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Msindisi Monthly # 116

April 30, 2014


NUMBER: 116 May 2014

PO BOX 1481




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Here we are in Springs on the last day of April. We have come up because today we are heading off to Australia and New Zealand until the beginning of July in order to visit Family, friends and Churches. The Lord provided us with the ability to visit by the generosity of certain brethren in the Lord and we are so grateful.

But it has taken some time for the trip to sink in. And now it is upon us. This last month the regular activities have continued. At the end of March Salvador preached at the Bethany Baptist Church on having a zeal for God’s house and concerning the participation of all the believers in ministry. Since then the pastor has asked a couple of men to share in a bible study and Church meeting. Johnny, a farmer who is in our cell group, was asked to preach on Sunday the 4th May. It is a daunting task for him and one that he would have declined had it not been for his conviction that the Lord is calling for him to to this. Please pray for him as he has never preached before.

We have given out the rest of the jumpers the Australian ladies have knitted for the children out here in northern KwaZulu Natal. We have given a lot of them to Clinics who are distributing them as well as to various children in the local community and in town through friendships and through crèches. One such crèche we visited was in our local community. It has been operating for 2 years without government funding, though with some assistance from the department of Child Welfare. The children are taught in both Zulu and in English even though the teachers are not fluent in English. It was amazing to see the children recite their English rhymes and songs which is a testimony to the discipline, structure and faithfulness of the teachers who teach these children who are not yet old enough to go to school. The school at present is housed at the homestead of one of the teachers. The room set aside is a mud hut and there are many posters on the walls, some games and there is a very good filing system and documentation. The level of professionalism was equal to that of surrounding schools and a crèche like this is so important for the community. They have run out of food for the children’s meals which are valuable sources of nutrition for children in this impoverished area. The teacher told us that after one more year they will be able to apply for Non Profit status and then with that they will be able to apply for government funding. They are presently building a Crèche out of wattle and mud. The principal is a young lady who is has a lot of zeal.

Sicelo Creche

Sicelo Creche

The homstead where Sicelo Creche is run

The homstead where Sicelo Creche is run

Kids at Sicelo Creche

Kids at Sicelo Creche

As there were school holidays at the beginning of the month we picked up Asimbonge and two of his uncles to visit Gogo from his grandmother. Those of you who read our newsletter at the beginning of January may remember that Asimbonge’s mother, Babhekile, was murdered at the home stead. While visiting Babhekile’s mother, Tembilihle, she mentioned that Gogo had planned an ancestral ritual at the beginning of May. Salvador responded by saying that “Satan has got hold of people”. She was shocked to hear this association of ancestors to Satan. She believed that some things in scripture disagreed with ancestral traditions and other scriptures agreed with them. Salvador showed her that nothing in scripture agreed with ancestral traditions and left her with bible verses to read for herself. The same kind of conversation arose with Phumlani’s sister in law after we took Gogo to hospital in order for her to be transferred to Grey’s hospital near Pietermaritzburg. Gogo has full blown cancer and has received little help from Vryheid. When Phumlani’s sister in law, Philisiwe, went with Gogo we took her back home. Philisiwe said that she would read the scriptures to search these things out. Please pray for the salvation of Philisiwe, Tembilihle and Gogo.

Asimbonge visits Gogo with two of his uncles

Asimbonge visits Gogo with two of his uncles

Our teaching at the Care bear crèche was plentiful this month as we were asked to make up for the two months we would be away. The kids are a real blessing and full of energy as they sing the songs with all their hearts. Our prayers are that the Lord will help them to remember the lessons when they are older so that they may be saved. Salvador has continued to teach the teachers of another Crèche called Joyland and we teach their children once a month.

This month at Cell group we did a Passover meal and it was such a blessing to see Messiah in this supper and also to look forward to Yeshua’s return. There was a sizeable group who met in Johnny and Kim’s home. The food was lovely and the message touched hearts.

The Seder Plate

The Seder Plate

Our Passover meal.

Our Passover meal.

Salvador Teaching the Passover

Salvador Teaching the Passover

Looking for the Afikomen

Salvador playing Guitar at Passover

Salvador playing Guitar at Passover

Salvador was asked to teach at the Zulu congregation this month and taught a message on Deuteronomy 27-28 concerning the blessings and curses of the Law within the context of the Land (Palestinian) covenant of Deuteronomy. Discipleship has been constant in Alpha and Phumlani has just finished taking the guys through 2 Chronicles. We continue to teach the kids at Kid’s club. Unfortunately last Friday evening the car lights went as the fuse had melted. Therefore we had to cancel the last kids club to get them sorted before travelling up to Springs on the same day. Fortunately the short occurred with the wires that connected to the fuse itself so it was an easy problem to rectify. We have also taken the gospel well into the area of Cibilili.

Picking up Kids for Kid's Club

Picking up Kids for Kid’s Club

Little girl at Kid's Club

Little girl at Kid’s Club

Menzi with Guitar given by someone at Coming King Ministries

Menzi with Guitar given by someone at Coming King Ministries

Mo at Kid's Club

Mo at Kid’s Club

View of Ngenitsheni

View of Ngenitsheni

The local government has commissioned the electricity company to provide electricity to our local areas. The company has been working hard to get the infrastructure in place to wire up to each homestead. Before we left the company arrived at our home and installed the wiring to Gogo’s hut. We also had a meal provided by a sweet Indian lady called Kogie at the Bethany Baptist bible study. She wanted to bless us before we left.

The Electricity is on its way for Gogo

The Electricity is on its way for Gogo

At the special meal at Bethany Baptist Church

At the special meal at Bethany Baptist Church

So we are about to embark on our trip to Australia. We will be in Australia till Wednesday 7th when we will travel to Christchurch for two nights before heading to the North Island. Our itinerary for Australia and New Zealand is still in working progress but up to now the itinerary is as follows:

  • Thurs 1st May-Sat 3rd May In Sydney, Australia visiting brethren.

  • Sat 3rd May Fly to Melbourne. Radio Interview.

  • Sun 4th May Preaching at Pilgrim Fellowship (AM) Melbourne Contact: Marg Godwin 0061356332300

  • Wed 7th May Fly to Christchurch, NZ. Bible study. Contact: Jake Harrison 006439802159

  • Sat 10th May Fly to Palmerston North.

  • Sun 11th May Preaching at Emmanuel Congregational Church (AM and PM) Contact: Lindsay Shotton: 0064272836736

  • Sun 1st Jun Preaching at Crossroads Christian Congregation, Auckland. Contact: Fanie Du Toit006494795663

  • Fri 27th Jun Fly to Sydney

  • Sat 28th Jun Preaching 2 sessions at Home group. Contact: Lee Wardle 0061429818136

  • Sun 29th Jun Preaching at GLEC (AM) near Sydney. Contact: Lee Wardle 0061429818136

  • Sun 29th Jun Preaching at Congregation (PM) in Sutherland, Sydney. Contact Details to Follow

  • Thurs 3rd July Fly to South Africa.

When the itinerary is updated and finalised we will post it on this website and on the KwaZulu Mission facebook page.

A surprising visitor in our bathroom one morning.

A surprising visitor in our bathroom one morning.

Items for Prayer

  • The Salvation of Gogo, Tembelihle and Philisiwe

  • Phumlani as he leads the congregation and continues the preaching ministry

  • Johnny as he teaches at Bethany Baptist Church on the 4th May.

  • For our itinerary and visit round Australia and New Zealand.


The Purpose of Marriage: Communion, Sharing, Fellowship.

The need for Communion, relationship and community

Genesis 2:18.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

God created everything good, but even before sin came into the world there is one thing that God said was not good. God said that it was not good for the man to be alone. Now if you look at the primary context of that in verses 15-17 you see that God put man there to cultivate a garden and in Genesis 1:28 God gave mankind a mandate; to have dominion, to be fruitful and multiply. You cannot do that by yourself. You cannot be fruitful by yourself, either physically or spiritually. We need the Lord in our lives, and we need each other. But look at what God said concerning Adam. He said that it was not good for ‘the man’, that is Adam, to be alone. Even though Adam has the meaning of red, it is used consistently throughout the Old Testament to speak of mankind. I believe that there is a special significance to the name Adam when it says, that it is not good for Adam to be alone. As human beings that we need a sense of belonging, fellowship, communication and sharing. We need people in our lives. I want to stress for the benefit of those with the grace of singleness or who are not married; there is a very special call for singleness. Singleness is a gift, and it is precious in God’s sight. But nevertheless, to be part of a community is part of being human, and this is no less exemplified in the marriage relationship. I once watched a DVD of the false teacher called John Bevere and in the course of the teaching he said that God made man because He was lonely. Before God made anything, before He made angels and the heaven and the earth, God was never, ever alone or lonely. God is Father, Son, and He is alsoHoly Spirit. God always had a perfect relationship, fellowship and sharing. God was never lonely and, despite the invention of John Bevere, God did not need to make us in order to add any sense of fulfilment to His existence. We are the ones who need fellowship; God does not need it. But if you are unmarried, there is a sense where the body of Messiah becomes your family and community. Outside of the marriage context, to be part of the family of God is so important because God has made us that we should be social beings.

If you look at Genesis 2:19ff, God brings to Adam all the living creatures to see what man would call them. And imagine all these animals are coming to you, and you are Adam. You see a male lion, a female lion. Male giraffe, female giraffe. Male Zebra, female Zebra. Male this, female that. And you see yourself and you say, “Male me… No one there.” It must have driven home the point that there was no one comparable to him. The second reason that God brought the animals to man is because you do not appreciate something unless you know what it is like to be without it. And personally speaking, this is one reason I think that God brought all these animals before Adam, so that Adam could see what he was missing in his life. Therefore, when God gave Adam that special person he would treasure her.

The Significance of Marriage Companionship

But in the Bible we see that the main reason for marriage is companionship. In Hebrew and Greek there are a few different words that speak companionship.

Malachi 2:14.

Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

This verse uses a significant word for a marriage partner. The woman is the man’s marriage partner by covenant. The covenant is a very significant concept. When you enter a covenant you are in effect binding yourself to an agreement whereby you swear “If I break this agreement, may I be broken!” It is a binding agreement. The word companion in the verse is ‘Chaver’ in Hebrew and the word comes from another Hebrew word, “Chavar” which means to bind together. Therefore, this person, your friend, your wife or husband, is joined together with you. If that is so in regular friendships, how much more in marriage where you are one. In a marriage, you are allied and fastened together. You harm my wife; you harm me. It is as close as that.

Proverbs 2:17.

That leaves the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;

This verse speaks about an adulteress, an unfaithful woman. It calls her husband “her companion” but the Hebrew word is “Aluf” that comes from a word meaning “to tame”. It is just like when you tame a wild animal. Now I know that some women may say that that is the effect of their marriage on their husbands, but taming here suggests the idea of gentleness. What you have with your spouse is precious, and there is a tenderness and intimacy about it. Your spouse is your intimate friend. When you think about friendship, there are different levels of intimacy. You should have a real intimacy with your spouse. That is part of the calling of marriage.

In the New Testament there is a Greek word that summarises this idea of partnership and sharing. In Greek, the word is ‘Koinonia’ which comes from the word ‘Koine’. Whenever you hear a bible teacher say, the Apostles wrote the New Testament in ‘Koine Greek’; it is the same word. ‘Koine’ means ‘common’, thus ‘Koine Greek’ was the language of the common person. Everyone spoke it; they made business contracts with it. Therefore, ‘Koinonia’ carries the idea of commonality, from where we get the word ‘communication’. You can communicate because you have a common understanding of what symbols mean and how to put them together. You can encode your message and another person can decode it. Thus, you can communicate with another person. You have a commonality. The word ‘Koinonia’ means ‘partnership, sharing, fellowship and communion.’ Whatever we experience of ‘koinonia’ in the body of Messiah applies in a very special way in marriage. It is something that is very precious. The primary reason that God gave marriage was for companionship. The man was not to be alone.

False Foundations for Marriage

But when you look at how God brought about the marriage you have to ask, where was the romance when the man and the woman got married? Where do you read that Adam saw Eve and told her his best chat up lines? The premarital romance did not exist. Whatever romance might be in a relationship before marriage or not, is not relatively important. The romance should come after marriage. Whether there is romance before a marriage is not as important. In some societies, they have arranged marriages. A guy may not meet his wife before the marriage day. How do those marriages work? They do not base their marriages on romance. And there are false foundations that people build their marriages on. One of the false foundations for marriage is ‘having children’.

