THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE
Deu 30:8 "And you shall again obey the LORD, & observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9 "Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
Keeping God s will brings peace & prosperity...
Israel had gotten on the slippery slope. And the Lord was calling them back to the safety of obedience and the rewards of godliness.
I' ve been on the slippery slope. It's always painful to realize that we've gotten off the road... but the only thing to do is get back on it. When a friend was still learning to ski (Jim Bob)& he was depending on me for guidance & instruction...(our 1st time at Red River). He decided he was ready for a blue. I didn t know the runs... but once there, there was no turning back... several spills... then we side-stepped down to get back to the runs we belonged on. It is painfully embarrassing to be on the slippery slope, struggling to get back on the right path, but it is the only answer. Faithfulness is what God required of Israel... & the church!
1 Cor 4:2 ... it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
Today we are talking about the covenant of marriage.
I realize that when sermons are preached on subjects like "giving" or "marriage & divorce" that some of the innocent go away feeling guilty. And that's not our purpose!
Preach on giving & those who give more conscientiously than anyone else begin to give more because they love God. The old miser says, "I don't like sermons on giving!" & finds all kinds of unkind things to say about the preacher.
Some feelings may be hurt - but I never intend that...
The purpose is to teach young people... to build faith... to help those without the divorce problem to keep from having it. to spare heartache & pain...
What can we do about marriage problems & divorce in the church? We can preach the word & we can love each other & urge each other to do what is right.
I. The American Approach
A. The American approach is "freedom from responsibility", selfishness at any cost, break your covenant whenever it suits you& & blame somebody else!
1. We re told to Watch out for #1 , to deal with my felt needs , to be my own person,
2. Sports heros constantly want to renegotiate contracts ... & the idea has spilled over into all commitments...
B. We've got to unlearn some things society has taught us.
1. Get back to God & the Bible.
2. There are a great many helps out there for marriages... psycholgists & sociologists who have very practical helps for marriage & family..
3. But we need to go beyond all that & back to God s word... to faith & commitment...
II. The Covenant of Marriage
A. People get married for lots of reasons &
1. Should be a wedding of ideals, values & goals...
B. But marriage is not just a contract or commitment. It is a covenant of love & loyalty between 3: A man, a woman, & God. Malachi 2:14 -
the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. (husband by covenant)
C. They asked Jesus about divorce once: Mark 10:2
And some Pharisees came up to Him, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 And they said, "Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY."
5 But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 "But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE & FEMALE. 7 "FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER & MOTHER, 8 & THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
10 And in the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11 & He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife & marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 & if she herself divorces her husband & marries another man, she is committing adultery."
b. Jesus made the point that we must get back to God s purpose....& that remaining unmarried is the only way to avoid adultery!
D. Paul echoes that in .... I Cor. 7:10-11 -
But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not send his wife away.
E. Americans have lost sight of that ... (many in the church, too!)
1. divorce is easy...
2. But from the beginning it was not so.
3. Our failure to preach on it is hurting us... our children, nation...
4. An adulterer who causes a divorce... or one who divorces for another cause... has only one option: remain unmarried!
F. Mk.10:1-12 - is about Christianity, not Judaism.
1. God's law in the beginning has not changed.
2. Polygamy, bigamy, & divorce in O.T. Yes! but God s law is unchanged.
G. A covenant is a sacred, inviolable agreement of love & loyalty between a Man, a Woman and God.
III. God s Choice & Our Choice
A. Americans are enamored with choice...
1. Why did you select your mate?
a. because she would help you go to heaven?
b. because he would rear your children in the Lord?
c. because he accounts faithfulness to you a part of his faithfulness to God?
d. or, because he was good-looking? or rich? or....
B. We can choose to honor the covenant & glorify God.
Some did not even have the luxury of choice.
1. Adam - not found a help meet for him, (Gen. 2:18-20).
a. had no choice - God put him to sleep (Probably better that Adam had no say...
b. It was Eve or nothing (and God made all things good)
c. He was better off than if he d had 1,000 to choose from.
God s choice is always better for me than my choice!
Did you ask God about who to marry?
When problems arise, do you seek God s will?
d. Everything went well in Adam s marriage until they let the devil in. Does that tell you anything?
e. Why do so many marriages today begin with love & wind up in hate? Let the devil in!
f. The reason Adam & Eve s marriage worked is because they believed they were united in a covenant before God.
g. They were determined to honor the covenant.
2. Jacob - given Leah instead of Rachel...
a. but he honored the covenant -
b. & of the 12 patriarchs , 6 were sons of Leah, and two of those were Levi & Judah the priesthood & the Messiah...
c. Honoring the covenant brings blessings.
C. Gen. 2:24 biggest verse on Marriage in the Bible. ":. a man shall leave his father & his mother, & shall cleave unto his wife: & they shall be one flesh."
1. Marriage supercedes all other earthly relationships.
2. Ladies, realize the special relationship you had with your dad (or mom). Translate that respect to your husband. Don t make him compete all your life; cut those apron strings; be a wife.
3. Live for one another: 1 Cor 7:2 let each man have his own wife, & let each woman have her own husband 3 Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
4. Don 't be two singles living under one roof.
D. Marriage for beauty or brains or..... is risky. When it is gone, so is the marriage! When the luster fades, so does the marriage...
1. "Until death do us part" (Not, As long as we both shall love. )
2. We've added other "untils" - until... you cross me, disagree, etc.
3. but God made marriage a covenant...
4. "That s narrow, one says. Yes, but it's Bible, its truth, & its right!
5. God's trying to save our marriages & our souls... protect our homes & children & health & keep us from damning our souls & wrecking the live s of children!
E. Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
1. Simply stated that means, Don t dance to the world s music.
2. Don t let this world or the lust of the flesh determine your course in life.
F. Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
G. We need men & women to honor God's Covenant.
1. Young people to be "determined to marry until death...
a. Parents duplicate themselves. Divorced couples invariably have children who divorce&
b. Children of Divorce: 25 years later article in the Courier Sunday, Sept 17, 2000 The fallout from divorce marks offspring for life.
c. it propagates itself. What we model is what our kids emulate.
Eze. 16:44 Of Judah God said, Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb concerning you, saying, Like mother, like daughter.
d. Unless one says, I will not do that. I will learn from God & others... I will solve problems. I will get help...)
2. Young people who will be "determined to marry one who will honor God s covenant of marriage..."
3. Jesus loves the church. (He died for it knowing it would be unfaithful)
5. He died for you& to provide a covenant of salvation ...
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