Erős házasság, erős család, erős gyülekezet – Abonyi Sándor
You are able to reach in PDF form here:
In Eph. 5.31-33 Paul reveals a secret about marriage when he compares the relationship between husband and wife to the relationship of Christ and the Church.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, describes the characteristics of the kind of relationship that should exist between husband and wife:
- The two shall become one flesh and leave their parents.
- The husband, as the head of his wife represents Christ in the marriage, (and the wife represents the church).
- The husband has to love his wife as Christ loved the Church (giving his life for her).
- The wife has to submit to her husband and honor him, the way the believers have to submit to Christ and honor him.
In the church, God ascribes great importance to marriages being according to his will. Such marriages represent – to the believers and to the world – the relationship and unity between Christ and His Church, and therefore glorify God.
Another purpose of the marriage is to bare children and create a family together. The husband and wife are to be good examples for their children, and the children are to obey and honor their parents. The father is the son’s role model; he teaches his son through example what kind of a man he should be; the mother exemplifies the characteristics of the wife he should chose for himself. For daughters, this similar, only reversed. In the next passage Paul speaks about the family according to God’s will:
“If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desired a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; ….. One that ruled well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? ….. Likewise must the deacons be grave,…” (1Tim 3.1-2, 4-5, 8)
In this passage, God perceives the Christian family as a small church. Only the man who “ruled well his own house” can think to be a presbyter or a deacon in the bigger church. Only if he meets this criteria can he be a good example to other believers. (1 Peter 5.3). When such godly presbyters and deacons are elected, we can be hopeful that God’s will is going to be accomplished in his bigger family, the church. In these verses we can clearly see the importance of strong, godly – only once married couples, as well as of exemplary Christian families.
Based on this, we can conclude that the strength of a church is not determined by its size (as members could be living disorderly lives), but rather by how many godly presbyters, deacons, married couples, and families are in the church. This will determine the unity of the church and therefore its power as well because God sends life and blessings to where the believers are in unity.
„Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! …. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133.1, 3)
There are numerous examples in the Bible that show how much God loves to glorify Himself in the weak, as well as among small communities of godly people. Some good examples are: Joshua, Gideon, David or Elijah. He does this because multitudes have a tendency to give the glory to themselves instead of giving it to God. In the New Testament we don’t see any examples where the size of a church is mentioned. From God’s point of view, the number of church members are not the most important, rather he focuses his attention on the nature and quality of the marriages and families in the church, which determines its strength.
Only in the church in Jerusalem do we see an example where, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God increased the number of 120 disciples with 3000 new converts and later further increased it with 4000 more people. This represented God’s power and the work of the Holy Spirit, which glorified God alone! From these numbers, we can estimate that the number of disciples in Jerusalem were over 10 thousand people: in present times, that would constitute as a real “mega-church”.
However, it’s impossible to make true disciples if we ourselves aren’t one, or increase the size of the church by our own power because “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Act 2.47) Our responsibility is:
- To care for our marriage daily and live in an union that glorifies God,
- Husbands – to be the head of our wife and lead our family well,
- Wives – to be a good helpmate and obedient to our husband, and therefore, model for our children how to honor and obey their parents.
Only such men – with one wife (married only once) – who have met this criteria can think to be presbyters or deacons of a local church. Our basic ministry from the Lord is our marriage and family; therefore, it is necessary to be faithful in our “small church” in order for God to entrust us with the many families of the bigger, local church.
In summary, we can say the following of a godly order:
Strong marriages – strong families – godly and exemplary presbyters – strong church
May the Lord help us to labor well in all of these.
Glory to God for all things! Amen.