Category Archives: Marriage

Marriage: A Picture of Perfect Love

Picture of Perfect Love Graphic.001

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday. It is meant to be a celebration of love and that applies to all of us in all ages because God is love and he demonstrated his love for all of us. For those of you who are married, I hope it had even more significance to you and that you were able to spend some special time together to invest in your relationship and grow your love. Marriage is a wonderful thing. It is truly the greatest gift God has given us apart from our salvation and today we are going to see why that is so. Whether you are married or not, I am sure all of us have been blessed by those extraordinarily solid messages that inspire and impact us. Today we are going to see why marriage is so special and it might not be what you are thinking. It is because marriage is designed by God to be a picture of his perfect love for his bride – the church.

You might say, “Marriage? A picture of perfect love? Oh, I don’t know about that. Marriage has some rough times.” I agree, every marriage has its share of dark valleys, but that actually contributes to the picture of perfect love and I hope by the end of today you will see that even more clearly and have a newfound appreciation for the institution of marriage.

When people think of Zambia, what one image comes to mind for most people? The Majestic Victoria Falls. That image is instantly associated with this country. It is on nearly every website and brochure. It is an icon.

There are lots of ways we try to capture such images. Here are some drawings that my children did of Victoria Falls. Not bad! We can all identify it, but a photograph makes the image clearer. Most of us love to use tiny, digital cameras when we travel to a place like Victoria Falls. They are easy to carry, but the larger and more complex the image we want to capture the more it becomes nearly impossible to represent it well and completely with our little cameras. Even when we use a big camera it just doesn’t do it justice. No single photograph can show someone how magnificent Victoria Falls is. The shortcomings of the photographer do nothing to diminish the majesty and natural wonder of that amazing place. But, some photos do give a better idea than others of how majestic it is. We all want those clearer kinds of pictures of Victoria Falls, right?

Well, God intended marriage to be the earthly picture of his divine love. God designed marriage to be a picture of the love Christ has for His bride – the Church. The question that each married person must ask is, “how clear and well-focused is the portrait of Jesus that our marriage is displaying?” Just like no photo will fully capture the magnificence of Victoria Falls so no marriage will fully display the glory of Christ’s love for the church. But I do want my marriage to offer the clearest, most well focused portrait possible.

For those of us who are not yet married, but are open to the possibility of it some day then we must be preparing ourselves to be the cameras that capture the image of Jesus and put it on display in our marriages. The more prepared you are now, the more success you will have in your future marriage. For those of you who have already experienced the joys of marriage, but your husband or wife has passed on I hope that you will be reminded of good memories and that you will see your marriage in a new light that makes you appreciate it even more. My prayer is that each of us regardless of our marital status will leave here with a greater appreciation for marriage and what it symbolizes.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 we find what is probably the greatest passage of scripture on the husband and wife, for that wonderful union of man & woman in the bonds of marriage is likened unto the union of Christ and His church.

Since God is love and the Bible is God’s word, you would expect to see this love in all 66 books of the Bible. This is certainly true of the book of Ephesians.

  • In Eph. 1:3-5 we see that God loved us. This is the same message we heard in Week 1 of this series: Finding Perfect Love.
  • As a result of God’s love, we love God which was the focus of the second message entitled “Responding to Perfect Love” (Eph. 3:14-19)
  • As a result of loving God we also love fellow mankind, which we saw in last week’s message, “Getting a Handle on Love that Never Fails.” We see that same message echoed in Eph. 4:32-5:2, 15-21. This passage sets the tone of what we will look at today. The tone is one of submission in all our relationships.
  • Now, it today’s passage this love is put on display in the most dramatic of fashions within a committed marriage relationship between one man and one woman.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

In this passage the apostle Paul gives instructions both to the husband & to the wife. Let’s begin with the man. 

The Husbands’ love must accurately portray the love of Jesus.

Sacrificial Love v. 25

  • We all know that nothing is easier than saying words of love, and nothing harder than living them day by day.
  • Jesus promised His love & then proved it on the cross.
  • He gave himself up for the church. What did that look like? He left the comfort of heaven and the praise of angels to come here and give himself up in two ways.
  • He lived for us:
  • In Mark 10:45 Jesus said of himself, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He came to serve us!
  • He had no home. He traveled and slept on the road and in other people’s homes.
  • He had no privacy. Twelve men were always with him.
  • He had no personal time (the disciples woke him on the boat, the sick would interrupt his teaching, his holidays for rest turned into ministry times).
  • People were always coming to him with their problems.
  • Jesus was a king without a kingdom. He made himself a servant. Read Philippians 2:5-8.
  • He died for us:
  • In John 10:17-18 Jesus said, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”
  • In Luke 23:24 Jesus looks down at his murderers and prays, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Some of those people later became his followers. The Roman soldier confessed that same day, “Surely this man was the son of God.”

Men, what do we sacrifice in order to demonstrate love to our wives? How do we live for them? How do we die for them?

Jesus loved sacrificially. He lived for his bride and he died for his bride. But his love is also a sanctifying love.

Sanctifying Love v. 26-27

  • The reason Jesus gave up his life for his bride was to sanctify his church. The word sanctify means to set-apart for something special. He gave himself up in order to set his people apart as special rather than common.
  • Think back to your wedding day. That day in your marriage ceremony you were set apart for each other. The husband is set apart to belong to the wife and the wife is set apart to belong to the husband.
  • Now, let’s think of what we do with things we have that are set apart as special to us. We don’t let them get damaged. We keep them clean. Jesus cleansed his church by the washing of water with the Word.
  • Husbands, how can we follow in the pattern of Jesus? We should be the spiritual head of the household, not just the administrative head of the household.
  • The love of the husband for his wife ought to be cleansing to both her and him so that they are both becoming more like Christ.
  • Every part of married life should have this effect. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 teaches us that even their sexual relationship as man and wife should be so controlled by God that it becomes a means of spiritual enrichment as well as personal enjoyment.
  • As husbands it should be our goal to work in cooperation with Jesus to ensure we and our wives stand before him as holy, blameless, without spot and wrinkle. Spiritually, we want to be just as radiant and beautiful to him as our wives were to us physically on the day we married them.
  • So, it is a sacrificial love, a sanctifying love and it is also a satisfying love.

Satisfying Love 28-30

  • This love is so amazing that is actually makes two become one: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Whatever each one does to the other, he does to himself or herself. It is mutually satisfying.
  • When the husband loves his wife the way Christ loved the church then he will find that as he loves her he strengthens her and nourishes her. A well-nourished person is not hungry.
  • Pastor Warren Wiersbe said it this way. “There should be no starvation for love in the Christian home, for the husband and the wife should so love each other that their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met. If both are submitted to the Lord, and to each other, they will be so satisfied that they will not be tempted to look anywhere else for fulfillment.”
  • Husbands, what does all this mean for us?
  • We must live for our wives.
  • We provide for them. – financially, emotionally, physically,
  • We serve them. – We must sacrifice our hobbies, our rest, our prized possessions in order to free up the time and resources to serve our wives.
  • We must die for our wives. How do we do that? In several ways. We must die to our selves by dying to our desires and dying to our pride.
  • We must protect them by being the spiritual heads of our homes. – Praying together, reading the bible together, making sure everyone is going to church, setting a godly example in word and in deed
  • We must protect them from physical danger. – When we hear a noise at night it is our job to check it out, not theirs. If we travel we must make sure they are secure while we are away. Buy them a gun and teach them how to use it. Oh, and don’t forget jujitsu.
  • Now wives, if your husband loves you that way then wouldn’t you find it easy to love him back? Let’s look to verses 22-24 to see how you can do that.

The Wife’s love must accurately portray the love of the Church for Jesus.

A wife’s love for her husband must be submissive and respectful.

Submissive Love v.22

Now, we must address the negative connotation that comes to most people’s minds when                           they hear this word submission.

What submission is not:

  • Many view this term as demeaning and showing inferiority. This is not the Biblical meaning we see in this text. Submission due to inferiority, fear, or subjection in marriage is a distortion of God’s intended picture of Christ and the church.
  • Mankind is Christ’s highest creation. He sees us as valuable, not inferior. His sacrifice on the cross is evidence of that.
  • Christ came to bring freedom (Galatians 5:1).
  • Christ came to conquer fear – Perfect love casts out all fear (I John 4:18)

What submission is:

  • Both genders are equally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28).
  • Both genders are heirs together of eternal life (Galatians 3:28-29)
  • This passage is not teaching that all women must submit to all men. It says, “to your own husband.”
  • This submission of a wife to her husband’s leadership is for the health of the marriage relationship.
  • This is God ordering the marriage relationship according to his design. Both husband and wife are equally valuable, but they have different roles to play. It is not an issue of inferiority. It is an issue of function. It is not an issue of domination, but of God ordained authority.

Why is a wife’s submission to her husband reasonable?

First, because the entire context is one of submission. Remember, all Christians are supposed to submit to one another (v. 21). This is putting the needs of others above your own. This is the agape love Phil spoke of from 1 Corinthians 13 last week. If we as Christians who may not even know each other all that well should submit to one another it is only reasonable that we submit to the order God has established in our homes rather than assert our selfishness on those closest to us. Wives, this is not subjugation. We submit to one another. If a husband is going to be the leader that God expects him to be he will have to submit the meeting of his desires and needs in order that he can first attend to meeting the desires and needs of his wife. The husband serves his wife by loving and leading. The wife serves her husband by respecting and submitting.

Second, since marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church the wife must submit because of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

As we have just seen, Jesus came as a servant who sacrificed by his life and his death to show his perfect love. When the Christian wife submits herself to Christ and lets Him be Lord of her life, she will have no difficulty submitting to her husband. She is demonstrating her trust in Jesus for all her needs and her welfare. His sacrifice has proven that he can be trusted. Now we must obey Him.

In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” These were the words of Jesus to his bride, the church. He already proved his live sacrificially. He now says that he expects that his love would be returned to him in the form of submissive obedience to his commands. One of those commands is that the wife submit to the leadership of her husband.

Third, God designed the marriage relationship in such a way that the man would be the head of the home because he portrays the headship of Jesus Christ over the church. No institution can function with two heads. There always needs to be one person that is ultimately responsible for the welfare of that institution. Everyone in the organization works in different roles and functions for the success of the team, but there can only be one head.

Now think about the truly well run institutions. They operate by the philosophy that the head of that organization is a servant to all those that they lead. The head protects those under his leadership by taking responsibility for the failures, but he gives credit to the individuals who worked hard to bring about the successes.

  • The husband and father should serve his wife and children for the health of their family.
  • The husband and father should protect them, encourage them, and praise them.
  • Think of it this way. We have already looked at the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He has made it clear what he expects our homes to be like. Who did he put as the head of the home to ensure that it functions the way it is designed? The man. So when there are problems, as the big boss, who is Jesus going to come to when corrections are needed? The man. Who is he holding accountable and disciplining in order to bring about corrections when needed? The man. Women, do you see how Jesus is lovingly protecting you by putting you under the authority of your husband? He is putting a buffer between you and the discipline that is needed. This is a blessing for you. Why would you want the responsibility that God has chosen to give to your husband? Your husband must bear that weight. This should cause submitting to your husband to be a joy and relief. Mandy defines submission this way: Ducking so God can hit your husband.
  • This is God’s design. If we try to use God’s creation of marriage in a way that contradicts his design then we can expect dysfunction and destruction. If we use his creation according to his design we can expect function and construction.

Respectful Love 33

  • We have dealt with the issue of submission, but I think it is evident to all of us that there can be submission without respect simply for the sake of survival. This is not an accurate portrayal of Christ and the Church.
  • We don’t just want to survive in our marriages. We don’t want to tolerate something just to get through it. We want to experience vibrant, loving, romantic, satisfying marriages. Satisfying emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
  • This is not something that is unattainable, but wives it will take more than just submission. It will take respect.
  • You must value him. He needs to know you are proud to be his wife. He needs to know that you recognize his accomplishments; that you appreciate when he sacrifices his own needs and desires to meet yours; that you feel secure because of his provision and protection.
  • God has created us as men and women to be different but complimentary. The highest goal is not independence, but rather interdependence. We need each other.
  • Man’s greatest need is respect. Woman’s greatest need is security.
  • God has even designed us to relate to one another in a cyclical pattern that causes us to grow deeper in love as the cycle continues. When a man feels respected he will pour more energy into providing security for his wife. When the wife feels secure the respect she has for her husband will continue to grow in such a way that is evident to her husband and everyone else.

Wives, what does that mean for you?

  • Stop battling with your husband for control in your marriage. Trust God’s plan. Trust your husband’s love and submit to his leadership.
  • Duck so God can hit your husband.
  • Respect is choosing to overlook the irritations and emphasize the admirable.
  • Don’t make comments that would embarrass him in front of others. Don’t be putting him down or comparing him to others in an unfavorable way.
  • Be polite – Say Please and thank you.
  • Be gentle. Don’t be harsh, demanding, complaining, bossy, nagging.
  • Be responsive. This is especially important in the physical realm of your marriage. Never use sex as a tool to control him or a weapon to punish him.

The Devotion of Marriage must accurately portray the church being separated from the world.

The Sanctity of Marriage v. 31-32

  • There are approximately 7 billion people on the earth right now. Let’s say that is 3.5 billion men and 3.5 billion women. When we get married, we make a commitment to remain faithful to one specific person out of the 3.5 billion others. We forsake all others to cling to just one until death separates us. There should be no adultery taking place. Marriage should be pure and undefiled.   This too is a picture of Christ and the church.
  • The church literally means, “the called out ones.” God has called us out from the world to be his own special people. We still live in the world, but we are set apart for God. When a Christian lives like an unbeliever the Bible compares it to adultery. A worldly Christian is committing spiritual adultery against Jesus, the husband of the church.

The Purpose of Marriage

Okay, so marriage means that you have been set apart for one another. But now we must ask what He designed it for? God established marriage for many reasons.

