Now to turn to the more contraversial evening celebration talks... Contraversial because Biblical teahcing is very counter-cultural. Contraversial because we're more culture-compromised than we realise. Contraversial because it probably didn't cross the cultural divide from middle-america to studentdom enough. Nonetheless there were some vitally important things for us to hear - and we should not let the difficulty of it excuse us from application of these things.Setting our hearts and minds on heavenly things gets firmly rooted into the day to day of relationships in the church community... in marriage, parenting and work. To look to our heavenly marriage to Christ is worked out in our relationships of today. Talk of married life in the student venue might have felt a bit too future-minded for most, but it needs thinking about in advance.
The gospel teaching about these things is very counter-cultural... and we've bought into our culture more than we know. Often we view marriage as a life-style choice, Biblically marriage is a ministry in which God can be served... in which heavenly mindedness is worked out.
1. The Bible is very pro-marriage.
We find it in Genesis 2 as man and woman become one flesh.
The Westminster confession claims it is sinful to "unduly delay" marriage.
Some are given singleness but we ought to pursue marriage.
"Singleness is a rare gift" - so men, seek a wife. (counter-cultural!)
2. Husbands love
Loving for husbands is daunting.
Living like Christ - sacrificially. Love is like death.
This is being manly. Being like Christ by living for your wife.
Sanctifying love - leading your wife in holiness.
Love leads - headship is not passive.
There is a call to marriage - "be a man!" - a call that many young men need to take note of. This is a call to the ministry of marriage.
This really struck me - I've always tried to maintain that first and foremost I'm a husband, before I'm a Bible teacher or anything else... It struck me that we really need to view marriage as a high-calling in ministry terms. It is one to pursue. And in our culture men are not encouraged to love like Christ, nor women to submit... but we must stand against that by setting our hearts and minds on Christ.3. Wives submit (This bit was Barbara Hughes)
Does that mean being a doormat? Quiet? Unintelligent? Denying rights?
No. Why submit? It addresses what is most difficult for wives to do.
Most women try to dominate their husbands, either passively aggressive, or aggressively aggressive. But wives are created to submit. Its trinitarian - following Christ and the Father... in God's image... with that image being renewed.
See also 1 Peter 3.
Following Christ's example... not belittling husbands, not taking over... not saying "I told you so", not "speaking ill of him in public"... but speaking well of him and not nagging... obeying and trusting God, even when your husband is wrong.... then the gospel shines!
This is hard teaching to hear in our feminist culture but like teaching to husbands is vital if we are to let the gospel shine in marriage. Less and less people get married today and yet God values it highly. All this talk of marriage is not to play down the difficulty and challenge of it. Nor does it deny the challenges of singleness many face today (I wonder if that would be reduced a bit if we got more of a grasp on Biblical marriage and Biblical manhood...). Life is not simple, its messy - I think Kent and Barbara Hughes presented a very simple rosy picture with much personal testimony. I rejoice at God's work in them, but know that many of our lives are fraught with struggle, mess and difficulty in relationships.3. Children.
Kent stated that marriage is a given, as are children. This wasn't argued from the text and I'm not convinced. Nonetheless, those who are or become fathers should instruct their children. Fathers most typically put their children down, or are mean and inconsistent, overstrict or distant - the must consistently teach their children. And children must live under their parents (while they are children, not as adults). Children need to be gradually released from parental control so that they develop self-control and become Spirit-controlled.
Everyone works for God. Doesn't matter who is watching. God sees. This applies to the workplace and to "ministry". Work is not life so we shouldn't be workaholics... family requires time and sacrifice. Workaholics are not serving the Lord. We should be the best employees, with the best attitude and integrity, dependability. Less than this is sin. We're all answerable to God.
Take domestic ethics to heart. Everything has to do with the gsopel. Fulness of God in christ in daily life. Put off the old ways, put on God's ways. Life goes fast - ride it fast for Christ:
... a few blinks and you'll be with Jesus.