Up from the Grave with the Knows!

November 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Posted in I Corinthians | Leave a comment
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Some of the church members in Corinth were denying the bodily resurrection of believers. This was the last major problem that Paul addressed in his letter to them, which we know as I Corinthians.

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

I Corinthians 15:12

How had this error infiltrated the church? The Greeks did not believe in resurrection, as shown in the teachings of Gnosticism. Other notable groups which rejected the idea of bodily resurrection included pagan religions, the Jewish sect known as the Sadducees, and the followers of the heretic, Marcion. The reason that the Holy Spirit had Paul begin his discussion with Jesus’s Resurrection is that the Corinthian Christians couldn’t have really become Christians without believing that Jesus Himself had risen from the grave. They would still be “Know-Nots” if they did not know this basic tenet of the Gospel message.

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:1-4

After addressing their denial of resurrection, Paul went on to give a demonstration of the evidence for resurrection. Jesus had appeared after His death in His own body to Peter and the 12 Apostles (v. 5), and had even appeared to over 500 brethren at one time, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this (v. 6). Jesus had appeared to James (v. 7) and even to Paul himself, and nobody had been more changed by Christ’s Resurrection than Paul.

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

I Corinthians 15:13

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

I Corinthians 15:16

After dealing with the denial and the demonstration of resurrection, Paul addressed the drama of resurrection.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

I Corinthians 15:20

“Firstfruits” is both an agricultural reference, and a reference to the Old Testament practice of giving to God the first part of a crop as a dedicatory sacrifice. Christ came from the grave (the ground) first, and we who are in Him shall be the “crop” which God has promised to bless with growth and harvest afterwards.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:21-22

Here we see the principle of “federal headship.” Just as Adam was our accurate representative as a disobedient sinner, so shall Christ be the accurate representative of obedience and righteousness for all who are in Him.

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

I Corinthians 15:23

Christ’s Resurrection was a dramatic victory over sin, death, and the grave, and it has eschatological consequences, too.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

I Corinthians 15:26-28

This is our victory over death in Christ. Nothing shall be lost for the victorious God – even our decayed and sin-sick and death-sleeping bodies – shall be redeemed and regenerated.

In addition to the denial, demonstration, and drama of resurrection, Paul had to make sure and emphasize the demands of resurrection. First of all, the knowledge of our future resurrection should motivate us to be baptized.

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

I Corinthians 15:29

Second, the knowledge of our future resurrection should motivate us to endure persecution.

And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

I Corinthians 15:30-32

Third, future bodily resurrection demands that we live a holy life and avoid sin.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

I Corinthians 15:34

Fourth, it demands that we be prepared for Christ to come back.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I Corinthians 15:51-52

Fifth, it forces us to remember that a life spent serving Christ is not in vain.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58

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Children Need to Know that Death Is Real

March 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Last time we talked about a key Bible theme that must not be ignored by parents when teaching the Bible to our children. In fact, it must be emphasized. Here is another:

2. Death is real.

It is also scary.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27

Death should be scary because it is a result of sin, and God absolutely hates sin.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

Sadly, when we teach the standard “children’s” Bible stories – baby Moses in the Nile, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the big fish/whale, Daniel in the lion’s den – we tend sanitize them and gloss over their fuller meanings, when, if we look at them faithfully, the fact of death comes up organically and realistically.

Look at the story of Noah’s ark, for example. What must we do to make this a happy children’s fairy tale? Well, to start with, you have to skip the prologue.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis 6:7

And most of the actual story, for that matter.

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Genesis 7:16

All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

Genesis 7:22

To make it what our modern culture thinks of as “child-friendly,” you have to limit it mainly to just talking about a few animals, and cut straight to the rainbow.

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

Genesis 9:13-14

And even then you have to be careful about reading too far!

And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Genesis 9:15

The story of Noah’s ark is not a Disney story. It’s not like the man who tied balloons to his house so he could float away from death to a magical place.

