Monday, May 29, 2017

Family Series #3 - Why Marriage Matters

Introduction:  30 Conclusions from the Social Sciences.  To read this summary, go to:   Why Marriage Matters

Conclusions:  Eph. 5:22-23 - It appears that God knew what He was doing when He created the institution of marriage.

The picture here:  submitting, committing, assisting, caring for one another, attending to one another, developing, building, lifting one another.

There is NO power struggle here!! No attempt to Dominate, manipulate,.  Rather = CO OPERATE!!  Working together.

Question:  IF we have 2 people who - love one another, committed to one another, committed to the marriage, committed to God's will and way, THEN why so much tension?  conflict?  problems?  issues??

Answer:  Review of Buffaloes and Butterflies.  ie:  why your _________ is such a _______.   (husband is such a clod, wife is such a nag)

REASONS:   he/she is:

Human - ie:  seriously flawed  Rom. 3:23

Male/Female - ie:  decidedly different!!! - Gen. 1:27

Ignorant - ie:  unlearned, uneducated, untrained - about this stuff

Forgetful - ie:  'cause this never comes natural!!!

Confused - ie  (just doesn't make sense)

Hurt --- and these hurts are accumulative!!!


Human?  can't remove the flaws.  However, can address them!!  - Rom.6:11-14
(Point here:  primary issues = address your OWN!!)

Male/Female differences?  Recognize the differences are by design.  Gen. 1:27   Adam and Eve had no marital problems BEFORE the fall, because the difference is not the problem.

Ignorance?  can be offset with Education!!  Resources abound!!  Books - CDs, Podcasts, Youtube.
Point here = learn that some of what your spouse CRAVES is legitimate!!  ie:  God-given needs, desires!

Forgetfulness?  Review (to remember)

Confusion?  - accept it!!  Not going away in this life!

Hurts/Pain?  1) establish good will
                    2) adjust your behavior  (determine NOT to hurt!!)
                    3)  Apologize
                    4)  Forgive
                    5)  Start again!!  Example:  church at Ephesus - Rev. 2:5

Back to Eph. 5:21 - "submit to one another"
1)  Co Operate - work together makes job easier

2)  Eph. 5:33 Nurture, feed according to need  (design)

3)  According to THE FAITH  Eph. :21 - "out of reverence" for Christ.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Family Series - #2 - The Demise of Marriage?

Issue WAS divorce - (which peaked in the 80's - now back to 60's level)

Issue NOW - "cohabitation" - (14 times higher than in 1970)
- 25% unmarried adults (25-34 years) living with a partner
- 24% children born to un-married people
- another 20% spend part of childhood in cohabiting situation
Which = 44% of kids spend part of childhood in unmarried household

So --- demise of marriage?  evolution of marriage?
On the surface - yes
at the core - no - not much change in core values

typical cohabiting couple mainly in America:
1)  heterosexual
example:  the Center for Disease Control & Prevention - found that in a 2013 poll, 96.6% = straight
(the % of G, L, T living together???  not known - married  is less than 1/2 of 1% of the adult population

2)  monogamous (ie - 1 man, 1 woman) - regarding polygamy?  on one hand, 16% say "morally acceptable" with other people, however, the % practicing it = tiny fraction, almost nobody.  This even across the world.

3)  exclusive - a) sexually ... contrast open relationships!! -  60's commune situation very short lived.
                      b)  otherwise -  ie:  claim ownership - my fiance, my partner, my boyfriend, girlfriend

4)  share financial burdens

5)  accept, claim, own inlaws

6)  accept responsibility for the children in the home (born, blended)

7)  assume (legal) marriage is in the future


89% of people (worldwide) marry before age 49 - (from 2003)

70% of American Adults - 1) in a marriage or 2) cohabiting or 3) in a committed, long-term, exclusive relationship with a view to eventual marriage

58% of divorced/widowed people re-marry
Americans age 18-34 - only 9% say never been, never want to marry  (some of whom will change mind!!)

Single Americans 18-30 years who want to marry, believe when they do it'll be for life ---- almost 100%.

While waiting longer to marry and living together before marry and never getting legally married, nevertheless, acting as if married, living as married, (adults playing house)

Marriage (at the core) = "a cultural universal"  (ie:  practiced by all people, cultures, societies in all eras!!)  It's NOT going away!!!    WHY??? - Rom. 2:14-15 - written in mankind.

