Marriage Basics - Part 3

Faith Church March 6, 2010 Genesis 2:18

 

Introduction:

1.  We are continuing our NEW series: Taking the NEXT Step With Joy: In Our Marriage & Family

- we want the marriages/families represented in this room to be GROWING

- To some, this may be new term, but we’re talking about the doctrine of . . .

  • 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.  While God will certain do His part, we have to understand this 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)

* 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!

4.  Q:  Do you want our church to be spiritually strong?

strong’  = a high quality depth in our relationship with Christ and bringing glory to God in a multitude of different ways!!

- if that’s going to happen, we have to be growing in our marriage/family!

[OPEN bibles to Genesis 2:18-25 – have 1 person read a verse, next person next verse . . . ]

- Let’s REVIEW the one principle we studied last week to help us build a strong marriage:

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

-  Marriage is God's plan – Adam didn’t run to God saying, “I need a wife! Can you do something?

- 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 – somewould try to say that marriage is ….

1.  Just for western culture.

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

2.  It is no longer useful – it has outrun its worth so let’s resort to a homosexual relationship, a trial marriage, or ‘co-habitation with a roommate’

- all these describe someone who wants the benefits of marriage, but without any responsibility of marriage (vows/commitments)

3.  If it doesn't work, get divorce.

Point:  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 (found in His sufficient Word)

- that ought to give us HOPE and MOTIVATE us to go to God’s Word to find those answers so we can grow and change

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

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

- let’s consider a 2nd principle about the Bible Basics of Marriage

II.  Marriage Fulfills a Basic Need or Purpose.

- this answers the question, Why did God create marriage in the first place? What’s the point?

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 states:

  • 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 the 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 the 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 w/growth), 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.  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

-  Another purpose in marriage (if believers) is

2. To glorify God by serving the Lord together

- obviously, the Lord created man to bring glory to Him by obeying Him and serving Him

- remember, God told Adam to be a keeper of the garden (work is good!)

- and to help him accomplish that mission, God said, “I will make him a suitable helper”

- Joshua illustrates this principle:

  • 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

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

IMPORTANT NOTE: This does not mean that if you are NOT married, you can’t serve the Lord as effectively – as Paul said in 1 Corinthians, some have the gift of singleness

Input: What are some ways you have served with your spouse in the church? [various answers]

Examples:  Passion Play, Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry, FCC, Vision of Hope, FCS, Clothing Closet, Food Pantry

- if you don’t have a place to serve: CALL ONE OF YOUR PASTORS!!!

- 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 a 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.

Point: Guys – God gave you your wife to help you be more like Jesus (some of you might say, “Well, if that’s true, I got a looooooooooooooooooooong way to go!” Ha! J

Ladies – same principle applies to you!

- the 3rd principle of the Bible Basics is this: 

III.  Marriage is a Growing Relationship.

  • Genesis 2: 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

A.  Marriage involves "leaving" your parents.

-  We need to spend time on this because this is often part of the problem in marital conflicts

> the ‘sons and daughters’ become obsessively dependent upon their parents

> OR the ‘dads and moms’ of the world want to maintain CONTROL over their children, even when the child has moved out of the house . . . or the child gets married!

> what God intended to be “In-laws” (not a biblical term) becomes OUT-LAWS!!!

-  the word ‘leave’ is a strong word = literally, the word means"abandon"

>  before you get hasty, we have to use good principles of Bible study (hermeneutics)

> one of the most important principles of Bible study is the ‘UNITY PRINCIPLE’  - i.e. you interpret the bible in light of the rest of the scriptures

Example: One passage can’t fight against another– there is UNITY among truth.

-  so the meaning of the word ‘abandon’ must not disagree with rest of Scripture.

1.  “Leave” must be balanced with Deut. 4:9, Psalm 78:1-8, and 1 Timothy 5:8.

  • Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

 

  • Psalm 78:1-8 

-  These are really “Grandparents' verses” – it describes/pre-scribes the role of grandparents

>  The PURPOSE of grandparents in American culture is to SPOIL THE GRANDCHILDREN!

WRONG – WRONG – WRONG

- These verses clearly communicate that a man must TEACH his children's children.

- That means he/she has have a relationship w/his own children so they will ALLOW him to do that very thing – and even WELCOME that opportunity

- in addition to what Moses wrote, in the NT, Paul wrote to Timothy and said: 

  • 1 Timothy 5:8 And whoever does not provide for relatives and especially family members has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

> A man is expected to look after widowed mother!

> to literally ‘abandon’ one’s parents or totally forsake them makes this impossible

Point:  The word cannot mean literal abandonment in that sense of the word – i.e. to forget your parents were ever alive, or utterly forsake them and/or leave them by themselves.

-  the word ‘leave’ is a very strong word – and it does indicate when you leave, your first allegiance is to this new unit (the idea of putting together a new unit)

- we have to understand this aspect of ‘leaving’

2.  “Leave” means more than geographical leaving.

- when God says it’s time to leave your father and mother and be joined to your wife, then it’s time to LEAVE

- however, sometimes Mom's “apron strings” are made out of very stretchy material

> the leaving process is hindered or delayed and/or prolonged till mommy is ‘comfortable’ (which could take YEARS!)

- Many have moved 1,000’s of miles from home and have never left home (figuratively)

Example: If a wife is lonely 1,000 miles from home, the command to ‘leave’ is not getting obeyed!

- this doesn’t mean a person can’t ‘miss’ their parents OR want to go see them over vacation or invite them to come to your house– that’s sign of a good relationship

- but when what Dad said 20 years ago is more important than what spouse thinks and .that very idea gets rubbed in the husband’s face, then something is WRONG!

- some spouses care more what their parents (dad or mom)  think than what their spouse thinks

-  in some cases, parents have died but the children have never LEFT!

Point:  Marriage is a growing relationship (moving from one point to the NEXT STEP!).

-  Requires cutting the proverbial “apron strings” of one’s mom or parents

3.  “Leave” means:  radical change in the relationship

- and, I can tell you from experience, the change takes place faster than I imagined

a.  Genesis helps us to understand what we call the T-P-T principle:

  • T= Temporary (H/W + Child = T)

- God didn’t create Adam with kids – but He created ONE wife, Eve

> God didn't put Adam in garden with children OR parents.

- God didn’t create Eve with kids – but brought her to ONE husband, Adam

- But since Genesis, the husband grows up obeying & honoring his parents & God

- and the wife grows up obeying & honoring her parents & God

> but in marriage, the COMMITMENT is to God 1st and then EACH OTHER

- that’s why some children can’t witness effectively to their parents . . . .they are too busy obeying them and pleasing them rather than God 1st and then their spouse

- while Psalm 127:3 is a very powerful verse:

  • Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are a heritage of Jehovah; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

- . . . children not the most important relationship in the home (we’ll deal more with this in our fall series on parenting)

- some say, "Children are our future" (true to a degree, but it can be over-emphasized

- as parents, we need to plan to teach this truth to our children and teach them to leave biblically.

  • P = Permanent (Child gets married = H/W together – till death do we part = P)

- this is part of the covenant relationship – the loyalty to one another

- we’ll talk about ‘cleaving’ to one another in just moment

> “cleaving’ is also a very strong term and not one to be taken lightly

Point: The relationship between the husband & wife if permanent

-  Permanent in the sense of “till DEATH or Jesus comes . . . .when there will be no marriage in Heaven

  • T = Temporary(Child [H/W] have children as a result of their marriage = grandchild)

-  Illustration:  One wife, after her second wedding, tells her new husband:

“I'm from this certain culture and this is the way we life.”

  • Dad is #1
  • Mom is #2
  • My sisters are #3
  • My children are #4
  • You are #5

- that is not consistent with what God says about marriage!

b.  The process involves settling past conflicts as you leave.

- An person should not leave his/her parents (just to ‘get out of the house’ or to ‘get away from parental authority’) because of the guilt of unconfessed sin.

> Marriage is not an escape from a home or a way to get out of this mess one is in

> You should take care of the problem in biblical manner BEFORE you leave

Note: If you did leave wrongly, go back and clean up the mess!

- when a person ‘leaves’ their home, they should ask the question: 

Q:  Are there unsolved conflicts you’ve had with your parents?

1) One of the major unresolved conflicts has to do with authority.

- If I asked your parents if you enthusiastically obeyed what would they say?

- If there was a problem, are you willing to ask forgiveness?

** IMPORTANT POINT: This is an important question to ask BEFORE marriage!

2) Are there lessons God intended for you to learn from your parents (or whoever brought you up) that you haven't learned yet?

- God gave you the specific parents you have for specific reasons

Illustration: My parent taught me how to WORK hard and be faithful to your church!

- It’s hard to leave home emotionally when you didn't learn the lessons God wanted you to learn because of your rebellion.

3) Some people are almost obsessed with something their parents did to them or they did to their parents.

Q: What do you think that leads to in one’s spiritual life?

Answer: Bitterness (even revenge) & that will devastate a life . . . a marriage . . . and a family (impact on kids).

c.  The process includes not being slavishly dependent upon one’s parents.

- In decision making process (advice may be good), but careful about allowing parents to get outside these boundaries by trying to overly influence (control) their children

- this also has application to FINANCIAL issues:

> if there are ‘strings’ attached to financial gifts – DON’T DO IT

Example: If you come to visit us on Christmas, we will give you $

- The pro- a reason for all this is . . .

d.  The leaving process creates a NEW decision making unit.

- the ‘one flesh’ relationship means the mates needs, ideas, welfare are first now.

- you have to view your spouse's opinion in decision making more important than parents.

e.  The process creates a loyalty.

- this will reveal itself as parents might complain about or criticize your spouse behind their back

- or being overly critical face-to-face

[Note:  This doesn’t imply that parents cannot practice Matthew 18 or Galatians 6 – those are biblical mandates and are the proper way to try to prevent or solve problems]

- what we are talking about here is sinfully criticizing or gripping or slandering your spouse

f.  The process does not allow children to dominate marital relationship

- as we said earlier: Children are NOT the center of the home

- some have ‘child-centered’ homes and that can DESTROY a marriage – and even could be idolatry

- We’re going to STOP here for now, and pick up the rest of this principle next week

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