Our world seems to be in chaos and out of control. In the last few weeks I have seen on the news at least three stories of police officers being shot and killed for no apparent reason than that they are police officers. This is a hurting world.
I read a blog post by Westminster Seminary professor Dr. Carl R. Trueman about his friend who is a pastor in California. His friend had resigned from his community’s school board because he could not support a new California law requiring their schools to teach students how to have safe homosexual sex and how to get an abortion.
This sounds very much like what Paul warned would happen in Romans 1:18-32 as people turned away from God. He said the wrath of God would be “revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (v.18). Paul went on to write that the result was that “they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (v.21).
The final result of this, Paul writes, is that “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts” (v.24). This led to them exchanging “the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (v.25). Because of this path they chose, “God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done” (v.28). Paul writes that it all resulted in that “they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (v.32).
What is the purpose in me writing about this other than showing the similarity to our nation and world today? What does it have to do with marriage?
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25
The answer is found in another of Paul’s letters. In His letter to the church at Ephesus he writes one of the longest, most in depth, and most important teachings on marriage.
This treatise is found in Ephesians 5:21-33. In it, he explains how God uses marriage to teach about His relationship to His people. Paul says, for example, in verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (bold mine).
In those nine verses, at least seven times Paul directly teaches that the way Christ loves and treats the church is the way we as husbands and wives are to love and treat each other. Therefore, at the same time, our marriages show the world how Christ loves all of us. That makes our marriages very important to God and His plan. And it makes them so very important to our world.
People in the world can see that things are getting progressively more evil and dangerous. And they are looking for answers. When we live our lives as God teaches, our marriages become a witness to the world of the difference God makes.
Here in the United States, people are looking to our election that will bring a new president to power. They believe that the right person in the presidency can change our nation for the better. But a human will never be able to do that. Only God can make changes that are lasting.
God created Israel as a nation to be His people and a blessing to the world. We learn about this when God called Abram (Abraham) to begin this nation. Genesis 12:1-3 says: “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’” (bold mine).
But the Israelites were not content with God leading them and having prophets to speak for Him. The Israelite people spoke to God’s prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:5: “They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’”
This angered Samuel. We read God’s response to him in 1 Samuel 8:7-8: “And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.’”
People have always looked to a person to solve their problems. But only God can do that. It doesn’t matter for eternity who we elect as our next president. But our marriages can make an eternal difference in people’s lives.
God will use our marriages to draw people to the true hope – Himself. Our marriages can be His instrument through which He demonstrates that hope to this hurting world. If we are going to be that instrument, we must follow His Word together as a couple.
Yes, this world is hurting. But our marriages can be a source of help. God has designed it this way.
Will you join us in making the commitment to use our marriages as God’s instrument (with His help) to demonstrate His hope to our hurting world? The impact of a husband and wife led by Christ can have a profound effect on those around us.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together and discuss how God is speaking to you through it.
♦ Do you see your marriage as God’s instrument through which He can minister to those around you? As Christians, we want to tell others about Christ so they can have the joy of knowing Him as their Savior and Lord. We know this is the ultimate hope for our community, nation, and world. But often we are not certain about the best way to do that. Your marriage can be a way that God can use. Talk about ways you can be His instrument where you live right now.
Ask God to help you. And He will, because you ask for something that is His will. We know this because it was His command and promise to us in Matthew 28:19: “‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
He also will help you because He told His disciples (and us) in Luke 12:11-12: “‘When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.’”
♦ Discuss simple, specific ways you can begin right now being God’s instrument in your neighborhood, church, or other immediate area.
♦ Close your time in prayer together committing yourselves to being God’s instrument in the lives of others in whatever way He reveals to you.
Until next week, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,
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Photo by Ingo Joseph via pexels.com (CC0), cropped/text added.
Dr. Richard Ross, my colleague at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on his facebook page about how two people can be unified through Christ. It applies to any relationship, but I think it fits marriage very well, and is a good example of how our marriages can impact people around us. Here is what he wrote: