Tagsattitude authority baptism bible children christian christianity church church of christ creation death division evangelism evolution Faith faithful Fellowship forgiveness Giving god gospel Grace growth heart Heaven Holy Spirit Homosexuality Jesus Judgment life Lord's Supper love marriage obedience prayer preaching repentance revelation Salvation sin Study Teaching temptation truth worship
When God created all things, he capped his creation with his greatest creation of all, man. God took man and placed him in the Garden of Eden with the instructions to care for the garden. God realized that Adam was all alone, he did not have a help meet (Gen. 2:20). God realized that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18) so he caused a great sleep to come upon Adam and from his rib He made woman, man’s help meet (Gen. 2:22). With this we have God’s plan for man and woman to live as husband and wife. God’s design for man and woman to complement each other in their daily lives began.
As we follow the progression of man throughout the Old Testament into and the New we can see how that God’s plan for marriage has been followed. We can see how that the right spouse could be a big help, or a big hindrance, to one in their faithfulness to God. God through His infinite wisdom realized the importance of the right kind of help meet in life. He knew that men and women would need someone to help them in their daily struggles and to make their life complete. That is why that God said that it is not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2:18).
Some people, for one reason or another, have decided that married life is not for them. The apostle Paul spoke about how that he had the right to be married yet for some, like himself, it is best not to be married (1 Cor. 9:5; 1 Cor. 7:8).
On the other hand, most people find true happiness and fulfillment in being married. They find that having a spouse makes their lives complete and whole. They cannot imagine life without having someone special by their side. It is truly sad when that happy life becomes shattered, especially by the death of a spouse. Now where their lives were once complete and whole there is a great big empty hole.
God’s idea that it is not good for mankind to be alone does not change with death. As we look though out the Old Testament we can see examples of those who lost their spouse to death and remarried once again.
In Genesis the twenty-third chapter we find that the age of 127 Sarah the wife of Abraham passed away in Hebron in the land of Canaan. Beginning with the second verse of this chapter we see that Abraham mourned for his wife and made proper arrangements for her burial, just as any loving husband will do. Yet, when we turn over to chapter twenty-five we see that after a period of mourning, Abraham chose a new wife by the name of Keturah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons. Abraham’s decision to choose another wife did not mean he did not love Sarah. He was only fulfilling the need for a suitable help meet which he had in his life.
Another example we find is in the first chapter of Ruth. In verse four of this chapter we find that Naomi’s sons chose themselves wives from the women of Moab. Then in verse five we find that the two sons died leaving their widowed wives alone with their widowed mother. Naomi. In verse twelve we find that Naomi considered herself to old at this time of her life to have another husband. She also realized that her daughters-in-law needed to find husbands and have families of their own. She then in verses eight through thirteen encourages them to return to the home of their families and marry once again. Ruth remained with her mother-in-law out of the love that she had for her and for her son. As we turn to chapter four of this text we find that Ruth and Boaz marry. The love she had for the mother of her first husband is shown in that Naomi remains as a mother unto her.
As we shift our study from the examples of the Old Testament to the teachings of the New Testament we can clearly see that widows receive apostolic encouragement to remarry instead of remaining single.
Paul addresses this in writing his first epistle unto Timothy. In chapter five he is instructing Timothy concerning the care of widows. He talks in verse three how that those widows who are widows indeed should be honored or cared for by the church. He then in verses four though nine tells Timothy what a widow indeed is not. She is not one who has a family to care for her. Nor is she one who is below the age of sixty. In verse fourteen he encourages the younger widows, those below the age of sixty, to marry and care for her family.
This is in keeping with the instructions that he gives unto the Corinthians in the seventh chapter of his first epistle to them. In verse thirty-nine of this chapter he tells us that upon the death of a spouse one has the right to marry once again. (This is a repeat of the same thing which he told the Roman brethren; Rom. 7:3). This encouragement for a widow to marry again in verse thirty-nine is closing out his discussion on marriage beginning with verse one. As we have already seen in verses seven and eight he states that for some remaining single is the best course for them. Then in verse nine he says that there are those who are going to have that desire to have the companionship which is best served by having a spouse. Concerning this latter group, he says, “let them marry” (1 Cor. 7:9).
God realized in the very beginning that is was not good for man to be alone, even after the death of their spouse. In the words of Paul, “let them marry.”
A Head without the Body
Please picture the following scenario momentarily if you would…
You walk down to the curb to get your day’s mail from your mailbox and notice your next door neighbor doing the same. You decide to take a few minutes to visit and strike up a friendly conversation. After the obligatory, introductory topics of the day’s local weather and sports are addressed, the subject of their spouse – whom you haven’t seen around for a few weeks – comes up. As they turn with a satisfied smile and step towards their car parked there by the curb, they say, “Oh yeah, I got sick and tired of the way their body didn’t seem to want to cuddle and embrace me anymore, but they’re still here and I still love them – just not their body. Don’t worry though, they’re still with me,” they say, as they open their car door and pull out only the bloody, now-severed head of their once-beloved spouse.
A macabre murder mystery you say? A deranged, serial killer crime scene from some new “blood and guts” movie? No. How about a very apt physical illustration, of a deadly and widespread spiritual illusion, suffered by many once-faithful saints of today instead? Because that’s exactly what it is.
This deadly and devastating, soul-destroying delusion is suffered by those who claim they only want and/or have Jesus, but want nothing whatsoever to do with His church. The fatal symptoms of this epidemic spiritual disease are also clearly seen in the statements of many who claim to want nothing to do with “organized religion” but just want Jesus, or say something to the effect of, “Give me Jesus – just not the church!” It is suffered by those once faithful saints who have now walked away and severed themselves from His church, but still claim to have a good and loving relationship with Jesus. Those suffering from such a serious and insidious delusion need to understand that such is simply not even possible – and here’s why: Jesus is the Head, of His body, which is His church (See: 1 Cor. 12:12-28; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23; as well as Col. 1:18, 24)! What happens when one seeks to sever the head from a physical body so they can then carry it around with them, while leaving the rest of the body behind? Is there life between them and the head? Is their relationship with the head still a healthy and vibrant one without the rest of the body? Of course not! Plus the fact that they have committed a gruesome crime and will therefore most likely wind up in prison for a very long time!
And the exact same thing is certainly true in the spiritual realm as well. When any member of the church/body of Christ, severs or amputates themselves from the assembly/fellowship/worship of the saints because they are unhappy with the way they perceive that a few of the rest of the body/church members have supposedly treated them, they need to understand that severed limbs have no life in them, nor can they sever and take the Head with them and leave the rest of the church/body behind when they self-amputate (See: Jn. 15:1-17). It doesn’t work that way. The Head (Jesus), and His body (Jesus’ church) are totally inseparable (Jn. 17:17-26).
We initially come to God, Christ, salvation and Christ’s church as a complete and total, divinely-inseparable package deal (See/hear the audio sermon “It’s a Package Deal” here: https://soundcloud.com/user-640047687/467-3-8-15-am-its-a-package-deal). It’s all of them, or none of them, but surely it’s not just some of them (Acts 2:37-47; Hebs. 12:22-24). And one therefore must logically leave in the exact same way – not selectively severing and taking the Head, Christ, with them, while leaving the work, worship, fellowship and relationships of the Lord’s church, or body, behind in the dirt (Eph. 2 + 3; Titus 2:11-14). And to continually commit such an ugly, ungodly, and gruesome atrocity in the eyes of God, is to set one’s self up for an eternal life sentence that far surpasses any earthly agony when we all appear before the Great and Almighty Judge on Judgment Day… the very Judge whose body (church) some will have deceived themselves into believing they have gotten away with decapitating and leaving behind, while removing and taking the Head (Jesus) with them. Hence, the heavenly warning of Hebrews 10:23-31:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Please, we beg of you, if you have been infected by this deadly delusion, the Great Physician can still heal you! Please come back to the Head, and body/church of Christ – still intact and inseparably and forever together – and get re-attached to them while you still can (Ro. 11:17-22)!
