Pastor's Blog

Catechism Training

Posted under: Doctrine,Holiness,The Gospel — by curt.fifer

We are currently studying A Puritan’s Catechism, compiled by Charles Spurgeon from the Westminster Shorter Catechism and others.  It is a Baptist Catechism that is streamlined, but still very helpful for concisely expressing essential doctrinal truths.  I will provide the outlines from our sessions as posts on this blog.

 

Biblical Courtship Series, Pt. 3

Posted under: Christian Living,Courtship,Holiness,Marriage,Scripture — by Richard Hensley

What is so wrong with Modern Dating?

First, Modern Dating leads toward temptation not away from it. This is not just any temptation, it is one of the strongest and most compelling temptations man knows.  It is the temptation to commit sexual immorality.  Alone time is a normal and regular part of the Modern Dating process.  How many believe that it is a good idea for even strong Christians of the opposite sex to be alone for extended periods of time?

“It is impossible to be alone with someone of the opposite sex for an extended period of time and not fall into some sort of immorality.”            Paul Washer, Sermon on Biblical Courtship

The lust of the heart is hard to resist when it is so near so often.  The maturity level of most who start dating renders them all the more susceptible to these temptations. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts and minds, not to trust them.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Prov. 4:23 (ESV)

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”      Prov. 28:26 (ESV)

The Bible also commands us to avoid such temptations.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  1 Cor 6:18-20 (ESV)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.    1 Thess 4:3-7 (ESV)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Eph 5:1-3 (ESV)

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.    James 1:14-15 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.     Matt 5:27-30 (ESV)

The Bible tells us to “stand firm” against the devil with the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20).  Interestingly, it also tells us to “flee sexual immorality” and to avoid temptation, like the plague…especially the temptation to lust (Matt 5:27-30).  So, we are called to resist the devil, but to flee from sexual immorality?  Our resistance against sexual immorality must be rather low.

Someone might say, “That is fine for the young and the immature, but what about the mature Christian?  Aren’t they able to handle these kinds of temptations?”  Paul Washer uses a good illustration to help us think through these kind of questions: What would you do if you went to visit a young lady in the church, the door was open and you walked in and heard strange noises and giggling coming from the kitchen, only to find this young lady alone in the kitchen with your pastor?  They were only making cookies, it was clear.  But what would you say to your pastor?  Unwise or wise?  Right or wrong?  Should he be alone with a young lady?  Surely he has a lot more to lose than a young immature young man.  He has a wife, children, and a ministry.  And surely he is more mature than a young person with raging hormones.  If it is unwise for a more mature man to be alone with a young woman…how much more the one who is less mature, less equipped, and more susceptible to falling into sin?

The only way to avoid sexual immorality is to never be alone, unchaperoned with a person of the opposite sex.  See Scott Croft Articles: Biblical Dating: An Introduction and Biblical Dating: To Kiss or Not to Kiss for good discussion on inappropriate physical intimacy.  A good rule of thumb is to follow the family metaphor in 1 Tim 5:1-2, regarding how to treat fellow members of the body of Christ.  What level of physical intimacy is appropriate for a “sister” or a “brother”?  Doug Wilson comments, “We sometimes think a godly Christian is one who can pre-heat the oven without cooking the roast.” [1]  Modern Dating involves private, exclusive relationships, in which two people of the opposite sex are regularly alone.

 Second, Modern Dating encourages intimacy before commitment, thereby working against commitment.  In a book on courtship, the authors assert that “according to the Bibles’ perspective, if you are dating you are not just holding hands, you are holding hearts.”[2]  When two people are alone they begin to share their hearts.  This often occurs early on in the Dating Process, when there is no real commitment.  Intimacy is realized through sharing.  Then hearts become knit together.  Doug Wilson calls this a drift into “the zone of vulnerability…that place where one cannot leave the relationship without being hurt…a married couple is as far inside this zone of vulnerability as they can get.”[3]

The problem is that most Christians have had five serious relationships prior to being married.  Five times they have given much of their hearts to another.  Even if there is zero physical intimacy, they will have left pieces of their hearts with five other people.  And when they get married, they will be bringing five others with them into the relationship, so to speak.

