Sunday, October 16, 2016

husband's duties

"In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body."  (Ephesians 5:28-30 ESV) 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the duties of the husband toward his wife...

First of all, the husband must realize that his wife is part of himself.  He may not feel this instinctively; he has to be taught it; and the Bible in all its parts teaches it.  In other words, the husband must understand that he and his wife are not two: they are one.    

On the practical level, therefore, the whole of the husband's thinking must include his wife also.  He must never think of himself in isolation or in detachment... His thinking, therefore, must never be personal in the sense of being individualistic, and what he does involves of necessity the other half. 

[On Eph. 5:29] A man's attitude to his wife, says the Apostle, should be his attitude, as were, to his body.  That is the analogy -- and it is more than an analogy.  We have already considered the matter as it is taught at the end of Genesis chapter 2.  The woman was originally taken out of the man.  There we have the proof of the fact that she is a part of the man, and that describes the characteristic of the unity.  

It's the husband's duty to make coffee for his wife in the morning.

To sum it up, this is a great commandment to married men never to be selfish.  Neither must the wife be selfish, of course.  Everything applies on the other side, but here we are dealing particularly with husbands.  We have already said that the wife is to submit herself.  In doing so she has acted on the same principle;  this is now the husband's side of the matter.  He must therefore deliberately remind himself constantly of what is true of him in this married state, and that must govern and control all this thinking, all his wishing, all his desiring, indeed the totality of his life and activity.

The Apostle puts it in this form in order that a husband may see that he cannot detach himself from his wife.  You cannot detach yourself from your body, so you cannot detach yourself from your wife.  She is part of you, says the Apostle, so remember that always.  You cannot live in isolation, you cannot live in detachment.  If you realize that, there will be no danger of your thinking in detachment, no danger of your wishing and willing and desiring any detachment.  Still less can there be any antagonism or hatred. Notice how he puts it: 'No man', he says, to ridicule the thing, 'no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church'.  So any element of hatred between husband and wife is sheer madness; it shows that the man has no conception at all as to what marriage means.  

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in the Spirit (Baker Books, 1973) pp 212-214.

Hear MLJ's message, "The Husband's Duties" here, the sermon upon which this chapter is based.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

the problem of self

"The real cause of failure, ultimately, in marriage is always self, and the various manifestations of self.  Of course, that is the cause of trouble everywhere and in every realm.  Self and selfishness are the greatest disrupting forces in the world.  All the major problems confronting the world, whether you look at the matter from the standpoint of nations and statesmen or from the standpoint of industry and social conditions, or from any other standpoint -- all these troubles ultimately come back to self, to 'my rights', to 'what I want', and to 'who is he'? or 'who is she'?  

"Self, with its horrid manifestations, always leads to trouble, because if two 'selfs' come into opposition there is bound to be a clash.  Self always wants everything for it-self. That is true of my self, but it is equally true of your self.  You at once have two autonomous powers, each deriving from self, and a clash is inevitable.  Such clashes occur at every level, from two people right up to great communities and empires and nations.

"'Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God'.  [Eph. 5:21] That is the basic principle, and it is to be true of all members of the Christian church.  Whether married or unmarried, we are all to be submitting ourselves one to the other in the fear of God." 

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in the Spirit (Baker Books, 1973) pp 211-12. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

the importance of christian scholarship

In June of 1932, J. Gresham Machen gave three lectures at a meeting of the Bible League in Caxton Hall, Westminster, London. The titles were "The Importance of Christian Scholarship for Evangelism", "The Importance of Christian Scholarship for Defense of the Faith", and "The Importance of Christian Scholarship for Building Up the Church."  The PDF of this series, as well as MP3 readings of the messages are located on the Reformed Audio site.  It would be worth your while to listen to them!

Here are just a few excerpts...

Let us, therefore, pray that God will raise up for us today true defenders of the Christian faith. We are living in the midst of a mighty conflict against the Christian religion. The conflict is carried on with intellectual weapons. Whether we like it or not, there are millions upon millions of our fellowmen who reject Christianity for the simple reason that they do not believe Christianity to be true. What is to be done in such a situation?

We can learn, at this point, a lesson from the past history of the Church. This is not the first time during the past nineteen hundred years when intellectual objections have been raised against the gospel of Christ. How have those objections been treated? Have they been evaded, or have they been faced? The answer is written large in the history of the Church. The objections have been faced. God has raised up in time of need, not only evangelists to appeal to the multitudes, but also Christian scholars to meet the intellectual attack. So it will be in our day, my friends. The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief; the true remedy is consecration of intellectual powers to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us not fear for the result. Many times, in the course of the past nineteen hundred years, men have predicted that in a generation or so the old gospel would be forever forgotten. Yet the gospel has burst forth again, and set the world aflame. So it may be in our age, in God's good time and in His way. Sad indeed are the substitutes for the gospel of Christ. The Church has been beguiled into "By-path Meadow," and is now groaning in the dungeon of "Giant Despair." Happy is the man who can point out to such a Church the straight, high road that leads over hill and valley to the City of God.

Men are trying today, as they have always been trying, to save themselves-- to save themselves by their own act of surrender, by the excellence of their own faith, by mystic experiences of their own lives. But it is all in vain. Not that way is peace with God to be obtained. It is to be obtained only in the old, old way - by attention to something that was done once for all long ago, and by acceptance of the living Savior who there, once for all, brought redemption for our sin. Oh, that men would turn for salvation from their own experience to the Cross of Christ; oh, that they would turn from the phenomena of religion to the living God!

That that may be done, there is but one way. It is not found in a study of the psychology of religion; it is not found in "religious education"; it is not found in an analysis of one's own spiritual status. Oh, no. It is found only in the blessed written Word. There are the words of life. There God speaks. Let us attend to His voice. Let us above all things know the Word. Let us study it with all our minds, let us cherish it with all our hearts. Then let us try, very humbly, to bring it to the unsaved. Let us pray that God may honor not the messengers but the message, that despite our unworthiness He may make His Word upon our unworthy lips to be a message of life.

~ J. Gresham Machen, 1932.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

JE birthday quotes

In honor of Jonathan Edwards' birthday last week (October 5), here are a few snippets from his writings, courtesy of @SDG_67:

"Such is man's natural enmity against God, that he would rather trust in anything in the world, than God."

"The cross was the devil's own weapon and with this weapon he was overthrown: as David cut off Goliath's head with his own sword."

"Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners."

"Seeing the beauty of God's holiness will melt the hearts of men, wean them from the world, draw them to God, and effectually change them."

"The gospel seemed to me the richest treasure, the treasure I have most desired; I longed that it might dwell in me richly."

"The yoke of Christ is abundantly lighter than the iron yoke of Satan."

"Make much use of prayer. You have a subtle and cruel enemy who seeks your ruin and disguises himself to deceive you. Keep close to God."

"Communion with God... is the highest kind of pleasure that can possibly be enjoyed by a creature."

Saturday, October 1, 2016

the whole universe a language

"I believe that the whole universe, heaven and earth, air and seas, and the divine constitution and history of the holy Scriptures, be full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words..."  

~ Jonathan Edwards, Typological Writings, Yale Vol. 11, p. 152.