Marriage and Its Many Problems -- Part Three

 

A good friend of mine, Howard Hendricks, who is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, spends a lot of time counseling Christian people. He says one of the difficulties he discovers in marriages, Christian marriages, especially among some of the young couples associated with the seminary, is that one of the spouses, usually the wife, thinks that somehow sex is not the kind of thing a godly person would do. So when the husband has a desire for a sexual relationship, the wife holds back and thinks, "Well, you know, he's young and immature yet. I suppose it's the sort of thing you have to do, but maybe as he grows in the Lord, this will become less necessary." That is a terrible thing.

Marriage and Its Many Problems -- Part Two

 

The Paul who wrote about marriage to the Corinthians also wrote Ephesians 5, where he gives a really beautiful description of marriage. There he states that God ordained marriage in order to illustrate the most sublime of all spiritual truths, namely, the way the Lord Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and faithful husband of the Church, and how we, the Church, are his bride. Paul is not saying something utterly different here in 1 Corinthians. He says that marriage is good. But notice, he is not saying marriage is the only good.

Marriage and Its Many Problems -- Part One

 

We come to the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians where Paul discusses some specific issues within marriage. The spirit of our times has made these matters - sexual immorality and the difficulties of marriage - particularly problematic. Paul found that the church in Corinth had adopted the mindset and values of the world, and we find the same mindset in the church today.

Everybody's Doing It - Part Five

 

That is why we need the Deliverer. That is why we need Jesus Christ the Redeemer to break the fetters of our sin. Any Christian ought to know that. If you have come to Jesus Christ as Savior, you know that you are a sinner. Not only do you know you need the forgiveness of sins, you need deliverance from your sin. Paul says, "Then how can one who has known Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, the Deliverer from sin, enter lightly once again into sin’s clutches?" That is the point I am making. This is the opposite of another characteristic of this secular age: the belief that man is self-sufficient and perfectible.

Everybody's Doing It - Part Four

 

Before the age of modernism, when people believed there was a God in the universe, the character and the law of this God was the law of man as well. We may not like it. We may fight against it. But that law stands, and we are not autonomous when there is a moral law in the universe. But when you push God out, you not only have a different view of man, you have a different view of man in relationship to law. The standard for law comes, therefore, not from God or even from nature but from within man, himself. Whatever I want to do becomes the standard.

Everybody's Doing It - Part Three

 

I think to understand why immorality has invaded evangelicalism, we have to see that there has been an enormous change in the Western world. It was ushered in with what we sometimes call "modernism," and sometimes call "secular humanism." We have had a remarkable change in recent history. We have moved from belief in "an open system," where God, though invisible, is nevertheless acknowledged to exist, to what is called "a closed system," where all we see is all there is, where the only thing that exists is the matter in the universe of which we are a part.

Everybody's Doing It - Part Two

 

Still another issue is ecumenism. Ecumenism is the desire to get all Christians together under one umbrella, whether or not they hold to the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. Schaeffer refers to a meeting of The World Council of Churches held in Vancouver, British Columbia, that by all objective accounts was a disaster. So much so that even the secular magazines, Newsweek and Time, in particular, said how ironic it is for these men to be calling upon the name of Christ while issuing the kind of proclamations they did. Yet strikingly, there were so-called evangelicals present at the meeting who wrote favorably about it and backed that up with published articles.

Everybody's Doing It - Part One

 

One of the most significant books I have read is The Great Evangelical Disaster, written by Francis Schaeffer. It speaks out against the failures of evangelicalism, particularly the unconscious, but nonetheless tragical, compromises of some of the great standards of the Word of God. The word he uses for this is "accommodation," which is the theme of the book.

The Litigious Church - Part Five

 

At the very end of this section, Paul begins to talk about how Christians must then live. He uses strong words. We have such a temptation to water them down because we believe in the doctrine of justification by faith. It is a great, foundational doctrine and we do not want to mix in works with justification. But notice what Paul says: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?" He did not say, "The ‘unjustified’ will not inherit the kingdom of God," but "the wicked," those who are wicked, those who act wickedly.

The Litigious Church - Part Four

 

I want to say something about the role of the state because although Paul does not develop it here in 1 Corinthians 6, considering another context will give us a more complete picture of this issue. What is the role of the state? Does the state have legitimate authority over the lives of Christians? One of the great illustrations of the proper role of the state is found in the trial of Jesus Christ. It was significant, not simply because it was Jesus on trial, but because Jesus stood in that position as the head of the church before Pilate, who was the representative of Caesar, the greatest power in the Roman world at the time.

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