Noah and his family were not in there petting kitty cats and singing rain rain go away, little Japheth wants to play. They were probably covering their ears against the screams of terror outside… and they were resting wholly in one thing and one thing only for their salvation: God and His Word.

Have you ever told the children that God has entrusted into your care that the only reason Dad and Mom can laugh and smile and play with them – the only reason that they are looking forward to getting older instead of dreading it – is because Jesus has defeated death for all – BUT ONLY FOR ALL – those who have trusted Him?

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

I Corinthians 15:24-26

Next time I will discuss another difficult truth that we must teach our kids.

Flesh and Blood

May 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Hebrews | 1 Comment
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Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Hebrews 2:14

It was important for Jesus to become flesh and blood, so He could die and break the power of death and the power of the devil. Angels aren’t flesh and blood; they’re spirit beings.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

I Corinthians 15:50

For this reason, if we are to inherit eternal life, we must be “born again,” and, in this second birth, we must be “born of the Spirit.”

To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:16

The Apostle Paul always tried to remember not to be proud even though He was elected by God to do great things. He did not want to glory in his flesh.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 16:17

Jesus told Peter that he was blessed because his confession of faith was based on listening to God, not just on what he had seen with his flesh-and-blood eyes.

For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Leviticus 17:11

The Bible tells us that that thousands of years ago God told people that the life is in the blood. George Washington died after being “bled” as a means of healing, even though there was a Bible right there on his bedside table that would have refuted this so-called “science.”

Catechism Question 18

February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 8 Comments
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Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Prove it.

John 19:18

Question 18: What happened to Jesus after He died?
Answer: He was buried and then rose again on the third day.
Prove it.

Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 10:40

A child who is familiar with CPR or some kind of medical resuscitation, or who perhaps has heard of someone in a coma making a recovery, may question the validity of Jesus’s death. In other words, “Did He really die?”

This is easily resolved from the Scriptures. Chapters 5-8 of the Book of Romans, as well as Chapter 14, stress the reality of Christ’s death emphatically.

Furthermore, the Gospel accounts tell us plainly that Jesus willingly laid down his life and truly died.

A child might also ask, “How did He come back to life?” The simplest answer to this is that God the Father raised up Christ (God the Son) by His power, but this is probably a good place to explain that Jesus died only as touching His humanity. He did not die as touching His Deity, for this would be an impossibility, because God has the immutable power of self-existence, and is eternal.

Other verses to consider:

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:4

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:9

The New Girl Arrives

August 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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This has probably been the longest period of time I’ve gone without adding a new post to The Deep End. Although I’ve taken a break or two in the past, this time the occasion was very special. On August 21, 2013, God placed our fourth daughter, Lucy Nicole, into our family and into our care. It had been 13 1/2 years since the birth of our third daughter!

My wife was extremely brave throughout a difficult ordeal, and it was a little touch-and-go for a couple of days. During the night before Lucy was born, we found and claimed this promise from the Word of God:

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut [the womb]? saith thy God.

Isaiah 66:9

I know that someone will probably say that this is out of context – that the verse is talking about the nation of Israel rather than the literal birth of a little baby girl – but we found it extremely comforting, and believe that God used it to help us through a difficult time. The Bible contains both principles and precepts, and I refuse to be disabused of the notion that God is 100% faithful and has the ability to finish absolutely everything that He starts, in a way that perfectly serves His ultimate glory. Nor do we discount the possibility that God arranged her birth on 8-21, when Romans 8:21 and 22 talk about the pain of childbirth and the deliverance of the children of God. The Lord was (as He has been throughout our marriage) amazingly gracious and loving to us, and mom and baby are home safe and sound and doing well. We thank Him and worship Him for this great gift placed into our trust and stewardship. May we, with His help and in His power, be faithful to teach her about Jesus and His Gospel, and to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

We kept the baby’s name a secret throughout the pregnancy, and my wife and her friends referred to her simply as “The New Girl,” but the main reason we like the name “Lucy” is that it is derived from the ancient word for “light,” and “Nicole” is from a word meaning “victorious people.” Certainly, Christians are victorious people of the Light!

