And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
Is your marriage as happy as you want it to be? Many marriages today are in trouble and the mates are unhappy. One million divorces are granted in this country every year. Fifty-four percent of married women admit they have committed adultery, and the percentage of men who have committed adultery is higher than the women! This unfaithfulness to the marriage bed shows that many marriages are not what God intended them to be. God never intended that marriage be an unhappy state, but for it to be one of the happiest relationships that man would have on this earth (Proverbs 5:18-19). When a marriage is in trouble and the companions are unhappy, someone is breaking the laws of God.
The Husband/Wife Relationship
God created the man and said it was not good for him to be alone, so made an help meet for him — woman (Genesis 2:18, 21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:9). God then instituted the marriage relationship (Genesis 2:24). The institution of marriage is a divine, monogamous, and life-long relationship of oneness (Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 7:3-4). God said by the prophet Malachi that “He hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16). Jesus said that there is only one reason for “putting away” and marrying again, and that reason is fornication (Matthew 19:9). Only the innocent party has the reason.
God ordained that the man should rule over his wife (Genesis 3:16), not unjustly as a slave, but he is to rule her with love (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29). This is to be a self-giving concern for her person — a love that seeks her happiness and well-being at the sacrifice of his own interest and welfare (1 Corinthians 13:5). The wife is to reverence and submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:24, 33; 1 Peter 3:1) and to love him (Titus 2:4).
In the marriage relationship the husband and wife become exclusively the possession of each other (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). Marriage fulfills one of the greatest needs of mankind — to love and to be loved. This relationship brings into the life of each mate fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment. A fruitful marriage is built upon love, respect, faithfulness, and mutual consideration. Let us now look at some attitudes that build each other up instead of tearing each other down — some attitudes that will sweeten marriage:
Express Appreciation To Your Spouse
Express appreciation for things that are done — whether they be big or small. At all times look for the good qualities in your mate and express appreciation for them. Don’t just look for the negative, if you do all of life will begin to appear totally negative! If you are to stay in touch with the reality of the good in your companion, you must look for good and express appreciation for it.
Give Honor And Respect To Your Companion
Peter said to the husbands, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). Paul said to the wives, “And the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:22). Respect breeds respect, so if a wife wants respect she must show respect. Disrespect inflames bad feelings. Treat you mate with respect and dignity and your mate will want to rise to the same high level.
An unforgiving attitude inflames tension and strive. Never have the habit of dredging up the past mistakes to put down your companion. That is being unmerciful and unforgiving, and it reopens old wounds. Everyone wants mercy and forgiveness for his (or her) shortcomings. Many times people forgive everybody but their mates, but the first place forgiveness should be practiced is at home with one’s mate (Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 6:36-38; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:33). You and your mate are imperfect human beings (“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” 1 John 1:8), so when you are wrong why not simply say, “I am wrong and I’m sorry”? Only an immature and prideful person refuses to admit his shortcomings and sins.
Be Helpful And Constructive
Companions should be able to talk honestly with each other, and to treat each other as best friends (and they should be best friends). You want your feelings, needs, and opinions to be heard and considered — so does your companion.
What does it mean to be a friend? Friendship is a privilege, not a situation to be taken advantage of. When a person takes advantage of another there is no friendship, so, no loving companion will take advantage of his mate.
Friends love each other dearly, so do mates who are trying to do God’s will. A friend offers his best to a friend — husbands and wives who are what they ought to be offer their best to each other. A friend will go when needed. So will a true and faithful companion. A friend is a holder of confidences; if there is one person on earth on should be able to trust, it is his mate. A friend will have empathy for another; if there were ever two people who should feel each pain of the other it should be companions. A friend will do all he can for another — loving mates cannot do enough for each other.
Marriage Partners Are A Team
A healthy, loving spousal relationship is not a master/slave relationship. It is a sharing, complimenting relationship where each mate recognizes the God-ordained role of each. When each mate realizes they need help and that they complement each other, they draw closer and respect and love each other more.
God’s Laws Of Marriage Must Be Respected
Break any of God’s laws, and they will break and destroy you! Millions are paying painful mental, emotional, and physical penalties for rejecting and transgressing God’s laws on sex and marriage — and most of these will pay eternally with their souls lost in hell! God’s law is plain — “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Romans 13:9), and the penalty for breaking this law is always enforced! Let us look at the penalty:
1. Remorse (Proverbs 5:11; Psalm 51:3).
2. Disease of body (Proverbs 5:11; Romans 1:27).
3. Dishonor (Proverbs 6:33)
4. Impoverishment (Proverbs 5:10).
5. Spiritual death (Proverbs 6:32; Romans 6:23).
6. The only grounds for divorce (Matthew 19:9).
7. The Lord will avenge (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
If we who are married will only practice the things we have stated in this article, it will bring sweetness to the marriage relationship.
-Adapted in The Gospel Teacher, Nov. 5, 2017
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:14-17
1. New TV show on TLC: “The Healer” (Charlie Goldsmith). He is an
I. JESUS, THE HEALER.
Healed All Kinds of Sickness and Diseases, Matt. 4:23-24.
II. THE PROBLEM WITH ENERGY HEALING (TLC’s, “The Healer”).
Potential of being Deceived.
III. JESUS: HEALER OF THE SOUL.
Healing Bodies a Prelude to Healing Souls, Matt. 8:14-17; Isa. 53:4-6; 1
You can find the complete outline of this sermon
plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files
Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-12
1. Do we hide in the house of evasion from confrontation over truth?
I. WE RUN TO THE HOUSE OF EVASION...
A. When We
Blame Others for Our Sins and Failings, Gen. 3:10-13.
II. BE BOLD WHEN WE NEED TO SPEAK AND STAND FOR TRUTH, Acts 4:13.
Concerning the Church of Christ, Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23.
No Lottery for Heaven
Officially, it is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, but commonly called the green card lottery. Each year since 1990, 50,000 non-US citizens win a drawing for visas to live in the USA. “The Diversity Immigrant Visa program…is a United States congressionally mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. The Immigration Act of 1990 established the current and permanent Diversity Visa (DV) program” (en.wikipedia.org). If you are chosen, you get to immigrate to America. I know of a person who applied on a lark, and was chosen to receive a green card. She did not plan or expect to come to the US, but she was chosen. Now, she lives in the US.
Sounds like social Calvinism to me. Calvinism’s doctrine of unconditional election is about the same: God, who is sovereign, chooses who will be eternally saved, and who will be eternally lost. God makes an unconditional election, which it to His honor and glory. That’s sort of like the USA saying diverse immigration glorifies the US, and the visa lottery proves it (as if we do not already have diverse immigration).
In contradiction to Calvinism, the Bible teaches God has elected to save “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness” (Acts 10:34-35). (That’s diversity!) Before the world was created, God choose that sinners would be saved “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3-4, 7-12). God set in place, and fulfilled, the plan of human redemption (Eph. 3:10-11).
God also determined human beings would have freewill; the ability to choose whether to obey God (Gen. 3:1-6; Josh. 24:15; Matt. 11:28). With free will comes responsibility for our choices (2 Cor. 5:10). We must choose to live for heaven.
God did not choose the man (the individual who will be saved or lost). God chose the plan (how we will be saved). “Whoever” fears God and works righteousness is accepted by God (Acts 10:35; Eph. 1:3-12; Rom. 8:28-30; 10:9-17). Called by the gospel, we must believe and obey God to be saved, and go to heaven (2 Pet. 1:9-11). You cannot live like the devil, and win the lottery to go to heaven. To be a citizen of heaven, you must live by God’s plan – the gospel of Christ (Phil. 3:20).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 11/06/2017
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA