From the Pastor’s Desk
Marriage Session 6
Tonight, I am going to have to ramble a little to cover the subject. I know some of you are saying, “So what’s different?” We will have to move from one subject to another. It’s all connected, but it won’t seem like it for a while. The Christian Marriage is basically, and foremost a spiritual relationship. From that proper spiritual relationship emanates the proper emotional, physical and social relationships. That in no way implies that marriage is not physical, emotional and social. Nor is it intended to convey that if your spiritual life is right all else falls into line automatically. It is saying that if your spiritual life and relationship is not right, NONE of the other aspects of marriage can possibly be in the category of Biblical.
God certainly recognizes the physical, emotional and social aspect of marriage.., and puts a high priority on them. Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Proverbs 5:18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. It is strange how we often think that God doesn’t know anything about “these” things, and if He did, He wouldn’t talk about them, because He is too holy. I hate to shock your system, but God made our bodies and He made them male and female. It was God that thought up the idea of marriage in the first place. Yes, you can have sex, be social and have emotions of rapturous love... AND still be holy (within the proper context of a Biblical marriage). The important word there is STILL. If you weren’t holy when you engaged in these things, the things will not make you holy. Unless your personal life is right spiritually, and your relationship with your spouse is right spiritually, these other aspects of the marriage relationship will at best become “common-place”, or they will continue to decline into lust and contempt.
Anything of a physical or material nature will deteriorate with time. If earthly things are not properly cared for they will rot, rust and putrefy. Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, That which is spiritual is continual renewed “after the image” of God, Who is spiritual. God has been around a long time, and the last time I checked He hadn’t rusted or grown old. II Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. Through the Word of God and His grace, your marriage relationship can grow far better than it was or is! Matthew 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The process of marriage rusting and deteriorating does not always happen quickly, but over a period of time the physical, emotional and social aspects of marriage fall into disrepair. However, anything of a spiritual nature continues to develop, and is not corruptible. Remember it is after or “according to the pattern or image” of God the Creator. So if you want your marriage to continue to develop and get better with time, it must be based on proper spiritual principles.
In the last lesson, we began to look at the “chain of glory”. God the Father is the head of Christ, and Christ is the glory of the Father. Christ is the head of the man, and man is the glory of Christ. Man is head of the woman, and the woman is the glory of man. This has nothing to do with who is more important. It has to do with transmitted and reflected glory. I Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God..... 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is showing by the order presented here, not so much the fellowship, or even the relationship of each to the other, BUT instead is showing the order of responsibility and accountability. This “chain” of authority, accountability, responsibility and glory has mutual benefit as we will see later. This is not so one will have more praise than another, but so both will equally fulfill the true purpose of life.
God is the head of Christ. We know that God the Father was not the head of Christ because He was better or more powerful or more important than Christ. God the Father and Christ are equal. This has to do with responsibility in this phase of His earthly ministry of redemption. Christ was under the authority of God the Father who was responsible to see that the plan was carried out. The chain of responsibility and authority has to do with accomplishment of a purpose or a task, NOT supremacy.
If this illustration started with the man being head of the woman, and we were never informed of God the Father being head of Christ, we might have had reason of think domination and male supremacy. But we know that Christ was not “used”, nor was He for the benefit or personal pleasure of God to the detriment of Christ. Neither is woman to be “used” or for the benefit of man. As we will see in a little while, God the Father, and God the Son were for the mutual benefit and pleasure of each. It is called fulfillment.
John 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." Christ was sent by the Father, but the Father was with Christ at all times, and was a part of Christ at all times (except for that one moment on the cross). This was a mutual thing, even though each had His area of responsibility. Christ was accountable to the Father. Through and because of His accountability and responsibility, He was the “glory of God the Father”. This glory is not just a one sided thing. As the woman becomes the glory of the man, she will find there is great benefit to herself in that glory, as well as the great mutual benefit. Ephesians 5:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Remember, Paul said marriage was a mystery... BUT that mystery is unveiled in Christ and the church. So, we need to look to Christ for our teaching on Biblical marriage. Psychology is the study of the natural behavior of mankind, and bases its opinions and suggestions on that natural behavior. The Bible bases its opinions and suggestions of normal behavior on the Son of God Who became flesh. You can find help through the aid of psychology, but only to the level of the normal of mankind or a little above. There is a good and proper place for study, teaching and application of psychology. However, if you want to soar above the normal of mankind, you will need to turn to and follow the pattern of Christ.
John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 "as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. Man is under the authority of Christ, not the domination of Christ. Please remember, authority is only conferred from one who has that authority to another. Authority is not gained. It is not earned. It is conferred. With authority comes BOTH the responsibility to use that authority, and to use it properly.
Ladies, through this subjection, you have the greatest opportunity for real glory. This fact should not come as a surprise to us, because this is the teaching of Scripture as to the normal Christian life, which a Biblical marriage in a part. Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Matthew 16:25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. God’s way to greatness is through servanthood. God is not against greatness, BUT true greatness must come God’s way. You can gain popularity or fame through the natural or human effort, but it will be fleeting at best. I Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter 5:2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Please NOTE!! This non-fading “crown of glory” is in the context of submission. A little submission for a short time NOW yields a “crown of glory” for all eternity (which is a little longer than you will be married here on earth), AND for all to see. God is not against glory! He wants to make sure it is lasting glory, not self-centered sinful glory. God’s way to being “first” is to be least or last. God is not against being “first”, but it must be God’s way. To be first in the natural realm is to be better than someone else because they are not as good as you. To be first in God’s realm, is by serving others and considering them at least as good as yourself. To be first in God’s realm is to help make the others as good as they can be. That is also true when it comes to marriage.
