Greetings MOL Family!
Is it possible for the family to experience a little taste of Heaven, on this earth? Why, if it wasn’t possible, God would not be sharing principles to guide us in having home sanctuaries. Praise the Lord that we can enter into this experience, today!
According To The Pattern
In our last class, the subject was the wedding. I am sure we got a blessing in recognizing that a Christian wedding –particularly a wedding of those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, who are looking for the soon coming of Jesus, those who believe that Jesus is in His closing work in the Sanctuary– that a wedding of such people will be something quite different from what the world does.
There will be a different atmosphere. This is a sacred service, the wedding. There is no conflict between the words “sacred” and “solemn.” There is no conflict between those concepts and the concept of being joyful. We compared it to a baptism. In all this, we are thinking of a Christian home as modeled after the heavenly Sanctuary. We are told to make all things according to the pattern. What was it that Moses made at the foot of Mount Sinai? A model – a copy of the heavenly Temple. And we can learn lessons from the earthly copy, in the days of Moses, as we seek to make each home a place where God lives.
You will remember that we noticed there was a priesthood back then; there is a priesthood in the Christian home. We are told that the father is the priest in the household, and in his absence the mother is to carry on that. We read in Hebrews 5:4 that no man takes this honor unto himself, but he who is called of God, as was Aaron. Aaron was called. He was anointed. There was a service of dedication, and for several days there was offering of sacrifices and anointing.
Two people can go out here and get a marriage license and set up housekeeping, but it does not make a sanctuary. A Christian wedding is a service of dedication and anointing – a service in which we present to God the bridegroom and bride, and plead with Him for the outpouring of the Spirit, without which their home will only be a house, not a sanctuary. Does it make any difference? Oh, it makes all the difference in the world. It makes this difference: Whether we have heaven on earth or whether we don’t.
There aren’t very many homes that are heaven on earth. There are a lot of them that are more like the other place. Thank God for the anointing from the Sanctuary in Heaven that takes these earthly tabernacles and makes them sanctuaries – a dwelling place for the Most High.
There’s a part of dedication, there are certain vows. Interestingly enough, these vows (in one form or another) are taken even by people who have little or no thought of God and Christianity. It’s come down from old times. I want you to think a little of what is said.
Two young people stand there, and the minister says to the young man, “Will you, John, take this woman, Mary, to be your wedded wife; to live with her after God’s ordinance, in the holy state of matrimony? Will you love her, honor her, cherish her, in sickness and in health, in prosperity or adversity, and, forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, as long as you both shall live? Do you thus promise?”
The young man says, “I do.” Then the question is addressed to the young woman. She returns her answer, and the vows are made. Accepting those pledges and the giving of love and loyalty each to the other, in the presence of God and witnesses, the minister (placing his hand upon the joined hands of the bride and bridegroom) pronounces them husband and wife and recites, “What God hath joined together let not man put asunder.”
It is a very meaningful service. There is a part I want to look at. It is that part which says, “and forsaking all others, keep you only unto her as long as you both shall live?” Addressed to the woman it is, of course, “keep you only unto him as long as you both shall live?” That’s quite a promise.
While there is a court and camp, it is the sanctuary on which our eyes are focused. The center of it is the Most Holy Place. And the Most Holy Place of the Christian home is the union between one man and one woman, and nobody else. No one but the anointed high priest could go in. Everybody else is shut out by the veils. And it would have been death for anyone else to venture in there.
God may not deal in the same instantaneous way with transgressors today, but He is nonetheless jealous over that which belongs to Him alone, and that which belongs to the husband and wife alone. We know we are living in the days like Sodom and the days before the flood. But the wonderful thing is that God is going to have a people down here today that are going to be just as pure as Enoch was before the flood, and just as pure as Isaac was in the days of Sodom. They will be as straight as Joseph was in Egypt, and as true as Daniel was in Babylon.