  • Functionally, our earthly marriages exist to meet the needs of one another:
  • It meets our emotional needs – Philia- affectionate regard between equals (Gen. 2:18 – It is not good that man should be alone)
  • It meets our social needs – Storge – familial love especially toward children or parents (not found in scripture) (Gen. 1:28 – It provides the atmosphere for raising children and continuing the human race).
  • It meet our physical needs – Eros-sexual passion (not found in scripture) (1 Cor. 7:1-3) – It is the proper place for a man and a woman to fulfill the God-given sexual desires.
  • It meets our spiritual needs Agape – self-sacrificing love; the highest form of love (Eph. 5:22-33) – As the husband and wife experience with each other the submission to Christ and the love of Christ.
  • Symbolically: When we choose to become a Christian it is like accepting Christ’s proposal of marriage. In the Christian life we experience the joy of that relationship as he meets our need for security, identity, and righteousness.
  • The highest calling of mankind is to glorify God and enjoy his presence forever.
  • Symbolically, marriage exists to display the covenant keeping love between Christ and the Church. This is its ultimate purpose of our earthly marriages.


Wow! What an amazing thought to think that our marriages are intended to be a picture of Christ and the church. If people were to look at your marriage, how accurate of a portrayal would it be to the perfect love that Christ has for the church?

I am sure that question convicts us all. I am sure that there are some areas each of us sees that requires some improvement, both in our relationships with our spouses and our relationship with our Savior.

Let met leave you with these encouraging reminders:

  1. Real love is something beyond the warmth and glow of romance. It is caring as much about the welfare & happiness of your marriage partner as about your own. But real love is not total absorption in each other. It is looking outward in the SAME direction – together as one flesh.
  2. Love make burdens lighter – because you divide It makes joys more intense – because you share them. It makes you stronger – so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.
  3. To the husband the command is to Love & Lead your wife.
  4. To the wife the command is to – submit to and respect your husband.
  5. What you promised on your wedding day must be renewed and rededicated every day.
  6. God alone is the one who can give you a strong marriage. You can’t do it in your own strength but he can produce if for you when you both submit to him.
  7. As long as you obey God’s command and apply God’s Word to your marriage – you will truly know what it is to live in the joys of Holy Matrimony.

Download the mp3 audio of Marriage – A Picture of Perfect Love

Download the pdf copy of A Picture of Perfect Love

Your Greatest Threat – It May Not Be What You Think!

peril of pride the_wide_t_nvDo you battle with pride like I do?  I bet you do (even if you are too proud right now to admit it! 🙂

Someone has said that they view pride is the source of all other sins… I think they are right. How about joining me in a little self-evaluation.  Consider the following:

  • Pride mocks others “The proud have me in great derision…” Psalms 119:51.
  • Pride lies about others “The proud have forged a lie against me…” Psalms 119:69.
  • Pride mistreats others “Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood…” Psalms 119:78.
  • Pride seeks to destroys others “The proud have dug pits for me…” Psalms 119:85,.
  • Pride oppresses others “… Do not let the proud oppress me.” Psalms 119:122.
  • Pride deceives others “The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah” Psalms 140:5.
  • Pride is communicated by lips and looks “A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,” Proverbs 6:17.
  • Pride uses the mouth to beat others down “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Proverbs 14:3.
  • Pride must display itself, cannot stay home. ““Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home…” Habakkuk 2:5.
  • Pride embellishes the truth “Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalms 31:18.

Remember that God fights against the proud person and will destroy everything they attempt to accomplish. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the greatest dangers of pride is that it lies at the root of our rebellion against God.  Every refusal to receive Christ as Lord and Savior is driven by pride!  That is a sobering thought!

If the above list convicts you do something about it!  Humble yourself by gazing at Christ! Evaluate yourself, your achievements, your possessions and everything else in relation to God.  “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due season.”

Six Tips For Successful Parenting

real world parenting_wide_t_nv

How would you define a home?

Perhaps you would give me your street address, describe your house – the style, how many rooms or the color of your gate.

The dictionary defines a home as a family or group of people who live together, it is the place where somebody feels he or she belongs. Home is a place where a person can find refuge and safety, a place where they can live in security. You see, a home is not a building; a home is a place where relationships exist and are nurtured.

Often relationships in a home include children. It is important that these relationships are intentionally nurtured. If you are like me though there are times when you feel like your home is “out of control.”

Here are six tips for successful parenting that came from an article by Dr. William Goode.  These tips have helped me evaluate how I am relating to my kids.

  1. Encourage a lot – the child who is encouraged as well as corrected consistently can tell the difference between right and wrong. (Ro. 13.7)
  2. Play a lot – While we as adults must be firm, life has many problems and they need to see us work, laugh and be serious, taking enough personal interest to play their games with them. (Prov. 17.22)
  3. Pray a lot – We need God’s help. Talk to Him much about them. (James 1.5)
  4. Teach a lot – Eph. 6.4: “Instruction” = putting into the mind; building inner convictions.
  5. Use cause and effect a lot – …for correction. This is the most natural way of learning that actions have results (Gal. 6.7).
  6. When you do spank… do it lovingly, slowly, prayerfully, and thoroughly so you do not do it often… and never do it when you are angry

Developing healthy relationships in the home take an investment of time, energy and effort.  Be intentional!  invest in the relationships in your home!

May God grant us healthy and happy Christian homes!

If you are in the Kitwe area and would like to get in touch please email at philhunt66 (at)  You are invited to attend the Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship meeting each Sunday at the Polo Club (Show grounds) at 10:00.  Phil Hunt.

The Call of a Father

Thank You Dads!

Today we want to look at the call of a father from God’s perspective. Our text today is found in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 31 through chapter 6 verse 4.

If you are like me you probably were not well prepared to be a father. As much as I try I don’t have happy memories of my own father. I have seen photos when I was small sitting on my dad’s lap, and I have often wished I could actually remember what that was like. My relationship with my father was one of physical and especially psychological abuse. Words that hurt.

I remember the day I became a father! My wife woke me from peaceful sleep to announce that she thought it was time. Off we rushed for the hospital feeling quite certain that we would not arrive in time. Another 12 hours would pass before I had the joy of holding my first-born daughter. I remember being overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me. I have had that experience six times since!

Today the most treasured possessions, next to Christ are the members of my family.

There are many challenges of fatherhood. We live in a world that threatens our marriages our families and our children. We live in a culture that mocks biblical morality, glorifies sex and violence and laughs at drunkenness and debauchery.

“Men, the mere fact of fatherhood has endowed you with terrifying power in the lives of your sons and daughters, because they have an innate, God-given passion for you. The terrible fact is, we as fathers can either grace our children, or damn them with wounds that never seem to heal. Our society is filled with millions of daughters pathetically seeking the affection their father’s never gave them. In the extreme there are a multitude of sons who were denied a healthy same-sex relationship with their father and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.”  (Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man)

Our society is void of godly male leadership. There are some men who are a success as leaders in the company or marketplace but fail completely in the home.


The city of Ephesus was a center of pagan worship in the ancient world. It was nearly unknown in this culture for a father to interact with his children in a loving and nurturing relationship.

Most families were in shambles, and mutual love among family members was almost unheard of. A father’s love for his children would have been hard even to imagine. By the Roman law of patria-potestas a father had virtual life and death power not only over his slaves but over his entire household. He could cast any of them out of the house, sell them as slaves, or even kill them—and be accountable to no one. A newborn child was placed at its father’s feet to determine its fate. If the father picked it up, the child was allowed to stay in the home; if the father walked away, it was simply disposed of—much as aborted babies are in our own day. Discarded infants who were healthy and vigorous were collected and taken each night to the town forum, where they would be picked up and raised to be slaves or prostitutes.

A letter written in 1 B.C. by a man named Hilarion to his wife, Alis, reads,

“Heartiest greetings. Note that we are still even now in Alexandria. Do not worry if when all others return I remain in Alexandria. I beg and beseech you to take care of the little child, and as soon as we receive wages I will send them to you. If—good luck to you—you have another child, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it” (Papyri Oxyrhynchus 4.744). Seneca, a renowned statesman in Rome at the time Paul wrote the Ephesian letter, said, “We slaughter a fierce ox; we strangle a mad dog; we plunge a knife into a sick cow. Children born weak or deformed we drown.” (MacArthur Commentary, Ephesians, p 318. John MacArthur)

And there is little difference in our day. The majority of children in foster care in the west are there not because their parents are dead, but because their parents abandoned them. In a society without God fatherhood always suffers.

Paul is writing to first-generation Christians! These Ephesian believers had been redeemed by God to the praise of His glory! In Christ they had been placed in a position of victory so that in the ages to come God might show forth the riches of His grace. These Ephesian believers had been brought into the body of Christ through the power of God! (Eph 1:11-13; 2:1-3; 4:17; 5:8)

Because of God’s redemption and because of His grace toward the Ephesians they were to walk worthy of their calling as children of God.

What is God’s call to fathers in regards to their responsibilities to their children?


Christ commands it

  1. Eros – Physical love = physical attraction between married couples (this word not used in the NT).  The love commanded is more than just a wonderful feeling.
  2. Storge – Family love = fondness people share with their relatives, especially that love between parents and children.
  3. Philia – Friendship love = a warm hearted affection, attractive appeal between friends
  4. Agape – Love of Choice = the desire for and delight in the well-being of the one loved that leads to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf.

Christ demonstrates it

  1. This is a sacrificial love (5:25, Ro. 5:8)
  2. This is a serving love (5:26, Gal.5:13b)


An unavoidable command – Children are to obey (Prov 22:6)

  1. This is God’s command to your children, it is not primarily yours.
  2. Obedience = doing what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it, how you are supposed to do it, with the right heart attitude toward the authority asking you to do it.
  3. Teaching them to obey involves

A non-negotiable attitude – Honor them

  1. Honor – give them due respect. (Note: God’s order of Authority)
  2. A child should never be allowed to tell the parent “no.”  Our goal is that our younger children honor us by responding the first time spoken to.
  3. The general promise: it will be well with the child, and they will live a full life.


Warning is given to Christian Fathers (Eph 1:1; 2:1-10)

  1. “Do Not”!  This is a command! (2:3 – in the past they lived like this now it is different!)
  2. “Do not” is perfectly clear, do not provoke your children to anger so they begin to seethe with resentment and irritation.

How can we as fathers goad our children to resentment?

  1. Criticism – Father’s who criticize their children often bring them to discouragement (Col. 3.21).  How do we as Father’s criticize our children? Negative comments, Never praise them, Backhanded praise. HURTFUL words – wounds that never heal.  A child needs the fathers approval and encouragement as much as he needs the father’s correction.
  2. Irritability – Life is sometimes like the cartoon where the boss is grouchy toward the worker; his employee, in turn comes home and is irritable with the children; his son then kicked the dog; the dog runs down the street and bites the first person he sees – the boss!
  3. Inconsistency – Pity the horse that has a rider who gives it mixed signals, digging his heels into its side and pulling the reins at the same time. Pity the child even more who has the rules changed by an unpredictable father.  Be consistent. Never make a promise to your children you do not keep. You may forget, but you have a little boy or girl who will remember it eighty years from now.
  4. Unreasonable expectations: Never being pleased with the child’s achievement – pushing beyond reasonable bounds, by expectations. The child is never good enough.
  5. Withholding Love – Manipulating your child by withholding your affection from the child. “If you don’t behave, I won’t love you anymore.” (Heb 12:6). We are not to discipline out of anger, retribution.
  6. Physical Abuse – Child becomes the object of the father’s anger. Slap the child around, physically beat the child. Bully the sons, berate the daughters. Verbal abuse – often more damaging to a child than the physical abuse!


In a society where many children are growing up without a father in the home, we as godly men – young and old alike must prayerfully and intentionally become “fathers” to the children around us. In a specific sense this text speaks to biological fathers, in a general sense it provides us a template as men to disciple and be ‘fathers’ to the next generation.

Ephesians 6.4 when fully understood, requires us to do three things:


  1. “Bring them up” means “to nourish or feed” as in 5.29. Bring them up = let them be kindly cherished (Calvin). It emphasizes the idea of speaking to one’s children with gentleness and friendliness.
  2. Tenderness – verbal and physical – comes naturally to a father living under God’s Word.  Men how do we measure up? (Col.3:21)


  1. “Training” encompasses everything necessary to help “train a child in the way he should go” (Pr. 22.6). It includes discipline by punishment.  Discipline – the process of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. (Pr 13:24, Heb 12:5-11)   A child’s heart is filled with folly, we are to discipline them to bring them to wisdom (Pr. 22:15). “Don’t expect a horse trained with shouts to respond to a whisper.”
  2. Failure to discipline will bring disaster to our children. David never disciplined his son, Adonijah (I Kn 1:5-6)   Many of us have left this for the child’s mother or other family member. This approach leaves the child void of the security and self-esteem which come from being disciplined by the father.  Children are a heritage from the LORD, they are to be reared for HIM! (Ps 127:3)  Men, do you discipline your children? If not you are not living under God’s Word!

Life Lessons

  • Don’t make excuses for your sin or the sin of your children – The real problem is sin. Deal with the sin, don’t excuse it. Be willing to deal with your children as sinners.
  • Our children must learn at an early age that there are painful consequences to sin.
  • The problem cannot be solved by education – education just results in a sophisticated sinner (2.6; 22.19)
  • Our children must learn from an early age that God has provided a solution for the sinner – salvation through Jesus Christ.


  1. “Instruction” is verbal instruction or warning. Literally it means to “place before the mind.” Often this means to confront and thus is related to the previous topic, discipline.  This is where the high priest Eli was such a failure in raising his children (1 Sam. 3.11-13).  The word restrain is the same word as instruction. Eli failed to confront his boys. He failed to instruct them about their sin and because of this they were destroyed.
  2. Discipleship!! Men if we are to live up to our responsibilities we must Disciple our children by being:
    • Involved in verbally instructing our children – the well being of your great-grandchildren depend upon it! (Deut 6:7, Josh 24:15, 31, Judg 2:7,10)
    • Regularly leading them in family devotions and prayer.
    • Monitoring the input that enters their impressionable minds. (What music is he listening to? What is he/she watching?)
    • Taking responsibility to help ensure that church is a meaningful experience.


