Sun. a.m. AGCC 9/28/1997

(see also: 7/21/91)



TEXT: Gen. 2:18-25

INTRO: There is little doubt that the institution of marriage today is in trouble.

Look at the following progression to notice how marriage needs attention:

ILLUS: A husband's reactions to his wife's colds during seven years of marriage:

First year: "Sugar dumpling; I'm really worried about my baby girl. You've got a bad sniffle and there's no telling about these things with all the strep going around. I'm putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food's lousy, but I'll be bringing your meals in from Rozzini's. I've already got it all arranged with the floor superintendent."

Second year: "Listen, darling, I don't like the sound of that cough and I've called Doc Miller to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl, just for Poppa."

Third year: "Maybe you better lie down, honey. Nothing like a little rest when you feel lousy. I'll bring you something. Have we got any canned soup?"

Fourth year: "Now look, dear, be sensible. After you've fed the kids and got the dishes done and the floor finished, you better lie down."

Fifth year: "Why don't you take a couple of aspirin?"

Sixth year: "I wish you'd just gargle or something instead of sitting around barking like a seal all evening."

Seventh year: "For Pete's sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?" -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 332.

While we may laugh a bit, it is all too often true! Marriage is often ridiculed and mocked in our society. It is made to look like a "ball and chain" existence. However, the real truth about marriage is that it is a creation of God's, not man's! God has intended it to be a place of happiness and health...consider this:

ILLUS: Across all ages and races, Americans who live alone die at a much higher rate. For example, divorced men in the under 65 ages group have considerably higher mortality rates for a number of diseases than their married counterparts. Their death rate is twice as high for lung cancer and strokes, three times as high for diseases related to hypertension, and seven times higher for cirrhosis of the liver.

PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that Marriage is honorable in the sight of God and that outside of our relationship to God it is the prime relationship for our good.

I. NATURE OF MAN 2:18-20

A. Prognosis 2:18

1. After creating man God gave him instructions on what he was to do and what he was not to do.

2. While man was ready to start his life God took notice that something was missing for man...a suitable helper!

3. The idea of a partner was God's was the Lord that saw "it was not good for the man to be alone"!

a. Outside of a specific call by God to be celibate all your life, it is expected that we will need a spouse during our lifetime!

b. Man was NOT GOOD alone!...therefore any society that diminishes the commitment of marriage is acting in opposition to God and to man's best interest!

c. The plain fact is that man is not good alone! (and all the women said, "Amen"!)

4. All attempts in history to dismantle the need of man for a wife has had disastrous effects on mankind!

ILLUS: Many people do not know why February 14 is called Valentine's Day. Most people believe it got its name from a man named Valentine who lived 1700 years ago. He was a priest in Rome when Christianity was a new religion. He was put to death for teaching Christianity. Afterwards he was called a saint.

One legend tells why Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. The Roman soldiers did not want to leave their homes to fight the emperor's wars. Claudius II, who was the emperor then, ordered the young men not to marry. He thought that if they did not have homes, they would be willing to go away and fight.

Valentine felt sorry for the unhappy young men and their sweethearts. He married many of them secretly. So even today, sweethearts celebrate in his honor.

5. Nothing superior to marriage as God has designed it has ever come along in history, only inferior models have been created by man!

a. No marriage should be happier or stable than a Christian's marriage!

b. Marriage done God's way will be happy and stable!

6. The need for a "suitable helper" means someone who is absolutely equal to the man in value, perhaps different in function!

a. Man cannot fully realize his humanity without a woman.

b. This was God's is true spiritually, physically, and mentally.

B. Productive 2:19-20

1. It is interesting to note that Adam was productive without Eve...but not complete without her!

a. Maybe this explains why guys can get lost in a job and still feel unfulfilled if they neglect their marriage!

b. Adam had named all the creatures...a great deal of work

c. As each passed by him however, there were none that gave him a sense of completion, work alone did not fill his need...nothing suitable showed up for a name!

2. Since man was put right to work it would appear that a man gets much of his self esteem from what he does...while woman who was made from the side of man gets much of her self esteem from relationships.

a. Yet, their sense of "completeness" cannot come apart from one another!

b. A man can be productive but in pain...his need for a suitable helper exists to help him be a whole man.

3. Since naming the animals was a huge unique task that demanded all of Adam's attention in the beginning, God perhaps held off creating Eve until this task was done lest he ignore her!

a. God does not intend for work to detract from marriage!

b. Adam continued to work after marriage...but not at the expense of the marriage!


A. Partnership 2:21-23

1. God saw no suitable helper for Adam...and Adam didn't see anything he liked in the animals either!

2. His need was for a "partner"...not a servant!

a. The term "suitable helper" in Hebrew means "a counterpart" or partner!

b. Notice that God did not say Adam needed a woman to bear his children, in fact, what is noticeably missing in this whole story of woman's creation is any reference to her as a baby is not even mentioned that she can have children!

c. The lack of reference in her creation to bearing children indicates that Eve was to be valued as an equal partner and not as a child bearing factory ... a sad distortion that later developed when sin took hold.

