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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 09/04/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 24.
The mystery of relationships.

The night before our Lord's death on the cross, with great patience, compassion and understanding, He took the time to talk with His men about how they might carry on without Him after He left the earth. The information that Jesus gave His men that night is of prime importance for Christians today, as it has been down through the centuries.

One lesson that TLJC taught concerning abiding in Him was to reveal to the disciples the importance of their relationship with one another. JOH 15:9-18, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and {that} your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me."

This chapter falls into 3 sections; the first one was abiding with Christ, which we have already noted. Here the keyword is abide, and it appears 10 times in the 11 verses. Jesus reveals that the secret of being related to Him is abiding in Him, and the major emphasis is union; it has to do with maintaining vital union with the Living Lord. The second part (verses 12-17) talks about the relationship of believer with believer, and the key word is love. This word appears 4 times in those 6 verses. Once we have established that vital union with our Lord and maintain it, we come in contact with other Christians, and through a love relationship there is communion which is the emphasis of the second part of the chapter; we have communion with one another because we have union with our Lord. The third part (verses 18-27) is about the relationship, and the resulting struggle, of the believer with the world. The key word is hate, and it appears 8 times in 10 verses. That's what we could expect out of a world that is out of touch with God and out of union with Christ, because there is disunion between the believer and the world.

This subject of relationships, dating, and marriage is a very lengthy subject in the word of God. The apostle Paul is an expert on marriage, because of divine revelation, and whether Paul was a bachelor or not makes no difference when it comes to the principles of Bible doctrine.

Marriage for the Christian is the most difficult, the most challenging, and the place of more failures in the Christian life than anything else. Marriage is a divine institution for believers and unbelievers alike. Marriage puts a man and a woman in confined quarters, and this is one of the reasons that many problems exist. Marriage usually begins with total attraction between two persons, but as it progresses, it also it retrogresses. It retrogresses simply because the attractiveness begins to disappear as people get older. What was hidden by attractiveness and the desire for unfulfilled fantasies soon appears; that is the real person. Marriage should be the beginning of love, but for many it is the end. Therefore if a marriage or a relationship is going to continue, there has to be an understanding of principles of Bible doctrine. You cannot build a marriage on philosophical writings or on attraction.

A popular passage on the subject of marriage is found in Ephesians. EPH 4:29 up to EPH 5:22 is designed to prepare a person for marriage. EPH 4:29-5:22, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

EPH 5:22 brings out certain principles on marriage, but the real dissertation on marriage begins in Eph 4 which deals with Christian degeneracy which destroys marriages. Any relationship in life, to be successful must be founded upon principle. The interesting thing about most relationships is that there is time off, but there is no time off in a marriage.

Let's notice some principles that the apostle Paul brings out concerning relationships before he directly turns to marriage, Eph 4:31, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you along with all malice.
Notice a very important word in this verse which destroys relationships, and especially marriage, which is the word bitterness. EPH 4:32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. This will be another very important principle in our series, the subject of forgiveness.

In EPH 5:1-2, we have the importance of living in the Pre-Designed Plan of God (PPOG), Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Once people get their eyes on other people, it is very difficult to remain in objectivity in the PPOG. When you're stuck with someone, and the facade of their beauty or their attractiveness or whatever it was disappears, it is very difficult to remain in that relationship. People make terrible mistakes in marriage, and the divorce rate in Christianity is as high as anywhere else. The mergence of the two souls is the only thing that's going to make the marriage last. A lot of people pretend to have a happy marriage when they do not, and one of the problems is that a lot of ladies have never found a way to entertain themselves when their husband is occupied. That's the old desire to the husband versus operation sweat of the brow, or when both are working as is so often necessary today.

The most important thing that you must have, before you will ever be successful in marriage, is impersonal love. When it says in Eph 5:25, husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, it's the impersonal love that is in view. The Lord loved with both personal and impersonal love, yet when He commands husbands to love their wives He uses impersonal love! No one can go through the Christian life without impersonal love. Jealousy, bitterness, moral and immoral degeneracy are all monsters that destroy marriage.

