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Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

 The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 04/15/07
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 56.
The mystery of the Christian Marriage.

Our final form of mystery doctrine is Christian marriage. Remember that according to the Bible, there is a tremendous difference between marriage and Christian marriage. EPH 5:22-33, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” Notice that the relationship between Christian husbands and Christian wives mentioned in this passage as well as the relationship between Church and TLJC is called a musterion, a mystery.

So, we begin a sensitive, but important, subject concerning relationships in the Church, the body of Christ, and what this mystery of Christian marriage is all about. One of the many blessings that we have because of the cross is that our Lord not only restored all that Adam lost in the Garden, but He also gained back for us all of the things that the first Adam lost. Some of these things we experience in the spiritual realm now, but we will experience them in all realms in eternity. For example, the perfect environment in the Garden of Eden is duplicated in the spiritual realm by the PPOG for the Church-age but will be experienced in totality in the eternal state. There are many overlooked similarities from the Garden of Eden and the first Adam and the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. For example, in 1CO 15:20-22, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man [the first Adam] came death [spiritual death resulting in separation from God], by a man [TLJC, the last Adam] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” In 1CO 15:45-46, So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

Physical life comes first, then spiritual - that's why we have JOH 3:3unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom ofGod.” 1CO 15:47-49, “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

Once believers recognize this particular fact, and the analogies of the first Adam in the garden and the Last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, then they will see the importance of God's word as far as relationships are concerned. These relationships are between friends, fellow believers, members of the congregation, but most of all, husbands and wives, and in some cases right man and right woman, even if not yet married. There are two major problems in this area between the man and the woman. The predominant problem with the woman toward the man is lack of respect. This is why we have EPH 5:22 “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Wives should understand and support their husbands in ways that show their support for Christ. While the predominant problem with the woman toward the man is lack of respect, the man's predominant problem is bitterness and hypersensitivity. So we have COL 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter against them.” EPH 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;” How did Christ love the church? He loved her with an impersonal unconditional love, and He gave Himself up for her. Therefore, EPH 5:28-29, “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;” for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,” So the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, so as a man of God, he better have confidence and spiritual self-esteem because EPH 5:28 saysHe who loves his own wife loves himself [that's SSE]; In fact, both men and women should have confidence and spiritual self-esteem.

We have available to us the four spiritual mechanics: 1) The filling of the Holy Spirit. 2) Metabolized Bible doctrine circulating in the soul. 3) The ten problem-solving devices. 4) The power for the execution of the PPOG. These will solve your problems in any type of relationship including marriage, not marriage counseling, but the four spiritual mechanics. Each one of us as a believer priest, should use his own soul as the base of operation for his spiritual life. This is the dispensation in which every believer is a priest, and it is important to see the significance of the importance of the privacy of your priesthood, the importance of self-counseling from Bible doctrine accumulated in your soul, and the consistent use of those four spiritual mechanics. There is something special about the time in which you live, the dispensation of the Church, something that is far more important than at any time in all of human history. To have the responsibility that you have as an individual is by far the greatest responsibility ever given to the ordinary believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also important to understand, that what is written on the pages of the infallible word of God is never going to be clarified with regard to the PPOG for the Church-age, without the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. Never before in history has there been such an emphasis in the word of God on the pre-historic angelic conflict. We have a responsibility to God through the magnificent and fantastic assets, the spiritual assets given to us. Above all, there is assembled in the heavens, in the universe, the entire angelic host who are observers in this stage of history.

Angelic observation is an interesting subject in the Word of God. Elect angels observe human history, while fallen angels are designed to oppose human history. In the Church-age, mature believers and those who are willing to be dedicated and devoted the plan of God are on the front lines, and Satan is against these believers with all his principalities and powers. Look at the following verse in the context of marriage which is the ultimate human relationship in life, EPH 5:31-33, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” We have three words, mystery, Christ, church. Christian marriage in the dispensation of the Church is a part of the testimony that once and for all condemns Satan and all fallen angels to the eternal lake of fire. The marriage of a born again man to a born again woman is something special and has the highest standards ever assigned to marriage on the part of those who possess a sin nature. If you recognize where the attack is truly coming from, you should be able to solve those sensitive problems objectively rather than being subjective. The battle is not really between or against husband and wife, EPH 6:12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Look at EPH 4:22-25, “that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (See also EPH 4:29-5:2). What God does, He does in love, including divine discipline. Christ’s love for us was not cautious but extravagant; He didn't love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of Himself to us; that’s how we are to love.

