News Letter 5855-012
The 3rd Year of the 4th Sabbatical Cycle
The 24th year of the 120th Jubilee Cycle
The 19th day of the 3rd month 5855 years after the creation of Adam
The 3rd Month in the Third year of the Fourth Sabbatical Cycle
The 4th Sabbatical Cycle after the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Third Year Tithe for the Widows and Orphans and Levites
The Sabbatical Cycle of Sword, Famines, and Pestilence
May 25, 2019
Shabbat Shalom to the Royal Family of Yehovah,
It was a Riddle Not a Command
As many of you are aware, there was no Newsletter last week. The reason being I was just flat out exhausted.
This past month my work required me to drive two hours in the morning so that I leave the house by 5 AM and then I return home driving another 2 hours if traffic is good. By the time I shower and eat it is close to 8 PM. It has been this way for the past two weeks and that job is now done. This past week we began work where I only have to drive one hour each way.
After 8 PM I begin to answer emails if I had not already done so on my breaks at work on my iPhone. This past few weeks saw me answering phone call message which lasted a number of hours for each one.
Last month we had an ad campaign sent to out to those who believe in the Rapture and we were trying to sell them our books to get them to read and learn about the end time prophecies shown to us by the Jubilee cycles.
We had an overwhelming response from this group of people stating that “no man can know the day or the hour” and this was their excuse not to listen and not to get the books or join the News Letter. It was frustrating. After consulting with James and Pauline, they both said I needed to address this issue. I knew they meant I had to write another book. I did not want to do that. I know how much time that involves. I do not even have time to finish the rewrite of the 2016 book to make it the 2023 book with the over 45 Sabbatical year discoveries I wanted to add to it. I had begun this, this past winter and Joli is still waiting for me to finish it.
So I had no interest in doing another book. But I also knew both James and Pauline were right. Even some of you say this expression and do not know what it means.
On top of this, I have developed relationships with a group in India and they have spoken with the elders of their many other groups and it would seem they are in the process of having me come to teach them for Sukkot this fall. We have been talking about this very discretely and very slowly. But I must also get ready to do this teaching. This trip will cost about $10,000 when all is said and done. This is on top of the $30,000 we are raising to send James to Burundi for 6 months. And on top of the money, we are sending to sponsor mission trips across the Philippines as well as our ad campaigns.
The income this book James and Pauline want me to write, could help to sponsor all of this and more.
Over the past month though I have written that new book. Here is the front cover Pauline came up with. She has knocked this out of the park with her skills and artistry.
I have been working with Pauline Reardon on the covers and pictures and the graphics. She has done an awesome job, but it all takes time going back and forth to get the job done right. We have also had James working on the new landing page for this book and again the draft explanation had to be done and there is still more work to be done on that part.
Once I finished the book, I had Jan Sytsma go over it and give it the first round of editing and suggestions. I had to go through all of her edits and make the corrections and agree to her suggestions or disagree with them and then incorporate them into the book. Jan wrote in the comments section of our Article about the Bismallah the following:
Joe mentioned his new book coming out called “No Man Knows the Day or the Hour”. I am humbled to be asked by him to review it. This is my response to you readers. This is truly the MOST AMAZING BOOK that I have read from a Torah perspective. There is SO MUCH explained in this book. Yes, much of it comes from prior newsletters, but seeing it all presented in a most wonderful flow makes it an awesome, truly educational read. For anyone new to Torah, this book MUST be bought. For anyone very knowledgeable of everything, it still MUST be bought for ease of sharing the truth with others. For anyone trying to reach loved ones, this book MUST be bought….multiple copies of it. Joe, you have outdid yourself… again. I truly did not expect the book to be as all encompassing as it is. So EVERYONE….WRITE THIS DOWN. Write down the name of this book. Do NOT forget about it. It will take time for the editor to do her job and for it to get published, so that means you have time to save your money so you can be prepared to purchase multiple copies when it comes available. This book will be so helpful for all the Pastors leading congregations in the Philippines, Burundi, and India too. A great reference book for everyone. I can hardly wait to get my hands on both hard copy and e-book forms so I can start sharing it.
Pauline too has had some edits as she works on the picture aspect of the book. And these too must be put into the book by me.
Judith Dennis is currently giving it another edit before I send it to the editor who has done all of my books, Joli. And I must again go through her revisions and corrections and suggestions.
Then we must upload it to either Lulu.com for printing or Amazon.com so that hard copies can be available. Again a time-consuming process. We will not be going through a publisher as the cost of $3000 to $6000 is out of the budget.
I have been pushing each person here hard to get this done before Shavuot. This is why last week I was just worn out and exhausted. And so are they.
We are still aiming to have it available to the public by the worlds Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019. And I am still pushing those helping me to get this done. They all see the need.
James is also working on setting up the pre-orders so we can see if there is any demand for this book. This way we can begin to advertise it and get that aspect going while we wait on the final edits to be done. Please do place your order for the e-book here in our store once it is up and running. Here is the link to the promo page.
please do share this link with all your friends.
Interview with Nehemia Gordon
Last Sabbath Nehemia published all of his teachings about the Shimetah Year. I was excited to see it and expected our conversation to be a part of it. I would encourage you all to listen to them and to understand at what points they error and then to write to him and tell them why so that others can see your comments.
As I expected the interview with Nehemia came out this week after airing all the other Shmitah teachings he had last week.
I have had the chance to listen to this a few times now and it is just as exciting for me to listen to now 9 months after we did the initial interview. I hope this is a blessing to each of you and I hope you get just as excited as I did, as you learn about Rambam and the Sabbatical year.
I hope each and every one of you will leave comments on this web site and on each of Nehemias sites and help those who are struggling to find the answers. This is your time to shine.
You can listen through our Podcast at http://sightedmoon.blubrry.com/
or Nehemia has it at these three locations
And honest to goodness instructional debate, most refreshing….
I commend Joe for his work and dedication to it and Futher more thankful for it. Regardless I hope he’s wrong just for the sake of my grandchildren.. But alas I am certain that we are the last generation
Really awesome interview and dig into Biblical history! Just awesome! Joe Dumond’s timeline from Adam, proving the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles … keeps on repelling all the stones thrown at it. Joe’s timeline is rock solid! Praise Yehovah!
Pretty d__ interesting
THIS IS SO EXCITING!! BROTHER JOSEPH AND NEHEMIA DISCUSSING SCRIPTURE!!!??? They’ll likely get together and discuss this for days to come… 40:30 Nehemia is trying to figure in his head? ??? THESE TWO ARE FINALLY TOGETHER ?
Well this way just way too much, to wrap my brain around. It would take me years and years and years, to follow all these calculations. I hope that you look further on this, Nehemiah, and present it at a level people like me can understand. Whether it be right, wrong, or disprovable either way; is of great interest to me. Personally, I hope it is incorrect, because this world is so full of evil. Another thousand years of this, is hard to grasp. No matter what, I thank you both for this discussion. I would love to see a 5 part series, on this subject, on Shabbat Night Live. A project to look forward to in the coming years, if Yehovah leads? As was said in the closing prayer, don’t believe anyone; be led by Yehovah. I pray we all follow that advice, can’t go wrong if we submit to him and his will. Amen
Rebeca Corlan Excellent interview with Nehemia Gordon ! Praise Yah ! Good job, Joseph! Yah bless you, and keep you !
Jayson on May 23, 2019
I have been following Joseph Dummond for a few years now and have read his 750+ page book. It is not an easy read, and there were some days I quit reading after only getting through 2-3 pages. I needed time to digest what I just read. It appears all of the information that is presented is correct as I can’t prove him wrong, nor have I seen anyone else do so. Since this interview took place last year, I’m curious what your thoughts are, Nehemia, now that you’ve had time to process everything and look into these matters a little deeper. By the way, I did keep that last shemittah year, as best as I could, according to Joseph’s reckoning in the book. We will all know in about a year if 2020 is foresight or hindsight! Shalom!
stevebnns on May 23, 2019
Out standing podcast. I been learning from sightedmoon.com for years now. Joseph Dumond has changed my understanding on many biblical truths. Wasn’t always easy to accept my errors but as of 2019 I have never been able to prove his research incorrect about the Sabbatical and Jubilee Cycles or his timeline for the end times. Thank you Mr. Gordon for sharing this with us, Shalom.
Count Down Clock about to go below 1 year
I want to bring to your attention that the countdown clock until Shavuot 2020 is about to go below one year and counting this coming week.
Time is marching by day by day. What are you doing to further the Kingdom between now and when it comes?
In the Mail
Hello brother Joseph, I just wanted to say hi and let you know how much your newsletters are teaching me. There is so much in them that I have to read and re-read them. It is a lot to remember, but I am trying. The more I go over things, the more ingrained they are becoming. I am going to be sharing some of your thoughts on the eighth day from your newsletter today with some family and friends, just a small group. I always encourage them to read your teachings. I am very grateful to the Father for you and all you do for the body. I pray you are well on this Shavuot! Wilson
hello I’ve looked on your site a lot tryed to keep the holy days. but your days do not mach up with anything else I have seen. So now I’m confused……..I’m also very new to keeping the holy days not new to walking with the lord. is there any way you can help me understand and help me so I can do it correctly. please and thank you
Yes, there are many out there claiming they have the one and only true calendar. There is only one way to know and to learn and that is by reading Leviticus 23 and then doing what it says. At our web site, we now have 14 years of articles for you to learn from. To learn about each of the Holy Days go to this link and start to read about the next Holy Days coming. To learn about how to prove which calendar is the one to follow then go to this link. We all have Jan Sytsma to thank for organizing this for all of us so we can find each subject we want to study.
Dear Mr. Dumond
Right here where I am sitting, studying your letter on the bismillah, I just feel compelled to write this e-mail as I am overwhelmed and lost, but yet filled with joy that there is someone like you sent by our
Father to warn us.
I am not even sure as to what I want to say, but as the head of my house, struggling to put all the information from your website and newsletters together just for myself to process and make sense of it, I
look at my wife and kids and my heart torns in pieces thinking about what is coming and I absolutely don’t know how to guide them in a simple but yet efficient way into understanding at least the necessary of this
without scaring them to death. I mean, if this rattles me to the extend that I physically becomes ill, what will it do to my young children.
Is there perhaps a book or e-book that gives a broad outline (almost like a study guide) that allows one to first get the bigger picture (e.g. prophetic timelines, jubilee cycles etc.) and then fill in the
details as one goes along by means of your videos, newsletters etc?
Right here, right now I can only pray that our Father will use you as instrument to ready me and my family to be diligent that we may also be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
The grace of God be with you.
In our News Letter about the Bismallah, I asked you to pray for the others Yehovah was calling. Here is what I said after sharing the email I got from that lady in Ohio.
But also pray for the many others who are being called and do not know where to turn. This lady found me through a contact in the Philippines who knows me. There are many others out there still looking but do not know where to look. They have seen so many false teachers that they have thrown their hands in the air and about to give up. Pray for them.
Brethren we still have a lot of work to do before the times I have told you about take place. And even once they begin, we have still much more work to do and will be expected to keep doing what we do no matter what comes. Yehovah bless each and every one of us and direct us in the ways we are to be about His business.
Yehovah has answered your prayers. Do not let up and keep praying for more to be found who will now begin to start the process of obeying.
The Lady from Ohio was overwhelmed by the article on Leprosy and feared she was too late to begin to obey. Pieter above, he too is overwhelmed and wondering how to begin to obey.
Many, far too many say that the God of the Old Testament is a mean God and they do not follow Him with all those Laws. No, instead they follow the God of the New Testament who did away with those laws and tells you to just love one another.
I have followed up with that lady from Ohio and she sent the following:
I am doing fine, thank you. I hope you are well. My little family and I have been observing the sabbath ever since you and I spoke on the phone. They realize how important it is to me and I think it is now important to my son. My daughter is struggling a little bit because she had some prior commitments before we chose to make this change, but I think she is beginning to realize the importance as well. We still don’t quite know what we are doing. I wish I knew more about how to actually observe the sabbath. There are no real instructions other than to keep it holy. We want to learn how to observe all of the Holy Days also. When we are told not to do any work, would that include everything? I have a hard time with leaving dishes in the sink. I really wish I had a group nearby that would help us. For now we are just reading our bibles trying to figure it all out. I have so many questions and I do not want to lean on my own understanding. I am afraid that i am going to teach myself and my children wrongly. What modern day example do I use to teach this to my family? We still feel a bit lost. I know that is to be expected when you are throwing out man’s doctrine and trying to do things God’s way. It makes me sad that we as a people have lost so much along the way, how do we find our way back to Him on our own? No matter what, we have determined to stick with it. We at least know more of the truth now than we did before. By the way, why are there so many different dates for the Holy Days? I have looked at mtoi.org and their dates are different than other churches or groups. I have also looked at other Torah observant groups in our area and there is even one group Congregation Beth Tikvah has about 50 dates on their calendar. It is all very confusing? I have so many questions. We are not going to give up, we just haven’t figured things our yet.
To all of those wondering how to do this, take note.
Yehovah has called you unto Himself. Not to sightedmoon, not to Joseph Dumond, not to any other group. Yehovah has reached down and touched you to reveal His truths to you. Many of you then say you began to learn at our web site. If that is true then continue to learn there and be very very careful what you go and learn at other sites. Especially if you are new. Go to our Library tab and look at each of the Holy Days. And look at the calendar articles and learn them.
Do not forget the parable of the wheat.
The Parable of the Sower
Mat 13:1 In that day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the seaside. And great crowds were gathered to Him, so that He went into a boat and sat. And all the crowd stood on the shore. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth. And they sprang up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth. And the sun rising, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns. And the thorns sprung up and choked them. And some fell on the good ground and yielded fruit, indeed one a hundredfold, and one sixty, and one thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The Purpose of the Parables
Mat 13:10 And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard them.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
Mat 13:18 Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown by the wayside. But that which was sown on the stony places is this: he who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy. But he has no root in himself, and is temporary. For when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, he immediately stumbles. And that sown into the thorns is this: he who hears the Word; and the anxiety of this world, and the deceit of riches, choke the Word, and he becomes unfruitful. But that sown on the good ground is this: he who hears the Word and understands; who also bears fruit and produces one truly a hundredfold; and one sixty; and one thirty.
The Parable of the Weeds
Mat 13:24 He put out another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel among the wheat and went his way. But when the blade had sprung up and had produced fruit, then the darnel also appeared. So the servants of the householder came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then where have the darnel come from? He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and gather them up? But he said, No, lest while you gather up the darnel you also root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary.
Remember these words
Php 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, cultivate your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings, so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among these you shine as lights in the world,
You are eager to learn these truths right now. If you go out and begin to study the Illuminati or all about Chemtrails and the Nephilim or other nonsense then Yehovah will stop revealing His truths to you. If you stop obeying and begin to work on the Sabbath or Holy Days then Yehovah will stop giving you greater understandings. These are the wheat by the roadside or the wheat that is choked out by the tares.
You are going to be tested along this way. Will you fail and go to work on the Sabbath or Holy Day? It is a test.
I know of many people who failed this test. Myself included.
When I first started to keep the Sabbath, we were working 7 days a week. I wanted to obey but my job did not allow it. So I would go to work in the morning and then set up the crew for the day and sneak off to services in Montreal. It was a 3-hour drive from Trois Riviere. The first week I did this I thought this was great. the crew hit a major Hydro line and took out the electricity to 25% of the city. The next week they hit a major Trans Canada bell line. The third week a large water line. My boss was flipping out wondering where in blues blazes Joe was. They thought I had a girlfriend in Montreal.
I was willing to let them think that rather than tell them I was going to a Sabbath-keeping Church. But my boss asked me and I told him the truth. The next week was a memo and no one was to work on Saturday starting that week. I thought I was about to be fired and this was a miracle for obeying.
Another man I knew from that church thought he could go and do a small job on the Sabbath. He had been keeping it for many many years now. He loaded the ladder in his car and along the way had to make a sudden stop. The ladder came crashing through his front window and ended any work he had planned to do that day.
Recently another unemployed man worked his tail off to qualify for a job that was available. He completed all the needed tasks and then applied. He got the job on a Friday and was told so by the HR Dept. At his other temporary job, they needed him to come in on a High Holy Day and not on the Saturday Sabbath. The Sabbath and the Holy Days are the tests. The man reasoned in his heart it was ok to do this one small job. While on that job he was called upon to do another small job. When he got home there was a notice from the HR Dept. sent to him; that in no uncertain terms would this man be able to work for the company that he thought had just hired him.
Was Yehovah sending a clear message? I think so.
Another lady was extremely zealous for the word and studied her brains out. She then got involved in the Illuminati teachings and then the ones that say Paul taught lies. After that, she began to believe Yehshua was not the Messiah and then shortly after this she said the whole Bible was corrupted and false. She is not obeying Yehovah in anything.
The more you learn about Yehovah the more He will reveal to you. The more you obey Yehovah and keep His commandments the more He is going to show you and give you the wisdom and understanding and knowledge you need to obey Him more. The moment you stop; He stops. The moment you turn away He stands there in disappointment that you are leaving Him, especially at this time.
So be careful who you let teach you and what you allow to enter your mind. You no longer have the luxury of time to veer away and then to think you have time to return later. It takes time to learn and time to keep each Sabbath and each Holy Days. Failing to keep them means your testing will get harder the next time around.
We are told a number of times how we are to repent to Yehovah and to beg for His mercy upon us when we sin. The first time is after we have been told about the curses that are going to come upon us if we do not obey. The same curses we have been telling you about for not keeping the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.
Lev 26:40 If they shall confess their willfulness and the willfulness of their fathers, with their sin which they sinned against Me, and that also they have walked contrary to Me, I also will walk contrary to them and will bring them into the land of their enemies. If then their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they then pay for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham I will remember. And I will remember the land.The land also shall be forsaken by them, and shall enjoy its sabbaths, while it lies waste without them. And they shall accept the punishment of their iniquities; because, even because they despised My judgments, and because their soul hated My statutes.And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I hate them, to destroy them utterly and to break My covenant with them. For I am Jehovah their God. But for their sakes, I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, so that I might be their God. I am Jehovah.
We are then told again by Moses in Deuteronomy. But notice that you will be expected to obey while you are in the foreign lands and in captivity. Yes, Yehovah expects you to repent as you ponder just how bad things have gotten and while in captivity to then begin to obey no matter what. And it will be very hard to do then.
Repentance and Forgiveness
Deu 30:1 And it shall be when all these things have come on you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and when you shall call them to mind among all the nations where Jehovah your God has driven you, and shall return to Jehovah your God and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, with all your heart, and with all your soul, then Jehovah your God will turn your captivity. And He will have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations where Jehovah your God has scattered you. If you are driven out into the outermost parts of the heavens, Jehovah your God will gather you from there, and He will bring you from there. And Jehovah your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. And He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers. And Jehovah your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your seed, to love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. And Jehovah your God will put all these curses on your enemies, and on those that hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall return and obey the voice of Jehovah, and do all His commandments which I command you today. And Jehovah your God will make you have plenty in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good. For Jehovah will again rejoice over you for good, as He rejoiced over your fathers; for you shall listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the Law, and if you turn to Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Choice of Life and Death
Deu 30:11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Solomon did this on the 8th Day of Sukkot. And when He was done Yehovah entered the Temple. This is the very meaning of the 8th day which we talked to you about as we counted the Omer. Yehovah’s heart desire is to dwell with us. But He will not do that until we are in compliance with Him and His commandments.
1Ki 8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart; you have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day. Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house, then hear in heaven and act and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. “When your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and if they turn again to you and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them again to the land that you gave to their fathers. “When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance. “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers. “Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name’s sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. “If your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to the LORD toward the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause. “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them (for they are your people, and your heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace). Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.”
Daniel’s Prayer for His People
Dan 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
Obadiah and Edom’s Reward
It is very important for you who are to survive what is coming to understand what needs to be done afterwards. I do not have to say anything. I want you all to read carefully and prayerfully what Obadiah has to say about Edom.
Edom Will Be Humbled
Oba 1:1 The vision of Obadiah. So says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a message from Jehovah, and a messenger is sent among the nations: Rise up, even let us rise up against her for battle. Behold, I have given you to be small among the nations; you are greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, dwelling in the clefts of the rock, his dwelling is lofty; saying in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though you rise high like the eagle, and though you set your nest between the stars, I will bring you down from there, says Jehovah. If thieves came to you, if destroyers by night (how you have been cut off!), would they not have stolen until they had enough? If the grape-gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings? How Esau is searched out! His hidden things are sought out! All the men of your covenant have dismissed you to the border; the men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and have overcome you. They are setting your bread as a snare under you; there is no understanding in them. Shall I not in that day even destroy the wise out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau, says Jehovah? And your mighty ones, O Teman, shall be afraid, so that each man from the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.
Edom’s Violence Against Jacob
Oba 1:10 Shame shall cover you from the violence against your brother Jacob, and you shall be cut off forever. On the day of your standing on the other side, on the day that the strangers were capturing his force, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them. But you should not have looked on the day of your brother on the day of his alienation; nor should you have rejoiced over the sons of Judah in the day of their ruin; nor should you have enlarged your mouth in the day of distress. You should not have entered into the gate of My people in the day of their calamity; also, you should not have looked on his evil in the day of their calamity. Nor should you have sent out against his force in the day of his calamity. Nor should you have stood on the crossways to cut off those of him who escaped; nor should you have shut up his survivors in the day of distress.
The Day of the Lord Is Near
Oba 1:15 For the day of Jehovah is near on all the nations; as you have done, it shall be done to you. Your reward shall return upon your head. For as you have drunk upon My holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink forever. Yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow, and they shall be as though they had not been. But upon Mount Zion shall be those who escaped; and it shall be holy. And the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame. And the house of Esau shall be for stubble. And they shall kindle in them and burn them up. And no survivor shall be to the house of Esau; for Jehovah has spoken it.
The Kingdom of the Lord
Oba 1:19 And those of the south shall possess the mountain of Esau and the low country of the Philistines. And they shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria; and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the exiles of this army shall go to the sons of Israel who shall possess the land of the Canaanites to Zarephath; even the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the south. And deliverers shall go up into the mountain of Zion to judge the mountain of Esau; and the kingdom shall be to Jehovah.
The following video shows you why Yehovah has decreed what He says in Obadiah.
The US Iran War and Joseph’s Prophecy
The Double Cross
Last week as I prepared the new letter that did not go out. I was feverishly trying to keep up with the US-Iran conflict that looked like it was going to war.
I was trying to understand all that was going on and connecting it to Joseph 7 year of plenty that expected were about to begin. But they do not begin until 2020, one year from now. Here is a list of events chronologically.
May 5, 2019
USS Lincoln strike group deployed to send Iran ‘clear and unmistakable’ message, Bolton says
I also learned that the USA has 10 Naval Strike groups deployed around the world. You can read more about these on wiki.
May 6, 2019
The United States is deploying forces to the Middle East, in response to what administration officials say are threats of a possible attack by Iran or allied fighters on American troops in the region. White House national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement Sunday night that the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region, an area that includes the Middle East.
May 8, 2019
Iranian President Warns Europe: Undercut U.S. Or We’ll Stop Limiting Enrichment Of Uranium
Monday, May 13, 2019
As many as four ships anchored in the Persian Gulf were damaged in what Gulf officials described Monday as a “sabotage” attack off the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates.
A U.S. official says an American military team’s initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in the ships.
Armed drones, allegedly dispatched by Yemeni rebels, struck two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, spiking tensions in the region and potentially disrupting international efforts to end the civil war in Yemen
May 15, 2019
State Department Orders Nonessential U.S. Government Employees Out Of Iraq
May 16, 2019
Trump says “I hope not” when asked if U.S. is going to war with Iran
May 17, 2019
US warns commercial flights risk being ‘misidentified’ over Persian Gulf amid simmering tensions with Iran
I was thinking all of this and knew something was not right. Something was wrong with the way we are looking at this.
Back on May 14, 2019 was this bit of news and I did not understand it then.
NATO ally Spain pulls warship from US strike group ‘to avoid being dragged into conflict with Iran’
Sunday May 19, 2019, Trump warns Iran it will be the end of Iran.
RIYADH (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump issued a new threat to Tehran on Sunday, tweeting that a conflict would be the “official end” of Iran, as Saudi Arabia warned it stood ready to respond with “all strength” and said it was up to Iran to avoid war.
I had not figured it out and then just ran out of gas and did not publish last week. But as Sabbath drew on I was praying and asking Yehovah to show me what I was not understanding. On Friday May 18, 2019, the New York Times had the following article and it is very enlightening.
BRUSSELS — With strong memories of the last catastrophic war in Iraq, Europeans are united in opposing what many consider the United States’ effort to provoke Iran into a shooting war. Yet, despite the strains in trans-Atlantic relations in the Trump years, flat-out opposition to Washington remains an uncomfortable place for European nations.
Initially, not even pro-American Britain would go along with the Trump administration, with officials defending a senior British general in the coalition fighting the Islamic State who said that there was no enhanced threat from Iran in Iraq and Syria.
