Marriage Basics - Part 2

Faith Church February 27, 2010 Genesis 2:18-25


1. Last week, we started our new series: Taking the NEXT Step With Joy: In Our Marriage & Family

- This series (like all of our series) is about GROWING or what is called:

  • Progressive Sanctification = the process of changing and growing to become more like Jesus Christ

> this process involves identifying sinful habits (through the use of God’s Word) of thinking and action that God wants to change and REPLACE them with biblical thinking & actions

> that’s done through the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s Word

2. That process takes 2 important things from a human perspective:

#1: TIME (we have to be patient, keep pressing on) and . . .

#2: EFFORT (we have to do our part – and we can’t do it without Jesus – which is why He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and comfort us through the Word of God!)

3. All this starts with acknowledging where you are currently (admitting you are not perfect) and acknowledging you need to make progress (grow to be more like Jesus in the way you think and act)

4. As we mentioned last week, this series is for EVERYBODY (no matter what stage of life you’re in)

- this series can PREPARE you for the future as you look for a husband/wife

- Or help you learn lessons from the past that you hopefully will not make the same mistakes again – you will be stronger because of this study and the application of truth to your life!

* Each week we want to keep emphasizing the reasons for this series:

#1: To glorify God in our marriages and families

- since marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church, we want to make sure we are giving the right opinion of God as people watch our marriage/families develop

- to strengthen our church because:

#2: Strong Marriages and Strong Families = Strong Churches!

6. If FBC is going to be STRONG (growing, serving, outreach, bringing glory to God), we have to have strong marriage relationships and strong families where :

- Let’s seriously consider 2 principles that will help us build a strong marriage:

I. Marriage Was Given by God - Gen. 2:18 “And the Lord said . . .”

- Marriage is God's plan – it was His idea – Adam didn’t come running to God saying, “I need a wife! Can you do something about that?”

- it was God Who said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him”

- and given the fact that God is perfect, and capable of doing what He said He would do . . .

> you can assume that Eve what EVERYTHING God wanted her to be . . . and she would be a ‘suitable helper’ [that will show up in the Wife’s Role in a few weeks]

- some might say ‘that’s too basic’ or ‘that’s too simply’ – but let’s not pass over that because

A. Man's ideas and theories are wrong.

- Some would try to say that marriage is ….

1. Just for western culture.

- Marriage, as we know it (described in the Bible) only works in our society or culture – you can’t make it work in 3rd world countries

- But God’s Word is what it is no matter WHERE it is – it is THE source of truth – it is alive and powerful . . . no matter where it is

Q: Can you think of a passage of Scripture that would support this concept?

  • 2 Timothy 3:15 And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

- Jesus even said in John 17:17 as He was praying to the Father:

  • John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

POINT: What is your source of truth? Are you going to listen to man’s views or God’s?

- if you took ‘the western culture only’ mentality about marriage, then culture determines right or wrong, not the Word of God

- and man’s views get worse:

2. It is no longer useful.

- Karl Rogers (secular psychologist) made a statement that marriage was “No longer useful”

- “Experts” tell us that marriage has outrun its worth: You can’t expect 2 people to meet the needs of the other person for all those years – it just won’t work!

* Besides, there are alternatives (according to man) just as good!

Q: Would you like to guess what some of those are? EXAMPLES:

a. "Homosexual marriage"

b. Trial marriages – if it doesn’t work, we’ll get divorce

c. 1 year contract – if after 1 year it’s not good, we’ll divorce

d. Contract marriage (agreeing what we will do together and separately)

e. Roommate = "semi-married" – this one focus more on the ‘benefits’ of marriage (sex, companionship) without any responsibility of marriage (vows/commitments)

- all that could be summarized by this thought:

3. If it doesn't work, get divorce.

- while we do hold to the position that divorce is a biblical option (for 2 reasons):

#1: On-going sexual sin for which there is no repentance – Matthew 5:32

#2: Willful desertion (on the part of an unbeliever) – 1 Cor. 7:15

- when people start talking about divorce, the church ought to get involved and say:

> Gen 2:18-25 (and several other passages) has answers for marriage problems

ILL: A pastor friend who told me “I just don’t get involved in family matters unless I’m invited in.”

