Ministering To and With Each Other in Marriage – 1 Peter 3:1-7

Peter speaks to wives and husbands about the importance of ministering to and with each other at the beginning of chapter 3 of his first letter. Although there are 6 verses devoted to wives and only one to husbands both partners in the marriage have much to learn and experience from the guidance Peter gives.

Truly marriage is a partnership which sees each person needing to be actively engaged and putting the other person as a priority in their lives. Speaking to wives Peter links back to the great women of the faith from the past that enabled, encouraged and supported their husbands, by their actions and behavior.

Leading by example in any relationship is not always easy and yet with God as our model we can minister to and with each other. Specifically wives are told that their behavior and example can truly minister to their husband by bringing an unbelieving partner to know and love the Lord. By implication they can also draw a believing husband closer to their Lord and Savior. What more could any wife want for their husband?

In a similar way husbands are told that being considerate of their wives, truly valuing their co-heirship of the gift of life is their primary function within the marriage. Listening to and heeding the advice of the person who needs to be the closest to you is truly priceless. This relationship will then spill out toward those around the couple, the immediate family, the church, the community and the world at large. Truly this is the model that reflects therefore the relationship between the church and Christ which aims to benefit the whole world that God created.



How to Develop Self Control – Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:3-9

The word for “self-control” used by both Peter and Paul means “holding oneself in”. Holding oneself in! What do we hold ourselves “in” from? Our lusts and desires which can be out of control! To exercise self-control means to be temperate, to exercise self-restraint.

Many of us struggle with exercising self-control. We struggle with areas such as eating too much food, sweets, overwork, overspending, abuse of drugs, etc. What area or areas of your life seem to lack self-control?

How does this subject affect marriage? When we can’t or won’t exercise self-control in our lives, it can have a very detrimental effect on our marriage. Out of control spending, sex and drugs are three of the most common causes for the break-up of marriages today in America.
Both partners must exercise self-control to have a healthy and successful marriage.
If you are having problems in your marriage with self-control here are some steps you can take to address the problem: First, admit that you have a problem! Do not deny or ignore the problem; face it head on! Second, avoid the things that tempt you! What tempts you? Working overtime? Overuse of your credit cards? Viewing pornographic web sites? Third, depend on Christ’s power to help you!! Peter writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”. 2 Peter 1:13 This means that we have Christ’s power to help us avoid the things that tempt us and prompt us to lose self-control. Finally, believe you can change and put the past behind you. Just because you fail at something a few times doesn’t mean that you will always fail. I spoke with a counselor at Addictions Recovery Center who told me it took him five times going through the in-patient treatment center before he remained drug free. If you ask God to help you with your out of control spending and you fail a few times, don’t give up! Keep at it! May God grant all of us self-control!



Be Committed to Your Spouse – Collossians 3:18-19

The Apostle Paul gives wives and husbands instructions in this passage. He commands wives “submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.” In last week’s message I taught that the word “submit” is originally a military term. It means “to place oneself under”. In the Bible, submission always occurs as voluntary submission.

Jesus exists as the prime example of voluntary submission. Though equal to God the Father in every way, Jesus willingly humbled himself as He fulfilled the Father’s sovereign plan for the ages. He submitted himself to God the Father and took upon himself all the sins of humanity and died for our sin on the cross. He paid the price owed to God the Father for our sin. So, wives should look to Jesus as their example of humble and voluntary submission.

Paul commands husbands “love your wives and do not be harsh with them”. The word for “love” refers to a sacrificial, selfless love. Paul writes to the Ephesian husbands that they (and we) should “love our wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her”. (Ephesians 5:25) How did Christ love the church? With a sacrificial, selfless love!! We husbands must love our wives the same, exact way. Further, we must not be harsh with our wives. This not only means physically but verbally too.

Paul is arguing that both husbands and wives should be committed to making their marriage succeed! Be committed to making your marriage succeed! Unfortunately, not all of us have spouses who are seeking the Lord and following the Bible’s instructions on marriage. But regardless of where your spouse is spiritually, you as a believer should still strive to make your marriage succeed! If you are in this kind of situation, read 1st Corinthians, chapter 7 for help.



What Makes a Christian Marriage, Christian – Ephesians 5:21

Let’s consider the Ephesians text, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. The word for “submit” that Paul uses comes from a military term which stressed submission to superiors. It means “to place oneself under”. Most of us know that the military has a command structure in which enlisted personnel must obey their officers. They must submit to them! They must obey orders! But in the New Testament the subordination expressed usually refers to a voluntary subordination.

Paul writes that we must “submit to one another”; he writes of a mutual submission. Later he clarifies that wives should subject themselves to their husbands and husbands should submit to their wives by loving them as Christ loved the church.

In all of this, Christ proves to be the reason. We submit to one another “out of reverence for Christ”. Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to God the Father. Jesus exists as the prime example of voluntary submission. Jesus humbled himself by being born in a simple, stable manger, living among sinful humanity and dying on the cross for our sins.

