“Great Issues Of Life” Series #1
TEXTS: Gen. 2:18-25 Heb. 13:4 Prov. 5:15-23; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; 1 Cor. 7:1O-17
INTRO: One woman’s response to why she had a happy marriage on her 50th wedding anniversary was this: On her wedding day she decided to make a list of ten of her husband’s faults that she would be willing to forgive or overlook for the sake of their marriage. A guest asked her to share some of those ten things ... this was her response: "To tell you the truth, I never did finish the list ... but whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad I would say to myself, "Lucky for him that that was one of the 10!" – Source Unknown
Marriage is never completely smooth or easy! But it can be a blessing when some of the God created dynamics is adhered to: Some important "rules" are necessary for healthy marriages...
a. There must be both give & take ... even God who loves everyone won't allow everyone to go to heaven unless the sinner responds by giving himself back to God in love!
b. Like a narrow bridge ... there will be fewer "collisions" if there is a yield sign on BOTH sides of the bridge!
c. Accepting forgiveness and giving it will be an absolute to keep going!
d. Like a building … it never gets built without workers, good marriages don't just happen ... they are built; and if you use rotten stuff to build with the possibilities are greater for collapse later!
e. While a marriage might be made in heaven ... we are responsible for the maintenance on earth!
PROP. SENT: Marriage is an honorable institution, the most basic and most important framework for society and for human health; spiritually, physically, and psychologically!
I. MARRIAGE BOND Gen. 2:18-25 Heb. 13:4a
A. Pleasant! Gen. 2:18,23 Heb. 13:4a
1. It is an honorable creation ... part of the "VERY GOOD" that God pronounced about His work of creation!
2. Unless someone is gifted by God to remain single, marriage is the natural state that God planned for the human race! (Male & Female were brought together by God; there was no other combination God ever made!)
3. It is noteworthy that God noticed Adam was not as happy as he could be ... giving Eve to Adam was God's desire to create in Adam an even greater joy! The statement by God, “It is not good for the man to be alone” clearly identifies that God knew something more was needed for a greater capacity in Adam.
a. Marriage therefore has this capacity ... to bring great joy!
b. God realized Adam needed something besides even God!
c. A wife for Adam was a "GOOD THING" in God’s pronunciation.
d. Notice in Proverbs 18:22 "He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord" (KJV)
(1. It should be noticed that God added “favor” to those who finds a wife!
(2. This was a relationship of ONE MAN … with ONE WOMAN where it is stated that they “obtain favor from the Lord.”
e. Sorrows could be divided ... their joys would be multiplied!
4. It was God who created Eve for Adam so Adam's full humanity could be blessed!
5. Marriage is intended by God to be a pleasant reality between a man and a woman!
a. This is the ONLY model God Himself sanctioned or created in the Bible.
b. All other forms or distortions of this, including the polygamous relationships of many spouses in the Old Testament was about what man did to the institution, not what God declared or created.
c. It might be noted that any deviation from the “created” order by God has never served well one or the other/s in the relationship.
B. Powerful Gen. 2:20-23
1. Rather than start from scratch again ... God creates Eve right from Adam's own body to create a powerful bond between them, not just a psychological bond but an actual physical and spiritual one as well! "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
2. Hence the power in the sexual relationship within marriage ... it creates a powerful physical bond between husband and wife and thus there is great damage if it is violated by either party! Also, physically God made the man and the woman to sexually “compliment” each other; created for union with each other physically and in every way.
3. Adam understood this powerful dynamic as soon as he awoke ... this woman created by God was not just another creature that God would parade by him to be named … it was "BONE OF HIS BONE ... FLESH OF HIS FLESH!"
4. Adam could not look at Eve like any other part of creation that had been made apart from him! This bond was powerful and real!
5. God plays out the role of "BEST MAN" by bringing Eve to Adam for the ceremony of bonding! God presided at the first wedding – “and he brought her to the man.”
6. God takes great delight in loving marriages ... so much so that Jesus often used the “husband and wife” metaphor as did other New Testament writers to express God's love for His church!
