A Bible College student wanted to impress his girlfriend’s father.  He wrote him a letter and shared his testimony of how he became a Christian.  He closed the letter, asking for the Father’s permission to court his daughter.  He signed his name and as he normally did, by adding the reference for his life verse after his name.  That life verse was 1 Samuel 12:24, which says “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”
in his nervousness, and quite by mistake, he wrote the reference for 2 Samuel 12:24 instead. The father was greatly surprised when he looked up the reference.  That verse states,  “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon.” (2 Samuel 12:24, NIV84)!  The young man certainly made an impression on his girlfriend’s father, but it was not what he intended!

A couple was arranging for their wedding, and asked the bakery to decorate their wedding cake with the words from 1 John 4:18, which reads, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
The bakery evidently lost, smudged, or otherwise misread the noted reference, and beautifully inscribed on the cake John 4:18: “For you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband.”
I guess the moral of these two stories is to be careful how you write out Bible verses!

Those humorous tales are a reminder of the more serious nature of Valentine’s Day.  There are various traditions regarding the origins of VALENTINES DAY:
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome.  When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Another story suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.  While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailer’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’

We hear commercials today about finding your “TRUE LOVE.”  Those E Harmony commercials end with the line, “Find your true love.”
I am reminded of the scene in the fantasy, “The Princes Bride.”  In that film, there is a scene where Billy Crystal plays “Miracle Max,” a magician who revives the Prince once he learns that he is seeking TRUE LOVE.  It is only when Miracle Max of the noble cause of finding one’s “true love” that he is persuaded to help.  ‘

But How do you find TRUE LOVE?
Better, how can you practice TRUE LOVE?

We need to follow the example of Christ if we want TRUE LOVE in our marriage.
Now I know that in a message on marriage, there are a variety of people here today.
Some are single
Some have watched a husband or wife pass on to eternity
Some are divorced

All of us should celebrate marital love, regardless of whether or not we are married.

EPHESIANS 5:1-2  “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1–2, NIV84)

I.    True Love is based on understanding God’s Love for us.  Eph 5:1 “As dearly loved children.”
A.    Earthly fathers LOVE their children.
1.    Psalm 103:13  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;”
2.    1 Thessalonians 2:11 “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

B.    As our HEAVENLY FATHER, God loves us!
1.    “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1, NIV84)

C.    Psychologists tell us that without affection as children, we do not know how to interact with others.
1.    Smiles at a baby
2.    Gentle talking
3.    Caressing
4.    Nursing
5.    Snuggling
6.    Without this, we don’t know how to interact with others.

D.    Without God’s Love, we don’t know how to love others.

II.    The Greatest Example of TRUE LOVE is found in Christ.  5:2 “As Christ has loved you.”
A.    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34, NIV84)
B.    “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9, NIV84)

III.    True Love is Pure.  Eph 5 3-7
A.    Marital love finds its greatest expression in sexual intimacy
B.    Satan desires to corrupt this beauty and destroy love
C.    Stay pure
D.    If you have sinned, repent and stay pure.

IV.    True Love is honest.  Eph 5:8-17
A.    True love discerns between deception and truth
B.    True Love rightfully identifies what is good and evil
D.    Love does not accept as true things that are not true
E.    Love does not accept as pure things that are not pure
F.    1 Cor 13:6  “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

V.    True Love expresses itself through submission.
A.    Eph 4:21-32.  Be kind to one another.  OTHERS FIRST
B.    Eph 5:21.  Submit to one another.
C.    Eph 5:22.  Wives submit to husbands
D.    Eph 5:28. Husbands, lead your wives, but put them above yourself (a form of submission)
E.    Eph 6:1.  Children submit to parents
F.    Eph 6:4.  Fathers, care for children.
G.    Eph 6:5.  Slaves, submit to masters
H.    Eph 6:9.  Masters, put your salves before yourself.      “In the same way…..” “Since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”
I.    Submit to GOVERNMENT.  Romans 13:1.  “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
J.    Submit to SPIRITUAL LEADERS.   Heb 13:17.  “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
1.    The Spirit is submissive to the Son. John 14:26   “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
2.    The is Submissive to the Father.  John 12:49  “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.”

VI.    Christian Marriage is a living illustration of Christ’s True Love for the Church
A.    Eph 5:25.  “Just as Christ loved the Church.”
B.    Eph 5:31-32  ““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
1.    SO. . . When a wife submits to her husband, she is doing so as a reminder of the church’s submission to Christ
2.    SO. . .When a husband loves his wife, he is doing so as a reminder of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church!
3.    Your home is a picture of the union between Christ/ Church

C.    The greatness of the mystery refers to the two becoming one flesh. But then Paul returned to mention the wonderful bond between Christ and the church, which illustrates the love of a husband for his wife.  Harold W. Hoehner, “Ephesians,” BKC.

D.    When God created Adam and Eve, he kept a secret for thousands of years.  MARRIAGE was intended to be a picture of the UNITY between Christ and the Church!

Ray Pritchard said this, in a sermon on Ephesians 5.

“Your marriage is not primarily about you, your husband or wife, your children, or your family.
Your marriage is not primarily about your own sexual fulfillment.
Your marriage is about God!”

Our marriages are a reflection of Christ’s love for the Church.  Let’s be sure that we make our reflection as lovely as we possibly can, so that others can see Jesus in our homes.