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May 26, 2020 4:00 am
The we live in an era when cohabitation is on the rise and when divorce is tragically altered, is the biblical view of marriage still relevant today on Truth for Life.
Alastair Beck describes God's design for romantic relationships and why his design still matters part of a brand-new series called life together in Ephesians chapter 5 beginning at verse 22 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, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word 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 in the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He loves his wife loves himself. For 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.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound and I'm saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
However, but each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Amen we left off as you would imagine at verse 21. Some of you will recall, and we said that 21 served as something of a conclusion to Paul's prior instruction on being filled with the spirit and yet at the same time. It also provides us with an introduction to the principle of submission which he has just mentioned in general terms, and that principle of submission. Then as it is applied in three specific areas in the realm of marriage and then of home and of work. It is important for us to keep in mind that Paul's instruction about the duties of both husband-and-wife have to be understood in light of his instruction concerning Christ and the church.
So if you allow your either go down to verse 32 this mystery. He says that there were referring to here is not actually the mystery that a man and a wife would love one another, but it is this profound mystery that affairs to Christ and to the church and of course he's been writing along these lines from the very beginning of his letter.
He is written at the beginning of his letter to those who are in Christ and who are also in Ephesus.
They are seeking to understand what it means to be followers of Jesus, and he has begun. By painting this amazing picture of God's grace that is reached out to them and how in the mystery of his purposes and things that had been hidden for prior ages he has broken down in Jesus.
This wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile and out of tune. He has made one new man and that new man in the body of Christ is now to live in such a way that a broken society such as the one in Ephesus or ours in Cleveland would see something of the plan and purpose of God in putting together all of these broken pieces in a fantastic mosaic that will one day reach completion in a new heaven and in a new era.
And so it is very very important that you realize that he is saying that in verse 32.
What I am saying refers to Christ and the church, or if you like in the NIV, which is even more helpful.
I think he says I am talking about Christ and the church that is a great help to us.
It is helping us understand that marriage is given by God as the most powerful illustration of Christ's covenant love for his bride, namely, the church and also in a very helpful way makes far more of marriage than many of us who are even committed to marriage tend to make all the we tend to think of it in terms of how it's going with eyes and with her will, fulfilling obligations, and so on. All of these are rightful concerns. But Paul is saying, you know you will never really get a hold of what it means unless you understand this is also a reminder to is that our our identity as believers is not tied to being married or being single, but it is as being made. First of all, in the image of God and then being remade by the power of the Holy Spirit in and through the work of Jesus.
One of the great preoccupations of our time is in the idea of if you're not in a relationship you really are and nothing at all. You don't really matter, and consequently people are under great pressure to find themselves identified with people and even Paul warns against pressing people into marriage when they shouldn't be managed and he gives great guidance and advice in relationship to these things vitally important and I say to you that if were going to understand marriage. We have to understand it framed in this way. Note this morning is all by way of introduction, and I realized the more I study this passage in preparation for returning to it that there are certain matters that lie behind it unless we are clear concerning them. We will not make very much headway through the text. So I gathered my thoughts under three words. The first word begins with see the second word begins with I the third word begins with a CIA just to help me remember my own notes. All right, it will mean much to you, but the first word is corruption. Corruption is a wide begin with such a word as this. While I take it to refer to the state of marriage in most Western cultures, including our own.
Some might say that confusion might've been more moderate word, a more temperate word, but I'm not sure that confusion really does justice to the state of affairs when we think about the nature of marriage.
It is not simply that men and women are confused that they don't understand, but rather that men and women are actually in rebellion and they are opposed to what they do understand and sometimes to a great extent. Witness the increased incidences of divorce. The stories that emerge every day of children being brought up in broken home, and even when we said all that, we want to say about the mitigating factors.
Much of it lies at the feet of the individuals who find themselves in rebellion against the instruction of the Bible.
The Bible is very clear about the nature of these things, and yet marriage is ignored in increasing numbers by those who've chosen instead. Cohabitation certainly true in the UK definitely in Australia and increasingly so here I spoke with somebody just yesterday and in different contexts and I happen to say that when we go on persons that are go home soon as you have children. Yes, I have forwarded your wife said no.