But that brought an American rebuttal, and soon the Europeans, reluctant to confront Washington directly, softened the criticism. Britain officially rowed back, saying that it now agreed with the Americans, while Germany and the Netherlands suspended their troop training in Iraq, citing the American warnings. (Germany subsequently said it was planning to resume the training exercises.)
Window dressing aside, however, there was little doubt about where the Europeans stood on the Iran issue.
“Every single European government believes that the increased threat we’re seeing from Iran now is a reaction to the United States leaving the Iran nuclear agreement and trying to force Iranian capitulation on other issues,” said Kori Schake, a former Pentagon official who is now deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“They believe that the U.S. is the provocateur and they worry that the U.S. is reacting so stridently to predictable Iranian actions in order to provide a pretext for a U.S. attack on Iran,” Ms. Schake said.European government officials say they believe that Mr. Trump does not want a major war in the Middle East. But they also believe that his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, does.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
It is a far cry from the debate preceding the 2003 Iraq war, which “split Europe in two,” said Tomas Valasek, the director of Carnegie Europe and a former Slovak ambassador to NATO. “This is a case of all European governments saying to Washington that this is insane, we shouldn’t be here, and it’s your fault that we’re actually talking of war.”
For a supporter of the trans-Atlantic relationship, he added, “the last thing you want to do is unify Europe on an anti-American basis, and that’s what Trump” and his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, have done.
The Europeans are trapped between President Trump and Tehran,trying to keep decent relations with Washington while committed to supporting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Mr. Trump mocked and then abandoned.
Senior European government officials say they believe that Mr. Trump, as he said on Thursday, does not want a major war in the Middle East. But they also believe that Mr. Bolton does. They often cite a New York Times opinion article by Mr. Bolton in 2015, when he was out of office, entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
And European officials are baffled by Mr. Trump’s insistence that he simply wants to force Iran into new negotiations. Why, they say, would Tehran, whose supreme leader regards Washington as duplicitous in any event, concede or even value any deal done with the president who just abandoned a nuclear deal so painfully negotiated with the last American president?
“Why would they trust us now after Trump pulled the plug on the last thing they negotiated with Washington?” Ms. Schake said.
The public position of European officials has been to urge “maximum restraint,” as the European foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, put it. That was a riposte to Washington’s stated policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, including punishing economic sanctions designed to block its international trade, especially in oil, on which the economy depends.Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, speaking this week to a government audience. European leaders wonder why President Trump believes the Iranians can be pressured into new talks.Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Foreign ministers — including Britain’s Jeremy Hunt and Germany’s Heiko Maas — have spoken about the dangers of escalation and accidental war.
“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Mr. Hunt said.
Mr. Maas told German legislators that putting intense pressure on Iran added to the risk of an unintended escalation. “What has happened in recent days — acts of sabotage against ships or pipelines — are indications that these dangers are concrete and real,” he said, referring to reports that four oil vessels were recently attacked at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
While initially skeptical of American warnings of an increased threat to its troops from Iran and its allies, most European officials now accept the American concerns, even as they consider the response exaggerated and provocative.
Iran’s responses to American pressure were predicted by the Pentagon, Centcom and American intelligence agencies, Ms. Schake said.
“So Europeans are exasperated that the U.S. wants them to snap into line for a policy they believe is wrong, and with the consequences that they and the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence all told the Trump administration it would produce.”
No one should be surprised, she and others said, that Iran would use its own leverage — including the restarting of uranium enrichment(still within the limits of the nuclear deal), its militias, proxies and arms transfers — within the region to respond to Washington in an asymmetric way.The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and support vessels transited the Suez Canal last week en route to the Persian Gulf. Reports said four vessels were recently attacked at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.CreditDarion Chanelle Triplett/U.S. Navy, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images“The Iranians may have walked into a Washington hard-liner trap,” said Jeremy Shapiro, a former senior State Department official who is now research director for the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Iran as usual is sending messages and going up the escalator ladder one-eighth of a step at a time, through proxies,” he said. “They’re following the script. Iranian and U.S. hard-liners have a toxic interaction and feed off each other.”
In the first gulf war, in 1990-91, the United States led a broad multinational coalition; in the second, in 2003, the European “coalition of the willing” was essentially reduced to Britain and Poland.
Part of Europe’s skepticism is rooted in that 2003 war, when there were charges of fake or exaggerated intelligence, which continue to haunt the reputations of then-loyal European leaders, such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and former President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland.
“Every European politician who supported George W. Bush was taken out and effectively executed,” Mr. Shapiro said. “Even in the U.K., no way there can be a repeat of that. If the U.S. policy is force, there will be no European support.”
But the Trump administration — which has already strained relations with Europe badly through unilateral moves over trade, climate change and relations with Israel and Russia, let alone Iran — probably doesn’t much care what the Europeans think, Mr. Shapiro said: “No one in the administration is expecting much help from Europe over this.”
Still, he noted, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an effort to come to Brussels and speak to European foreign ministers about Iran and American assessments of enhanced threat. For internal administration debates, European views will be taken into account, Mr. Shapiro said.
“If there is tacit support or even abstention,” he said, “that can be helpful in the internal debates, to say, ‘The allies are with us or against us.’”
European officials consider the debate in Washington over Iran far from over, and they want to do their best, as one official said, to support Mr. Trump in his clear reluctance to get America involved in another messy war in the Middle East.
I was then going to go over once again the articles I have on the King of the North and the King of the South and how they are going to war with each other. I had gone to bed Friday evening, not having finished this article for last weeks News Letter and as I lay in bed it hit me. I had to get back out of bed and go and read this scripture again.
O God, Do Not Keep Silence
Psa 83:1 A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. Keep not silence, O God; do not be speechless, and be not still, O God. For lo, Your enemies roar; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They take shrewd counsel against Your people, and plot against Your hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, so that the name Israel may be remembered no more. For with one heart they have plotted together; they have made a covenant against You— the tents of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarites; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the people of Tyre; and Assyria has joined with them; they have helped the sons of Lot. Selah. Do to them as to Midian, as to Sisera, as to Jabin at the torrent Kishon; who perished at Endor; they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb; yea, all their princes like Zebah, and like Zalmunna; who said, Let us take possession for ourselves of the houses of God. O my God, make them like a wheel; like the stubble before the wind. As the fire burns a forest, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and make them afraid with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O Jehovah. Let them be ashamed and troubled forever; yea, let them be put to shame, and lost; so that men may know that Your name is JEHOVAH, that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Do you see it? Do you understand?
WHO IS ISRAEL? The USA and the UK are Israel, they are the ones who inherited the birthright name to be called Israel. Israel and Judah fought against one another in wars.
Here are some examples from Israel and Judah fight each other
1 Kings 15:1-8 Rehoboam is succeeded by his son Abijah as King of Judah (from c.914 to c.912BC). Throughout his reign, Judah is at war with Israel.
1 Kings 15:9-16 Abijah’s son Asa becomes King of Judah in c.912BC. He burns the idols and cuts down the ‘Asherah poles’. He is constantly at war with Israel.
1 Kings 15:17-34 Jeroboam’s son, Nadab, is killed by Baasha who becomes King of Israel in c.910BC. Baasha fortifies Ramah (c.5 miles / 8 km north of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah) (see Map 50) to protect himself from the people of Judah. King Asa of Judah then forges an alliance with Ben-Hadad, the King of Aram (based at Damascus in Syria), who conquers the northern parts of Israel around Dan and Kinnereth(the Sea of Galilee). So King Baasha of Israel abandons Ramah and retreats north to Tirzah, where he builds a new capital in the hill country of Ephraim north east of Shechem.
The people of Judah occupy the land immediately north of Jerusalem, and use the stone and timber from Ramah to fortify Geba and Mizpah (see Map 54). In fulfilment of Ahijah’s prophesy (see 1 Kings 14:10), Baasha destroys the whole of Jeroboam’s family.
Read Psalm 83 again
They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, so that the name Israel may be remembered no more. For with one heart they have plotted together; they have made a covenant against You— the tents of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarites; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the people of Tyre; and Assyria has joined with them; they have helped the sons of Lot.
The name Israel is the USA and the UK. But this is not the King of the North putting down the King of the South. Are we watching the USA walking into the trap that is told to us in Psalm 83? Is a surprise attack or even a double cross planned here against the USA with the Europeans joining in the attack? There is something not right about this whole USA Iran mess. The Bible tells us it is to the King of the North. The European Union is going to sweep down and crush the King of the South, not the USA. But the only one who is preventing such an attack is the USA and she has pissed off the Europeans and the Chinese and the Iranians.
Is this sabre rattling going to be ongoing until we come to Shavuot 2020?
I had not expected to share this next section with you. I heard it on the Radio while I worked. I had not heard the first part and only got sections of the second part. So when I got home I read the transcript to the whole thing.
I was listening for my own personal growth and desire to be a better husband. With that in mind, I began to think just how confused this world is. Right now in kindergarten classes boys and girls are being taught that they can be whatever sex they feel like just so long as they are not the sex they are born with.
We have transgendered women, That is men who change to become a woman, taking part in female sports events and dominating the event or fracturing the skulls of fully DNA women. Men going on dates with women only to find out they are actually attracted to a man dressed as a woman.
What happened to the men in our society?
John MacArthur in this two-part series answers this question by showing us how it began with the industrial revolution 150 years ago and then by removing God from everything else. Now our society is totally messed up in all areas and while we look at the current problem we fail to go far enough back to see where and why this current mess began. It has not happened in one generation, but it has been over the past 5 or 6 generations.
To correct this problem we must teach our boys to be men and our girls to be women. It requires you, men, to be involved 100% of the time.
As I look at my own marriage which is now coming up to our 41st anniversary, I am pondering the things we did right and the many many things I did wrong. As I see in my young bride’s face ageing and her hair turning white, I am wondering where did the time go. Then, as I feel it in my own body and the many aches and realize the things I can no longer do I see that time is fast running out for both of us. How do I fix the many things I have failed at in our marriage in the time remaining? How do I strengthen those areas I got right?
Being 6 Again
A man asked his wife what she’d like for her birthday. “I’d love to be six again,” she replied.
On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early and off they went to a local theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park: the Death Slide, the Screaming Loop, the Wall of Fear, everything there was! Wow! Five hours later she staggered out of the theme park, her head reeling and her stomach upside down. Right to a McDonald’s they went, where her husband ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a refreshing chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, the latest Star Wars epic, a hot dog, popcorn, soda, and M&Ms. What a fabulous adventure!
Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed. He leaned over and lovingly asked, “Well, dear, what was it like being six again?”
One eye opened. “You idiot, I meant my dress size.”
The moral of this story: Even when the man is listening, he’s still gonna get it wrong.
Before we start this teaching by Mr MacArthur I want to once again remind you and or introduce you to the book Love & Respect by Dr Emerson Eggerichs. It is this book I feel that helped to save my marriage many years ago. It showed me the reason we were having so many down and out drag out fights. And then rehashing all past fights each time we had a new one. This book showed me exactly what was going on and how to stop it. Even if only one person is going to read and do what this book says it can save your marriage.
Women need to be loved by men and this is what we are going to talk about with John MacArthur. But men also need to be respected by women and when they are not then trouble looms. Respect for a man is much greater than love. This is why men are told to love over and over in the bible.
We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts unlovingly when feeling disrespected, and a wife reacts disrespectfully when feeling unloved. We asked 7,000 people the question, “When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?” 83% of the men said “disrespected” and 72% of the women said “unloved.” Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict, and this difference is as different as pink is from blue!
So Your Prayers Will Not Be Hindered
On February 14 of this year, the Daily News, our local newspaper, reported an AP story about Rex and Teresa LeGalley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were married recently, and they had claimed to have built their marriage on a solid foundation, a foundation that guaranteed to them success in marriage. What was that foundation? A 16-page pre-nuptial agreement. In that 16-page agreement they had spelled out in clear detail an understanding of everything that can go wrong in a marriage.
The rules were all laid out: how often they will make love and which gasoline they will buy. Who does the laundry and who does the yard. Some of the rules; nothing is to be left on the floor overnight. Another one, never allow the fuel gauge in the car to go lower than half a tank, and on and on it goes. A solid foundation for a marriage; surely, that will guarantee a great marriage. Typically, people believe that a great marriage is really guaranteed by being in love. If people are just in love, no rules are necessary. If they just love each other, if there’s just the bliss of romance. But it’s so very hard to define that bliss.
Recently there was a survey done among children about love, children looking at the adult world; were asked a series of questions. Let me share some of the answers. They were asked: how do people in love typically behave? Wendy, age 8 said, “Well, when a person gets kissed for the first time, they fall down and they don’t get up for at least an hour.” They were asked another question: why does love happen between certain people? Andrew, age 6 said, “Well, one of the people has freckles so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.” May, age 9 said, “No one is really sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell, and that’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” Then there was Manuel, age 8. He said, “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t to be so painful.”