3. Eve is not made apart from man....she is a "PART" of him, hence "PARTNER"!

a. She is made from his rib...the New Testament declares that "No man ever hateth his own flesh" (Eph. 5:29) ... making her from his own "body" helped insure the sense of belonging and caring as well as equality.

b. Adam recognized immediately the necessity of her in his life!

4. Adam's first words upon seeing her were, "THIS IS NOW BONE OF MY BONES, AND FLESH OF MY FLESH"

a. The Demonstrative Adverb "THIS IS" in these first words can loosely be translated, "WOW!" from the Hebrew!

b. In other words, "WOW...Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh!"

c. He is quite taken by a man should be with his wife!

5. She is exactly what he needs to be fully a man in every way! Together they are whole, apart they are parts.

ILLUS: You probably heard about the newlyweds. On their honeymoon, the groom took his bride by the hand and said, "Now that we're married, dear, I hope you won't mind if I mention a few little defects that I've noticed about you."

"Not at all," the bride replied with a deceptive sweetness. "It was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband."

6. They were to be PARTNERS before being PARENTS!

a. If only our world could understand this point!

b. We cannot expect our children to have good marriages if we don't!

ILLUS: The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

Theodore Hesburgh --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 202.

7. While this passage deals with the creation of marriage, nothing about having babies is brought up....marriage begins with partnership.

B. Permanent 2:24

1. "For this reason" ....since one man and one woman are joined together as one flesh...they are never to be separated!

a. God created one woman for Adam...there were no backups!

b. They were to be joined for life!

c. It was not until something better came along!

2. The goal was one union for the rest of their lives together.

ILLUS: A man in his middle years was on a Caribbean cruise. On the first day out he noticed an attractive woman about his age who smiled at him in a friendly way as he passed her on the deck, which pleased him. That night he managed to get seated at the same table with her for dinner. As the conversation developed, he commented that he had seen her on the deck that day and he had appreciated her friendly smile. When she heard this she smiled and commented, "Well, the reason I smiled was that when I saw you I was immediately struck by your strong resemblance to my first husband."

At this he perked up his ears and said, "Oh, how many times have you been married?"

She looked down at her plate, smiled demurely, and answered, "Never." --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 290.

3. Too many people approach marriage today with the idea that there are alternatives if it doesn't work out! (contract instead of covenant!)

a. God made no provision for an alternative! (contract)

b. God's goal for marriage is permanent! (covenant)

c. Moses only permitted a writ of divorce to be given because of the hardness of their hearts..and to protect a woman from poverty if she was divorced by her husband...this was not God's plan from the beginning however! (God permits sin's existence, but this does not mean He approves of it!)

4. We need to make people take a stronger approach to the permanence of marriage today - our children takes their cues from us!

ILLUS: The pastor was visiting the fourth-grade Sunday School class to talk about marriage as part of the lesson. He asked the class, "What does God say about marriage?" Immediately, one boy replied, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

5. A marriage union supersedes the child-parent union.

a. The emphasis on "being one flesh" indicates that only that which destroys that one flesh can end a marriage:

(1. death!

(2. sexual immorality is also cited by Jesus...sexual immorality destroys the "one flesh" concept by creating unions with others.

b. The preeminent relationship on earth is marriage...for a lifetime!

C. Pure 2:25

1. Note that they were naked but not ashamed!

a. The relationship of marriage was pure, therefore no shame existed.

b. Shame came only after sin separated them from God and from one another.

2. Sexual purity is a must in a relationship, as well as emotional purity!

3. Adam and Eve were to preserve their union only to each other...there were no others!

ILLUS: Sometimes women are overly suspicious of their husbands. When Adam stayed out very late for a few nights, Eve became upset. "You're running around with other women," she charged. "You're being unreasonable," Adam responded. "You're the only woman on earth."

The quarrel continued until Adam fell asleep, only to be awakened by someone poking him in the chest. It was Eve. "What do you think you're doing?" Adam demanded. "Counting your ribs," said Eve.

4. Think of what purity in marriages would do for the world!

a. no broken hearts

b. no diseases running rampant through society

c. no distrust between partners

d. no painful memories

5. Marriage was to be partnership, permanent, and pure!

* Guys, you wife is your "PRIME RIB"...not your "SPARE RIB"! -Dennis Marquardt

6. All ribbing aside...let's build our marriages on God's design, not the world's!

CONCLUSION: A man's earthly PRIME relationship is his PRIME RIB! God created marriage to complete both the man and the woman. Jesus performed His first miracle at a marriage, thus sanctifying the institution of marriage. A godly marriage can bring the greatest joys and the greatest purpose to 2 human beings. How's your PRIME RIB don't have a broken rib do you?