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Have you ever heard of a skeleton in the closet? Oh, yes. Many a home has a skeleton in the closet. But every time the closet door gets opened, it jangles and you hear the bones rattling. Why not take it out and bury it? Why not get down together, find out what the trouble is, talk things over together, frankly, ask forgiveness, get forgiveness, accept forgiveness, and let the blood of Jesus cover everything in heaven, and let the love of husband and wife cover it all down here. What do you say?
If you want to be happy, this is the road. If you want to be miserable, then just keep recounting, either audibly or in your mind, the faults of your companion. That’s the way to be unhappy and have an unhappy home. I want you to be happy. Jesus wants you to be happy. This is the way.
And above all things have fervent [love] among yourselves: for [love] shall cover the multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
Oh, how good this is. And let me, while we’re on it, emphasize this thing of talking things over together and praying through things together. I’ve talked to you about that in a class previously, but I’m going to do it again in this class. This is my last opportunity in this series. Oh, dear ones, if you want to rise on that ladder, if you want to enter into the Sanctuary experience, if you want love, there’re two things you’ll need to do. Talk together and pray together.
Let me read you a statement here from the book In Heavenly Places:
If the husband and wife would freely talk over the matter with each other in the spirit of Christ, the difficulty would be healed… – In Heavenly Places, pg. 205
Isn’t that a wonderful promise? But there are conditions. The sentence begins with “if.” It’s like 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins… – 1 John 1:9
If the husband and wife would freely talk over the matter with each other in the spirit of Christ, the difficulty would be healed… – In Heavenly Places, pg. 205
But you notice they’re talking over in the spirit of Christ. In the spirit of Christ. There are homes (could be there’s one represented by those going through this study – I don’t know since I’m not living with you, but Jesus is), where husbands and wives talk things over all right. They shout at each other or they whine or they complain or they nag.
Years ago, one of our ministers was itinerating in China, way out in the farming districts. And as he walked along through the bamboo groves on his way to visit one of our Chinese believers, he heard this Chinese man and his wife. They were out in a rice field planting rice, and they were having a terrible argument. The husband would say something, and the wife would come back at him, and the husband would come back at her.
So he heard this as he walked along through the bamboo grove, and presently he came out into a clearing where he was observed. And the wife, seeing him first, said to her husband, “Shhhh, the preacher’s coming.” And by the time he came up to where they were, they were all smiling at each other and at him. The tempest was all over.
Ah, that we may sense the unseen presence of Jesus in the home all the time. What do you say? We’re to talk things over, but what did I read here? In the spirit of Christ. And listen, dear ones, whenever that’s absent, let the first one of you that comes to first, in your thinking, just stop right there.
You see, I’m dealing with you not as saints who are ready for translation. I’m studying with you as people who, like Jacob, need to find out the ladder reaches right where you are. Now, any of you folks that never have any problems like this, just thank God for it and make some notes to help some other people. But you who do have problems, this is the recipe. Talk together in love and pray together.
And let me tell you something. We’ve studied in this class that according to the Bible, the head of the house is who? The husband. All right, now, husband, show that you are the head as Christ is head of the church by leading in love. Whenever you begin to be dictatorial and harsh and accusing, then you’ve stepped out of your place as the head of the house. And you’re simply helping satan to wreck the house. That’s all.
Oh, dear husband, when you begin to sense the electricity in the air, when you begin to hear the static, when the tension begins to rise, there’s one of several things you can do. You’ll have to decide what you do. If you can’t think of anything else to do, just quietly withdraw and find a place (even if you have to go to the bathroom and lock the door), and get down and ask God to help you to be a man instead of a brute.
Ask God to help you to be a leader instead of a driver. Ask God to give you love instead of pressure and force. That’s one thing you can do. Another thing you can do is to put your arm around that woman that you promised at the marriage altar to love and to honor and to what? To cherish. You remember it, don’t you? Just put your arm around her and do a little cherishing right there. And say, “Darling, we need help more than I can give. Let’s get down here (wherever we are) and pray and ask Jesus to give us the love.”
“Ah,” someone says, “that would be humiliating.” Ok. Be humiliated. “…He that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Why, friends, we’ll have to humble ourselves a good many times on the way to glory. Let’s get in the habit. What do you say?