Then they were asked: what do you think falling in love is like. John, age 9 said, “It’s like an avalanche, and you ought to run for your life.” Glen, age 7 said, “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” On the role of looks in love, the children were asked: how important is your looks when it comes to falling in love? Anita, age 8, said “If you want to be loved by somebody who isn’t already in your family it doesn’t hurt to be beautiful.” Brian, age 7 said, “It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t gotten anybody to marry me yet.” Christine said, “While beauty is skin deep, but how rich you are can last a long time.” Then the children were asked: why do lovers hold hands? Gavin, age 8 said, “They want to make sure their rings don’t fall off, because they paid good money for them.” John, age 9 said, “They’re just practicing for when they might have to walk down the aisle someday and do that holy matrimony thing.”
Then there were some confidential general opinions about love that I thought interesting. David, age 8 said, “Love will find you even if you’re trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” Regina, age 10 said, “I’m not rushing into being in love; I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” Then they were asked to make suggestions about sure fire ways to really fall in love. Dell, age 6 said, “Tell her you own a whole bunch of candy stores.” Camille said, “Shake your hips and hope for the best.” Bart, age 9 said, “One way to do it, to make a person fall in love, is to take her out to eat and make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries always works for me.”
Then they were asked: how can you tell if two adults eating at a restaurant are really in love? Bobby, age 9 said, “See if the man picks up the check.” Bart, age 9 said, “Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people will eat,” and so it goes. How to make love endure, they were asked. Dick, age 7 said, “Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work.” Erin, age 8 said, “Don’t forget your wife’s name.” That will mess up the love. Dave, age 8 said, “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget you never take out the trash.”
Well, pretty hilarious stuff when you ask children to talk about love and to find some meaningful definition. But in all honesty, I’m not quite sure adults would do any better, are you? Figuring out how to make romance endure permanently is a great challenge. In spite of the difficulty of doing that, in spite of the difficulty of making a marriage work, and trying to maybe figure it out in a 16 page pre-nuptial agreement or whatever else. In spite of all the divorces, in spite of all the difficulties, we need to be reminded that 96 percent of all men and 94 percent of all women will say “I do.”
Then, most of them sooner or later in our culture will say “I don’t,” and get divorced. But the fact of the matter is: well over 90 percent of people still pursue marriage. The sad reality is they can’t make it work, and the collapse of marriage and family relationships is certainly predictable in our culture. We shouldn’t really be too surprised about that. I’d like you to turn in your Bible to 2 Timothy for just a moment, and we can see there, at least in part, what makes marriage so difficult.
In 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 1 it says, “But realized this: That in the last days difficult times will come.” Now, the last days began when the Messiah arrived, so we are in the last of the last days, and here is how it describes people in these last days. “Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant.” Now, you could stop right there and understand that people who are self-lovers, money lovers, boastful, and arrogant are going to have a hard time with any sustained relationship aren’t they.
Not only that, “They are revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable.” And by the way, the word unloving is astorgoi in the Greek. It means they lack normal family love. One of the features of last days disintegration is the death of family love. “They’re malicious gossips without self-control, brutal, haters of the good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God.” They are unloving, astorgoi. They lack normal family love. They are so involved in their own self-love and self-fulfillment.
We asked the question, and it’s rightly to be asked: is there any hope for marriage when marriage is assaulted by this kind of last days mentality, when it is assaulted on the outside by the godless immoral culture in which we live, when it is assaulted on the inside by the battle of the sexes, a woman trying to gain the ascendency and dominate a man, and a man trying to suppress and control a woman? Can marriage be rescued in the midst of all of this? Here we are fighting it on the inside, fighting it on the outside, fighting in terms of the very time in which we live when prophecy is coming to pass.
Is there any hope? The answer comes to us over in Ephesians 5, so you can turn to that text. That’s home base for us as we go through this study of God’s plan for marriage and the family, and we are reminding ourselves here in Ephesians chapter 5 that in order for marriage to be what God wants it to be, there are some prerequisites. He starts discussing marriage in verse 22 with the wives, and then down in verse 25 with the husband, and then down in chapter 6 verse 1 the children, and then in verse 2, a little more about the children how they honor their father and mother. In verse 3 as well. And then in verse 4, he talks about fathers, no doubt encompassing parents as well.
So as he gets into the whole idea of marriage and the family in verse 22 and flows all the way down into chapter 6, we begin to see the details. But before the details come, the preliminaries in verses 18 to 21, and we are reminded that verse 18 says we are to be filled with the Spirit. Spirit-filled, to be controlled by the Holy Spirit is the only hope for marriage to be what God wants it to be. God can turn the curse into a blessing as He said in Nehemiah 13:2, and He does that by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers.
Only believers really have the possibility of having this kind of fulfilled relationship in marriage and the family, because only believers possess the Holy Spirit, and can therefore be filled with the Spirit, dominated by the Spirit, controlled by the Spirit. Secondly, in verse 19, there is to be singing, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. This indicates a happy heart,a joyful heart, a rejoicing spirit. Where you have a Spirit filled person, where you have a heart full of joy, you have hope for a good relationship. Then verse 20 saying thanks, “always giving thanks for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God even Father.” No matter what happens, no matter what goes wrong, no matter how you might be misunderstood, mistreated in a marriage, your heart is filled with nothing but thanks even for your trials, because you know they come from God and have a perfecting work.
To be Spirit-filled, to be singing from the depths of your heart with joy, to be saying thanks for everything, and then in verse 21, “To be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” To have an attitude of mutual submission in which you consider others better than yourselves. Those are the spiritual prerequisites for a successful marriage. Spirit-filled, singing, saying thanks and submitting, and we looked at those in some detail a few weeks ago.
Now, after those general, spiritual realities are discussed verse 22, Paul launches right in to the role of wives. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, he himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” We discussed how God has designed this marvelous role of submission to the woman in marriage. And by his design marriage can be fulfilled when that role is assumed with joy.
Now, coming to verse 25, we embark upon the husbands. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.” We’ll stop there for the moment.
A clear principle then is given in verse 25: the husband’s responsibility is to love his wife. It doesn’t say rule her; he already has that tendency, even a tendency to dominate her, to control her, to command her. The curse does that. He is told here: he is to love her. She is submitting to him, he is to express love to her. It is the leadership of care. Yes, he is the head of the woman as God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of the man, as 1 Corinthians 11 says. He is over her; she is to call him lord, as we learned in 1 Peter chapter 3. He is the stronger vessel, as Peter says. It is his responsibility to give direction, and provision, and leadership. But it is in a context of love, always in a context of love.
Colossians chapter 3 and verse 19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.” There is always the danger of the loss of love, and the husband becomes a petty tyrant. When love is not the context of that relationship, a petty tyranny begins to take shape. And so, it is the headship of love, it is the leadership of love, it is the guiding of affection.
Now, I want us to look more closely at what God means in this command because it’s laid out so magnificently. Let’s talk about the manner of this love. Back to verse 25. “Husbands, love your wives.” How? “Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” That’s pretty clear. It is the love of self-sacrifice. It is not the love of domination. You are to love your wives just as Christ also loves the church, and gave Himself up for her. That is the manner of love, the same kind of love that Christ extended to His church. In Acts 20, it says He purchased the church with His own blood. In Romans 5:8, it pictures Him pouring out His love in His death for unworthy sinners. In Romans 8, it is an unchanging, undying love. He loves us with a love from which we can never be separated.
John Chrysostom, the great preacher, said, “Hear the measure of love, if it be needful that thou shouldest give thy life for her or be cut to pieces a thousand times, or endure anything whatever, refuse it not. Christ brought His church to His feet by His great care, not by threats or any such thing. So do thou conduct thyself toward thy wife.” End quote.
I have often heard people and I suppose they have good intentions when they say it, say about their wife, “I love her too much,” to which you can promptly reply, “Do you love her as much as Christ loved the church? If you don’t, then you don’t love her enough.” That’s the standard. This elevation and commitment to a wife was frankly revolutionary in the Roman world, as it is revolutionary in our world today. Kato, a Roman writer, said, “If you are to catch your wife in an act of infidelity, kill her without a trial. But if she catches you, she would not venture to touch you with her finger. She has no right.” Serious double standard. A man had complete control over the female population, both his wife and his daughters, and could take their life at any moment without any legal recourse. When Paul says to husbands, “Love your wives and sacrifice your lives forthem as Christ gave Himself up for His church,” this is frankly revolutionary stuff. It’s revolutionary today where you have an agenda in which a man basically says, “As long as you fulfill what I want out of life, you can be my wife. And when you cease to do that, I’ll get somebody else,” right? That’s how it works today. What God said through Paul was shocking then and it is shocking now.
Women were considered in that culture differently than they are today. They were considered less than human. They were considered as slaves, beasts of burden, in many cases. They had no rights at all. And men fulfilled the curse in fully exercising a vicious kind of rule and domination over women in general. And Paul says you have to exchange that in Christ for a love that is the kind of love with which Christ also loved the church and it caused Him to give Himself up for the church. It is a self-sacrificing love. It is humble, unselfish love.
Peter further defines this love without ever using the word. Look at 1 Peter chapter 3. Men, it’s important for us to understand this and we want to cover all of the related texts. In 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 7, we can all rejoice in verse 6 where Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord, and women are to do the same. But how about verse 7, “You, husbands, likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel since she is a woman, and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.” What a great statement.
Now, there are a number of things here, just to remind you, let me give you three C’s, men, that you need to remember. One, consideration. Live with your wives in an understanding way. This is opposite the cavemen mentality, the macho mentality, the independent mentality, the self-serving mentality. This is understanding, sensitivity, meeting her needs, understanding her feelings, fears, anxieties, concerns, goals, dreams, desires. That’s what he means. Live with your wives in an understanding way. Sometimes it boils down to listening, doesn’t it? Understand her heart because you cannot express your love to her unless it is sacrificing love that meets needs. You have to know what those needs are. Not only consideration, but here’s an old word: chivalry. He says in verse 7, live with her not only in an understanding way but as with a weaker vessel since she is a woman. What does that mean? It simply means you are unequal physically. She is weaker. You don’t say to her, “After you’ve changed the tire I’ll be glad to take you to the store.” You understand that there is a physical weakness in woman. God has so designed her to be under the strength and protection of a man. She needs our strength.
Consideration, live with her according to understanding, chivalry, treat her as a weaker vessel, be her strength on the physical side and then thirdly, communion, communion. Treat her with honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Men and women are unequal physically. They are equal, spiritually. Treat her as a spiritual equal. I love what it says in Song of Solomon where the man says, “This is my beloved,” and the woman says, “This is my beloved, my friend.” A deep sense of intimate equal sharing of spiritual things. Peter gives us some straight forward things, gentlemen, if we are to be the husbands God wants us to be. We must understand our wives, understanding their needs, understanding their feelings, understanding what it is that they long for and desire. We must live with them, providing our strength, strength physically, strength emotionally, strength of character, all of those things could be added. And we must treat them with communion as equals, spiritually.
We are to love our wives. That is a command. You cannot say, “Well, I don’t love her anymore,” without confessing that you’ve sinned, that you’ve sinned. You say, “Well, wait a minute, you don’t know how she’s treated me.” That’s not the issue. Christ loved sinners when they hated Him. Is that not true? And that’s the model, that’s the standard. It doesn’t mean that there’s no emotion there. If you truly love, the emotion is rich, the feelings are thrilling, the friendship is wonderful. The biblical definition really plunges to some immeasurable depths. Let’s go back to Ephesians. When we start to talk about how we are to love in this sacrificial way, it really starts to go down deep. In verse 25 it says, “Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Can I say it simply, gentlemen? The Spirit-filled husband loves his wife not for what she can do for him, but what he can do for her. That’s how Christ’s love worked and works. He loves us not because there’s something in us that attracts Him; He loves us because He determined to love us in spite of our unattractiveness. He loves us with a love that seeks not to tyrannize us, a love that seeks rather to meet our needs, to understand us, to provide strength for us.
It’s not a question of deserving. We didn’t do anything to earn Christ’s love. It wasn’t because we were more desirable than other people that He set His affection on us. We don’t deserve His love. There’s nothing attractive in us. God doesn’t look over the world and pick out the people who somehow draw out His affection. Not at all. God loves us, Christ loves us like I suppose like Hosea loved Gomer. He saw her as a prostitute. He watched her carry out her professional prostitution. He watched her go through many lovers. He watched her stripped naked on a block being auctioned off, a prostitute for the highest bidder in the slave market, and he went into the place and bought her, not because there was anything about her that was clean, and sweet, and gracious, and lovely, but because it was in his heart to love her. And so, God loved prostituted Israel. And so, Christ loves His church, even before they are His church and thus sets His affection upon them. And even after they are His church, and they prostitute themselves to iniquities, He still loves them. It is a love that never dies. It is a love that can’t be killed. It is a love that is utterly and completely self-sacrificing.
