Paul Washer – Conformity to Christ is key in marriage

VIDEO by SermonIndex.net

Reclame

Topics for Conversation When a Man and a Woman Are Considering Marriage by John Piper

Photo credit www.areadewasa.com

Use Translator – Limba Romana

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from DesiringGod.org

In each of these sections one item could be added that I have not listed, namely, How do you handle and live with differences? How do you decide what can remain differences without jeopardizing the relationship? So as you deal with each subheading, include that in the discussion.

Theology

  • What do you believe about . . . everything?
  • Perhaps read through the Desiring God Affirmation of Faith to see where each other is on various biblical doctrines.
  • Discover how you form your views. What is the reasoning-believing process? How do you handle the Bible?

Worship and Devotion

  • How important is corporate worship? Other participation in church life?
  • How important is it to be part of a small accountability/support group?
  • What is the importance of music in life and worship?
  • What are your daily personal devotional practices? Prayer, reading, meditation, memorization.
  • What would our family devotions look like? Who leads out in this?
  • Are we doing this now in an appropriate way: praying together about our lives and future, reading the Bible together?

Husband and Wife

  • What is the meaning of headship and submission in the Bible and in our marriage?
  • What are expectations about situations where one of you might be alone with someone of the opposite sex?
  • How are tasks shared in the home: cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, yard work, car upkeep, repairs, shopping for food, and household stuff?
  • What are the expectations for togetherness?
  • What is an ideal non-special evening?
  • How do you understand who and how often sex is initiated?
  • Who does the checkbook—or are there two?

Children

  • If and when, should we have children? Why?
  • How many?
  • How far apart?
  • Would we consider adoption?
  • What are the standards of behavior?
  • What are the appropriate ways to discipline them? How many strikes before they’re . . . whatever?
  • What are the expectations of time spent with them and when they go to bed?
  • What signs of affection will you show them?
  • What about school? Home school? Christian school? Public school?

Lifestyle

  • Own a home or not? Why?
  • What kind of neighborhood? Why?
  • How many cars? New? Used?
  • View of money in general. How much to the church?
  • How do you make money decisions?
  • Where will you buy clothes: Department store? Savers? In between? Why?

Entertainment

  • How much money should we spend on entertainment?
  • How often should we eat out? Where?
  • What kind of vacations are appropriate and helpful for us?
  • How many toys? Snowmobile, boat, cabin?
  • Should we have a television? Where? What is fitting to watch? How much?
  • What are the criteria for Movies and theater and video/DVD? What will our guidelines be for the kids?

Conflict

  • What makes you angry?
  • How do you handle your frustration or anger?
  • Who should bring up an issue that is bothersome?
  • What if we disagree both about what should be done, AND whether it is serious?
  • Will we go to bed angry at each other?
  • What is our view of getting help from friends or counselors?

Work

  • Who is the main breadwinner?
  • Should the wife work outside the home? Before kids? With kids at home? After kids?
  • What are your views of daycare for children?
  • What determines where you will locate? Job? Whose job? Church? Family?

Friends

  • Is it good to do things with friends but without fiancé, or without spouse?
  • What will you do if one of you really likes to hang out with so and so and the other doesn’t?

Health and Sickness

  • Do you have, or have you had any, sicknesses or physical problems that could affect our relationship? (Allergies, cancer, eating disorders, venereal disease, etc.)
  • Do you believe in divine healing and how would prayer relate to medical attention?
  • How do you think about exercise and healthy eating?
  • Do you have any habits that adversely affect health?

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

How to Lead Family Worship – Dr.Joel Beeke

Photo credit kellercofc.org

Most of the kids that do not fall away from church or school in their teenage years had a family worship time at home growing up. This is a great video on how to lead a family worship in your own house. This is 1 or 4 messages from the Salisbury Conference 2013. For rest of messages go to sermonaudio and search this conference.

Full Sermon Page http://hnrc.sermonaudio.com Photo below www.aclutteredmind.org VIDEO by GoodTreeMinistries.com

Dr Joel Beeke:

Family worship is the most underestimated gift of God, in all of Christianity. It’s either taken for granted, or, it’s neglected. Yet, family worship lies at the heart of society. As goes family worship, so goes the family. As goes the family, so goes the church. As goes the churches, so goes the nations. My leading of family worship, in my family, is the most important thing I do in this world. It is nonnegotiable. It must never be skipped, it is absolutely critical. And, I would suggest to you, today, that with all the books on church growth, that are written, that many people forget that internal church growth is usually the most stable church growth, in any church. And, that internal church growth usually takes place, mostly, from those families who’ve engaged in daily, serious, sustained, family worship. I’ve had the privilege of serving 3 congregations in my life, all of them around 700-800 people, so, I have served a number of families, and I look out at the congregations, and the young people, who stay with the church, and are stalwart sons and daughters of the church of Jesus Christ, in almost every case, in all 3 churches, the young people that stay hail from those families where there is daily, serious, sustained family worship.

Dr. Beeke starts off recounting his own father’s leading of daily worship and he mentions that his father, quite often read Pilgrim’s Progress to him and his 4 siblings. In Dr. Beeke’s estimation, his father must have read and explained Pilgrim’s Progress to his children about 15- 20 times. Dr. Beeke goes over 4 points:

  1. Duty
  2. Implementation (he spends half of the message on this point, telling you how to do it, the practical nuts & bolts of it)
  3. He answers objections raised against it (very brief)
  4. Concludes with some motivations, exhorting you to it.

Happy Father’s Day 2013 – poems, songs, messages honoring FATHERS

via Zondervan

Proverbs 23:24

 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers

Proverbs 23:22
Listen to your father, who gave you life,

Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him

photo via imgfave.com

father with baby,father son,fathers day

My Earthly Dad

With these three words,
„Dear Heavenly Father,”
I begin my every prayer,
But the man I see
While on bended knee
Is always my earthly dad.

He is the image
Of the Father divine
Reflecting the nature of God,
For his love and care
And strong faith laid bare
Pointed me to my Father above.

