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January 22, 2021 7:00 am
The traditional fairytale ends with the marriage of a charming prince and a beautiful princess and the promise that they'll live happily ever after.
Most real marriages however struggled to live up to this ideal and are often messy, hurtful and frustrating. Even so, God's had a plan to redeem marriage all along will learn about that plan. In today's broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically today.
Dr. Boyce will continue through Ephesians chapter 5 and through a series of messages dedicated to the important topic of marriage. Listen in as he shares from God's word and gives us the four steps secret for a happy, healthy marriage. I've called this second study of Paul's teaching about marriage in the fifth chapter of Ephesians. Loving husband's happy wives, but I admit as I begin that in the climate of today's thinking about marriage, a title like that is just a little bit embarrassing because people have negative ideas where marriage is concerned and anything that seems to be at all mandatory about the institution is regarded, sometimes even with a great deal of hostility. I suppose it's not hard to find examples of that. My wife and I have been married 23 years, which I hope is 23 years or I'm in trouble and just a little bit less than 23 years ago, several months, maybe even less than that. After we had been married.
Linda was with a group of her friends from her single day's, all of whom however had been married for several years and they were talking about marriage and she said something that was quite natural for a new bride. She said how happy she was to be married. The response of one of her friends was a putdown friend said who are you trying to convince us or yourself. I have heard young people say I am never getting married. I have never known a marriage in which the people involved in it are happy.
What's the problem. One of the problems with marriage of courses that we are sinful people we carry our sin into the marriage and marriage by its very nature is a relationship in which we are vulnerable. Marriage involves sharing. You can't be married without to some extent, letting down the barriers and sharing with the other person. But, of course, when you do that and when the other person is a sinner as you yourself are you inevitably find yourself hurt part of the problem lies there. Yet, in my judgment, the greater part of the problem is not that but the fact that people today, even Christian people simply do not follow God's guidelines for marriages. He gives them in the fifth chapter of Ephesians and another portions of the word of God but me say before we plunge into Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5 that the place to begin.
In any discussion of marriage is with the fact that marriage is a good idea.
Good idea because it is God's idea, and God never had a bad idea. We mess it up. It's ourselves to mess it up. But it's not God's fault that we bring that kind of problem into our lives.
Let me remind you again of how marriage is introduced for us in the pages of the word of God way back in Genesis of the very beginning in connection with God's creative acts. God created all of the wonders of the world on each of the successive days of creation, including the creation of man on the six day and after each one of those acts save the last God pronounce the benediction on what he had done. He said it is good what I about as good. It was only when he came to contemplate the man and his aloneness.
God said it is not good, but the man should be alone. I will therefore make a helper perfectly suited for him, so God made the woman and brought the woman. The man and does it work performed the first marriage and by that act just creation without relationship, which, by the very nature of the way it's described was obviously the supreme good, so as I say, if we have trouble in our marriages is not God's fault on a good idea he did it right. The problems we have are those we bring into the marriages ourselves where Paul's teaching comes in because Paul was a plaster ball dealt with people who, in his day had troubles as we do in our sin when he gives the instruction, it's not because he is just unfolding some arbitrary, hard, rigid standard of what marriage must be, but because he cared about these people always saying to the people of his day look if you want to have the kind of marriage that God intended you to have a good marriage.
If you will approach that though you necessarily approach it as a sinner and will therefore fall short of the ideal. This is the way that approaches to be taken gives instructions for wives first and then for husbands and when he turns to the wives he says wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. That's the wife's duty in marriage, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church's body of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. I want to confess that as I've handled this matter of submission.
In recent years largely in brief messages that I have given to couples in connection with wedding services that I have tended I think unconsciously, to move away slightly from what this passage really teaches. I got in this way. I've pointed out, and probably because of sensitivity to what I think in many cases of the justifiable concerns of women today. I tended to point out that those instructions to wives instructions that they are to submit to their husbands are preceded by a verse Ephesians 521 that speaks of the mutual submission of each Christian to each other. Christian and the fellowship of the church.