I suppose if there’s any one way to characterize this love it would be to say it means death to self. Swallow your pride, swallow your personal desires, swallow your personal ambitions, swallow your fantasies and dreams about how life might have been with someone else, or under some other circumstances, put all of that aside, it is all meaningless. It only boils down to temptation. And love your wives with a love that knows nothing of self, and only of her, and her needs, and her concerns, and her heart, and sacrifice your life on her behalf.
This is the kind of love, of course, that the Spirit of God gives us the capacity to carry and to share. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts. The very love which Christ Himself demonstrated toward us, we partake in that love. The fruit of the Spirit is love. The Spirit produces in us this incredible love. First Peter 1:22 says, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls, or been converted, you now have a sincere love, you have the capacity to fervently love one another from the heart for you have been born again.” This is the kind of love that belongs only to people who have been born again. The world tries to hang on to romantic love as long as it possibly can, and eventually the bells stop ringing and the whistles stop blowing and life gets pretty mundane and pretty routine, and you start getting older, and something outside your own marriage may look better than what’s there at home. And you can’t sustain that love, and you can’t hold on to that love because you don’t have a new nature. But we who have been born again have a sincere love, a fervent love, because of the imperishable seed of the living and abiding Word of God which has granted us new life. God so loved us that He gave His Son. Christ so loved us that He gave His life. We love our wives to the point of self-sacrifice.
Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 13. In 1 Corinthians 13, every characteristic of love listed in that chapter is in a verb form. Love is not static. It is not a substantive in terms of language; it is a verb. Love acts. Love does something. “Love,” verse 4, “is patient, love is kind, is not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails.” All of those are verbs, that’s how love acts. It is patient, it is kind, it is never jealous, it does not brag, it is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly, does not act in a way that cheapens. It never seeks its own, it is not provoked easily, it doesn’t remember wrongs against it. It doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, it rejoices only in the truth. It endures all things, it believes the best, it hopes the best, it endures everything, and never fails. That’s the character of love and that’s how we are to love our wives.
It is always a verb; it is always acting on someone. We have been given the capacity to love like this by the Holy Spirit. Because we have been transformed and born again, the Spirit of God has come into us, we have received the fruit of the Spirit which is love, and we can share that love. The one in whom the love of God is perfected, said John in 1 John 2, is the one who has been born of God. If you are a Christian then, you cannot come along and say, “Well, I’m sorry I really tried to love her but I don’t have the capability.” Yes, you do. That supernatural, spiritual love is there if you choose to exercise it. You say, “What about if I’m mistreated and if I’m continually mistreated and if she’s unfaithful and she leaves me and she goes out and finds another man,” and on and on? In those kinds of circumstances, the Bible has plenty to say and we’ll discuss that as we go along. If it comes to a divorce, and a separation, and an abandonment, obviously you can no longer express that love if she chooses not to be there to receive it. But as long as she’s there, it’s your responsibility to give it.
And it is a love that is not dependent on the object. It’s not dependent on the physical appearance. It’s not depended on muscle tone. I hear so much about that today or someone’s figure or someone’s looks. It’s not dependent on that. It is dependent on the attribute of the lover, the one who loves. And Paul says, as I read to you, “Love does not seek its own,” it never wants revenge, it never wants retaliation. To put it simply, love forgives everything done against it. The loving person doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.
And I’ll tell you, you know what destroys marriages is unforgiveness, unforgiveness. If you continually forgive one another all the time, there’s no record of wrong kept, there’s no accumulating of a wall every time someone will not forgive, another brick goes into the wall that begins to wall of the two people. Nothing is more important in your marriage than forgiveness, instant, spontaneous, complete forgiveness so that it’s never brought up again. And you cannot accumulate the devastating attitudes of bitterness and retaliation and revenge that destroy a relationship.
When a man is Spirit-filled, when he is so filled with joy and gratitude to God for all that Christ has done and when he loves his wife as himself, he will sacrifice himself for her, and thus his authority will be soft, and warm, and affirming, and secure, and she will follow if she is obedient to God’s plan for her.
I suppose, men, we might even ask the question: when was the last time you made a sacrifice for your wife? I’m not talking about something trivial, something significant. Have you crucified self, set something aside to focus on her? I know many men are anxious to be leaders and spiritual giants, and they want to appear as they’re in control of everything and they are the pious leader of the family. But true spirituality really, really is death to self. So, sometimes it’s hard to recognize the real strong spiritual leader in a family because he’s humble, he’s humble, he’s taking up his cross daily, he’s denying self, he’s dying daily, he’s willing to be crucified with Christ, he’s looking not on his own things but on the things of others, esteeming others better than himself. He’s setting aside his desires for her. And it may well be that he appears weak when in fact he’s strong.
I suppose death to self is the real issue. Somewhere along your pilgrimage as a Christian, you need to learn to die to yourself regularly. It saves you from being defensive, revengeful, retaliatory, hostile, accumulating the list of things against you. When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set aside, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, and you count it a privilege to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self. When your good is evil spoken of, when she misunderstands you, when your desires are not interesting to her, when your advice is disregarded, and your opinions are ridiculed, and when you are abused,when you are mistreated, or misunderstood, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, that is dying to self.
When you lovingly, patiently bear any disruption, any irregularity, any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with folly, and waste, and extravagance, and insensitivity and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is dying to self. When you are content with any food, any clothes, any climate, any society, any interruption, or any solitude, that is dying to self. When you never care to refer to yourself in a conversation, or to record and recite your own good works, or to pursue commendation, when you can truly love, to be unrecognized for something good, that is dying to self. When you see someone else prosper, someone else reach goals that you desire, and you can honestly rejoice with that other person; in spirit, feel no envy and not question God while your needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances, that is dying to self. And, gentlemen, when you can receive correction and reproof from your wife, and humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, feel no rebellion, and feel no resentment rising within your heart, that is dying to self.
And that’s what makes you the leader God wants you to be in your home. It’s when self dies. The manner with which we are to love our wives is the manner with which Christ loved the church. First of all, that is a sacrificial love that demands death to self. It’s not easy, especially if you’re a strong person, confident person, capable person, successful person, smart person, wise person, respected person, leader-type. To constantly deny yourself is a great spiritual challenge. But that’s what God calls for. And when you lead in an environment of love and self-denial, you create the atmosphere that a woman longs for.
Secondly, this love is not only a sacrificial love, but it is a purifying love, it is a purifying love. And this is very important for us to understand. Ephesians chapter 5 verse 26: we are to love as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, verse 26, “That He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and blameless.” Now, this is a beautiful picture here. Christ loves His church with a sacrificial love and with a sanctifying love, or a purifying love. He loves His church enough to cleanse her. He loves His church enough to present her without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but holy and blameless.
What does it mean? It means He seeks the church’s purity. He wants the church, can you see the word there in verse 27, in all her glory, endoxon, that is in all gorgeous splendor. Luke 7:25 translates it “gorgeously appareled,” as if she were a queen. Christ-like beauty it’s talking about, the beauty of purity, the splendor of holiness and virtue, without spot, that means stain, without wrinkle, or flaw, rhutis in the Greek, flaw. When Christ takes His church to be His bride, gives His life for His church, and then He seeks the purity of His church. Christ is the purifier of the church, and that is the way we are to be toward our wives. We are to do everything we can to lead them to holiness and to purity. In John 13, Jesus said to Peter, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean, and you are clean but not all of you.” The idea of that is simple and beautiful. In the Orient, the man would take a bath, thoroughly cleansing himself, and he had then only to periodically through the day wash off his feet. We learn from that that, of course, as Christians, when we came to Christ we took a bath, we were bathed. But as we walk through the world in this day of our life, we collect dust on our feet and we need a continual cleansing. And those of us who are in Christ are being purified all the time, cleaned all the time, cleansed all the time, forgiven all the time.
In John 15 and verse 3, “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.” There’s already been a cleansing; there’s already been a time when you’ve been cleaned through the Word, but He even goes on to say there’s a pruning to keep you clean. Here in Ephesians chapter 5 it’s the same thing. Verse 26, “That He might sanctify, or having cleansed her, by the washing of water with the Word.” Gentlemen, if you do anything in the life of your wife, expose her to the Word of God. Bring her under the hearing of the Word of God, that she might be daily, routinely cleansed. That as John 15:2 puts it, the one right before the verse I read, “He takes every branch that bears fruit and purges it that it might bear more fruit.” God wants to purify His own and a husband must desire to purify his wife. How does he do that? By constantly exposing her to the Word of God. You are the prophet in that home, you are the one to bring her under the hearing of the Word of God, to make her clean, to purify her. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy Word is truth.” It’s the Word that cleanses.
First of all, in your own heart and your own mind, you want to be certain that you never lead your wife into any sin. You never expose her to any iniquity. Don’t draw her in to those things which are going to tempt her. Don’t take her to some form of entertainment that’s going to expose her to sinful feelings. Don’t irritate her, or exacerbate, or embitter her so that she falls to the temptation of anger. And you know where the buttons are, don’t you? You can say to her, “Oh, you’re just like your,” fill in the blank, “mother,” and you know what that does. Or you can drag up that same deal out of the past that always elicits the same hostility when you’re ready to really wound. Don’t do that. If you seek her purity, if you seek her holiness, if you seek her to be spotless and without stain and without flaw, to be cleansed and holy and blameless, then you would never lead her into anything that would produce iniquity. You would never expose her to anything that would produce strong temptation.
On the other hand, you would constantly bring the Word of God to her. You can do that in a number of ways. Make sure that you’re here to hear the Word of God and she’s by your side. Make sure that you give her opportunity to be involved in a Bible study or whatever it might be, to spend time she needs reading the Word of God and being challenged by books or whatever, tapes, whatever source. Make sure that you encourage those things in her life. So sad to have men come to me and say, “I don’t know what went wrong but all of a sudden my wife is gone and she ran off with,” whoever. And I often have to say, “Of course you understand that’s not the beginning of something; that’s the end of something. And what it is the end of is a long developed pattern of sin before you finally bolt like that.” What have you been doing to disciple your wife so that that doesn’t happen? That’s spiritual leadership as a joint heir, as one who is equal to you in Christ. What are you doing to strengthen her spiritually? Bring her under the sound preaching and teaching of God’s Word, expose her to great truth out of Scripture, call her to purity, never do anything that could lead her to be tempted. Don’t put her in a position to be tempted. That’s another reason why I’m so concerned about men who send their wives to work in an ungodly world because they are exposed to very strong temptation. They’re in that kind of office environment with all those well-dressed, slick, successful men. They’re dressed for that environment as well, everything looks pretty good and they come home and it’s a little bit different, you know. You’re slopping around in your dirty jeans with your old T-shirt on and she’s poking around in a ragged bathrobe, and it just isn’t the same. Why expose her to the kind of temptation that she will experience in that environment?
You know what the Lord constantly does with His church? He says, “Come out from among them and be ye,” what? “Separate, don’t touch the unclean thing.” He’s always trying to pull the church out of the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” I know the damage those things are going to do because friendship with the world is enmity with God, James says, and the Lord is always trying to pull us out and separate us and not allow our thinking to be influenced by the world. In Romans 12, a very, very straightforward command is given to us with regard to worldliness. “Do not be conformed to this world, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Get out of that system. Get out of that way of thinking. And, gentlemen, you have the responsibility for the protection of your wife’s purity on every front, and the negative side of that is to prevent temptation. The positive side of that is to expose her to the teaching and the instruction of the Word of God.
In Athens, for example, when a bride was taken, she was to be bathed in the waters of the Callirrhoë River, the river was sacred to the people and it symbolized a cleansing from all previous defilement and an entrance into a pure marital life. And that’s why traditionally there’s a white gown worn by a bride the first time she is married. That is to represent purity. Marriage is to be a purifying experience; it takes this woman and separates her from all others unto her husband, a purifying relationship. Her husband then takes on the responsibility or the maintenance of that purity. The love of Christ for His church causes Him to desire to keep His church clean. And your love for your wife should have the same exact desire.
Let me tell you something. It’s pretty challenging to live with a godly woman, pretty challenging. I know how challenging it is. It’s pretty challenging to live with a woman who expects you to live everything you preach. Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it? It’s very challenging to live with somebody who has immensely high expectations for your virtue. And you might say to yourself, “You know, I could have a lot more fun if my wife wasn’t so picky.” But in the end, your heart tells you, “What a privilege, what an honor, what a joy to have someone who has such high standards of spiritual accountability to hold you to, what benediction and blessing that brings on your own life. If a wife can bring that to a husband, surely in the husband’s role he has a greater responsibility to bring it to her.