–Mary Fairchild

Dad, I’m watching you

(For all parents, moms too)

Uploaded by  on Dec 21, 2008

Psalm 103:13 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;(NIV)

Proverbs 23:22 
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
 (NIV)

Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
 (NIV)

Ephesians 6:4 
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Colossians 3:21 
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)

Hebrews 12:7
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (NIV)

~~~~Things our fathers told us~~~~

via twentytwowords.com

Psalms 78:2-8 ESV

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, (3) things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.

(4) We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

(5) He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, (6) that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, (7) so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; (8) and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

photo by myorkutglitter.com

There are many ways the Scriptures describe those who love God and obey Him. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17); we are holy priests (1 Peter 2:5); we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17); and we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). But more significant than any title or position is the simple fact that we are God’s children and He is our Heavenly Father.

Published on May 16, 2012 by mariliss1

When Mother’s day is not a celebration for you – words of comfort

from Noel Piper’s blog

God knows, Mothers Day is the hardest day in the year for some of you.

Large bouquets of white roses are at the front of our church. If you were with us this weekend, one of those roses would have been for you.

Your sadness may be related to your mother:

  • Your mother is not alive.
  • Life with your mother was too difficult to celebrate.
  • Your mother wasn’t part of your life.
  • You can celebrate with your mother because she lives too far away.
  • Your mother is ill or suffering dementia.

It may be grief related to your own mothering:

  • You have longed for children but have never been able to be pregnant.
  • You have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth and never had even one sweet moment of looking into your baby’s eyes.
  • After that loss, you fear it might happen again.
  • You laid your baby down to sleep one afternoon or evening, and your little one never woke again.
  • After losing that child, you feel fear when you look at your other children or think of having another.
  • You were so close to adopting the child you already loved from a distance, and then the plans fell through.
  • Your child–whether a child or adult–lost the battle to a disease, or died accidentally, or was murdered, or took his or her own life.
  • Your child is alienated from you.
  • Your child has a disability that doesn’t permit you ever to hear “I love you” from him or her. (If this is true, I hope you will be comforted today by John Knight’s post about his wife and son)

God knows. That wasn’t a throw-away phrase I used at the beginning. God does know. He knows your fear, grief, anger, anxiety, love–the welter of emotions today that you hardly know how to name. He knows that even though you may be mostly composed most days, this day stirs it all up.

I pray that your church and others close to you will be Christ’s hands and heart for you today.

Even if other people aren’t aware or sensitive, I pray for you today that you can feel deeply the com-passion (together-suffering) of Jesus who bears our griefs and carries our sorrows.

Paul Washer – What are some of God’s mighty works that He has done in your life? Plus a new book

 

Paul Washer Sermons PAGE – click here

Published on Oct 1, 2012 by 

This clip, from an Interview in 2009, was never put up on the Internet. Paul talks about the greatest miracle in his life, it not being some supernatural thing, but it rather being the love of the Father to discipline him.

Download MP3: http://illbehonest.com/The-Miracle-of-Gods-Faithful-Discipline-Paul-Washer

The Miracle of God’s Faithful Discipline

-NEW BOOK-

The Gospel’s Power and Message

by Paul Washer – 288 pages, available mid October at –

http://www.heritagebooks.org/ and http://www.monergismbooks.com/

One of the greatest crimes of this generation of Christians is its neglect of the gospel, and it is from this neglect that all our other maladies spring forth. Absent from too many pulpits are the essential themes which make up the very core of the gospel—the justice of God, the radical depravity of man, the blood atonement. In The Gospel’s Power and Message, Paul Washer addresses these essential elements of Christ’s good news and provides a guide to help us rediscover the gospel in all its beauty, scandal, and saving power. May such a rediscovery transform your life, strengthen your proclamation, and bring the greatest glory to God.

Read a sample pdf here (monergismbooks.com)

Table of Contents:

Preface

PART ONE: An Apostolic Introduction

  1. A Gospel to Know and Make Known
  2. A Gospel to be Received
  3. A Gospel by which We Are Saved
  4. A Gospel of First Importance
  5. A Gospel Handed Down and Delivered

PART TWO: The Power of God for Salvation

  1. “The” Gospel
  2. A Scandalous Gospel
  3. A Powerful Gospel
  4. A Gospel for all Who Believe

PART THREE: The Acropolis of the Christian Faith

  1. Making Much of Sin
  2. Making Much of God
  3. Sinners One and All
  4. Sinners Falling Short
  5. Sinners Through and Through
  6. Righteous Indignation
  7. Holy War
  8. A Most Costly Gift
  9. The Divine Dilemma
  10. A Qualified Redeemer
  11. The Cross of Jesus Christ
  12. The Vindication of God
  13. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  14. The Foundation of Faith in the Resurrection
  15. Christ’s Ascension as the High Priest of His People
  16. Christ’s Ascension as the Lord of All
  17. Christ’s Ascension as the Judge of All

Al Mohler on Marriage and Ministry Crisis

Al Mohler – President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: When you think of all the things that might demand our attention, it’s hard to come up with anything that is more important than this: Marriage and Ministry.

Jesus Stills the Sea

Luke 8: 22 Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them,“Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they beganto be swamped and to be in danger. 24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

In the introduction (first 1/2 hour) Al Mohler talks about assuming the role of President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the spring of 1993.
  • Everybody reacts differently in a crisis, some people just disappear. You’re gonna discover who your friends are during a crisis because they’re the ones standing with you.

Normative picture of a minister in the New Testament: One who is married to one wife; representing the covenantal commitment and the integrity and fidelity of that love.

Ten principles for marriage during ministry crisis

  1. Your marriage and your ministry are inseparable. That’s not an uncontroversial statement. Your marriage is who you are and that commitment you’ve made and covenant fidelity n marriage and that commitment you’re going to make is a commitment prior to your calling to any specific place in ministry. You are not going to ever be able successfully to separate your ministry or your marriage because if you think you’re doing that, you’re lying to yourself and you’re setting yourself up for a horrible disaster. I’ve known pastors who had tragic marriages and were great exopsitors, but that was a clear limp, at least. And I have seen several of them come to the end of their ministry and you realize there is something horrifyingly missing even now. We can’t just act that our marriage and our ministry are inseparable, they’re not because we’re not individually separable from our call and we’re not individually separable from our covenantal commitments. We are all we are all the time. If we suffer under the illusion that we can somehow set our marriage on the side and our ministry on the other side, that we can set them apart as 2 distinct dimensions of who we are, we fool ourselves.(47 min)