So, on one hand, are many variations worldwide.  However, it remains "Marriage" at it's Core!!
Variations List with marriage as observed in adjectives:
(now) same sex
group marriage (common in the 60s)
marriage of convenience  (green card marriage)

Therefore - the demise and/or evolution of marriage?  not likely!!
The concept, institution, practice - remains, endures

Christian Marriage: - same core with additional elements

#1.  heterosexual - example:  Adam and Eve - ie:  male and female
#2.  monogamous - polygamy recognized, tolerated, but never offered, instructed, condoned - Gen. 2:24, 1 Tim. 3:2
#3.  intimate - more than sexual intimacy - Gen. 2:25 - not ashamed to bare souls
#4.  exclusive - another cultural universal (even in polygamy and polyandry!)  Everywhere there is marriage, there is exclusivity.
#5.  complementary - "add to, fill up" - Gen. 2:18 - "help mate"
         note #1 - modernist objection - says I am complete in myself - don't need someone else
         note #2 - spouse should ADD to, not complete!!
#6. permanent, binding - "til death do us part" - NOT always practice but universally understood!  This is NOT  meaning NO VALID DIVORCE - Jer. 3:6-9
#7.  productive - IF children, then this = environment
                        - IF children, then are to be raised "Christian" - Mal. 2:14-18
Christian marriage is:
#8.  sacred - "holy matrimony" - different than civil. = God's invention, God's institution
Therefore:  embrace His design
                 follow His rules - "The Book"
                 invoke His presence
#9.  a covenant - contract of 3!!
between 2, before God (witness), with God as participant!! - involved
Spiritual marriage ---> Ruth 1:14-17
(Public) oath of commitment necessary?? = John 4:16-18
#10  with Christ at the Core

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Family Series - #1

Start with marriage - go back to basics.
Gen. 2:18, 23-25 - not just naked, but baring of the soul
Gen. 1:27-28
Stable families are necessary to build a stable nation.

#I.  Marriage and family, etc. = God's idea, God's design.  Historians:  "No nation has survived without strong cohesive families"

#II.  Purpose    1)  Companionship - "not good ..... alone" - Adam didn't have a human counterpart
                             should be more than friends.  Should be Best friends!!!
                        2)  Partnership - "helpmate"   "subdue, have dominion, rule over"
                        3)  Courtship - (romance) - Sexual fulfillment, satisfaction
                        4)  Pro-creation (children) - if are children, here's where it happens! - within the confines of the institution of marriage!

This = God's design and purpose
These = things you should be pursuing in your marriage!
By this you should measure your marriage!!!

#III.  God's Plan
1)  Leave = a New Primary Relationship
2) Cleave = active, intentional
3) Become (soul knitting) = God's Work - but Your goal
4)  Remain for life - Matt. 19:3-8  (doesn't mean there's no reason to divorce, BUT on the other hand,
by this your should measure your marriage!!  Whatever situation find self in, God has a plan and will bless from that point on as you try to follow Him.
5)  Rule "subdue, rule over" - on one hand, this is a fallen world so will never fully conquer, however, with a Partnership of 3!!!  Life shouldn't conquer you!!!  Life shouldn't rule you, you should be ruling life!!

Mentioned...... a partnership of 3!! - ie:  Adam, Eve, God
Gen. 3:8 - implies daily interaction, communication, fellowship.  He was there with them.  God cares, wants to be right in the center of life.

Point:  They were not alone!! - without council, advice, protection, assistance.  (journey was new to them, too!  Entering into the unknown!!  But no need to be alone!!)

God wants to be involved in your HOME  (whatever variation that is)

This happens #1. through the person of Jesus Christ
                    #2.  by invitation - you must ask

Why would you not want this?
Why would you not accept this?
Why would you not pursue this?  

John 10:10

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Apostasy - to abandon, denounce, turn away from one's faith.  Rare to see this.

Practical Apostasy - to slip away from the practice of the faith.  Practically have abandoned the faith.  No practice in one's life.

Primary reference = Hebrews because the WHOLE book addresses staying in the faith.
Heb. 2:1 = summary verse.

Today = Opposite of Apostasy:  ie:  Perseverance

Definition:  to persist or continue in a state or understanding - IN SPITE OF counter influences, opposition, resistance, hindrances.

On the one hand, we have heavy words to describe this:
Perseverance - steadfastness - endurance - long-suffering

However, scripture uses simple, everyday terms:

Example:  Opposite of drift, slip, turn, fall away?   =
stay.... in, with, upon
hold ... on, to, fast, tight
keep .... on, after
continue ... on, in, doing
stand ... fast, firm
wait ... for, upon
bear ... up, with, under

Hebrews can seem very confusing at first readings, but use of common terms makes it much more understandable.

Simple terms we all understand!!!

HOLD - John 8:31, Titus 1:9 - (speaking of elders)  1 Thess. 5:21 - (hold to good)  Rev. 3:11 - (Jesus to one of the 7 churches)

KEEP - 2 Tim. 1:13,   2 Tim. 4:5 -to Timothy speaking of people who are going to slip away fall away.

CONTINUE - 2 Tim. 3:13, Col. 2:6, Phil. 2:12 - old English equivalent = "stay" - Isa. 50:10 in KJV

STAND - (spiritual warfare) - Eph. 6:10-14, 1 Pet. 5:9 (speaking of Satan and his realm), 1 Cor. 15:58, 16:13

And a word we don't often associate with faithfulness, perseverance = Patience.
We think "calm, collected, composed in the face of annoyances".  In scripture it = far more!!!

Patience (scripturally) = 1)  steadiness .... unruffled, unperturbed, composed
PLUS:                           2)  stamina ... persistence, staying power
PLUS:                           3)  expectation ... anticipation of change, of development, improvement, resolution!!

