July 12, 2020

Online Worship for Trinity Five, Sunday July 12, 2020

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Passage: Proverbs 18:22
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Sermon for Trinity Five – 10,22,00 -- July 12, 2020 -- Living with a Spouse
Calvary/Marquette

Grace mercy and peace be unto you from the One True Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Proverbs 18:22
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Who blesses with spouse and family,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Precious Blood,

It was 20 years ago, as I sat in the barbershop getting my hair cut, that I heard that former President Jimmy Carter, a long-time Southern Baptist had left the Southern Baptist Church. The report stated that President Carter had decided to leave because the church was not teaching in accordance with his beliefs.

When I first heard the news, I thought, ‘Good for you President Carter.’

I foolishly assumed that his reason for leaving was that the church was not teaching according to the Scriptures. I heard later that the reason the former President left the church was twofold.

1) He did not agree with the teaching of the church that wives should be submissive to their husbands.
2) He didn’t agree that women could not serve as pastors in the Southern Baptist Church!

When I heard that, I changed my tune. My reaction became, “Good for you, Southern Baptist Church!” It’s not difficult to see that former President Carter’s beliefs are NOT in agreement with God’s Word.

First, the Bible says literally that ‘wives are to be submissive to their husbands’ and also that husbands are to ‘love their wives.’

Second, God’s Word also simply forbids the public ministry to women. While these words are often dismissed today as an example of ancient male chauvinism, God’s Word declares (Timothy 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35):

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”

It isn’t a question of fitness or ability. A woman in the position of pastor would both teach and have authority over a man, in conflict with these words.

“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says…for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”

When congregations of believers assemble for worship, women were not to be in a position of leadership. They were to be silent. This doesn’t mean that a woman can’t join in worship. It doesn’t mean that a woman can’t speak up in Bible Study.

When discussing the qualifications of a pastor, the Holy Spirit twice adds the insightful comment to both Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6):

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…

Now these truths are not an affront to women at all. The LORD God doesn’t say that women are incapable of serving the LORD in this way, only that He has other plans for them.

Nearly every other position in the world may be filled by a female, but the LORD God has made it clear that the pastoral ministry is reserved for men. Those who defy Scripture in this matter will be accountable to Him.

Let’s remember who is speaking these words – our creator. He has every right to make these declarations. He made us both male and female, and we ought to look to Him for our direction.

This morning our heavenly father speaks to us about Marriage, about living with a spouse. Does that sound frightening? Difficult? Impossible? It isn’t with the help and guidance of our heavenly father. We pray that the Spirit of God would bless our study. Amen.

++++++

“Oh, well there are lots of fish in the sea, perhaps even one for me. I just haven’t found Mr. or Miss Right, yet.” These words are often spoken when two people date but do not find themselves a match. When it happens that a young couple are engaged to be married, I hope that they do not consider it a lucky happenstance, but remember these words:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

A number of years ago, a watch maker aired a commercial that portrayed the meeting of a future husband and wife as a matter of timing and luck. The commercial inferred that the couple was destined to meet and fall in love, but alas, one of them wasn’t wearing the right watch and their timing being off, just missed that all important first chance meeting. Consequently…no love and no marriage.

When our young people are old enough to date, they should not think that finding a spouse is a matter of timing and luck, or even just a matter of finding a girl or boy to their personal liking. They ought to pray that the LORD would lead them to find one whom He has chosen for them. For Christian Marriage is not a matter of chance.

Now from time to time it may seem like finding someone is impossible. If it is God’s will, it is only a matter of the LORD bringing two together. For the Scripture here simply says:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

Notice that it doesn’t say: “He who finds a wife (or husband) catches a lucky break…but ‘obtains favor from the LORD.’

What makes a balanced Christian marriage special is that both husband and wife hold in common the most important thing -- a living trust in Jesus Christ. This proverb should have special meaning to them, and should also be reminder of what really matters to those of you who are already married. If the two of you cling tightly to Jesus Christ and to one another, then you will indeed be blessed.

For contrary to current popular belief, marriage more than a ‘piece of paper.’ It’s a commitment to love and cherish. It’s a good thing, a blessing from the LORD.

Christian Marriage is a priceless blessing because its foundation is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God – not mere feelings or emotion. The greatest support that a Christian couple can give their spouse is to direct the other to Christ, the Savior. In addition to this, God blesses a Christian Marriage with a life-long partner and friend. The LORD may or may not see fit to also bless such a marriage with Children.

Yes, Marriage is a good thing, a blessing from the LORD. So then, how are we to handle and maintain this blessing, this gift of God?

How should I live with my spouse? What makes a marriage work and last? It seems easier to keep a car running today than a marriage going!

Well, if you have a problem with your car, you take it in to the mechanic. When you take your car into a mechanic you don’t expect him to just look at the paint job and make a random guess at the problem without looking under the hood. If he’s a good mechanic then he’ll diagnose and fix the problem, he won’t just cover it up with a little duct tape or a fresh coat of paint. A good mechanic will also encourage regular maintenance and encourage us to return to him when in need of answers.

When we have problems in our marriages, we need to go to the one who can fix those problems. We need to follow His direction day by day and handle our relationships with active love and prayer. Instead of ignoring the problem or covering it up with flowers and candy, we should carefully search the one handbook designed to solve the problems that arise in a Christian Marriage – the Living Word of God!

If we are only guided by our own corrupt minds and sinful reason, if we seek only the guidance of secular counselors and do not seek the guidance of the Word of God – then we may find that problems in life and in marriage increase.

How should I live with my spouse? Those of you who are wives or prospective wives, consider these words (Ephesians 5:22-24):

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

President Jimmy Carter, no doubt, finds these words to be terribly degrading. I imagine that when people hear these words, they picture an unbalanced relationship, ruled harshly by overpowering husbands. They think that this means that wives should be seen and not heard, silenced and beaten into submission. This is not what the Scripture teaches or encourages at all.

Those who think in this way have plucked these words out of their context and plopped them into a sinful context without thought of God’s purpose and order.

They do not understand that four simple words make all the difference: ‘as to the Lord.’
As Christians we recognize that Jesus is the head of the Church, our loving Savior and Friend. We do not picture Him as a harsh taskmaster and serve Him out of fear. We love Him and serve Him in love. We submit to His authority.

Likewise, Christian wives are to be submissive to their husbands, recognizing that God has made the husband the head of the household and laid the responsibilities of leadership upon Him. It’s a tall order, isn’t it? The LORD never said it would be easy, but he does promise that those who follow His Word will be blessed. Christian Wives are to trust the LORD and submit to their husbands…while also praying for him, loving him, encouraging him and working with him.

So also, the LORD has words for husbands and prospective husbands, when He says (Ephesians 5:25):

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

The submission of the wife seems degrading because husbands often fail in this respect – we do not love our wives as we are called upon to love them. When the LORD encourages us to love our wives, He is not saying that we should feel ‘all fuzzy inside’ when we see our beloved. This encouragement is not fulfilled when you give her roses and candy, jewelry, new clothing and other gifts. These activities may be an expression of kindness and love.

When the LORD says ‘love your wives’ the word refers to a love of understanding and purpose.

We are to have a love for our spouse that looks at her needs and sees to it that her needs are provided…even before our own.

This love is to emulate Christ’s own love for us, a self-sacrificing love. Think about that for a minute, husbands and fiancées, you are to love your wife with such great love that you are willing even to die to protect and to provide for her.

You are to put her needs first…and if you do…then she will see that she has nothing to fear in submitting to you as the head of the household. Still, it’s a tall order, isn’t it? It is, because we are self-centered.

Jesus shows us what real love is.

If, therefore, the wife submits to her husband as to the Lord and the husband loves his wife with the same self-sacrificing love as Christ, then our relationships will be like our Father and our Brother Jesus designed.

When marriages fail, it’s not God’s order that is the culprit, but self-centered, proud, sinful human beings…not God.

The LORD says that loving submission and self-sacrificing love are to be the hallmarks of a Christian Marriage. He didn’t say that this would be easy. He did however promise to equip us by His Word and strengthen both husband and spouse through His Word.

Let us gladly search that Word, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may show both submission and love.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

He who gives this good thing, and has favored us with His Love, will also make this possible, in Christ Jesus.
Amen.