3 Reasons Why Marriage Is a Model of Christ & the Church

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Why Say That Marriage Is Like Christ and the Church?

from Desiring God Blog

 

(Author: John Piper)

When I asked Noël if there was anything she wanted me to say about marriage, she said, "You cannot say too often that marriage is a model of Christ and the church."

I think she is right and there are at least three reasons:

  1. It lifts marriage out of sordid sitcom images and gives it the magnificent meaning God meant it to have.
  2. It gives marriage a solid basis in grace, since Christ obtained and sustains his bride by grace alone.
  3. It shows that the husband’s headship and the wife’s submission are crucial and crucified. That is, they are woven into the very meaning of marriage as a display of Christ and the church, but they are both defined by Christ’s self-denying work on the cross so that pride and slavishness are cancelled.

Adapted from the 2007 sermon "Marriage: God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace."

How to encourage your kids’ Sunday school teachers

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Nicole Davis:

On Sunday mornings, I come to church wearing two hats: parent and Sunday school teacher. Drawing on my experiences from both roles, I thought I’d put together a few thoughts about how parents can encourage our children’s secondary ‘disciplers’ (in this case, their Sunday school teachers) to keep doing the job with perseverance, diligence and joy. It’s a somewhat random list based mainly on my own frustrations and joys over the years. I’d love to hear your additions to the list.

  1. Turn up. Turn up each week. Resist the temptation to think about Sunday school as a child-minding service that someone provides for the weeks when we happen to find it convenient to drop into church. Think of it instead as a regular weekly commitment for the teaching and discipling of our kids. If we Christian parents were as committed to church and Sunday school as we are to swimming lessons, sporting teams and so on, I suspect there would be a fair bit less fluctuation in the numbers at Sunday school week by week!
  2. Reinforce the lessons at home. Ask your children what they’ve learned, help them learn the memory verse, sing the songs, display the craft, etc.
  3. Teach your kids the Bible yourself, and teach them how to make connections between the message of the Bible and their daily lives as kids. The tiny opportunities that their Sunday school teacher has to teach the application of God’s word week by week are greatly amplified if the kids come along already knowing that the Bible is a book to be learned and believed, remembered and lived out.
  4. Get to know the Sunday school teachers and treat them as an important part of your kids’ lives. Give them opportunities to meet your kids’ non-Christian friends and their families too, so that they can experience a sense of partnership in mission with your family, and so that your kids’ friends and their families will have one more familiar face when you invite them along to church and Sunday school.
  5. Pick up your kids on time at the end of the lesson.
  6. Get your kids to bed on time on Saturday nights.
  7. Take your kids to the toilet before you drop them off. smile

What would you add?

10 Things To Remember When Your Child Is Disobedient

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Ruth Simons:

Here are 10 Things I had to remind myself today when the job of correcting my children felt especially difficult…

1. You disobey the Lord…and He is the perfect Father.

2. His kindness leads us to repentance.

3. God disciplines those He loves.

4. Your child’s disobedience does not measure your value any more than his obedience showcases your achievement.

5. Your child’s disobedience teaches you dependence on God.

6. And sometimes it’s more than dependence He’s after, it’s complete desperation for Him.

7. Your child is clearly a sinner, and needs to hear the truth of the Gospel, and see it lived out through you.

8. Times of correction serve to remind, or establish within your child, his own sense of need for a Savior.

9. It’s not good behavior you really desire…you want his heart.

10. Your child is a person, not a project.

Gospel Gap-Fillers #5: A Lifestyle of Repentance & Faith

We looked at some of the attractive gospel replacements that subtly twist motives and affections for Christ to distorted reductions of the work of Christ.  Now we will look at what should fill the gap between the true gospel and genuine life change for God’s glory in this fifth and final post in the series. Again, this post will quote from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane’s book  How People Change.

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5. A Lifestyle of Repentance and Faith

God has blessed you with His grace, gifted you with His presence, strengthened you with His power, and made you the object of His eternal love. Because we belong to Him, we live for His agenda. And if change is His agenda, then repentance and faith is the lifestyle to which we have been called.

Near to the end of his career, Michael Jordan was asked why he always came early to practice before a game, even before the rookies. He was already being called the greatest player of all time. He replied that his shooting percentage was just over 50%, which meant that over his career, he had failed almost as much as he had succeeded. He was committed to keep on practicing as long as there was room for him to improve.

There are always new sins for the Christian to address and new enemies to defeat. The Christian life makes God’s work of change our paradigm for living, while we celebrate the grace that makes it possible. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

Gospel Gap-Fillers #4: God’s Call to Growth & Change

We looked at some of the attractive gospel replacements that subtly twist motives and affections for Christ to distorted reductions of the work of Christ.  The next few posts will look at what should fill the gap between the true gospel and genuine life change for God’s glory. Again, the posts will quote from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane’s book  How People Change.

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4. God’s Call to Growth and Change

It is so easy to coast! We have been accepted into God’s family, and someday will be with Him in eternity. But what goes on in between? From the time we come to Christ until the time we go home to be with Him, God calls us to change. We have been changed by His grace, are being changed by His grace, and will be changed by His grace.

What is the goal of this change? It is more than a better marriage, well-adjusted children, professional success, or freedom from a few nagging sins. God’s goal is that we would actually become like Him. He just doesn’t want you to escape the fires of hell—though we praise God that through Christ you can! His goal is to free us from our slavery to sin, our bondage to self, and our functional idolatry, so that we actually take on His character!

Peter summarizes the change this way: “Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).

Gospel Gap-Fillers #3: The Present Benefits of Christ

We looked at some of the attractive gospel replacements that subtly twist motives and affections for Christ to distorted reductions of the work of Christ.  The next few posts will look at what should fill the gap between the true gospel and genuine life change for God’s glory. Again, the posts will quote from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane’s book  How People Change.

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3. The Present Benefits of Christ

The Christian hope is more than a redemptive system with practical principles that can change your life. The hope of every Christian is a person, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He is the wisdom behind every biblical principle and the power we need to live them out. Because Christ lives inside us today, because He rules all things for our sakes (see Eph. 1:22-23), and because He is presently putting all His enemies under His feet (see 1 Cor. 15:25-28), we can live with courage and hope.

Our hope is not in our theological knowledge or our experience within the body of Christ. We are thankful for these things, yet we hold on to one hope: Christ. In Him we find everything we need to live a godly life in the here and now. Paul captures it so well: “I have been crucified with Christ and I know longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

(Italics and emphasis are added)

Gospel Gap-Fillers #2: The Centrality of the Heart

We looked at some of the attractive gospel replacements that subtly twist motives and affections for Christ to distorted reductions of the work of Christ.  The next few posts will look at what should fill the gap between the true gospel and genuine life change for God’s glory. Again, the posts will quote from Paul Tripp and Tim Lane’s book  How People Change.

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2. The Centrality of the Heart

The average Christian defines sin by talking about behavior. For example, what is the goal of most Christian parents? Is it not to get their children to do the right things? We set up all kinds of relational, motivational, and corrective structures to constrain and direct our children’s behavior. These structures are not without value, but if this is your only response to your child’s rebellion and sin, you will leave him defenseless against sin once he leaves home and the structures are no longer there.

Beneath the battle for behavior is another, more fundamental battle—the battle for the thoughts and motives of the heart.

The heart is the real or essential you. All of the ways in which the Bible refers to the inner person (mind, emotions, spirit, soul, will, etc.) are summed up with this one term: heart. The heart is the steering wheel of every human being. Everything we do is shaped and controlled by what our hearts desire.

That is why the Bible is very clear that God wants our hearts. Only when God has your heart does he have you. As much as we are affected by our broken world and the sins of others against us, our greatest problem is the sin that resides in our hearts. That is why the message of the gospel is that God transforms lives by transforming our hearts.

Lasting change always comes through the heart. This is one of Scriptures most thoroughly developed themes, but many of us have missed its profound implications. We need a deeper understanding of Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”