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The Christian Home
It was the Apostle Paul who, in the Spirit, said, "Grace * * hath appeared teaching us that * * we should live soberly, righteously and godly."
Christianity grants no license to licentiousness. The ethics of Christianity go far beyond the ethics which eminate from heathen cults. Our Lord laid great stress on the daily walk of those who serve Him. We have heard some ministers preach on "grace" as though it was an excuse for lawlessness. This is not true. While we can do nothing to become a Christian, we should do everything that becomes one.
Our Scripture text very plainly emphasizes Christ in the home.
(1) A message to children.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right."
(2) A message to fathers.
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
(3) A message to servants.
"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh."
(4) A message to masters.
"And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening."
(5) A message to wives.
(This message is found in Ephesians 5:22 of the preceding chapter) "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."
(6) A message to husbands.
(This also is found in Ephesians 5:25 of the preceding chapter.)
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church; and gave Himself for it."
I. A VIRTUOUS WOMAN (Proverbs 31:1-31 )
1. "Her price is above rubies." God saw that man needed a helpmeet. He gave him the most priceless of all human gifts a woman. A virtuous woman is a joy forever.
2. "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her." There is no reason for bickering and strife, nor for jealousies which break hearts and wreck homes, where there is a faithful husband and a virtuous loving wife.
3. "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."
"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands;
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar;
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household;
She considereth a field, and buyeth it;
She girdeth her loins with strength;
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night;
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff."
Such a woman certainly will do her husband and her household good, and not evil, all the days of her life. Her husband will be known in the gates.
4. "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." There can be no regret in coming years, as she reviews her accomplishments.
5. "She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness." A woman may be recognized as the weaker vessel, but this does not in any sense mean that she is least in wisdom and least in love. She has merely been fashioned of a finer steel than her husband. He was made for the great out-of-doors; he was destined to meet the rough and rugged road of daily warfare. The woman was made to be the companion, the solace, and the counselor of her husband. Her words are words of wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
6. "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." God's virtuous woman is not a beautiful picture to be framed and hung upon the wall; she is not an ornament to be placed upon the table, she is the very life and light of her household. She is not ashamed of honest toil; her greatest joy is in her service.
7. "Her children arise up, and call her blessed." The memories which flood the mind and heart of the sons and of the daughters of a woman such as God's Word describes, are precious indeed.
II. THE CHRIST-MOTHER AND HER SON (Luke 2:19 ; Luke 2:52 )
1.Luke 2:19; Luke 2:19 tells of a mother who pondered God's marvelous and mysterious movements in her heart. Mary knew, of course, every incident connected with the birth of her holy Child. She knew of the visit of Gabriel, and of his marvelous promise. She knew of the joy that filled her soul upon her visit to her cousin, Elizabeth. She knew of the visit of the shepherds, following the message of the angel. All of these things she kept in memory and pondered them in her heart.
We believe that Mary, the mother of Christ, became Mary, the disciple of Christ. She believed in Him with an unwavering trust; she knew that He, her son, was also Son of God, and she revered Him as such, and trusted in His salvation.
2.Luke 2:52; Luke 2:52 tells of the Divine Son who was subject to His parents, and who increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Jesus Christ, the infant, possessed a human body that grew as any other little body grows; He possessed a mind that became stronger day by day. We may not be able to explain the fact that Christ the babe was God manifest in flesh, and yet that He was, withal, the infant Child who grew in wisdom and in stature.
Isaiah put it this way: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given."
III. SARAH AND ISAAC (Genesis 21:3-8 )
Sarah, like Hannah, longed for a son, and when her son was born, Abraham called him Isaac, which being interpreted, means, "laughter."
In the little child who lay in his mother's arms, was wrapped up all the promises of a covenant-keeping God. Sarah, by faith, saw in Isaac her son, people as the sands of the seashore, innumerable, and as the stars of the heavens, in multitude.
The mother has a right to be a dreamer, a seer of visions. When she rocks her little one to sleep, she is always planning what he shall be in the days of maturity; and, she has a right to plan.
Our only fear is lest some mother fail in her duty toward her child.
Even now we can hear some mothers sighing with broken hearts:
"Where is my wandering boy tonight,
The boy of my tenderest care,
The boy that was once my joy and light,
The boy of my love and prayer?"
IV. JOCHEBED AND MOSES (Exodus 2:1-4 )
When Moses was born, there was a command being enforced under the iron rule of Pharaoh that all the male children should be killed. Jochebed was afraid for her son, but, with faith in God, she prepared an ark of bulrushes. She daubed this ark with slime and pitch, and put her baby boy therein. Then she laid her precious burden in the flags of the river's brink.
We are all familiar with the story of how Pharaoh's daughter took the child; and, of how Moses' own mother, Jochebed, was hired to nurse him; and, of how the child grew until, finally, he delivered Israel.
The lesson which we would learn today, is the protection that a mother should afford her son.
We may not have an edict from Pharaoh's cruel pen, but there are many things which would seek to slay our sons, and our daughters. If ever there was a day when children needed to be hid from Satan's snares in the ark of prayer, of a godly life, and of the sheltering Spirit, it is today. Bad books, vile pictures, coarse shows, the card table, the dance, and a thousand other pitfalls have been set to entrap the child.
May God give us many arks of bulrushes.
V. THE SHUNAMMITE AND HER SON (2 Kings 4:25-37 )
When Elisha stopped at the home of the Shunammite, he promised she should have a son. When the child grew up, he was the joy of his mother's heart. It came to pass, however, on a certain day, that the boy was stricken in the field, as he went out to his father, among the reapers. He was brought to his mother, and she held him on her knees until noon, and then he died.
When the lad was dead, the mother rushed away to the man of God. Elisha seeing her coming, sent his servant to meet her, and he saluted the Shunammite saying, "Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?" And she answered, "It is well."
The mother pressed her way on until she came to the Prophet; then she said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." And Elisha arose and followed her. We all know how Elisha, in answer to the mother's quest, bought her lad back from the dead and presented him to her.
The purpose of our study is to see the tender, compassionate, and patient mother's love. First, she prayed for her child; secondly, she cared for the child; and when he was taken sick, she held him upon her knees until he died; and finally, she sought the Lord until He restored him back again.
VI. ELIZABETH AND JOHN BAPTIST (Luke 1:5-7 )
John the Baptist was greater than any man born of woman. As we discover somewhat the causes for his greatness, we go back to his parentage. We read of Zacharias, his father, and of Elizabeth, his mother: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
John the Baptist was great, undoubtedly, because he was brought up with greatest care. The angel had given special instructions as to his food and drink.
A great many people give more attention to raising a fine horse or a fine pig, than they do to raising their children. This is one reason why so many children have gone astray.
R. G. Pearson tells the following:
Let me tell you the story of a believing and praying mother to illustrate this idea of a mother's faith, and to show how God will honor such faith and bless the children therefor. Several years ago I held a meeting in a town in a southwestern state. The events I am going to relate occurred a short time before I reached there. There was in that town a man and his wife and three little children. After a while the father died and the mother was left a widow. She was poor, living in a little rented house, and sewing for a living. Soon she was taken sick, and after a long illness it became evident that she was going to die. The physician was there and a few Christian men and women had gathered in. She said, "Call the children." They were brought in, and she took each little one by the hand and said, "Children, I am going to die today. I am poor, I have no home to leave you, no provisions, no money. I have nothing to leave you but God. I die with faith in Him. He is the God of the covenant. I commit you, my little ones, into His hands. He will take care of you when mother is gone." And so she closed her eyes in death.
Now, the remarkable thing about this is that before that mother was laid in her grave, three of the best men in the town went to the house and each one took one of the little children, and adopted it into his family, and making it his own child; each of these children had as good a home as there was in the town.
