Monday, September 30, 2013

Big Talk vs. THE WORD OF GOD - By C. R. Stam

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." - The Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 2:4,5

I asked a friend, recently, for his appraisal of a certain theological magazine in which I could somehow not get interested. "To me," he replied, "it always sounds like a lot of high-sounding talk about nothing very much."

This, sad to say, is true of much that is being written by those who are still holding out against "the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery." Unable to answer the plain Word of God, they must offer fine-spun theories in abstruse language, quoting many theological "authorities" to cover up their mediocrity as teachers of the Word.

The sacred secret which the glorified Lord committed to Paul to dispense to us is not only something which had been "kept secret since the world began"; it is also the secret, the key to God's eternal purpose and to all His good news to man down through the ages. This is why it is called "the secret of His will" (Eph. 1:9) and "the secret of the gospel" (Eph. 6:19).

Through the revelation of this mystery, or secret, we can now understand God's dealings with men of past ages, from Adam to the believers at Pentecost. We can see how it was that God required blood sacrifices from Abel and others "for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins." We can see why He required water baptism of Peter's Pentecostal hearers "for the remission of [their] sins," even though it is obvious that oceans of water cannot wash away one sin.

And as we see this, the door is opened for us to the most blessed truths of all: those of our completeness in Christ, our "one baptism" into "one body," our position in the heavenlies in Christ and our blessings there with all spiritual blessings.

In Paul's "preaching of the cross," and all that was accomplished there, we have the grand solution to problems that must remain unsolved by those who suppose that the teachings of Christ on earth, or those of Peter at Pentecost, belonged to God's message and program for today.

An understanding of the great Pauline mystery, therefore, must necessarily contribute vastly to our understanding of the Bible as a whole, reconciling apparent contradictions and simplifying truths which otherwise would be difficult to understand.

We say this because the opponents of Pauline truth so often warn their hearers and readers against what they call our "over-simplification" of Bible truth.

When we point out how John the Baptist and the twelve were sent to baptize (John 1:33; Matt. 28:19) while Paul was not (1 Cor. 1:17) they call it an "over-simplification" of the facts.

When we show from Scripture how Peter proclaimed "the gospel of the circumcision," while Paul proclaimed "the gospel of the uncircumcision" (Gal. 2:7) they call it an "over-simplification" of the facts.

When we show how the twelve apostles represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28) while Paul represented the Body of Christ (Col. 1:24,25) they cry "Over-simplification!"

And when we demonstrate how our Lord on earth proclaimed "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 4:23) while to Paul was committed "the preaching of the cross" (Acts 20:24) they again cry: "Over-simplification"'

The reason?

Because they are finding it difficult - yea, impossible - to make their varied and conflicting positions clear, even to themselves. Unable to refute the Word of God, yet unwilling to bow to it, they meet the clearest, simplest arguments with the reply: "That's an over-simplification"

Is it not a fact that one who does understand his subject can generally present it with directness and simplicity, while another who opposes a clear truth has to try to build an argument where there is none, and soon "darkens counsel by words without knowledge." Carnal men may be pleased with such a display of polemic ingenuity, but truly spiritual men are not. Peter, by the Spirit, wrote of false teachers and their opposition to the truth:

"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, THEY ALLURE THROUGH THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH" (2 Pet. 2:18).

By contrast, see what Paul says of his own preaching:

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: NOT WITH WISDOM OF WORDS, LEST THE CROSS OF CHRIST SHOULD BE MADE OF NONE EFFECT.




"Which things also we speak, NOT IN THE WORDS WHICH MAN'S WISDOM TEACHETH, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Cor. 2:13).

Doubtless there will always be those who glory in the preacher whose discourses they cannot understand. We once heard an amillenarian trying to explain away the truth about the millennium. His arguments were ambiguous; he drew hair-line distinctions; his phraseology was "heavy." Yet after be had brought his address to a close his hearers stood around exclaiming what a master he was in theology. One said: "He is deep"; another; "He was away over my head." All agreed that he was an intellectual and theological giant and had certainly proved that there would be no millennium. Yet when we inquired of several of them as to which of his arguments had convinced them, not one could answer! A great theologian, but they had not understood him and so he had impressed them, but had left them without spiritual food or light.

True, Peter tells us that Paul's writings contain some truths which are "hard to be understood," but this is not meant in the sense that they are ambiguous or difficult to reconcile, but rather that they are infinitely sacred. It is, of course, difficult for us, all still so carnal by nature, to take in all the hallowed truths associated with our oneness with Christ, our heavenly position and blessings, etc. But Paul himself says of this:

"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [mature]: yet NOT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD, NOR OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD, THAT COME TO NOUGHT" (1 Cor. 2:6).

A young scientist, who constantly surpassed his colleagues in offering clear solutions to scientific problems, was once asked how he had acquired this gift. His answer: "When I have a problem I cannot solve, I go straight to the men at the top. They use the simplest language." Naturally! They had the clearest grasp of the problem.

In much of our current theological literature, one wades through seas of words to find a small ray of light. Technical phraseology, appraisals of schools of thought, frequent citing of "authorities," etc., often give an impression of great learning, when actually the author has little to contribute to the understanding of the Word. This is one reason for the appearance of an increasing number of reprints of older theological writings. These writers of the past few generations may not have grasped the details of the mystery proclaimed by Paul, but generally speaking they taught what they did understand and did not get into a religious "razzle-dazzle" by opposing the truth. Rather they sought for further light.

As Dr. Scofield wrote at the turn of the century: 'The last fifty years have witnessed an intensity and breadth of interest in Bible study unprecedented in the history of the Christian Church. Never before have so many reverent, learned, and spiritual men brought to the study of the Scriptures minds so free from merely controversial motive." (Introduction to the Scofield Reference Bible).

This writer, for one, has received far more help and light from the theological writings of the past few generations than from those of the present. The spiritual giants of the past few generations have in general been replaced by men of much smaller stature - smaller because, in the measure that they oppose the truth and seek to build up an argument where there is none, they shut out light and deny themselves the power and blessing of the Spirit in their ministry.

It does not pay to set one's self up against the truth of God's Word, for "God is not mocked"; "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." Thus the Apostle says:

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, LET HIM BECOME A FOOL, THAT HE MAY BE WISE.

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God..." (1 Cor. 3:18-19).

It is ever true that "The entrance of Thy [God's] words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psa. 119:130).

Thus Paul, who constantly urged believers to grow from infancy to maturity, nevertheless urged them also to be babes in their attitude of heart. In this he concurred with His Lord, of whom we read:

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that THOU HAST HID THESE THINGS FROM THE WISE AND PRUDENT, AND HAST REVEALED THEM UNTO BABES: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Luke 10:21).