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

John 1:6-12 (emphasis added)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12 (emphasis added)

But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:57 (emphasis added)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

I John 5:4-5 (emphasis added)

Sharpening Your Focus

July 12, 2013 at 11:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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F.uel

When you have no provision or strength for the battle you are facing, then it seems to make little sense to go into the battle. You would not have the ability to do what you have been called to do. But that is never the case for a Christian in spiritual warfare.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:13 has become a popular verse in American sports culture, but it is not really a verse about athletes winning ball games or fighters beating up their opponents. It is about drawing strength from somewhere else when you have none of your own. It is about sharpening our focus.

When we talk about drawing strength from somewhere else, when it comes to Christian warfare, what we really mean is from Someone else. When you are preparing for battle, draw your strength from Christ. In preparation you must believe that the message given to us by Christ will work.

F.uel
O.ptimism

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:3-4

It is a message that is comprehensible enough that we should be able to present it straightforwardly, boldly, and with confidence. We have the message.

F.uel
O.ptimism
C.ommission

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20

Our mission is not optional, so lack of preparation is unthinkable. When Jesus commissions His followers there is a a transfer of authority, but it is still His authority. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go ye therefore…” and the “therefore” refers back to the authority which He has the sole right to distribute and supervise. Christians should not be “tale-bearers” (Proverbs 26:20) with this one exception: We carry the “tale” of the incarnation, life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and, because it is His “tale,” it deserves to be told. Most of us really love the idea of, “Lo, I am with you always” but the “I am with you always” is not detached from the “go ye.”

F.uel
O.ptimism
C.ommission
U.nction

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Luke 12:11-12

The unction that the Holy Spirit gives to those engaged in the battle is not an excuse not to prepare for the battle. Notice that the people being addressed in Luke 12 are people who are already in the battle and have already prepared. As Christians we must be prepared to speak, but we trust the Holy Spirit to help us when we get a response we don’t expect.

F.uel
O.ptimism
C.ommission
U.nction
S.ubmission

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Philippians 2:13-14

Don’t fall for the excuse that you are too small to make a difference. If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you have never been in a tent with a mosquito! When it comes to spiritual warfare, don’t make excuses. An “excuse” is often just the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. Our comfort is not what is important. The will and glory of God are what is important. He works in us to do His will and His good pleasure. Sometimes (to borrow an overused cliche’) we have to “just do it.” We are under attack from the enemy – there is no doubt about it. We need to prepare to start fighting back, stop grumbling and complaining, and joyfully submit to the Lord.

F.uel: From Whom do we draw our strength?
O.ptimism: Why is it important to have confidence in our message?
C.ommission: Is the battle optional for us?
U.nction: Who do we have in the midst of the battle in case we encounter something for which we are unprepared?
S.ubmission: What needs to be our attitude about preparation?

Beware the Fatigue of Failure

June 28, 2013 at 10:24 am | Posted in Luke, The Fives | 5 Comments
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And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Luke 5:5

Simon Peter had a fishing boat. Jesus was speaking to a large crowd which was pressing in upon Him as He preached on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, so He climbed into Peter’s boat, finished His sermon, and commanded Peter to launch out into the deep. Once this was done, Jesus further instructed Peter and his fellow fishermen to let their net down and catch some fish.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? But Peter had an objection. He had been using this method of fishing all night long, and hadn’t caught a thing. It is not possible for us to know Peter’s exact tone of voice when he said, “We have toiled all night.” Maybe it was just an explanation of what happened. Maybe it was said with a touch of humor at being told to do again what he had just finished doing repeatedly with no success. I suspect, though, that there was at least a touch of exasperation in Peter’s voice. I would imagine that when he followed up with, “nevertheless…” he did so with a sigh of resignation, not really believing that the exercise would be anything other than pointless.