Intimacy with someone of the opposite sex is a natural desire of both men and women.  Emotional intimacy is an especially strong desire in women.  This leads many women to allow more and more physical intimacy as they seek greater emotional intimacy.  Women will often seek to give more physical intimacy to try and gain more commitment.  Biblically, however, commitment precedes intimacy (Gen 2:24).  This kind of intimacy should characterize marriage, not multiple relationships before marriage.  Josh Harris calls this “pre-marital divorce”.  Others call it “serial monogamy”.  Michael and Judy Phillips believe this is one of the factors leading to increasing divorce rates. [4]  A comfort level with initiating intimate emotional relationships and then breaking them before marriage, makes it easier to break the intimacy of the marriage relationship when things do not go as well as expected.  Modern Dating usually establishes a pattern of high intimacy, low commitment, and frequent fractures in relationships.  This is devastating baggage to bring into a marriage.

Third, Modern Dating tends to hide true character rather than reveal it.  It is hard to get to know the character of a person.  It is even harder in a system designed to impress the other, create memorable moments, and  foster a romantic atmosphere.  The dating process is often very artificial and does not produce the kind of dynamics that expose the heart and character of a person.  What could be more important than having an accurate understanding of the character of the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with?

 Fourth, Modern Dating encourages independence rather than much needed parental involvement.  Dating typically discards parental involvement in relationship intimacy and commitment decisions, until funds are needed for a wedding and a checkbook needs to be opened.  Decisions are left to the two individuals who are actually least capable of making level-headed, unemotional, wise decisions.  The young man and young woman.

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”  Prov. 28:26

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Prov. 13:20

“We live in an age where the god independence rules.”[5]

In part 4 of this series we will look at the importance of the role of parents in the process of preparation for marriage.



[1] Douglas Wilson, Her Hand in Marriage: Biblical Courtship in the Modern World, Canon Press (Moscow, ID: 1997), p. 12.

[2] Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips, Holding Hands Holding Hearts, P&R Publishing Co. (Phillipsburg, NJ: 2006).

[3] Douglas Wilson, Her Hand in Marriage, p. 8.

[4] Michael and Judy Phillips, Best Friends For Life: An Extraordinary new approach to dating, courtship and marriage—for parents and their teens, Bethany House Publishers (Minneapolis, MN: 1997).

[5] Ibid., p.31.

 

Biblical Courtship Series, Pt. 2

Posted under: Christian Living,Courtship,Holiness,Marriage — by Richard Hensley

THE OBSTACLES TO GOD GLORIFYING MARRIAGES

There are a number of obstacles to God glorifying marriages.  And since God glorifying marriages should be the goal of parents for their children and young men and women, as they look to their future, we ought to look at some of these obstacles.

Poor discipleship at home.  If children are not taught a biblical godly perspective on marriage and the roles of men and women in marriage, they are likely to fail.

  1. Rejection of parental and godly authority, counsel, and wisdom.  A parent can train a child, teach a child, and correct a child, but the child may still reject this means of God’s grace.  And sadly, rebellion of God’s ordained means of protection and grace has led to many less than God glorifying marriages.
  2. The neglect by parents to guide and protect their children through the process of preparing for marriage.  Father’s and Mother’s who leave the process of finding a spouse solely up to their older children, with little input and accountability, cannot expect good things to happen.  God has designed parents to give godly counsel, accountability, and protection during this time.
  3. All of this has led to worldly modern practice of Recreational Dating. a.  We have accepted this practice hook line and sinker. b.  It is probably not coincidental that as sexual immorality, cohabitation, and divorce have sky rocketed, along with the practice of Modern Recreational Dating.

LET’S START WITH OUR VIEW OF GOD AND HIS WORD

We have to start with a right view of Scripture.  Without a foundation, we have no basis to make decisions and live our lives.  We will be, as the title of one book suggests, like the relativist with our feet firmly planted in mid-air.

