And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 20, Number
In this issue:
14 years old: “I’ve just become a Christian, I don’t know enough and I’m still too young to be involved in the work of the church.”
16 years old: “I’ve just got my driver’s license. I have to work to take care of my driving expenses. And of course this is the time in my life when I am very busy with friends, and you wouldn’t believe all the school activities I have! I’ll get involved a little later.”
18 years old: “I just graduated from high school! Now I need a little time for myself before I enter the ‘real world’. I’ll have more time for the work of the church later.”
20 years old: “I never knew college took so much time! When I get out and on my own I’ll have time for church work then.”
22 years old: “Boy, did you have any idea how hard it was to get started in the work place? It takes all my energy to get my career on line. And on top of that I just got married - I have to spend time to mold my new family life, too. In a couple of years I’ll be ready to really dig into the work of the church.”
24 years old: “Children! I never believed my parents when they told me how much time and money it took to raise them. I sure don’t have time for the work of the church now, but when my kids get older I’ll be able to do my share of the work then.”
36 years old: “It seems the older the kids get the more they are involved in! Home from work, then to the school functions, then sports. I’ll be glad when the kids get older so I can really be involved in the work of the church.”
46 years old: “I’ve never had so much fun! Grandchildren! I should have had them first! I can’t deprive them, but when they get older I’ll be able to really be involved in the church.”
56 years old: “I’m on my last push at work now. I’ve got to really bear down for a few years so I can be ready for retirement. And of course we have our place at the lake we’re fixing up. In a few years I’ll be able to quit the ‘rat race’ and really get involved in the church.”
66 years old: “Retired at last! I’ve worked hard so many years and now I can enjoy the fruit of my efforts. It’s time now for the young ones here at church to carry on and let us ‘veterans’ rest a little.”
Malachi said God “hates divorce” because it “covers one’s garment with violence” (Mal. 2:16). It destroys what God joins together. We should not be surprised that more and more people love divorce and hate marriage. They call evil good and good evil by promoting divorce and minimizing marriage (Mal. 2:17; Isa. 5:20-21).
Men have historically hardened their hearts against God’s marriage design (Matt. 19:4-6, 7-8). Marriage is a unique relationship between a man and a woman that completes, secures and supports them on their journey through life toward eternity (Gen. 2:18-24). Jesus exalts the honor of marriage and prohibits mankind from sundering what God joins together (Matt. 19:6). We sin and will answer to God when we fail to honor the moral purity and integrity of marriage as God arranged it (Heb. 13:4).
Why and how do people hate marriage?
1. Many do not believe marriage is from God. They believe marriage is man’s idea – the product of social evolution and civil law. In truth, marriage belongs to God. God gave mankind marriage, we did not give it to ourselves (Gen. 2:18, 21-24; Matt. 19:3-6).
Marriage suffers when men and women refuse to believe and obey God, who gave us marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Dishonoring marriage dishonors God (Rom. 1:18-32). Men and women will continue to dishonor marriage as long as they refuse to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13; Rom. 1:22-25).
2. Many do not accept the necessity and permanency of marriage. Marriage is needed for moral purity, yet many millions live together without being married (1 Cor. 7:2). Additionally, marriage is for life: “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives” (Rom. 7:2). Men have written laws that make marriage easy and divorce easier. Yet, God’s law obligates the husband and wife to each other for life. The willingness to endure, to persevere, and to solve problems by working together is undermined whenever marriage is viewed as temporary and not lifelong. Our throwaway society have been conditioned to accept disposal marriage. Such sinful treatment of marriage will not escape God’s judgment (Heb. 13:4).
3. Many endorse divorce for any reason and remarriage without consequences. The Pharisees tested Jesus over putting away a wife for every cause due to their perversion of God’s purpose for marriage (Matt. 19:3-6). Jesus affirmed the permanency of marriage, but they continued to display their hardened heart toward marriage by emphasizing the legal right to give a certificate of divorce and put away a wife (Matt. 19:7-8). God has never intended for us to casually divorce (“but from the beginning it was not so”): “And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, expect for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9). We must commit ourselves to marriage as God designed it – a blessing from the beginning. One sins when he or she sunders what God has joined together.