On September 6, 1863, forty-eight Confederate soldiers, commanded by Lieutenant Richard “Dick” Dowling (who was only twenty-five years old), waited for the Union invasion of Texas on the muddy banks of Sabine Pass. The Union had sent four gunboats, and seventeen transport ships that contained 1500 troops. Dowling and his men were holed up in a few ramparts made of mud. They called these mud barricades Fort Griffin and although they were not made from the most costly fort material, they still stand today. Dowling’s men were not professional soldiers. They were ordinary working men. However, they had practiced to fight, and they were ready. The Union boats attacked, but their shells could not penetrate the solid walls of Fort Griffin. The Union soldiers tried to land, but they could not for they sunk up to their knees in mud. The Union gunboats moved closer to the fort. This was their mistake. Lt. Dowling gave the order to fire and one Union gunboat was destroyed. Upon seeing this, one of the other gunboats flew the white flag, however another was persistent. It continued to attack the fort. Dowling’s men fired upon this vessel and sunk it. And even though the barrels of their guns were so hot they blistered their hands, they continued. And soon, the captain of the gunboat surrendered. Lt. Dowling accepted his surrender. Forty-eight non-professional soldiers had defeated four gunboats and seventeen transport ships containing 1500 men. They had captured two gunboats, 350 men and wounded or killed over 100 federal soldiers. It was a decisive victory. This battle was the biggest upset of the Civil War. Look at some of the lessons we learn.
1. The number of people involved in a conflict does not itself determine the outcome. Forty-eight men destroyed two Union gunboats, killed or wounded over 100 men and captured close to 350 men. 2. Preparation is necessary to win the battle. These men probably never expected Union soldiers to come their way, but they prepared for that day, whether they expected it or not. 3. A solid, defendable stronghold is necessary for protection from the enemy. Although it was made of mud, sticks and concrete, Fort Griffin was solid and defendable. This stronghold provided these men with protection and safety from the enemies’ projectiles. 4. Perseverance and steadfastness are necessary qualities of victorious soldiers. Lt. Dowling did not send attack as soon as he saw the Union boats coming, instead, he played cards and patiently waited for the enemy to make the first mistake. 5. A person does not have to be a “professional” to put up a victorious defense. The men of Fort Griffin were regular everyday workers. They were not professional soldiers. However, they did not let that stop them. They went ahead and fought like soldiers. The bullets they fired were just as real as the “professional” soldier’s bullets.
Notice too that the Bible contains many great “upsets” from which we can learn these same lessons. Remember Joseph (Genesis chapters 38-50)? Remember Moses and the children of Israel (Exodus chapters 1-14)? Remember Gideon and his 300 soldiers (Judges chapter 7)? And what about David when he defeated Goliath (1 Samuel chapter 17) and Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego (Daniel 3) and Mordecai (The book of Esther)? And there are many more which are not as well known. However, we can see the above five principles involved in these situations. Now, the New Testament Christian soldier is also concerned about these principles. The Christian soldier knows that he will be in the minority (Matt.7:13,14). The Christian soldier knows that he must prepare for spiritual battles yet to come (2 Tim.2:15,16; Eph.6:15). The Christian soldier knows that the faith is his solid (Heb.11:1), defendable (1 Peter 3:15), stronghold and is able to protect him from the fiery projectiles of Satan (Eph.6:16). The Christian soldier knows that he must be patient, steadfast, and persevering (Heb.12:1). And the Christian soldier knows that he does not necessarily need to be a “professional” preacher, or a graduate of this university or that, in order to victoriously defend the word of God. Truth will ring just as clear in the ears of honest hearts whether it be taught by a man with a wall full of degrees or by a small country farmer (Paul was a graduate of the Rabbinical School [Phillipians 3:5] but Peter was a fisherman [Mark 1:16]).
The Bible teaches that each and every Christian must be concerned about spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). Further, the principles above are just some of the principles that regulate the life of the Christian soldier as he engages in spiritual warfare. As we have seen, a person does not need to be a “scholar” to be a Christian soldier. However, he must love the truth, apply it to his life, and be willing to defend it. In doing this, he can become a warrior of the truth. And together, applying the principles of the Christian soldier to our lives, God’s army can win decisive victories for the truth.
Brethren, if there is one thing the church needs now, the church needs people who are willing to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3); the church needs spiritual warriors; the church needs Christian soldiers.