Similarly the apostle wrote of himself:

"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that IN SIMPLICITY AND GODLY SINCERITY, NOT WITH FLESHLY WISDOM, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward" (2 Cor. 1:12).

So we urge our friends who continue to strive vainly to build up a "case" against the distinctive character of Paul's message and apostleship, and are thus opposing the message of the glorified Lord to us and biding the key to the understanding of the Word of God: Stop multiplying words to gainsay plain truths of Scripture. Acknowledge the sacred secret revealed by our ascended Lord through His Apostle Paul and you will not need to offer ambiguous explanations to bolster up weak arguments.

The writer rejoices in the fact that the one type of response received more than any other at this office is the type which says: "So many seeming contradictions have been cleared up. Your writings have made the study of the Scriptures a pleasure. At last it is all beginning to make sense." The credit for this does not go to the writer's ability, but to the enormous vitality of the message we proclaim, the very "secret of the gospel" and the "secret of God's will."

How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.

Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

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Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
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Unless the Lord Builess the House - By Greg Bing

"Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it ..." (Psalm 127:1)

While this expression might apply to anything that God's people build, when you read the following verses of this Psalm (vs. 3-5), it seems clear that the word "house" refers to a household or a home, that is, a family. One of greatest problems in our world today is that too many homes and families are not built by the Lord; they are not built according to the principles which God laid out in His Word. While we can understand why this is the case with families of unbelievers, it is sad to say that the same problem exists in Christian homes as well. Statistics show that the divorce rate of Christian marriages is about the same as those of unbelievers.

In his letter to the Colossian saints, the apostle Paul deals with the issue of God's principles for godly homes and families. While he covers these issues in much more detail in his letter to the Ephesians, we can learn a great deal from looking at the brief statements found in Colossians. Paul condenses these principles for home and family into what are the key responsibilities for each member of the family: the wife, the husband, children, and parents.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." (Col. 3:18-21)

Marriage—Itituted by God

Paul begins with the institution which is the foundation of the home: marriage. Marriage was instituted by God in the beginning. We read in Genesis 1 and 2 how God created all things in six days and rested from His work on the seventh. It is interesting to note that at the end of each day, God "saw that it was good." However, after God had created the man on the sixth day, He declared that something was "not good."

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." (Gen. 2:18)

God Himself declared that man needed a "helper," someone comparable or like him. As all of the animals that God had created were brought before Adam for him to name, none of them was found to be suitable or comparable to him. None of the animals could be the helper that Adam needed (Genesis 2:19-20). So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, took one of his ribs, fashioned the woman from the rib, and then brought her to Adam. It reminds us of modern day wedding ceremonies where the bride's father escorts her down the aisle and presents her to the groom. In this first wedding, God presented the bride to Adam.

When Adam first saw the woman, he knew that she was the one, the one who was comparable to him, and yet wonderfully different. Adam cried out, no doubt in great joy:

"This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man." (Gen. 2:23)

This wonderful person was so very special to Adam because she was part of him, "bone of my bones" and "flesh of my flesh." What a wonderful first marriage! Not as formal as our modern day ceremonies, but filled with just as much joy and gladness for both Adam and Eve. Following Adam's exclamation, we find these words:

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Gen. 2:24-25)

God's statement that "a man shall leave his father and mother" indicates that the institution of marriage was for all mankind. These weren't instructions for Adam and Eve alone, since they had no earthly father and mother.

Genesis 2:24 sets forth God's description for what makes a good marriage: leaving father and mother, being joined as husband and wife, and becoming one flesh.

When a man is to be married, he is to leave his father and mother. Before a man is married his most important relationship and his strongest bond is with his parents, but after he is married this is no longer the case. This does not mean that he breaks all ties with his parents, but his relationship with them must change. He can still have a loving and close relationship with his parents, but it is no longer the most important one in his life.

When a man marries, he is to be "joined to his wife." The word "joined" means to be glued or cemented together so strongly that, if you tried to separate the two, both would be damaged or broken. From the very word that God used here, it is clear that God intended marriage to be "till death do us part." God never intended for marriages to end in divorce. Jesus told the Pharisees, "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt. 19:6).

When a man and woman are "joined" as husband and wife, they "become one flesh." While this does refer to the sexual union of husband and wife, it seems to indicate more. Marriage is to be an intimate relationship, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. What a beautiful design by our Creator to meet the needs of both men and women. Most of us need this kind of intimacy with another human being. God, in His infinite wisdom, provided for this need from the very beginning when He instituted marriage.

If marriage is such a wonderful institution, why do so many marriages, including Christian marriages, end in divorce? Because marriage can only be successful and honoring to the Lord when both the husband and wife recognize and follow the guidelines that God laid down regarding their respective roles and responsibilities in the marriage relationship.

Next month we will look at the roles and responsibilities God has given to wives and husbands.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it..." (Psalm 127:1)

Last month we began looking at God's principles for building a godly home or family as found in Colossians 3:18-21. Having examined marriage, the foundation of the home, which God instituted "in the beginning," we turn our attention to specific members of the family and their primary responsibilities, beginning with wives.

Wives—Submit to Your Own Husbands

In Colossians 3, Paul begins by specifying the primary responsibility that the wife is to focus on in marriage.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." (Col. 3:18)

The word "submit" means "to place or arrange under," to place one's self in subjection to the authority of another. In the case of wives, to their own husbands. This does not teach that all women are to be in subjection to all men, or that the wife is to be subject to all men, but that each wife is to submit to her own husband. This is not a popular teaching today, and would not be considered "politically correct." Many people think these ideas are archaic, hopelessly out of date. It is assumed that this teaching relegates women (wives) to a position inferior to that of men (husbands). While this might be true in the eyes of some people in this world, this was never God's intention.

For instance, some are offended by God's use of the word "helper" or "help meet" (KJV) in Genesis 2:18 to describe what the woman would be for Adam, but there is nothing in this word that indicates a subservient role for women (wives). In fact, God uses this same word numerous times in the Old Testament to describe Himself as a "help" for His people Israel (cf. Psalm 33:20, Psalm 115:10-11). The word "helper" is not the role of a servant but of one who provides help or assistance in areas where another has need. In other words, the wife, as a helper, provides what is needed to complete her husband.

Men and women are different, in spite of what some social and political forces today would have us believe. God created men and women this way, with pronounced differences physically, socially, emotionally, and, in some ways, even mentally. Because of their differences, most men and women need someone to help make them complete, so God instituted marriage to bring a husband and wife together to live as one.