The wife CANNOT reflect the glory of the husband whose glory came from Christ, unless the husband is properly reflecting the Glory of Christ and transmitting that glory through his life to his wife. The wife’s responsibility is to reflect the glory of her husband. She is to have her own glory, also, as we will see later. When BOTH husband and wife take this mutual yet unique responsibility and authority for glory, both are equally benefited. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. I Peter 3:3 Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. The passage is not saying that you shouldn’t or can’t have outward beauty by means of make up, jewelry or clothes, etc. However, your real beauty should not be something you put on or do.., it should be what you are.
When we got married, I was in love with a beautiful, slender, vivacious little thing with soft skin and long silky hair. She was the most beautiful girl in all the world. I didn’t think I could be any more in love than I was on our wedding day. 42 years later, a lot of changes have taken place. Gravity has won a few battles. The wear and tear of three kids, churches, camp, etc., has changed some of the outward appearances. Neither one of us look like our wedding pictures. I know, because I looked at our wedding pictures in the hall as I went by to wash my face where I saw myself in mirror. I’ve changed a little.
However, that beautiful gal that I watched come down the aisle did something I never thought possible. She is more beautiful and glorious today than she was 42 years ago, AND I’m infinitely more in love with her now than I was then. No, her hands probably wouldn’t be chosen for a Ponds hand cream TV commercial, BUT when I see and touch her hands, I see and feel the hours and weeks spent cleaning dirty camp stoves, painting “out-houses”, cleaning chickens, cooking hundreds of camp meals, etc. I see the beauty marks left from changing diapers and yes, washing diapers -- thousands of them. I see the beauty marks in her face from years of concern for my children and hundreds of other’s children to whom we have the privilege of ministering. Her concern for some of you has left a few glorious beauty marks, also. I see her ability to stretch a dollar beyond all reason so that the family could have more than a decent meal.
I see the glorious bend of her shoulders and the wonderful halt in her step developed from the hundreds of meals she has prepared and taken to those in need, and because she has bent over a desk and a pile of books hours on end to bring blessing to Sunday School students, and ladies Bible classes. Of course, the years of tender care she has given to me has added some beauty lines, also. These beauty marks, and many more were earned because she endeavored to be my glory. I wouldn’t trade one of them for a million Miss Americas. Those things are more beautiful than all the world to me. The Holy Spirit said, “Your beauty let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God”. When I see my wife, I see beauty that is far deeper and greater than any surface beauty enhanced by ornaments, make-up, apparel or anything else.
Proverbs 31:27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. I haven’t always reflected the glory of Christ in such a way as to make it possible for my wife to in turn reflect that glory as it should have been. Even so, to whatever the extent of my reflection of Christ, she has been my glory. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Bev is my wife and my glory. We are a lot alike, and yet unique. She is not the person I married. She is FAR more of a person than that little girl I married. Nor am I the person she married. The person I am today is largely the making of my wife as she has blended her life with mine.
When we strive to be equal with someone, it shows that
we are inferior to them
No one can make you feel less than you are,
you believe them
When you try to make yourself equal with someone else (even your spouse), you must
yourself from the position given you by the God of all gods
Ladies, don’t despair! You have a secret God given weapon that when properly used will build spiritual fiber into that man of yours
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
If your Bible shows the paragraphs divisions, you will see a paragraph starts at 5:15 and goes 5:21. A new paragraph starts at 5:22 and goes to the end of the chapter. Notice also the sentence structure. vs 15 - 16; vs 17; vs 18 - -21. We must keep in mind that sentences and paragraphs are different in Greek and English. However, the translators have tried to break the text according to the thought pattern and the flow. They have done a good job. We want to study this portion in the manner of the thought patterns of the passage, NOT according to the prejudices of the radical groups on either side of the issue. We have both sides in the churches and behind the pulpits.
This passage from 5:15 through 6:9 is talking about proper relationships of Believers. 5:22 - 5:33 is the relationship of husband and wife. 6:1- 6:3 is the relationship of children to parents. 6:4 is the relationship of fathers to children. 6:5 - 6:8 is the relationship of servants to masters. 6:9 is the relationship of masters to servants. 5:15 - 5:21 has application to all relationships.
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Circumspectly = (Greek) Exactly-- is made up of most exact & extremity. This Greek word is used in other verses. Looking at those verses will help us see more clearly the meaning of the word. Matthew 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." Luke 1:3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, Acts 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. I Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
A Sunday School Teacher explained what it meant to walk “circumspectly”. Then she ask if someone in the class would explain in their own words what it meant. After a long pause, one boy said, “It the way a cat walks across the yard right after a rain.” That might not make page one in a Systematic Theology book, but he had the point. In our relationships, we are to walk knowing where to put our foot down, AND then put our foot down exactly in the right place.
Redeeming = (Greek) Buying up; Rescuing from loss. vs 17 Paul says we need to know what the will of the Lord is, and it starts with being filled with the Spirit. This filling of the Spirit is needed for all proper relationships including marriage. Some people are unwise. They talk about walking with the Lord, BUT they leave Him out of their decisions concerning relationships. We’ll see more of this subject next lesson. vs 18 - 21 show the evidence of the filling of the spirit as well as the commands we are to follow in the process of being filled.
© Clyde White
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