Second Corinthians 11:2, Paul says, “I’m jealous for you with a godly jealousy, I betrothed you to one husband that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin, but I am afraid lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” Paul says I want you pure and devoted to Christ, and I fear that you’re going to follow off after some other lovers. True love is always concerned with the purity of its object. Christ with His church, Paul with his congregation, a man with his wife. Disciple her, purify her, never expose her to impure influences. Her purity is your responsibility. In fact, it even says in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 35, “If women desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home for it’s improper for a woman to speak in church.” Gentlemen, we are to be the theological teacher, we are to be the spiritual source, we are to be the spiritual repository of truth, for a woman can come that in hearing the truth she may be purified.
If you really love your wife you’re going to hate anything that defiles her. Anything that steals her purity will become to you a terrifying enemy. Any so-called love which drags a partner down to uncleanness is a false love, a false love. I remember reading a few years ago, a man in the ministry saying, “My wife and I read Playboy magazine together. After 18 years we need something to stimulate our relationship.” You expose yourself to that, you expose yourself to gross temptation and sin, and then you expose your wife to that? You have forfeited your responsibility to protect her and to purify her. Any so-called love that makes someone coarse, someone hard rather than refined and pure, is really lust masquerading. Love always seeks the absolute purity of its object and it seeks it sacrificially. Real love is sacrificial and real love is a cleanser, a cleanser. It will use discipline if it needs to. Hebrews chapter 12 verses 5 to 10 tells us how the Lord disciplines whom He loves. And husband, if you’re filled with the Spirit, if your heart is right, your life is right, you’re going to purify your wife, it may mean confrontation, it may mean a certain discipline, but it certainly means you protect her from temptation and you expose her to the purifying influence of God’s truth.
Well, verse 27 and we’ll close. Paul says, “We’re to present our wives just as Christ presents to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.” You want to present your wife in all her pure splendor. That’s her beauty. It’s not her hair and her wardrobe; it’s her purity that is her beauty. No place for degrading her, no place for criticizing her, no place for knocking her. You want to lift her up, for purity is her glory. Her holiness is her beauty. The loving husband, the loving husband is not ashamed of his wife, he never degrades his wife, he never criticizes his wife, he never speaks unkindly of his wife, he never paints her faults large. The loving husband, like Christ, seeks only to present his bride exalted, pure and glorious. Love seeks to honor. So, that’s how we love: sacrificially, cleansing or sanctifying her as well, purifying her, and the love that honors, that lifts her up and says, “Look what God has given me.” That’s the love that thrills the heart of a wife. There’s more to come but that will be for next time. Let’s pray.
Father, we know that it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that this kind of life can be lived. We thank You. We thank You that we can experience it in our own marriages. We also know that it is not easy, it is not simple, it takes real spiritual devotion and dedication and maturity. But it is to this end we pray, God, that You would raise up men who love their wives like Christ loved His church, who have denied themselves, and in that self-denial have the capacity to sacrifice themselves for the woman You’ve given them, who not only love sacrificially but love purifyingly, who love with honor, seeking only to lift up and exalt, never to degrade and bring down. O Lord, what joy, what bliss, what blessing, what fulfillment can be found in such relationship. The curse notwithstanding, the confusion and chaos that the flesh generates inside that the world generates outside. And even these last days, notwithstanding, when normal natural family love is dying, in some cases dead and gone, and men are lovers only of themselves, still in the power of the regenerated life and the indwelling Spirit, marriage can be the grace of life. And two heirs of that grace can share its riches together because of what You’ve done in us through Your grace. Work this work in every life, Lord, that our marriages and our homes might bring to us unending joy and fulfillment, and that another generation in seeing it might be raised to the same joys by the same path of obedience. We commit ourselves afresh to You as husbands and as wives to be obedient as You enable us, in Christ’s name. Amen.
If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy
Tonight we return to our study of God’s pattern for husbands, and we are talking about God’s design for marriage and the family. And I just want to let you all know that we’re not done. We’re going to talk about parenting, we’re going to talk about the responsibility of children, we’re going to have some time even to discuss the subject of singleness and how that works into God’s perfect order. We’ll discuss the issue of divorce and remarriage. And before we’re done, we’re going to cover some very, very important themes. But for now, this is the second message in dealing with the Scripture related to husbands.
Turn in your Bible to Ephesians chapter 5 – Ephesians chapter 5 – and starting in verse 25, we have direct instruction to husbands, and we’ll be looking at that particular text tonight. But to begin with, so much has been spoken and so much has been written about the tragic impact of the feminist movement. It has negatively impacted marriages, it has devastated families, it has destroyed individual women. It has created chaos on the social level, on the moral level. And it is right that we make sure people understand the tragic impact of feminism, and we have done that in this particular study some weeks back. It is clearly a sinful, satanic assault on God’s design for the happiness and prosperity of mankind.
But while we’re talking about what has gone wrong on the distaff side, while we’re talking about what is wrong in the feminist agenda, what is wrong on the female side, we cannot ignore the failure of men – failure to follow and fulfill their responsibility as God has designed it. They, too, have perverted their maleness, perverted the role that God intended for them. There’s no question about that. In fact, when things go wrong on an athletic team, the coach gets fired. He’s the leader and success is his responsibility. When profits drop seriously in a corporation, the president and the CEO are replaced. When things don’t go well in the church, the board seeks a new pastor. That’s the nature of leadership. If things aren’t going well, you take it right to the leader. The leader bears the responsibility, ultimately, for success and for failure – and we see that all throughout our society.
And certainly in the home the buck stops with the husband, with the father, and if all is not well, the greatest measure of responsibility for that may well be in the hands of the leader, the father. By God’s design and by God’s Will, clearly expressed in Scripture, the man is the head of the household, he is the leader, he is the one responsible for the success of the marriage, the success of the family, the wellbeing of everyone involved. So say what we must, and we must say it about the women’s liberation movement, say what we must and will say about feminism and its agenda, say what we will about the satanic assault on the proper role of a woman, we also cannot ignore the issue of male irresponsibility, the issue of male liberation, which perhaps in the end is even more devastating. It would seem to me that feminism would have a much tougher time surviving, let alone gaining ground, in a world where men understood their responsibility clearly.
And we are asking the question today, and it’s a question that all of us ponder: Where are the strong husbands? Where are the loyal, loving, leading husbands and fathers? Where are those men who are the backbone,the solid framework of structure on which you can build a marriage and build a family and build a society? Men have developed their own agendas, their own goals, pursuing their own achievements, living in worlds, for the most part, isolated completely from the family, out of the house, pursuing personal goals, active in their own world of business and passive, largely, in the home. They are in their world aggressive doers, problem solvers, coming up with all kinds of innovative and inventive ways to make money, seeking promotion, prestige, and respect from the strangers in their other world. They are driven to achieve. And in the home, for the most part, they appear passive, indifferent, and irresponsible.
A look at the historical sociological explanation of this would draw us to a quote from one writer who gives us this insight: “A series of historical events, beginning at the Industrial Revolution and traversing the search for American independence in the second great awakening and culminating in Victorianism, has had the net result of disestablishing American men from the true role of fatherhood and moral leadership in our land. The American male, at one time the ever-present guide of the close-knit colonial family, left his family for the factory and the materialistic lure that the Industrial Revolution brought. The most numerous and most active members of the church, the men, who commonly debated theology in the colonial marketplace, were in time to be found arguing business practices in the tavern. The fathers, who labored hard to instill the value of cooperation in their children, in time gave their children the example of unlimited individual competition. Men who once taught their children respect and obedience toward godly authority came to act as though independence were a national virtue. Men who once had an active hand in the education of their sons relegated this responsibility to a public school system dominated by female teachers and feminine learning patterns. Once the leaders of social progress, American men came to look on social reform and mercy movements as women’s work and in time became themselves the objects of that social reform, as in the case of movements such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Over the course of 150 years from the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th century, American men walked out on their God-given responsibility for moral and spiritual leadership in the homes, schools, and Sunday schools of the nation.”
As sociologist Lawrence Fuchs notes: “The groundwork for the 20th century fatherless home was set. By the end of the 19th century, for the first time it was socially and morally acceptable for men not to be involved with their families.”
What you have is a legacy of the Industrial Revolution and what it produced in a materialistic world. What you have is the disappearance of the American husband, the disappearance of the American father. All for initially noble purposes, a better life. But the father left the home and began to cultivate a world completely independent of his own family, a world which his own family knows little of anything about. That has caused subtle and not-so-subtle radical and devastating change.
That kind of change is represented in a rather typical letter from a lady. Listen to this letter. “The kids are in bed. There’s nothing on TV tonight. I asked my husband if he minds if I turn off the tube. He grunts. As I walk to the set, my mind is racing. Maybe – just maybe – tonight we’ll talk, I mean have a conversation that consists of more than my usual question with his mumbled one-word answer or, more accurately, no answer at all – may I interject, something he dare not do at work if he wishes to climb the ladder of success.”
She goes on. “Silence. I live in a world with continuous noise, but between him and me, silence. ‘Please, oh, God, let him open up.’ I initiate once again for the thousandth time, my heart pounds. Oh, how can I word it this time? What can I say that will open the door to just talk? I don’t have to have a deep, meaningful conversation, just something. As I open my mouth,” she goes on, “he gets up and goes to the bedroom. The door closes behind him, the light showing under the door gives way to darkness, and so does my hope. I sit alone on the couch. My heart begins to ache. I’m tired of being alone. Hey, I’m married, I have been for years. Why do I sit alone? The sadness undergoes a change slowly, then with increased fervor, I get mad. I am mad. I’m sick and tired of living with a sissy, a wimp, a coward. You know, he’s afraid of me. Hostile, you say? You better believe it. I’m sick and tired of living in a world of passive men.”
She continues the letter: “My two sons like sports. They’re pretty good. They could be a lot better if their dad would take a little of his precious time and play catch with them. I’m sorry, catch once a year at the church picnic doesn’t quite make the boys into great ball players. But Dad’s too busy, he’s at work, he’s at the health club, he’s riding his four-wheeler, he’s working on the car, he’s playing golf, he’s tired, he’s watching a movie. So who plays catch with the boys? Me. My husband says, ‘You shouldn’t be playing men’s sports.’ So who’s going to do it? He says he will, but he doesn’t. Remember, he’s too busy satisfying himself, doing what he likes. So my poor sons have to be second-rate in sports. They could have been good, really good. My daughter’s a teenager, she likes boys and they notice her. They pay attention to her, she responds. I know what’s coming. I try to talk to her, but it’s not me she wants, it’s Dad. Yeah, Dad. If he’d just hug her, notice her, talk to her – just a little – she wouldn’t need those boys so much. But no. So she turns elsewhere for attention and love and there’s really nothing I can do. A mom isn’t enough. Kids need a father and not just a body, a passive, silent presence.”
And here’s the killer: “My husband’s father did the same number on him. Didn’t hug him, didn’t take him to anything, let alone watch his baseball games, and he hates his father. Now my husband’s doing the same thing.” And she goes on with a few words and ends the letter. She paints a very individual scene but it’s not an uncommon one, is it? It just feels like those are the kind of things that all of us know are experienced by women. And we can explain the problem with men sociologically, historically, and I tried to give you somewhat of an insight into that. We can explain it by virtue of the Industrial Revolution and the fact that we have basically created a world outside the home and we don’t have much choice but to go there and live in that world. We can explain those things sociologically, but that’s really only a force, that’s really only a pressure, that’s really only a venue of temptation; that’s really not the explanation. The explanation for the breakdown of male leadership is the fact that men no longer obey the Word of God.
In fact, throughout our society, most men have no idea what it says and when they find out they’re not interested in following it. There are so many passive and indifferent and weak men in the home who, out there in the world, are strong and aggressive. But when it comes to their families, they have abandoned the responsibility to their wives, they have forfeited their character, they have really forfeited their manhood, and they have abandoned their leadership. Therefore, their marriage forfeits the ideal, so does the family, and what do you expect but chaos?
And where can we start? Where can we pick up the pieces of all of this? I think, for Christian men, we have to start here. The heart of being the man God desires you to be is to get a grip on the responsibility you have for the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of your wife and your family. That’s where you begin. Moral and spiritual leadership as well as emotional and physical security, strength and protection, lifelong provision and support, that is what male headship is all about. It’s not something mystical; it’s something very practical. And if we’re ever going to get back men in leadership, it’s going to begin in the home. It’s going to begin when men take their responsibility given by God, Christian men, for the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of their wives and families. Far more important than that you have some kind of success in your career – even with a view toward having a good testimony – far more important that you express the unique role that you have as a man, first of all, in your own home.