  1.   God is sovereign and we are submitted to His authority (Matt 11:28-30; James 4:7; 2 Cor 10:5; Rev 4:11).  If we cannot understand God’s authority, then we will not understand his delegated authority to parents.
  2. His Word is authoritative and sufficient (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4; Luke 16:31).  If we believe this to be true, then it should drive us to God’s Word to address all issues, especially the issue of marriage and preparing for marriage.

MODERN DATING IS UNWISE AND PERILOUS

Modern Recreational Dating: The process of engaging in relationships with the opposite sex for mutual enjoyment, without parental involvement, with the hope that a suitable marriage partner will one day be found.

Is Modern Recreational Dating Biblical?

  1. At best, modern dating is biblically unwise.  At worst it is plain rebellion.
  2. “But, I know many people who have good marriages who have dated!” a.  First, you do not know their private details, stories, and regrets. b.  Second, surviving a process does not necessitate commending the process.

1)  Children have survived broken families, but we don’t commend them. 2)  People have survived airplane crashes, but as Douglas Wilson illustrates, we don’t commend flying on poorly maintained aircraft.

So, whether by ignorance, or clear-minded stubborn choice…there is little to commend Modern Dating, biblically.

NEXT ENTRY:  Part 3: What is so wrong with Modern Dating?

 

Biblical Courtship Series, Pt. 1

Posted under: Christian Living,Courtship,Holiness,Marriage — by Richard Hensley

I began posting on a Biblical Courtship Series back in 2011 and I did not complete the posts.  Unfortunately other priorities dictated a hiatus from blog posts.  I have been asked to finish these postings and so I intend to finish what I started.  I am starting back with part 1 and part 2, for those who did not see it to begin with.  We held a seminar in May of 2011, on the topic of Biblical Courtship, for our church and those interested in the surrounding area.  I will be posting component parts of the seminar on this blog over the next few weeks.  If you would like to listen to the seminar online, just follow this courtship link.

In today’s culture the word courtship has very little meaning and if anything it conveys a prudish, stodgy, and anachronistic alternative to the normal accepted practice of dating.  But the issue that we are dealing with as a culture is not primarily about dating versus courtship, but rather preparing for God glorifying marriages built on Christ and biblical wisdom versus following the normal worldly system of marital preparation, which has led to destruction of marriages and families in the past few generations.

CONSIDER THE STATE OF OUR CULTURE

Statistics are not everything, but they can give us a glimpse of the health of a society.  Approximately 40% of our children are born out of wedlock in the United States today.  The divorce rate for professing Christians is almost the same as the divorce rate of the rest of the culture.  In a Barna study in 2008, out of 4,000 interviews:

  • 33% of those who have been married responded that they have been divorced.
  • 32% of all born again Christians responded that they have been divorced.
  • 28% of Catholics responded that they have been divorced.
  • 26% of Evangelical born again Christians responded that they have been divorced.[1]

Notice that there is only a 1% difference between all respondents (33%) and born again respondents (32%).  One-third of the people who were married also experienced divorce.  It is slightly encouraging to see that the percentage of professing “Evangelical born again Christians” is lower.  But still, the numbers are quite alarming.  The Americans For Divorce Reform have stated, “Probably, 40 or possibly up to 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.”[2]  This means that approximately half our children live in single parent or blended families.

The United States Welfare System and Tax Code seems to reward out of wedlock births, rather than discourage them.  It appears that our government is trying to take over for Dads.  Women can get welfare help, such as Government Housing, Food Stamps, etc…as long as there is no responsible male figure in the household.  This has created an endemic of fatherlessness in our culture.

Broken families have consequential effects on the children.  Studies in the early 1980’s indicated that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around.   Teenagers in single-parent families and blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.  Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems.  Did you catch that?  Children have adjusted better to the loss of a parent in death than they have to divorce.  A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious, and insecure.”  Seventy percent of long-term prison inmates grew up in broken homes.[3]  In short, marriage and family are in a free-fall in our culture.  The bedrock of a thriving civilization is cracked and failing.  Something needs to be done.  We have to ask ourselves why?  We have to reestablish what the goal is in raising children and preparing for marriage.