4. Many prefer the works of the flesh. Love for this world’s lusts and pleasures blinds and destroys many souls (Gal. 5:19; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:1-4). It should be obvious that fornicators and adulterers show hatred toward marriage, not love for it. We must bear the fruit of the Spirit for our marriages to be what God expects (Gal. 5:22-23). There is no law against love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. These attributes fortify and honor marriage.
5. Selfishness. The companionship of marriage demands unselfishness. God planned marriage that way by saying, “…and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matt. 19:5-6). As long as husbands and wives selfishly demand their “rights” instead of humbly serving their mate according to God’s will, marriage will be a hateful relationship instead of one that honors God and blesses man (1 Cor. 7:4).
God’s compassion is realized in marriage when the husband and wife behave according to God’s will. “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’” (Gen. 2:18). The devil knows the strength of a godly marriage (Eccl. 4:9). Satan tries to separate and isolate spouses from one another (Gen. 3:1-6; 1 Pet. 3:7; Col. 3:18-19). As his scheme succeeds and more people despise marriage, fewer homes will produce faithful husbands and wives, trustworthy Christians and diligent workers in the kingdom of God.
Why do people hate marriage? Because they love what is self-serving, easy and convenient. A successful marriage is none of these. Successful marriages require responsibility, commitment and endurance. God loves marriage – do you (Eph. 5:22-33)?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 2:1-6
Sin is the universal choice and common problem of all men. How do you choose to deal with your sin?
I. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO DENY YOUR SIN.
Denying Your Sin, 1 Jno. 1:8-10.
II. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO INDULGE YOURSELF IN SIN, Rom. 1:28-32; 8:5.
Honor Self and Refuse to Honor God, Rom. 1:20-22.
III. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO EXCUSE YOUR SIN, Rom. 1:20.
A. You Can
Blame Others, Gen. 3:11-13.
IV. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO HIDE YOUR SIN, Gen. 3:8 (Josh. 7:21).
A. Futile, Isa. 29:15; Jer. 23:24; Ezek. 8:12.
V. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO CONFESS YOUR SIN, Prov. 28:13; Lk. 15:17-19.
A. To God,
because Your Sin is Against Him, Psa. 32:3-5 (51:3-4); 1 Jno. 1:9.
VI. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO REPENT OF YOUR SIN, Lk. 13:3, 5; 2 Cor. 7:9-11; Acts 26:20; 19:18.
When the "Big One" Hits
Arizona is preparing for the next major earthquake in California. When it happens, the state expects up to 400,000 evacuees from its neighboring state. So, Arizona is holding training exercises for local agencies and officials (“Arizona Preparing For California Earthquake Evacuees,” losangeles.cbslocal.com). Stress on infrastructure, food, shelter, fuel and medical services will be evaluated during the three-and-a-half-day event.
The lessons for spiritual readiness are obvious. Unless we are spiritually prepared, the sudden destruction of the day of the Lord will overtake us (1 Thess. 5:1-4). It is essential that we constantly evaluate our readiness to live and to die for the Lord.
Are you ready to die? Death often comes unexpectedly. In view of this fact it is to our benefit to examine our lives in light of God’s word (2 Cor. 13:5). If we put off getting ready to die, we will not be ready to give account of ourselves to God (Rom. 14:12). Unpreparedness will not prevent our judgment from occurring; We will still receive our judgment according to how we have lived (2 Cor. 5:10). If you would prepare for a potential earthquake, not knowing exactly when (or if) it will occur, why not all the more prepare for your death and your judgment before God, which are certain to take place (Heb. 9:27)?
Are you ready to live for Christ? As day by day goes by we are tempted to skew our priorities toward present circumstances instead of future realities (see the front page article). We rationalize our delay of putting Christ first in our lives (Matt. 6:33-34). We took up the banner of Christ when we were baptized into Christ. His will must be our first priority (Rom. 6:3-4). Living for Christ is the best way to prepare for our future.
Paul, said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). He was ready to live and to die. Are you?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 05/27/2018
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA