In a day where sex has become almost synonymous with sleaze and fornication, it is important to reiterate The Sacred Glory of Sexual Intimacy. This month's newsletter is dedicated to just that very thing!
In this issue we'll talk about the God ordained joy of sexual intimacy and how the Scripture encourages couples to have an exuberant sex life. You will even discover how a couple's sanctification can increase the fulfillment they experience in the bedroom.
In sum, this issues magnifies the good gift of the union that God bestows upon a man and woman in the context of marriage. If anything, it serves as a reminder that we are to always be intoxicated with the love of our spouse and rejoice always in them!
Tattoos and body piercing has become something of a rage in our contemporary society. A simple walk through the mall will reveal how popular it has become.
The phenomena begs the question as to whether or not it is okay for a Christian to get a tattoo or piercing. In the following links I provide some information that I have gathered on the issue to help those interested consider well the ethical implications of getting a tat or piercing.
1. Classroom Lecture: The Ethics of Body Modification
2. Student guide: Body Mod. Ethics
3. Notes and Research on Tattoos & Piercings
4. A Brief History of Tattoos & Body Art -- [please note that this found online. I beg your pardon for not having remembered to insert the author's name & other reference material]
This week I've been preparing our latest newsletter, which will be on the topic of sexual fulfillment. It reminded me of this blog post that I created when preparing to preach on 1 Corinthians 7... you know, the "better to marry than to burn" passage...
One thing I love about this passage is its frankness. God not only instituted marriage for the satisfaction of our sexual desires, but he commands us to keep the marriage bed hot! And Paul spares none in making sure we realize this. He commands us to "give [our spouse his/her] conjugal rights." Then he reiterates it and goes so far as to say, "Do not deprive one another."
One of the greatest things I heard this week was that one church in the Puritan age put a man under church discipline because he was depriving his wife. That's fantastic! That's the kind of thing that should characterize the church: A people who are passionate about being passionate within marriage!
Not long ago Christians had a reputation for being prudish and sex was a taboo topic within the church. Gladly, things are changing. Of course, not all for the better. Today a lot of teaching on sex in the church tends to be a crude, focusing on sex techniques, sex therapists, etc. Nevertheless, most change is for the better, and a sex crazed culture needs solid teaching about proper sexual satisfaction.
That is actually a stupid thing to say. What I mean is "A sex crazed culture needs solid application of the Bible's teaching about proper sexual satisfaction." The fornication that is so rampant today would not be so prevalent if we had more of the sweetness of the marital bond.
That's why I want to encourage those of you who are married to keep the embers burning in the bedroom. Enjoy it, and be, as the Song of Solomon says, "sick with love." Initiate it, indulge in it, plan for it, play in it, serve in it, talk about it, and (above all) strive to excel in it!
I don't just want to emphasize the legitimacy of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife either. I want you to focus on the absolute elation of it! The pagan world does not have the corner on the market when it comes to the exhilaration of sex. God created sex, and he created it to be gratifying. Furthermore, when the Bible talks about proper sexual expression it emphasizes the ecstasy and euphoria of it, to the point where you start to blush (or perhaps better, sweat!).
I mentioned the Song of Solomon, but think also of Isaac and Rebbecca. In Gen. 26:8 it says that Isaac was sporting with Rebbecca. Now I don't want you to think that they were playing a game of Yahtzee or going bowling. The language is technically one of rousing sexual intimacy. You might say it was foreplay because it has to do with affectionate caressing.
(For those of you who may not understand the technical language: they were making out! If you would like to object to this interpretation, you have to find a better way to explain why Abimelech was so incensed with Isaac regarding his treatment of Rebbecca.)
I wanted to cite this line from a recent Generations Radio program on the Puritan View of Sex. One puritan they quote says that our spouse is a "playfellow who has come to make our age merry!" Think of that, a playmate!
I might add a word to the ladies here too: This passion is also something that is to characterize you too. I like how the Westminster Larger Catechism cites Proverbs 31:11, "The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain." as applying to the seventh commandment. Their insight into the word of God was great: A husband who is sexually gratified isn't going to be worrying about his wife all the time! What's more is that he is going to thrive in his business affairs because his wife is fulfilling all his desires.
Ladies also might want to consider a series like this in your women's discipleship classes, or perhaps regular conversations with those you mentor. Paul did say that the older women were to teach the younger women to "love their husbands." (Titus 2:3-4) We would be downright numb to limit that to taking care of the house and fixing meals.
It never fails. As we come to an end of a course, a handful of my students will inevitably say, “Pastor Matt, this has been the best module yet.”
Each time I smile and think to myself, “That’s what you said last time.” However, I refrain from saying anything because I know that this is their way of expressing how much these classes mean to them and how much they are benefiting from them.
In the next week I will be embarking on my tenth module with the men at Richland Correctional. As I do so, I need to re-establish my financial base for the next year. To that end I want to ask you to consider joining me in this ministry by means of financial support.
Supporting this ministry will not only guarantee that 10 men receive sound training in the doctrines of the faith. It will help ensure that the church of Christ has solid leaders in her midst. The men are already spiritual leaders in the prison. There is no doubt that upon release they will become pastors, teachers, and elders in local churches.
If you feel led to contribute through a one-time contribution or by monthly donations, I would appreciate your contacting me with the details. This will help me keep proper records of what is (and needs to be) raised. Please also note that donation information is listed below.
With deepest respects,
You can make a check out to The Ohio Presbytery and mail it to:
The Ohio Presbytery
377 Druerie Lane
Medina, OH 44256
Please be sure to include RiCI Prison Ministry in the memo line.
"No, you can’t split rotten wood."
-B.B. Warfeild, speaking to Machen about Machen's desire to see a split in the PCUSA in 1921
I believe in believer's baptism. Whenever someone enters the covenant for the first time, through repentance and profession of faith, they must be baptized. Once they enter, the promises of God extend to their children. As such, these children ought to be marked out as belonging to the Lord's through baptism.
Similarly, in the OT, when a Gentile became a follower of YHWH, he had to be circumcised. Once that was done, all of his household (children and slaves), became covenantally united to the Lord. All were members of God's church (Israel), and liable to either blessings or curses.
In the book of Acts, we see a transition stage. The covenant sign had changed from circumcision to baptism, as Col. 2 and Matt. 28 indicate. Thus, all those who profess faith in the book of Acts must be baptized. Yet Peter expresses the continuity of God's dealing with families when he says that "the promise is to you and to your children." He echoes the words of God in Genesis 12 and 17 purposefully.
Peter's testimony is not alone. Paul backs him when he indicates that the children of believer's are "holy." That is, they have been distinguished from the children of unbelievers. They are "set apart to God," and, being so, ought to have the sign that marks them as such.
But prior to the Apostle's, we have the words and deeds of Jesus himself. Jesus recognized the little children (infants) as members of his kingdom when he told his disciples to "Let the babies come to me, and do not forbid them, for such is the kingdom of heaven." He went on to express that this kingdom membership cannot remain solely one of physical birth or parental heritage. True membership must also be accompanied by faith, for "one must become like a little child." In sum, Christ spoke of both the external and internal covenants in virtually the same breath.
This phenomena has a crude parallel in our American citizenship. Upon birth we are acknowledged as members of this nation/state by means of an official birth certificate. We are to be raised to be faithful patriots, and at the proper time we must express our adherence to this kingdom publicly (through voting, for example).
Prior to his ascension to the Father's right hand, Jesus also gave the apostles the charge go and make disciples. How does one "make a disciple?" It is through the dual works of teaching them all that Christ has commanded and assigning to them the name of the Triune God in baptism. Since we still have the command to "impress these things upon our children, talk about them as we lie down and get up and walk along the way," we must recognize these children as disciples through baptism.
Covenant baptism, like it's Old Testament counterpart of circumcision, is a sign and seal to the child. It is the visible manifestation of God's promise "I will be your God, you will be my people." This baptism does not save a child, but it does contain a lively and true promise. So the child always carries with him this reminder and he should recognize that he must respond with faith and obedience all his days.
His greater privilege also implies greater responsibility. If he rebels, he is judged with stricter judgment--for he enjoyed more light and more proximity to God & His blessing.
Every year there is a race to announce the first baby of the year. Interestingly, first baby is often an illegitimate child nowadays. What used to be a great shame, has come to be plastered on the front page of every New Year's newspaper. In this episode of the Town Crier show we'll talk about this phenomena and examine the life and death of "First Baby."
An Atheist church, which goes by the name Coalition for Reason, has recently purchased billboards on Dallas/ Forth Worth area buses that proclaim "Millions of Americans are good without God." Their aim is to woo more adherents to their godless religion by presenting themselves as moral people.
However, in this episode of the Town Crier Show, we'll show how delusional such a notion is. We'll expose the fact that atheism is most definitely a religion, but one that lacks any basis for making moral claims.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
to the preaching and teaching ministry of
Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.