Tag Archives: submission

Mutual submission like husband and wife applies to rulers and citizens

Continuing our study in God at Work by Dr Gene Veith. Dr Veith examines the different vocations, callings, of the average Christian and right now our group is talking about “Calling as a Citizen”. As Dr Veith points out we are called to be good citizens in Romans 13. Despite the contemporary nonsensical propaganda, Christians are higher in the demographics as “good citizens”. Quick reminder, there are those who consider themselves “Christian”, but when you see the “fruits of their works”, i.e. church attendance, service, Bible study, prayer, groups, a lot of people talk a good game, and they’re something, but not Christian. This is evidenced by a lot of current research and by the hard cold fact that we are called to spiritual disciplines in the Bible and way too many today just disregard it.

So let’s be serious here, quit quibbling, there are those who are faithfully trying to live the Christian life and as part of that they strive to be good citizens.

Now, having said, that, as I often say, there is nothing in the Bible that says either God is to be stupid or we are. Of course one of the first objections to this idea of submitting to rulers is “guys like Hitler and Stalin?” No! Certainly the early Christian church had crackpot rulers. Nero and Caligula jump immediately to mind. All Roman citizens, Christians included, were required to “burn incense as a way to acknowledge the divinity of the Emperor”. Dr Veith refers to those who continue to witness to Christ in countries that legally forbid Christian evangelizing. Certainly Moslem countries, but secular states like China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea also persecute Christians for worship, witnessing, public prayer.

Dr Veith writes: “It is clearly not the calling of a ruler to oppress his people. his purpose, again, is to love and serve his neighbors – that is, his subjects. A good ruler will thus be one who works for their good.” (Dr Gene Veith God at Work p 105). This can obviously be subjective, I don’t like the ruler of Moldovia, so as a citizen I can see how he’s not serving the way I think he should. Well no! You may not think he is serving the public good, because it’s not your good, but unless he is actively persecuting, or making demands that a Christian, in general, would have to conscientiously refuse, he is serving the public good. He may not be doing it well, but he still has to be obeyed. That goes for providing physical protection for our persons and our property.

Now if the ruler makes laws that single out and penalize groups, e.g. requiring people to honor this leader like a “god”, somewhat the situation Dietrich Bonhoeffer was with Hitler, or the Roman Emperor Decius, the one who required incense to be burned as a sacrifice to himself. Christians refused, First Commandment, there is no other “god”, then God the Father. Pope Fabias and Alexander of Jerusalem, among many other Christians refused and were put to death. So no, we can’t get all Moral Majority and decide what is or isn’t acceptable unless it truly conflicts with our biblical understanding. However, we are called to disobey when we are called to violate something that would articulably be proscribed in the Bible. Such as the Christian doctor who refuses to perform an abortion. Bear in mind, as was the case with those who refused to burn incense, there is often a penalty. That we are prosecuted or harassed,as the disciples were, they were joyful that they were honored to suffer for Christ. It’s not a dishonor to suffer for Christ, but it will still be suffering and probably hold you up to public abuse. Spouses are called to mutually submit and serve, I think you could certainly make the case the if rulers are not being submissive and serving for the general good, then they are “acting outside of their vocation”.

Let’s talk about it some more, Wednesday mornings 10:30am. The coffee shop at the corner of Beaver and W King Sts in York, Pa. Parking is right behind the church walk about 50 yards east to the coffee shop. If you come for the first time, I will even buy you coffee.

The “S” Word Ephesians 5 Mark 7 First St Johns Church Aug 23, 2015

[For the audio version, please click above link]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and those who hear and respect God’s Word and not man’s said … AMEN!

God’s plan is just so perfect, it’s a circular sort of situation, that doesn’t mean, as always, that we get what we want all the time, we seem to not understand that relationship is not “hey you jump through hoops for me and then maybe I will love you”. This is what we have in society today and why there is this widespread and deep unhappiness and even resentment. We all submit to Jesus. Submit to your husband, because he is the one that is called to love his wife and not just our squishy kind of love, but the same love Jesus had for the church! Jesus died for the love of His church, men are called to love their wives, agape love, to the point of sacrificing themselves. If your husband will do that for you, doesn’t that suggest respect and submission to him?

Oh baby, anyone preaching on Ephesians 5: 21-33 can just feel the ice cracking around his feet. The “S” word! OHHHHH, no one likes to “S”, S being of course “submit, submission”. Oh no! In today’s world, everyone is an expert, everyone knows it all, we are the most equalitarian society in the history of the earth. Apparently if you are born an American, you are an immediate expert on everything and anything. More and more I’m beginning to see that attitude rather cynically. At my age, you’d think that I would have become pretty much irreparably cynical and yet, more and more I find myself realizing that when I submit to God as His minister, to His people, He does work it out according to His will. Romans 8:28 does seem to get a workout, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Isn’t this part of what the Christian life is all about?

When we say “for those who love God”, doesn’t loving someone mean submitting to Him in order for the good of all concerned? Submission doesn’t mean, just throwing in the towel and mindlessly following. It does mean, at some point you just have to trust that the person.

Certainly the military and corporate environments are a lesson in those areas. There are plenty of times where you’re not sure about something that has to be done, you want to fuss over it a little more, but at some point it’s obvious you have to do what you’re entrusted to do, do it to the best of your ability, so that there will be success. If this is what you’re led to do, it may not be perfect, but it becomes your responsibility to make it as perfect as it can be.

Professor Jeffrey Oschwald observes the shift from chapter 6 to chapter 7. People are running to Jesus, the people: “ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. ESV Mark 6:56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” Oh yeah, they wanted Jesus then. Last week’s sermon after Jesus fed thousands and then said OK, now that you have a full stomach, let’s talk real stuff, you have to eat my body and drink my blood to fill your soul, to have real life. Yea, they weren’t so much into that and decided to pick up and leave. In today’s reading, the people are flocking to him and Jesus has healed a number of people, what happens? The Pharisees and the scribes confront Him over a ticky-tack little issue about the disciples washing their hands. Obviously these guys are trying to provoke a confrontation. It’s about 90 miles from Jerusalem, where they’ve come from, to the northern part of the Sea of Galilee, they’re not going to make that trip lightly, they feel threatened and have decided to find any little thing they can in order to pick a fight with Jesus, to somehow discredit Him. You can certainly see Jesus’ frustration. “Here I am, God the Son, look at all these things I’ve done. I’m trying to get you to see real life and what are you doing? Getting up in my grill about a ticky-tack little issue about washing hands? Really?”: “ESV Mark 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘ This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; ESV Mark 7:7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ESV Mark 7:8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ESV Mark 7:9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Jesus is referring to the quote in today’s reading from Isaiah: “ESV Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, ESV Isaiah 29:14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

Obviously Jesus is frustrated and is telling them to get a grip. Are you going to stick to your quibbling little traditions or are you going to see what’s going on here. God the Son is here! It’s time to submit to His will, quit worrying about the petty stuff and see what’s really happening!”

Dr Oschwald observes: “If you had the opportunity for a private audience with Jesus, would you argue about the proper way to wash up before a meal?… Jesus’ opponents seem to have completely lost sight of what really matters before God. The way they ask their question suggests that the root of the problem is that they’ve begun to put human concerns before and above what’s important in God’s eyes. Our initial sympathy with the Pharisees’ concern over clean hands at the table goes right down the drain when we begin to see the real problem in all its seriousness.”[1] We, you and I, often have to stop and ask ourselves; are we going to pick a fight over the trivial stuff or do we look around us and see what Jesus is doing, what great things are happening around us. How to point to, contribute to, focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing and do it to His glory, to the glory of Jesus’ church. How do we proclaim to the world what is going on in His service, to His glory?

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom.

[1] Rev Dr Jeffrey Oschwald   Concordia Pulpit Resources Vol 25, Part 3, Series B p 39

Dress for Action Like a Man Job 38, Mark 4: 35 First St Johns Fathers Day Jun 21, 2015

[For the audio version click on the above link]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are a noble, self-sacrificing man of God said … AMEN. I was just expecting the guys to amen that

It is not easy to be an adult man in the world today. Even in the church that is becoming more the case. Part of the problem is that while men are called to be the leaders, they are called to be the priests of their family. But, as Rich Murphy writes: “We don’t have a submission problem in our church, we have a leadership problem. In many families, the woman is de facto head of the house, because the man isn’t. Why? Because men haven’t been taught how to be men. Our society has drawn a picture of men as bumbling, incompetent idiots who need a woman to show them how to pour water out of a boot. Don’t believe me, just look at any sitcom on television today.”[1]

Ken Broussard notes: “He takes responsibility for his children’s faith, “training them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). In Ephesians 6:4, God puts the responsibility on the man, the father, to make sure his children are raised on the teachings of God and in a Godly environment.”[2] Men, are called to be the leaders, called to set the tone, to take the responsibility. It may seem easy, but Jesus hardly ever just told people, “do this, do that”, but went to such trouble, pain and effort to live the life that we should be living, Jesus shows us that being the father is not “select and direct”, it is to deal with the hard situations, to do our best, not for ourselves, but for our family, to take a tough situation and overcome it. Chuck Swindoll tells the following story: ““The colorful, nineteenth-century showman and gifted violinist Niccolo Paganini was standing before a packed house, playing through a difficult piece of music. A full orchestra surrounded him with magnificent support. Suddenly one string on his violin snapped and hung gloriously down from his instrument. Beads of perspiration popped out on his forehead. He frowned but continued to play improvising beautifully.

To the conductor’s surprise, a second string broke. And shortly thereafter, a third. Now there were three limp strings dangling from Paganini’s violin as the master performer completed the difficult composition on the one remaining string. The audience jumped to its feet and in good Italian fashion filled the hall with shouts and screams.  As the applause died down, the violinist asked the people to sit back down. Even though they knew there was no way they could expect an encore, they quietly sank back into their seats. He held the violin high for everyone to see. He nodded at the conductor to begin the encore and then he turned back to the crowd. With a twinkle in his eye, he smiled and shouted, ‘Paganini … and one string!’ After that he placed the single-stringed Stradivarius beneath his chin and played the final piece on one string as the audience (and the conductor) shook their heads in silent amazement. “Paganini … and one string!” And, I might add, an attitude of fortitude.” Paganini could have just given up, caved in, admitted defeat everyone kind of expected him to. Instead he took the setbacks, and created from that, overcame and triumphed in a way people still marvel at. Guys, that’s what we’re called to do for our families and Christ.

