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By AL DIESTELKAMP
men who are married, there is no greater challenge than the one posed
by the inspired apostle: “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also
loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). Loving our wives
is easy, but loving them “just as Christ loved the church” sets a very
Our marriages will not be as they ought if we haven’t followed the
pattern of Jesus’ love for His church. Therefore, it is important that
we see just how Christ loved the church so that we might act
accordingly toward our wives.
Christ loved the Church sacrificially
Our text says He “gave Himself for it.” He loved the church, not for
what the church could do for Him, but what He could do for the church.
Jesus said “I am among you as one who serves” (Lk. 22:27). He said that
He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).
To succeed at loving my wife as Christ loves the church requires an
attitude of sacrifice toward her. We are not likely to have to die for
our wives, but we must be willing to serve their needs. Indeed, true
love “does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5).
As husbands, we need to understand that our wives have needs that
differ from our own, and it’s our job to meet those needs. While not
all wives have identical needs, a survey among participants in a
ladies’ Bible study in which they were asked what they needed most from
their husbands showed the following results:
The number one need expressed was for their husbands to exercise
spiritual leadership. In fact, 91% of the women surveyed listed this as
their most pressing need. Your wife needs you to take the lead in
preparing your family for eternity, including your authority to enforce
righteous behavior, modesty, and involvement in worship and Bible study.
The next most pressing need among the respondents was family commitment. She
|needs you to be as committed and involved asshe is to making the home a fortress against all that might threaten the family.|
Also high on wives’ list of needs are conversa- tion and
communication. It is hurtful to the wife when her husband does not talk
to her as a friend. Though the husband may not intend to be treating
his wife as unimportant, this is often how it is viewed by her. She is
your partner and deserves to share your thoughts and plans.
Another expressed need was for affection and love. Though this is also
high on the needs lists of husbands, how wives anticipate affection to
be shown is usually different. As husbands, we need to use our
imaginations to invent new ways of showing true affection for our wives.
Also on the list was financial security. This should not be interpreted
as the need for riches but rather the need for the husband to be
responsible for supporting the family. There are two extremes to be
avoided. The husband who abdicates his responsibility to support his
family has failed to meet a real need. On the other hand, some use the
obligation to support the family as an excuse for practicing
Christ loved the church exclusively
Although Jesus loves the whole world just as His Father does (Jn. 3:16), He sanctified the church as His bride (Eph. 5:26-27). This means He “set apart” His church from the rest of the world.
Likewise, the marriage relationship demands sanctification. The husband
is “set apart” to belong to the wife, and the wife is “set apart” to
belong to the husband—he for her, her for him. Any interference with
this God-given arrange- ment is sin. Wisdom demands that, as much as
possible, the husband avoid situations where he is expected to work
closely with a woman other than his wife. If one’s occupation requires
him to work with women, then he must
|make sure there are others present so that no false accusation can be made and no doubt planted in the mind of his wife.
The sexual needs of both marriage partners are to be satisfied by each
other exclusively (1 Cor. 7:2-5) as together they “flee sexual
(1 Cor. 6:18) “and the like” (Gal. 5:19-21). This
exclusivity forbids any viewing of pornography.
Christ loved the church caringly
Our text says, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own
bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28). When one does
what is best for his wife, he does what is best for himself. The
apostle declares, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes
and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (v.29). To nourish
is to feed. Christ feeds His bride with “the bread of life” (Jn. 6:51).
A loving husband will nourish his wife with his care for her. What we
do for something or someone that we cherish is “protect and care
lovingly” (American Diction-
ary). The wise husband will nourish his wife by making it clear to her and others that he cherishes her.
Christ loved the church enduringly
Jesus has made His church “members of His body, of His flesh and of His
bones” (Eph. 5:30). In like manner, “a man shall leave his father and
mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”
(v.31). Jesus used this same quote from Genesis 2:24 to teach the
inseparability of marriage (Matt. 19:5-6). God joins two into “one
body”; man is not to separate what God joins. The thought of divorce
should be as remote as thinking of dismembering one’s own body.
The way Christ loves the church should cause a man to have a greater
appreciation for his wife. He should view her as a highly prized,
valuable (and nicely packaged) gift from his Creator who knew just what
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GREAT NEWS ABOUT SUBMISSION
By DAVID DIESTELKAMP
only news about submission that the world would consider great is if it
wasn’t necessary. That news would be music to the ears of many in the
religious world, too, removing the need for the textual gymnastics that
are necessary for them to redefine gender roles and renumber who is
first in the kingdom.|
A sizeable number of Christians might also find some joy in discovering
submission and its concepts of following, serving, and obeying had
finally been declared unnecessary. No more having to put others first,
no more cooperation, no more gender roles. Would that be good news?
The great news about submission is not that less is more, but that more
is more. Submission is an opportunity to serve Christ, and we always
want to do more of that. Submission is an opportunity to be like
Christ, and nothing can be better than that for a true disciple!
of it this way; when submission brings you life circumstances that you
don’t want to go through, how is that different from
Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane? (Matt. 26:39-44). Your submission
makes you Christ-like! When submission doesn’t allow you to do what you
want to do or say what you want to say—Christ-likeness! (Jn. 6:38).
When you are required to obey, and it’s hard—Christ-likeness! (Heb.
5:8). When subjection requires that you remain silent—Christ-likeness!
|Isa. 53:7). When people don’t appreciate you, thank you,
honor you for who you are and what you do but you continue to humbly do
what is right—Christ-likeness! (Mk. 15:32; Phil. 2:5-9). When people
stand your submission to be weakness—Christ-likeness! (Matt.
27:42). When you bow to someone as your head—Christ-likeness (1 Cor.
11:3). When you defer your rights and revenge to forgive the undeserving— Christ-likeness! (Lk. 23:34).
Instead of whining and complaining about “having” to submit to each
other, we should welcome it as an opportunity to be Christ-like.
times we’ll find ourselves submitting when others don’t have to. We
can rejoice and be glad that we are blessed with these opportunities to
be Christ-like that others don’t have!
We live in a prideful, arrogant, pushy, domineering, success-agenda
fueled society. The idea of submission and serving others has been
lost. Submission is alive and well in followers of Christ because
Christ is in them and He is the picture of submission. More is more,
and we welcome it! “…submitting to one another out of reverence for
Christ” (Eph. 5:21).
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|HOME SWEET HOME
By LESLIE DIESTELKAMP (1911-1995)
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February, 1883, a grave in Tunisia, Africa, was opened and a body which
had been buried nearly 30 years earlier was removed. A new casket was
draped in the American flag and the body was brought back to the United
States for burial in accord with the highest honor possible. What had
happened to case such an honor to be given to one who had been dead so
long? Before his death the man had served his nation as a diplomat, but
it was not for this that he was honored.
Before his death the man had penned a little song. In the ensuing years
this song had touched the very hearts of Americans. It was sung by rich
and poor and by the educated and the illiterate. Its words had cheered
and thrilled all good people of this land. The man was John Howard
Payne and the song was Home, Sweet Home.
But today, how long has it been since you have heard anyone singing
that song? How long since it has touched your own lips? Why have we
forgotten the song? Perhaps it is because we do not now have the deep
appreciation for home that we once had as a nation—as a people.
Home Is the Cradle of Civilization
Someone has said, “As the home goes, so goes the nation.” Throughout
the history of humanity, nations have prospered or else they have
faltered depending upon the quality of the families therein. No nation
has ever prospered very long if the homes of the nation were corrupt.
Government in every land has become worthwhile only when and if
principles of steadfastness, integrity, and fidelity have been
instilled into the hearts of the ones who make up the families of the
land. If the homes have failed, invariably the nation has failed also. But the influence of home reaches beyond the kingdoms of this
world, and so we
|can also say that “As the home goes, so goes the
church." Therefore, we conclude:
Home is the Bulwark of the Church
The Lord’s church cannot rise above the ideals that prevail in those
families of which the church consists. When honesty, purity, and
respect for authority prevail in the homes, then the church will be the
mighty “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The
righteousness that emanates from the family circles will be that which
characterizes the kingdom of Christ. If in the homes the Bible is
regarded as “that good old book,” and if its words are trusted, its
principles followed, and if its pages are often read, then will the
church be the “temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16).
When kindness and compassion, love, and gentleness are common qualities
of the homes, then will the church be “a city that is set on a hill”
(Matt. 5:14) whose light cannot be hidden. When, in the homes, “all
malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil
speakings” are put aside (1 Pet. 2:1), then those who have been “born
again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of
God” (1 Pet. 1:23), will flourish as living stones, and the church will
truly be “a spiritual house…acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet.
But perhaps the most personal and significant consideration of the
importance of the family— the power of the home—is comprehended when we
Home is the Vestibule of Heaven
The saved are added to the church (Ac. 2:47) and Christ is the Savior
of “the body” (Eph. 5:23), but comparatively few will be saved in
heaven without the influence of home. The impressions learned in infancy at mother’s knee (and some-
|times across it) will have more
influence upon most people that the most powerful sermons. A few people
will rise above the evils the heard and learned at home, but most
people will only be as submissive to authority, and as true to ideals,
and as pure in heart and life as they learned to be at home. In this
regard we would urge mothers and fathers to remember well their
God-give responsibilities toward their eternity-bound children. Paul
said, “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.
Our plea today is for this generation, and others to come. This is not
written to criticize mistakes of the past, but to try to get parents
today to realize their duties and seek solutions through God’s Word and
through righteousness. But as we plead for the children, we know that
we must plead with the parents, for as C.C. Miller wrote:
The lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Where’er they wander–where’er they go.
If the sheep goes wrong, it will not be long
Till the lambs are as wrong as they.
So still with the sheep we must
For the sake of the lambs to-day.
If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost
The sheep will have to pay!
“Home! Home! sweet, sweet home! Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!”
This article is part of a longer article which
was published in
several publications during the 1960s, and serves as an outline for a
sermon that was preached by the author almost everywhere he was asked
By ANDY DIESTELKAMP
have all found ourselves trying to reason with people who have allowed
their emotions to cloud their judgments. It can be extremely
frustrating if not futile. Some might, therefore, conclude that reason
and emotion are incompatible; but this is simply not so. It is possible
to be very emotional about something and remain rational. To be
rational is not to be without feeling, and to be emotional is not to be
without sense. God has given us the capacity for both, and we need not
shelve one in order to engage in the other.
The Psalms are great examples of expressions of emotion while retaining
reason. Emotion is defined as “a psychic and physical reaction
subjectively experienced as strong feeling and physiologically
involving changes that prepare the body for immediate and vigorous
action.” Indeed, emotion is critical to action. Reason without emotion
may reduce truth to something merely academic; and emotion without
reason is blind and—without self-control—is dangerous.
If you are home alone at night, in bed, and in the dark and suddenly
hear the sound of breaking glass, you will have an emotional response.
Mine would be Yikes! We call
it fear. Goodbyes are often accompanied by the emotion of sorrow and
reunions accompanied by the emotion of joy. Injustice or mistreatment
brings out anger.
It is this emotion of anger
that I want to address in a rational manner. It is the emotion with a
bad reputation. Some believe that anger of any kind is reflective of a
sinful attitude. Yet, this is a harmful oversimplification.
Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or
hostility.” We have all felt anger. Living in a world of sin gives us
the occasion to be angry about a host of things. There are many
injustices which take place in the world, but these aren’t the only
things that anger us. Indeed, we are capable of being as angry
with our own neighbors or family members as we are with terrorists, and
this should give us some pause to consider the range of things over
which we rage.
If someone contradicts you, do you have the right to be angry? If kids
track mud through your freshly mopped kitchen, do you have the right to
be angry? If a person cuts you off in traffic, do you have the right to
be angry? If someone mocks your faith, do you have the right to
be angry? If someone molests your child, do you have the right to be
angry? If your spouse commits adultery, do you have the right to be
angry? We have all had occasions to be angry, but what does a person
mean when he says he has the right to be angry?
My computer dictionary defines a right
as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act
in a certain way.” Its first example was, “She had every right to be
angry.” From whence comes this right? The U.S. Declaration of
Independence asserts that “all … are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the
Pursuit of Happiness,” along with, no doubt, the right to be angry at
an oppressive government (as the signers and those they represented
were). In other words, when someone is doing something we consider to
be unfair, we believe we are entitled to be angry. Let’s consider this
in the light of Scripture.
God has anger. There is such a thing as righteous indignation. From the
curses pronounced in the Garden of Eden to the judgment against the
world of Noah’s day to the consequences of the unfaithfulness of the
children of Israel, God’s anger is manifest in Scripture. Indeed, most
of the Scriptures which speak about anger or
wrath are in reference to God’s anger toward men for their continual
rebellion against Him. “God is angry with the wicked
|every day” (Ps.
7:11). Yet, we are also told that God is slow to anger and forgiving
(cf. Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:18).
We also learn that men were rightly angry. Moses’ anger was often just
(e.g. Ex. 32:19-22; Dt. 9:17-20). David was righteously indignant when
he heard about a rich man’s killing of a poor man’s pet lamb (2 Sam.
12:5). However, you surely recall the context of that story. David’s
anger was promptly replaced with conviction and repentance when Nathan
said, “You are the man!” (vs. 7). The one who called for God’s anger to
rage against his enemies (Ps. 7:6) also found himself begging God not
to act in anger toward him (Ps. 6:1). Our righteous indignation can be
shown to be little more than self-righteous indignation with a slight
shift of perspective.
Yes, anger is indeed a legitimate emotion which, like any other
emotion, has its place and can be used properly. Indeed, we not only
have the right but the obligation to be angry about the things which
anger God. However, before we are too quick to let our rage and wrath
roll, there are some things we need to keep in mind. If the omniscient
and omnipotent God is slow to anger, then we who are finite must be all
the more so. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to
wrath.” Why? Because, generally speaking, “the wrath of man does not
produce the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:19,20). While Paul’s “be
angry” attests to anger as a legitimate emotion, his “and sin not”
(Eph. 4:26) attests to the difficulty we have in bringing our emotions
under the control of the spirit rather than the flesh.
Therefore, we must be extremely careful in justifying our anger as a
right. Too often the right to be angry is used to justify nearly any
expression of that anger. We clearly see that as false when someone’s
“justifiable” anger at a careless driver turns into “road rage,”
resulting in an unjust punishment which doesn’t fit the “crime.” Yet
rage is not limited to the road, and injustice is not only in the
extreme of murder. Christians need to be careful to express their
anger in ways which honor God. Social media is a public forum often
used unwisely in order to vent anger toward others in ways unbecoming
to the Name we wear. From sports to political policies to social
injustices to unfaithful spouses, beware the reactionary rants, the
citing of dubious news stories, the posting of snarky memes, or the
“sharing” of or even the “liking” of those posted by others whereby we
fuel their rage.
For anger to be righteous, it must first be rooted in truth and spoken
with care (Eph 4:15). We have no right to return evil for evil (Rom.
12:21). We are explicitly told “do not avenge yourselves” (vs. 19).
Vengeance is not inherently evil, but it belongs to God and to those to
whom He has given it (13:1-4). We do not have the right to personal
Finally, no imagined human right to be angry includes the right to
withhold grace and reconciliation to those who repent. If we desire
God’s wrath to be tempered by grace toward us, then we must temper our
anger toward others and extend grace. This is a dominant, practical
message to any who claim the gospel of the grace of God (e.g. Matthew
6:12,14,15; 18:21-35). God would be just in condemning us in His
righteous anger because He is perfect in all ways. The fact that He has
chosen in love to extend grace to those who repent demands that we do
likewise. Because we have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory
(Rom. 3:23), any right to be angry comes with the obligation to extend
grace to the penitent as God has pictured for us in Christ. “For to
this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us
an example, that you should follow His steps … who, when He was
reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not
threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who
Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pt. 2:21-24).
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By KARL DIESTELKAMP
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took place several billions of years ago—or, so we are told. Make that
trillions of years or even quadrillions, if you will. After all, when
was the beginning of “Nothing”? Never mind such trifling details—one
nanosecond before “time” existed, “Nothing” rolled out of its
non-existent bed and decided to become “Something.”
There is wild speculation about its beginning. Maybe “Nothing” produced
non-existent chemicals and caused a gas explosion that solidified into
lifeless matter to become “Something.” We are told that eventually,
over multiple eons of “time,” this chaos of lifeless matter experienced
enough upheaval and collisions to become the now-known universe with
its billions of stars, moons, and planets.
Squeeze out a few more billions of “years” and lifeless “Something”
experienced “life.” Theories abound—a combination of chemicals floating
around in a primeval soup of some sort—or the result of
electrically-charged subatomic particles making accidental contact—or
you name it! Somehow some of these were thrown together
|and began billions of
years of evolution into all the varied life forms, extinct and living.
We are told, “That’s it—it’s a fact—there’s no need for debate —get with
However, there are some nagging questions that do need answers before
we believe “Something.” For instance, how did the lifeless matter that
“evolved” into the mosquito “know” to use its proboscis to pierce and
suck blood from life forms with blood rather than sucking sap from
trees? And then, what process stamped out evolution and allowed
consistent reproduction of all living things to take over so that
everything reproduces “after its kind”? “Nothing” obviously died.
“Some- thing” spawned by “Nothing” provides no answers —just theories
So where does man go for believable answers to the origin of
“Something”? The answers are not in some distant planet or galaxy! “By
faith we under- stand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so
that the things which are seen were not made of things which are
visible” (Heb. 11:3). “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of
|the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was
done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa. 33:8,9). “And God said…”
(Gen. 1:3,6,9,13, 14,20,24,26,28,29).
Psalm 90:1,2 — “Lord, You have been our dwelling placed in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from ever- lasting to everlasting, You are God."
Isaiah 40:28 — “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of His under- standing” (Isa. 40:28).
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’…” (Psa. 14:1). Pity
the poor atheist and unbeliever whose god is “Nothing,” and whose hope
ends at the grave.
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