There was a time (albeit a very brief time) in human history when manual physical labor was neither exhausting nor frustrating. When Adam was given a garden to tend and keep in Eden, sin had not yet entered into the world. It was only after Adam disobeyed God that God placed a curse upon the world and mankind, so that now our labor has become “toil:” something unpleasant, difficult, and often unproductive.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:17-19

Working hard in a fallen world can still be rewarding, in a sense. Even the fatigue brought on by long tough physical labor carries with it a certain peace, and sometimes a feeling of accomplishment. But, if you’ve ever worked really hard at something, only to experience failure over and over again, you know that your mental state can really play havoc with your physical state. How is it that, when I was younger, I could play baseball in the middle of July from sun-up to sundown and still be full enough of energy to fight off bed time until the wee hours? But the following week, a mere four hours of painting the eaves of the house left me spent, drained, and irritable for the rest of the day? Physical activity is tiring, but somehow successful or fun activity seems way less tiring than physical activity ending in failure.

I suspect that this is what Peter was expressing in Luke 5:5. If he had spent all night catching fishing instead of fruitlessly lowering and raising empty nets, he would have been a little more eager to do as Jesus asked. However, the “nevertheless” which Peter speaks forth without any further urging is a good reminder to us to heed the words of Christ even when they may not be to our liking at the moment. “Toil” is not our preferred word for describing the work of our Lord, but neither is it an excuse for goldbricking. The Christian life ought to be a life of service, and service can make us weary, but, thankfully, we serve a kind and loving Master, and our spiritual labors, unlike our physical labors, will never be in vain.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Galatians 6:9

But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:57-58

Vanity: The Diagnosis and the Antidote

April 17, 2013 at 10:53 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 4 Comments
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The Book of Ecclesiastes is – in my opinion – one of the more difficult books in the Bible to teach. Many of its proclamations seem troubling and paradoxical in light of New Testament revelation. However, when understood in the proper context, it is an extremely edifying book, and, like all Scripture, it is immensely profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. It also contains its own helpful thematic summation:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Our earthly life is both temporary, and, in some respects, vain, but it is also valuable and of eternal significance. It is a gift from our Creator, and we must be good stewards of it.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Three solid principles for Christians to remember each day are: Fear God, obey God, and prepare to meet God.

The antidote to Ecclesiastes’ diagnosis of “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” is:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58 (emphasis added)

Here are links to the previous lessons on the Book of Ecclesiastes:

1. Contextual Wisdom
2. Nothing New under the Sun
3. Darkness Under the Sun
4. Break It Up!
5. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be
6. Do Birds Sing about Eternity?
7. Good Timing
8. Order in a Fallen World
9. Beware of Foolhardy Finagling
10. Working for a Living
11. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful?
12. Two Kinds of Heart Medication
13. Don’t Ruin Your Name
14. Would You Rather? (Wisdom of Solomon Edition) (*)
15. Don’t Lose Your Balance
16. Accurate Timing
17. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
18. Fooling or Ruling?
19. A Fly in the Ointment
20. His Heart Was in the Right Place
21. A Little Bird Told Me
22. Fortifying the Fulcrum
23. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious?
24. Life’s Big Adventure
25. Under the Sun vs. Over the Sun

* most-read post in series

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ecclesiastes | 7 Comments
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John Steinbeck’s famous novel, Of Mice and Men, takes its title from a line in a poem by Robert Burns. The idea is: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” King Solomon (centuries before either Burns or Steinbeck) considered this idea, as well. However, Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was well aware that most of the plans in a fallen world are evil plans.

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:13

Some of the most influential people in our world today are extremely wicked. They have “big ideas” and “big plans,” but these men, despite their influence, are actually very small men, and their ideas are of little consequence, compared to God’s plans. As one wise preacher said, “A sure sign that the sun is setting is that small men cast long shadows.”

