According to Scripture, the invisible church includes everyone who has ever been genuinely born again for every age of church history. This church will not meet in a visible way until Christ returns. The visible church consists of believers who are alive and meeting together right now.
Controlled anger against sin and genuine love may dwell in the same heart at the same time and be directed toward the same person. It is legitimate for us to be angry with our children over genuine disobedience. At the same time, we must not express that anger in sinful ways (yelling, screaming, nastiness, irritation, etc.) but in loving ways for the good of our children.
In my opinion, the idea that we should postpone generous giving (to the church) until our debts are paid or until we get a raise or until the children are grown up or until we have bought a house is contrary to Scripture. We may be able to give more then, but we ought to give generously now.
Indeed, the marriage act is the symbol or culmination of a more complete oneness, of a total giving of yourself to another person. Consequently, if the more complete oneness is not a reality, sexual relations lose their meaning.
Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.
Becoming one flesh is a broad concept involving the totality of life. The context of Genesis 2 and the teaching of the rest of the Bible about marriage demand this. At the same time, it is generally recognized that there is no place where this total sharing is more beautifully pictured or fully experienced than in the sexual relationship of the man and his wife.
It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and find fault with the church’s weaknesses, deficiencies and ineffectiveness; it’s another thing to become involved in fixing the problem by becoming part of the solution. More dedication, more involvement, more prayer, more effort, more devotion, more service, and more humble cooperation and participation in the activities of the church are the appropriate responses to the situation.
Our objective should be to so train (our children) that their thoughts and attitudes and actions begin to reflect and manifest a likeness to the lifestyle of a Christian described in the Word of God. Whether they become successful in business, whether they become good athletes or musicians, whether they are handsome or beautiful, whether they get straight A’s in school are matters of little consequence in comparison with the matter of becoming holy and godly and mature Christians.
Though some people may seem to be naturally gifted at encouraging and uplifting other people, the Bible makes it clear that we’re all to be encouragers. According to Scripture, encouragement is to be a regular part of our interaction with other people. This necessarily means that we must spend time with other people for the purpose of knowing their needs, their struggles, and how best they may be encouraged.
Knowledge of facts is important. Knowledge of truth is essential. Yet our Lord’s concern goes beyond mere head knowledge. He wants us not only to know the truth but also to obey the truth. He wants us to live the truth, practice the truth, and be conformed to and transformed by that truth.
The plain, unvarnished truth is, that every one of us needs the accountability that comes from formal, regular, intimate relationships with other godly people.
Most men are stimulated by sight. Without even touching a woman’s body, a man can be aroused. It can happen very easily. Perhaps this is why Jesus warned men about the danger of looking on women who are not their wives (Matthew 5:28). Perhaps it is because men are easily aroused that the book of Proverbs contains admonition after admonition to men concerning the danger of being seduced by loose women (Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:23-35; 7:1-27).
Becoming mature Christians will require the sovereign work of God. Only God can save and sanctify. Still, God uses men and means. Certainly we as parents must seek to bring our children to Jesus Christ for salvation. But salvation is not the end of the journey. It is only the beginning. The destination toward which we are headed with our children is nothing less than maturity in Christ.
Our society has made idols out of power, strength, beauty, wealth, intelligence, and athletic ability. These are the things that people value. In our society a successful person is someone who has several of these things. An unsuccessful man is someone who has none of these assets. According to the Bible, this way of measuring worth and success is wrong. These are not the things that God values most. These are not the most important things in life.
In His Word, [God] has given us a basic philosophy of child raising. In the Scriptures He has delineated for us the goals, the plans, the strategy, the standards by which we should raise our children. We do not need to shoot from the hip, we do not need to fly by the seat of our pants; we do not need to lean to our own understanding or the understanding of other fallible men in this matter. We have the infallible Word of God to answer our questions, settle our disputes, and be our guide. Conflicts, disagreements, differences of opinion can be settled by couples who are willing to make the Word of God, not their own ideas or feelings or opinions, their final authority in the matter of raising children.
