Tim and Kathy Keller, Pre-Conference

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Tim Keller:

The Culture needs to understand that love is a covenantal thing. God is a witness of the first marriage.

Our culture doesn’t know about covenant, the counterintuitive combination of love and law. More intense than just a love relationship, more personal and binding than a legal contract. The “I’m committed for my whole life, not just to FEEL loving but to BE loving, regardless of how I feel.” That is how we can be safe to be ourselves and trust. It’s MORE intimate, and you can even stop fooling yourself as to who you are.

Covenant allows us to be who we are. Cohabitation leaves us in “Marketing and promotion” b/c the other person can always leave.

Do you get the same electrical charge when you hold your wife’s hand now?

“Heck no!”

“Not the magnitude of my love for her, but the flattery of her choice of me. I didn’t feel love, I felt my ego affirmed.”

“Love is sacrificial service, and the increasing delight you find in the person you’ve invested your life in.”

When we fall in love, we fall in love with the idea of the person we think the other is. As time goes by, we find out who we really are. We live life together, find out who we really are. Live, love, repent, learn who we really are. And real love grows out of that.

“The praise of the praiseworthy…”

What do you do when marriage brings out the worst in both of you? Only the grace of Christ. Jesus saw what we would do, and he stayed on the cross. We can stay, too.

Christ didn’t die for us because we were lovely, but to make us lovely.

Kathy Keller

As memebers of Christ’s body, we are the hands and feet of Christ, ministering grace to a needy people.

Not just a nice metaphor, but a reality.

1 Cor 12: Reflection of “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Not my people, but me.

Eph 4:25: The world sees us, and we are Christ made visible.

Christian marriage is an apologetic vehicle, a message that will astonish the world if we get it right.

We have been told that we have made a God in our image, but CS Lewis stated that he populated the world with things He would be able to call on to describe Himself through His creation.

The revelation that is written is drawn upon analogical language of his previously created beings. It is Divine Show and Tell.

Character of God can be visible in the distinct roles of men and women in a marriage.

Main Point: 

In a Christian marriage, each person gets to play the Jesus role. Each member, playing out their role of headship and submission shows a complete picture of Christ.

Phil 2: Submissive to the Father

Eph 5: Headship over the church

God meant something important when he stamped us XX or XY, so that we would more fully represent in the divinely ordained gender roles.

Headship and submission are both roles reflective of Jesus. Mystery of the Dance of Trinity…

There’s a church on every corner, but only in a marriage can people see repentance operating without manipulation. Marriage can become a window into the Gospel.

Deeper understanding of ourselves and the Triune God.

People see your marriage and how it works (or doesn’t work) more intimately than anything else you do. How you interact is visible, even to casual observers.

What should people see about Christ in your marriage?

What do people actually see in your marriage? 

Husband: Eph 5, Headship and sacrificial love. Gave himself up to make his bride holy and spotless. Not Archie Bunker definition of headship.

Headship is not qualification to receive all the perks and benefits with your little woman to provide them for you…

Great becomes servant, First becomes slave. Jesus emphasized the redemption of power and authority by washing the feet of his disciples. Headship is flipped upside down from what the world expects.

Jesus took the ego out of leadership and redefined as sacrificial servanthood, willing to do the hard work and to even die.


If you have a husband who understands headship, there will be no problem submitted to him. But…what about those who are single or are in unhappy marriages, with husbands who do not understand headship properly?

Phil 2… Humbled himself, became obedient to death. THEREFORE… exalted to the highest place. Submission leads directly to God being glorified.

Jesus took the role of a servant. They (headship and submission) are roles. You salute the uniform, not the person.

Father and Son are equally God. But Jesus took a role that is economically subbordinate. Not compelled or required of him, but a gift offered for securing our salvation.

Submission in a marriage is given first to God, not to a husband.

“If submission did not harm the second person of the Trinity, it surely will not hurt me.”

Gal 3: 26-28– Not a challenge to gender roles, but a window into how God uses them.

All sons, but all brides, too. Also sheep… Not as rich when we are “Children”

No one’s worth is found in the role in which they play here on earth.

Distinguish roles from gifts and their value.

Men are = in value and status before God, equally gifted by the Spirit.

Equally called to use gifts, but in different roles, but both in roles Jesus fulfilled.

Idolatry: We forget our true Spouse because we are so focused on our earthly spouse. We are all betrothed to our heavenly bridegroom.

Jesus had an earthly body. Jesus still has His earthly body. He knows what you’re going through when you remain chaste and pure for His sake. Single people are placed uniquely in the lives of married people to remind them to not place too much worth in the earthly life they have in marriage. Married people play out the Gospel before a watching world.