Some of our biggest ideas and cleverest inventions are badly misused. We have the internet – and it is mostly used for trivial or wicked things. We have television, but most of what we watch is vain entertainment. We have the ability to store vast amounts of music on small disks or devices, but most popular songs are completely foolish. We carry cell phones with us everywhere, but too much of our communication amounts to gossip.

As finite creatures we are not able to grasp the comprehensiveness or the beauty of God’s plans. Christians want to know God – even to know the mind of God – but the mysteries of God keep us from making one of the mistakes of Adam and Eve.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17 (emphasis added)

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:5-6

We need to remember that God wants us to be wise, but we also need to remember that true wisdom comes from Him, and we can never be wiser than Him.

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:3

Death is the “last enemy” from the perspective of “under the sun,” but one day Christ Jesus will put all things under His feet.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

I Corinthians 15:25-26

In Ecclesiastes Chapter 9, we get some advice on marriage:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:9

Solomon spoke these words from experience. He had he turned away from God’s plan for marriage and turned to idolatry. Marriage is a gift from God. I Peter 3:7 calls a husband and wife joint heirs of grace.

For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

We all make our plans, but ultimately what matters most is our part in God’s grand plan.

A C.A.L.M. and Courteous Marriage

July 25, 2012 at 6:47 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 8 Comments
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Ideally, married couples should have a relationship that is both passionate and peaceful. No one wants to live in war zone – and that includes a “cold war” zone. So it is important that our marriages be C.A.L.M.

Christian love in marriage…

[d]oth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

I Corinthians 13:5 (emphasis added)

“Doth not behave itself unseemly” means that it is not rude. The opposite of being unseemly or rude is being polite or…

C.ourteous

Being courteous does not have to do with how you “feel.” Note that the verse says that Christian love does not “behave” itself unseemly. In public, most of us are conditioned to thinking one thing and doing another, at least much of the time. At home we tend to let our guard down. This results in the tragic consequence that we are often more polite to strangers than to our own spouses. You may have heard the joke about the wife who came back from her honeymoon and called her mother on the phone in a state of great distress. “Mom!” she wailed, “You won’t believe the way Bill has been talking to me ever since we came back home. He was as sweet as could be while we were traveling and relaxing, but now he has started using all these four-letter words!”

Her mother was shocked. “Honey,” she said, “that doesn’t sound like Bill at all! I don’t want to embarrass you, but can you give me some idea of the types of four-letter words he is using?”

“Okay, Mom,” said the new wife, “here goes, but brace yourself … He’s saying things like ‘cook’ and ‘dust’ and ‘iron’ and ‘wash.'”

That’s a silly joke, but the truth is there are serious and potentially controversial things that have to be discussed and worked out in a marriage. They are more serious than asking your waiter for the check “please.” But there is nothing so serious that it can’t be discussed with courtesy.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

I Corinthians 15:33-34

“Good manners” might sound like the kind of thing that is not super-spiritual, but apparently “good manners” are extremely important to God since they are directly contrasted with the type of communication that God calls “evil.” The Bible tells us to “awake” to righteousness, so we really have to shake ourselves if we are going to remember to be courteous to the people with whom we are the most familiar (the most obvious of whom is your spouse). They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt, and there is an element of truth to these proverbs, but, as Christians, we are to be yielded to the Holy Spirit, not to the “common sense wisdom” of the world around us. Courtesy is the first step in having a “calm” marriage, and, if you ask anyone who has had a tension-filled, drama-filled, or contention-filled marriage, they will tell you that you are definitely better off with a calm, peaceful marriage. We want passion in marriage, but we want it to be a loving mutual passion. If I could be a little blunt for moment, what we want is passion in the heart and passion in the loins – not passion upside the head.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

C.ourteous
A.ccommodating
L.ongsuffering
M.erciful

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