We should use all our money for the Lord. This is, we should use all our money in a way that God would approve. In that sense, all of our money is to be given to the Lord. Stewardship is to be total, not partial.
A Biblical Philosophy of Money:
1. God is the one who gives [someone] the ability to make money.
2. Everything we have belongs to God.
3. There are many things which are more valuable than gold.
4. Covetousness, discontentment, and worry about material things are sins.
5. God expects us to use fully the strengths and abilities He has given us in hard, honest work.
6. Giving to the Lord and to needy people is a privilege and an investment as well as a responsibility.
7. We ought to plan how we will make and spend our money.
8. We ought to live within our income and not make debts which may be almost impossible to pay.
What biblical submission for the wife is NOT:
1. Submission is not merely a concept for women.
2. Submission does not mean that the wife becomes a slave.
3. Submission does not mean that the wife never opens her mouth, never has an opinion, never give advice.
4. Submission does not mean that the wife becomes a wallflower who folds up and allows her abilities to lie dormant.
5. Submission does not mean that the wife is inferior to the husband.
[Children] cannot bring themselves up properly. This cannot happen because God says “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Prov. 22:15), and that “a child left to himself, a child who gets his own way bring shame to his mother” (Prov. 29:15). Scripture thus asserts that if you allow a child to bring himself up, if you raise him in an atmosphere of complete freedom, if you allow him to make all his own choices, to do his own thing, to express himself freely, the result will be shameful. God never intended children to bring themselves up. He gave them parents who are to be actively engaged in making the children what God wants them to be.
Fifty-fifty marriages are an impossibility. They do not work. They cannot work. In marriage someone has to be the final decision maker. Someone has to delegate responsibility, and God has ordained that this should be the husband.
The Lord commands the wife to be submissive. Refusal to submit to the husband is therefore rebellion against God Himself. Submission to the husband is a test of her love for God as well as a test of love for her husband. The wife then must look upon her submission to her husband as an act of obedience to Christ and not merely to her husband.
Reasons for Church Membership:
1. The “One Anothering” commands of Scripture.
2. Biblical responsibility to elders.
3. Clarifying the differences between believers and unbelievers.
4. Orderly administration of the church.
5. Public statement to the world.
6. Ministry responsibilities.
7. Ministry privileges.
9. Helps the church know who to prioritize for service.
I believe that one major reason that the church of Jesus Christ in the United States is very close to being in sheer chaos today is because so many people think themselves as individuals rather than as part of the body of Christ. Christianity is not “every man for himself;” it’s every man together for Christ.
Submission means that she sees herself as a part of her husband’s team. She is not her husband’s opponent fighting at cross purposes or trying to outdo him. She is not merely an individual going her separate way. She is her husband’s teammate striving for the same goal. She has ideas, opinions, desires, requests, and insights, and she lovingly makes them known. But she knows that in any good team someone has to make the final decisions and plans. She knows that the team members must support the team leader, his plans and decisions, or no progress will be made, and confusion and frustration will result.
Scripture speaks very clearly to the fact that identification with God’s people in a formal, public way was considered essential in…New Testament times… A careful study of the New Testament doesn’t reveal even a hint of any believer who was truly saved, but not part of a local church.
If love is the perfect bond of unity, sexual problems may be the red light on the dashboard of the marriage indicating a lack of biblical love in that marriage. Usually when couples are expressing and experiencing I Corinthians 13 love, sexual problems are at a minimum. A fresh application of the type of love which is patient, kind, humble, compassionate, gentle, forgiving, unselfish, courteous, considerate, sensitive, truthful, appreciative, and protective will do more to improve sex relations than reading all of the latest books on methods and techniques. Let the husband and wife lovingly and joyfully fulfill their biblical roles toward each other; let them learn to communicate deeply according to biblical principles, and most of their sexual problems will evaporate.
According to [the Bible], a leader is first and foremost a servant. His concern is not for himself; his concern is not to give orders, to boss other people around, to have his own way. His concern is to meet the needs of others.
