Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ephesians 5:32

This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
The author is bouncing back and forth between the two topics: Christ and the church, husbands and wives. When relating the quote from Genesis, speaking on the one-flesh relationship of husbands and wives, the author pauses to mention that it is a "profound mystery" or a great mystery. The word mystery comes from a word that means to "shut the mouth." It is used by rabbis when referring to some O.T. saying that has a hidden meaning.

God is never pulling things together at the last minute. There might be some stuff that is a mystery to us, but it is simply because God has not revealed it to us. There is nothing that is a mystery to him. In fact, as He reveals new things to us in the New Testament, we find that He had things planned from the beginning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ephesians 5:31

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
This verse is a quote of Genesis 2:24. The context in Genesis is the creation of man and woman. The woman was taken from the man's flesh, and it is "for this reason," as the verse says, that a man leaves his parents and is united with his wife. It is a one flesh relationship.

This relationship is meant to be permanent. As it goes in our wedding ceremonies, "...till death do us part..." That is the way God intended it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ephesians 5:30

for we are members of his body.
In the context, here is the explanation as to why Christ feeds and cares for the church.

There are several different applications that we could pull from this teaching. Applications regarding our roles as members of this Church-body. But the main idea in this particular passage is not our roles, but His role. And specifically in this passage, Christ's role as the head includes feeding and caring.

As members of the body of Christ, we do not need to worry about anything. We will be provided for, just as Christ sees fit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ephesians 5:29

After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—
Never in scripture are we commanded to love ourselves. We are often times, like in this verse, reminded of the fact that we do love ourselves. In fact, we are born as lovers of self. Any parent could attest to that fact. There has yet to be a baby born that will consider the feelings of others. It just doesn't happen.

In the previous few verses of this chapter, we are told that husbands are to love their wives "in the same way" as Christ does the church. This isn't enough explanation for some men. Some men need something a little bit more detailed, so Paul explains it in a way that any man would understand: Love your wives the way you would love your own body. Nobody hates themselves, not really. (People who say that, are really just struggling with a completely self-centered view of the world.) So men, Love your wives the way you love yourself.

This sounds very similar to Christ's command to "Love your neighbor as yourself." That command is attached to and intertwined with the command to Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

You know how to take care of yourself, just turn that care around and aim it at your wife. Use Christ's example, but also use your understanding of your own self to determine how to love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ephesians 5:28

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
This is how it was from the beginning. Jesus tells us that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and "they will become one flesh." (Read Mark 10:1-12)

Why is marriage a holy and sacred thing?

Marriage is a holy and sacred thing because God said it was a holy and sacred thing. He "invented" marriage for more than just procreation. Procreation can happen outside of marriage, if no one has told you yet... Marriage is more than that. It is a picture, and I will say it every time that I write on this topic. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) for all of these same reasons.

In this verse, the emphasis is put onto the man, the husband. He is commanded to love his wife, "in the same way" as this love that Jesus has had for His church. It is a tall order, but we do it to fulfill our vows to Christ.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ephesians 5:27

and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Christ, as the perfect example of husbandry, is cleansing His bride. We can all, as Christians, feel the effects of this cleansing. It impacts us in our daily lives. He is sanctifying each one of us, and the job will be completed in one final step at the end of our lives. Then the church will be without blemish, holy and blameless.

Notice that the purpose of this cleansing is to present the church to Himself. He is not cleansing the church for another, but for Himself.

As we continue to read through this passage, and look at the role of the husband, keep in mind that the requirements of the husband are all for this same end result. He works at cleansing his bride because she is his. He presents this woman to himself.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ephesians 5:26

to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
The husband, in following the example that Christ has set forth, is to be a good shepherd to his wife. He, through sacrifice of himself, is to be cleansing his bride.

The husband should be a skillful master of the Word. He should know how to wield the Word of God in such a way, not as a sword, like one would normally think, but as a washcloth. Gently washing his bride.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
The husband's role is to love the wife. The degree, or the measure, of this love is comparable to Christ's love for the church. To get a demonstration of the extent of Christ's love for the church, simply look at the cross.

This is a great love, it is a sacrificial love, and it is a love that holds no room for selfishness. I am fighting the urge to elaborate, but I believe that if a man really looks to the cross, my elaborations will seem trivial. The man who seeks to love their wife the way Christ loved the church must be calling on Christ daily for His grace. He is the only originator of this kind of love.

If you are a husband, look to the cross today. Compare your love... not to the bad husbands of the world, compare your love to Christ and what He did on the cross. Then call on Him to enable you to live that kind of love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ephesians 5:24

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
No one doubts the role of the church. The church is clearly to submit to Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, but this command is very clear concerning wives. They are to submit to the husband. In fact, they are to submit to him in the same way as the church submits to Christ. There is no other option, no other loop-hole command.

