LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

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John is a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 41st year working on a wide variety of projects. He works on churches, convenience stores, residences, and academies as well as industrial projects. He has helped in numerous property acquisitions and worked with real estate investors. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 55 years, he served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on "It's Your Call" TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage. John is a "Tentmaking Evangelist" (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 35th year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of three weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley, a weekly message from current events in California, and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many radio programs and written articles on the Internet.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

LOVE UNDEFILED

Date: Sat Feb 6 14:14:06 2010

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

If you want to know what is important to God, look at what Satan is attacking. There is probably no other area that is more under attack than marriage and sexual purity. God designed us so that sex is within the realm of relationships he ordains. God puts people together - one man and one woman forever. Once he does and we accept that in the public ceremony of marriage, we can be off to the races with sexual expression. Sex is al outward expression of an inward reality. Just like communion. So many people take the bread and wine without having a real relationship with God - a covenant relationship where we are eternally committed to each other. Paul says that many are sick and even die because they are participating in Communion unworthily. A lot of people are also participating in sex without a God-ordained covenant. The problem is that people want to express sexual feelings without being bound to the person. They are expressing a lie ñ they are NOT spiritually or legally one one with that person, they are NOT committed to that person for life, and the very act is a farce. Just as the act of Communion is a farce without that eternal covenant with Christ, so also is it when men and women try to express the most intimate human emotions to multiple people with no approval by God, no witness of man, and no intent to be eternally one in spirit and soul as well as body.

It is not only the world, but unfortunately also the church that is awash in immorality, and it is a tragedy that even among those who name the name of Christ, there is little understanding of how things really are with God.

Many Christians take their cues from the world rather than from the Bible. They spout off things that they do not know. I heard a pastor not long ago railing on a point that there was no gender in God! Obviously that is grossly uninformed, since gender is very much in Godís mind. In fact, it is impossible to understand our relationship to Christ if we do not understand gender and why God made male and female. Let's review some background, and then I will tell you how we MUST understand gender in order to properly relate to Christ.

The world is on a crusade to confuse gender and to advocate changing genders as one would change clothes, rejecting the God who made them. Many Christians listen more to ìpolitically correctî ideas than they do to God. We had some students from a Christian institution of higher learning on our covered deck, and they were uniformly advocating women in leadership in ways no different from men and were explaining away what the Holy Spirit unequivocally spoke through Paul, contending that the Corinthians were a special case and that those instructions were not for the church as a whole. Of course, any Bible student should know that Paul said he taught the same in ALL the churches and also that Peter taught the same thing, so their argument was obviously fallacious. If they had bothered to study some Greek history, they would also have discovered that there were at least two disparate cultural systems in ancient Greece. The Athenian culture was more traditional, with men and women in traditional roles. The Spartan culture, on the other hand, was rather egalitarian. Women were well educated, economically prosperous, and quite confident. The reason Paul went into as much detail as he did was because he was saying that EVEN WHEN SOCIETY ALLOWS IT OR ADVOCATES IT, the church must be governed by the rules of the Holy Spirit. The Corinthians were not being arrested by civil authorities because it was not a problem with them. Some of the women were simply doing what they were used to doing outside the church. Paul had to put the brakes on that. There are no exceptions. The same applies today no matter what society says! Let God be true and every man a liar!

In the Bible, women are given freedom to worship, to prophesy, to evangelize, to administrate, to practice hospitality and to teach other women and children. What is withheld are positions of rulership over men. It is so much like our relationship with Christ - he gives us many mandates in terms of our service to him, actually identical to these - what is withheld is rulership over Christ! It is no accident that just as too many women today are not satisfied with what God has abundantly given, but wish to be in authority over men, men and women in the church are trying to exercise rulership over GOD! They command, they decree, they "hold God to his word", they demand, and they declare things done by God even when he is not doing them. This manipulation must end. God is sovereign and we are his people. We must operate in the manner laid down to us in every area of life!

I also hear people say that Jesus was bound to his culture, which is why he did not have female apostles. Jesus was bound to no one! That insults the Son of God! He broke many traditions and was not afraid to make enemies. The reason Jesus did what he did is because he only did what he saw his Father doing. The Father is not about the feminist agenda. In fact, everything written in the Bible is contrary to it. God showed us a way where men and women are equal before him, and where women are highly honored, and where there is an orderly system of living that is 100% consistent with God' plan of creation and how he endowed men and women equally but differently to best express the glory of God in the earth and to show the relationship between Christ and his bride.

Jesus prayed for us to be one because he is marrying ONE bride, not many! He will not have an African bride, an Asian bride, an Hispanic bride, and a European bride! He will not have a rich bride and a poor bride. He will not have a male bride and a female bride, a Greek bride and a Jewish bride. He will have ONE bride. We have a lot of work to do! He wants a bride that agrees with itself, that is obedient to him, who holds to the truths of the groom, and whose agenda matches that of the groom!