a) To Have Children

Some people may want to get married in order to have children. Children are not part of the fabric that makes a marriage. Your marriage is complete without children. Your marriage is complete. On the wedding night, you complete the marriage process, and you consummate your marriage. You are man and wife in the total sense of those words. One author compared marriage to a tent. God is the top corner of the tent. In another corner, you have a man and in the other corner is the wife. That is the three corners of your tent. So where are children to be placed in that tent? Which side do they belong? Children do not belong in the foundation and the structure of that tent. Rather you put children in the centre, and that is where children will find their protection. When marriage is strong and is built on the Lord, without the children, marriage will be strong for the children. Children are a part of the calling of marriage. God said, ‘be fruitful and multiply’. But when a couple remains without children it does not make them less married, or their marriage inferior. But some people have regarded their marriages as inferior, especially in traditional cultures. If a woman does give birth to children, he will take another wife until he finds a wife that will give him children. But that is not an ideal marriage. God did not create polygamy in the beginning. In the beginning marriage consisted of one man and one woman. I once knew a couple who were fighting over the love and loyalty of their children. The husband placed his children before his wife because he wanted the children to look after him when he got old. We explained to him that he must place his wife before his children and the children will feel secure. Thus, when they are older they will look after both father and mother.

b) Falling in Love

The basis of marriage is not “falling in love”. Falling in love is a very passive thing. One day you see someone, and bang!!! There are stars and birds, and you are on top of the world. You have fallen in love. Five years later and you have fallen out. Emotions are funny things. You cannot build anything on emotion. Emotions are important. God is the God of emotion, but emotion must not lead us. Such love is not strong enough to take the pressures of life.

John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

When we look at the word ‘so’ in this verse we need to recognise how important that word is. Often the word ‘so’ is taken to mean ‘so much’. We think that God’s love is so great that He just had to send His son for us. And there is a level of truth in that. God’s love did compel Him. This verse is not saying that. In the Greek, the word ‘so’ is ‘houtos’, and when you follow this word with an adjective then it speaks of quantity.

Galatians 3:3.

Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

What is the first question of this verse? “Are you so foolish?” The word “foolish” is an adjective. “Are you ‘houtos’ foolish?” Here the word ‘houtos’ speaks of quantity, how great their foolishness was. However, without an adjective, the word ‘houtos’ speaks concerning the way someone does something.

1 Corinthians 7:7.

Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

In this context Paul wishes that his readers were single like he was, but he recognises that not all have that gift. Each person has a special gift from the Lord. Both marriage and singleness are gifts. Each person has his own gift, “one in this ‘houtos’ and one in that ‘houtos’.” In in this way and one in that way. One in this manner and one in that manner. We should understand John 3:16 according to the second meaning of houtos. “For in this way God loved the world.” How did God love the world? “That He gave His only begotten Son.” I am just stressing the fact that God did not love us because one day He just fell in love with us and thought that we were so wonderful. He did not think “I just have to send my Son for them, I cannot help it for I cannot live without them in my life!” It is not that romantic love. It is a love that cost God. It was a value that He placed on you that was not intrinsic to you and He placed that value on you by what He did. He sent His son. God’s love is not passive. It is active. How do you know God loved you? Because of what He did. Modern people think, “I have to sense it” “Can you feel the love tonight?” But real, genuine love will cost you. You must love even the feelings are not there. What did we do to provoke such love in God? What was there so lovely about us that caused God to love us? Nothing! It was all from Him. He loved because of who He is and not because of what we are. We have a very different concept of love. If you want real, enduring, sustainable marriage love, you cannot base it on the fact that you fell in love with someone. It has to be deeper and more substantial than that or else your marriage is not going to last. Just as easy as you fell into love you will fall out. What did you do to fall into love? Nothing, it just happened. It is passive. God’s love is active.

c) For Personal Happiness or Fulfilment.

You cannot base marriage on personal happiness. “I want to be married because I want to be happy.” “Surely they should be allowed to be married. Why are they not entitled to happiness?” If personal happiness is the foundation of your marriage, it is not going to last. Or even if getting more out of your life is the reason to get married it will not last. Marriage is not about getting more out of your life. Marriage is like getting born again. It is a brand new life.

Genesis 2:24.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

This verse tells us that merely living together is not a marriage. Marriage has to entail more than that. Simply having a sexual relationship with someone does not make you married. “A man will leave his father and mother, and cleaves to his wife.” That word “cleaves” is like being super glued to someone else. There is a commitment. That is why shacking up together is not marriage. There has to be a covenant; there has to be a commitment. You have come into something new, and you become one flesh too. There is a oneness that never existed before that is special and unique. And this oneness will never exist again. It is personal, specific and unique to you and your spouse. Therefore, marriage is not an addition to your life. It is like a new life.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Marriage is not about my personal happiness nor about getting more out of my life. The husband must fulfil the duty to his wife. Notice that Paul does not follow the culture of his day. In the culture of his day the woman was there to please her husband. But Paul contradicts that world-view and argues that there is a mutuality. The husband must fulfil his duty to his wife. Now that does not sound like falling in love. That sounds like obligation. That sounds like the man has a job to do. Yes, the man has a duty to his wife! The same goes for the wife. Notice that love is centred on the other person. “The wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband does and likewise with the husband also.”

1 Corinthians 7:32-34.

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

This is the reason why Paul states that singleness is a very special calling, which Paul preferred in light of the society and the world in which Paul lived. An unmarried person is free from concern. If you want to go to the mission field you do not need to arrange for your wife and children to go with you. You do not need to worry about schooling and raising a family. You just go. “But the one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.” Why does Paul refer to marriage as something worldly? Do not think Paul is referring to marriage as something sinful or fleshly. Rather think that Paul is referring to marriage as something temporal.

1 Corinthians 7:31.

and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

Marriage is temporal. Your marriage lasts till one of the partners dies. Your marriage is not eternal. Your marriage belongs to your life on this earth. Now if you are both saved, your relationship with your spouse is eternal but the marriage itself is till death do you part. And that is why a widow can get remarried without sin. “But the person who is married is concerned about how he may please his wife… and his interests are divided.” If you do not have a spouse you can be solely focussed on pleasing the Lord. When you are married you must please the Lord and your spouse. Your spouse is central to your life, just like God is. So it is not about you. It is about your spouse. Marriage is a great way to overcome selfishness because you have to if your marriage is going to last.

Ephesians 5:25-27.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

There is only one thing in these three verses that Jesus did concerning Himself. He presents to Himself a glorious bride. That is the only point that Jesus did something for the bride that concerned Himself. Every other act is focussed on His bride. Messiah loved his assembly. He gave Himself up for her. He sanctifies her and He cleansed her. Notice Jesus’ mindset. Jesus is always focussed on her, her, her. That is the example that we, as husbands, must follow. And how much of His life did Jesus lay down? 50%? 60%? 70%? No He gave up all of His life. Marriage is not 50/50, but it is 100/100. Messiah is the model. We are to be that way with our spouse.

Romans 15: 1-3.

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”

We are to please each other in the assembly. We are to accept insults by being united with other brethren in Messiah. Accepting insults is especially the case with young people. Young people in the world regard some youth within the congregation in derogatory terms, like “losers”, etc. I am not speaking of brothers and sisters who are rude to others or arrogant, but those who are just plainly odd or are not culturally in the “in crowd”, they just do not fit in. Maybe they are Jewish or African or whatever. When you associate with them what will the world call you by association? You are hanging out with that ‘loser’ so you are a ‘loser-lover’. You have to bear that reproach. You die to yourself that you may please your brother in Messiah. Even Messiah did that. “The reproaches of those who reproached you have fallen on me.” If that is true in regard to your brothers and sisters in Messiah, how much more true should that be concerning your spouse who is to be closer than other brethren in Messiah?

Look at your vows. When you made your vows you were asked, “Will you love her, honour her and protect her and forsaking all others keep yourself only for her as long as you both shall live?” You said “I will”. There is no ‘If’ clause. There is not condition. You never said “I will love her, honour her if she cooks my food every night.” That is not what you promised. You promised to concentrate on her, not yourself. Those were your vows. That is your platform for your marriage. In the Jewish wedding vows, your vows are written on the marriage contract, the ‘Ketuvah’. But with the actual vows the man takes his wife, puts a ring on her finger and he says “With this ring I separate you to myself according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” What do the laws of Moses and Israel cover? Everything. Therefore the person cannot say, “Well that was not part of my vows. I never promised to do that!” Their whole life was governed by what God gave to Israel through Moses. Marriage in this context was not something you promise to do. It is something you do right there and then. Marriage is a fact. You are consecrated, separated to that person and that person is separated and consecrated to you. Thus, that person is now your intimate friend. And any other person that you would dare set your affection on is a stranger, a strange woman or a strange man.