Since men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, it makes perfect sense for God to give husbands and wives different roles and responsibilities in the marriage relationship. Loving, successful marriages occur when both the husband and wife acknowledge their respective roles, as set down by God in His Word, and are obedient to God in fulfilling their unique responsibilities. The wife's role is laid out by God in Genesis 3:16, after Adam and Eve sinned against God. God spoke these words to Eve:

"... Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."

The position of authority in marriage was given by God to the husband. He was to "rule" or have dominion over the wife. He was not to be a dictator or a taskmaster, but was to have the responsibility of leadership in the home.

Paul compares the relationship of the wife to her husband with that of the church to Christ.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Eph. 5:22-24)

When a wife submits to her own husband, she is to do so "as to the Lord." His role as head in the family is a God-given role, so when the wife submits to her husband, she is, in effect, submitting to the Lord and to His will and purpose for her marriage and home.

The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the Head of the church. This is what God declares to be His order and arrangement. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, in the same manner wives are to be subject to their own husbands "in everything." When a wife submits to her own husband, she demonstrates her reverence and respect for God (Eph. 5:21). In Colossians 3:18, Paul describes such submission as being "fitting in the Lord." The word "fitting" speaks of one's due response or duty. The wife's duty to her husband, and more importantly her duty to God, is to submit to her own husband.

Since the husband is the head, does this imply a lesser position for the wife? Not at all! Women and wives are very special and very valuable to God. The apostle Peter spoke of this in his first letter to the Jews of the dispersion.

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands." (1 Peter 3:1-5)

Peter also stressed the importance of a wife being submissive to her own husband, even a husband who is not obedient to the Word. This may refer to an unbelieving husband or to a believing husband who is not being obedient to the Word in regard to his walk. Peter speaks of the impact a wife's submission can have on such a disobedient husband. Her chaste (pure) conduct accompanied by her fear of God can be used of God to win her husband to the Lord.

Most women today, including many Christian women, put too much emphasis on their outward appearance: arranging their hair, adorning themselves with fine jewelry, or wearing fine clothes. While these things are not necessarily wrong in themselves, the Lord is more interested in "the hidden person of the heart." Real beauty is that which is incorruptible; beauty that is found in a "gentle and quiet spirit."

The word "gentle" is also translated "meek." A meek spirit is one that maintains an attitude toward God which accepts His dealings with us as good and therefore rests in Him and His strength. This meekness is seen in kind and gentle dealings with others, even those who treat us with malice or hostility. Meekness is the opposite of selfishness or self-assertiveness. The word "quiet" means one who is tranquil; one who does not cause disturbances, but seeks to be at peace with others (Rom. 12:18). Peter states that this type of gentle and quiet spirit is "very precious in the sight of God." The word "precious" literally means "of great price," thus implying something of great value; something worthy of great honor; something that is held to be very dear. Women (wives) who possess this type of beautiful spirit are of great value in God's eyes.

Wives and mothers play a vital role in the Christian home. In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul instructs Titus to teach things which are proper for sound doctrine. He is to instruct the older women to be "teachers of good things." In particular, they are to teach the younger women the following:

"That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5)

Older women are to "admonish" the younger women. The word "admonish" means to instruct them to be sober minded; to keep themselves under control. The word also carries the idea of carrying out their duties to God; duties which center on their home and family. A wife's duties begin with love; love toward their husbands and toward their children. Wives are to be discreet (of sound mind), to be chaste (morally and ethically pure), to be homemakers. The word "homemaker" does not refer to a good housekeeper who always maintain an immaculate home, but to one who "keeps" or "guards" the home and family. The King James Version translates this word as "keepers at home." In our society today, their are an increasing number of attacks against God's view of home and family as set down in His Word. The wife's role as "keeper" of the home is clearly an important responsibility. When she takes this responsibility seriously, does that which is good, and is submissive to her husband as head of the family, her actions stand as a solid testimony "that the Word of God may not be blasphemed (spoken against)."

What about husbands? You might expect their prime responsibility to be: "husbands, rule well over your wives," but this is not what God's Word teaches. Instead, husbands are admonished: "love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Col. 3:19).

In this series, we have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home or family as found in Colossians 3:18-21. Last month we saw that wives are instructed by God: "submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." God has declared that the husband is the head of the wife; he is to be the spiritual leader of the family, and the wife is to recognize his God-given role and submit to his authority in their home. This being the case, we might expect the prime responsiblity of the husband to be to "rule well" over his wife and family, but this is not what God had Paul stress in his letter to the Colossians.

Husbands — Love Your Wives

"Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter toward them." (Col. 3:19)

The husband's primary responsibility is to love his wife. The question is, What kind of love does God have in mind? There are four different Greek words for love: eros, storge, phileo, and agape.

Eros is the word for sensual or physical love. It describes having a passion for something, most often to satisfy one's own desires. This is what the world often views as "love." This word is not used in the New Testament.

Storge is the word for affection, especially between close family members, such as parents and children. This word is also not found in the New Testament.

Phileo is a more general word for affection which includes, but is not limited to, family members. It describes a tender affection for someone else. It is often used to speak of love between friends. This word is used in the New Testament in several different ways. Paul uses it in Titus 2:4 of a young woman's love for her husband and children.

Agape is the highest form of love, unconditional love for another. It is not a result of passion or desire, but is a willful choice on one's part. Though used sparingly in secular Greek literature, the word agape was raised to a whole new level through the Holy Spirit's use of it in the New Testament. Consider this passage from 1 John 4.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:7-11)

Agape love originates with God for "love is of God." No one can love in this way unless they are born of God and know God, because, in fact, "God is love."

Agape love is a giving love. God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son for us (John 3:16). God "sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him," but God also sent Him to the cross, "to be the propitiation for our sins." What an "indescribable gift!" (2 Cor. 9:15).

Agape love is also unconditional. God did not sacrifice His Son for us because we loved Him. In fact, we did nothing deserving of God's love. God gave His Son to die for us even while we were miserable, helpless sinners (Rom. 5:6-8).

Which of these types of love are husbands to have for their wives? Certainly physical or sexual love (Gr. eros) is an important part of a marriage (Gen. 2:24). In addition, genuine affection (Gr. phileo) and real friendship is a vital part of the relationship between husband and wife. However, the type of love that really holds a marriage together is the willful choice to love your spouse unconditionally (Gr. agape). This is the type of love husbands are admonished to have for their wives.

Love Your Wife As Christ Loved the Church

Often, the best way to understand this type of love is to look at an example. Paul gives husbands the greatest example of all in Ephesians 5.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:25-27)

Husbands are to love their wives "just as Christ also loved the church." How did Christ love the church? "He gave Himself for it." The Lord Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to give His life for us. He humbly subjected Himself to the will of His Father (Phil. 2:5-8) and was delivered into the hands of wicked men (Luke 24:7) who abused Him, shamed Him, and then cruelly crucified Him on the cross of Calvary. Why would Christ be willing to endure such sufferings? He loved us and desired to have a close, personal relationship with us, but He knew that He must first "sanctify and cleanse us" from our sins. The only way this could happen was through His death on the cross for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Christ gave His life for our sins, "that He might present us to Himself." Husbands are to have this type of love and care for their wives. Husbands cannot cleanse their wives from their sins; only Christ could do that. Husbands can and should love their wives unconditionally, being willing to give of themselves to provide for the needs of their wives, especially their spiritual needs.

Love Your Wifes Your Own Body

Christ loved the church, which is His body (Eph. 1:22-23). Just as Christ loved His body, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies.

"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." (Eph. 5:28-29)

"He who loves his wife loves himself." To some this seems a strange statement, but it follows because when a man and wife are joined together in marriage, they "become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). The husband is to love and care for his wife as he does his own body, for she is truly now part of him. This type of love and care is demonstrated in two ways: nourishing and cherishing.

Husbands are to nourish their wives. This word nourish basically means to feed, however, it also carries the idea of supplying one's needs. The husband is to supply the needs of his wife. While this may involve financially providing for her physical needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), she has other needs which are even more important. The husband is to nourish his wife mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. A husband is to be more than just a "bread-winner;" he is to be the spiritual head of the household. While the wife is still an individual with her own personal relationship with the Lord, the husband is to set an example and provide leadership for their home in the areas of prayer, Bible study, worship, and spiritual growth. He is to care for her needs as much as he does his own.

Husbands are also to cherish their wives. The word cherish means literally "to keep warm." It is used in the Septuagint (Greek) version of Deuteronomy 22:6 to describe a mother bird covering and warming her young. To cherish is thus to lovingly care for and protect; to provide safety and security. The husband is to provide this warm, tender, protective care for his wife. She should feel secure in his love, not only from physical danger or harm, but, even more so, from spiritual danger to their family.
Do Not Be Bitter Toward Your Wife

In the last half of Colossians 3:19, Paul admonishes husbands not to "be (or become) bitter toward" their wives. The word bitter refers to the husband's attitude toward his wife. While a husband might occasionally be irritated or even angry with his wife, he is not to become bitter toward her, to be left with a constant bitter taste in his mouth (or stomach) toward her. When a husband has this type of feeling toward his wife, he will usually deal harshly with her. The Apostle Peter, in his letter to the Jews of the dispersion, addresses the issue of a husband's attitude toward his wife.

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7)

Peter instructs husbands to dwell with their wives with understanding. The word understanding is from the Greek word gnosis which means knowledge. The use of this word stresses the importance of a husband seeking to know and understand his wife. Though husband and wife become "one flesh" in marriage, their relationship must grow and develop as they live together. It is interesting that in the Old Testament Scriptures, the word used to describe sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is the word "know" (cf. Gen. 4:1—"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain."). The use of the word know implies that husband and wife share more than just physical intimacy. There is a mental, emotional, and spiritual intimacy that develops as well. A husband needs to make a real, concentrated effort to know and understand his wife's needs in all these areas.

Peter also focuses on the importance of husbands "giving honor" to their wives. The word honor literally refers to the price or cost of something, that is, its value or worth. Husbands are to recognize the great value that is found in their wives. Proverbs 18:22 declares:

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

A godly wife is a great blessing from the Lord, one that a husband should value as such and thus give honor to. Some argue that women are weaker than men, are subservient to men, and are thus less important to God. None of these are Scriptural ideas. Peter does indicate that women are the "weaker vessels." While this may be true of women physically, this in no way diminishes the value of their role and importance to God.

Peter speaks of wives as being "heirs together (with their husbands) of the grace of life." The expression "heirs together" means that they share equally with their husbands in the inheritance, as believers, of "the grace of life." A husband who does not recognize the value of his wife and honor her as God does, will find his own spiritual life and growth hindered.

Though the Scriptures plainly teach that the husband is the head of his wife, this is not a position of great power or privilege, as some mistakenly believe, but one of tremendous responsibility. The husband is to be the spiritual head of his family. He is to supply the needs of his family, providing protection and security for them, not just physically, but spiritually. The number one priority of the husband is to love his wife, unconditionally, just as Christ loved the church, just as a man loves his own body. This is what he is bound by God to do. This is his duty, certainly to his wife, but more importantly, this is his duty to God.

In this series, we have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home (or family) as found in Colossians 3:18-21. The last three issues we examined the institution of marriage and God's instructions for husbands and wives. Now, we turn our attention to children and parents.

Whenever we see a moral and spiritual decline in society, one of the contributing factors to such apostasy is disobedience to parents. Paul lists this as one of the characteristics of the Gentile world prior to the call of Abram (Rom. 1:30). He also tells Timothy that during the last days of this present dispensation "perilous times will come;" times during which men will be "disobedient to parents" (2 Tim. 3:2).

Proverbs 30:12-14 describes a generation that is "pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness." But if you look back at verse 11 we also read:

"There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother." (Prov. 30:11)

The family clearly has a tremendous influence on society as a whole. Children who grow up disobedient and disrespectful of their parents' authority, will probably never develop respect for other authorities, such as school, church, government, or business. This is why Paul stresses the importance of homes and families being built on spiritual principles; homes where each family member understands and submits to his or her God given responsibilities.
Children—Obey Your Parents

"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord." (Col. 3:20)

The primary responsibility God gives to children is to obey their parents. The word "obey" is literally "to hear under." It means not only to hear with the ears, but to take heed to what is said and to do it. The same word is used to describe how unclean spirits obeyed Jesus (Mark 1:27), how the winds and sea obeyed Jesus' command to be still (Matthew 8:27), and how slaves are to obey their masters according to the flesh (Eph. 6:5). In each of these cases, we find that obedience involves submission to authority, God-given authority. The unclean spirits obeyed Jesus because they knew who He was, "the Son of God." The winds and sea obeyed Jesus because He is the Creator of all things. Slaves were to obey their masters because they had authority over them under Roman law.

Children are placed under the authority of their parents by the laws of society, but more importantly, by God. The importance of this authority is seen in the fact that it is one of the ten commandments, the foundation of the laws given through Moses to God's chosen people, Israel. The first four commandments spell out Israel's duties to God, the last six their duties to one another. The first commandment in this second group is: "Honor your father and mother." (Exo. 20:12)

While this commandment does not specifically mention obedience, it does emphasize the importance of children recognizing and respecting the authority God has given to their parents.