  2. Your marriage will anchor your ministry, not the other way around. Never for a minute think that the ministry’s gonna save your marriage. It won’t. Now, your marriage can save your ministry. If you think you can find better fulfillment that will compensate for what you don’t have in your marriage, you’re doomed.
  3. Your marriage will determine your state of your heart, not your ministry. The state of our heart is a very urgently important thing because we’re never higher than our heart.
  4. Your home is to be your haven in a heartless world. In other words, when you go out in the world expect to be hurt, ministry is a risk, you are exposing yourself to criticism and injury. You can be hurt at home… but you better not be hurt n the same way and it has to be the haven from those hurts.
  5. Your wife must be a partner in ministry, not a mere observer. If she is you’re living in a bifurcated world and setting yourself up for disaster.
  6. When crisis come, lean on each other, drawing strength from each other. It’s just common sense, that is what marriage is all about. You lean on Christ and you lean on each other and you’ve got to be careful about leaning on e=anyone else.
  7. Protect her heart and trust in God. If you think that what you are going to do is protect your wife from reality, that’s not going to work. That’s making her into an observer, sometimes even a distant observer, not a participant. But, if you take everything home to her, in terms of your hurts, you need to be careful when you have a moment of anger, or you’ve been let down, that you don’t poison her view of someone, horrifyingly.
  8. Protect your children and interpret events for them and live confidently. Children don’t need to have all the data… they just need to know you’re happy with mom, and you’re secure in your calling and that you’re confident in Jesus.
  9. If you have to choose, lose the ministry, not the marriage. And, the second thing you would have to say after that is, „If you lose the marriage, you’d better lose the ministry anyway”. If you get to that point… and I don’t mean just because your wife doesn’t want to live in this state, or you got hurt feelings and you wanna go home. I mean, if you realize, „I can’t do this, I can’t stay here and stay married”… Then Stay married! God’s sovereign. If He’s called you, you’ll get to a place where you can stay both faithful in ministry and faithful in marriage.
  10. Aim to grow old and happy together. The biblical picture here is really rich. Plan a life from beginning to end together.

Leading Your Family Through Ministry Crisis from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

The importance of Fathers by James Buchanan

via http://www.sermoncentral.com from  Judges 2:6-2:12  Romans 1:28-1:32 

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. „Who is the most obedient?” he asked. „Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?” Five small voices answered in unison. „Okay, dad, you get the toy.”

Today is the day that we honor fathers. That’s me! Honor me! Yea!

In all seriousness, we are to honor our fathers, and our mothers, and this day in June is set aside for us to honor the fathers in this country. But we are to honor our fathers, not because it’s a holiday, not because it’s a tradition, not because there are sales going on all over the country, but because God said so.

In fact, he said so very specifically. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Notice that it doesn’t say, honor only good moms and dads. It doesn’t say, honor them if you like them. It doesn’t say, honor only the right ones. It says, “honor your father and mother.” And so, today, we ought to honor all fathers.

But I want to speak directly to the dads here today. And if you’re not a dad, don’t check out, because we all need to hear this. You see, we are involved in a war today, and the battleground is not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The battleground is in our homes. And what’s at stake is not our land, our property, our freedoms. It’s more important that than. What’s at stake are our children.

And believe me—it’s a war, it’s an important war, and in this country, we are losing the battle. Children are turning from the faith in record numbers. It’s as if as soon as they leave home and go to college they leave the church. And if you don’t believe me, look here this morning. And lest you think that its only a problem here, it is true all over this country. Children in record numbers are turning from God.

But it’s nothing new. It’s the same as been happening over the course of time. I want to tell you a brief Biblical story this morning that’s going to be our guide for the remaining time we have today—and I’ll be brief. It’s found in the book of Judges in the Old Testament. Genesis, exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges. In the pew bible it’s found on page _______________. Judges 2: 6 -12

Let me give you a little background here today. The nation of Israel had just marched into the promised land, and they were settling into the land. Now, it wasn’t a complete victory, because when they went in, they didn’t always follow what God desired, and instead of conquering all of it, they instead settled into some of it. And just before what we’re going to look at, they were instructed that they didn’t do what God desired, and they repented of it. With that in mind, let’s read this important passage this morning. Judges 2:6-12.

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heresa in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.

Once Joshua and his generation passed away, the next generation turned their back on God and worshiped the gods of the peoples around them. Today, in 2004, they don’t wait for mom and dad to pass on. They turn away immediately, and worship the god of television. They worship the god of fashion. They worship the god of convenience. They worship the god of this world. They worship the world. What is the world, 1 John 2:16 tells us. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. (NLT)

In your notes is a passage from Romans 1:28-32 that closely parallels what is going on today in America. Let’s look at that together.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Do you realize we live in a culture that approves of turning its back on God? From court cases to tv to popular movies, it’s okay to make fun of religion, because it’s not important, it’s not relevant. It worked for mom and dad, but it’s not for me.

Well, can I tell you this morning, moms and dads, you are at the front lines. This is a war, and we are called to be a part. This morning, I want to give you your marching orders to tackle this important task of saving the children, and we are going to look briefly at a few steps that will help us to do so.

How can we win the war? Three suggestions this morning.

1. With our words.

Deuteronomy 6: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children.

You need to talk to you children. Be involved in their lives. Tell them about God, and tell them about the Bible. Remember last week we talked about your story. What God has done for you, so that you can share it with others. Are you sharing it with your children, what God has done for you? You need to, you ought to.

A study was done recently to determine the amount of interaction between fathers and their small children. First, the fathers were asked to estimate the amount of time they spent each day communicating with their child. The average answer was about fifteen to twenty minutes. Next, microphones were attached to the father so that each interaction could be recorded. The results of this study were shocking: The average amount of time spent by these middle-class fathers with their small children was thirty-seven seconds per day. Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting ten to fifteen seconds each!

Look back at Deuteronomy 6 again with me. Can that be accomplished in 37 seconds a day? Do you want to know how much time the culture has with your children? 37 seconds does not come close to meeting the job. Communicate with your children; tell them about God and about the Bible.