The Calling to Intimacy

Marriage not only concerns sharing, or concentrating on the other person, but marriage is also about intimacy.

Genesis 4:1.

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”

Adam had relations with his wife. The word ‘relations’ is the Hebrew word ‘Yada’ which means ‘to know’. There is another word in Biblical Hebrew that communicates the idea of ‘knowing’ and that is ‘biyn’. ‘Biyn’ speaks of wisdom, understanding, and discernment. In some cases, it can denote general knowledge. The difference with ‘Yada’ is that it denotes all of that, it includes general knowledge and perception of the mind but it goes beyond that. Adam knew his wife by coming into her. God knows us, and we know God by Him coming into us by His Holy Spirit. There is something of intimacy, experience and relationship in this knowledge. In the Greek, the word is ‘Ginosko’ but there again it means the same thing. Therefore, a full knowledge of something not only incorporates the mind but it is also a thing of experience. And that is why God said to Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God was not saying that he did not want him to learn about it. God meant that He did not want Adam to experience it. It was for God to know it alone. But Adam and Eve wanted to taste it, feel it and touch it. They wanted to know it. We can know about drugs, heroine, speed etc. But we are not to know them. We can know about sexual reproduction but we must not know it experientially until we get married. God comes into us and He knows us in a manner that no one can. That is the same in a marriage. The husband and wife know each other in a way that no one else can. It is exclusive. But because of that intimacy, and that experiential oneness, there are two other things that come with that. The first thing is vulnerability and the second is nakedness. Nakedness was part of the original marriage. Nakedness means that you have nothing to hide and you are open. Your spouse can see everything about you. You are vulnerable.

Let us look at the relationship between sharing, opening up and intimacy.

John 15:15.

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

So what is the difference between a slave and a friend? You share more with a friend than you do with a slave. If that is true in this sense how much more in the context of a marriage. The more you share, the more intimacy there is. The more you share of yourself, and the more you open up of yourself, the more intimate you will be with your spouse. The more you open up of yourself to the Lord the more you are going to know Him and He will know you. He knows everything about you but I am speaking in terms of having a relationship. It is scary to open up but there is something beautiful about it. The late Art Katz did a message on ‘Intimacy’ and he put it this way: “A real and genuine relationship has to be two-way and it can only work on a personal level.” You cannot have a personal relationship with a school. You cannot have a personal relationship with a church constitution. You cannot have a personal relationship with a political party. You cannot have a personal relationship with a machine. You can only have a personal relationship with another person. So if your relationship is to be real and authentic then the people in that relationship need to be real and authentic.

Deuteronomy 34:10.

Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

The Lord knew Moses face to face.

Exodus 33:11.

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

You see the significance of this face to face encounter. The friendship that Moses had with God was unlike any other person. No one knew God the way Moses knew God because Moses knew God face to face. In Numbers, God tells Miriam and Aaron, “If I speak to a prophet, I will speak to him in a vision or dream but not so with my servant Moses. With him I speak mouth to mouth. Not in dark sayings.” A vision or a dream must be interpreted. But Moses needed no interpretation. God’s message was clear and direct. Mouth to mouth and face to face. It was the closest any person could get to God.

In this regard, Art Katz said something that was very profound. “It is perhaps no coincidence that, unlike the mating of many animals, human intimacy is face to face.” Therefore, we should not let anything interrupt this face to face encounter with God or our spouse. You cannot be fake with each other. You have to be open. So when you hide secrets you are withholding something and, therefore, in those areas, you have no intimacy, no communion, and no fellowship. It is the same with the Lord. A woman will feel it first when one breaks that bond of intimacy. My wife feels it before I do. A woman feels it before the guy does. And a woman will express how she feels, and the guy will ask, “What are you talking about?” She is looking for intimacy. The break in intimacy may result from various causes. The husband may be withholding something. There may be unrepentant and unconfessed sin. Sometimes husband can set his affections on something or someone other than his wife. Thus, something comes in between them. The same can be for the wife. This shows us that we should work towards intimacy. It is not a mechanical thing. In marriage, relationship works on the physical level, it works on the emotional and it works on the spiritual level. Because it is emotional that means that it cannot be a mere passing through the motions. You cannot fake it. Because it is spiritual that means you cannot marry an unbeliever. If you got saved while in the covenant of marriage it is different. If your unbelieving spouse is happy to remain married to a believer then God tells you to remain in that marriage. But if you are a believer do not even think about entertaining an unbeliever for your spouse. You cannot have that spiritual oneness with an unbeliever. It is so important to marry a believer in order to attain to the greatest possible union and intimacy that you can attain to in fallen bodies. God means for you to enjoy oneness because it is precious that this world often does not know.

