To Be an Example of God’s Church


Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 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.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.


To Preserve Godly Seed


Malachi 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

Isaiah 65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.


MEMORY VERSE: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.— Revelation 19:7-8


CENTRAL THOUGHT: In the beginning, God instituted marriage as a pattern and example of Christ and His bride, the Church, which He ordained before the world began, and for which He suffered and died that He might be one with her in close fellowship, both on earth and forever in eternity. The home was also the place through which He sought to replenish the earth with godly seed; a place to instruct them in His ways, demonstrate His plan, and preserve, to the end of time, godly men and women.




Ephesians 5:23 “And he is the saviour of the body”: Himself being Saviour. Christ is the preserver or deliverer of His body, the church.

5:26 “Sanctify”: set apart; make holy; consecrate. “With the washing of water by the word”: cleansing with the washing, or laver, of the water in the Word.—Greek.

Malachi 2:15 “Yet had he the residue of the spirit”: There are so many interpretations of this; it is hard to tell exactly what the meaning is. Here are a few: “Not one who has even a small portion of the Spirit does this [acts in this way toward his wife].”—NASB. “Didn’t the one God make us with a remnant of His life breath?”—Holman Christian Standard Bible. The ESV says, “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” This seems to fit better with the context.

16 “He hateth putting away”: God hates divorce. “For one covereth violence with his garment”: Some say garment refers to a man’s wife; that he is covering her with violence. Other interpretations disagree, rendering it “he conceals violence with outward appearances.” “Deal not treacherously”: do not act deceitfully or unfaithfully in the marital relation.




Paul’s essay in Ephesians on the deeper meaning of marriage takes us all the way back to the beginning. He refers to Genesis 2:24, which Jesus also quoted when He taught about marriage and divorce in Matthew 19. Jesus went on to strengthen the bond of marriage by His solemn word of warning: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Paul reveals the beautiful connection of marriage to the relationship of Christ with his bride, the church, opening our eyes to the profound seriousness of “They two shall be one.”

The prophet Malachi, in his stern message condemning the priests of Israel for their wickedness, revealed God’s heart about marriage: “I hate divorce!” The priests were dealing violently and unfaithfully with their wives and God was not pleased. Malachi asks the question, “Why did He make one?” and answered, “That He might seek a godly seed.” Adam Clarke commented, “He made one pair from whom all the rest might proceed, that he might have a holy offspring; that children being a marked property of one man and one woman, proper care might be taken that they should be brought up in the discipline of the Lord.”

There is a concept presented here that is echoed in other Biblical passages: that of preserving a godly seed. We read of it in the story of Moses, where God put into the hearts of Moses’ parents, as they observed at his birth that he was a special child, that they were to hide him and protect him (Hebrews 11:23). There is also the instance in II Chronicles 22 where a godly couple, Jehoshabeath and her husband, priest Jehoiada, hid baby Joash from the wicked Queen Athaliah for six years in their temple home. These examples are a type of the preservation God intends for parents to give their children in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.

These passages give us a two-fold Divine purpose for the institution of marriage. The joy–the pleasure–the happiness–are amazing and wonderful benefits accompanying that purpose.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. What it Represents: Marriage is a type of what other Divine institution? Explain then why Satan tries so hard to destroy marriages.
  2. The Purpose: Although we live in a sin-filled, imperfect world with all kinds of imperfect home situations, God still has the best design. Describe the best way for children to be raised, and why.
  3. When it Doesn’t Go Right: Share ways for striving for godliness and raising a “godly seed” in the home when the “ideal” isn’t realized (divorce; death; starting a new life after living in sin). Share promises from God’s Word for the widow and the fatherless.




The Divine Purpose. This came to me so strongly as I prayed about this concluding lesson. We can see so clearly in the Scriptures, studying the passages in Genesis, prophetic allusions in the Psalms and prophets’ writings, Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels, and Paul’s writings, and finally, John’s vision in Revelations, the beautiful picture of the bridegroom and the bride—Jesus and His Church. Marriage is the living, human example of that union. The purpose for a husband’s giving himself for his wife; the purpose for her reverence and submission for him; the fruit of their union being the blessing of God—all these have their substance in the heavenly union of Christ and all the redeemed, which He purchased with His own blood.

There is a definite correlation between the confused mess in religion today concerning the true church, and the confused mess in marriage relationships. There is no doubt but what Satan schemes to destroy both the substance and the shadow; to obliterate from man’s mind the original plan of God.

The other component to the Divine purpose is the desire God has for having a godly seed perpetuated through the generations unto the end of time. His plan for the family unit to be whole and complete is to this end: that His truth would endure to all generations through the diligent teaching, vigilant care, enduring love, and strengthening joy of the home.

May we each be strengthened and renewed in our vision of a godly home and the beautiful Church of God, and the mission we must have to preserve God’s truth in our children. Time is certainly and swiftly drawing to a close. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




A marriage and home can be honourable, beautiful and fulfilling; but the truth is, not all of them are. Even Christian marriages many times lose their first love and are little more than cohabitation. I will be up-front with you; there are no quick fixes to past hurts and failures in marriage. Most people are not willing to put forth the humility and work it takes to make a marriage successful; they simply divorce and find another companion, or they bide their time, burying their hurts and dreams with them.

In conclusion to this series of lessons, I felt it appropriate to offer helpful hints for hurting marriages and homes.

  •   Man up to accept full responsibility for your carnality or failures. There is no excuse. Quit blaming one another.
  •   Repent before God and your companion–without ever mentioning the other’s faults or offences–commit that to God.
  •   Quit trying to change him or her. Accept them for who they are, forbearing their weaknesses and focusing on their strengths.
  •   Stop–immediately!–the habit of negative verbal abuse and offer words that give hope and encouragement.
  •   Show them you are interested in some real soul-searching communication: spiritual needs, his or her needs, dreams, vision.
  •   Quit thinking so much about yourself and focus on meeting your spouse’s emotional, spiritual, physical, and temporal needs.
  •   Set out to win his or her affections. You did it once! Do it again, even though it may be much tougher this time around. Face it with courage and patience.
  •   Invest time, energy, and money into togetherness; it is worth it. Dates, trips, walks, flowers (for her), parks….
  •   Renew your vows! Get them out of the closet. Remember the vows you made to your companion on that wedding day:

    “I __________ take thee __________ to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my vow.”

    –Bro. Bob Wilson