7. Adam's first word when he woke up and saw Eve was in the Hebrew tongue a demonstrative adverb that can loosely be translated, "WOW!" (Translated in the KJV and most translations simply as "This is...") In a more loosely translated statement it would read, "WOW, BONE OF MY BONE, FLESH OF MY FLESH."
a. She was a pleasant sight to behold – the “WOW” factor!
b. And he was excited – the “WOW” factor!
c. It was powerful – the “WOW” factor!
C. Permanent! Gen. 2:24-25
1. God's ideal was for marriage to be a permanent relationship once entered into!
2. Not only this, but God's plan also intended for the new couple to get OUT from under dad and mom ... to leave them! “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24
a. Not just in a physical sense ... there is also a sphere of authority ... to establish a new unit of authority!
b. Not meant to be a bad thing ... it was meant to be a “good thing!”
3. The union was to be a lasting one between husband and wife (male and female)!
4. Jesus later added to the Old Testament statement, 4 Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matt. 19:4-6 (The underlined portion was added by Jesus)
5. God hates divorce ... Malachi 2:16a “I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel…” simply because it is not part of God's design for a man and woman, but GOD DOES NOT HATE “DIVORCED PEOPLE,” HE HATES DIVORCE because of the pain and damage it brings to all those affected by it!
a. There is healing for those whose lives have been damaged in this way.
b. God can restore broken lives … again, it is not the “divorced people” God hates; it is what happens to people who go through a divorce that God hates.
6. We should view marriage as God does ... thus take it seriously and to be cautious before the commitment is made ... and once made, do our best to make it permanent!
II. MARRIAGE BED Prov. 5:15-23 Heb. 13:4b
A. Private Prov. 5:15-17 Heb. 13:4b
1. "Marriage bed is to be kept pure!" Heb. 13:4b “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
a. This is a straight-forward command here about sexual purity!
b. The deeper the wound the longer the time required for complete healing ... sexual sins goes deep, it affects the entire being; body, mind, and soul! Therefore this sin is very painful and deep!
c. Solomon's words about marriage in Prov. 5:15 are very clear ... "DRINK FROM YOUR OWN CISTERN!"
2. Not only does Solomon clearly state that the sexual relationship is to be limited to only your spouse ... he adds “Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.” Prov. 5:17
a. Unlike great food recipes ... sexual recipes in a marriage should be private and not shared with others, even by word!b. Maybe that's why we call sexual organs "private parts!"
3. Keep the secrets of your love life ... and don't compare notes with others!
B. Pleasurable! Prov. 5:18-19
1. You can't miss the sense of joy in Solomon's words to enjoy each other!
2. Sex in marriage in neither disgusting nor dirty ... it is desirable and delightful!
3. And that's all I will say about this (with a smile on my face!)
C. Price! Prov. 5:20-23
1. Solomon adds to this passage the heavy price paid by those who stray from this purity.
2. Misery is the result of those who choose to ignore this exclusive relationship!
3. Verse 23 takes on a very literal meaning in light of today's problems with venereal diseases!
a. Physical disease however is not the only pain...
b. There is also loss of trust.
c. Emotional scars and deep wounds that take time and great effort to heal!
4. Those few moments of physical pleasure have a huge price tag attached to them that most in moments of honesty will later admit are not worth the price!
ILLUS: In 1982 ABC "evening news" reported on an unusual work of modern art that stirred great controversy. It was a chair fixed to a shotgun, to be viewed by the individual by sitting in the chair looking straight down the barrel of the gun ... to add an even more bizarre twist to this "piece of artwork" the "artist?" had attached a timer on the gun and put live rounds of ammunition in the gun barrel ... the timer was set to go off sometime within the next 100 years ... but unknown by everyone except the artist! The most ironic thing happened when the gallery was open to the public ... people waited in huge lines to get a chance to sit in this chair and stare into the barrel of the gun knowing the real danger ... each person was allowed only 1 minute in the chair! People by the scores were foolish enough to do this ... assuming of course that their chances were slim for the gun to go off ... yet people do this all the time with sexual sin ... and sure enough they discover the tragedy of those few minutes with sin ... great destruction! – Source Unknown
5. How much better to follow God's plan and be free of both guilt and pain, aside from being free from more than a dozen venereal diseases and emotional trauma!