Many of our responsibilities to believers are spelled out in terms of the “one another commands” found throughout Scripture. There are fifty-eight “one another commands” in the Word of God, and, realistically understood, it’s impossible to understand how these commands may be truly fulfilled toward other believers without involvement in a local church… In all of Paul’s “one anothering” passages, he was instructing the members of a specific local church to act in these ways toward one another.
The word “church” is used one hundred ten times in the New Testament, and it is instructive to note that ninety-three of those are clear references to the local church… We may conclude from this large number of references that the Bible has quite a lot to say about the importance of the local church.
A leader must have a servant’s heart. And if he has a servant’s heart, he will act like a servant and react like a servant when he is treated like a servant.
If…we do not think that a local church is worthy of joining, why should we be considered worthy of serving in it?
It often happens that when couples get their relationship to God straightened out, their relationships with one another begin to straighten out as well.
The church, as defined by the Word of God, is a group of Christians who dedicate themselves to meeting together for the regular preaching of the Word of God; who submit themselves to biblical eldership; who regularly celebrate the ordinances of the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); and who practice and submit themselves to church discipline as laid out in Scripture.
Being outside the church is being in Satan’s domain. The Bible indicates that Satan is the “god of this world,” whereas the church is the expression of God’s kingdom on earth and is ruled by Christ, not Satan. Those who are in the world (i.e., outside of Christ) are in Satan’s domain and under his authority. Those who are in the church are under Christ’s authority (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; I John 5:19). Consequently, because Christ reigns supremely in the local church, it’s a dangerous thing for a believer not to be identified with one. When we function on our own, outside the church, we’re asking to be knocked around by Satan.
Excommunication…means to be delivered over to Satan (1 Tim. 1:18). How is this so? It’s so because being outside the church is being in Satan’s domain. The Bible indicates that Satan is the “god of this world,” whereas the church is the expression of God’s kingdom on earth and is ruled by Christ, not Satan. Those who are in the world (i.e., outside of Christ) are in Satan’s domain and under his authority. Those who are in the church are under Christ’s authority (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; I John 5:19). Consequently, because Christ reigns supremely in the local church, it’s a dangerous thing for a believer not to be identified with one. When we function on our own, outside the church, we’re asking to be knocked around by Satan.
Good listening involves:
1. Letting the other person speak without interruption.
2. Giving the other person your undivided attention.
3. Making sure you really understand what the other person is saying or thinking.
Church membership is not an incidental or optional matter for the Christian. Rather, it’s an essential and important aspect of the Christian life. According to Scripture, being a part of a local church brings with it tremendous privileges, and serious responsibilities, that can be fulfilled in no other way.
Though it may seem a completely unloving thing to put someone out of the fellowship of the church, Jesus commanded us to do this when someone refuses to repent of his or her sin… In reality, since Jesus commanded it, it would be unloving not to do it.
[Guard] against the temptation to tune the other person out… Perhaps you try to give the impression you are interested in what the other person is saying. In reality you are not. What you are really interested in is how you are going to defend yourself, display your wisdom, crack a good joke or straighten the other person out.
While the children are young, the primary (though not the only) means of chastisement will be the literal rod. (Compare Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15). The rod is a merciful form of discipline, because it is quickly administered. The lesson is learned swiftly, hugs and kisses can come immediately, reconciliation and restoration to normal relations is experienced with hardly any delay.
Wherever you find marital failure, you will find a breakdown in real communication. Wherever you find marital success, you will find a good communication system.
Parents should [not] smother their children and give them no freedom. Smothering is almost as dangerous and disastrous as total permissiveness. It promotes hostility, insecurity, anxiety, resentment, overdependence, emotional instability, attitudes of inferiority, and indecisiveness.
When two people know, accept, and fulfill their varying but complementary responsibilities, oneness in marriage is promoted.
According to the Bible, the marriage act is more than a physical act. It is an act of sharing. It is an act of communion. It is an act of total self-giving wherein the husband gives himself completely to the wife, and the wife gives herself to the husband in such a way that the two actually become one flesh.