And dear husband, don’t be afraid to confess that you’ve failed. I thank God, friends, that He can give us the spirit to confess our faults to those to whom confession is due. There are a lot of failures that need to be confessed to our companions and to nobody else. To nobody else. The failures we make in our dealings with each other as husband and wife and as wife and husband, need to be confessed right there in the inner shrine of the home and left there, covered by the blood.
May I caution you right on this point. Be extremely careful how you tell either your own faults or the faults of your companion to other people. I said, be extremely careful how you do it. Just don’t do it. That’s the thing. Leave them there, covered by what? By the blood. The blood represents the what? The life, and the life is love. Ah, yes.
You know, sometimes with a distorted sense of humility we tell other people about all the failures we’ve made, thinking perhaps that that will encourage them. Sometimes it has just the opposite effect. But remember, around every family there’s a what? A sacred circle, and no other one has any right in that sacred circle. Remember who went in the most holy place? The high priest. Anybody else? That’s all. So stay in there. Have your problems in there. Get them settled in there. And even with the children.
Not too long ago, I heard the testimony of a couple of young people who were in their twenties, a family that I know very well and have known for many years. Those two young people told me something that just thrilled my soul. They said, “You know, in all the years that we have lived with daddy and mother, since we were little tiny children, we have never once seen them disagree in front of us.”
Wasn’t that some testimony? That’s the ideal that the Spirit of Prophecy holds out to us, isn’t it? Yes. Ah, dear ones, if you’ll talk together alone when you have problems and pray together over the problem, then you can meet your children and meet your other relatives and meet the neighbors, and nobody this side of heaven needs know that you’ve had the slightest disagreement.
I’m talking reality. This is your high and holy privilege. Where you’ve failed, ask God to forgive you. Ask each other’s forgiveness. Leave it covered with the blood and go on.
“Ah,” but someone says, “We’ve tried to talk together and we just don’t talk. We’ve tried to pray together, but somehow we just don’t pray together.” All right, if you’ve found a better way to solve your problems, that’ll have to be your decision. But I predict you’re headed for trouble – continued trouble. After all, the One who made us knows how we tick, knows how we run. And He’s the One that has told us, “Husbands and wives, there alone with God and each other, talk to each other.” I read it here didn’t I? And pray together (See Matthew 18:19-20). Praying together will bind hearts together. The harder it is to do it, the more you need to do it.
Oh, I hope that nobody going through these studies will think that you are an exception. The more of an exception you are, the more you need this, my brother, my sister. The less you’ve done it in the past, the more you’re going to need to do it in the future. Talk together; pray together. Pray together; talk together. And keep it up.
Up in heaven, in that New Jerusalem where the sanctuary is, there is a river of the water of life. That is another representation of love, love flowing free. And on one side of the river there is a trunk growing up. Do you remember? And on the other side of the river there is a trunk growing up. And they do what? They join above the river.
You remember? Anything on that tree? What is it? Fruit. Oh, it is a wonderful tree and it has wonderful fruit. It is called the tree of what? Life. Wouldn’t you like to eat some? Well, pretty soon, if we’ll learn our lessons here, we’re going to eat the literal fruit of that literal tree in that literal New Jerusalem. No fairy tale about it; it’s not a fantasy, nothing ethereal. It’s the real thing.
Now listen. In our homes here below, which are symbols of heaven, there is a tree of life. It’s the tree of love. It’s the union of the husband and the wife. Think of it. You husbands, where were you born? It’s not very likely that you were born even in the same city or county where your wife was. It’s possible. Very unlikely that you knew each other when you were one, two, three, four years old. But be that as it may, you grew up in separate homes, right? And then the time came, when, in God’s providence, you were led together and at the marriage altar you were, shall I say, ‘grafted into each other.’
But oh, friends, the union is not complete at the marriage altar. That’s the license to begin the experience. All the rest of your life that blending continues. Do you see that picture of the tree of life? Here is the husband on one side of the river, the wife on the other and they come together and they blend in this union of love.
Now, I’ve studied with you in several of our lessons in this class the matter of the physical union. The Bible is clear on this. In this, we have a picture of Christ’s union with the church, the seeking love of Christ for His church, and the response of the church. But we’ve made it very clear, friends, that the physical union, while it’s important, is the smaller part of the whole thing. Unless the minds are blended, unless the hearts are joined, the mere union of two bodies doesn’t produce the union that Heaven’s talking about.
