly places, for earthly purposes.  We live like that’s who we really are; but if you see yourself as seated in heavenly places, and equipped for the heavenly duties and responsibilities, and God gives you a wife who loves Him, and pursues Him, and is even farther along than you are, then you say, “Thank you, Sir.  I won’t let you down because, not only do I love her, but I love You even more than I love her.  If You’ve given me this assignment, my goal is that she become more of what You’ve called her to be, as a result of this assignment that You’ve given me.  I don’t know what it is that I can add to her, but I guarantee You that I’m going to add something.” 

You see the difference in that is—not five or six tools—but one change of perspective.  I don’t know what your particular issues are.  The beautiful thing is I don’t have to because, whatever your particular issues are, I know what your answer is.  The answer is, “You submit to your husband, for the love of Christ.”  “You love your wife, for the love of Christ.”  “You live your life, for the love of Christ.” 

Would you bow with me?  As we bow before the Lord, would you just consider a couple of things because there are some of you who actually came to this week, desiring to have a better marriage and hoping that you would hear some tips for a better marriage.  But the fact of the matter is, you are not seated with Him in heavenly places.  You have not been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.

You are absolutely unconverted.  You do not belong to God, and what you hear tonight is that these imperatives are absolutely dependent upon indicatives that are not true of you.  You have not come to God through repentance and faith.  You are not a Christian.  You’re not saved.  You’re not His; and I say to you tonight, “Repent!  Turn from your sin; turn to Christ!”  Before you can turn to your spouse, you must turn to Christ.  Cry out to Him.  Plead with Him, that He might save you.  Trust Him and trust Him alone. 

There are others of you, here tonight—you are born again.  You do belong to Christ, but you have been trying so hard to find the right trick and the right principle that you’ve forgotten that you’re to do this for the love of Christ.  Don’t wait for your husband to be worthy of your submission.  He never will be, but Christ is. Don’t wait to feel like loving your wife.  Love her as a child of the King, whom you desire to see more sanctified as a result of having been married to you than she would have had she not.  Receive, gratefully, the gift that she is from the very Lord to whom you intend to give her.  Embrace the reality of this truth—celebrate the ecstasy of the coming of your King in consummation of all things at the end of the age.

Remember, in your darkest and most difficult days, ultimately, this is not about you.  You do this for no other reason than for the love of Christ.


Bob:  Well, again, we’ve been listening today to Part Two of a message from Voddie Baucham—a message presented on the 2012 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.  You know, Dennis, I had a couple come up to me on the cruise.  It was actually the wife who came up and tapped me on the shoulder first.  I turned around and she said, “Do you remember me?”

It took a sec; and then I thought, “I do remember you.”  In fact, she and her husband had been on the Love Like You Mean It cruise—the first one that we did in 2011.  Mary Ann and I had spent about 45 minutes with this couple because their marriage was in distress.  I remember—after talking with them and challenging them, and praying with them—we walked away thinking, “Boy, I wonder what’s going to happen with this marriage.”  To see them on the 2012 Love Like You Mean It cruise—I said, “Tell me what’s happened.”  She said, “What you shared last year, and the whole experience of the cruise—God used it.  Our marriage has been different this year, as a result of it.”

For me, that’s why you go on a cruise like this.  I mean, sure it’s fun, and there are great places to go; but ultimately, it’s about God being at work in your life.

Dennis:  It’s a vacation with a purpose.  You’re not just going to go have fun—your soul is going to be spiritually nourished, you’re going to be challenged, you’re going to be equipped.  I think your relationships are going to be better.  There are a lot of folks who are listening, right now, whose marriages are good, who don’t need their marriage brought back from the brink; but it never hurts to have a little spiritual tune-up—

Bob:  —some preventive maintenance.

Dennis:  No doubt about it.  Hearing a message like Voddie’s—and, again, he’s going to be speaking at next year’s Love Like You Mean It cruise.  This kind of teaching is going to be a part of what we’re doing next year.  You’re going to be speaking; I’ll be speaking.

Bob:  We’ve got Dr. Eric Mason joining us.  Priscilla Shirer is going to be there, Sara Groves, Denver & the Mile High Orchestra.  It’s a great team that we’ve got lined up for the cruise.

Dennis:  It is.  The idea is that marriages were put here by God, not just to nourish each other, but to be turned outward to help others.  You’ll find out some ways how your marriage can be used by God to impact other couples, back in your home area.  We’ll give you some tools to be able to do that.

Bob:  It may be that 2013 is one of those landmark anniversary years for you, as a couple.  Doing something special—like going on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—is a great way to celebrate.  The thing is—we’re starting to see the cruise fill up for next year.

I asked our team, “Can we do something to encourage our FamilyLife Today listeners to be with us?”  They said, “We can make a one-week offer.”  That’s what we’re doing.  Between now and Monday, June 25th, if you register for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, we’ve got a special offer for anybody who says, “I listen to FamilyLife Today, and I want to go with you.”

If you pay the regular registration fee for yourself, your spouse comes for half-price on next year’s cruise.  Again, that’s good only until Monday, June 25th.  Call 1-800-FL-TODAY, or go online at  Take advantage of the special offer for FamilyLife Today listeners, and plan to join us on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, Valentine’s week of 2013.  We’d love to have you along.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk about some basics when it comes to romance because, honestly, none of us is so smart that we couldn’t use a little remedial help from time to time—so, some romance basics for all of us tomorrow.  I hope you can be with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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