Proverbs 1: Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Don’t let the schools be the only thing that instruct the children. Don’t even let this church be the only thing that instructs your children. And that’s not an indictment on the teaching ministry of this church, but mom and dad, we are not responsible for raising your kids. We will help you, but when the bible tells us to Trainu a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it—that’s not to the church, that’s to parents.

Dad’s, how are you doing with your words? Are you fighting?

2. With our time.

Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, once said that he chose to fail so he could succeed. He said, „I chose to fail at golf, because I wanted to succeed as a father.” Though he loved golf immensely, he knew that he could never devote adequate time to his job, his hobby, and his family . . . so he gave up his hobby.

How are you doing with your time? We looked at Deuteronomy 6, but let’s look again at verses 7 and following: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Dad’s, do you want to know what is important in your life today? Look at your daytimer, your palm pilot, your schedule, and where your time is devoted to, that’s what is important. Unfortunately, many dads say that by their time they love their jobs. They love their hobbies. They love their entertainment, their comfort. If you asked them if they loved their children, they would swear to you that they do. But their time doesn’t match up.

And some of you have bought into the thinking of this world. I’ve got to keep working and working and working so I can provide for them the finer things of this world, and providing for family is important and biblical,

8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. But I think that we sometimes go beyond what is necessary.

There’s a story told of a man asking his daughter if she would want quality time with her dad or quantity time with her dad. She replied, “Quality time, Dad, and lots of it!”

I read about a little girl who drew a pretty picture. She went in her dad’s office. Crawled on his lap. And said, „Daddy, come and see my picture.”

And the dad said, „Not now, honey. Dad’s busy.”

About 10 minutes later, she came back again. Crawled on his lap. And said,”Daddy, will you come see my picture now?”

And the dad got frustrated. And said, „Can’t you see I’m busy? Don’t bother me right now. I’ll come and look at your picture later. When I’m ready.”

A couple of hours later, the dad came out. And he said to the daughter, „Can I see the picture now?” And the girl said, „Sure.” And it was a picture of her and her brother and her mom standing on the lawn. With the family dog. With big smiles. On a sunny day. But the dad noticed that he wasn’t in the picture. And so the dad said, „That’s a nice picture, sweetheart. But how
come I’m not in the picture?”

And the girl said, „Because you’re working in your office, daddy.”

Time is a gift you give that you can never get back. You can give money, and always make more. You can give gifts, because you can always get new things anyway. But once time is given, it never comes back. Time reveals the priorities in your life. And if you want to win the war with for your children, you’ve got to invest time.

3. With your lives.

Genesis 18:18-19 is a revealing passage—we even looked at it last year as our prime text for father’s day. And I want to remind you of what it says to us today. Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just.

The way you live your life will be a direct reflection of how your children will grow up. There’s a song, I even sang it last year, called, “I want to be just like you.” It goes like this—I want to be just like you, cause he wants to be just like me. I want to be a holy example for his innocent eyes to see. Help me be a living Bible, Lord, that my little boy can read. I want to be just like you, cause he wants to be like me.”

I can see that now, in my son. 17 months old, and he desires to be like me. He’ll repeat words I say, he’ll repeat things I do—he loves me, and at this point, he wants to be just like me. I’d better be the right kind of dad, because he will mirror me.

It’s kind of like this situation—A little boy was caught swearing like a sailor. „Young man, where did you learn to talk that way?” said the boy’s mother. The boy looked at his father and said, „Well, Dad, should I tell her?”

2 Kings 14:3 speaks of a king of Israel named Amaziah. “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash.”

What kind of example are you setting for your kids? You words may say some things about you, but your life declares who you really are. Are you fighting the war with your lives?

As we wrap up, let me speak to the kids here today. Life isn’t always what we want, and it isn’t always what’s best, and it isn’t always pleasing to God. There are some of you here this morning who have fathers who aren’t all that great, or maybe not even there?

How can you honor your father, even when it’s difficult? How can you go through life without a good father?

Let me suggest to you something this morning. God calls the church his family. And here this morning, there are lots of good, godly dads. I would suggest to you that you go and adopt a dad. Not literally (Can you be my dad, and move in with us), but you know, go up to him and say, “I need a dad, someone I can look up to for advice and help, and I think you’d be a good dad.” And dads, if someone comes up to you and asks that, you know how you are to respond.

Well, it was a typical scenario of young boys debating whose father was the best. This discussion highlighted who their fathers knew. The first boy started the debate by claiming his father knew the mayor. He was soon topped by the second boy who said, „That’s nothing. My dad knows the governor.” The stakes were getting pretty high, and the eavesdropping father wondered what his young son would say about him. The little boy shot back, „So what! My dad knows God!” Would your son say the same thing? May our children always be able to say, „My dad knows God!”

How are you fighting the battle? Maybe you need to start today, by apologizing to your kids, and starting anew. Let’s pray.

Editor of men’s magazine, who became a father, expresses regret over promoting pornography

It is often said by parents, that „having children changes everything”. Here is a story from www.Christianconcern.com via http://www.challies.com that illustrates a man’s changing perspective with the birth of his child in 2009:

The longest serving editor of a “lads’ magazine” has confessed to regretting his involvement in the magazine’s production, as he believes that it encouraged young people to access hard core pornography over the internet.

Martin Daubney, who worked as an editor withLoaded magazine for eight years, admitted that the birth of his son in 2009 brought home the reality of the damage that he had caused, as his magazine not only objectified women but also promoted and normalised pornography before a young audience.

Mr Daubney, who resigned from his job at Loaded two years ago, stated that he felt “ashamed” and “hollow” for defending the magazine in the past, which often attracted heavy criticism for its highly explicit material.

Moral nightmare

He said: “Back then, it never once occurred to me that we were objectifying women or doing any harm. I fiercely denied that Loaded was a ‘gateway’ to harder pornographic magazines.

“But such thoughts came home to roost five years later in 2009, when I finally grew up and became a father.

“It had such an effect on me and changed my views so forcibly that within a year I’d quit a dream job that, for me, had become a moral nightmare.

“When I look back now, I see we were severely pushing the envelope of what was considered decent.

“We were normalising soft porn, and in so doing we must have made it more acceptable for young men to dive into the murky waters of harder stuff on the internet. And, for that, I have a haunting sense of regret.

Read the rest of the story here – http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/social/editor-of-lads-mag-expresses-regret-over-promoting-pornography