Yet another line of thinking is that women were cursed because of Eveís transgression, but now that curse in removed in Christ, and ìthere is now no male or female, bond or freeÖî Of course the curse is removed for all men and women who appropriate the grace of Jesus. It is not a curse for a woman o follow a man! It is a blessing rooted in the very design of God. That is why women of God who flow easily in obedience to God accomplish so much good for the kingdom. After all, we are of equal value to God. Where master or slave, male or female, Jew or Gentile, God does not discriminate. He honors all. He gave dignity to all. However, the basic rules of order remain. They PREDATE sin. Just check out Paulís letter to Timothy..

I Timothy 2:11-15
11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

It goes back to the FORMATION of people ñ Godís ORIGINAL PLAN, not a permissive will that occurred after sin entered the world. You see, MAN was made in the image of God, but woman was made to be the glory of man. Read Genesis again carefully ñ that is what it says, and I Corinthians 11 is even clearer:

I Corinthians 11:7-10
7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

The order is God, man, woman. Man was created for God, woman was created for man. Man was NOT created for woman. It is essential that we understand that women complete men. Man is the giver, woman is the receiver. This is obvious from the very sexual design of the human body, indicating the intent of God in creation which predated sin. Eve was created to HELP Adam. Yet both non-Christians and Christians want to break down the basic building block of gender. They want to assert the womanís independence from man, they want to pair two givers and two receivers in total rebellion against the design of the human body, and they want to fundamentally change the intent of God.

God's intent is certainly clear.

Ephesians 5:22-24
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

I believe a major reason that the church is in such a mess is that Christian wives very often do NOT submit to their husbands. They have bought into the lies of Satan, and go their own way. They refuse the spiritual protection of their husbands, and think independently. The Holy Spirit teaches women through Paul to ask their husbands on spiritual matters. Yet many Christian women are at odds with their husbands, often being in utter deception. Without the spiritual covering, they are easy pickings or the devil, and the tales of tragedy are endless.

The church has the same problem as the modern Christian woman. It doesnít submit to Christ either. Christ is the HEAD as the husband is to be the HEAD. Christ is the leader, Christ is the initiator. Christ is the one who gives of himself to us. Christ is the one who saves us by his mercy and grace, his unmerited favor. Yet the church wants to do things its own way. They want to be the initiator and nt the receiver. Christ says donít use vain repetition in prayer, but people love vain repetition. He says pray without ceasing but people barely pray except mumbling something before eating. Christ says study to show yourself approved unto God, but Christians would rather be in church for yet another meeting or watching TV than spending time studying the Word of God. God says donít wear expensive clothes, but Christians love to show off expensive duds while letting the poor in the church remain poor. Christ says not to lust with our eyes, but men still gaze longingly at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, and the like. Christ says not to gossip, but many prayer requests are 90% gossip and 10% prayer. Christ says all kinds of things, but by and large the church stops its hears, follows its own program, and goes its own independent way. Christ has all kinds of ideas for us to pursue, but we want to put all our energies into our own ideas, our own liturgies, and our own progams.

We have to realize that we are the church and we are here to receive from Christ. We give him honor, just as the wife is commanded to honor and respect her husband. We obey Christ, just as the wife is called to obey her husband. We submit our will to Christ as he did to the Father - "not my will but thine be done". Whether the use of our time, whether to buy a new car and if so how much to spend, which people to talk to that we encounter in life, our will needs to be subservient to his will. Jesus said he did nothing he did not see his father doing. Everything we do should be what we see Christ doing. After all, we are being prepared to live as his bride forever. We will be in eternal submission to him and loving him and following his agenda forever. We must follow his agenda now ñ we are not our own ñ we were bought with a price.

How much happier Christian marriages would be if wives followed the agendas of their husbands, and sought to please them in every area of life! That is Godís eternal plan, so we need to follow it. Wives need to truly be submitted to their husbands, and we all, men and women, need to be totally submitted to Christ.

We cannot share our love with others. A wife cannot have other men in her life who meet her needs. Many women have fantasy lives. They also receive ìvalidationî and comfort from men who are not their husbands. With some it is a pastor, with others a friend. The woman is to have her needs met in her husband. A husband cannot fantasize about other women while making love to his wife. He cannot find emotional comfort with other women He cannot rely on friends, co-workers or a congregation to give him what is solely his wife's to give.

All of us are to have our needs met in Christ. So many of us let Christ do part of it, but we rely on others to satisfy parts of us that do not feel satisfied in Christ. We need to probe why we need that, and determine if there is a reason we are not receiving all we need from the Lord.

Israel time and again had other lovers. God hated that. He is a jealous God. He WANTS to care for you ñ he asks us to ìcast all our cares upon him, for he cares for usî. We simply have to spend time with him regularly and actually walk with him and never leave his presence. The veil in he temple was torn so we can be in the Fatherís presence 24/7. If we are, Jesus will meet every need he knows we have. If he doesnít give us something we want, we need to find out why, and not try to get that need met some other way.

That is LOVE UNDEFILED.
Jesus only - our Husband and our Friend.

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