Trust the God of the covenant. Mothers, fathers, commit your little ones to Him and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and God will give you your reward here and hereafter."
The Conflict of the Ages
We believe we have given this sermon the correct name because the conflict which has come down through all the previous ages, which is now waging, and which will reach a final onslaught during the period of tribulation, is the conflict of Satan against the saints.
No sooner were Adam and Eve safely housed in the Garden of Eden than the enemy began to wage a battle against them even against God's supreme creation. We all know the story of how they were seduced, and fell victims of the great enemy.
Not long after the expulsion, Cain was possessed of Satan, as he slew his brother, Abel. Step by step from those primeval days down to the flood, a period which covered more than one thousand years, Satan enlarged his conquest over the human race until, at last, with man almost universally under his power, God sent the deluge to destroy man from the earth.
Noah and his family alone were saved in the ark.
After the flood, and until the days of Christ, Satan's conflict centered first against Noah, then against Abraham, and Abraham's seed, national Israel. As time progressed Satan particularly focused his efforts against the kingly line which ran from David down through Solomon to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In a former sermon we studied Satan's strategies against the Seed of the woman who was the Son of God. Today it is our desire to emphasize that phase of Satan's warfare, the conflict of the ages which centered itself against the Church of God.
In fighting the Church Satan has his only present hour method of fighting against Christ. The Church, beloved of God, is the Body of Christ. To fight the ones beloved, is to fight the One who loves. A conflict against the body is a conflict against the head.
The world of today mocks the fact of Satan. They tell us that the devil is no more than the fancy of a disjointed brain. We, however, who know God, and know His Word, know of the personality of Satan. Jesus Christ, during His earthly life, was not fighting an imaginary enemy, but a real, living, and powerful foe.
The one who resisted Paul, Peter, the Apostles, and all of the saints through the ages has been a personal enemy. To be sure we recognize that the personal devil, of whom we have just spoken, is localized, and can, individually attack but few.
Satan, however, can, and does, martial innumerable hosts of fallen angels and demons in his conflict.
We often have heard the expression that Dewey sank the Spanish Armada in the waters of the Philippines. As it was, Dewey never fired a gun. He merely stood in his flagship and gave orders, directing the conflict.
Satan, himself, is a Dewey, the captain-general of his armies. He is the director of hosts. However, it is correct to say that he is the enemy of the individual saint, and of the Church, because he, through his emissaries, is constantly going about seeking whom he may devour.
I. SATAN'S STRATEGIES AGAINST THE EARLY CHURCH (Acts 4:16-19 )
The Church was born upon its knees, baptized in the Holy Ghost the day it was born.
The message of that first great and notable day is known by us all as Peter's Pentecostal sermon.
The whole world seemed turned upside down as a result of that one great speech.
Thousands were present in Jerusalem Jews and proselytes from every nation under Heaven, They that gladly received Peter's word were baptized, and "the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls,"
To these, the first saints of the present dispensation, God gave untold victory and power. They continued stedfastly in the faith, praising God and having favor with all the people. Thus their numbers increased daily until there were more than five thousand believers.
Satan could not see this marvelous march of victory without being disturbed. He immediately began to set himself to disrupt the Church. His first great stroke was to enrage the scribes and the Pharisees against the saints. Thus it was that they drew Peter and John before the council, and commanded them that they should not speak at all, or preach in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
This stroke of Satan was absolutely useless. The disciples said, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Thus, "with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
Satan soon discovered that persecution cannot stay the power of the Gospel nor kill the spirit and ardor of saints.
II. SATAN'S SECOND ATTACK AGAINST THE CHURCH (Acts 5:3 )
Among the saints in Jerusalem there was a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira. They owned a certain possession which they sold, professing to lay the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles. However, the two connived together, and privately kept back part of the price of the land.
When Ananias came with his offering, Peter immediately said, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God."
As Ananias heard these words he fell down and gave up the ghost. His wife came in three hours later, and not knowing what had happened, she told Peter that they had sold the land for the amount which they had brought as an offering to God.
