There are thousands of marriage books, so why another one? Here are the three reasons I wrote Marriage God’s Way!
Marriage God’s Way isn’t about people trusting me
I recognize this isn’t a “reason” I wrote Marriage God’s Way, but it does answer an important question—why should you trust me to write a marriage book? I would never encourage people to trust what I have to say about marriage. Marriage God’s Way isn’t a collection of my thoughts about God’s first institution. Rather, I’m trying to get readers to trust what God says about marriage. He’s the author of it. He designed the roles and responsibilities for husbands and wives. He knows what a couple needs to have “a healthy, joyful, Christ-centered relationship.” And He provided a recipe for that in His Word. My desire was to present that recipe clearly and biblically.
First, I wrote Marriage God’sWay, becauseI’m passionate about marriage
I’m passionate about this area of Scripture and life. God designed the family as the primary unit for every other segment in society, including the church. And marriage is the heart of the family. As marriages disintegrate, families disintegrates. As families disintegrate, churches disintegrate. As churches disintegrate, society disintegrates.
When marriages are strong, however, families are strong. When families are strong, churches can be strong because strong churches are made up of strong families. As a pastor, I have seen many struggling marriages, but I have also seen couples find the solutions to their problems in Scripture. The truth of God’s Word has the power to heal and strengthen any marriage. Continue reading The 3 Reasons I Wrote Marriage God’s Way
Was Jesus close friends with sinners and tax collectors? We know He associated with them, but a closer inspection reveals He wanted to be their Physician.
After Jesus called Levi (Matthew) to follow Him, Luke 5:29-32 records…
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Jesus knew people were desperately sick and in need healing, and He is a Physician for sinners.
Other physicians heal physical sickness, but Jesus heals spiritual sickness.
Other physicians work on the body, but Jesus works on the soul.
Before Jesus physically healed the paralytic, He first healed him spiritually: “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:17-26). Despite how terrible the man looked physically, He looked even worse spiritually. Jesus dealt with the man’s greatest need.
A physician desires to see healing take place.
Thinking about the relationship between physicians and patients reveals why Jesus’ analogy is perfect. A physician doesn’t walk in to a patient’s room, give the patient a hug, or chitchat for a few hours. Instead:
A physician investigates. He comes in with a clipboard. He asks questions. He takes notes. He finds out what’s wrong. He diagnoses the problem.
A physician will get close to his patients, but he makes every effort to ensure he isn’t infected by them. He puts on gloves and possibly a mask.
A physician has a very specific purpose and desire: to help. He wants to see healing take place.
Likewise, patients don’t say, “I’m going to call my physician and see if he wants to catch a football game.” Instead, the sick say, “I need to see a physician. I want him to tell me what’s wrong and provide me with a prescription.”
What is the prescription for sinners? Jesus mentioned that in His response to the religious leaders: “I have come to call sinners to repentance.”
Repentance is becoming an ugly word in the church today, but in Scripture it’s the cure for sinners.
A Physician who seeks the sick
1 Timothy 1:15 Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
This was Jesus’ purpose. The religious leaders criticized Him for being with tax collectors and sinners, but considering who He was and what He wanted to do, any other behavior wouldn’t have made sense:
Pediatricians help children.
Veterinarians help animals.
Physicians help sick people.
If Jesus would’ve stayed away from sinners like the religious leaders wanted, He would’ve looked like a pediatrician staying away from children or a veterinarian staying away from animals.
The religious leaders couldn’t be more different than Jesus. They tried to stay as far away from sinners as possible. The sad irony is if they were as righteous – or spiritually healthy – as they thought they were, they should’ve been the most concerned with the sick. They’re the ones who should’ve been with sinners and tax collectors, trying to help them. Imagine doctors that avoid sick people because they think they’re too healthy for them.
One reason Jesus might have chosen Matthew (Levi) is he was a tax collector. This made Jesus look sensitive to sinners. When people saw Jesus with him, they knew He wouldn’t turn them away.
Jesus was going to die for sinners, and He manifested His love for them by seeking them out. But He sought them out not to be close friends with them. Instead, He desired to be their Physician and see them spiritually healed.
Do you see other examples of this behavior from Jesus or the disciples? What application does this have for us? Share any thoughts below!
You can listen to the sermon this is drawn from here.