Men, what awesome power we have!  Our children’s hearts are turned toward us! Our hearts must be turned toward them. (Ps 78:5-6).

Above all Dads, we must ensure that the open book of our lives – our example – demonstrates the reality of our instruction, for in watching us they will learn the most.

If you would like a pdf copy of this lesson you can download The Call of a Father by clicking the link.

The Life-Changing Mark of Mothers

Our text today is 1 Samuel 1:1-28.  In this text we have the story of a woman who God used in a strategic way in His redemptive plan.  Her name is Hannah.

Not everyone here is a mother…

Not everyone has good memories of their mother…

Not every woman will be a biological mother…

However today we celebrate a beautiful ideal that originated in the mind of God – Motherhood.

“Why bother with Mothers’ Day at all? I’ll tell you why —— because for all its stumbling blocks, pitfalls and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, soiled wallpaper and spoiled plans, we’re talking about a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God’s creative plan to bring love and caring to light. Motherhood is a constant demand for the gift of love and caring.” (

Every mother lives her life for another – she exists for the benefit of another – from the pain of childbirth through the years of caring and providing for her children, motherhood is a symbol of universal selflessness and love.

Throughout Scripture women are elevated to a position of honor and influence.


Mothers: You play an important role in God’s unfolding purpose:

Have you seen the vision of what God is doing? He is working throughout history to call a people from every nation, tribe and tongue who will one day assemble before the throne to worship the lamb (Rev 7)

The flow of God’s redemptive plan all points to Christ, however that plan involves men! All of history is His-Story unfolding the details of God’s redemptive plan to bring about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s son – “to save His people from their sin.”

The means by which this will happen is the proclamation of the gospel among the people of the earth.

The method that God uses to proclaim that gospel is people – you and me!

To understand the narrative in today’s text we need to set the context: This is a major transition point in the OT narrative. God chose a people through which He would the Messiah would come. These Hebrew people had gotten off course. They had embraced religious syncretism – they were worshipping YWHW (Jehovah) and other gods. The priests, those given task was to teach the people to know and serve God had become immoral, and were perverting the sacrifices (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-24). This period of time is summed up in the words of Judges 22:25, “everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.”

At this critical point in History we are introduced to an amazing woman of faith, her name is Hannah. Hannah’s son Samuel would be the one God would use to point the nation of Israel back to God.

How did Hannah’s life provide a life-changing example for her children, and for us to follow? How will you leave a life-changing mark on your children?


Over 20 times in this chapter the name “LORD” is mentioned. LORD is the proper name for God – YHWH. It is the name God uses when he created the world (Gen 2:4). Isaiah 43:10 tells us that YHWH is ‘the only one true God.’

Hannah saw God as sovereign in the affairs of men, and sovereign over the situations that were causing her so much anguish. (5-6)

Yearly Elkanah took his family to Shiloh to worship God at the annual Jewish feasts. The worship of YHWH was a priority, a priority that involved obedience and sacrifice.


Husbands if you want your wife to be a good mother – love her! (Eph 5:25-26).

Elkanah loved his wife Hannah (4,8). The love referred to in Ephesians is no common ordinary thing. It is not romantic love or even the love of a good friend, it is a self-sacrificing love that asks nothing in return.

The love demanded by God is the desire and delight in the well being of the object of our love that leads us to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf. The writer of Ephesians puts it this way, ‘husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.’

This love will cause you to give up your life for your wife. It must make her holy and clean with the word. We minister the gospel to her. When you love your wife as Christ commanded, she will radiate with the confidence, purity and holiness of a godly woman.

Be secure in God’s love for you! (Is54:5).

God does not call every women to marriage. Some are called to be single, some may be widowed or divorced. Some women may be in a marriage that lacks the biblical kind of love mentioned above. Here is God’s word of comfort to you from Isaiah 54:5:

For your Maker is your husband, 
The Lord of hosts is His name; 
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; 
He is called the God of the whole earth.


Hannah faced painful circumstances that she could not control. The torture of her adversary (6). Relational problems in her home caused her inner pain and grief. These were issues that she did not have the ability to control or change. Multiple-wives was not God’s original plan – we all live with results choices we have made, often we cannot change those things.

Hannah also had a deep desire of her heart for a child but she was barren (6b-7). She grieved for a longed for destiny that had not realized – being a mother.

Hannah was an example of how to respond to suffering and pain!  She ran to God, she threw herself upon His mercies in prayer.

What sorrow or pain are you facing?

  • Miscarriage: Deep pain of empty arms, a way that only a mother can feel
  • Death of a child: To have a child snatched away in death, leaves a wound in the heart that no amount of reason or human help can heal.
  • Wayward child: The shame or sorrow of a child who has chosen to rebel against parents.
  • Broken marriage relationship: sorrow and pain of infidelity or abandonment – find love and security in God who is the husband that will never abandon or fail you.

Your trial, your suffering, your sorrow will either drive you to Christ or become a wedge that drives you away from Him!


Hannah poured her heart out to God in agonizing prayer (10). She reached up to God who had the power to close and open her womb. She recognized that God was the only one who could meet her need – for He had “shut up her womb.” (6b)

She was persistent in her prayer. It seems that she had prayed for many years over this matter. She prayed for a son, she prayed for her son! (7, 15-16). Hannah did not gain merit from God because of her persistence, but God did hear and in His time answered her prayer. God hears and answers prayer because He is a loving Father (Mt. 7:7-11)

Her prayer was one of consecration. She made a vow to give this son back to God as long as he lived to serve in the temple. As a symbol of his consecration he would be a Nazarite (Num. 6:2-21); one who was completely separated unto the Lord.


Hannah received assurance through Eli the priest that her prayer had been heard and she believed. Her faith was evidenced by her crying to turning into joy, her troubled countenance to peace. (18, Heb 11:3)

Hannah followed through on her vow to give her son Samuel to God (1:27-28)!

Her obedient faith in God prepared the man that God would use to redirect the nation back to God.

Mothers have faith in God and God will use you to instill that faith in your children! (2 Ti. 1:6)

On this Mother’s Day 2014:
Women: we thank you for showing us what care and love looks like!
Mothers: thank you for your selfless love.

Mothers you leave a life-changing mark on the life of your children by your courageous faith in Christ!

If you have not put your complete faith in Jesus Christ, cry out to God today for faith and forgiveness. He is a loving father, ready to forgive you your sins and give you a new life!

Finding True Love In Marriage

February is famous for two reasons – it is the month with the fewest days on the calendar and it is the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day!  One goal at Kitwe Church is to help husbands and wives experience a healthy growing marriage relationship.  A marriage relationship founded upon Jesus Christ can experience genuine love.

Every one is born with the desire to love and be loved. It is God’s design that within marriage the purest form of love will be exhibited and enjoyed. This is ‘Agape’, the love of choice. This love is the desire for and the delight in the well-being of the one loved, that leads to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf.

Infantile love follows the principle, “I love because I am loved.”  Mature love follows the principle, “I am loved because I love.”  Immature love says, “ I love you because I need you.” Mature love says, “I need you because I love you.”

Lets take a discerning look at genuine love!  If you have a Bible turn to in the New Testament to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and look at verses 4-8.

  1. Love suffers long – It is slow to lose patience. It is not easily irritated, angry, or have a quick temper.
  2. Love is kind – It discovers successful methods of improving or contributing to the other’s life.
  3. Love does not envy – It is not jealous, overly possessive. Allows the other freedom. Love does not parade itself – It is not anxious to impress. It does not seek to make an impression or create an image for personal gain.
  4. Love is not puffed up – It is not self-centered. It has the ability to change and to accept change. It is flexible. It does not expect life to revolve around itself.
  5. Love does not behave rudely – It has good manners. It has respect for others which results in a set of Christ-centered standards.
  6. Love does not seek its own – It does not pursue selfish advantage over the other. Does not manipulate to get its own way.
  7. Love is not easily provoked – It is not touchy, it is not hypersensitive or easily hurt. Love thinks no evil – It does not keep account of past evil. It doesn’t review wrongs which have been forgiven.
  8. Love does not rejoice in iniquity – It doesn’t compare self with others for self-justification. It doesn’t say, “everyone’s doing it.”
  9. Love rejoices in the truth – It is glad with all godly men when truth prevails.
  10. Love bears all things – It knows no limit to its forbearance. It has the ability to live with the inconsistencies of others.
  11. Love believes all things – It knows no end to its trust. Love hopes all things – It has perfect confidence that God is responsible and in control of the actions of the partner.
  12. Love endures all things. – It has unlimited endurance. It is able to endure all obstacles and even love in the face of unreturned love.

The love described above is a kind of self-sacrificing love that does not come natural to us. In fact it is supernatural.  This is love that we can experience and manifest only through a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Another writer in the Bible used this same word for love when he wrote, “God demonstrated His love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8) Jesus Himself used this word when he said, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn.3:16) Experience God’s love by believing in Jesus.

So our goal this Valentines Day is NOT to attempt to discern the genuine love of our spouse, but rather to evaluate our own love. We are not commanded to make someone else love us, but we are commanded to love!

If you have questions or would like to discuss issues related to this blog post please email me at or call/text me on 0976153466.

Phil Hunt