Q: What’s wrong with that view/position?

> that’s not consistent with Matt. 18 and the process of church discipline

- But there are more than 2 alternatives of marriage: 1) bad marriage OR 2) divorce

- It’s possible to have a GOOD marriage and a GROWING marriage because…

B. God gave marriage, and God has answers for marriage.

- those answers are found in His inspired & sufficient Word

- God doesn’t leave us ‘hanging’ without answers to our problems

> He has a plan and His plan works . . . if we follow it

- God has practiced FULL DISCLOSURE and communicated with us about the foundation of marriage, the purpose of marriage, and how to BUILD a strong marriage

1. Knowing there are biblical answers should give us a lot of hope.

- hope because a good marriage is possible (with His help – John 15:5 ‘without Me, you can do nothing” applies to EVERY area of our lives)

* But there has to be few things on the table in order for this to work:

1) a commitment to the authority of God’s Word – we don’t make the final call

2) a commitment of obedience to God’s Word – being a DOER of the Word

3) a faith that God can help us to grow

> He can change anybody; His grace is sufficient

> The Holy Spirit can take the Holy Word of God and conform us to the image of the Holy Son of God

2. Gen. 2:24 established marriage before the fall of man (Genesis 3)

a. Marriage is for ALL mankind in general – this was a universal principle for mankind – and God has not changed that one bit

- even though culturally, people have practiced & engaged in monogamous marriages – it doesn’t make it right

- ‘cultural practices’ do not change God’s view and mandates on marriage!

b. That includes marriage boundaries for saints and sinners (those who don’t know Christ)

- Here’s a few things Jesus said about marriage while He was on this earth He created:

  • Matthew 19:4. And He answered and said unto them, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?" KJV
  • Mark 10:7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,8and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” [New KJV]

- Even after the fall, marriage is still from God – and it’s still for everyone who wants to get married

- One of the most clearly centered passages in the NT is Paul’s words to the Ephesian church:

3. Ephesians 5:18-32 [READ v. 18, then 31-33 – we’ll study this passage later in our series]

v. 18 is important as it sets the context for what is being said about marriage

v. 18 has to do with being ‘controlled’ by the Spirit – and here is the EVIDENCE of that

- He has given answers in His Word – especially focus on v. 31-33:

  • Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Q: How much more clearer does God need to be?

- this is not a portion of the bible that is hard to UNDERSTAND, it’s hard to OBEY

4. Those who are convinced God gave marriage will go to Him to find answers.

Input: What passages of scripture or truth have helped you to grow your marriage?

- Another principle presented in Genesis is this:

C. God said marriage (along with all creation) is “very good” – Gen. 1:31

- Each day of creation was ‘good’ – in Gen. 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was “very good”

> It has God's seal of approval on it!! [when God says it’s very good . . . it’s VERY good!]

- Gen. 2 is a more detailed description of what God accomplished in Gen. 1

- God knew His plan and was happy about it when He put Adam (male) with Eve (female) together in their marriage relationship

II. Marriage Fulfills a Basic Need or Purpose.

A. Secular views about the foundation of marriage are wrong.

Illustration: A couple wants to be married (look like kids) – so you ask a series of Q:’s:

  • What is your age? A: 18
  • How long have you known each other? A: 3 weeks
  • Do your parents know about this? A: NO
  • What spiritual condition are each of you in? A: Don’t know, we haven’t asked
  • How are you going to support your wife? A: I’m looking for a job
  • Do you have any assets? A: I have a car (Note: It looks cheap and older)
  • What are your payments? A: 36 months at $200 a month

- But they both look at you and say: “But we’re in LUUUUUUUUUUV!

- They may go ahead and get married, then 6 -12 months later . . . they start looking for a rubber stamp for divorce

> They say: “We don’t agree on __(long list)__, but we do agree on ONE THING, we know we don’t love each other anymore!”