So, what makes a Christian marriage, Christian? First, the active presence of Christ in the marriage! Does Jesus have an active role in your marriage? Do you attend worship regularly, pray with your spouse, talk to your kids about Jesus? Second, partnership makes a Christian marriage, Christian. You and your spouse should be partners, not competitors! Third, humility makes a Christian marriage, Christian. Be willing to apologize when you make a mistake! If you can’t seem to find agreement on an important matter, strive for compromise. Let’s work on making our marriages Christian ones! Strive for the active presence of Christ, be partners with your spouse and include humility in your marriage.



How to Affair Proof Your Marriage – Genesis 2:18-25, Exodus 20:14

God commands us to be sexually faithful to our spouse!  God designed the gift of sex to be enjoyed exclusively within the marriage covenant.  Some Biblical texts also warn us against committing “fornication” which means having sex outside the marriage covenant.  Adultery means sexual intercourse between a husband and the wife of another man or a wife and the husband of another woman.

 

The Bible states it clearly in Exodus 20:14 “you shall not commit adultery”.   Though five words appear in our English translations of this verse, just two words appear in the original text. Literally translated it is “no adultery”.  How clear and unequivocal!

 

How can we affair-proof our marriages?  First, by maintaining a vital, growing relationship with Jesus!  The best defense is a great offense!  Growing Christians find their needs for purpose, meaning, fulfillment, and security met by God not another person.   Second, we must remember the destructive consequences of an affair.  Many people who commit adultery fail to consider the destructive consequences.  Let me list a few: dishonor to God and our Christian faith, dishonor to our spouse, the possible break-up of two marriages, potential pregnancy, the possibility of contracting a venereal disease, hepatitis or AIDS, and in some professions it might cost a person his/her job.  Third, exercise extreme caution with members of the opposite sex you find attractive.  Be extremely careful in your contacts with members of the opposite sex that you find attractive.  Avoid private meetings with them.  Fourth, keep romance alive in your marriage!  Here are some practical steps you can take to keep romance alive: get away for the weekend, just the two of you; reminisce about your first date, build a fire in the fireplace, turn out the lights and talk, or kiss in the rain; watch the sunset together, or sit on the same side of a restaurant booth.  Keeping romance in our marriages takes some effort but isn’t your marriage worth it?



Care for and Nurture Your Spouse – Malachi 2:13-16

Malachi wrote to a stubborn and proud group of people in the fifth century B.C. The Jewish men were marrying foreign women who were idol worshippers. They had divorced their Jewish wives. Since the men were ignoring the Lord’s commands about marriage and morality, their spiritual lives were in a deplorable state.

Malachi sought to set the record straight: He told them, “do not break faith with the wife of your youth”. (vs.15c) His words raise the question for us: “what can we do to strengthen our marriages?”

We can care for and nurture our spouse! You might be thinking, “well, that’s fine but I’m not even married!” Some of you who were once married might believe you will never marry again and that might be the case. But how do you know with absolute certainty that you will never marry again? My grandfather was widowed at 81 years old. Two years later he met a 57 year old woman who had never married, convinced her he was only 65 and married her! You never know what the Lord might have in store for you!

How do we care for and nurture our spouse? Remember that your marriage was created by and belongs to God. Malachi wrote in reference to marriage, “Has not the Lord made them one?”. Cherish your marriage and do everything you can to make it succeed because it does not belong to you, but to God. Second, care for and nurture your spouse by being faithful to them in your heart, actions and speech. In vs. 14 Malachi cautions us about breaking faith with our spouse. Finally, caring for and nurturing our spouse means treating them with dignity and respect, even when you’re having a big fight. Speaking of fighting, make sure you and your spouse have established boundaries for acceptable behavior and speech. It’s a good thing to do this before you lose your temper! So, care for and nurture your spouse!



Call to Worship 2016

During 2016 we will being using the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Modern) as our call to worship. Each week we will Ask and Answer some of the Catechism so we can be reminded and learn what we believe and why we believe it.

You can see the full text of the Catechism by clicking here



Keep Watch – Mark 13

In Mark 13 Jesus speaks of his second coming. Jesus said, “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory”. Unlike his first coming in which Jesus came humbly, born in a stable manger, Jesus will return to the earth “with great power and glory”.

What should we be doing as we await his return? Jesus told us in Mark 13:35: “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening or at midnight or when the rooster crows or at dawn”. Jesus commanded us to “keep watch”. In the original text this phrase is only one word and it means “keep alert” or “be on the alert”. The grammar indicates Jesus issued this as a command. He commands us to “keep watch” for his return! We must be ready, vigilant and watchful for his imminent return!

We must be on the alert for deceivers. These deceivers are men and/or women who will lead Christians and non-Christians into error and away from God. They are charlatans and frauds.

Second, we must remain alert because no one knows the exact time of Jesus’ return except God the Father. Jesus specified that certain conditions which must be met before He returns. Some of these conditions seem to have been met; others have not.

Finally, we must remain alert by serving the Lord faithfully. We should all be serving the Lord in some capacity or another. What are you doing to serve the Lord? May the Lord find all of us faithful when he returns!



Christmas Eve Worship

christmas eve 2015



Chrismas Hymn Sing

hymn sing