Marriage Online Bible Study, Week 4

Ephesians 5 21-33

21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Our online bible study continues this week with the 4th sermon from the series on Marriage by Tim Keller. Below is a summary of the fourth part of the nine part audio teaching which I recommend you listen to at your own pace. It’s the all-time bestselling sermon series from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, preached in 1991, and the basis for the bestselling book “The Meaning of Marriage” in 2011.You can purchase them HERE for only $2.50 per session. I am in no way affiliated with the Redeemers Presbytarian Church.

Tim Keller starts with a short reacap of the last three weeks. He says that marriage is blood sweat and tears, its great its glorious, challenges and defeat and victories, but not always sweet. It is what the text says, a profound mystery!

As we discussed previously, Tim Keller talks about the pre-cursor to the passage which Paul assumes that he is talking to christians who are filled with the spirit and so therefore are able to submit to one another because they are in awe of christ. Out of this reverence for Christ, we have a willingness and ability to serve one another. He says that the main problem in ant marriage is self centeredness and only the spirit of God can get rid of that. Otherwise most marriages are merely a peaceful coexistence where the understanding is …’you scratch my back I scratch yours, don’t focus on this, I won’t focus on that.’

Tim Keller defines marriage as a covenant. He says that the essence of marriage is a permanent and exclusive, legal commitment to share your life with someone else. He also says that biblically, love is a commitment. Love is a commitment to be committed to someone regardless of feelings because feelings will come and go. You won’t always feel like loving your spouse but you make a commitment to. The more you give and the more you share, the more you find yourself falling deeply in love because love is an action that leads to feelings and not vice versa. He reiterates that no other relationship is more fundamental than the relationship between the husband and wife. Your marriage is your priority it has to come before your career, children, and family. Thats why the bible says that a man shall leave and cleave and become one flesh with his wife. You create a new unit different from the family units you came from. You have to renegotiate based on your particular need, and create new customs and ceremonies. Tim says if your children are more important than your spouse, then you and your kids are in a lot of trouble. If your child is your surrogate spouse, you are preparing them for problems in the future.

This week we are studying the purpose of marriage which is friendship. Tim Keller explains that your spouse has got to be your best friend or you don’t have a marriage. He says that if you find that you can share and be vulnerable with someone of the opposite sex who doesn’t meet your body type, and then you meet someone who does turn you on but you know that the person isn’t really as good a friend then you are in trouble. You should have no better friend than your spouse. When Adam saw Eve, he said, ‘this is the bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh’.

Tim Keller defines friendship as a deep oneness that comes through a mutual journey to the same horizon. The common horizon journey is the throne and the deep oneness comes from the journey to get one another to a holy and blemishless state. Each person looks at one another and sees a beautiful thing that God is doing in his or her life. You are looking for a statue instead a beautiful block of marble. Along the way, you cleanse one another with the washing of the word. You see their flaws and weaknesses but underneath it you see flashes of what God is making them. You see their potential and want to help them get there. He says someday we are going to stand in front of the throne and our souls and character will be without spot or blemish and God is going to say to us, ‘Well done good and faithful servants, over the years you lifted one another to me, sacrificed for one another, held one another up with prayer, confronted one another, rebuked one another, hugged and loved one another and continually pushed one another towards me. Now look at you, you are radiant, you are presentable to me without spot and blemish.’ You are vehicles for redemption in the other persons life. The purpose of marriage is the deep oneness that comes from journeying together towards holiness. Romanced fun and everything else are just results. They are not what the marriage runs on. Any lower goal than that and you are just playing at marriage.

He gives this note to singles:

1) Singles usually start with romance then try to turn it into friendship. If you start with eros instead of filos, you will never know if you have probably ruled out your best spousal material. Start with friendship, a common vision, passion, and horizon someone with depth who you can be vulnerable with.

2) Be careful with your friendships. When you enter into a friendship with someone of the opposite sex and become very very very good friends, biblically you are dating. There is a difference between a friendship with the same sex and the opposite sex because of the way God created Adam and Eve as two polarities so that different characteristics were divided up between the man and the woman. A friendship has a completion component that is something deep and very mysterious.

3) Characteristics of friendships

1) Consistency
2) Honesty
3) Vulnerability- The ability and willingness to be naked. Do you keep secrets are there something this person will never understand? Then you are not a friend.
4) Blessing- Deep affirmation, seeing the person all the way to the core and loving them inspite of their flaws.

Tim Keller quotes that the meanest fear is the fear of looking sentimental. He says, do everything you can to become best friends. I’m going to get a yawn or a laugh but i have to talk about things that are keeping me from being open to you. Pay any price to become best friends.

He ends the sermon with this; A christian cannot marry a non christian.If christ is the most important thing to you you cannot expect your spouse to understand you will have to keep christ in the suburbs because if he doesn’t understand Christ he doesn’t understand you. Jesus Christ friendship to us is the ultimate friendship. Take what you have learned as you journey with him, apply it to you marriage and it will sing.

Don’t forget to join our bible study this evening at 8.30 PM GMT +1 / 7.30 PM in London. It’s an interactive online bible study HERE ON FACEBOOK. I look forward to fellowshipping and praying with you for our marriages.

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About Nimz

Hi I'm Nimz. I'm a portrait and documentary photographer and I love to write. I have just completed a Montessori course in Early Childhood Education and am working towards opening a Montessori Nursery in Lagos, Nigeria. My work can be found at website: instagram, twitter & persicope: @nimz_i.

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