Ex:  James 5:7-8, 10 - waits in anticipation of positive outcome and the Lord resolving the situation

So.... Rom. 12:12 - patient when suffering
          Rev. 13:9-10 - or when persecuted

#1.  Perseverance is cited as evidence of salvation throughout the Scriptures
Heb. 3:14 - if we hold firmly.  Perseverance is characteristic of saints.

#2.  Perseverance does not mean never "falling down"... it means always getting back up.  
Examples:  Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Jeremiah, Thomas, Peter - these fell hard, wandered far away, but always came back!

#3.  Perseverance is not only preferable ... but also beneficial.  James 5:10-11 - not for His benefit, but wholly for our benefit.
(Perseverance incurs God's favor, leads to God's blessings, which leads to Lord's benefits!
People benefit when we persevere.

So, where does this "perseverance" come from?  how acquired?

 Perseverance is: 

#1.  partly a gift from God - God gives us the ability to persevere, strength to endure
1 Cor. 1:8, 11 Cor. 1:21
Example:  Fruit of the Spirit - Gal. 5:22-23
But also
#2.  partly a result of decision and personal effort 
Col. 3:12  Heb. 6:12 - don't be lazy
Example:  scholarship - is granted and free but must be earned to keep the benefits

#3.  partly an acquired trait:  James 1:2-4 - don't develop perseverance in comfort.  Comes with time and experience and exposure.

Conclusion:  2 Cor. 13:5 
Get in the faith
Get rooted (established) - by studying, developing
Grow - (develop, mature)
Walk - (practice)
Reap - results, rewards

Closing Scripture:  1 Pet. 5:8-11

Monday, May 1, 2017

Apostasy - continued

One problem of early church = Apostasy
Definition = to abandon, denounce or turn away from one's faith.

Hence the Book of Hebrews - the whole book deals with the tendency of the early believers to fall away.

The author begins by noting the Superiority of Christ - Heb. 1:1-3 - Christ is God in the flesh come to earth.

He follows saying:
I)  The message delivered by Christ is far superior to the message delivered by the angels - Heb. 2:2-4.  The Jews believed that angels were instrumental in bringing previous messages, ie. the Mosaic Law.  However, the author in no way belittles the Law.

II)  The instructions and promises of Christ are far superior to those of Moses.  Heb. 3:5-6 - Moses talked face to face with God and was a faithful servant.  However, Christ Jesus was the Son!

III)  The rest offered to the followers of Christ is far superior to the rest offered by Moses.  Heb. 4:8-11

IV)  The priestly intercession of Christ is far superior to the intercession of the Mosaic priesthood. - Heb. 7:23-26

V)  The sacrifice of Christ is far, far superior to the ritual sacrifices of the Law.  Heb. 9:13-14

SO - therefore - Heb. 2:1 = paraphrase:  what Christ offers is far superior to what you had before ... therefore don't be so foolish as to give up/turn back!!  - As awesome as the previous was, how much more awesome is this in Christ!

This above is a likely outline because:
#1. If Jewish Christians were to turn back - what would they likely turn back to?

However, #2 if the book were written to Gentile Christians, what would they likely turn back to?

Suppose #3 the book was written to 21st. century American Christians, what would they likely turn back to?

They would turn back to:
(1)  Nominal Christianity - ie:  a profession of the faith with out the practice.  Verbal affirmation without visible application

(2)  A secular lifestyle - which doesn't deny God's existence, but denies His concern, involvement - not atheistic

(3)  A philosophy of self-fulfillment which says "God wants me to be happy".  Therefore, I live my life the way that makes me happy, and then God will be happy with me because I am happy, etc.

Important point when reading Hebrews:
On one hand, the illustrations would change according to the times, culture, audience
However, the admonitions that accompany the illustrations would NOT CHANGE!!   Therefore they are easily applicable!!!   fit any time, any culture, any where.  There are 40+ clear directions in the Book of Hebrews.

Ever-Applicable Admonitions:

#1.  Fix your thoughts on Jesus - focus on, watch. Heb. 3:1, 12:2-3  - "don't be distracted" - One value of Sunday Worship = refocus your gaze!  It's so easy to get caught up in all the other nonsense!

#2.  Approach the throne, ie:  go there - Heb. 4:16, 10:22   He died to clear the way.  (this is NOT after all else has failed!!!)

#3.  Encourage one another - we're better together.   Heb. 3:13, 10:24-25
Obviously, we are to help one another along - but it is also true - those who assist are less likely to fall!!
(need a blessing? - Go help someone who needs a blessing!)  No better way to find one.

#4.  Endure hardship - Heb. 12:7, 10-12
Discipline can be punishment - painful, but the point of it is correction and training - so endure it.  man-up, Christian-up!

#5.  Go on to maturity - Heb. 6:1, 5:11-14
Point being = if you don't want to slip back, keep moving forward!   Can't just stand in one spot.

Closing:  2 Cor. 13:5   "......test yourselves"
Question is Not "are you affiliated with the faith?" but is "are you active in the faith?"

Closing Scripture:  2 Thess. 2:13-17