Even the Lord Jesus, who grew up under the Mosaic law, was "subject" to His earthly "parents," His mother, Mary, and Joseph, even though he was not Jesus' biological father (Luke 2:51). Jesus recognized the authority they had been given by God.
Hear the Instruction

One of the key aspects of obedience is "hearing." Solomon was led of God to write proverbs to instruct his children in wise living. One of things he stressed was:

"My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains (necklaces) about your neck." (Prov. 1:8-9)

The instructions of a godly father and mother, when heard and heeded by an obedient child, will adorn the child's life with grace and goodness. The same principle is true of believers as children of God. We have a wonderful Father who has given us instructions in His Word. We are to be obedient to Him. The book of Hebrews describes the obedience of Abraham in this way:

"By faith Abraham obeyed God when he was called to go out to the place he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." (Heb. 11:8)

Abraham obeyed God "by faith." He trusted God and "went out, not knowing where he was going." How did Abraham have such faith? The answer is found in the familiar passage in Romans 10:17:

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

This emphasis upon hearing points out how important communication is in the parent-child relationship. Children need to learn to listen to their parents, to hear the instructions and the warnings they give, and then to take heed to them and do them. Parents need to make sure that they clearly communicate to their children what is required. Don't just expect them to know and don't hold them accountable when you have failed to make yourself understood.

Honor Your Father and Mother

While hearing and doing are included in the idea of obedience, there is more. In Ephesians 6:1-2, Paul declares that children are to "obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right," but he also quotes the sixth commandment, "Honor your father and your mother." Obedience is primarily seen in the actions of the child, hearing and doing, but obedience also involves the child's attitude. Children are to honor their father and mother. The word "honor" means literally "to fix a value or price on." To honor is to see as being of great value, to esteem, to hold dear, and thus to give honor or respect to. Children need to recognize how valuable their parents are, both to them and to God. They need to respect the position and authority God has given to their parents.

Paul points out that this commandment to "honor father and mother" was "the first commandment with promise." What was the promise? The promise involved two aspects of their life: its quality ("that it may be well with you") and its quantity ("that you may live long on the earth"). While I don't believe we can claim this promise during this present dispensation of grace, particularly the promise of a long life, there is a principle found in this promise that I do feel we can apply. Our family life affects all aspects of our life. A child who honors his father and mother and is obedient to them is much more likely to have a good life, a life that is blessed by God and can be used for His glory.

We have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home (or family) as found in Colossians 3:18-21. Last month we began looking at God's directive to children to "obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord." We examined what is meant by "obey your parents;" now we examine the reason why—for this is

Why is it so important for children to obey their parents "in all things?" First, because "it is right" (Eph. 6:1); not necessarily right in men's eyes, but certainly in God's eyes. Psalm 19:8 says: "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." When a child obeys his or her parents, they are living right or righteously, which is what God's grace teaches us to do (Titus 2:12).

Second, a child's obedience to his or her parents is "well pleasing to the Lord;" it brings Him pleasure and causes Him to be filled with gladness or delight. This should be the desire of each of us as believers, to bring pleasure to God, to have Him be pleased with our life and service. Children are to obey their parents "in the Lord." What this means is that when children obey their parents, they are actually obeying God. As they submit to their parents' authority over their lives, they learn the importance of submitting themselves to the Lord and to His authority in their lives. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

Final Note to Parents

As parents, we realize, very quickly, that obedience and submission do not come naturally to children. It is not in their nature. Proverbs 29:15 puts it this way: "A child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Children are born with a sin nature. David acknowledged in his prayer of confession to God, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). The prophet Jeremiah was led of God to write: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). The world would have us believe that people are basically good, by nature, but this is clearly not what the Bible teaches. When we look at little baby or young child, we often speak of how sweet and innocent they are, but we need to recognize that children are born with a sin nature; a nature that tends to make them self-centered. Even a baby or young child is primarily focused on satisfying their own needs or wants, something they can often get by crying. As they grow, they will not naturally develop the trait of obedience.

Another thing that children face that hinders their obedience to their parents is the environment, the world in which they live. We live in what Paul called "this present evil age" (Gal. 1:4). John wrote of this world:

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

The messages our children get from the world, whether from television, movies, books, schools, or their peers, do not encourage children to be submissive to God or obedient to their parents. We need to be aware of, and make them aware of, the dangerous influences that are part of this evil world system they must live in. We need to warn them that Satan is presently the prince (ruler) of this world. While we cannot isolate our children from the world, we need to do all we can so that they are not "conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:2), that is, that their lives are not fashioned or patterned after the world in which they live.

As parents, we need to understand that our children are just that: children. They lack the maturity, wisdom, and discernment of adults. Proverbs 22:15 says: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." The word "foolishness" simply means they lack fully developed wisdom. They often think, speak, and act in foolish ways. Paul spoke of his own time of childhood in 1 Corinthians 13:

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (1 Cor. 13:11)

We need to recognize that our children need to grow, develop, and mature in many different areas. Even the Lord Jesus, while here on earth, grew and matured: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).

All of these factors contribute to a child's tendency to disobey their parents. No, obedience doesn't come naturally. Children need to be instructed, to be trained, to be disciplined.

Next month we will look at this important responsibility that parents have to train their children.

In this series, we have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home (or family) as found in Colossians 3:18-21. The last two months we looked at God's directive to children to "obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord." Now we turn our attention to the responsibility that God has given to parents.

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." (Col. 3:21)
God's Direcive to Fathers

The first thing we notice about this verse is that God does not address this directive to "parents" but specifically to "fathers." Why is this the case?

Mothers obviously play a vital role in the raising of their children. This is seen in Titus 2:4-5, where we read about how the older women in the church are to teach the younger women.

"That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."

Clearly the focus of young wives and mothers is to be on their homes. They are taught to "love their husbands," to "love their children," and to be "homemakers." This word "homemakers" is not a description of one who is merely a housekeeper or cleaning woman. The King James Version translates this word as "keepers at home," an expression which speaks of one who keeps, watches, or guards the home. This is what young wives and mothers are to be—the guardians of their homes. Although society often downplays this role for women, in God's eyes it is a tremendous work that is of great value to the family, to society, and to God Himself.

Why then are the instructions of Colossians 3:21 (as well as those of Ephesians 6:4) specifically addressed to fathers? In the same way that the husband is the head of the wife in the marriage relationship, the father is the spiritual head of his household. He is responsible for providing spiritual leadership for his wife and his children. While both parents can and should be involved in raising and providing spiritual training for their children, it is the father's responsibility to see that this work gets done.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he gives the same instruction to fathers as he gives in Colossians 3:21, but he adds some responsibilities.