The downfall of the church will not come from a lack of apologetic teaching; it will come from disintegration of the families in the church

Josh McDowell Launches Website to Fight Porn, ‘Church’s No. 1 Threat’ via The Christian Post

Josh McDowell writes:

„The greatest threat to the cause of Christ is pervasive sexuality and pornography,” McDowell, known as an articulate speaker, said in a statement Thursday. „Today we have, by and large, lost control of the controls because an intrusive immorality is just one click away from our children. With just one keystroke on a smartphone, iPad, or laptop, a child can open up some of the worst pornography and sexually graphic content you can imagine. There’s never been such access in history. „

McDowell, who has written or co-authored 120 books since 1960, backs his claims with stunning statistics about the destructive impact of pornography on the Christian family.

More than 1 billion pornographic websites are one click away, and the average age of first-time viewers of pornography is 9 years old. About 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have been exposed to hardcore porn, and the adult pornography industry reports that 20-30 percent of their traffic comes from children. More shockingly, half of all Christian families report that pornography is a problem, and 30 percent of pastors have viewed pornography in the last 30 days.

Click here to read the entire article The Christian Post

The (Our) Problem with Putting Jesus First

photo – http://www.trinitychurchofgod.org

Don’t Put Jesus First This Year–Seriously

This article makes so much sense! It is not the word of God that is faulty ( see  Colossians 1:15-20 ) but our human methods in appling it. Read on…   Original source here. (www.churchleaders.com)

by Steven Furtick, the Lead Pastor of Elevation Church, an incredible move of God in Charlotte, NC.

More from Steven Furtick or visit

Steven at www.stevenfurtick.com

I have one piece of advice for you as we start out this New Year:

Don’t put Jesus first this year.

Yes, you read that correctly. Before you label me a heretic, let me explain.

I imagine that many of you are going through a similar process as me right now of setting and resetting your priorities. Personally, I love this time of year. I’m a very goal-oriented individual, and I’ve found that reprioritizing and recalibrating your life is an indispensable activity if you really want to actualize your potential.

And here’s what it usually looks like. We start by putting Jesus at the top. Then family. Then maybe career. And so on. So our priorities look something like this:

1. Jesus/God
2. Family
3. Career

Looks good. However, I’ve found that this isn’t very effective when you get down to the grind of everyday life. For example, what does it even mean to put Jesus before my family? Do I ignore my family to spend more time with Jesus? Or with your career, do you stop working to put Jesus first?

The essential problem with this approach is that it segregates the different priorities of life. You end up removing Jesus from where you spend the majority of your time and putting Him on an island by Himself. The biggest island maybe, but an island nonetheless.

I don’t think this is the way it was ever supposed to work. Colossians 1:15-20 repeatedly tells us that Jesus is first before and over everything. But it also says that all things were created through and for Him. That in Him all things hold together. That the goal of the cross was to reconcile all things to Himself.

So Jesus is first. He is first in order. He is first in importance. But He is so because He is the center of everything.

That’s what He should be in your life. And consequently, the thing that is at the center of your life is the thing that is ultimately first in your life.

This year, instead of worrying about putting Jesus first in your life, what if you concentrated on making Him the center of every area of your life? Not just the top priority in front of every other priority, but the top priority in every priority?

Not Jesus, then my family. But Jesus in my family.
Not Jesus, then my career. But Jesus in my career.

We’d probably be a lot more successful in actually keeping Jesus at the top spot on our list. And we’d be much more likely to do an exponentially greater job at accomplishing our other goals and maintaining our priorities.

Family Series 16 – Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters – John Piper

from Desiring God

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Isaiah 56:1-7

Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

I will start and end with my main point and, in the middle, cover a wide terrain of Scripture to support it. My main point is that God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children, and he calls you to display, by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness, the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage and childrearing. The truths, namely,

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;1
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know that is often not the case);
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To say the main point more briefly: God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.

Better Blessings Than Sons and Daughters

Now let’s step back and look at the Scriptures. And here let me give credit to Barry Danylak for his research on this issue and his very helpful paper “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF). Let’s start in the middle of the Bible at Isaiah 56:4-5,

Thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs [those who cannot procreate but turn their lives into a unique service instead of marriage] who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument2 and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

God promises to bless obedient eunuchs with blessings that are better than sons and daughters. In other words, God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

The Bigger Picture in Redemptive History

But to see this more clearly we need to get the bigger picture. In the created order that God put in place before sin was in the world, and in the covenantal order that God put in place with the Jewish people from Abraham to the coming of Christ, “God is primarily building his covenant people through the mechanism of procreation.”3 God was focusing his covenant-keeping faithfulness mainly on an ethnic people. Therefore, being married and having offspring was of paramount importance for one’s name and one’s inheritance and for the preservation of God’s covenant people.

Creation

So in Genesis 1:28, the first thing God says to Adam and Eve is, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And in the account of Genesis 2:18, when woman was not yet created, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Abraham and Isaac

And when Abraham was chosen as the father of God’s people, God took him out and showed him the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5). And when Abraham could not have a son because of Sarah’s barrenness, Abraham said, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” But God answered, “No, . . . Sarah your wife shall bear you a son.” In other words, the physical offspring mattered. And it would come in God’s way.

God reaffirms the same to Isaac in Genesis 26:3: “I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.” Again physical “offspring” are crucial for the covenant.

David and Saul

These offspring are crucial not only for the preservation of the covenant but also because a person’s name would end without children. So Saul asks David to swear that he will not cut off his offspring for the sake of his name. First Samuel 24:21: “Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.”

Levirate Marriage and Ruth

Remember the whole elaborate system of Levirate marriage—that is, the marriage of a man to his deceased brother’s wife so that the name of the deceased brother would not be lost. The rule was that the first son born would bear the dead brother’s name. Deuteronomy 25:6: “The first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.” That’s an amazing provision for the perpetuation of the name through physical seed.