Ephesians 4:25-26.

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry, and ye do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

In the context of sharing and opening up verse 26 shows how realistic God is about the issue of intimacy. “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” When you give up falsehood and you speak truth you are going to get a reaction, especially when that truth that you are opening up to is a sin.. People do not look at truth in a purely intellectual way. When you open up with repentance and confess your sin that person does not acknowledge your confession in a robotic way. They will be hurt, upset and feel betrayed. They will be angry. You have to accept that there is going to be a reaction. But when your spouse opens up to you about something serious, know that if you ever did something else to them, you would have to open up to them. Be angry but make sure your anger does not lead to sin. Seek the Lord concerning His will and humble yourself before Him. If your spouse is truly repentant and willing to accept discipline, by God’s grace there is nothing that you cannot work through and bring glory to the Lord in the end.

Because your spouse is your focus and their spiritual well being, their repentance and confession is God’s opportunity to use you to help them overcome. When that person opens up to you, they are going to know that the next time they are in a situation where something like that can happen again, that your eyes are going to be burning in the back of their necks. You will be watching them, not maliciously, not to hold something against them but because you know they are weak in that area. This will help them to overcome. We need to be mature and have Messiah at the centre. We need to be selfless and put the other person first. It is hard but it is possible. When you work through these problems you are cemented together through the problems.

The Call to Transparency

1 John 1:7

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we must walk in the light to have fellowship with God it indicates that walking in light opens up more fellowship. Thus if we walk in the light with our spouses we will have more fellowship with them.

John 3:19.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

When we walk in the light, it shows up our dirt. But our sin is shown up so that God may clean it up. Intimacy costs us. It is challenging but it is rewarding.

Marriage is a Liberating Bondage.

Marriage is a liberating bondage and it is the second greatest death.

1 Corinthians 7:31.

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

The word for bond signifies slavery. The word slave ‘doulos’ comes from the word ‘to bind’. Marriage is a slavery because you cannot just do what you always wanted to do. You have a spouse to think about. Humanly thinking, we think that this is a bad thing, but it is a positive thing.

1 Corinthians 6:18.

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

When you sin with sexual sin, you are sinning against your own body. All sin is wicked, but there is a particular self-loathing and self-deprecation that is attached to sexual sin. Not only this but there is something heinous about such sins in comparison with other types of sin. And that is that you, spirit, soul and body belong to God. Thus, sexual sin is hatred towards God because you are Christ’s slave. But you cannot see God. He does not speak every time you make a wrong move and tell us “I see everything you do”. It is easy to forget that God is watching. But when you go home your spouse is there. You can see them, and you can hear them. Therefore, marriage helps you to be a slave of Messiah.

2 Timothy 3:2.

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,

Loving self is negative. Here it is seen as the root of other kinds of sin. This loving of self puts self at the centre of everything. Matthew 22:39 says “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” According to psychological thought, it is asserted that we need to love ourselves more in order to love other people more. That is not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying that we naturally love ourselves. Jesus wants us to show the same care and consideration we naturally show ourselves and direct it towards others. When you are hungry what do you do? You make something to eat. When your spouse walks in and looks hungry and tired what do you do? Do you even notice? We love ourselves more than we even realise. You look after yourself. Therefore, show that same care towards others.