OUR GOAL

Part of the problem in the debate over courtship and dating is that the wrong goal has been in view.  All of our effort has been in abstinence education, maintaining purity, and the need to protect our children from Cassanova.  Well, purity is vital, as we will see later.  Abstinence is essential.  But our goals are more far-reaching than that.  Our goal should be: Marriages that glorify God and yield a righteous generation! This should be the goal of parents for their children and young men and women for themselves.

For parents, your responsibility is not just to get them married and out of the house!  We laugh, but this appears to be the attitude of far too many parents.  Some believe that there is something magical about the age of 18, which releases parents from any further responsibility in the direction their children head.  That may be true legally, but as we will see, it is not true biblically. Parents need to have a vision that extends beyond being comfortable in our empty nest years, seeking fruit that abounds long after we leave this earth.  It is the fertile environment of God glorifying marriages that will produce such rich and enduring fruit in the generations to come.

For young men and women, your responsibility is not merely to find someone attractive that is fun to be around and makes your heart go pitter patter.  It is not merely to find a professing Christian.  It is to prepare for a God glorifying marriage that will yield a righteous generation.

Our goal will be dependent on our view of marriage.  Marriage is a sacred institution!   In Matthew 19:6, Jesus affirms the sanctity of marriage, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  So often the emphasis on this passage is placed on the so-called “exceptions,” when the overwhelming emphasis of Christ is on the sanctity and covenantal nature of the institution of marriage.

Marriage depicts the relationship of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph 5:22-33).  Marriage depicts the oneness of the Triune Godhead (Gen 1:26; 2:24; Deut 6:4; John 17:20-21).  Marriage even  depicts our future glorification (Rev 19:9).  Marriage is a picture of a future marriage, a future reality, and a future blessedness.  It demands our careful attention and preparation, so that the image is not so marred that it reflects nothing of the reality.

It is crucial that we do all in our power to get this right!  Our children’s future is at stake.  Our grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on…will be affected.  The Church will be affected by it.  Society will be affected by it.

We prepare for many things.  Above all, let us be prepared for this.  We prepare for tests, research papers, college and career.  How much more, for that which will have far reaching generational repercussions, either for God’s glory or for worldly ill. This is why we must evaluate the modern practices that lead to marriage.  In our day, it is called dating.  Is it biblical?  Is it helpful or harmful?  We’ll look into these as we study further.


[1] Barna Group, March 31, 2008: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released

[2] The Americans for Divorce Reform: http://www.divorcereform.org/results.html

[3] 18 Shocking Statistics About Children and Divorce: http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html

 

Altering Worship Structures

Posted under: Christian Living,Doctrine,Holiness,Music,Prayer,Sin,The Church,The Gospel — by Richard Hensley

I was moved by a passage of Scripture in my daily reading today found in 2 Kings 16:10-20.  There we learn of Ahaz, the ungodly idolatrous King of Judah.  Ahaz was enamored by the altar in Damascus and asked his priest, Uriah, to copy what he saw there in the Temple of the Lord, in Jerusalem.  So, a syncretistic Ahaz altered the Temple that God designed and ordered meticulously.  All of this gives us a glimpse of the abomination of false worship and idolatry.  But it also gives us a tremendous warning against a casual approach to church worship structures.

 10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details. 11 And Uriah the priest built the altar; in accordance with all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Uriah the priest made it, before King Ahaz arrived from Damascus. 12 And when the king came from Damascus, the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near to the altar and went up on it 13 and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering and poured his drink offering and threw the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 And the bronze altar that was before the LORD he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of his altar. 15 And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” 16 Uriah the priest did all this, as King Ahaz commanded. 17 And King Ahaz cut off the frames of the stands and removed the basin from them, and he took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pedestal. 18 And the covered way for the Sabbath that had been built inside the house and the outer entrance for the king he caused to go around the house of the LORD, because of the king of Assyria. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

How has God designed worship structures for the church today?  What is required in worship?  What is prohibited?  These are important questions of the day.  The Reformers often referred to two or three essential marks of a true or pure church: 1) Right preaching of the Word of God, 2) Right administration of the ordinances, and sometimes a third, 3) Right practice of church discipline.  It appears in our day that all three of these can easily be corrupted in order to accommodate the culture or increase interest and mitigate the offense of the Gospel.  We ought to beware of altering God ordained structures of worship.

 

Instruments in the Redeemers Hands

We are starting a series based on the seminar conducted by Paul Tripp and Tim Lane.  This seminar, which is available on DVD, is based upon Paul Tripp’s excellent book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.  Starting Sunday, October 16th, from 9:00 – 10:15 A.M., we will be sharing this material.  “The 12-session seminar applies the principles in the Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands Study Guide and offers an overview of the process of biblical change that will transform the way you think about helping others.”  The purpose of this time of training is to equip and edify the body of Christ at GTCC to be better able to minister to one another, to our families, and to other relationships, in a biblical Christ honoring way.  Each of us has struggles with relationships in some capcity and we need Christ, the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the manifestation of grace and truth in one another, in order to thrive in the complexeties of relationships.  You can order the study book here.  Hope to see you there!

 

The Mission of Motherhood

I saw this post and thought it was a welcomed reminder for mothers.  You are on the front lines.  You are under-appreciated.  You can grow weary and discouraged by the battle.  The fruit can seem absent.  But you are an amazing gift of God’s grace.  You are strategically placed to impact the generations.  May God strengthen you and encourage you today in your mission as mothers.  Enjoy this article: Motherhood as a Mission Field

 

Biblical Courtship Series, Pt. 1

Posted under: Christian Living,Courtship,Holiness,Marriage,Scripture — by Richard Hensley

Recently we held a seminar on the topic of Biblical Courtship, for our church and those interested in the surrounding area.  I will be posting component parts of the seminar on this blog over the next few weeks.  If you would like to listen to the seminar online, just follow this courtship link

 In today’s culture the word courtship has very little meaning and if anything it conveys a prudish, stodgy, and anachronistic alternative to the normal accepted practice of dating.  But the issue that we are dealing with as a culture is not primarily about dating versus courtship, but rather preparing for God glorifying marriages built on Christ and biblical wisdom versus following the normal worldly system of marital preparation, which has led to destruction of marriages and families in the past few generations.

 CONSIDER THE STATE OF OUR CULTURE

Statistics are not everything, but they can give us a glimpse of the health of a society.  Approximately 40% of our children are born out of wedlock in the United States today.  The divorce rate for professing Christians is almost the same as the divorce rate of the rest of the culture.  In a Barna study in 2008, out of 4,000 interviews:

  • 33% of those who have been married responded that they have been divorced.
  • 32% of all born again Christians responded that they have been divorced.
  • 28% of Catholics responded that they have been divorced.
  • 26% of Evangelical born again Christians responded that they have been divorced.[1]

Notice that there is only a 1% difference between all respondents (33%) and born again respondents (32%).  One-third of the people who were married also experienced divorce.  It is slightly encouraging to see that the percentage of professing “Evangelical born again Christians” is lower.  But still, the numbers are quite alarming.  The Americans For Divorce Reform have stated, “Probably, 40 or possibly up to 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.”[2]  This means that approximately half our children live in single parent or blended families.

The United States Welfare System and Tax Code seems to reward out of wedlock births, rather than discourage them.  It appears that our government is trying to take over for Dads.  Women can get welfare help, such as Government Housing, Food Stamps, etc…as long as there is no responsible male figure in the household.  This has created an endemic of fatherlessness in our culture.

Broken families have consequential effects on the children.  Studies in the early 1980’s indicated that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around.   Teenagers in single-parent families and blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.  Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems.  Did you catch that?  Children have adjusted better to the loss of a parent in death than they have to divorce.  A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious, and insecure.”  Seventy percent of long-term prison inmates grew up in broken homes.[3]  In short, marriage and family are in a free-fall in our culture.  The bedrock of a thriving civilization is cracked and failing.  Something needs to be done.  We have to ask ourselves why?  We have to reestablish what the goal is in raising children and preparing for marriage.

OUR GOAL

Part of the problem in the debate over courtship and dating is that the wrong goal has been in view.  All of our effort has been in abstinence education, maintaining purity, and the need to protect our children from Cassanova.  Well, purity is vital, as we will see later.  Abstinence is essential.  But our goals are more far-reaching than that.  Our goal should be: Marriages that glorify God and yield a righteous generation! This should be the goal of parents for their children and young men and women for themselves.

For parents, your responsibility is not just to get them married and out of the house!  We laugh, but this appears to be the attitude of far too many parents.  Some believe that there is something magical about the age of 18, which releases parents from any further responsibility in the direction their children head.  That may be true legally, but as we will see, it is not true biblically. Parents need to have a vision that extends beyond being comfortable in our empty nest years, seeking fruit that abounds long after we leave this earth.  It is the fertile environment of God glorifying marriages that will produce such rich and enduring fruit in the generations to come.

For young men and women, your responsibility is not merely to find someone attractive that is fun to be around and makes your heart go pitter patter.  It is not merely to find a professing Christian.  It is to prepare for a God glorifying marriage that will yield a righteous generation.

Our goal will be dependent on our view of marriage.  Marriage is a sacred institution!   In Matthew 19:6, Jesus affirms the sanctity of marriage, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  So often the emphasis on this passage is placed on the so-called “exceptions,” when the overwhelming emphasis of Christ is on the sanctity and covenantal nature of the institution of marriage.

Marriage depicts the relationship of Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph 5:22-33).  Marriage depicts the oneness of the Triune Godhead (Gen 1:26; 2:24; Deut 6:4; John 17:20-21).  Marriage even  depicts our future glorification (Rev 19:9).  Marriage is a picture of a future marriage, a future reality, and a future blessedness.  It demands our careful attention and preparation, so that the image is not so marred that it reflects nothing of the reality.

It is crucial that we do all in our power to get this right!  Our children’s future is at stake.  Our grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on…will be affected.  The Church will be affected by it.  Society will be affected by it. 

We prepare for many things.  Above all, let us be prepared for this.  We prepare for tests, research papers, college and career.  How much more, for that which will have far reaching generational repercussions, either for God’s glory or for worldly ill. This is why we must evaluate the modern practices that lead to marriage.  In our day, it is called dating.  Is it biblical?  Is it helpful or harmful?  We’ll look into these as we study further.


[1] Barna Group, March 31, 2008: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released

[2] The Americans for Divorce Reform: http://www.divorcereform.org/results.html

[3] 18 Shocking Statistics About Children and Divorce: http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html

 

God’s Riches Work-Book

Posted under: Christian Living,Doctrine,Holiness,Scripture,The Gospel — by Richard Hensley

I just finished working through God’s Riches: A Work-Book on the Doctrines of Grace, by John Benton and John Peet.  I highly recommend this as a discipleship tool for one on one discipleship, small groups, and for older adolescents in the family.  It is a very good summary of the Doctrines of Grace.  It encourages self-discovery and much Scripture searching.  I love the various quotes from pastors and theologians that are peppered through the book to emphasize certain doctrinal points.  Consider purchasing a number of these and giving them as gifts to stir people to get into their Bibles and study the doctrines of the faith. 

 

Biblical Courtship Seminar–May 21st

Posted under: Christian Living,Courtship,Holiness,Marriage,Scripture — by Richard Hensley

2011 Biblical Courtship Seminar

Saturday, May 21st from 8:30 A.M. to 12 P.M.

 Apart from following Christ, marriage is the most important decision a person will likely make in their lives.  It will begin the second most important relationship that a person will have on this earth (next to Christ).  Considering the epidemic of disintegrating  marriages and families, both in our culture, and sadly, in the church, it is crucial that we prepare our children for that critically important day in their future.  Their preparation for marriage will pay dividends unto generations.

What duties do parents have in preparing sons and daughters?  What biblical examples do we see that can inform and guide us in this process?  How much involvement should parents have in the process?  How much freedom should young men and ladies have in the process of finding a marriage partner?  What should we think of the modern practice of dating?  How active should young men and young women, along with their parents, be in seeking potential suitors?  How should we evaluate potential suitors?

Come join us as we explore these questions and more!  Parents, be purposeful and diligent in investing in the legacy you will leave in the generations that come after you leave this earth.  Young men and ladies, be purposeful and biblical in preparing for your future marriage.

 
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