"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4)

The negative side of a father's responsibility is to "not provoke your children to wrath," while on the positive side a father is told to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We will examine the positive side first.

Bring Your Children Up

Fathers are directed to "bring them up," an expression which means to raise or to rear, but particularly to nourish or to feed. In general it speaks of supporting them, providing for their needs. This same word is used in Ephesians 5:29 to describe how a man "nourishes" his own body and how Christ "nourishes" the church, which is His body. Oftentimes we hear the husband and father described as the "provider" for the home. Usually this is taken to mean the "breadwinner," the one who provides for the physical needs of his home and family, things such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. There is no question that the Bible strongly encourages men to provide for their own families.

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Thess. 5:8)

While many men are conscientious in providing for their family's physical needs, there are too many who neglect an even more important area of their family's needs—their spiritual needs. The spiritual and moral training of children is not the responsibility of the community in which they live; it is not the responsibility of the government (federal, state, or local); it is not the responsibility of the schools; it is not even the responsibility of the local church. The spiritual and moral training of children is the responsibility of the parents, in particular the fathers! Husbands and fathers are charged by God with providing spiritual leadership for their wives and children in their worship of the Lord, their study of God's Word, their walk with the Lord, and their service and work for the Lord. This is what it means "to bring them up."

Next month we will continue this study, looking at two key ways that fathers (and mothers) are to "bring up" their children.

In this series, we have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home (or family) as found in Colossians 3:18-21. Last month we began looking at the responsibilities God has given to parents. While the Scriptures clearly indicate the importance of both parents being involved in the lives of their children, God actually places the responsibility upon the fathers. In Ephesians 6:4, fathers are told:

"... Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

The expression "bring them up" speaks of raising or rearing children, providing for their needs. Husbands and fathers are responsible for providing not only the physical needs of their family, but, more importantly, their spiritual needs. There are two key aspects to how fathers are to "bring up" their children: training and admonition. Each is qualified by the expression "of the Lord." The training and admonition in view here is spiritual in nature, that which centers around the Lord and His Word.


The word "training" ("nurture" in the KJV) is from a Greek word which means child training or instruction. It involves all aspects of bringing a child to spiritual maturity: education and instruction, but also discipline, correction, and chastening.

Most parents today emphasize their children's education. They want them to do well in school; to learn reading, writing, mathematics, art, music, history, etc. While all of these things are an important part of a child's education, if a child is to grow and mature spiritually, they must be trained in the things "of the Lord." They must be taught the knowledge of the Lord, knowledge which can only be found in God's Word. As parents, we need to ask ourselves: Are we as concerned with our children's knowledge of God's Word (2 Tim. 3:15-17) as we are their ability to do long division? Do we spend as much time teaching them the gospel of God's grace (Rom. 1:16) as we do the history of the United States? Are we as worried about their godly character (Titus 2:11-14) as we are about the characters in the so-called classic works of literature? The writer of Proverbs, in giving wise instruction to his children, emphasized that a home and family must be built upon a foundation of spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding:

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." (Prov. 24:3-4)

Fathers, it is your responsibility to see that your children are trained in the things of the Lord and His Word!

An important part of this spiritual training involves discipline. Often, when people see this word "discipline," they think only of punishment. Though punishment is often needed, the goal of discipline is training; it includes chastening and correction so that a child can learn from the experience. The need for discipline in children is pointed out in the book of Proverbs.

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." (Pro. 22:15)

"The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his moth-er." (Pro. 29:15)

While the use of the term "rod" may bring to mind physical punishment, the focus is on correcting and instructing the child, imparting wisdom and thus driving away the foolishness that is a part of the child's nature. A child that is left to himself, one who is sent away with no rebuke or correction, will bring shame upon himself and upon his family.

In our "modern world," many believe that discipline is cruel and abusive. Certainly physical punishment (spanking, for example) can become abusive if misused or taken too far, however, a parent who truly loves their children will be careful to discipline them when it is needed, just as the Lord disciplines us as His children.

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promp-tly." (Pro. 13:24)

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights." (Pro. 3:11-12)

While training is a vital part of bringing up children, there is another aspect to consider as well: the admonition of the Lord

The word "admonition" literally means to set or place in the mind. It also involves training, but primarily through words, words of encouragement, reminder, and warning. We see the word used in 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul, in verses 1-10, describes Israel's sins against God in the wilderness and God's subsequent judgments upon them. Paul then tells us:

"Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." (1 Cor. 10:11)

While these things actually happened to the people of Israel, they serve as examples to us. They were written for our "admonition;" to teach us, to remind us, to warn us of the consequences of such sin against God.

Parents are usually diligent in teaching, warning and reminding their children about the physical dangers in the world around them: things such as touching a hot stove or running in front of a moving car, as well as the dangers of alcohol, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. However, most parents, including some Christian parents, give little thought about teaching, reminding, and warning their children of the spiritual dangers of "this present evil age" (Gal. 1:4) in which we live. Parents, particularly fathers, need to admonish their children about Satan and the deceitful methods he employs (Eph. 6:10-12), about the evils of the world system in which we live (1 John 2:15-17), about the danger of conforming to the world (Rom. 12:1-2), about the false teaching they will be hear (1 Tim. 6:3-5), about the importance of guarding our minds and hearts (Phil. 4:4-9), etc., etc., etc.

These are dangers which affect not only our children's lives here on earth, but their lives for all eternity. Paul stressed to the Colossians:

"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col. 1:28)

It is vital that we preach (or proclaim) Christ to our children; not a religious system or denomination with its creeds and traditions, but this wonderful Person who is our Savior and Head! If they are to become spiritually mature in Christ Jesus, our children need to be warned and taught "in all wisdom." Parents, fathers especially, this is your responsibility!

Effective Methods

What is the most effective way for parents to train and admonish their children? The answer is two-fold. To begin with, children simply need to be told these things. The book of Deuteronomy was directed to that generation of the nation of Israel who were about to enter the promised land. God reminded them of the importance of teaching their children about the Lord.

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deut. 6:6-7)

Parents do not need to setup a classroom at home or have formal lesson plans in order to teach their children. They just need to talk to them about the Lord as a normal part of their everyday life; "When you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." All of these times are what people today like to call, "teachable moments."

Still, there is more to teaching our children than just telling them about the Lord. Parents also need to show their children the difference the Lord can make in their lives. Fathers and mothers should be examples, spiritual role models for their children.

Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, spoke of the impact his manner of life had upon his ministry of the Word among them. He compares his conduct to that of a loving mother and a godly father.