Now, that takes us back to our text. When we talk about men who are Spirit filled, when we talk men who are godly men in a home, we begin in verse 25 with these words: “Husbands, love your wives.” That’s the beginning. That’s the starting point. Verse 28: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.” Colossians chapter 3 adds, in verse 19: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.” Love them with no mingling of disappointment, frustration, or embitterment. The key word here is “love.” It is used six times from verse 25 to 33. And with that first statement comes man’s responsibility in his world: love your wives.
Now, if that’s all it said, we might fly off into a thousand directions and try to figure out what that means. I watch our society write endless songs about what love is as they poke around and try to figure it out. It always comes out as a feeling. It usually comes out as a feeling that creates irrational behavior. It comes and goes, rises and falls, ebbs and flows. They struggle with a million lyrics to try to figure out what love is. We don’t need to struggle, it’s right here. “Husbands, love your wives,” and then the apostle Paul makes very clear the manner of that love – please notice, verse 25 – “as Christ also loved the church.”
It is Christ’s love for the church that is the model of the husband’s love for his wife. Christ’s love for the church sets the model in place. Over in 1 Peter, if I might remind you, 1 Peter 3:7, look at it for just a moment because I want to incorporate this text because I think it’s a rich one. Here you have a command to husbands, verse 7, 1 Peter 3: “You husbands likewise live with your wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman, and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers may not be hindered.” This spells out a dimension of that love that’s very important. Your love means to live with your wife in an understanding way. Understand her; that is, to be considerate, not harsh domination – gracious, respectful, understanding. You are to understand God’s plan and purpose for marriage. You are to understand your wife’s needs, desires, longings, and frustrations. You are to understand her strengths and her weaknesses. And you are to understand how to please God by honoring her as a fellow Christian, a fellow heir of the grace of life. And when you do that, there’s a great reward. Your prayers are not hindered.
So this love involves understanding, understanding everything about her, treating her with consideration, bringing strength to her weakness, providing leadership. But getting more specific about that love, we go back to Ephesians chapter 5, and Paul says, first of all, it is a sacrificial love. Look at it in verse 25: “It is as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” It is a love that knows no tyranny, only sacrifice. It is a love that does not exalt itself but humbles itself. As evidenced by the great self-giving of Jesus Christ for unworthy sinners who were His chosen bride, the standard is thus set for this love from husbands. Even if it is undeserved, it is given lavishly and sacrificially.
Second, we saw last time it is a purifying love. Verses 26 and 27: “Christ loved the church enough to sanctify her” – verse 26 – “to cleanse her by the washing of water with the Word that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.” You are to love your wife in such a way that you work toward her godliness. It is a love that sacrifices; it is a love that purifies. In other words, it’s a spiritually uplifting love, it’s a spiritually beneficial love. It has the effect of making her more holy, of leading her to the place where you allow her full beauty to shine.
The beauty of a woman is not external; the beauty of a woman is internal. It is her glory that shines through her, the work of God in her heart. Man looks on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart. The Bible says, “Women, don’t be concerned about adorning the outside, but adorn your heart.” Husband, it is your responsibility to sacrifice yourself to meet her needs. It is your responsibility to lead her to ever-increasing virtue. Your goal is to give your life on her behalf and to lead her to godliness and virtue, that she should be holy and blameless, even as Christ endeavors to lead His church.
Thirdly, it is a caring love. It is a caring love. Verse 28: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.” Now, what does it mean to love your wife as your own body? Well, it’s just a very simple concept. We take care of our own body, we care for it. If it’s sick, we put it down in bed so it can get better. If it’s hungry, we feed it. If it’s thirsty, we give it to drink. If it’s disheveled, we clean it. We take care of it – feeding, clothing, comforting, whatever. And that’s the essence of this. The issue here is to give attention to meeting needs, to being concerned to fulfill each requirement with great alacrity, great speed, and great devotion. We are called to treat our wives with the same preoccupation we give to ourselves.
Now, notice down in verse 31 – compare this verse, very important. “For this cause” – this is quoting, obviously, from back in Genesis chapter 2 – “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” I just bring that in at this point because I want to make a single point out of that. When you got married, you became one. You became one. So in a sense, you are one body. And back, then, in verse 28 when he says, “You ought to love your wives as your own bodies,” you want to remember this, that when you got married, you became one body. And if her needs are met, your needs are met. If her needs are not met, believe me, your needs won’t be met, either. You give her the same care you give yourself. You take care of her as if she were you because you are one in an indivisible oneness. Is that not true? When you were married, you became one flesh. If you want real happiness in your marriage, care for your wife and all her needs with the same devotion you give to yourself because you are inseparable.
We have a little sign that hangs in the kitchen – I don’t know who gave it to us – it’s a good reminder. It says, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And I’ll tell you something right now, that goes for you. If you want to be a happy husband, you have a happy wife, right? If you want to be a fulfilled husband, you have a fulfilled wife. You want real happiness in your marriage, then treat her as you treat yourself. You could even embellish that a little bit and say this: Since she is a Christian, remember that she’s not just one with you, but she’s one with Christ as well. Careful how you treat her.
Remember Matthew 18? One of these little ones who believe in Me, if you lead him into sin, lead her into sin, you’d be better off – a millstone hanged around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea. If you cause your spouse to sin, you’d be better off dead. You lead them to holiness. In that same 18th chapter, Jesus says, “You are to receive these little ones in My name and you’re receiving Me.” You’re not to look down on them, treat them with disrespect. You’re to guard them and protect them, that’s even a compounding responsibility. In marriage, she is one with you, men. In salvation, she is one with Christ. Therefore, you are bound together with Him. He comes to you through her. How you treat her is how you treat Him. If you don’t love your wife in a caring way, you don’t know how to take care of yourself appropriately because you’re going to be miserable. You’re going to be miserable.
So in verse 28, we are to love our wives as our own bodies. And that’s exactly how Christ loves His church – the end of verse 29 – “as Christ also does the church.” Verse 29 says, “No one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, and she is your flesh, you are one flesh, and you must take care of her as yourself.” That’s how Christ cares for His church. He meets the church’s needs. In John 14 verses 13 and 14 we read this: “Whatever you ask in My name” – Jesus said – “that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” That’s the Lord Jesus saying to His people, “I will meet your needs.” It’s repeated again in different words – Philippians 4:19 – “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God will meet all your needs through Jesus Christ. God says, “Seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added.” He meets all our needs, not all our wants, but all our needs.
Men, we are the providers, we are the protectors, we are the preservers, we are the resources for our wives and our families, and that is our responsibility. And when their needs are met and we care for them as we would care for ourselves, then we have the kind of relationship that God wants us to have.
Back to Ephesians chapter 5 again, verse 29, which we commented briefly on. I just want to be a little more specific. Paul says, “No one ever hated his own flesh,” and it is not normal to hate yourself. You take care of yourself, that’s normal. You take care of yourself with great concern and great care. And that is precisely the way you are to take care of your spouse. Nobody hates his own flesh; you nourish it, you cherish it, just as Christ also does the church.
So if you want your marriage to be blessed, you take care of your wife. When you know she has a need, you seek to meet it. When you know she has a secret longing in her heart and it’s certainly reasonable and will add to her virtue and her wellbeing and her happiness and her ability to fulfill her role, you do everything you can to meet that need. Something is seriously wrong when a man sees his wife as a cook and a clothes washer and a babysitter and a sex partner and that’s it. Something is seriously wrong when he puts her in the place of the breadwinner. She is a God-given treasure to be cared for, to be cherished, to be nourished, to be your loving helper, to fulfill your need for companionship, for the fulfillment of physical desire, for the fulfillment of love and partnership and friendship and to produce children in a home.
Notice those two terms, “nourish” and “cherish” in verse 29. Nourish means to feed, ektreph. It’s a word used primarily of bringing up children. It’s used over in chapter 6 verse 4 where it says, “Bring them up.” We think about bringing up our children, we think about nourishing, feeding, developing, nurturing our children, but do we think of that with regard to our wives? I think most men just disregard that responsibility, see the wife as responsible for the kids, and go charging out into their own world. We are responsible to nourish her so she, in her marvelous role, can effectively nourish the children as she has been given opportunity.
Then the word “cherish” literally means – beautiful word – to warm with body heat. It’s sometimes translated “to melt.” It means to soften. It is used of a mother bird who just pulls in all the little baby birds and keeps them all cozy and warm in her feathers. It means to provide a nest, warmth, security, to soften her to a meek and quiet spirit, to support her, to care for her. I tell you, pretty challenging in the world in which we live today when women are raised to be tough and independent. It takes a great man, it takes a tremendous amount of spiritual leadership to soften a woman, to warm a woman, to melt her down to a meek and quiet spirit,to provide a nest and security and strength and warmth.
She is not the nourisher. She is not the provider. You’re to do that. That is the man’s responsibility. And if a man doesn’t do that, according to 1 Timothy 5:8, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture, the man is always the provider as Christ is the provider for His church. That’s key. We provide nothing. The church provides nothing. We just receive Christ’s provision, protection, preservation, His care, His nourishing, His cherishing. It comes to us. In a sense, it’s very one-sided. Men, we are to provide that in our homes. You say, “Well, I’d have to sacrifice my career to do that.” Then sacrifice it. Maybe you can’t climb as fast and as far up the ladder as you would like, but in the end you’re going to be so richly rewarded in the bliss of that home that it will be far worth every sacrifice. Christ provides everything for us, to nurture us, to warm us, to provide the security for us.
Thinking back, for a moment, to the curse in Genesis 3. The woman was cursed, pain in childbearing. The man was cursed. Remember how he was cursed? He was going to be cursed in making a living. Remember that? Up to that point, you know, they could eat anything, didn’t have to work, there was no tilling of the ground, there was no harvesting of anything, you just went around and picked it up. There was no need to sow it,it was just recycling itself in that pristine, pre-fall world, and there was an abundance of everything, and all you had to do was just reach up and take it. And then what happened? Man sinned and the ground was cursed,and he was going to have to provide for his wife and his family by hard labor.
That was the curse, that the ground would not bring forth its produce readily or easily. He was going to have to work very hard to provide. And the woman was going to have pain in her childbearing, and she was going to have to battle her desire to lead and to be in charge, and submit herself. How fascinating that is to me because the curse was a direct hit on the specific responsibility that God gave men and women. Man’s specific responsibility was as a provider, and that’s right where the curse hit him, and that provision is difficult to obtain. And a woman, her responsibility, have children and submit, and she was cursed right in that very area through the pain of childbearing and the struggle of submission. It’s not easy, and I’m not saying it is easy. In fact, it’s so difficult, I think it can only be fulfilled in the power of the Spirit of God and a transformed life.
So the husband is to care for the wife as Christ cares for the church – verse 30 – “because we are members of His body.” He does it because we are one with Him. We need to do it with our wives because we are one with them. That’s the point. We are His body and she is our body. As Christ who is one body with His church cares for His church, so the husband who is one body with his wife cares for his wife. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:17 says. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. And He cares for us because we are one with Him. And that’s the picture of how we are to care for our wives because they are one with us. In fact, people who violate this – men, let me tell you: When you don’t do this, you really are committing a kind of suicide because once married to that woman, there is a one-flesh relationship. And if that marriage is destroyed, something in you is destroyed. It is forgivable; it is not repairable. The grace of God is amazing. It brings full forgiveness for our failures, but you can’t necessarily put the pieces back together. The scars will always be there.
So the model for loving your wives, gentlemen, is this: You are to love them as Christ loved the church. How does He love His church? By giving His life for it, by pursuing its holiness, and by caring for it so that all of its needs are met. It is a sacrificial, a purifying, and a caring love.
Fourthly, it is an unbreakable love. It is an unbreakable love. Verse 31, “For this cause” – and here is a quote from Genesis 2:24, also quoted by our Lord in Matthew 19:5. Here is the quote from Genesis – this was God’s original design before the fall – “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a coming together of a man and a woman, leaving their family, creating a new union with a unique identity all its own that is called a one-flesh relationship. Now, what does it mean, “one flesh”? The primary reference is to the sexual union because the sexual union is what yields the most obvious evidence that the two have become one, which is the birth of the child that carries the genetics of both parents. That child is the true emblem of the oneness of a physical union.
Back in 1 Corinthians 6:16, Paul says, “Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her?” Oh, so that oneness is when you join sexually – that’s right – then it says in that same verse,1 Corinthians 6:16, “For He says the two will become one flesh.” You become one flesh in the physical relationship. That’s where you share life. When the life of the man is shared with the life of the woman, in the intimacy of that physical relationship, that is the one flesh. Even a man who is joined to a harlot becomes one flesh with her. It’s not some mystical marital union, it’s not some spiritual, emotional union. It is the union that is on the physical level, first of all. It goes beyond that. It engulfs everything about our life. Emotions certainly come into play. It becomes unique and personal, but it starts with that physical relationship.
