Marriage: What’s the big deal?


Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.   Heb. 13:4  

Why honor marriage? Why keep the marriage bed undefiled? Silly questions? Then why in the world are church statistics of divorce, the same as secular statistics?

It seems to me, that marriage has lost its honor and dignity that was given it by God, since it has not been accepted as a sacrament in this post-reformation era that has confused the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and not only that, but the fact that we don’t truly understand what a covenant is.

Keeping the marriage bed undefiled is very important in the physical and the spiritual realm. In the physical realm we have given ourselves to the other in the covenantal and sacramental oath of matrimony. In the spiritual realm we have entered the same oath, with a third party, The Holy Trinity. He is what makes it sacramental. The institution of marriage will still exist, He created it, but for it to be sacramental, both baptized believers must consent to each other ” ’til death do us part.”

Adultery is the division of the heart. If that division is given into, the lust seed has been planted and the seed is ready to sprout. Not only in our physical relationship, but in our spiritual relationship with God. Wandering Israel was often referred to as an adulteress in the Old Testament, leaving the covenant that God had established. They would participate in it for a time and then abandon it to please themselves, sound familiar? It does to me!

God will judge the immoral and the adulterers, and He will start with ” the household of God.” 1 Pet.4:17

If we, as married Christians, commit ourselves to God through the grace that He has provided through marriage, and realize that it is a witness to the power of God, to love as He loves, and to teach as He teaches could we change our culture? Can we in this day and time, commit to such a hard and unpopular stance? For the sake of our families and our marriages, I hope we will!

Amen.

Covenants


As we continue our study of the domestic church, I thought these articles would be helpful:

1) Dr. Italy 

2)Husbands and Wives

I hope they speak to you as they have me.

Children Obey Your Parents


Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.   Eph. 6: 1-4

Paul…addressing children? Remember, when Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians(between 61-63 AD)there wasn’t a bible. These letters were read to the gathered believers and sent on to the next group. So we see in Paul’s letter reminding children to obey and honor their parents, in so doing they will receive the promise of a long life on the earth. He then promptly turns his address back to the fathers(the head of the family) and warns them not to provoke their children to anger, but” bring up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Fathers, how do we provoke our children to anger? For me, I guess the answer would be; not loving them in God’s way. Do I love my kids? Of course I do, that’s not what I meant. Loving them not only as an earthly father, but like our heavenly Father. How can we do that?

Let’s look at the definitions of love according to Paul in 1 Cor. 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek it’s own interest, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…

Why would I use this scripture here, in reference to our children and not with our wife or neighbor and so on. Because so many times we say to our children, “I love you” and don’t act like it. Kids hear what we say, but they also see what we do.Remember the ’70’s hit Cat’s in the Cradle ?

It’s easy to go through the list with a spouse, friend, co-worker, but our kids…our gifts from God…our blessings? To often they get over-looked. Go down the list; am I patient with them? Kind to them? Arrogant with them? Rude with them?

Our children have things that are important to them. Let’s give them our time, like we know our Father in heaven gives us His!

Amen.

Wives


Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, He Himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.   Eph. 5:22-24   

Wives, us husbands give you as many reasons not to submit to us, as you give us not to love you as Christ loves the church. Haven’t we all made excuses long enough!? Wives, when you submit yourselves to your husband, you are submitting to the Lord. Yes, it might be easier to do if you have a good example living in front of you, but even if that example isn’t there, we still have our example in Christ Himself.

Let’s look at it this way; The body(wives) is the means by which the head(husbands) accomplishes the goal of the family. That’s the way it is in the Church,right? The body(church) is the means by which the head (Christ) accomplishes His work. It’s not about who’s in charge because the two have become one flesh. It’s about working together to accomplish the goal.

The head looks, surveys and plans and sets goals in accordance with the body.And the body moves about accomplishing the plans and reaching the goals that have been mutually agreed on. That is being in harmony with one another.

If the physical body and head are not in harmony, there is sickness and we are in need of a physician. If the church body and the head(Christ) are out of harmony, there is sickness and we need repentance, forgiveness and healing. If the body(wives) isn’t in harmony with the head(husbands) there is chaos and there needs to be structure and order to successfully reach the goals of the family.

To summarize we could say: Men – God requires to love our wives as ourselves. The thing that she needs the most, sacrificial and unselfish love, is often the most difficult for us to give. Women – God requires to respect your husband (Eph.5:33) the thing that he needs the most is often the most difficult to give.

Amen.

Husbands


Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, He Himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.   Eph. 5:22-24  

In the past, we’ve gotten so caught up (or hung up) on the “wives be subordinate to their husbands” that we lose sight of the truth Paul is trying to convey. First, let’s finish the verse” as to the Lord.” This is key; Men, we should know how to submit to the Lord, we who have given our lives to Christ, to live for Him and do and go wherever He calls…or maybe that’s the problem! We should know but we don’t know!

 If we as men can’t submit to Christ in our lives, what makes us think that our wives will want to (or even can) submit to us! Submission has a willingness to it, to do it out of love, not force or fear.

This is one reason why Paul uses the example of Christ and His church. Jesus willingly submitted to the Father, giving Himself for the church (v.25).

As stated earlier, God is love. Love is willing to do whatever is necessary for the betterment of the other. So as Christ did for the church, so we ought to do for our wives and families.

Which brings us to the second point:” as the church is subordinate to Christ”. What a horrible example the modern church has set at being subordinate to Christ. You might even say our wives have been as subordinate as the church has been to Christ.

Thirdly,”for the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, He Himself the savior of the body”. The imperatives “is head”, is the role of Christ and the husbands. “He Himself the savior of the body.” As Christ leads His body to salvation, so we too husbands, lead our wives and families to Christ Himself our salvation.

Therefore men, we must accept this role of priestly leadership of our families, or they will continue to suffer the ills of society.

We must set an example of submission, for submission.

Amen.

The First Covenant


For the husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the church, He Himself the Savior of the body.  Ephesians 5:23   

From the very beginning, in the very first family, to our own, we see God is orderly. He has consistent patterns and usually sticks with the created order. God created mankind out of love and calls him to love. Mankind is also created in the image and likeness of God, who is the very essence of love. Since God has created man and woman in His image, their mutual love becomes an image or a witness to the unfailing love that God has for all mankind.

So, a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife and the two become one flesh (Gen.2:24). This covenant, though tainted by the fall, is still God’s plan for society. As Jesus taught in Matt.19:6,”What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Thus, Jesus by coming to restore the original order, gives strength and grace to live the marriage covenant through His cross, which is the source of the Christian life.

This is the “great mystery” Paul talks about here, how marriage mirrors the redemptive love of Christ. When Jesus said,” Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill,” (Matt.5:17), that pertains to every aspect of the law and of the created order. It goes beyond just ” right and wrong”, but to the whole of creation effected by sin (the curse).

We call ourselves Christians? How can we respect the new covenant in Jesus’ blood, and not respect the oldest of all God’s covenants, marriage? The nature of covenant is “to give yourself to,” when we enter the marriage covenant, we give ourselves to the other, through the grace of God.

Likewise, Jesus gave Himself to death to redeem the Church. Men, we ought to give ourselves to our wives in the same way. We know that Jesus will never abandon or divorce His Church and we should never abandon or divorce our wives!

The Definitions….


As promised yesterday, here are the definitions for covenant and sacrament. As you will notice, they are lengthy and better explained in these articles, than in any brief sentence found in any dictionary.

I hope you find this helpful as we continue on in our journey understanding the Domestic Church.