Texts: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).
"For this cause shalt a man leave his father and mother, and shalt be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh" (Eph. 5:31).
"The Devil has a great spite against the kingdom of Christ, and he knows no such compendious way to crush it in the egg, as by the perversion of youth, and supplanting of family duties.... "So wrote Thomas Manton in a letter found in the Preface to the 1851 edition of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Marriage is a divine institution. The home was established before the "church," and the marriage relationship is older for man than worship itself. Since marriage was introduced by God before sin entered into the world, marriage ante-dates the sacrificial system. "And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Gen. 2:22).
Marriage -A Divine Institution
When God presented Eve to Adam, He performed the first marriage. By this act, God gave His blessing to the marriage-bed. "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD" (Prov. 18:22).
In all creation, loneliness was the first thing God saw that was not good. "And the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should e alone" (Gen. 2:18). Marriage is therefore an honorable institution. "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4)
Marriage was natural for Adam and Eve as man and woman. When God brought Eve to Adam, He gave the example men and women are to follow. Yet, ever since the first marriage, marriage has been a voluntary institution.
Marriage is a public institution. God made it so only sinful things demand secrecy. Marriage is a time for rejoicing. It is an honorable time. There is no shame in marriage, but young people make their bed in trouble who, not having the consent of their parents, elope thinking that they can put behind them their parentsí displeasure. God will rise up in judgment and will support the disapproval of their parents, even if the parents are not themselves Christians (The Marriage Ring, by John Angel James, p. 3). Who knows but with the gradual familiarity of the prospective in-law, coupled with earnest prayer to the God of creation, the hearts of the disapproving may become "strangely warmed."
Marriage is a religious institution. For this reason, the marriage ceremony is often performed in a church by a minister of the gospel. It is a serious institution because it affects families until the end of time. It concerns the spiritual well being of the family as well as their temporal peace. Marriage is nothing with which to toy. Consequently, an engagement is not a game for young people to play. God views an engagement as a marriage yet to be formalized, so a violation of an engagement constitutes adultery (See: Matt. 1:16-21).
Marriage is a binding institution first by virtue of creation: in the beginning God made man male and female. Second, it is binding by virtue of Him who created man. Third, marriage is binding by virtue of the purpose for which man was created, i.e. that they should be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Fourth, It is binding by virtue of the nature of the institution: "...He which made them at the beginning made them male and female..." (Matt. 19:4). Fifth, marriage is binding by virtue of the divine command, for He said, "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (vs. 5).
Sixth, marriage is binding by virtue of the union in marriage.
"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (vs. 6). Seventh, marriage is binding by virtue of the example of the first husband and wife. "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so" (vs.8). Eighth, marriage is binding by virtue of the evils of separation: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (vs.9).
The Nature of the Union
"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh" (Matt. 19:6a). Tertullian wrote, "What a union of two believersóone hope, one vow, one discipline, one worship! They are brother and sister, two fellow servants, one spirit and one flesh. Where there is one flesh, there is also one spirit. They pray together, fast together, instruct, exhort, and support each other. They go together to the church of God, and to the table of the Lord. They share each otherís tribulation, and persecution and revival. Neither conceals anything from the other; neither avoids, neither annoys the other.
"They delight to visit the sick, supply the needy, give alms without constraint, and in daily zeal, lay their offerings before the altar without scruple or hindrance.... Psalms and hymns they sing together, and they vie with each other in singing to God. Christ rejoices when He sees and hears this. He gives them His peace." (Great Leaders of the Christian Church, by Elgin Moyer, Moody Press, 1951; p.86)
"They two shall be one flesh," wrote the Apostle (Eph. 5:31). The Son of God enunciated this truth saying, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh" (Matt. 19:6). But are they "one flesh" when a husband and a wife each have their own bank account? If on Sunday mornings, a husband and wife part each to their own separate church, how are they "one flesh"? If a wife refuses to take the name of her husband, but insists upon retaining her maiden name, how are they "one"?
The "Head" Of The Wife
It may be asked, "Why should a wife take the name of her husband? Why should he not take the name of his wife?" The reason is that it is by Godís ordination that "the husband is the head of the wife" (Eph. 5:23). The husband and wife are "one flesh." The wife is to show reverence to her husband, and to submit to his authority, however, she is not his slave. The husband is to love his wife. She has the right to all his love. The husband who does not love his wife disobeys God. They are "one flesh." Neither has the right to strike or to curse the other. The husband who is bitter against his wife, or who strikes or curses her, shames his profession of faith; and the wife who is cross, pouty; or nagging shames her profession, of faith. They are one in purpose -one flesh.
Although the husband is the "head of the wife," if a wife has more knowledge of the Bible than does her husband, may not she assume the spiritual head of the home? NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! If she does, the children will rebel, and the home, that with Godís blessing is a haven of rest amid the storms of life, will be fraught with turmoil. It cannot be otherwise.
A wife who truly is more pious than her husband will seek to influence her husband and her children in the things of the Lord while exercising great care not to take the spiritual leadership from her husband whose it is by Godís ordination. If she asserts herself, the children will rebel, and the husband will become embittered against the things of the Lord. This writer has seen this a thousand times, but he has never seen such a home that did not suffer turmoil.