When the husband is fulfilling His role, which will come up in the next few verses, this task becomes much easier. The challenge comes when there is a husband who is not fulfilling his role. The woman must not presume upon herself though; if she truly desires God to work in the heart of her husband, if she wants that husband to fulfill his godly role as a husband, then she must start with herself.

What does this look like? A wife must submit to the authority of her husband in all things. The only exceptions would be if the husband is asking her to do things that would not please God, because as the apostles put it, "... we ought to obey God rather than men." Also if there is a true threat of physical harm to either the wife or her children, this would constitute fleeing the situation, but not divorce. In both of these extreme situations, if the wife can still submit in whatever ways that she can, this attitude may yet win her husband.

I Peter 3:1 states,
"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives..."

God's plan is always the best plan. Begin trusting Him today, not just in word, but in daily life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ephesians 5:23

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Here we have the connection, the illustration is laid out for us. The relationship of Christ and the church is pictured by the relationship of a husband and wife. There are all kinds of examples that we could draw from this concerning Christ and the church: how there is love, communication and intimacy between the two. (I think this video helps to illustrate that point.)

There is also teaching to be directed at a husband and wife. Paul, as he writes this passage is driving in that very direction, but he will go back and forth between the two.

In this verse we see that the reason why a wife is to be submissive to the husband, it is because the husband is the head. More importantly though, we see why the husband is the head, it is because Christ is the head of the church. I can see how this could be difficult in some marriages, but it is important to realize that God ordains leadership.

Not all husbands are naturally good leaders, but God wants them to lead in the home. God's plan for every husband is to fulfill his role in the same way that Chris fulfilled His role as savior.

But before we get too much into that, let us first accept the roles that God has given and seek to fulfill them to the best of our ability.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ephesians 5:22

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
If anyone endeavors to commentate their way through the Bible, they will eventually run across many verses like this. Understand please, I am not talking about the topic, I am talking about verses that many have come to reject and almost cringe at.

There are many that feel that way about this particular verse. If you talk about wives being submissive to their husbands in America, whoa... hold everything. Most people hear this and they immediately get this picture in their mind of some mountain preacher with an amazingly thick southern accent preachin' this verse, with many hardy amens in the background.

There is a picture that should come to your mind when you hear this verse. It isn't southern preachers though. In fact, any mention of marriage should bring to mind the illustration of Christ and the Church, or Christ and His people. Marriage, though it has other God-given purposes, is meant to illustrate these roles.

I would also like to add that God is the authority on the subject of marriage. There are two types of authority: there are those who have the position of authority, and those that have the knowledge that makes them an authority. It is a wonderful thing when those two things are combined, and in God they are. He is in authority over us. He is the sovereign Lord of all creation, but He is also the authority on every subject, for he created all things. Do you realize that God invented the very idea of marriage? So we should go to Him to learn how this marriage thing should work.

We can see in this verse that the role of the wife is a submissive role. This has nothing to do with who she is as a person, and should never make her less, or her opinion less. This has to do with the role in the marriage.

There are many examples throughout scripture and also in the world of how having two heads isn't actually better than one. Most of the time when there are two people or two organizations or two governments... it leads to disaster. The Bible even talks about the double minded man and how unstable he is.

If you are a wife and you are reading this, might I suggest that you choose this role. Be submissive to your husband. It might be an act of faith, but remember that you are not trusting in the husband, you are trusting in God, and you are exhibiting that trust by doing things His way.

If you are a husband... Well, we will get to you in a few more verses. Your role is much more difficult if done correctly.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Psalm 136:26

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
Down to the last verse of this chapter. The author, though he could have gone on much longer, focused most of his attention on Israel's history. In the last verse he thanked this loving God for daily provision for all creatures.

In this verse he simply tells us to "give thanks..." and that is exactly what we should do.

I know, from personal experience, and from the experiences of others, that this simple idea of thankfulness can be so elusive at times. There are days and situations that seem so overwhelming that giving thanks just doesn't seem sane. But we give thanks to God, not just because of the bad things that He rescues us from. We give thanks because of WHO God Is. He is the creator, He is the rescuer and the redeemer, He is the sustainer, He is the God of Heaven!

If you only give thanks to God when He does things the way you think they should go, then He is not really your God, you have become your own god.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Psalm 136:25

and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
The author of this Psalm has brought us from the timeless past before creation right to today in today's most basic need. The Psalmist can write of these things because that is the God that he is writing about. A God whose Love Endures Forever!