In EPH 5:22-33, we have the dissertation on marriage and the marital relationship. In EPH 6:1-4, a dissertation on the family, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In EPH 6:5-12, a dissertation on the employee and employer relationship,  “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Because our struggle is not against blood [people's souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness[kosmokratoras - demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the cosmos or world rulers] against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places or against the spiritual forces of evil in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe and in the presence of God.

Back in EPH 5:32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” We have that same analogy in the O.T., where Israel is said to be the bride and the Lord is said to be the husband (ISA 54:5). So what is this mystery? It cannot be about the relationship between the Lord and His relationship with His people, because that also existed in the O. T. and mystery doctrine was not yet given. You must recognize that marriage and spiritual conflict are back-to-back and very intensive. This is because marriage, Christian marriage as a divine organization, has the greatest influential power in the Church-age against principalities and powers that have fallen, and that are making their case now before God. The real battle in Christian marriage is not being fought between the partners in a marriage; it's being fought between the kingdom of darkness and the marital partners. That is why God has put the law of forgiveness in there in EPH 4:31-32, because Satan wants the battle to be turned to the couple against each other. When Satan can convince us that the battle is with flesh and blood, and not with the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness, he succeeds in destroying the spiritual energy and potency that could blow him away, 1JO 4:4 “because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

Directed attacks will happen more to a congregation that's learning doctrine than in any other place. Satan's greatest bid happened when the twelve were gathered together personally with the Lord Jesus Christ in the upper room. Diaboloi, a title for the devil, means to "rip apart" and Satan tries to tear apart the mind. Satan does three things to the mind and the emotions and the physical bodies of men and women. He creates discord. He breaks up unity. He destroys patterns. Anything that causes confusion and division and splits your thinking up is cosmos diabolicus, of the devil's world system. Satan is a master of twisting the scriptures, distorting them, therefore he hates when passages of scripture like this is fulfilled: In 1CO 11:8-10, “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” This means that angels are observing how the woman treats her man. The fallen angels do not want the man and the woman to be restored to the original design of God. Remember that one is not better than the other; it is just a reference to divine order, and both the elect and fallen angels are observing to see whether or not it is happening. 1CO 11:11-12, “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.” This is one of the reasons why God the Holy Spirit told Peter to write 1PE 3:1 “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,” This means for the woman to be a good wife to their husbands, responsive to their needs. Because there are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated. Submissive is the verb hupotassoo which means to be in subjection (not subjectivity), to obey, to submit yourself unto your husbands. TLJC says to do it; Satan says don't. Now again, notice the context. In 1PE 2:18-20, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God..” There's no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you're treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God. 1PE 2:21 “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” This is the kind of life you've been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came His way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it. 1PE 2:22-3:1, “who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. In the same way, you wives, be submissive [or obedient] to your own husbands.” Just as servants should be submissive to their masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable, In the same way, you wives, be obedient to your own husbands. 1PE 3:2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Notice the word respectful; it is the Greek noun phobo meaning reverence, respect for authority, rank, dignity. What should be the woman's motivation for respect for authority, especially if they are married? 1CO 11:9-10, “for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”

In 1PE 3:3-7, “And [ladies] let not your adornment be merely external braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which [notice this] is precious in the sight of God. For in this way [women adorning themselves with the beauty of honor and respect for their husbands] in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [kurion], and you have become her children [tekna - students] if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

            The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. Treat your wives as equals so your prayers are answered. The weaker vessel does not mean that she is weaker mentally, physically, or spiritually; it means that she is the responder in the marriage and you are responsible for filling up her vessel (1CO 11:3; 1CO 11:7). When a man invests nothing in his relationship or marriage, he can expect nothing in return. The man needs to understand that the woman's desire is for him and that she desires to feel wanted and protected (GEN 3:16). Her security is in the love of her husband, not in the money he earns or his social prestige. Therefore, every woman needs and wants attention. She wants to feel as though she belongs and she is needed, and she should be protected rather than maligned. A woman truly desires to respect her man. She does not want to look at him as just another child to rear and handle. The man needs to understand the female mind and the female body. God has made the female mind and the female body to respond and when she responds mentally or physically to the man, she is the glory of the man.

The husband is also commanded as a part of his responsibility to please his wife and to do his best to make the marriage a success (1CO 7:32-33). The woman must have freedom to respond to the man's love for without freedom she will not have a desire to do so. In other words, no man should lord it over the woman. He should treat her like a lady, and he should allow her the freedom to grow at her own pace and desire. The husband has the following responsibilities:

- Rule his wife (GEN 3:18).
- Support the family (1TI 5:8).
- Protect the family (EPH 5:23; 1PE 3:7).
- Administrate the family (EPH 5:23).
- Set the spiritual pace for the family (EPH 5:23-25).

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