"But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." (1 Thess. 2:7-12

It was not only Paul's words and teaching that impacted the Thessalonians, but also his gentleness in dealing with them, his labor and toil on their behalf, his devout, just, and blameless behavior among them, and his genuine concern for their welfare as he comforted, encouraged, and charged them to walk worthy of the Lord. These are the very things that children need to see in the lives of their parents.

The young man, Timothy, is a good example of one whose life was affected by the words and actions of a godly parent. Timothy grew up in a home where he was taught God's Word.

"And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 3:15)

But Timothy was also influenced by the example of two women with a genuine faith in the Lord.

"When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." (2 Tim. 1:5)

Next month we look at a special caution given to fathers in Colossians 3:21

In this series, we have been looking at God's principles for building a godly home (or family) as found in Colossians 3:18-21. The last two months we have been looking at the responsibilities God has given to parents, particularly to fathers as the spiritual leaders in their homes. As we conclude this series, we want to focus on a special caution given to fathers in Colossians 3:21.

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."

The word "provoke" means to stir up, to excite, or to stimulate. It is used in a good sense in 2 Corinthians 9:2, where Paul speaks of the Corinthians' zeal provoking or stirring up others to minister to the needs of the saints. However, here in Colossians 3:21, the word is used in a negative sense of a father provoking a child to the point of strife or contention. The same basic idea is found in Ephesians 6:4:

"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

In this verse the word "provoke" is a different word which speaks specifically of rousing a child to wrath or excessive anger, even to the point of irritation or exasperation. This does not mean that a child will never become angry with their parents. Children have a sin nature which, in itself, can lead them to become angry even when they are not provoked. God's command to fathers in these two verses is that they are not to stir up these types of negative feelings in their children.

Fathers need to be particularly careful in the area of discipline. When a child is corrected or punished for something unfairly or inconsistently, this can generate strife between the child and his parents, even feelings of anger and frustration. If this situation occurs on a regular basis the child can reach a point where he becomes discouraged (Col. 3:21). The word "discouraged" literally means "to lose heart" or become disheartened. In a sense, the child's spirit can be broken, which affects his feelings, his passions, even his courage. Children can become so discouraged that they give up even trying to please their parents.

Fathers need to let their "moderation be known unto all men" (KJV), in particular to their children. The word "moderation" is often translated "gentle-ness" or "mildness," but it also carries the meaning of fairness or reasonableness. It is important that fathers deal gently with their children, and that they treat them fairly and reasonably, especially in the area of discipline.

Fathers should deal with their children in a controlled manner. To do so, fathers must, themselves, be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 5:18). When this is the case, they will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians 5:22-23:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

Let's consider how each of these characteristics affects how a father deals with his children.

Love: Fathers are to love their children unconditionally, with the same type of giving, caring love that God shows toward us. This type of love should govern and motivate a father in all his dealings with his children. Children need to feel this love from their parents because, when they experience it, they respond to it.

Joy: The word "joy" does not have the same meaning as the word "happiness," at least not in the Scriptures. Everyone experiences happiness at times, but only those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior can have true joy. Fathers should show forth the joy of the Lord that is in their hearts, in all that they do. The home should be a place where this wonderful joy is seen, experienced, and appreciated.

Peace: The word "peace" is a word that speaks of relationship. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God (literally "peace toward God") through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). We are brought into a wonderful, close relationship with our heavenly Father. Fathers who are at peace with God and have the peace of God in their hearts, should seek to maintain peace in their homes, a peace which builds solid relationships between all family members.

Longsuffering: Children can sometimes be exasperating and try the patience of their parents. Fathers must remember that this is because they are children and are immature in many ways. This is even true of teen-agers. Fathers must be longsuffering in dealing with their children, being willing to endure their immature behavior and patiently correcting and training them so they may grow and mature in the Lord.

Kindness: The word "kindness" is somewhat difficult to define, although we know it when we experience it from others. Kindness means doing that which is beneficial or useful for others. Fathers should be kind to their children, seeking that which will benefit their children's growth and development, especially in spiritual matters. Fathers need to treat their children as Paul describes in Ephesians 4:32: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you."

Goodness: The Bible speaks of the goodness of God. God desires good things for His children (Jer. 29:11), therefore He gives good gifts to them to accomplish His purpose in their lives. The nature of God's gifts is described in James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." Fathers should seek to model their heavenly Father in their dealings with their own children, consistently desiring what is best for them. Children can learn about the goodness of God if their parents manifest this goodness in the home.

Faithfulness: Fathers should be faithful before their children. They need to demonstrate their faith in God and their faithfulness toward God, but they also need to be faithful toward their children. Fathers should be men of integrity, men who are true to their word. The writer of Proverbs gave this wise counsel: "The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him" (Prov. 20:7).

Gentleness: Fathers need to exhibit the trait of gentleness or meekness. The word "meekness" speaks of an attitude of humility, an acceptance of God's dealings with us as always being good. When a person has this type of attitude toward God, it will be demonstrated in a life that deals with others in gentleness. Fathers who are filled with the fruit of the Spirit will have just such an attitude and will be gentle and mild in the handling of their children.

Self-Control: Finally, fathers must exhibit self-control, meaning that they keep their passions under control, particularly their anger. This is especially important when admonishing or disciplining their children. Fathers must remember that harsh and unfair treatment of their children can cause great damage. This includes harsh words spoken in anger. James, chapter 3, speaks of the importance of controlling our tongues (our speech) for, though the tongue is a small member in the body, it can inflict great harm, especially on a young and impressionable child.

If a father is to build a godly home and family and provide solid spiritual leadership, that home must be founded upon wisdom.

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." (Prov 24:3-4)

This type of wisdom is not the wisdom of this world; it is the widsom that comes from God.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18)

This wisdom is not found in men's philosophies or traditions. It is not found in "how-to" books about parenting. It is only found in the Word of God. Fathers who desire to train and raise godly children must spend time on a regular basis in God's Word, for it is there they will find the wisdom to build and establish their homes as God intended.

How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.

Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Free - By Charles Mays

I've heard that research shows the best word in advertising and marketing is "FREE." It gets everyone's attention. People perk up and listen to hear what is free. Well, this is no marketing ploy, but I hope to have your attention, for I would like to point out five "frees" that are found in the Scriptures.