On Thursday I listened to an interview with John MacArthur where he talked about a pastor’s responsibility beginning and ending with feeding the flock through the preaching of the Word.1 He stressed how pastors should see themselves as sanctifiers of their congregations so the congregates can go out and share the Gospel, influence their communities for Christ, minister to people, etc. He said those actions are not the responsibility of the pastor, but the congregation.
He went so far as to say the problem is pastors are focusing on changing their communities, being seeker sensitive, focusing on evangelistic sermons2 (as opposed to “meaty” sermons) instead of focusing on the spiritual maturity of their congregations through sound preaching. This is leading to poorly sanctified and spiritually immature (or as Chris has said, “anemic”) congregations. His point was that if pastors focus on the spiritual maturity and sanctification of their congregations, the believers in the church will go out and do the ministry pastors are unfortunately focusing on.3
With that said, one of your largest opportunities to go out and do the work of the ministry is approaching: VBS. This can be a huge outreach for each of you. Even if you aren’t directly involved with serving during VBS, I’d like to ask you to help support VBS. Basically, I’d like to ask you to put your sanctification to work: engage in the work of the ministry. How? Be thinking about neighbors, families, children, you can invite and possibly even pick up for VBS! This might sound like a stretch for you, but this is what the ministry is about: helping others to know our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!
 He said the same thing in his biography, but I wouldn’t totally agree with him in that I think pastors have other responsibilities like counseling, discipling, visitations, etc.
 This isn’t to say sermons shouldn’t contain the Gospel, it’s just that they have to have plenty of other instruction for congregations to grow in their sanctification.
 This all relates to Paul’s words in Eph 4:12 that pastors “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.”
Gary gave me permission to share something he shared with me. One of his renters, a Spanish man he’d known for eight years, committed suicide in one of his buildings this week. Gary found him with a handful of local police officers. Gary doesn’t speak Spanish, and he said the man didn’t speak English very well, so they never got to know each other, but as far as Gary could tell he seemed like a content individual that got along well with his neighbors and was a good tenant.
Basically, everything seemed fine with this man. Gary’s story really made me think of how important it is to be aware of the fact that we’re surrounded by people who have really serious struggles going on in their lives. I’m becoming more convinced most people look pretty good on the outside, until you get to know them and find out they’re in a lot of pain.
At our Thursday night fellowship Keri shared how she’s the only believer in her family, and she doesn’t know what to say to her loved ones. When I’m asked what to say to unbelievers, my encouragement is always the same: invite the person to church. This accomplishes a few things:
Solves the problem of feeling like you have to have all the right answers.
Allows them to come to a place where they can be welcomed and loved by other Christians, and hopefully develop relationships that really benefit them. By the way, this is one of the main reasons it is so important for us to reach out to new people we see on Sundays!
Most importantly, it allows people to come a place where the LORD can minister to them in His own personal way through the Word and the worship.
Whether it’s an unbeliever like in Keri’s case, or someone struggling like Gary’s tenant, we want to try to direct people to the LORD. He’s the only who really knows what’s going on with people and He knows how best to minister to them.
Since my parents purchased a Prius, I paid special attention to Toyota’s recalls in 2009-2010. A number of people experienced unintentional acceleration, causing numerous reports of people losing control of their vehicles, and even a two-car collision on Aug 28, 2009 that killed four people in San Diego, CA. While I remember the anger customers felt toward the corporation, the majority of it did not stem from the defective production. I think most people reasonably understand mistakes happen even at the highest levels of industry and production.
What did outrage people – whether Toyota customers or not – was the subsequent revelation that the car manufacturer was aware of the defect, but didn’t warn anyone. In other words, what understandably infuriated people was the reality that Toyota knew the danger people were facing, but kept that information to themselves. What if on February 24, 2010, when testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda would have defended himself by saying, “We thought it was unloving to tell people about the danger they were facing; we didn’t want to upset them”? While this would have been recognized as ridiculous and absurd, surprisingly a number of people apply this logic to the danger people are in regarding hell.
This past week, I spoke to a number of the WHS graduates at their senior dinner, and I was really surprised by a little backlash associated with telling them the Bible says “many” people in this world will go to hell and “few” will go to heaven (Mat 7:13-14). The criticism is that I wasn’t being loving. I really don’t understand. I became a Christian when I learned I was going to go to hell if I didn’t change my life, repent, and seek the forgiveness offered through Christ. I felt immense thankfulness toward the family who I considered to be very loving in sharing the truth with me. The way some people’s minds have been blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4) truly saddens me.