God tells Job in our reading today: “Dress for action like a man.” Job could have whined, blamed and accused, just bail out as his wife suggested. But he didn’t he hung in, he stood tough. In our Gospel reading we see the story of Jesus and the disciples caught in a storm. If you look at your order of worship under “sermon”, you will see a picture I took in a museum in Capernaum. It is of a fishing boat that has been determined to date back to the time of the disciples and thought to be much like the boat the disciples and Jesus were in. I see that picture and I’m still amazed that they didn’t just get pitched out of that boat, or it didn’t break up and everyone drowned. The fact that they didn’t is a miracle by itself, the second more dramatic miracle is of course Jesus calming the storm. You have to be in a real rock and roll storm on the water to appreciate this story. We were on a small work boat, about 25 feet. We had been at Boston Light and were taking five electronic technicians back to Boston after spending the day working on the lighthouse. The radio all of a sudden starts squawking, everyone on the water had something to say a massive thunderstorm had descended on Boston Harbor and looking to the east we could see this kind of blue/green evil looking colored group of clouds coming out of where we had to go into. My very long time brother and I were used to bad weather, but the rain got so dense you couldn’t see five feet ahead of the boat and the lightning strikes were so close you could hear the crash on the water and smell the ozone. Our passengers were completely freaked. None of them had any real experience in small boats and certainly not with the crashing and booming that was going on around us. This was a small boat, only meant to carry people and equipment to a workplace. Didn’t have radar, although it wouldn’t have helped, it wasn’t  grounded for lightning, no GPS or LORAN, none of the equipment he and I were used to on a standard Search and Rescue/Law Enforcement boat. The other guys were huddled together, but we didn’t have that choice, we had to find a way through the storm and get the people we had to safety, despite the difficulty, to push through the danger.

That is what we expect of men in today’s world and particularly Christian men. Sure most of us are never going to be on a creaky wooden boat in the middle of a large lake or an aluminum one in Boston Harbor. But I’m sure most of the guys here know what I’m talking about, doesn’t take much for a storm to swoop in and you have a bunch of people freaking out around you and you know that you have to stay calm and strong and find a way through the storm. David was a man, a man after God’s own heart and a man who royally messed some things up, but also a man who has been truly admired throughout history as a great general, great statesman, poet we still read 3,000 years later. Not so great father and husband. He could have given up, cut everyone loose, hey he’s the king. But he stood against the storm around him, he writes: “…if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive… then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. Blessed by the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.” (Psalm 124).

I know what David is talking about, I’ll bet most if not all the guys here know what he’s talking about. David had to deal with a lot, he had to overcome a lot, some of it self-inflicted, but he did not give up, God did not give up on him and David trusted that God would forgive, overcome and get David to where he had to be. I bet God told David to “dress for action like a man” and I’ll bet he’s told many guys who are here that same thing.

Guys, dads, we’re not called to be popular. We’re not called to be everyone’s favorite person, often we have to do things that don’t endear us to our wife or children. Often we have to do what is necessary to protect and do it in a way that’s often not gentle, even upsetting. We are called to and have to stand for those things that are important, but maybe not popular. Frankly the way many women and children treat men today is not just disrespectful, but downright rude. A Christian man should never, ever respond in kind, our response is to provide, comfort and sometimes even defend, and that’s what we are expected to do, even when we’re treated rudely. Remind you of anyone? The way Jesus was treated. That’s why men are expected to be the priests in their home, to be the ones who stand up and take the hits and accept the fact that might be treated disrespectfully for the things they had to do because they upset someone else’s gentle sensibilities. You can’t get upset over it or choose to run away, accept it and move on as Jesus did.

So guys, since you are all big, tough, self-sacrificing Christian men, who I sincerely hope God blesses for your strength and courage, I have a challenge for you. I hope all the guys will take up the challenge, will come and meet at the next Men’s Network breakfast to discuss and will sign this pledge. All the guys should have a photo-copy of this, and it doesn’t matter if you’re fifteen or eighty, you’re still a Christian guy, if you accept this resolution, sign and return the photocopy to me, I will make sure you get a handsome original, suitable for framing and you will be the faithful, self-sacrificing priest of your home and a hero to your wife, children, grand-children etc and despite the popular characterization, will stand against the world that works constantly at trying to tear down Christian men.  As godly men, trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ, remembering how He lived His life as an example and as a sacrifice to save us all, we too are called to live our life in Christ, trusting in Him and not in the world’s opinions.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom.

[1]http://maranathalife.com/marriage/mar-rel4.htm

[2] http://kingmovement.com/true-manhood-pt-6-a-real-man-is-priest-of-his-home-reprise/