Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feed Your Wife

“I told her I loved her 15 years ago, at our wedding.  Nothin’s changed, so what’s the problem?”  “Of course, I love her.  I told her I did. If anything changes, I’ll let her know.  Until then she should just assume that what I said way back then still holds true.”  These and many other similar statements from men are all too common.  We men often think language contains information and nothing more.  This is why two men can go for a ride in a car and not say more than two or three words for hours and then say something meaningful like, “You want to stop for something to eat?”  “Yup.”  “This okay?”  “Yup.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gaining Nutrition

One of the things that coming into the presence of God does is to make us very conscious of who and what we are. If we claim to be Christian but live our life like a pagan, being the presence of God reveals to us our true essence. On the other hand if we claim to be a Christian and live in accordance with that profession, our participation in the things of God reveals that too. We are able with the Psalmist to say, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness!” (Psalm 7:8).

But what does this mean when we serve a perfect God with a perfect standard of holiness? It means we constantly trust in the provision Christ has made in his death on our behalf. We constantly go to the throne of grace for forgiveness and cleansing. And since we didn’t have a session of confession of sin this evening, this gives us an opportunity to go to God in humility, asking that he would forgive us:

We Owe Love

One of the commands we read about in the Bible is the command owe nothing to anyone except to love them. This is because there is no way to discharge, or end your love for your fellow believers (or for non-Christians for that matter). But loving one another is not easy when we realize that we are all in the same sinful boat together. We sin. We make mistakes. We are immature. We don’t do all that we should for one another. We insult one another. We have thin skins and are insulted when no insult was intended. But the command remains and there is no end to it.

There is a way that we can stop owing things to other people, but never love. We will always owe it. And it isn’t a pay back sort of thing either. We are not commanded to love one another if they’ve loved us first. We are to love each other as if they never loved us. The text says we owe it to them.

The text also goes on to say that the love we show for one another is something that fulfills the law. When we take all that God expects of us with regard to how we treat one another, it is all summed up in love one another. In fact the Bible thinks so strongly about this that is also says that non-Christians will know that we are followers of Jesus by our love for one another.

What does all of this have to do with the Lord’s Supper, you ask? We are here eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ because the text also says to put on Christ (v. 14). Of course we are mixing our metaphors here but what we need to know is that our participation in the Lord’s Supper is to participate in Christ himself. When we eat and drink, we are eating him, becoming him, putting him on, becoming like him, showing him, and proclaiming him. It is in participating in the Lord’s Supper that we are given the nourishment, the power, the ability, the desire to love one another, as Peter says, “from the heart.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Divorce and Remarriage Part III

I think the objection I get from my family is on the issue of “leaving” they interpret that to mean the non-believer is divorcing, not just leaving. So the believer is not bound. And that a Christian shouldn’t file divorce at all. Because if the adulterer is repentant there has to be forgiveness and in the case of leaving, like I mentioned, that means divorcing. Any thoughts on that? I know you explained the adultery part, but the leaving?

The Greek word used for separates (ESV) or departs (KJV) can also be translated as divorce depending on the context. But this is one of those instances when our modern interpretation of words must be checked. When we say a person is separated, we don’t necessarily mean that we are being divorced. Or when someone departs, they don’t always divorce. We have an official juridical view of the event.

In the Bible, however, and in the context here departing and separating means leaving the marriage relationship. I agree that it needs to be something pretty permanent, not “I’m going to my mother’s to cool off.” But “I’m taking the kids and I’m leaving you to start a new life without you.” Of course which one is meant when one leaves in a huff is open to interpretation, but Christian charity will out in the end.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Divorce and Remarriage Part II

A question has arisen from my previous post about divorce and remarriage: What happens if two Christians are married and one of them is excommunicated and then leaves the other?

Excommunication is a process whereby the church recognizes a person as being a non-Christian. Excommunication should not be entered into lightly and it should take an appropriate amount of time with the goal of bringing the sinning brother or sister back into fellowship with God, his family, and those around him. If, after repeated attempts to regain his faith, he constantly and consistently refuses to come back to God, he should be excommunicated by his church.

It should be marked that excommunication is not a punishment, it is a step of reconciliation. It is an attempt to bring the sinning person back into fellowship, not a step of getting rid of the person. It does have a cleansing and purifying aspect to it in that it takes a person who is claiming to be a Christian and who is shaming the Church of Christ and bringing reproach to the savior, but its primary purpose is restoration.

If the process is competed and the sinful spouse is excommunicated heis put out of the church. He is removed from the body of Christ and it is proclaimed to him and to all the world that he is not a Christian (Mt. 18:17-20). He are not a member of the Church, or the Body of Christ. He must repent or He will spend eternity in Hell. He is handed over to Satan and put out of the church so that he might learn not to blaspheme and to want to walk with God (1 Tim. 1:20).

Now back to the original question. After the man has been excommunicated the family situation is no longer two believers living together. They are now a believer living with an unbeliever. As 1 Corinthians 7 says, if the unbeliever consents to live with the believer, she must not divorce him because who knows, it could be through her ministry to him that brings him to Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But if the excommunicated unbeliever leaves the believer, she is free to divorce him and to remarry—only in the Lord. Or if the excommunicated unbeliever kicks the believer out of the house, she is free to divorce him and to remarry—only in the Lord.

I hope this helps.

Divorce and Remarriage

Is there a time when divorce and remarriage are Biblically acceptable?

God Hates Divorce
The short answer is, No! There is never a time when God is pleased with an exploding family. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). He says that the man who divorces his wife is covering his garment with violence. He is stripping the land of a union that Biblically can only be torn apart by death. Divorce is a terrible terrible blight on the land. We would do well to study our Bibles to see God’s opinion of marriage and covenant and the destruction of what God has joined together (Mt. 19:6). Divorce is never a good thing.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Reasons why I can't submit:
1.        I'm smarter than he/she is.
2.        I’m more experienced than they are.
3.        I'm much more spiritually mature than they are.
4.        They are irresponsible.
5.        They are not respectable.
6.        They don't have their act together.
7.        I'll submit when I learn to hate my rebelliousness as sin.
8.        I'm very submissive in general, but…
9.        I don't agree with their assessment of the situation.
10.     They've hurt me before.
11.     I've been hurt by others in the same situation.
12.     I'm too bitter.
13.     Whatever other excuse I can come up with.

Reasons why I can submit:
1.        God commands it.
2.        It is not primarily them I am submitting to, it is God.
3.        God's commands are not burdensome.
4.        God will take care of me in whatever situation he has placed me.
5.        My submission to my boss, parents, husband, government, etc. has nothing to do with whether they are worthy of submission. I submit for the sake of Christ and for God's glory.
6.        I love God, so I obey him.
7.        Sometimes my submission helps the person I'm submitting to draw closer to God (and thus become more qualified to lead).

What does it mean to submit?
1.        Obey cheerfully.
2.        Encourage them.
3.        Be chipper.
4.        Anticipate service.
5.        Respect
6.        Speak to others about them in an uplifting way.
7.        Give opinion respectfully.
8.        Support their decisions.
9.        Do not gossip about them.
10.     Do not get bitter about them.

Bob, Susy and Taking Out the Trash

Recently a young woman (Susy) seemed to have found herself conflicted between doing what her husband wanted and doing what her parents wanted. Her parents quoted Ephesians 6:1, “Obey your parents in the Lord.” And her husband quoted Ephesians 5:22-24, “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.”

It all began one day when her husband, I’ll call him Bob, asked Susy to take the garbage out every time it got full. Susy did not want to take out the trash. She explained that taking out the trash was a husband job. So she called her parents, who told her that she did not need to take out the trash since that was something husbands do.

Soon the argument blew up into a major issue with Bob coming to the church because his wife wouldn’t submit to him as the head of the home and her parents coming to the elders because their daughter was living with a tyrant who demanded completely unbiblical things of their daughter, especially that she not listen to her “meddling” parents.

Then came the charges, she was not a submissive wife because she would not take out the trash. He was a tyrant because he was asking her to asking her to take out the trash and to stop talking to her parents.

What is going on here? What needs to be considered? How can this situation be resolved? Where do you begin?