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May 8, 2021 4:00 am
So many Christian marriages continue to struggle when there are churches emphasizing the importance of a strong marital relationship will today. Untruthful life weekend Alastair beg teaches that when the focus in marriage. Turns inward instead of toward Christ.
The relationship is bound to veer off course. This message kicks off a new series titled the Christian family. Colossians 318 wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Father's do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything and do it not only when their eyes on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord whatever you do, work at it with all your heart is working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward is the Lord Christ you are serving anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong and there is no favoritism. Amen. Let's pray together God our father, we thank you that it is to your word that we turn that it is to the authority of you, the living God, that we look that we are mere mortals that we see through a glass darkly that one day everything will become clear by now. This evening we ask for as much clarity as is required in order to speak carefully and wisely. Honestly and in order to listen carefully and wisely and humbly and in order to put into practice the things that you teach us through the Bible and by your Holy Spirit forward. Pray in Jesus name, amen. Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
This, as far as a sentence is concerned is a straightforward as it is shocking in our politically correct environment. I have determined that I'm not going to use anytime at all providing illustrations of the way in which what the Bible says concerning the role of a wife is maligned and ridiculed and rejected.
I leave that low hanging fruit for someone else or for another time nor am I going to take any undue time at wondering about whether we are suffering within our own ranks. That is within the church itself. As a result of the distortion of the biblical instruction on the subject of wives, husbands and family. I just want to so that seed in your minds. The whole idea that much of what is regarded as vital, useful, beneficial information when it comes to the affairs of the home and the family and marriage in husbands and wives while without there being any motivation of wrong and it is worthy of consideration that the material may actually be distorted in the way it is both purveyed and received, and given the attention that has been paid to this area and Shirley is worth pausing for a moment to wonder at the condition of our homes and the condition of so-called Christian marriages because I began to think along these lines, I think I made a discovery this week in thinking this issue through something that I think I may be known in the back of my mind, but I hadn't brought it to the forefront of my thinking having completely thought it out, but I've done enough thinking on it, so as to advance it this evening with a measure of caution, however, my observation is part of a larger observation that goes along these lines in the clearing of the gospel when we seek to tell others the good news about Jesus is all too easy for us to appeal to the felt needs of men and women while at the same time, paying scant attention to the fact of God's Roth and the resultant wonder of God's grace and to the extent that we are willing to do that or do that then we distort the gospel in a similar way in approaching worship is all too easy for us to begin with man and his need rather than to begin with God and his glory.
And when we start here rather than there. We start at the wrong place and therefore distort in some measure our understanding of the nature of worship so incoming to the subject of marriage in particular. In addressing the issue of what it means to be a wife is caused me to wonder whether our predicament, despite all our helps, and all are helpless is you in some measure.
At least to the fact that we start in the wrong place or if you like that we start with the wrong person. In other words, most of the material that we tackle or purveyed on marriage is very very man centered or very very woman centered come along. Now you want to do this because if you do, it will mean such and such and so and so it will be of benefit to you. You will feel better about yourself you will make things easier in the home and so long all of which is true but all of that kind of exhortation and all of those discoveries may equally well be found in self-help manuals in other religious forms of orthodoxy and here if I may use the first question of the shorter Scottish catechism. I think is the right starting point for any discovery of Christian marriage. It starts by re-orientating the question number one what is the chief end of marriage.
The chief end of marriage is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. What is the chief objective of a wife.
The same, and of a husband the same, and of parent's and of children. In other words, in the express terms of this verse for the wife to live in the light of this text. Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord wipes to live in the light of this text is I suggest to you ultimately about the gospel ultimately about the gospel I want to show you why this is the case, it is in part what it means for a wife to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. If a wife says Jesus. Christ is Lord and yet refuses to bow beneath the instruction of the word of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then she fails to put into practice at the most foundational level, a declaration which is easily verbalized and yet most difficult to live out now in a way that I hope will prove both understandable and helpful. I want to gather all of my material under four words I meet Jerry with a four words are Lord number one piety to mistreat three authority for liberty meeting remember the mounting them in turn number one piety while here's a rare word, is it not a rare plan to seldom use devalued were perhaps the last time you heard that piety or pious used as an adjective. It was in relationship to this sort of familiar dismissive statement which refers to the pious person as being so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly use of tall people, of course, usually chuckle at that little anecdotal statement, but the fact of the matter is if we are honest, we would have to admit that the reverse of that is a far more pressing issue. I haven't really come across too many people in the last few weeks have been so heavenly minded that they have been of no earthly use, but I have looked at myself in the mirror of God's word and find myself to be so ethically minded that I'm actually very little heavenly you know piety is really another word for godliness, and godliness is simply the living of life with an all pervasive sense of God's presence. The living of life with an all pervasive sense of God's presence and that not in some kind of mystical experience that is enjoyed banning isolated splendor, but rather a practical encounter discovered in the every day matters of life easy for piety for the all pervasive presence of God in a life to be worked out.
It has to be worked out at the most fundamental level of our everyday activity, and therefore I begin with this word, it is equally applicable unless otherwise feel that there being picked on and anyway it is equally applicable to all of our four versus what are our org this evening is simply in the realm of the women.
It involves bringing our minds and our judgments and all will under the mind and judgment and will of God and to bring all of the assessment of God's word upon our conduct, and therefore in this instance, upon the nature of what it means to be a wife. The first text is the text of piety is not the test of beauty.
It is not the test of giftedness. It is not the test of physicality.
It is the test of piety and all pervasive awareness of God that adjudicates brings his judgment and his mind and his will to bear upon the fact of what it means to live life as a wife. In the context bears this out because verse 18 does not exist in isolation. The context of verse 18 is essentially all that has preceded and from the beginning of the letter Paul has been addressing a very specific group of individuals.
This group of individuals, like others, whom to me address letters when essentially living with two homes.
They had a kind of dual citizenship, but that is true for every Christian actually have a dual citizenship to passport a British want the United States will, but the significance of this dual citizenship is that those to whom he wrote were both in Colossae and in Christ and for that, this evening we could read in Cleveland and if we are believers in Christ and the real challenge of what it means to be in Christ is directly tied to the fact that we are in Cleveland, not Cleveland per se, but that we are in the real world with all of its challenges and opportunities with all of its difficulties. These individuals are just point these things out to you, he is identified in verse six of chapter 2 as those who have received Christ in verse 20 of the same chapter. Those who have died with Christ to the basic principles of the world and then in the first verse of chapter 3 he identifies them as those who have been raised with Christ now let me say this, and will move to our second word.
What Paul is doing here is not unique to this particular letter, he does it all the time and he is arguing.
If you like from the larger to the smaller from the greater to the lesser. He is reminding these individuals that by God's amazing goodness. They have been made. Members of his family as members of his family. One day they will be gathered into his family gathering forever. That's the verses with which we began this evening, a great company that no one could number, but for the time being, although they have the privilege of gathering with little bits of that forever family in local churches such as we are doing this evening.
Most of their life's are going to be spent not in gatherings like this, not in an awareness of their relationships with the big family of of God that his existence throughout the world and in heaven.
But most of our lives and the most time in our lives is going to be spent within our own we families that's what makes it so hard if you simply became a Christian. I went immediately to heaven, then I would be one thing, but we are placed in Christ while still in Cleveland. If what it meant to be pious or to understand the nature of an all pervasive sense of God had to do with some esoteric expediency whereby we went off on our own into the woods and quantitated that would be one thing but no, the poor wife is confronted by piety while she is confronted by her husband by her unruly children by our own personal challenges by the warp and woof of life by all of that which makes up life and she opens her Bible and is confronted by such a striking, straightforward statement waves submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Those of you who are wines know what a demanding striking straightforward exhortation that is unless we said at first within the framework of piety we seek to plant the bloom in the wrong soil now to the second word and the word is mystery mystery summary are looking at me as if you regarded the story of piety is a mystery. I understand that that's all right I said that I hoped it would be understandable and helpful. II remains to be seen. In order to get to this mystery should turn really to the parallel passage in Ephesians 5, which is worked out in far greater detail than what we have in these pithy statements here in Colossians chapter 4 were not going to expound five but it is in chapter 5 in the passage concerning wives and husbands that we come to this statement in verse 31 and then 52 Paul says, speaking of marriage and quoting from the Old Testament. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.
And then here's our mystery. This is a profound mystery. But I'm talking about Christ and the church know if you have attended weddings and I've attended a few of them and you've heard this passage of Scripture read then, like me, you have probably made a mental note to figure out what that means. This is a profound mystery. But I'm talking about Christ and the church.
Most of us can say a hearty amen. It remains a profound mystery because although we have had it read and we may have thought about it in passing, never fully understood what he's getting at when he says this is a profound mystery. I'm not sure that I've got it completely myself, but I think I can make a stab at now. He tells us that the mystery is directly related to Christ and the church the mystery if you like of Christ's initiative in loving the church and giving himself up for the church. The mystery of the church is responds to that initiatory love the Brian's joyful, submissive response is all part of this mystery and this mystery, says Paul, is at the very heart of Christian marriage and unless we nail the bad home in our thinking.
Then I can we go directly astray. The essence of it is simple that the mystery of the initiative taking the love of Jesus and the joyful submission of his bride in the church to his love is mirrored in healthy biblical marriages at healthy biblical marriage is in some measure supposed to allow somebody to get a greater grass of the gospel is supposed to allow a child to observe the interaction of his or her parents and get an inkling of the mystery of Christ's redeeming love.
Let me pause there for just a moment and say to you, does this not suddenly said everything at far higher level than winter my sexual needs are being met or whether my desires or my designs are being fulfilled where I'm getting my equal share of whatever else it is you seek all of that is an issue, but not be because of the very heart of the matter is not only the piety of on all pervasive sense of God, but it is the very mystery of the initiative love taking of God and the joyful submission of the people of God to the Lordship of Jesus, nor numbers of any right to say Jesus is Lord. If we do not do what Jesus says I cannot say Jesus is Lord and remain unwilling to love my wife without disregarding her Nortel know why say Jesus is Lord, whom she has never seen and she's supposed to submit to a heavenly Lord, that she has never yet met while being unprepared to submit to an athlete leader, with whom she sleeps.
This is the challenge for significant challenge and I say again to the gospel is at stake.
Wonder why the evil one would would vent such an attack on Christian marriages is simply so that we wanted a happy time together know it is because he knows what we miss that healthy Christian marriage is a mirror of the initiative love of Jesus towards his bride.
In fact, Ferguson refers to marriage as a domestic cameo of grace domestic cameo of grace goes on to observe that in the marriage relationship gospel drama is being portrayed in a unique way through a human relationship, a ladies wife's here you have it in a simple sentence as daunting as it is search the Scriptures to see if what I'm telling you is accurate when a wife expresses submissive love for her husband. She is depicting how a believer responds to the Lord Jesus when she doesn't she is confusing the issue and marring the gospel are marriages designed by God to put the message of the gospel on display from today's message on Truth for Life weekend with Alistair Begg.
As I mentioned today's program as part of a new series titled the Christian family, which coincides perfectly with Mother's Day weekend. So on behalf of all of us the Truth for Life want to wish you a very happy Mother's Day. If you listen to Truth for Life regularly on the weekend. You know, we carefully select and recommend books that supplement Alistair's teaching our current offer is especially useful because it helps bring the story of the Bible to life for children for teenagers or for adults. It's titled God's Bible timeline. The big book of biblical history. The book is organized into over a dozen timelines each one spans two pages and presents a unique error in biblical history. The first time one begins with the creation and the flood in the chronology of biblical events continues right through to the book of Revelation. This is a great book to use in learning how one area of biblical history flows into the next God's Bible timeline is a great reference tool for studying or teaching the Bible and you can request your copy today when you visit Truth for Life.org.
We also mention if you enjoy the convenience of on-demand listing using an Amazon Alexa device for Google home device. You can use it to hear Truth for Life simply ask Alexa to play Truth for Life or if you use Google home asked Google to listen to the truth like brought about appealing and we want to wish you a happy Mother's Day. Hope you'll join us next weekend. Where will learn about the relationship between a healthy marriage and the experience of true freedom. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life learning is prolific