So day by day, we are to seek for that experience of the blending, of that union which represents Heaven. Oh, I want you all to have it. And you can have it. Remember, the ladder reaches where? Right where you are. The ladder reaches right where you are.
–Stewards of Love–
Now, turn to Matthew 22:35-40 and I am going to give you a key. If you’ll use the key, you can succeed in entering into experiences sweeter, brighter, better than you’ve ever dreamed of. A lawyer stood up and asked Jesus a question:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. – Matthew 22:36-39
Tell me, husband, who’s your closest neighbor? Your wife! Isn’t that right? So your first job in loving, and your biggest job in loving, and your most important job in loving is to love who? Your wife. And of course, you wives with your husbands.
Now, we read that before in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it. – Ephesians 5:25
Ah, my dear friends, this is what all the law hangs on. But wait a minute, is this the first commandment? To love your neighbor? What did Jesus say it was? The second. Well, the second indicates a what? A first. What’s the first commandment? Love God. Love God with what? Well, tell me, if you give all your love to God, how will you have any left for your companion? Now, don’t be afraid of this. Don’t dodge it. Take it for just what it says. You are to love God with what? All your heart. All your heart.
Let’s think about it with money, a bit. How much of your money belongs to God? What about the tithe? Now, when I pay my tithe and give my offerings, can I do with the rest of it as I please? Suppose I pay my tithe and give half of what’s left as an offering; so out of $100 I have just $45 left. Then all I need to do is say, “I wonder what I’d like.” I can spend that $45 for anything I want, can’t I? How much of my money is God’s? How much am I to give to God? Or had you thought about that? Ah, friends, if you want joy, give it all to Him.
“The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine…” – Haggai 2:8
It’s all His. The tithe is simply our recognition of that principle. And if you want joy in your heart, give God every bit of money that ever comes into your possession. Just put it right down on His altar. You say, “Well, what will I live on?” God will take care of that. I don’t necessarily mean to turn it in to some other treasury. God has invited you to be a steward of His. If you will give God the whole business, then of course, He’ll say, “Turn the tithe into the treasury, turn some offerings into the treasury,” and He’ll direct you.
It’s a wonderful thing to have a very practical, literal experience in looking to God for direction in how you spend every nickel of your money. Some of you know what I’m talking about. I hope you’ll all learn. It’s the way to be happy. That way, every dollar you spend, is a happy experience in fellowship with God. Right? This is your privilege.
Now, this same thing applies to this matter of love. Give God how much of your love? All of it – every bit of it. Don’t be afraid. Then what will He do with it? Why, friends, He’ll begin to tell you how to spend it. Because that’s what love’s for. You know, money’s no good unless you spend it, is it? And love is no good unless you spend it.
But ah, here we come to a very vital thing. If we have given all our love to God and we’re looking to Him for direction, then, friends, He’ll be sure to tell us how to spend that love in a way that’ll make joy instead of trouble. Do you know one of the biggest troubles in the world today? People are spending their love like they’re spending their money – just for selfish enjoyment. That’s what’s the matter with the world. That’s why there’s so much flirtation, and men eloping with other men’s wives, and wives eloping with other men’s husbands, and all the long sad catalog of crime and vice. People are running after, finding a cake of thrill, and either tickling their taste buds or in satisfying, trying to, affections and passions and cravings.
Oh, I tell you friends, if you want to be happy, take all your love and give it to God. Do you know one of the first things God will tell you? If you give all your love to God, He’ll say to you, “My dear man, dear husband, love your wife.” Didn’t we read that in Ephesians 5? And then friends, you can love your wife because Jesus has taken the love you’ve given Him and put it in your hands and in your heart to bestow upon your wife.
And do you see friends, if you follow that, you’ll never be in danger of putting that love where it does not belong. You’ll never be in danger of loving some woman that you have no right to love. Do you see? Because you’ll recognize you are a steward of love. You’re getting your love from God. You’re placing it all on His altar, and you’re expending it as He directs you – to your wife, to your children; and then, as a united
family, sharing with others in the ways that are proper love for others in the church and in the community.
Ah, friends, this stewardship of love is a wonderful thing. Who is first in it? God. There’s no other way!
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.