I have a girlfriend. Is it always like to have the wife said yes I'm going to make a life as a will and I still you're making progress, but we left it at that, by clear and he actually suggested to me that he knew that I was right, but for whatever reason you decide not to try this on my own other people in our culture regard marriage, especially as it is given to is in the Bible is just a cage restriction of human contrivance, something that is been put together in order to accommodate circumstances and the best that they can do is get out of it as quickly as they possibly can, that it is somehow or another kind of useless vestige that is left over from another generation. When people like these things are thought they were beneficial is redefined in our jurisdictions in our own nation so as to legalize what God has never designed and it is absolutely clear from the Bible no matter what government legislates that any other relationship other than a monogamous heterosexual relationship cannot be and is not a marriage before God.
You may call it whatever you choose to call it, but it is not marriage before God as God has constituted men and women and the structure of society and that from the very order of creation from the very beginning, God has ordained that these things would be true, and he is concerned about all marriage in all cultures at all times because he is the very designer of the deal, moral decay and rottenness in this respect are simply another tangible illustration of the fact that we live in the world and we wage war. Not as the world wages war but we wage war, and we do so says Paul, as we'll see if we ever get to chapter 6, not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places, in that spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places expressed in so many different ways is often clearly seen in the agitation on the part of the evil one to encourage us to take what God has given for our good and for his glory and to perverted in such a fashion that the beauty and the wholeness and the enjoyment of that which God is made for our good, that all of that is then lost in the pursuit of selfish pleasure say this is a little overstated judge for yourselves. I think that our culture is a putrefying culture when it comes to this, and I'm not surprised that it is I do not see this in a spirit of judgment, as if somehow or another I am able to stand up on the balcony and look out on the nation that is my nation and pronounce on now that it's all what I'm saying is if I look at the Bible and I look at the culture of our look at the design of garden violet, and the departure of our culture. It doesn't look like is going the way you should go and why would it go that way because, by nature, man is in rebellion against God by nature mentions I do this my own way by nature mentions I don't like that idea. I have another idea I have another plan and it is impossible for man to continue down that road without it actually having an impact in all these different ways. With that said, here's the bigger deal.
The real issue. The real concern and this is where I find myself stopping during the week.
What is most alarming to me is not that that view exists outside the church, but that that view is beginning to exist inside the church that within the realm of Christendom.
Those who apparently profess to believe the Bible are now, for whatever reason, prepared to tamper with the Bible to readjust the Bible in order to accommodate oneself add to the thoughts and mores of the day. The real issue. The real question is does the church believe the Bible or, more pointedly, does this church believe the Bible or narrowing it down.
Do you believe the Bible or even more so do I believe the Bible is my second word inspiration. Inspiration because you see what is at stake here in this matter and it is not unique in this realm, but this is the realm in which it is most prevalent for us to face is the question of the inspiration of the Bible itself. How is it that we have the Bible, what is the Bible. Why is the Bible authoritative.
Remember those of you around the threshold of the new millennium, and we said as we look out on the future probably will be, as in the past, people will challenge the exclusive claims of Jesus and they continue to they will challenge the authority and sufficiency of the Bible and they continue to, and we said that will probably be revealed most expressly in the question of human sexuality in the matter of gender fuel is understood how prophetic that last observation was and few of eyes could ever have anticipated the speed with which the question of gender would monopolize this space on the on the context of conversation in this row, and here we have. Why is it then that there is is I suggest to you a retreat within the confines of Christendom from the clarity and authority of the Bible. I didn't answer is very simple. It is on account of an unwillingness to uphold a Christian view of marriage which is governed entirely and solely by the teaching of Scripture.
It lies in unbelief in the infallibility of the Bible. So, for example, wife's, submit your own husbands, as to the Lord. That little phrase there like a lightning rod, even in a congregation like this. I can see it but I'm sure it's happening. Certain ladies are sitting up a little higher than theirs. The bristling at the very thought of this thing is is and people actually believe this kind of thing today who's going to speak to this was either do believe the Bible. Remember, Augustine said if if you believe we what you like in the gospel and you reject what you don't like is not the gospel you believe it yourself.
