And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
Invites you to our
September 22-27, 2013
Bring your Bible and join us in learning God’s word and will for our lives!
I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Joe R. Price
Does God approve of your marriage? The Bible answers that question. If you are married, you need to know the answer. If you have never married, then you need to know that God will approve of your marriage relationship when you do get married.
Our society accepts all kinds of marriages; God does not. He has revealed His pattern for marriage from the garden, when He created woman and brought her to the man (Gen. 2:18-25). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, endorsed the truth that marriage is for life in Matthew 19:3-6. Jesus was asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause”? (ASV) To which Jesus essentially answered, “No”, it is not lawful. He went back to the beginning, quoting Genesis 2:24, that at marriage a man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). Marriage is from God and is for life; do not end your marriage.
The words of Jesus concerning marriage are very different from the words we hear today. Marriages are ended these days for every cause. New marriages are formed without any thought of whether or not God approves.
Even so, God’s rule (endorsed by Jesus) is one man and one woman for life. As long as they live, the husband and the wife who have been joined together by God are bound (obligated) to each other by God’s law (see Rom. 7:2-3). This is why God judges fornicators and adulterers as violators of the honor and purity of the marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). Paul the apostle teaches the same thing in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, reaffirming that marriage is for life: “But unto the married I give charge, yea not I, but the Lord, That the wife depart not from her husband…and that the husband leave not his wife.”
There is one exception by which God allows a remarriage by one party in a broken marriage. The exception is stated in Matthew 19:9: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery” (ASV). If one ends his marriage because his spouse committed fornication (the general term for all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and bestiality), his subsequent remarriage is not adultery. Otherwise, if one divorces for “every cause” and marries another person, the result is adultery (Lk. 16:18; Mk. 10:11-12). And, if one puts away his wife for any cause other than fornication, then he is responsible for causing her to commit adultery in a subsequent marriage (Matt. 5:32). No wonder Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 7:11: “… (but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife” (ASV). If one divorces and remarries, as a general rule (the exception not applied), he or she commits adultery in a remarriage (Matt. 5:32; 19:9).
So, according to God’s word, does God approve of your marriage?
1. Yes, if you and your mate have never been married before (Matt. 19:4-6).
2. Yes, if your spouse died and you have married another who has God’s permission to marry. Death ends the God-established obligations of marriage, thereby releasing one to marry another (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39).
3. Yes, if you have remarried after ending your first marriage because your mate committed fornication. (This is true only if your new marriage partner is also free to marry with God’s approval, Matt. 19:9.)
4. No, if you have remarried after divorcing for just any reason. Jesus said you have sundered (separated) what God joined together (Matt. 19:6). That is a sin. Jesus also said your remarriage is the additional sin of adultery (Matt. 19:9; Lk. 16:18).
5. No, if you are in a plural marriage. God ordained one man for one woman in the garden (Gen. 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:2). When multiple spouses exist, adultery is being committed (Rom. 7:3; Heb. 13:4).
6. No, if you are in a same-sex marriage. God created male and female, and established marriage for them when He brought the woman to the man (Gen. 1:27; 2:22-24). In marriage, “a man” is “joined to his wife” (Gen. 2:24). All else are occasions of going after “strange flesh” and is “against nature” (Jude 7; Rom. 1:26-27).
What must you do if God does not approve of your marriage? God commands you to repent of your sin (Acts 17:30). Godly sorrow over your sin will prompt you to repent – to change your mind toward your sin against God. When you repent you will immediately take steps to stop committing sin (2 Cor. 7:9-10; Acts 16:33). If you are a thief, you will stop stealing, and you will not keep the stolen goods. If you have stolen another man’s wife (or another woman’s husband), you will stop remarrying others and you will not keep your “stolen” spouse. You must stop your practice of sin by ending your unlawful marriage (Mk. 6:17-18). Just as God commanded Israel to put away unlawful wives in the days of Ezra, such must be done today. Unlawful marriages must be ended in order to have God’s approval (Ezra 9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 7:11). Are you willing to end your unlawful marriage and live a life of self-control “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (Matt. 19:12)?
Dennis L. Scroggins
“…although they knew God, they did not glorify [Him] as God,” “and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—”
We are taught in Genesis 1:26, that God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” But today, we see mankind engaged in making God in their own image, or at least a God they can relate to and manipulate. We will call this process of thinking, Idolizing God.
The Idolizing of God starts when men and women turn their back on God’s word the Bible and substitute worldly thinking and practices in the place of the will of God for their lives. They begin to honor men in the place of honoring God. Eccl. 12:13-14; Romans 1:20-23
We are warned in James 1:22, what becomes of those who are wise in their own sight and refuse to listen to the instructions of the Lord. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We see then that those who have no Bible authority for all they do in the name of the Lord are self-centered and self-deceived. They truly are given over to creating God in their own image. Sadly, they are pleased with the new image they have made and would seduce others to honor their god!
1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Wanted: Godly Leaders
Joe R. Price
The need for effective leadership came into focus this week as we watched the halting uncertainties of President Obama and the U.S. administration over what to do about chemical weapons in Syria. Leadership has definite qualities, whether one leads a nation, a business, a church, or a family.
Godly leaders are guided by principle, not partisanship. A leader must not fall into the trap of partyism, of holding to the party line to the detriment of the whole. A church led by partisanship is sure to have trouble (1 Cor. 1:11-13; 3 Jno. 9-10). The contentious, quarrelsome person stirs up strife (Prov. 26:21). Partisanship is carnal and never leads in the way of righteousness (1 Cor. 3:3-4). Elders, who lead a congregation, must be guided by principles such as love (for God and for His word, for the sheep and for the lost), devotion, and duty (to the Lord, to His people and to the truth) (Acts 20:28-32; Titus 1:9; Heb. 13:17). They will “shun profane and idle babblings”, knowing that such things divide God’s people (2 Tim. 2:16). A godly leader is driven by faith, not by a party spirit (Gal. 5:20).
Godly leaders are unselfish servants. The greatest leader ever, Serving others is a mark of godly leadership (Matt. 20:26-27). Jesus Christ, came not to be served, but to serve (Matt. 20:28). The wise husband is the servant-leader of his wife, the true indicator of successfully being the “head of the wife” (Eph. 5:23, 25-27). Jesus, though Master of all and head of His church, served the church by dying for her. Likewise, husbands should serve their wives instead of making selfish demands of them. The wise wife sees in her husband’s acts of service a love that easily enables her to respect him (Eph. 5:22-24, 33). A leader who selfishly demands allegiance rarely achieves his objective – except through intimidation and fear. That is not godly leadership; that is tyranny. Husbands, be a leader – not a tyrant.
Godly leaders possess faith, not fear. Leadership involves having the courage to lead others in what is right. And, a leader accepts the accountability that comes with leadership. For Christians, leadership is defined by courageous faith and a character that is marked by the image of Christ (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10). Such leaders among God’s people will not fear or be in doubt, for God is with them (Heb. 13:5-6). Oh, how we need godly leaders in our country, our homes and the church!
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/16/2013
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA