Marriage and Faithfulness

Hebrews 13:4   (NLT)   Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

Hebrews 13.4 - Marriage and FaithfulnessHonor and faithfulness are major necessities in marriage. God is involved in marriage; marriage involves morality. God honors marriage, He is an uncompromising judge Who judges the immoral spouse.

Marriage is honorable and sacred and it’s always wrong to defile it, betray it, destroy it. Faithfulness in marriage is life-long. It’s not only in the earliest days of marriage when our passions are soaring high, but it’s even when we’ve gotten on each other’s nerves.

God is holy; He will never stop being one. He will never compromise this even for the children He loves. We don’t try to twist His arm; we can’t. We don’t try to bend His laws; it won’t. God’s holiness is established; His design for marriage is purity, His call to spouses is faithfulness. Those are “set in stone;” rather, those are set in eternity.

Wholesome Doctrine of Jesus

1 Timothy 6:3   (KJV)   3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness

We’re enjoying our lives as believers. That’s natural for people who’ve been richly given all things we need for our enjoyment. But we’re not without struggles. We have a very undesirable division going on in the beautiful body of Christ. The Lord Jesus prayed that 1 Timothy 6.3 - Wholesome Teaching of Jesuswe as the church be one as He and the Father are one. We’re still far from that reality. The issues and teachings dividing the church are disputable—non-essentials—as often referred to.

There are dangerous teachings though creeping in the church. I’m a personal witness to this. It’s rampant and it’s ongoing. The Scriptures teach us that the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus are in accordance with godliness—our Lord’s doctrine upholds godly living. But I’ve heard messages talking down on preaching about morality and good deeds. In trying to affirm the doctrine of grace—grace which we love and appreciate tremendously—they have condemned the wholesome doctrine of our Lord Jesus—godly living.

We teach godliness; other teachers consent not. Sadly, a lot of opposition comes from fellow Christian teachers. Truth is: it’s possible for believers to stray and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). That’s why we’re encouraged to fight the good fight for the true faith, to hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called us… (see 1 Timothy 6:12). We don’t downplay God’s warnings: “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).

God’s Word is replete with such examples of our Lord’s wholesome doctrine of godliness. Here’s just another example—just a short segment: “12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14). This is our doctrine as people under grace. We don’t regret it; we don’t abhor it; we love it.

 

New Hearts

Matthew 15:18   (KJV)   18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matters of the heart matters more than the physical. They affect us in more significant and more crucial ways.

The words we honestly speak spring from deep within us. Depending on the condition of our hearts, the kinds of words coming out reflect them. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matthew 15.18 - New HeartsThat’s why although we hear it often, it’s not always wise to say “Just listen to your heart,” or “Just follow your heart.” Unregenerate hearts from unsaved world often come up with very wrong advice.

We praise God for changing our hearts. Instead of hearts of stone—hard hearts unwilling to listen to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, He gave us hearts of flesh—soft hearts—longingly, lovingly hungering, expectant of, and pursuing Him, His Kingdom, His Word, and His will. We’re more concerned about these hearts of ours and the issues flowing from them compared to the physical stuff we stuff our physical bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong; we don’t deny the importance of our physical bodies and the honor our Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We are the temples of the precious Holy Spirit. We recognize and realize the importance of good diet and exercise. Over-eating is still something to avoid, although I admit, I need more discipline in that. Gluttony may be a more convicting term than over-eating.

We can desecrate this temple. But what defiles this temple are not the kinds of food we eat but the kinds of words coming out of our lips; the kinds of thoughts we think with our brains, and the kinds of actions we engage in with our bodies. Immorality—these kinds of acts of our bodies defile us. But all these ultimately spring from deep within us. We take care of  our hearts; everything else flows from there. Our hearts belong to Him; that’s the big difference.

Fire for the Lukewarm

Revelation 3:20   (KJV)   20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

It’s always gratifyingly comforting to know that our precious Lord Jesus wants to be constantly with us. He gave us His word: He will never leave or forsake us: He will be with us to the end of the age. People don’t always have the same level of appreciation for this. revelation-3-20-fire-for-the-lukewarmThere are those who don’t believe His existence; there are those who prefer Him not to exist; there are those who pursue morality, but they reject Christ.

Then there’s the church. In the church, we find those who still make wrong decisions and who pursue wrong priorities. Our best will still fall short. God will always be true and faithful; the church wants to be but isn’t always. There are those who lose their steam, their fire, their passion. Somehow, they get taken over by different interests, like material possessions, or even immoral desires.

Ungodliness belongs to the world, not the church. We fall; God knows and understands we will; He knows our frame; He knows our weaknesses. But He’s not pleased when we sit (stay) in the seat of the scornful. He’s particularly clear about this: He spews out the lukewarm. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in this dangerous state; we don’t want to face the Lord and realize that we’re wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Our eyes our set on true riches: the Pearl of Great Price. And our feet are set on the straight and narrow.

For those who humbly find themselves in this fearfully risky stage of lingering in wrong priority and desire, linger no more; there’s hope. Jesus, in His amazingly enduring patience and love, is knocking. It’s best to open the door, let Him come in, and let Him take His rightful place seated on your life’s throne. He will kindle the fire of your godly passion once again.

Temples of the Holy Spirit

1-corinthians-6-19-temples-of-the-holy-spirit

1 Corinthians 6:19   (KJV)   19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The more we realize that God cares about us as a whole, the better we appreciate and treat ourselves. It’s true: God cares for the spiritual part of our being more than our bodies, but He does care for our bodies. Many people are not aware of how God has brought a very high honor and value to our bodies. He has, He has made us His possessions; He made our bodies His dwelling place—the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Everything we have is a generous gift from God. We don’t own our bodies; He does. We never owned it to start with; I don’t remember paying heaven a single penny to purchase them. Praise God for His super-gracious gift; we can never afford them in the first place. God’s been very good to us. In the middle of a culture that looks at anything material as evil, He elevated our bodies to that of the holy. We’re fully and gratefully aware of that—humbled because of God’s great love and kindness.

Now, we offer our bodies to Him as living sacrifices—holy and acceptable to Him. We keep away from sacrilegious thoughts, desires, words, and actions. He is holy; His temple is holy. We honor Him with it. There are things necessary for its survival although they may be temporal. We eat, and even that is God-honoring, although food perishes. But we employ great care and wisdom in our choices. Immoral, wrong, ungodly, and evil choices are absolute taboos. There are many other things we engage in, but we utilize our bodies in accordance with the honor God has given them. We engage in what are beneficial, constructive, inspiring, loving, and God-glorifying.