Matthew 16:25

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

When self is there in the centre, there can be no lasting intimacy, no enduring fellowship. Self will destroy fellowship because, when someone says something off hand, you will be offended. You will say “How dare he speak to me like that!” “How dare my wife talk to me like that!” “How dare my husband speak to me like that!” We naturally feel this way. Jesus is telling us to love God first and others second. The same way you think you should be spoken to, make sure you speak to others that way. The cross is at the centre of our walk with the Lord. But when we are married we no longer walk by ourselves to heaven. If we are married to a believer we are walking with someone else to the same destination. We are pilgrims but in marriage we have a pilgrim partner by our side. So if the cross is at the heart of our pilgrimage so the cross must also be at the heart of our marriages. Jesus’ attitude was “I would rather not go to the cross. That is what I would rather not do. But Father, I know Your will. I have to go to the cross to do Your will, so therefore, I will do what You want me to do.” Marriage is, therefore, like a cross. You have to say “I would rather not do this but I know that for my marriage’s sake I need to.”

Thus, when self is out of the way and I start to experience this, I am portraying Christ’s relationship with His assembly.

The Call to Love

1 John 4:20.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

If this is true about your brother in Messiah, how much more your spouse? Our relationship with God concerns our relationship with one another. Our knowledge and love of God should mirror that of my fellow brother and sister in Messiah. If I do not love my wife, I can claim that I love God all I want, but God says that I am a liar! The same goes for the wife. She cannot love God if she does not love her husband. If we want to represent Messiah to this lost world and we want to show forth a solid and meaningful relationship with Messiah, we need a solid and meaningful relationship with our spouses in the Lord. Therefore, if we get our marriages right, we show forth a true and meaningful relationship with Messiah to this lost world.

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23For 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. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30because we are members of His body. 31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

If a husband does not love his wife, he does not love Jesus. We, as husbands need to be concerned about our wives’ spiritual well being because Jesus is concerned about His bride’s spiritual well being. If you hate your wife, it is a disgusting form of self hatred. You have this terrible view of yourself. When you do something malicious to your wife, you are doing that to yourself because you are one with her. If you hurt my wife, you hurt me. So if I disparage my wife, I disparage myself. It is the same with Messiah. The same oneness that we have in our marriages is the same oneness that Jesus has with His assembly. And that is why Jesus told Paul, “You lay a hand on my little ones, you are touching me.” “You are persecuting me.” There is this union with Messiah and finds its parrallel in marriage. There is no greater picture of Messiah with the Assembly that this world can see than a godly marriage. There is nothing greater that you can demonstrate to this world what Jesus did for His bride and what the Bride is to do for Messiah than to have a godly marriage.

Which Gospel Do We Portray in our Marriages?

Therefore, let me conclude with the following questions:

Husbands: What Messiah are we portraying to the world? Are we presenting a Messiah that is off-handed with His bride? Do we, by our actions, say to this world “You better be careful how you come to Jesus because He is ready to blow? He does not understand you. Jesus does not want to attempt to understand you. He has no patience and is abrupt!”? Is that the Messiah that we are portraying to this world?

Wives: What picture of the Assembly are you presenting to this world? Are you portraying an Assembly that is trying to elevate herself about Jesus? In the modern western world, we have feminism. Feminism claims that a woman is equal to a man in everything and should enjoy the same position and privilege in everything. It claims that a woman should not be submissive to her husband in anything. A woman should be equal to her husband in every single way possible. That is feminism. Feminism goes further and argues that a woman should be able to lead her husband and be above him. Well, what is happening in Christian assemblies, especially in the west? Christians are demanding from God and commanding God by the word of faith. And we expect God to do what we tell Him to? Women are climbing into the pulpits and assuming the role of Bible teachers over men and women in defiance of Paul’s instruction to Timothy that women should not teach over men nor have authority over men. Is there not a parallel between this Christianity and feminism? What picture of the Bride of Messiah are you giving to this world through your relationship to your husband?

What Gospel are we preaching in our marriages? When we have a greater intimacy it is something between us and our spouses which other people are excluded from. When you have that with someone and the world can see it in your eyes, that you have this unique thing that they are not a part of, you may arouse their intrigue, you may even arouse envy but you do not leave them unaffected. “What do you have with your marriage that I do not have with mine?” Are we getting deeper with the Lord and deeper with our spouse? The Lord will use our marriages to cause us to get deeper with Him. It is a high calling but when you compare what the world offers in marriage to this, the world’s marriage, by comparison, is shallow, empty, meaningless and cheap. By comparison, that is. If we sacrifice and die to self, along the lines of God’s way, our marriages will be substantial and priceless. God designed marriage so, therefore, if marriage is going to work, it must be according to His principles.

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