You and I are called to be among that number, and whatever failures we have made in the past we can, by the grace of God, rise above them. We can be cleansed, purified, washed, justified, sanctified, and some day glorified. Isn’t it wonderful? I am so glad we can go out into a world that has lost its way and point the way home.
Look at the marriage vow. Does it mean that, up to this point, a young man may be promiscuous, but not afterward? Does it mean that, up to this point, he may engage in association with this girl and that girl and express love and manifest special affection, but now he must not do that anymore because he’s married? No. It doesn’t mean anything of the kind.
The truth is, many who are promiscuous before marriage, sooner or later, continue that after marriage. The patterns of life are not easily changed. And a Christian girl does not want to entrust her future to a young man who has been playing around with this one and that one.
Likewise, a Christian young man is not looking for a girl who has come from the bargain basement – “handled goods.” No. Again I say, dear friends, if we have failed, let’s seek the cleansing fountain. But let’s learn to be true – let’s learn to be true to our marriage vows before we take them. That’s God’s plan; that’s God’s ideal.
In fact, that’s what the period from birth to the marriage altar is for – to learn the self-control that is necessary to keep the marriage vows. Children who cannot control their appetites when they are six and seven and eight years old have a hard time controlling either their affections or their passions when they get into the teens. But thank God, no matter how old we are, no matter how much we have failed, we can learn those lessons.
Give It To God
We are going to read now a wonderful text that fits in with the marriage vows. (You remember that word in the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”) All right. Now Proverbs 4:23. What’s the first word?
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23
Can you keep your heart? Do you have control over it, or do you have to lose your heart to this one or that one, depending on circumstances? How do you keep your heart? The only way to keep anything is to give it to God. As that beautiful prayer in Christ’s Object Lessons says, “Take my heart, for I cannot give it; keep it, for I cannot keep it for Thee.” The only way any young man can keep himself and his heart is to give his heart to God, every day. The same goes for a young woman.
One of the things that we want to understand is how to live in a society where men and women mingle and still keep the barrier of reserve that God has planned shall be between them. Here is a very practical illustration of what I am talking about. Sister White, talking especially to ministers, says:
Allow no one to praise or flatter you, or to cling to your hand as if loath to let it go. Be afraid of every such demonstration. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pg. 596
Do not place your reputation in jeopardy by going in the way of temptation. If a woman lingeringly holds your hand, quickly withdraw it and save her from sin. – Ibid, pg. 598
Do you get the picture? Is it all right to shake hands? Apparently. Is it all right for a man to shake hands with a woman? Obviously. But if one or the other attempts to hold the hand very long, the other party should quickly withdraw it. Isn’t that an interesting thing?
Some people would say, “I know how to avoid that problem – just abolish handshaking.” That would solve that particular problem. It would solve it very neatly; just don’t shake hands. In some countries, the women all sit on one side in the church and the men sit on the other. That solves certain problems. In some societies, after the children reach adolescence the boys go to one school and the girls go to another. That solves some problems.
Inspiration has guided us. Under this guidance of inspiration, we live in a society where men and women, boys and girls, young men and young women mingle, and mingle freely if they understand these principles. If they don’t, they’re in for trouble.
Here is a man and woman. They meet, they shake hands, and then each one withdraws. What does that brief handshake say? “Good morning. Glad to meet you.” What does that lingering handshake say? “Oh my, I think you are wonderful. I would like to see more of you.” Just that split-second difference can mean so much.
And inspiration has been good enough to guide us in the matter, not by saying, “Quit shaking hands,” but “Allow no one to … cling to your hand as if loath to let it go. Be afraid of every such demonstration. If a woman lingeringly holds your hand, quickly withdraw it and save her from sin.”
“Oh, but she might not like that. She might be offended. She might think that I didn’t appreciate that.” Yes, she might. That might be correct. It isn’t just the handshake. There are a hundred other ways to give the message of reserve, and of breaking down the barrier of reserve. The handshake is just one little illustration.