Free From Righteousness

"For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness." (Romans 6:20)

We don't anticipate "free" being used in the negative, but here it is. In our natural condition, we are void of righteousness. In Romans 7:18, the Apostle Paul wrote that no good thing dwells in the flesh. Also, consider the fact that God never calls the unbeliever to change his way of life. For the unbeliever, his daily conduct is not the issue. His need is salvation. The unbeliever is free from subjection to the will of God. In his commentary on the book of Romans, Ernest Campbell stated it this way:

"The truth revealed for the members of the Body of Christ is never superimposed upon (lost) sinners. God never tells (the lost) sinners how they are to live. They have no obligation to live righteously and holily. God's sole interest in (them) ... is their salvation and not their lifestyle."

The lost are free from any responsibility to be conformed to the image of Christ. This is the condition in which we are born. This gives a whole new meaning to "free born"—and not in a good way. Matthew Henry wrote: "Freedom from righteousness is the worst kind of slavery." When you are free from righteousness, you are a slave to sin. There is no middle ground.

We live in a culture of self-improvement. In fact, it's big business. All types of physical and mental fitness products are peddled to us on a daily basis through every type of advertising possible. Self-improvement is not bad. It's good for us to keep an eye on our physical and mental health, but there is no self-help remedy for sin. Romans 3:9-19 paints a dismal picture of mankind, ending with all the world being guilty before God. This is reinforced by Romans 3:23:

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The end result is that we are all condemned to death (physical and spiritual); "For the wages of sin is death ..." (Romans 6:23a).

The Free Gift

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

Death is the sentence. Death is what we deserve. Death is our just reward; Not only physical death but spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. But God offers us a gift. A gift is something that is free; it cannot be earned by merit. Sinners merit hell, but saints do not merit heaven. Eternal life, therefore, is a gift that cannot be earned. Romans 4:1-5 is just one passage that makes it clear that grace is how we are accepted by God, not by works. Clearly, as Christians, our conduct should demonstrate to others that the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, but God does not save our soul based on our conduct. He does so based on our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Notice this eternal life is "through Jesus Christ our Lord." For contemporary Christian music fans, Stephen Curtis Chapman summed it up well when he penned the song "Jesus is Life."

Salvation through the cross of Christ is not a popular message in our society today. In fact, it never has been. But that's exactly what the Word of God teaches. Consider the following passages:

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness." (1 Corinthians 1:23)

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (I Corinthians 2:2)

These passages, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and others make it clear that Paul taught salvation through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Paul was not ashamed of this gospel message (Romans 1:16). And he made it abundantly clear that God's provision for salvation through the cross of Christ is offered as a gift, meaning FREE. Romans 3:24 says we are "justified freely by (God's) grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." How could it be stated any clearer than Ephesians 2:8,9? "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

When we are born, we are identified with Adam. We inherit death. But when we accept salvation by believing that Jesus Christ died for our sins (faith), we are no longer identified with Adam but with Jesus Christ. These two conditions are contrasted in Romans 5:12-21. In describing our new position in Christ, the word "gift" is used six times in four verses (15-18, KJV). It is hammered home that God wants nothing, nay, will accept nothing as payment for our salvation. It's all or nothing. Take it or leave it. It's a free gift.

Many have the image in their heads of a repentant sinner reaching toward heaven while God reaches down. It's a beautiful picture, but it's poor doctrine. It presents the idea that we somehow meet God halfway in changing our destiny. Romans 5:6 says, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." "Without strength" means we are totally powerless to change our situation. Picture an athlete as he lifts weights from the floor. The weights do nothing to aid him. They have no power to do so. The athlete does the lifting of this dead weight on his own. In our natural condition, we are dead weight—dead in our trespasses and sins. God reaches down, doing all the work, and lifts us to a new position in glory through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ephesians 2:1-7). Next time you sing such hymns as "He Lifted Me" or "Love Lifted Me," I hope you remember this illustration and sing it with a new zeal and understanding.

Free From Sin

"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:18)

When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we do not become immediately sinless. The old sin nature is part of our flesh and can only be eradicated by the death of this body that is corrupted by it. "For he that is dead is freed from sin" (Romans 6:7). Even a casual reading of Romans, chapter seven, demonstrates the struggle the saved Apostle Paul had with the sin nature that dwelled in his body of flesh (7:22-23). The struggle with the flesh is something we all endure. Paul states it directly, or alludes to it, no less than seventy times in his epistles. The conclusion is that in this earthly existence of ours, we will never be totally free from sin. That is, in our daily experience.

Positionally, we are free from sin. In Colossians 3:3, our flesh is viewed as dead, and our "life is hid with Christ in God." We are "in Christ," and in Him is no sin. Ephesians 1:3 says we are blessed "with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Paul continues to elaborate on some of those blessings, including our complete forgiveness of sins (1:7). Colossians 2:13 states: "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." The effect is that we are given a new position. Ephesians 2:6 says that God has "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This is known as Positional Truth. The struggle that we face is making it a reality in our daily walk; this is Practical Truth. But this has no effect on our position in Christ.

Free From the Law

"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

Most people think of the Ten Commandments when they think of the law. But it was much more than that. In fact, there were over 600 individual laws contained in the Mosaic Law. These laws governed every aspect of daily life for the Hebrew. It was God's holy, righteous standard. This might initially be thought of as a blessing, but instead it was a curse. Not that the law was wrong. It was holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). The problem came in the weakness of the flesh. Read again Paul's struggle in Romans 7:7-25. Man is simply not able to keep God's righteous standard under the power of his flesh. So we read:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

The law could not save. It could only condemn. It pointed out the weakness of man's flesh and magnified his need for a Savior. What we could not do by the power of our flesh under the law, Christ did for us (Romans 8:1-4). We also read, in Colossians 2:14, that Christ "blotted out" the law, "took it away" and "nailed it to His cross." Yet many, even in our present day, fail to recognize this fact. I can only echo the words of Galatians 5:1:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Consider the words of Philip Bliss in the well-known hymn "Once For All":

"Free from the law,
O happy condition.
Jesus hath bled, and
there is remission.

Cursed by the law and
bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us
once for all."

Free To Choose

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)

The word "beseech" is not one we use in our vocabulary on a regular basis. It means to beg or plead with someone. If we are begged and/or pleaded with to be reconciled to God, then there is more than mere implication that man has a choice in the matter. Man is free to choose whether or not to accept God's offer of eternal life.

The same holds true of our Christian walk. We do not save ourselves. It is God who saves us through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary; by faith in His death for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Again, our conduct has no bearing on the matter. The only issue in salvation is faith. But true faith should stir a desire in us to live a life that is consistent with our profession of faith. That is the thrust of Romans 12:1-2:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (See also Romans 6:12-13.)

God desires all men to accept His free gift of salvation and to live a life that is free from the slavery of sin and free from the bondage of the law. But clearly, we are free to choose.


Grace Bible Church  (Click Here)

How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends