Matthew 21: 1-7
Romans 16: 3-5 (1st clause)
Ephesians 5: 22-33; 6: 1-4
I am sure it is a great encouragement to all here today to see our brethren setting up a household together or, to use a simple expression, settling down. Many of us have prayed for our brethren and I think we can say that God in His mercy has answered those prayers.
In Matthew 21, the ass and the colt illustrate how the Lord Jesus has need not only of one, but also of two persons. It is good to settle down and set up a household together, but we do have to tell our brethren that the Lord has need of both of them for something further in their lives in His service. He is greatly concerned that they might surrender themselves to His claims and as they have found their need of Him, so He now is putting in His claim, not just for one, but for both of them. It is essential to start up a married life together with both husband and wife committed absolutely in faithfulness to the One who has loved them so much to give His life at Calvary.
It is important to make it absolutely clear, in an occasion like this, that the only reason that we have found one another - those of us who are Christians - is because we first found the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a time when we felt our need of Him and had to come to Him and accept Him as our own personal Saviour. After that, we found other persons who had done the same thing - not just simply members of our family, because some persons here do not have any family who claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus. We felt our need of Him but we also have to see that He needs us. He needs us, not just as individuals but also if we are married, to commit our households to Him, so that we might be serviceable to Him and testify to His greatness.
Not only does the Lord have need of persons, but Christians have also need of married couples who are committed to the Lord. In Romans 16 we find a married couple mentioned, Prisca and Aquila. They are referred to by Paul as “my fellow-workmen in Christ Jesus”. They were so together in their committal to the Lord Jesus that they were prepared to stake their own neck (just one neck). It is to such persons that Paul was thankful but not him alone but “also all the assemblies of the nations”. It is important to see that there was an assembly in Prisca and Aquila’s house. In setting up a household you become one of the bulwarks of the local assembly. I am sure the brethren in Walton are rejoicing, because they have gone on in smallness, and now God is adding to them another household. That is a great encouragement, and it is the responsibility of our brethren as married to make their house available for the saints and to help the local assembly.
There is one final thing that as married we need to commit ourselves to and it is something that tests us all. Some here have been married for a long time and I am sure they will confess that they feel tested by what is referred to in Ephesians 5. This scripture gives us very helpful and practical instruction as to how married couples are to behave towards one another. It shows that not only has a Christian married couple the responsibility of staying together for the rest of their lives, but also to set out practically the truth of Christ and the assembly. All who are married here will feel limited as to how much they are in the gain of this scripture, but I think the Lord Jesus uses these occasions, not only to have a word for the couple who are getting married, but to test all married couples as to how much they have set out practically in their lives the truth of Christ and the assembly.
In getting married, the man leaves his father and mother and commits himself to his wife and a household is set up. Love enters into that; particularly on the husband’s part, with submission and obedience on the wife’s part. That is the way the scripture sets things out. There is something else I want to draw attention to so that everybody here is clear as to where we stand as to these things. When a couple gets married it involves that they both leave the authority of their parents and they set up a household together. Our brethren therefore would have one another before them and the husband would be head of the house. There is a close relationship in a household that no one should interfere with. Parents of married couples have to respect that. However, even though you might leave the authority of your parents, you are still to honour your father and your mother. That commandment is not abrogated. There should be no one who honours his or her parents more than a Christian does. A Christian would see to it that they would help their parents in any way possible. Marriage does not set that aside nor coming to the Lord Jesus and owning Him as Saviour or coming into fellowship, as we speak of it. We must honour our father and our mother. No doubt the Lord has the first place. He must have that. He is the centre, as we heard in prayer, but those who trust in the Lord Jesus ought to be able to take up family relationships in a marital sense and in relation to their parents and children and set them out in a way that commends itself to God.
Well, I just leave that simple word with our brethren. May God richly bless them. Amen.
12th September 2008