It happens in conversation. A man and woman meet. “Good morning.” There may be some brief word. Notice this statement about the forwardness of young girls in placing themselves in the company of young men:
Hanging around where they are at work, entering into conversation with them. Talking common, idle talk is belittling to womanhood. It lowers them, even in the estimation of those who themselves do such things. All frivolity, all undue attention of men and women must be condemned and discontinued. – Series B, #6, pg. 6
Don’t forget the handshake, because it’s symbolic… It is nice to be able to live in a world of men and women and pass easily and smoothly. Give your greeting and be on your way. But remember, as there is a lingering handshake that says something else, so there is a lingering conversation that says something else. So with many other things.
The Appearance Of Evil
My great longing for all of you studying these lessons is that you shall become so imbued with these principles that you won’t have any tensions. You don’t need to, but sometimes you will need to be quite firm and decided.
The subject of purity and propriety of deportment is one to which we must give heed. We must guard against the sins of this degenerate age. Let not Christ’s ambassadors descend to trifling conversations, to familiarity with women, married or single. Let them keep their proper place with becoming dignity; yet at the same time they may be sociable, kind, and courteous to all. – Gospel Workers, pg. 125
It is possible for a man or a woman to be dignified, reserved, and at the same time sociable, kind, and courteous to all. How do you do that? Well, it might be worth practicing a bit. We all learned to walk. Did you have to have any help, or did you just one day get out of the cradle and start walking? Never feel resentful if somebody wants to help you walk this road.
Young men, if some older man, or even some other young man puts his hand on your shoulder and cautions you about the way you look at girls, or the way you stand around and talk to them that may cause them to misunderstand, don’t resent that; say, “Thank you.”
The same with you girls. If some mother in Israel or some sister puts her arm around you and tells you that you may be misunderstood unless you are a bit more reserved, don’t resent it. Don’t go in “the doghouse” either. Don’t feel you’ve made some colossal failure. No, no. You’re just “learning to walk.” I will tell you this: As long as life shall last, you may need a caution now and then.
Abstain from all appearance of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Not only all evil, but all appearance of evil. I will read now a most interesting paragraph:
The usefulness of young ministers married or unmarried is often destroyed by the attachment shown to them by young women. Such women do not realize that other eyes are upon them, and that the course pursued by them may have a tendency to injure the influence of the minister to whom they give so much attention. If they would strictly regard the rules of propriety, it would be better for them and much better for the minister. Their failure to do this places him in a–disagreeable position, and causes others to look upon him in a wrong light. But the burden of this matter rests upon the ministers themselves. They should show a distaste to such attention; and if they would take the course God would have them, they will not long be troubled. They should shun every appearance of evil; and when young women are very sociable, it is the ministers’ duty to let them know that this is not pleasing. They must repulse forwardness even if they are thought to be rude. – Gospel Workers, pg. 129
This is important enough to run the risk of being considered rude. It is better to be rude than to be wrong; it is better to be considered rude than to be considered a “lady’s man,” or a “flirt.”
When you consider two magnets – they are drawn together. But, if I did not want those magnets to come together, do you think it would be a good thing to see how close I could get them and still not let them come together?
Suppose there are two human beings, and one knows that such “coming together” shouldn’t happen. Then if this one starts to move in this direction, what will the other one do? It will move farther away. I want to tell you something, Sisters: The man you need to keep the farthest from is the one who tries to get the closest to you, whether physically or in conversation or attentions or anything of the kind.
And the same with young men. There are some girls that you don’t need to worry about. They know where the lines of reserve are. If you keep to your place, they will keep to their place. But there are some girls who won’t keep to their place, and therefore your place is to get farther from them than you would with some others.
Christian young people who understand these principles, when they see some other person making advances to them, they will simply and calmly move a little distance, the other way. It may be geographically; it may be in conversation; it maybe in some other way. But they will let it be known that instead of yielding to the attraction, they are keeping out of the field of the magnetic attraction. God bless you!
Join us next week, as we continue on with our class rotation. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.