III. MARRIAGE BEHAVIOR! 1 Cor. 7:10-17; 1 Pet. 3:1-7
A. Peace! 1 Cor. 7:10-17
1. Paul's message to a church of imperfect saints at Corinth included the following advice on marriage: PEACE!
2. Divorce was to be avoided IF possible!
3. If not possible (continued sexual infidelity (adultery) or perhaps physical abuse that was ongoing) ... then those departing the relationship were to seek staying single or reconcile if possible later! (1 Cor. 7:11)
a. The other possible problems come in where a believer is married to the unbeliever and here Paul is clear to state that the believer should not seek the divorce...
b. Only if the unbeliever chooses to end the marriage is the believer free ... but they need to know in their heart that they sought a "PEACEFUL" relationship together with them first!
4. Living peaceably with the unbeliever may have a sanctifying affect upon their unsaved partner that could lead to their salvation ... and so as much as is possible for the believer they must seek a peaceful lifestyle with their spouse who is an unbeliever!
5. If the unbelieving spouse allows no possible marriage and seeks divorce, only then can the believer know they are free!
a. This is not a call for the believer to make the unbeliever as miserable as they can in the hopes they will divorce them either!
b. Nor is this a call to ram Christianity down their throats or threaten them if they don't receive Christ!
6. The underlying principle of Paul's comments here is "GOD HAS CALLED US TO LIVE IN PEACE!" 1 Cor. 7:15
7. For those who have entered into the Kingdom following a previous divorce situation Paul's message is clear in 1 Cor. 7:17 "Retain the place in life that the Lord ... called them in."
8. See also 1 Cor. 7:21 for the same basic idea!
9. Thus the believer's role in a marriage is clear ... to seek peace as much as is possible to the believer … and honoring God's design on marriage!
10. If the unbelieving spouse destroys or seeks divorce then the believer's conscience and position will be much more peaceful and God will not hold them under bondage should they refuse to stay!
B. Purity! 1 Pet. 3:1-7
1. Peter joins in on this teaching by admonishing basically the same thing ... stressing the purity of motive and methods of the believer in their behavior in an uneven marriage!
2. If anything, Peter encourages the believer to forgo preaching to their spouse and instead encourages their living a pure heart out in action!
a. A good example of the old adage: "action speaks louder than words."
b. It makes little sense to argue or guilt someone into the kingdom ... it doesn't usually work!
c. But just as "the goodness of God leads men to repentance" so can the pure behavior of a godly attitude lead an unbelieving spouse to the Lord!
3. The whole concept of Peter's use of the term "SUBMISSIVE" and "WEAKER" has NO force of "INFERIOR" or "SLAVERY!"
a. It only means "YIELDING" ... seeking the others best welfare!
b. And the "WEAKER VESSEL" is simply a metaphor recognizing the female's smaller physical size and physical strength as compared generally to a male's physique!
c. Peter was NOT "down" on women!
4. The point of the passage is purity of motives and actions ... being led by and controlled by God's Spirit verses our own will and desires!
5. Peter adds that this purity can affect our prayer lives! 1 Pet. 3:7!
a. A great passage affirming the great truth of 1 John's teaching on how our horizontal relationships affect our vertical one with God!
b. They are intertwined in the believer's life!
6. A clear and powerful prayer life comes to those who are right with their fellow man!
7. So often the unbelieving spouse wants so bad to "clean up" the spouse first!
ILLUS: Guy buys his kids a used fish tank for their 4 new goldfish. Takes it home and cleans it up real good ... the next day the fish die! He discovers that you are NEVER to use soap in cleaning a fish tank because the toxic material in the soap stays on the glass and thus kills the fish later! By trying to give the fish a clean environment he killed them ... good intentions ... bad choice of cleaning procedures! – Source Unknown
8. Instead of trying to make your spouse get saved ... act saved and let God do the cleaning work on them ... your job is not to clean them ... just live clean yourself!
9. You have to catch a fish before you clean them! Ask any fisherman!
CONCLUSION: God's first and most basic spiritual and social institution is marriage! While the word mocks it and tries redefining it ... and Satan seeks to destroy it, God's people should hold it up in high honor! Marriage is a gift from God between one man and one woman and it should be treated like a precious gift!