Incidentally and I things were just pausing on this. It is clear to me that it is possible for men and women to get very very agitated about the very issue of marriage and gender and so on from different perspective without any recourse to the Bible at all, and some of you may be just like that you're confusing your political reactions with genuine biblical responses is very very possible to be politically agitated about these things.
I did not actually to be spirit led and Bible taught therefore we shouldn't assume that because we feel a certain way that it is an evidence of the fact that we have come to believe in a certain way and that it is that belief, which then reveals itself in that way Paul when he writes to Timothy, remembering two Timothy 316 says to any system of the all Scripture is inspired by God was informing Timothy of something that he didn't know he was reminding them of what he knew.
Timothy knew that his is read the Old Testament the word of the Lord came in. This is the word of the Lord in this is God's word, and so on.
Timothy believe that and in fact the very verb that Paul uses is a unique verb in the New Testament. Some of even suggested that he coined the verb himself in order to make the point.
The point being that when we talk in terms of the inspiration of the Bible. It is not something God breathed into but rather it is something that God breathed out that the Scriptures are not a human product infused with divinity by they are actually a divine product produced through human instrumentality, so there's nothing like it in the whole world. That's why we spoke in the past of the dual authorship of Scripture that when God wants a book like Romans to be written.
He raises up somebody like Saul of Tarsus, and in order that he might be the one who is able to write which of course he did for the record, and just so we understand how we are with one another. It's important for you to know that I believe that every book chapter verse and syllable of the Bible was originally given by the inspiration of God is my own personal conviction.
Bishop Ryle in the 19th century writes as follows.
Inspiration is the very keel and foundation of Christianity. If Christians have no divine tools returned to as the basis of their doctrine and practice. They have no solid ground for present peace or whole and no right to claim the attention of mankind. No right to claim the attention of mankind see what is the basis on which we can say to our culture. Hey, is not a fighter. We're annoying about things is modified and we believe the Bible and other message of the Bible is the message of how God comes to re-prepare and to restore that which is broken and destroyed and mangled in master and that the agony of God for the world that is turned his back on and has gone to the extent of in sending his son in order to make an atonement for our sin and rebellion against that that is at the heart of it all is not simply that were annoyed that America is another way that we want it that that can come and go there and seeing all of this.
I recognize that as with other areas of Christian doctrine. This is difficult is difficult, but the fact it is difficult doesn't mean that it should be set aside many of you are involved in science there is no science in the world there is no one in the entire world about which questions may not be asked which no one can answer this Dr. research. You know the answer to all questions in the fight. I don't know the answer to every detail about the inspiration of the Bible does not call in question the Bible's claim for itself.
It is a difficult doctrine.
It is a biblical doctrine. It is an essential doctrine. Think about what is the point of me even going into verse 22 and continuing to expound Ephesians chapter 5.
If we don't believe that every word of this book is inspired will support. There is no point.
Why teach the Bible until incidentally that is why so many don't teach the Bible more than any other reason is not only don't study this study, they don't believe it so you don't believe it.
Why would you then teach it.
Why don't you say pleasant things that will be encouraging to relatively pleasant people and have everybody go on their way home. Now this is something far greater than something far more significant.
We believe the Bible is authoritative or not, that's the real question we have to face when we consider any aspect of life including marriage, because if the Bible is truly God's word to us. It should shape the way we view everything, regardless of what the culture wants us to believe that's what your Truth for Life were committed to teaching God's word with clarity and relevance exactly as it's given to us in Scripture every day. On this program, you'll hear Alastair Bragg invite you to open your Bible so that together we can hear what God says we believe this kind of Bible teaching is absolutely critical of our day when so many have embraced the relativistic view of the world thanks to listers like you were able to provide these messages on radio stations across the country and through many online and mobile channels as well. Reaching listeners all around the world.
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