Peter said, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much."
Then Peter said unto her, "How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out."
Thus it was that Satan's effort to spoil the integrity of the saints was used of God to place the fear of the Lord upon the whole Church.
As we think of Satan's strategy in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, we cannot but marvel that the same spirit dominates many saints of today. This is not accomplished merely in the realm of our free-will offerings and gifts to the Lord, but also in the lack of yielded lives. There are many who profess to follow the Lord fully, and yet they are retaining much space in their hearts and lives for the world. They are, so to speak, keeping back a part of the land.
III. SATAN AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 )
Satan never comes out in the open displaying his real self when he tempts saints. He approaches them as apostles and workers, and not as false apostles and deceitful workers. He, himself, is transformed into an angel of light; it is no great thing therefore if his ministers, also, be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan in his heart is a wolf, but in his outward manifestations he appears as a sheep. He parades himself as a religious enthusiast, although he is a hater of Jesus Christ.
He delights in bearing the name of an "apostle," although he knows that he is an "apostate."
He delights in robing himself as a "church worker," when, in truth, he is moving among the saints as a "deceitful spy," seeking to undo everything that the saints would accomplish.
Satan and his emissaries find no greater pleasure than in preaching from orthodox pulpits. They deceive the people with their flattery, as they paint word pictures of world righteousness, and human progress. They even proclaim righteousness, but a righteousness apart from faith and the Cross.
We remember the parable of Christ concerning the sower who sowed the good seed, and the enemy who sowed the tares. It was only in the harvests that the true and the false could be detected. Members of churches are paying for the support of men, and even applauding the preaching of men who deny every vital of the faith. These men cover their infidelities with high-sounding phrases which would, if possible, deceive the very elect.
Let us beware of this strategy of Satan, for an enemy once permitted within the camp is far more dangerous than an enemy outside of the walls.
IV. SATAN'S STRATEGIES IN THE LAST DAYS (1 Timothy 4:1 )
All down through the centuries Satan has wrought against the saints. As time has rolled by he has tried various strategies. He has put forth every wicked wile against the Church, and yet the True Church still lives, and proclaims the message of Truth.
We, however, who live in the last days should be very careful to observe the particular methods which Satan uses against the end-time saints.
Of these strategies the Spirit speaks expressly, saying, "In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." If this is a message spoken "expressly," we need to consider it carefully.
People today are being carried off their feet by the doctrines of demons. They give heed to the seducing spirits who promulgate these doctrines. How often do we see professed believers, and perhaps actual saints, swept away by some power of the occults. Spirits are working, yes, they are real spirits but are not many the spirits of demons?
Fallen angels and demons may, and sometimes do, impersonate deceased men and women, and they cunningly parade themselves as the departed. Not only in this, but in many other ways, are the doctrines of demons afloat in the air. We need to cling to the Bible, and have all assurance of faith lest we, too, are carried away by these deceptions.
V. SATAN'S DELUSIONS IN THE LAST DAYS (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 )
As the age wears on Satan becomes more and more subtle in his delusions. Perhaps he was the one who suggested to an outstanding comic publisher, "What fools these mortals be." It often seems that the public likes to be fooled.
One thing that we know, Satan is already working with all power, and signs, and lying wonders. These deceptions will greatly increase with the coming of the antichrist and the Rapture of the Church. The antichrist will work marvelous feats in the last days.
Satan has always been a counterfeiter; whatever God has done, he has tried to do something like it. If God has a Church, so also will Satan have a church. We read of "the synagogue of Satan." If God has ministers, so also do we read of the "ministers of Satan." If God's ministers preach righteousness, so also do Satan's ministers parade themselves as preachers of righteousness. If God's ministers work miracles, signs, and wonders, so also will Satan and his ministers startle the world with the same, as far as they are able. In the days of Moses, whenever he and Aaron wrought miracles before Pharaoh, thus did the magicians of Egypt endeavor to do.
May God grant unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that we may be able to detect the false, and discern the true.