The verse says submit to one another out of reverence for Christ as justification for that in our Bibles that word submit becomes a commandment in the Greek, which underlines this text. It's a parting symbol and is a participle that links with three other participles in the previous verses. In other words, all four of these go together as unfolding what it really means to live a Spirit filled life all says be filled with the spirit and companies participles speaking to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
That's one singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. That's another always giving thanks to God the father for everything. That's 1/3 and verse 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. I pointed out to him. It is true thus far that there is a mutual submission not the case of one Christian, lording it over another. But there is a case of mutual submission in the church and that this is part of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So far so good. But then we asked the question if that is the case if being submissive is merely something that every Christian owes every other Christian why is it that Paul particularly emphasizes submission when he speaks to wives and their relationship to their husbands and what I have tended to say here is where I think I have begun to move slightly off target. What I have begun to say as well. It must be because wives have particular difficulty in this area.
Just as when Paul says to husbands in verse 25, love your wives is not saying that husbands are to love and wives are not a lot, but deemphasizes love in dealing with husbands because husbands particularly need to learn that well let me say thus far that is also true.
Wives do have difficulty submitting to their husbands away.
Some of us act one can readily understand that husbands do have difficulty loving their wives. They don't love wisely. They don't know what they're doing but all that aside to approach the matter that weight used to distort what Paul is saying, because what Paul is doing here is emphasizing submission. This is why incidentally, although the verb submit in verse 21 is a participle and is therefore rightly linked up with the verbs that come before the new international version for one tax sets it off by itself does go with what proceeds but it also goes with what follows somewhat as a title sentence or thesis. The examples of which are to follow.
Paul is primarily concerned with submission and that means that as he begins to talk in the verses that extend from Ephesians 522 to the discussion of the Christian warfare, which begins in Ephesians 610. He gives an illustration of what he's talking about three examples of submission.
The first is that of wives to husbands. The second is that of children to parents and the third is that of slaves to Masters out. Please don't misunderstand that is not the same thing as saying that wives and children are slaves even less. Is it saying that wives are to be child like in the marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each one of these relationships is unique. What is common to all three is that a certain amount of submission is involved.
Slaves are to submit to Masters. Children are to submit to their parents and wives are to submit to their husbands in the home. That means that according to God. Husbands are to be head over there wives in that domestic relationship that incidentally is why the order of each pair is given as it is normally when we speak of children and parents. We don't say children and parents. We say parents and children, and when we speak of slaves and masters.
We don't normally say slaves and masters. We would say masters and slaves, but it's given in the order it is because Paul is stressing this submissive relationship. Let me say that is voluntary. No woman ever has to accept the proposal of any man. If she does please that's the way it should be some societies. It's not that way. That's way it should be.
If she does she do so voluntarily. Having done that voluntarily. If she is a Christian woman. She voluntarily enters into a relationship where her husband is the proper head of her home.
Moreover, this is what any good woman wants and I would go so far as to say basically is what any woman wants even if she's not so good. Women don't want a man that they can push around.
Most women in all good women, one a man they can look up to a man who is strong enough to be that of their home.
A man who can give leadership that they can follow managed judgment, they can respect.
Even if in a particular instance they made disagree with it.
This is what Paul is saying makes marriage happy marriage is not going to be happy where you have two strong wills locked in opposition each one struggling for dominance will be happy where wives obey the command of the Lord and submit to their leadership of their husbands and husbands their part. Love their wives and extend to them the kind of leadership that the Lord Jesus Christ extended and does extend was church. Now Paul says husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, I suppose one way of handling this is saying that if the wives standard is a high one. If wives are to love and submit to their husbands says we love and submit to Jesus Christ, then husbands standard is an even higher one because the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved us one case, the standard is the highest possible standard of human love in the second case, the standard is the divine love exercised by Jesus uses five verbs here as he talks about Christ's activity toward the church. These become a pattern there to be treated in an analogous way or husbands and their relationship to their wives. Christ loved the church. Christ gave himself up for the church.
Christ's object in doing that was to make the church holy Christ cleanses the church by the word of God in Christ ultimate object is to present the church to himself, radiant and without stain wrinkle or any other blemish each one of those is worth thinking about all the Christ loved the church. What is it mean to love. Love is not such an easy word to define and certainly not in our culture, where it's watered down distorted inevitably by our secular perspectives. I think of all the definitions I've heard I like best. That definition of Walter Trowbridge in the little book I loved a girl he was a missionary in Africa. As you know he dealt with Africans in their relationships and one African young man had written to him for advice and he's writing back and he's describing in this particular section. What true love is. Let me try to tell you what it really should mean of a fellow says to a girl.
I love you so Trowbridge it means you you you you alone you shall reign in my heart. You are the one whom I have longed for.
Without you I am in complete I will give everything for you.
I will give up everything for you, myself, as well as all that I possess. I will love you for you alone. I will work for you alone. I will wait for you I will never force you not even my words want to guard you, protect you and keep you from all evil. I would share with you all my thoughts my heart my body all that I possess.
I want to listen to what you have to say there is nothing I want to undertake without your blessing. I want to remain always at your side of my God blesses home who Satan keeps them stable. But it's also obvious that Bob like that is only learned at the feet of Jesus Christ and we have to ask ourselves is husbands. If we love like that to even understand what true love is according to that kind of a definition I don't think so.
At least I think very few of us do, yet you know the Bible tells us clearly that if husbands don't know how to love like that and don't practice that kind of love. Not only are they going to be effective in their homes. There even going to be ineffective with God. One reason why God makes that a requirement of those would be leaders in the church is an interesting person first Peter the third chapter verse seven, Peter tells husbands there that if they don't love their wives. God won't even listen to their prayers goes like this. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and his heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers of the words God is saying that if a man doesn't have sense enough to treat his wife properly. Why should God pay attention to anything else he may have to say that's the first verb now. The second is this not only did Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that gift of himself was the major definition of his love in the ancient Greek histories. There's a story of wife of one of the generals of Cyrus, who was the king of Persia. She had been involved in some treachery against the king and was brought to trial and was sentenced to death while all this was going on. Her husband was away hadn't heard of it, but as soon as he did. He immediately rushed home, he went to the palace burst in the throne room and threw himself on the floor before the king. He said oh my Lord Cyrus take my life. Instead of her. Don't let her die Cyrus by all historical accounts not just biblical accounts was an extremely sensitive and humane man. He looked at that husband and wife and then he said something like this. He said love like that should not be spoiled by death.
So he raised Gen. Oppen. He excused wife getting an apartment gave the two of them back together and he let them leave the courtroom as they were going out the husbands turned to the wife and said, did you notice how the king's face was shining on us when he gave you the pardon and the wife said in reply to that, I had no eyes for the king, I saw only the man was willing to die in my place say that's what Jesus did for us. That's the way husbands are to love their wives, and I think we should say, this shouldn't way. It's very easy for husbands, especially Christian husbands to talk about dying for their wives because it's very unlikely that we will ever have to do that and if this is to have any meaning for us. It has to have meaning in the small practical areas. I think one wife was entirely right when she said to her husband.
I know that you are willing to die for me.
Reason I know that is because you have told me that you're willing to die for me so many times.
But while you're waiting to die for me.
Perhaps you could fill in some of the time by helping me dry the dishes. If we are serious about this. It has to be him.
Very practical ways, verb, the apostle Paul uses in speaking of the duty of husband's patterns on an expression of the love of Christ is this matter of cleansing and holiness to make her holy, the ideas, sanctification, word cleansing relates to. It has to do with separation until Jesus died that his church might be sanctified. It was that the church might be set apart consecrated on the him there's a direct parallel to that in marriage that the husband is sanctified or set apart into his wife and the wife is sanctified or set apart into her husband. All that is true, but when Paul speaks as he does about this cleansing with water through the word. He's thinking of the spiritual dimensions of that is not merely a man and a woman, or set apart from one another within the marriage bond, but in an even greater sense. They are at the same time set apart under God and personal devotion saying here that a husband has responsibility for the spiritual growth merger progress of his wife.
This is very clear in the next of these verb/the fifth when it says that Christ's goal was to present heard that is the church to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish holy and blameless, but Paul has in mind here is what John Stott in his study of this passage calls the eschatological dimension that is the measure of all things by the end this is what Jesus sees when he looks at ICCs is not in our imperfections, but he sees this is what we're going to be so his work with losses to lead us by degrees, even in this life toward a perfect and that day when we will stand before him being made perfect in love and holiness and grace justice, mercy, and all those other things. I think when I read that if something that CS Lewis wrote somewhere in his writings he was reflecting on the fact that men and women. Unlike the animal world are the rest of creation are given by God, eternal souls means that they are everlasting beings. Lewis says as he reflects on that. It means that because we have eternal souls. Each one of us the ages to come is either going to be an dazzlingly beautiful creature who would fill us with an overpowering sense of all we were to see such a creature now, or else he said some inexpressible horror from which all of us would flee the difference.