- that’s the time for you to lean over and say:

1. Marriage is not based on love, although love is commanded.

- And love is an important ingredient in marriage, but is not basis of marriage.

1) A husband is commanded to love his wife (that’s part of our series this year!)

2) We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves

3) Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica:

  • 1 Thess. 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another

IMPORTANT POINT: If not as a wife … then you love her as your neighbor … if not that, then love her as your sister in Christ … if not that then love her as an enemy

- Jesus said:

  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!

- we hope it never comes to that level, but if it does, the command still stands!

- we haveto remember that love is choice – you don't fall into it or out of it

> you choose to love someone & you can LEARN to love someone (in spite of their faults)

Point: Love is not the basis of marriage!

- in addition to that:

2. Marriage is not based on sex.

a. Many make the pleasure of sex the most important part of marriage and the REASON for marriage.

1) It is a very important part of marriage and a prominent part – Gen.2:25 sums it up:

  • Gen. 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed .

- one of the commands God gave Adam/Eve was to be fruitful and multiple – WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENS!

- and for each person to NOT participate whole-heartedly is selfish and sinful

> cf. 1 Cor. 7 – we’ll deal with this subject later in our series

2) Sex in marriage is holy and very good, but sex is not basis of marriage (marriage is not first and foremost a sexual union.

- Marriage is not just legalized sex:

Example: Catholic idea that sex makes marriage (you have the ceremony at 6:00 & have sex at 9:00 – that’s when you are really married) is not biblical.

- Marriage is not based on the pleasure of sex

- in fact, sexual problems in marriage is not the greatest issue: It’s a SYMPTOM!

b. Others say procreation is the basis of marriage.

- While that is part of the marriage process, that issue is not the BASIS or the PURPOSE of the marriage relationship

3. Marriage is not based on compatibility. (the ability to ‘get along’ naturally)

- 2 sinners living under the same roof have a hard time ‘getting along’ with each other

- According to Bible we are incompatible (sinners and selfish by nature)

- But God has answers for that:

> through a relationship with Jesus there can be unity and compatibility as the Holy Spirit works in our lives and guides us with the Word of God.

Point: Compatibility is possible (to a degree), but it’s not the basis of marriage

B. God tells us the basic purpose of marriage.

  • Genesis 2:18: Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

1. Basis purpose of marriage is to provide companionship (solves the alonenessproblem)

- Companionship is the intertwining of 2 persons in all areas of life:

> that includes spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically – 2 unique persons become ‘one flesh’ in their relationship

* The companionship relationship should grow over the years.

- this principle cuts across all cultures.

Example: Chinese say American marriages begin hot, end cold – theirs begin cold, end hot.

- you’ll never be married long enough to NOT need to grow in your LOVE for each other, your CONCERN for each other, your EXAMPLE of being a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church

2. Another purpose in marriage (if believers) is to serve the Lord together.

  • Joshua 24:15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

- our marriages ought to fulfill the purpose for which the Creator designed marriage:

> To worship and serve the only true and living God!

> To take the gifts and abilities He’s entrusted to us and TOGETHER use them to bring glory to God

- Paul’s words in Romans remind us of the overall purpose of EVERYTHING (including marriage):

  • Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things [including marriage] to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

- All that happens in believer's life is to make him/her more like Christ

- Marriage must help fulfill that purpose of bringing glory to God by being more like Jesus Christ . . . which, in part, is SERVING LIKE CHRIST.

- and to serve Him better because of the marriage relationship.

Recommended Resources for Further Study:

Adams, Jay. Christian Living in the Home.

Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage.

Tripp, Paul. Marriage, Whose Dream?

Building Marriages God’s Way (Resources of Faith)

Mack, Wayne. Homework Manual for Biblical Counseling, Vol. 2.

Mack, Wayne. Strengthening Your Marriage.

Wheat, Ed. Love Life for Every Married Couple.

Viars, Steve et al. Marriages That Last (audio series).

Adams, Jay. Solving Marriage Problems.

Faith Church