Love and "Romance"
Christians reserve their greatest love for God. They are guilty of idolatry who place husband, or wife, or children first in their lives because they reverse the created order. But, marital love has limits because marriage ends with death. Where excessive grief is expressed at the death of a husband, or a wife, or a child, it is certain that love has been too highly regarded.
Isaiah wrote, "For thy Maker is thine husband" (Is. 54:5). Believers are married to Christ, and from this marriage even death cannot sever them. God has designed marriage between man and woman as an earthly comfort. Therefore, when irritations arise --and they will they must not be dwelt upon or repeated over and over. Beware of the "continual dropping," for Solomon in his greet wisdom wrote, "the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping" (Prov. 19:13b); and "a continual dropping a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike" (Prov. 27:15).
Therefore, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," wrote the Apostle (Eph. 4~26). Bear the burdens of the day in the day. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matt. 6:34). To remember past offenses will separate dearest friends. "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends" (Prov. 17:9). There can be perfection expected from the children of Adam. Therefore, we ought to be patient and meek, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. No child of Adam can bring joy and happiness that only God can give. Therefore, a husband era wife who thinks only of romance can not be happy because they can never be satisfied.
Beware Of Unequal Yokes
God has established laws in marriage. When a husband or a wife neglects these, God is provoked who established them. For instance, the Spirit of God forbids a Christian to marry an unbeliever (II Cor. 6:14-18). But other inequalities should also be considered such as educational, financial, and racial. If Noahís sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and "by these was the whole earth overspread" (Gen. 9:18,19), then Sham, Ham and Japheth should not homogenize their families but be able to greet the Lord when He returns to this earth (Acts 1:11).
Beware as well of religious inequalities. If a man and woman marry with different denominational backgrounds, or have memberships in different churches of the same denomination, it is better to discuss this before marriage takes place. And, beware lest quarrels arise and cause you to live separately, either by separate homes, or by separate beds. If this occurs, Satan has the advantage.
"Keepers At Home"
Paul exhorted "aged women to teach the young women to be...keepers at home..." (Tit. 2:5). How are we to understand this? Solomon tells us the virtuous women "considers a field and buys it" (Prov. 31:16). Lydia was a "seller of purple" (Acts 16"14); and Anna, the prophetess, "spoke of (Christ) to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Lk. 2:38). How, then, are we to understand the Apostleís exhortation that women should be "keepers at home?"
The passage in Titus refers to tattlers and busybodies who gad about. Others have also understood the passage in this manner. Matthew Henry writes, "Dinah, when she went to see the daughters of the land, lost her chastity... Not but there are occasions, and will be, of going abroad, but of a gadding temper for merriment and company sake." He then uses I Tim. 5:13, and says, "Their business is to guide the house." This will be seen in her children, and by the harmony of her household.
Adam Clarke says, "The idleness, dirtiness, impudence and profligacy of the children will soon show how deeply criminal the mother was in rejecting the Apostleís advice.... A woman may keep the house very closely, and yet do little in it for the support or comfort of the family."
And John Gill understands it to mean, "minding their own family affairs, not gadding abroad and inspecting into and busying themselves about other peopleís matters. It is reckoned among the properties of women, by the Jews that they are gadders abroad.... A husband ought to restrain his wife from it."
"And (Jesus) answered (the Pharisees), ĎHave ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh"í (Matt. 19:4,5)?
A well-respected doctor was faced with a burgeoning practice. In order to meet the increased demands on his time, he began hiring nurses to oversee the care of his patients. One by one, the nurses began to complain, until one night, they rose up and declared they were going to occupy the office. They threw out the doctor and changed the office locks. Finally, they agreed to allow the doctor to return to his office, but under their terms.
So what has happened with the rebellion at the Augusta Christian School? Nearly a year and a half has elapsed since the rebellion there; and although "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft," area churches have for the most part swept the wicked conduct of their members under the rug. There still is no conscience for what they have done. The Lord has not given these people "godly sorrow that worketh repentance" but has apparently left them In their sins. Still, our love for them has not abated, and there is never a day that our hearts do not weep over them.
On March 16th, the CBS Evening News related that hogs are being genetically engineered by adding a human gene. The reason is supposed to be to cut excessive fat and cholesterol. The hogs, however, are needy totally blind.
The News also told of genetically altered mice produced with human genes that are "alarmingly large" to use their words.
Tomatoes are being genetically corrupted by the Campbell Soup Company to produce a variety that is resistant to cold temperatures. They have taken out a gene, reproduced it in the laboratory, and placed it backward into the cell. It is not very appealing to taste; but it is on account of unknown dangers that may result that 1000 chefs have refused to use them. The FDA has said it will not warn consumers the tomatoes they are buying may be genetically altered.
Another news item relates that environmentalists have suggested the way to cut down on the burgeoning deer populations, is to perform vasectomies on them. These are days of apostasy.
June 16-20 --Muskogee, Ok. I will be preaching in the annual Bible conference of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, pastored by John Ashwood.
June 25 --Plum Branch, SC. I will be speaking at the Pine Grove A.M.E. Church.
Will you help us by praying that we will be useful to the Kingdom of God?