Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our survival series, where (in this lesson) we have been focusing on the union between husband and wife…
Dear husbands, if your wife feels that it would be helpful if the two of you would seek some good, responsible counsel, wouldn’t you be willing to go, even if you didn’t think it was necessary, if she thinks it’s necessary? Wouldn’t you be willing, for her dear sake, to go together (the 2 of you) and get some counsel? — Likewise, the wives.
But first, don’t forget what was said in part 1 of our study. If the 2 of you again, and again, will kneel at the feet of Jesus; the 2 of you alone, no other person, not when the children are around, when they’re gone to bed, sometime when the 2 of you can be alone…
I had an experience that impressed me very much. I was talking with a young person, grown. And this young person told me that the 2 children in that family agreed that they had never in all their lives (during the more than 20 years that they’d been growing up) witnessed the father and mother disagree in the presence of those 2 children. Isn’t that a wonderful record? How about it parents – can your children witness to that? That is the ideal.
That doesn’t mean that husbands and wives won’t have problems. But there is a way to deal with those problems. There are things that have to be done in life. I had an operation once, but I didn’t have it out in the street.
Parents are to work together as a unit. There must be no division. But many parents work at cross-purposes… Children are quick to discern anything that will cast a reflection upon the rules and regulations of a household. – Adventist Home, pg. 312
How is it mothers? Do your children think that you love them better than daddy does because you’ll give into them? What a shame. It’s a wonderful testimony when a child can truly say, I know that whatever father or mother says, the other one agrees.
Of course, this means that sometimes one parent has to defer an answer until there’s opportunity for consultation. Our little girl came to know as a matter of routine that if she asked one of us about something she might get an answer like this: Well mother and I’ll have a conference, or Daddy and I will have a conference, then we’ll see. She expected that, no problem about it. I recommend it to you.
Never disagree in front of the children. Never disagree in front of the neighbors or anybody else. Take your problems to the Lord. You say, “But suppose we don’t know the Lord?” Then I invite you to get acquainted with Him. Because I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know any way that a home can survive today without Jesus in the home. Love and law are the basis of a successful home. Jesus is the living Law, and He is Love. You cannot get true love, lasting love, eternal love without Him.
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. – 1 John 4:8
If there’s a man or woman who does not know God, may I invite you, friend, even if you care nothing about yourself – for the sake of your home, why not let God come into your heart and make the home a successful, happy home. If who’ve experienced it, you will agree with me. There is nothing this side of Heaven that is so heavenly as a truly united home where husband and wife love each other truly. May I tell you, love is not selfishness, and selfishness is not love.
A Great Mystery
A friend of mine gave me a picture, knowing I was teaching a class in the home and another on preparation for marriage. In this picture, the artist was picturing a couple at the marriage altar. The bishop was there all decked out as Bishops are supposed to be at a wedding; and the bride and the groom. But in each corner of the picture the artist put the dream on this side of the groom, and this side of the bride.
In this picture, the groom’s dream was this: he was in bed in the morning, and his wife was bringing him breakfast in bed. And oh, it was fixed so nice, with the morning paper on the tray, and a flower. It was just a nice breakfast. This was all while they were standing at the marriage altar you understand, this was a dream.
Over in the other corner was the dream of the bride. You know what she was dreaming, don’t you? She was getting breakfast in bed. Her young husband was bringing the tray with a great smile and a bouquet.
Now as artist sometimes do perhaps this was a bit exaggerated. But too many marriages begin with something at least second cousin to that. Do you know what I mean? Too many people are getting married so they can be waited on and they can be happy. “Well”, you say, “Why not? Why shouldn’t I get married to be happy?” I’ll tell you this, friend, if you get married basically to be happy, it’ll be a wonder if you even get to first base. To make a home run is impossible. You say, “What’s it for then?”
The purpose of marriage is to understand and reveal the love of God; that’s the purpose of marriage.
Let’s turn over to the book of Ephesians, and we will read the divine picture. I hope nobody is offended when you read these verses. It’s what’s in the Bible; it’s been here for 2,000 years:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. – Ephesians 5:22-32
Yes friends, this is the greatest mystery of life, the mystery of love. There are millions of people who are mated but not matched, who are married and never know this mysterious union that is spoken of here. It is the union of love, divine love expressed through human hearts.
The reason that I said some people might feel offended if we read this, is that Paul starts out here with the expression, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” That’s not very popular today. That’s very old-fashioned. In fact, it’s so old-fashioned that some people think that it belongs to the Dark Ages. Well, it’s farther back than that. It goes clear back to the Garden of Eden. When God made Adam and Eve, and placed them in that beautiful garden, He put them on a full equality, as you know. But when sin entered it was necessary that there should be a headship established, in order for there to be a successful home. I simply refer to the Bible record that the Lord gave that job to the husband.
This doesn’t mean that he’s to be a dictator. It doesn’t mean that he’s to be a boss. It means that he is to be a leader. And if you have never done this, you just might try this experiment: Pick out the successful marriages that you know about and see if you do not find that in almost every case, in that successful marriage there is a wife who looks up to and respects the husband to whom she’s married, am I right? – You know I am. This is a very important ingredient if we are to be survivors as married couples in this wreck of a world.
“Ah”, but says one suffering wife, “I wish I had a husband that I could look up to and respect.”
That’s a very practical problem in some cases, and I do not overlook it. I refer you to what I said in the beginning of this study. If the two of you will seek the Lord in prayer together, God can solve every problem in your home. But you will not solve the problem by rebelling. You will not solve the problem by tossing in the wastebasket the divine plan. You will not solve the problem by substituting your human reason and judgment for the divine will.
You will notice that this same Scripture that speaks about the wife respecting her husband’s leadership lays a great deal of emphasis on the husband doing what in the home? What’s the verb that’s used there? Look at it, what does it say the husband is to do? — Love.
Let me tell you something. If Jesus is in the home, and the husband will love his wife, it will be a lot easier for the wife to respond with respect and cooperation. This is a two-way street. It needs both parties for full success.
But don’t forget also what I said, if you’re the only one in the home that knows God and loves Him, do your best to carry out your part of the partnership. And it’s amazing how, as you add, God will multiply.
But now come back to this expression here: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery.” There are probably human beings who would say, “I don’t see anything so very mysterious about it. It happens all the time. A man and woman get acquainted. They finally decide they want to be married; they are married; they set up housekeeping; they begin to live together. They begin to enter into the physical union that marriage provides for. I don’t see anything so very mysterious about it, it happens all the time.”
The mystery is not the physical union. Animals engage in that all the time. And millions of men and women who act like animals. The physical union of marriage was designed of God to represent and express a great spiritual union of two lives. But this can never be unless there is unselfish love. I know of nothing in all human experience where love on the one hand or selfishness on the other will manifest itself as much as in the home; in the marriage union itself. Millions of people who are engaging in this physical union from time to time know nothing of the mystery that Scripture is speaking of here. They go through that physical experience just as they might eat their 3 meals a day, but they do not understand this mystery of love.
I can only express to you this thought. There is something beyond what most people are experiencing. There is something beyond the mere fulfillment of physical desires. There is the possibility of a husband and wife joined in a union of which the physical is both the symbol and expression in which heart blends with heart and soul with soul. But this takes prayer, this takes study.
May I tell you, because of the education that most people have received in the street, in the alley, as they grow up with young companions, learning this little piece of information, and that one about physical relations between men and woman; very few people have high and holy concepts of the physical union of marriage. As the result, they are not able to experience Heaven on earth in these relationships.
May I read you something here which presents a most beautiful picture and a great challenge in Vol. 5 of the Testimonies? To me it’s one of the most beautiful statements in all the inspired writing:
Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish love. Then soul will be knit with soul, and the two lives will blend in harmony. Angels of God will be guests in the home, and their holy vigils will hallow the marriage chamber. Debasing sensuality will be banished. Upward to God will the thoughts be directed; to Him will the heart’s devotion ascend. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pg. 362
Isn’t that a beautiful picture, friend? Ah yes, when people are married and whether they’ve been married for a year or 50 years, it’s a wonderful thing when the door is closed to every other human being, and husband and wife are alone together, and yet not alone. “Angels of God will be guests in the home, and their holy vigils will hallow the marriage chamber.” If this thought seems a bit strange, may I suggest get used to it. If what you do dear husbands and wives when you’re alone in the marriage chamber is such that to witness an angel present would somehow seem out of place, then one of 2 things is so: either what you’re doing is out of place, or your concepts are out of place. Believe me; I’m touching at something very practical and very real.
Marriage, and this intimate physical relation of marriage, the union of the husband and wife, God intended to be entered into only in the spirit of love. God intended that every child born should be the fruit of love. This is His plan for the home. This is why He made marriage. This is why He gave men and women this wonderful gift in which we share with the Creator in the continuance of the race.
But this great gift is not merely that children may be born. It is that husband and wife may be joined into an intimate union in which they know each other. You remember how the Bible speaks of this physical union; over there in the 4th chapter of Genesis? The Scripture states in a simple, matter of fact way,
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain… – Genesis 4:1
Why is that verb “knew” used there? Ah, my friends, there’s a deep reason for it. God intends that a man and a woman shall know each other in marriage as they can never know each other in any other relationship. And believe me, there is nothing in which your real self is exhibited more than in this intimate union in marriage. If there is love there, it will be manifest in courtesy, politeness, consideration, the desire to please the other rather than selfishly wanting your own way. But if selfishness is there, it can be manifest in lust that permits no restraint, and no consideration of the other party.
May I speak especially to men? Husbands, may I suggest that you study very carefully the chapter in [Testimonies for the Church] Vol. 2 entitled “An Appeal to the Church”. Read there page after page the inspired description of the wrong practices in many homes. Read the earnest exhortations to deep love in these matters, unselfish love, pure love.
I suppose that what I have said is plain enough. But I do not need to say the next thing, but I find by the experience of many years that there is no subject that people are more capable of misunderstanding than the subject we’re studying now. Unless any un-listening person should carry away some foolish and untrue report, may I say very plainly, there is nothing in what I have studied with you from the Book of God, which suggests that the marriage relations should not be entered into between the husband and wife. On the contrary, I have shown you from Jesus statement in Matthew 19, and Paul’s statement in Ephesians 5, that this physical union of husband and wife is the expression of love, and a token and symbol of the love between Jesus and His church.
Why would Christ take this physical union of marriage and use it in this exalted way unless in His mind it was an exalted function and an exalted experience? And if human experience today is so much the other way, I’ll tell you what is the matter. We have been listening too much and looking too much to the ways of Babylon, and not enough to the counsels of God.
If we will quit all this silly sentimental stuff that comes from the world, this romantic idea and also the filth and lewdness of the world, and also my friends a lot of this so-called scientific information; if we will come to the Bible and the Testimonies, and build our homes on the saying of Jesus, we can have homes that survive.
Next week we will be continuing on with our class rotation. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Husband and wife may have an experience –with Jesus and each other– like never before. Enter into the great mystery of this love, today! >> Learn How
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*This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.