He is not a God that simply created us and then kindof let us go on our merry way. He is not a God that simply exists in some sort of transcendent state, just sortof in everything. He is not a fickle God whose love comes and goes with our behaviors towards Him. He is like no other god that men could think up for He is the true God. The God whose love has endured and is enduring even today.

While today is still today... Praise Him!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Psalm 136:24

and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
Each of these verses has told us an evidence of God's love, and how it endures forever. As men, we can only evidence this eternal love by starting as far back as we know. We know that just before creation, there was God. He has always been, and He always will be. We know that He is (and always was) good. That is where the Psalmist started in verse 1. Then the Psalmist states that this good God was THE God and THE Lord. Then He begins to discuss our entrance into the picture through His creation.

As the author progresses through the Psalm, he relates some of the history of the children of Israel. And now he has brought us to the author's own life as he talks of how God has freed him (and the people) from their enemies.

As you think of God today, think back through the freedom He has freely given you. Think back to how He worked in the lives of the apostles and the prophets and the patriarchs. Think back to His creative works. Think back to who He is as King of kings and Lord of lords. Think back to His goodness that was there before creation. Think back to His enduring love. A love that always has been and always will be.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Psalm 136:23

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

God remembers.

He will not forget your situation. He will not forget your hardships. He will not forget your hurts. He will not forget where you are and where you have been. He remembers.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Psalm 136:22

an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.
God fulfilled His promise to His people when they entered the land. They received their inheritance. God took back from the petty kings of this world and distributed to His people.

There is an inheritance for God's people still. We don't have to wait till heaven to receive our inheritance, it is available to us now, as we pass through the land. The petty kings of this world state that they own happiness, fulfillment, joy, contentment, and peace, but those lands belong to the King of Kings. He offers those places to us as belonging to part of His Kingdom.

Let us join in the inheritance today.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Psalm 136:21

and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
I don't want to stretch a verse too far. I know from experience how easy it is to make a verse say what you want it to say, so when I come to scripture, I am always trying to come open to the Spirit of God. I am always asking to be taught, in that moment, with that verse. With that said, on to the verse...

This Psalm was just talking about these kings that opposed God's way, and God took them out. Now we get to see what God did with their lands. He made their lands part of the inheritance. It is important to understand at this point that it was all God's to begin with. They didn't really own the lands, so it was always His to give. But these kings claimed these lands as their own and refused God's way.

On a non-political scale, I believe that this is still happening today. I believe that culture and society have claimed several items that belong to God. They have perverted these items, but God wants to give them as an inheritance.

One example of this, if I might be so bold, is the area of sex. (I know in bringing this up, I run the risk of changing the ads listed on this blog to something inappropriate...) Sex was created by God. He came up with the idea. He invented it, and set up its guidelines on how it is best to be enjoyed, and the greatest enjoyment is in marriage.

Society and culture have taken ownership of this. They claim to know best how this is enjoyed. When God's way comes into the picture, they oppose it with everything that they have. God is not opposed though, He retakes what is rightfully His and gives it as an inheritance to His people.

What is sad is when people continue to live under these kings, under their rulings. God will ultimately wipe out all wrong philosophies and beliefs, but in the meantime, He will rid them out of the lives of His children. He will clear the path for our opportunity to live in the promised land today.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Psalm 136:19-20

Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.

and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
These two kings opposed the children of Israel as they were trying to enter into the Promised Land. They came out in all of their splendor, with their entire army, to stand against God's plan. Needless to say, it was a disaster for them.

I think that it could best be understood in the final verse of Numbers 21,
So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.
This is how our loving God will deal with all those "kings" in our life that oppose Him and stand in His way. He will prevail as the one and only Lord of our lives.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Psalm 136:17-18

who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
We call Him the King of kings and Lord of lords, because that is exactly what He is. All through Israel's history, at least when they were seeking after God, we can see examples of how God is in control of all things. If there is a king that He wants to take out, He will use whoever He wants to use to make that happen.

He isn't done taking kings out of the picture.

Because of His great love for us, He will continue to take those kings out of the way. Even down to the little kings that are all over the place. Ourselves. Even after we claim Him as Lord, so often we continue to be the kings of our own lives. We continue to make rulings and pass amendments and make judgments, but the great King, who knows much better than us, wants His throne. He will throw down the king of selfishness and pride and take His place.

But just as He has always done, He calls us to participate in this throwing down.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Psalm 136:16

to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.

Once again we are reminded of God's leading. He leads us in the good times and in the harshest of times. It seems like we always want His leading the most when times are bad. But the next hard time that comes up, we have already forgotten His guiding hand from the last time.