The reasons why marriages fail are not found in the symptoms; they are found in the disease. Marriages don't fail over arguments about money, unfaithfulness, or the controversies that inevitably exist. Marriages fail because believers fail to live in the PPOG. And the greatest failure is in the area of impersonal-unconditional love, because out of impersonal love comes true personal love. None of us are perfect! Some people appear to be perfect and that's a problem in itself. One of the major problems is that people expect more from marriage than what God designed marriage to be. People have turned marriage into an emotional merry-go-round, emotional love, emotional entertainment, and emotional can't stand up under pressure. There are three great enemies of marriage, true for the unbeliever, but especially true for the believer, and all three have to do with the emotion: 1) Jealousy. 2) Bitterness. 3) Anger.

Eph 4:31 tells us what to watch out for, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. This is excellent counsel for all relationships in life. The Greek word for bitterness is pikria, and there are all kinds of bitterness, and all are malfunctions in the Christian life. You cannot be bitter toward anyone or anything without malfunction in your life. Marriages are destroyed by jealousy and bitterness long before they are destroyed by adultery. No born again believer with bitterness or jealousy can have a successful marriage. And if you think that getting rid of one partner, and replacing them with another will solve the problem, you're only deceiving yourself. He or she has an old sin nature, just like the one at home!

Another important area of relationships is between parents and children. PRO 13:24 says, He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently. You do not show your child that you love him by ignoring the need for discipline, for by doing so you actually show the child that you don't really care for him. One of the most insecure experiences a child can have is for them to misbehave and not be disciplined, PRO 13:24, He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently [early enough]. The Living Bible says If you refuse to discipline your son it proves that you don't love him.

PRO 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

To train up, it is the Hebrew verb chanak which means to initiate, to discipline or to dedicate. Chanak is also used for developing thirst and training to submit. According to the Bible, the term for a child may be translated from the age of infancy all the way to adolescence. In 1SA 1:22 it is an infant; in Gen 21 it's used for Ishmael before he was a teenager. Gen 37 uses the same word for Joseph when he was 17; Gen 34 uses the same word for a child of marriageable age, so this term for child is a broad term. It covers every age during the time the child is under the parents' roof to marriageable age. The whole time it is called his period of training. So we could read back in PRO 22:6, Train up a child in keeping with his characteristics.

In every child that God places in our arms there are certain characteristics already established in that infant's soul. Children are not a piece of clay to be molded into what we want them to be. The parent that wants to train his child correctly discovers those characteristics. Children are extremely different though they are brought up in the same environment, look at Cain - Abel, Jacob - Esau, Absalom - Solomon. There are dangers when parents use the same approach with all their kids. The worst thing parents could ever do in the home with the children is compare.

PRO 22:15, Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
From their early age foolishness is confined and compacted in the hearts of our children, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Some parents just think they'll leave the child alone and when they grow up they'll grow out of their foolishness, but it doesn't work that way. PRO 14:1, The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Here is a woman who never grew out of her foolishness; she is a young woman who wasn't raised properly at home and now she destroys the one given to her. She did not have the rod applied consistently and correctly.

PRO 14:9, Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will. If a child is not broken from his foolishness at an adult age he'll mock at guilt and sin. It means that God has designed parents to create in the hearts of the children a standard, a living standard of norms and standards of what is right and what is wrong. When the child leaves home he carries with him the built-in norms or standards developed and taught by the parents. With those morals, or in some cases immorals, the child begins to establish a new way of life. Without the proper training and discipline, when he's an adult he will mock at the guilt or conviction in his soul.

Here is what happens to a son that has graduated from his home without the rod having done its work, PRO 19:3,The foolishness of man perverts his way; and his heart rages against the Lord.
He does not have ingrained into him a standard of what is right and wrong, PRO 23:13-14, Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with the rod, And deliver his soul from Sheol.

The Hebrew word for spanking is nakah, which means to strike. Remember the rod is a literal stick used for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, and walking. This is NOT talking about child battering. We studied, in Psa 23, how the rod of a shepherd was shaped and suited to his own size and strength. The shepherd would spend hours practicing with the rod, learning how to throw it with amazing speed and dexterity. The rod was a weapon of defense, just as it is for the parents of the child. The rod was also the instrument that the shepherds used to discipline and correct the wandering sheep; in the same manner, as parents we need to use the rod on wandering children. Children find comfort in the rod, knowing it is a weapon of power, authority, and defense. The rod is for reassurance. The rod is to keep children from chaos and confusion. We must note that the rod doesn't belong on the face, neither does the hand. Discipline is not knocking a child across the room, but rather to discipline and correct the wandering child.
PRO 29:15, The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

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