He says depends upon our relationship to God. Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as I think of that I apply it to what Paul is saying here about the relationship of husbands to wives and I applied in this way seems to me that would make all the difference in the world. If a husband would look upon his wife is, that glorious radiant creature that she is one day to be, will be in her resurrection body and recognize that in the providence of God. He is her husband has partial responsibility and that most glorious transformation. The bottom line of these instructions. As I said is that a husband and wife might find glorious fulfillment in one another and be happy in the tragedy of life is that so many marriages are not somebody in a situation like that may well say well I understand what you're saying. I believe it is there in the Bible that is certainly what a marriage should be. But in my case it just can't be, it's too late. This kind of idealism possible person like that is given up hope the message of the Bible and this is in all other areas is that for the Christian is never the case of a relationship being utterly hopeless.
All we do great harm to our relationships. We sometimes get ourselves in the situations where humanly speaking, there is no hope. With God all things are possible. And it's always possible to resurrect even a very sad and disheartening marriage give you one example I mentioned last week, the testimony of Pat Williams, the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. He tells the story of his marriage in a book called rekindled the book I recommend to you the story goes like this piece of very active, energetic disciplines abandoned.
He's very caught up in the demanding schedule that he has dealing with professional basketball.
He had fallen into habit.
Perhaps he had a from the very beginning of neglecting his wife. She had made various protests he had made little soirées in the direction of trying to calm her protest, but nothing that really change the situation grew worse in the time came on one particular Sunday just before Christmas. Years ago when she finally explained to him what had been happening in her life. She said my love for you has died that I'm a Christian. I know that Christians are not to get divorces. So, I am not going to move out and still stay here to take care of the children just have no affection for you anymore, and perhaps is that I never did came as a great blow to him as it actually wouldn't plunge them into a series of searching for what he had done wrong and what he might be able to do to resurrect the marriage in his search he came across the book by Ed week called love life for every married couple which I've also mentioned mentioned last week, and that's particular book. There is a chapter which is called prescription for a superb marriage very simple little prescription it's based on an acrostic using the word best, BEST, it's prescription. As we'd says that the best of all possible marriages be stands for blessing has to do with praising your wife saying good things about her praying for God E stands for edify means to build up husband builds his wife up by his remarks to her, his encouragement, his words and his deeds and the wife builds her husband up by responding to his efforts. S stands for sharing. The sharing of two lives involves doing things together commenting on what is going through one's mind. It means exploring together and the final letter of the 4T stands for touching has to do with non-sexual touching just the communication of affection by a toxin that in which judgment is so important that in this particular chapter he gives 25 examples of how that can be effectively done. This is the chapter that Pat Williams came upon in red and decided in the providence of God that he would put in the practice he describes in the book, took a long, long time before began to have any affect all how we had many setbacks just seemed to him as he looked at it from the outside that the marriage really was dead. His wife's soul was dead and he had killed it. But as he began to put this into practice the marriage really did revive it was rekindled became a model in many ways is that he tells about in his book and that he and his wife Jill testify to on many occasions say all those four things really mean is that they tell us how to do what Paul tells us we should go in Ephesians 5. That's important thing you see it is love in action has to do with actually doing things because it concerns doing what the Bible says we should know the results inevitably follow because God makes no mistakes, loving husbands, happy wives, that's an embarrassment and embarrassment because of our sin the same time. It's a challenge to allow God to make our marriages everything he is determined they should be spray her father.
When we read a passage like this, we find ourselves examining our hearts and confessing our own sin before you. We ask for your forgiveness the same time because you never confront us with our sin. Believe us in the spare we find ourselves encouraged and even in situations where the relationship is grim. There is still on the basis of a text like this flickering of that dim candle of hope. Father Gramps that by your grace. Many marriages among us, which have been less than ideal might move in that direction through the prescription which you yourself give and in the power of Jesus Christ, amen. You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888.
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