Thousands will fall under the marvelous power of the coming satanic trinity the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet. The whole world will be amazed and wonder at the power of the beast. It will seem that nothing is impossible to him.
He will cause the image of the beast to speak. He will startle men with the miraculous and hold them with the power of a popularized potentate. No man, in those days, will survive unless he bears the image of the beast, and wears the number of his name.
VI. SATAN'S STRATEGIES FOLLOWING THE RAPTURE OF THE SAINTS (Revelation 12:12 )
Let us go a little deeper into some things suggested by the last Scripture. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes down through the air, and the saints are caught up to meet Him, Satan, himself, will then be cast down to the earth. This "casting down" is described in the Book of Revelation as a war in Heaven. Then comes the statement of our text: "The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
The Rapture of the Church does not mean that Satan will have no place to ply his trade against saints. God's chosen race, the people of Israel, will still be upon the earth. In addition, following the Rapture multitudes will be saved. These will come from every nation of the earth. Against the Jews, therefore, and against any who dare to profess their faith in Christ, Satan will press his battle.
In fact, during these few years which make up the tribulation period Satan will exercise great wrath. He will redouble his efforts, and energy. The devilish trinity composed of himself, the antichrist, and the false prophet will bring under his sway the kings and the princes of the earth. He will cause every man to bear the mark and number of his name in their hands or in their foreheads.
Thus empowered by his two allies, and by the rulers of the earth and their armies will he set himself against God and God's chosen nation. If it were not for the fact that God sealed certain of the tribes of Israel and made them impervious to Satan's wiles, and to the further fact that a Jewish remnant will be carried into the wilderness where they will be Divinely succored during this period, few men would be saved.
VII. HOW TO MEET SATAN'S STRATEGIES (Ephesians 6:10 )
God, knowing that the devil went about seeking whom he might devour, and knowing his power, gave command unto His saints, saying, "Take unto you the whole armour of God." Thank God, the saints are not now left unprotected from the wrath of the enemy. All of the power of God is granted unto saints: and the whole armor of God is theirs.
In Washington we saw in the museum the armor which the warriors of old used to wear. Their armor was not comparable to ours. Our helmet is the helmet of salvation; our girdle is the girdle of Truth. Righteousness is our breastplate. Peace shods our feet. The shield of faith, which we carry is able to challenge all of the devil's fiery darts. The Sword of the Spirit which we wield is sharper than any two-edged sword. Over all and above all of this marvelous armor, God has given us the privilege and power of prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
We need not fear, for victory will crown us in the way.
Jesus Christ when on earth met the devil and vanquished him. He now vouchsafes unto us His power and conquest. He leads us in the train of His triumph.
Our part is to hide ourselves in Him away from the reach of the enemy, and then, when we go forth from His presence to go clothed in His armor of Truth. To Satan God says, "So far shalt thou go, and no farther." We are secure from the strategies of the enemy, if we are sheltered under the wing of our God.
It would be folly, however, to underestimate the strength of our foe. It is far better to know his power, and to be panoplied against his devices. We serve a conquering Christ.
"Soldiers can take no chances with any possible enemy. During the war 'McClure's Magazine' told of a great reservation here in America where untold quantities of explosives were kept. As eight officers in charge were at supper one night a slight flicker in the electric lights occurred. Instantly every officer was on his feet and had vanished without a word. A few minutes later they had all come back and gone on eating their supper. Why? Because the electric light kept aflame the great flares between magazines by which the guard could see the slightest shadow cast by a moving figure and because the man in charge of that electric plant, though an American, had a German name. The eight officers had been tugging at red tape for sixty days to have him replaced by a native American. And until this was accomplished one of the eight would always be watching him and the remaining seven would spring into action at the slightest flicker of the electric lights. Are we Christians as sensitively alert to the peril of every flicker of temptation that comes our way from one who is worse than the worst of enemy spies, Satan?" Sunday School Times.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Ephesians 6". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14