The most famous instance of this is when Boaz agreed to marry Ruth to preserve the name of Elimelech her father-in-law and Mahlon her husband. Boaz said, “Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day” (Ruth 4:10).

Jephthah’s Daughter

So you can see how crucial marriage and offspring and the preservation of a name and an inheritance were in Israel. No wonder that Jephthah’s daughter asked for two months not to bewail her impending death but that she was never married. Judges 11:37-38a: “She said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.’ So he said, ‘Go.’”

Isaiah’s Prophecy: “He Shall See His Offspring”

All of this is the background that makes Isaiah 56:5 shine like the sun to eunuchs and others without marriage and children: “Thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” So without marriage and without children. these covenant-keeping eunuchs get a name and a memorial better than sons and daughters.

Where did this amazing promise come from? What’s the basis of it and what is it pointing toward? Turn back to Isaiah 53. This is the great prophecy of the sufferings of Christ who “was wounded for our transgressions [and] . . . crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). In this chapter, we sometimes overlook these words in verse 10: “It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

He shall see his offspring. Here is a great prophecy: When the Messiah dies as an “offering for guilt” and rises again to “prolong his days,” he will by that great saving act produce many children: He will “see his offspring.” In other words, the new people of God formed by the Messiah will not be formed by physical procreation but by the atoning death of Christ.

Which is why the next chapter (Isaiah 54) begins, “‘Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). And this is also why our text (Isaiah 56:5) says that unmarried covenant-keeping people will have “a monument and a name better than sons and daughters . . . [and] an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” In the true people of God formed by Jesus Christ, monuments, names, offspring, and inheritances do not arise through marriage and procreation.

Jesus, Paul, and Peter

So when we come now to the New Testament, Jesus makes clear that his people—the true people of God—will be produced not by physical procreation but by spiritual regeneration. So he says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

And Paul says in Galatians 3 to the Jews and Gentiles alike, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. . . . In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:7, 26). In other words, it is not physical descent from Abraham that makes you part of the covenant people of God but faith in Christ.

And Peter says that our inheritance comes not through marriage and offspring but through the work of Christ and the new birth: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

So Jesus and Paul and Peter all say: Children are born into God’s family and receive their inheritance not by marriage and procreation but by faith and regeneration. Which means that single people in Christ have zero disadvantage in bearing children for God, and may in some ways have a great advantage. The apostle Paul was single in Christ, and he said of his converts, “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). Paul was a great father, and never married. And let him speak for single women in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” So it will be said of many single women in Christ: She was a great mother and never married.

A Radical Relational Reordering

Take heed here lest you minimize what I am saying and do not hear how radical it really is. I am not sentimentalizing singleness to make the unmarried feel good. I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over against the eternal and primary nature of the church. Marriage and family are temporary for this age; the church is forever. I am declaring the radical biblical truth that being in a human family is no sign of eternal blessing, but being in God’s family means being eternally blessed. Relationships based on family are temporary. Relationships based on union with Christ are eternal. Marriage is a temporary institution, but what it stands for lasts forever. “In the resurrection,” Jesus said, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

And when his own mother and brothers asked to see him, Jesus said, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’” (Matthew 12:48-49). Jesus is turning everything around. Yes, he loved his mother and his brothers. But those are all natural and temporary relationships. He did not come into the world to focus on that. He came into the world to call out a people for his name from all the families into a new family where single people in Christ are full-fledged family members on a par with all others, bearing fruit for God and becoming mothers and fathers of the eternal kind.

“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” a woman cried out to Jesus. And he turned and said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27). The mother of God is the obedient Christian—married or single! Take a deep breath and reorder your world.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,” Jesus said, “who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Single person, married person, do you want children, mothers, brothers, sisters, lands? Renounce the primacy of your natural relationships and follow Jesus into the fellowship of the people of God.

Let Him Who Is Able to Receive This Receive It

What shall we say then in view this great biblical vision of the secondary and temporary nature of marriage and procreation? We will say what Jesus and Paul said. Jesus said in Matthew 19:12, “There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” We need not take this (“made themselves eunuchs”) to mean any kind of physical sterilization any more than we take Jesus’ words “tear out your right eye” to mean physically blinding ourselves. But it does mean that Jesus approves that some of his followers renounce marriage and sexual activity for the sake of serving Christ’s kingdom. “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

That is what Paul chose for himself and what he encouraged others to consider in 1 Corinthians 7. “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. . . . I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife . . . . I say this . . . to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32-33, 35). In other words, some are called to be “eunuchs” for the kingdom of God. Paul speaks about each having his own gift: “one of one kind, one of another” (1 Corinthians 7:7). In other words, “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

Better Blessings

So now we end where we began with all this Scripture in our mind. God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

If someone asks, wouldn’t it be better to have both? The blessings of marriage and the blessings of heaven? There are two answers to that question. One is that you will find out someday, and better to learn it now, that the blessings of being with Christ in heaven, are so far superior to the blessings of being married and raising children and that asking this question will be like asking: Wouldn’t it be better to have the ocean and the thimble full? And the second answer is that marriage and singleness both present us with unique trials and unique opportunities for our sanctification. There will be unique rewards for each, and which is greater will not depend on whether you were married or single, but on how you responded to each.

So I say it again to all singles in Christ: God promises you blessings in the age to come that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

Uniquely Displaying the Glories of Christ

And with this promise there comes a unique calling and a unique responsibility. It is not a calling to extend irresponsible adolescence into your thirties. It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage. As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families;