So in Ephesians again, God’s design as indicated back in Genesis is that a man and a woman leave their respective families and come together, clinging to each other, and enter into a physical union. They become one flesh and they cling to each other. This oneness is intimate, unique, and personal. This oneness is special. Individual identity is lost. Did you get that? Individual identity is lost. You become, really, a new person, comingled with your life partner. “And what God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” That’s why God hates divorce because divorce severs that indissoluble, indivisible relationship.
Would you notice the word “leave” in verse 31? It’s a very intense word. It’s another one of those verbs with a preposition on the front of it, kataleip. It means to leave behind, it means to abandon – literally, leave. And, of course, we have to give advice about that lots of times to young couples who have started to cleave but forgotten to leave, which is very helpful. The word “cleave,” proskolla, it means to be glued to. You come together to stick, oneness of physical union which incorporates oneness of mind, oneness of purpose, oneness of heart, oneness of emotion. And you enter into this most private, magnificent, intimate, personal relationship.
It even appalls me, all these books that are written about how to express your physical relationship. Certainly somewhere along the line enough information has circulated, and if it hasn’t, you can certainly find out rather quickly what ought to happen in the physical dimension. And when you sort of blatantly parade all of this stuff, you cheapen it. The magnificent beauty of intimacy belongs in the marriage bed. Hebrews 13:2 is so, so beautiful – Hebrews 13:4, rather. It says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” You can also translate that in an indicative mode: The marriage bed is undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.
There’s something wonderful about that marriage bed, about that union, something personal and intimate and private and magnificent as two people come together in a relationship that in and of itself is God’s perfect and private and special union that they share. It is an unbreakable union. That’s why the Bible condemns divorce. That’s why in Malachi, it says, “God spoke and said, ‘I hate divorce.’” Malachi 2:16, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says He hates divorce.” God hates anything that breaks up this union. And what is it that assaults this union? Sin. Sure.
You say, “Well I want to keep my marriage together but, boy, he’s a bear to live with, this guy.” Or a man might say, “I’d like to keep this marriage together, too, but I don’t know if I can live with this woman.” I’ve actually had men say to me – and not just a few but quite a number, “What would happen if I divorced my wife without Biblical cause?” Well my answer has always been, “I don’t know. I know you’re in direct violation of Scripture and I know God will not bless that. And there’s a reasonable assumption that God will chasten that and you may come under serious chastening from God.” And I’ve had men say to me on not a few occasions,“Okay, I’ll take it. I would much rather put myself under the chastening of God than live with this woman.” Really. Say that.
You know what that indicates to me? They have reached a point where they are either so sinful in their own lives that they themselves are at fault and have alienated that woman or perhaps more likely they have ceased to understand how to forgive. You know what happens? It doesn’t take a lot of stuff to get to that point, it just takes a continual pattern of unforgiveness and it just accumulates. It just accumulates.
How many times does the Lord forgive you? All day, every day? And His love never changes and His love never wanes and you’re still His chosen bride and He’s still going to bring you to glory? How many times are we to forgive each other? Peter asked that, didn’t he, in Matthew 18? “How many times shall I forgive? Seven times?” Jesus said seventy times seven. Seventy times seven.
So you love your wife with a sacrificial love. You love your wife with a purifying love. You love your wife with a caring love that nourishes her and cherishes her. You love your wife with an unbreakable love that just keeps forgiving and forgiving and forgiving and forgiving. Can a man cast off his wife? I can answer that question with a question. Can Christ cast off His church?
And at this point, it would be appropriate to give a warning to you young people: Pick carefully, it’s for life. Pick wisely, it’s for life. You say, “Oh, boy, it makes me nervous.” It ought to make you nervous. You say, “Well what’s the key to picking wisely?” Simple. Be filled with the Spirit, walking in a godly way so that your mind is tuned to the will of God. That’s why when young couples in for counseling here, the first thing we ask them when they want to get married, they come in for premarital counseling, is, “Are you involved with each other physically?” Because if they are, they’re in a sinful condition, and people in a sinful condition can’t discern the will of God, right? So you have to separate and live a godly life so that you can understand a mind of the Spirit and the will of God can be expressed through your life, then you’ll know. I always tell young people, “Don’t worry about finding the right person; worry about being the right person.” And if you’re the right person, then the person God has for you will recognize you.
Now, what do you look for? Let me give you some suggestions. This is for those of you who aren’t married and you know it’s for life. First of all, find out someone’s reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is better than riches.” Find out someone’s reputation. A good name is better than riches. Try to avoid a reclamation project and wait until the Spirit of God has done that. Hey, we’re all reclamation projects, aren’t we? But let the Spirit of God do that before you jump in at square one. The idea of marriage is not so that you can lead her to Christ. I think that’s what I’m saying.
Secondly, “Favor is deceitful, beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Find someone who worships the Lord from the heart. Look for reputation, look for a worshiping heart, listen to what they say because out of the abundance of the heart – what? – the mouth speaks. What’s the conversation like? You can check out companions. What kind of people do they run with? Shallow people? Deep people? Godly people? First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Evil company corrupts good morals.” And check out their wardrobe. You say, “Really?” Absolutely. Check out their wardrobe because godly women are not so much concerned with the outward adornment of the body as they are the inward adornment. And when they do call attention to themselves, they call attention to their virtue. Well, enough said at that point.
The manner of love in our passage here, sacrificial, purifying, caring, and unbreakable. Let’s talk about the motive. What should motivate us to love like this? Verse 32: “This mystery is great but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” Why should I love this woman like this? Why should I love her sacrificially? Why should I love her to the degree that I lead her to holiness, that I care for her? Why should I commit myself to an unbreakable love which means I relentlessly forgive her and never become embittered? Motive? Because of the sacredness of marriage. That’s the issue. Because of the sacredness of marriage. Marriage isn’t just marriage; marriage is a mystery. A marriage among Christians is a picture of Christ and His church. This mystery is great. And you need to treat marriage with reverence and awe because marriage is a sacred symbol of Christ’s relationship to His church.
And then one final word. Verse 33 just reviews everything. “Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself, and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.”
It isn’t that tough to understand this. But you can’t fulfill it apart from being Spirit filled. You have to go all the way back, don’t you, back all the way in this text to verse 18, filled with the Spirit, a heart filled with song and joy, thankful for everything, an attitude of submission. You see, where the Spirit of God is in control, this can come to pass. The commitment of two people to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, filled with worship and thanks, devoted to submitting to each other in humble love – I’ll tell you, that’ll bring romance. That’ll put springtime in a marriage and it’ll keep it there.
A lot of marriages break up after the kids go. Have you noticed? A lot of them. And I suppose I used to wonder what marriage would be like when you weren’t chasing them all around, when your whole life wasn’t seemingly focused on them. You know, in those early years, control is the issue. Just get those kids in control. Obedience, line them up, help them to learn how to think and how to act and how to react and how to submit and how to obey, and you work hard on that. Then they go off to school, and then it’s homework for years and years. And you’re focused on the homework, every night, papers, papers, and, “Daddy, could you please explain this to me?” “Could you help me draw this?” “I don’t understand this.” Or “Daddy, I got a bad grade on this. Could you talk to the teacher? I don’t understand.” And your life is just focused all over the place.
And then it’s Little League, and then it’s soccer games, or whatever, and then it’s football games and baseball games and I tell you – and piano lessons and then you have to go to some place to buy clothes for all of these kids. And that goes on and on. You know, your whole life is focused on that. And then they get to the age where they have friends, and they all come over to your house. And now you’ve got to sort all those friends out and say, “You know, I don’t think this person is a really good influence.” The energy expended in just coordinating this, to say nothing of the taxi service that goes with it, your whole life is just focused on all these kids.
And you – then they get to the age where they start to think about serious relationships, and then it really gets serious. I’ll tell you. Now, I pretty well had my boys wired by the time they got to the place where they were going to choose. And you know how they knew what to choose? Well, they loved their mother and she was kind of the standard. But the girls, I was protective. I confess. You know, I mean it’s a – you spend your whole life protecting your daughter. Right? Just protect her, protect her, and then one day she’s going to marry some guy and you just say, “Here.” And not only did I have to say that, I had to pronounce them man and wife. I mean, that’s a pretty traumatic moment.
And then your life is just focused on this, and you want to get them to the right place and get them to the right partner, and you want to help them as they go through that process of sorting all of that out and lead them into the right study and get them through school and you’re – and then all of a sudden, they’re gone. And I’ve seen some pretty apparently noble servants of the Lord, even in ministry, have their whole life collapse in front of them at that point. When the truth of the matter is, you should be on your second honeymoon when they’re gone. You should look at each other and say, “Boy, we’ve waited a long time for this.”
I have to tell you, you know, it’s the best of times at our house. You know what? We – it was okay when they went, but you know what’s happened? They’re back. Only they’re back with little tiny kids and we’re saying,in the famous words of Yogi Berra, “This is déjà vu all over again.” You know?
You spend a tremendous amount of time and energy and in our complex world, it’s so diverse that there’s a certain disconnection in all these activities of our kids. We take them here, we take them there, we take them here, we take them there. It’s not all happening in the cohesion of that family, is it? Father’s over here, one kid’s over here, another one’s over here, another one’s over here, and it’s all scattered. Do we have breakfast together? Maybe. Do we have dinner together? Hardly. Splattered all over every place. All that tremendous diverse energy, and when that all is gone, a husband and a wife have to face each other and see if there’s anything there. And it can be the best of times. That’s the way God designed it.
If you haven’t kept the list of the offenses, if there is no such list, if you are as good at forgetting sins and failures as God is at forgetting yours, if you have cultivated a sacrificial love to that wife, a purifying love, a caring love and an unbreakable love, you will be rewarded, she will be rewarded. It can be and should be the best of times.
It’s sad when it kind of declines, isn’t it? I read a Saturday Evening Post old article called, “The Seven Stages of the Married Cold.”
Stage one, first year of marriage: “Sugar, I’m so worried about you. You’ve got a sniffle and there’s no telling about such things. I’m going to put you in the hospital today for a general checkup and some rest. I know the food’s lousy at the hospital, so I’ll have your meals catered. And I’ve already arranged it with the floor superintendent.”
Second year: “Listen, darling, I just don’t like the sound of that cough and I’ve called Doc Miller to rush over here. Now, you go to bed like a good girl. Please?”
Third year: “Maybe you better lie down, honey. Nothing like a little rest when you don’t feel well. Have you got any soup?”
Fourth year: “Look, dear, be sensible. After you feed the kids and get the dishes washed, you better lay down.”
Fifth year: “Why don’t you get yourself a couple of aspirin?”
Sixth year: “For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing. You’re going to give me pneumonia.”
Seventh year: “You know, if you’d just gargle, you wouldn’t be sitting around barking like a seal.”
Well, does it have to be that way? Not in God’s plan. Billy Sunday said, “Gentlemen, try praising your wife even if it frightens her.”
Worthiness is not the issue. It’s not the issue with Christ. He’s tender, sensitive – forgiving toward us. We’re speaking about a divine ideal and it’s not too late for us, no matter what may be the condition of our marriages. And, gentlemen, it’s going to start with you when you love your wife as Christ loved His church and loves His church. That’s where to rebuild the whole thing. And that’s going to happen when you begin to come back to where you need to be in your own spiritual life. Get the garbage out of your life, get back into the Word of God, get back into living an obedient life. Get your focus where it belongs, on Christ, and then on that little family that God has given you as a piece of His kingdom to disciple. And put your whole heart there and watch how God rewards that. Let’s pray.
Father, it’s so wonderful to be taken back to the Word and have a foundation to build on. And, Lord, I know there are many who may feel a certain sadness because we’ve been speaking about a divine ideal and many perhaps have already lost that. Some have come from divorces and messed-up marriages and some are struggling right now. And, Lord, we know it’s not an issue of forgiveness. You forgive, we understand that. You forgive. And sometimes there are men who have tried to do what’s right and they thought they married a Christian but they didn’t. And it was Christ against Satan in the home. Sometimes it was a wife who just decided to live iniquitous lifestyle, who engaged in sin and shattered the best attempts of husband’s. Whatever. We know You forgive – that’s not the issue. The only issue is, Lord, that wherever we are right now, we get back to being the men You want us to be. Forget the past, begin now. Lord, we ask for Your grace, Your strength, Your wisdom, that we might be what You want us to be as husbands – and wives. And as husbands, we might love our wives and the wives respect their husbands.
Oh, Lord, give us homes filled with joy because we have followed the pattern laid out for us in Your power and by Your grace for the glory of our Savior. Amen.