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. And that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To him be glory in the Christ-exalting drama of marriage and the Christ-exalting drama of the single life. Amen

1 I borrow here from the expression of Barry Danylak, “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF), p. 15. “The propagation of the people of God in the New Testament occurs not through physical procreation as in the Old Testament, but rather through spiritual regeneration.” This is an unpublished paper and reflects Barry’s present doctoral studies at Cambridge University. This sermon has drawn heavily on Barry’s approach to the issue of singleness in the Bible.

2 The literal translation of the Hebrew is: “within my walls a hand and a name better than sons and daughters.” For the sense behind the word hand (translated as monument), compare 2 Samuel 18:18 where Absalom says, “‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.’ He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s hand to this day” (literal rendering, usually rendered “monument”). Absalom had built this memorial by himself and for himself (v. 18a). So he had extended his memory into the future by his own hand. Perhaps then the idea of hand is that the good that comes to us in the future or the memorial that keeps us in remembrance in the future is our ongoing effect as though our hand were still active.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Family Series 14 A – Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1

By John Piper,Pastor of Bethlehem Church at Desiring God, Minneapolis,MN.

You can listen to the audio here.

Ephesians 5:21-33

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

If the Lord wills, both today and next week we will focus on what it means for a married man to be the head of his wife and of his home. We focus on this for two reasons. One is that the Bible says in Ephesians 5:23, “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” We need to know what the Bible means by this statement so that we can exult in it and obey.

The other reason is that few things are more broken in our day than manhood and headship in relation to women and families. And the price of this brokenness is enormous and touches almost every facet of life. So for the sake of faithful biblical exposition and exultation, and for the sake of recovering biblical manhood and Christ-exalting family structures, we will, Lord willing, spend two weeks on this important issue of headship.

First Things First

Our emphasis in these weeks so far has been that staying married is not mainly about staying in love, but about keeping covenant. We did eventually come around to saying that precisely by this unwavering covenant-keeping the possibility of being profoundly in love in forty years is much greater than if you think of the task of marriage is first staying in love. Keeping first things first makes second things better. Staying in love isn’t the first task of marriage. It is a happy overflow of covenant-keeping for Christ’s sake.

We have spent most of our effort in these five messages so far pondering the foundations of covenant-keeping in the way Christ keeps covenant with us. We have looked at marriage as a showcase of covenant-keeping grace and as a combination of forgiveness and forbearance. And the last time we were together we took up the question: Can you help each other change? And if so, how do you do that graciously?

Headship Seen in Light of the Gospel

Up till now we have spent little time on the distinct roles of husband and wife—headship and submission. This was intentional. Foundations in the gospel are needed before these things can shine with the beauty they really have. There is nothing ugly or undesirable in these distinctions of headship and submission when they’re seen in the light of the gospel of grace.

So now the question presses on us: What is headship? And what is submission? The plan is to deal with headship in the next two weeks and then after Easter deal with submission and other issues relating to marriage.

This week will be largely foundation for headship, and next week will be largely application. What does it actually look like in practice?

The Mystery Revealed

Let’s move into this text at verse 31. It’s a quote from Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” In the next verse (v. 32), Paul looks back on this quote and says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

Now why is the coming together of a man and woman to form one flesh in marriage called a mystery? Mystery in the New Testament does not mean something too complex or deep or obscure or distant for humans to understand. It refers to a hidden purpose of God that is now revealed for our understanding and enjoyment. Paul explains what the mystery is in verse 32. The marriage union is a mystery, he says, because its deepest meaning has been concealed by God during the Old Testament history, but is now being openly revealed by the apostle, namely, that marriage is an image of Christ and the church. Verse 32: “I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

So marriage is like a metaphor or an image or a picture or a parable or a model that stands for something more than a man and a woman becoming one flesh. It stands for the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the deepest meaning of marriage. It’s meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.

The Parallel Between One Body and One Flesh

You can see how this is confirmed in verses 28-30. They describe the parallel between Christ and the church being one body andthe husband and wife being one flesh. Verses 28-29: “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 . . . .” In other words, the one-flesh union between man and wife means that in a sense they are now one body so that the care a husband has for his wife he, in that very act, has for himself. They are one. What he does for her he does for himself.

Then he compares this to Christ’s care for the church. Verses 29-30: “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.” Be sure to see the parallel: Christ nourishes and cherishes the church because we are members (that is, arms and legs and hands and feet) of his body. And husbands nourish and cherish their wives “as their own bodies.” No one ever hated his own flesh. Wives are our own flesh as the church is Christ’s own body. Just as the husband is one flesh with his wife so Christ is one body with the church. When the husband cherishes and nourishes his wife, he cherishes and nourishes himself; and when Christ cherishes and nourishes the church, he cherishes and nourishes himself.

All of this underlines what Paul calls a “profound mystery”—that marriage, in its deepest meaning, is a copy of Christ and the church. If you want to understand God’s meaning for marriage you have to grasp that we are dealing with a copy of a greater original, a metaphor of a greater reality and parable and a greater truth. And the original, the reality, the truth is God’s marriage to his people, or now in the New Testament, we see it as Christ’s marriage to the church. And the copy, the metaphor, the parable is human marriage between a husband and a wife. Geoffrey Bromiley says, “As God made man in His own image, so He made earthly marriage in the image of His own eternal marriage with His people” (God and Marriage, pg 43). I think that is exactly right. And it is one of the most profound things you can say about human life.

The Roles Are Distinct

One of the things to learn from this mystery is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are distinct. Consider the way Ephesians 5:22–25 unpacks the role of husband and the role of wife in the mystery of marriage as a copy of Christ and the church: “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.” Husbands are compared to Christ; wives are compared to the church. Husbands are compared to the head; wives are compared to the body. Husbands are commanded to love as Christ loved; wives are commanded to submit as the church is to submit to Christ.

It is astonishing how many people do not see this when they deal with this passage. Or, seeing it, neglect it. I have in mind those who would be called egalitarians—the ones who reject the idea that men are called to be leaders in the home. They put all the emphasis on verse 21 and the teaching of mutual submission. All agree that verse 21 is overflow from verse 18 where Paul commands us to be filled with the Spirit. Verses 18b-21: “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

So submitting to one another is seen as an expression of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Husbands and wives who are filled with the Holy Spirit serve one another. They humble themselves and get down low to lift the other up. They find ways to submit their immediate preferences for comfort to the need of the other. Amen to that! May it happen more and more. I have no desire to minimize the mutuality of submission and servanthood.

Mutual Submission and Unique Roles

But the problem is that egalitarians seem to stop with mutual submission, as if that were all one needed to say about roles in marriage, or as if that is all that the text has to say. And when they stop there, most people today are left with great ambiguity and great confusion about the proper roles of husband and wife. Once you clarify for people that a husband and a wife should be mutually humble, and mutually ready to serve each other, and mutually eager to meet each other’s needs and build each other up—once you have said all that, there remains a great uncertainty as to what, if anything, distinguishes the role of husband and wife. Is it only the biological gift of childbearing that distinguishes the roles? Or is there something more pervasive?

What is so astonishing is that egalitarians don’t embrace what every ordinary reader can see in Ephesians 5. After declaring that there is mutual submission in verse 21, Paul devotes twelve verses to unfolding the difference in the way a husband and wife should serve each other. You don’t need to deny mutual submission to affirm the importance of the unique role of the husband as head and the unique calling of the wife to submit to that headship.

Jesus, the Bridegroom, Served His Bride

The simplest way to see this is to remember that Jesus himself bound himself with a towel and got down on the floor and washed this disciples’ feet (the bridegroom, serving the bride), but not for one minute did any of the apostles in that room doubt who the leader was in that moment. In other words, mutuality of submission and servanthood do not cancel out the reality of leadership or headship. Servanthood does not nullify leadership; it defines it. Jesus does not cease to be the Lion of Judah when he becomes the lamb-like servant of the church.

After calling attention to the mutuality of submission or servanthood in verse 21, Paul devotes the whole passage through verse 33 to making distinctions between the role of the husband and the role of the wife—between the loving headship of a husband who takes his cues from Christ, and the willing submission of a wife who takes her cues from how the church is to follow Christ.

What we need to hear from this text today is not just a call to mutual submission that leaves young men groping for what it means to be a husband and young women groping for what it means to be a wife. What we need to hear is what headship and submission mean. What are the positive, practical implications of being called head that give man his distinct role in marriage? It is not enough to say, “Serve one another.” That is true of Christ and his church—they serve each other. But they do not serve each other in all the same ways. Christ is Christ. We are the church. To confuse the distinctions would be doctrinally and spiritually devastating. So also the man is the Christ-portraying husband, and the woman is the church-portraying wife. And to confuse these God-intended distinctions, or to abandon them, results in more disillusionment and more divorce and more devastation.

The Roles Are Not Arbitrary or Reversible

One of the things that are crystal clear in Ephesians 5 is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned and they are not reversible any more than the role of Christ and the church are reversible. The roles of husband and wife are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and his church. The revelation of this mystery is the recovery of the original intention of covenant marriage in the Garden of Eden.

You can see this most clearly when you ponder what sin did to headship and submission and how Paul’s teaching here in Ephesians 5 is so perfectly suited to remedy that corruption. When sin entered the world, it ruined the harmony of marriage not because it brought headship and submission into existence, but because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing, happy, creative, articulate submission into manipulative obsequiousness or groveling in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.

Recovering Roles from the Ravages of Sin

Now if this is true, then the redemption we anticipate with the coming of Christ is not the dismantling of the original, created order of loving headship and willing submission, but a recovery of it from the ravages of sin. And that’s exactly what we find here in Ephesians 5:21-33. Wives, let your fallen submission be redeemed by modeling it after God’s intention for the church! Husbands, let your fallen headship be redeemed by modeling it after God’s intention for Christ!

Therefore, headship is not a right to control or to abuse or to neglect. (Christ’s sacrifice is the pattern.) Rather, it’s the responsibility to love like Christ in leading and protecting and providing for your wife and family. And submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership and protection and provision. He wants the submission of the church to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening.

In other words, what Ephesians 5:21-33 does is two things: It guards against the abuses of headship by telling husbands to love like Jesus, and it guards against the debasing of submission by telling wives to respond the way the church does to Christ.

Defining Headship and Submission

So let me close for now with brief definitions of headship and submission and then come back next week, Lord willing, with practical application of what this headship in particular looks like.

  • Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like, servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home. (See next week’s message for the biblical basis of the words “leadership, protection, and provision.”)
  • Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.

A good deal is at stake here. I hope you take it seriously whether you are single or married, old or young. Not just the fabric of society hangs on this, but the revelation of the covenant-keeping Christ and his covenant-keeping church.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Family series: Part 2 Defining Masculinity by Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler is Pastor of The Village Church (3 campuses) of  Dallas, Texas.

Matt Chandler defines masculinity in Parts 1,2, 3, and 4  (approx. 10 minutes each):

Family series: Part 1 – Be a man by Paul Washer

In the United States, February 14 is celebrated by men and women of all ages as Valentine’s Day, a day for declarations of love. It is a very good thing, at the beginning of the year, as we all make our new year’s resolutions, to take some time to  reflect on  the state of our marriage; for the single people it is a good time to focus and learn about God’s great design for  man and woman.

This is the first in a series of messages on the role we each play in the family as designed by God. Paul Washer explains ‘what it means to be a man’ and towards the end he also has a short message for women, telling us the principle to follow in order to help our husbands. The messages I will post in this series are not just for married couples, they are very helpful for singles too and in the next week I will put together a post just for singles. I will post videos, audio, and essays mainly from John Piper,Paul Washer and Matt Chandler.

If you don’t already know who Paul Washer is here are 2 prior posts on  Paul Washer:

Paul Washer Youth Message

Paul Washer messages translated (subtitles) in Romanian

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