Marriage – This could be heaven or this could be hell.
I think that it would be an understatement to say that family and marriage are in trouble in today’s Society. Culture is portraying marriage as nothing more than a loose commitment to co-habitation subject to the individual’s needs being met –
Australian statistics tells us that there are more marriages entered into than at any time before, yet the percentage of the population getting married is at it’s lowest. Numerically more marriages, but the population has increased as well – so percentage of population getting married - very low. People are not getting married anymore as in previous years.
Fornication – rife – The try before you buy attitude being the prevailing mentality – under the banner of human wisdom - “we have to see if we are compatible”. Government statistics informs us that 77% of Australian couples live together before marriage.
Dating and courting – if that even exists in the mind of young people are used to determine or assess what the other is bringing to the relationship and how it will benefit you. It is therefore paramount that you don’t commit to someone too quickly as it takes time to play the field and there is always someone around the corner who seems to offer a better package for your happiness.
Difficulties and disagreements are not worked out, for divorce is an ever-ready solution and has been accepted as a perfectly reasonable outcome to relational conflict. Marital Commitment is redefined as commitment to myself, my desires, my happiness, my fulfillment.
Open marriages are becoming more and more common – making Adultery a solution to an unfulfilled marriage.
Same sex marriages are viewed as a human right, with a relentless determination to secure for it an equal standing and acceptance in society alongside traditional marriage, regardless of others views, preferences and beliefs.
These cultural views are finding their way into the church, infecting it with a deadly dose of worldly thinking. Young people’s approach to finding a life-mate is often no different than that of the world, living together first, checking out their compatibility. The divorce rate in the church is little different than that of the world.
Solutions to marital problems are peddled by any and every one who has access to the internet – and solutions are sourced from a variety fields – from psychology to self-help relationship seminars, from sociology to mystical eastern religions, all focused on the personal happiness based on my needs being met.
The common denominator is how to satisfy self, my needs, my wants, and my desires. I need to be happy, I need have my sexual desires satisfied, I need to have a great job, a wonderful wife, beautiful kids, I need to be rewarded, respected, I need to be understood and appreciated.
Those things you may very well desire, but you don’t need per se– We should be very careful to call anything a need, which God does not identify as a need.
What I can tell you this morning is that you and I need, what the church needs is to get back to the basics – to Get back to the Bible, to get back to God who gave us marriage in the first place
People of God - this is a Bible – This is God’s Word to us. If you claim to be a Christian then you need to read, study, meditate, memorize and most importantly obey what it says – Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me – Jesus said! Jn14:21.
So over the next few weeks we will go back to the basics and examine what the Bible teaches us about marriage and family
The Bible is very clear about marriage, what it is and where it’s from and what it should look like. And in the weeks to come we will look at the different roles of the husband and of the wife in marriage. Kids don’t think you will be left out – our last message in this series is for you. However whether you are married or not, whether you are thinking of getting married or not – you are all part of a family and this series will be of benefit for you. Men, you in particular need to get ready, get prayed up for God’s Word is coming like a ton of bricks. Wives are not exempt, you too can’t escape the living and active Word of God. God’s Word is sharper than a two-edged sword pierces even unto the division of spirit and soul, joint and marrow and which is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. SO the bright light of God’s Word will shine on your heart, your marriage in this series –so be ready, get prepared –I may say things which may offend you. You may think who is he? How can he be so dogmatic- but let me remind you that if I personally offend you I will seek your forgiveness, but if the message offends, if the Word of God offends - I am but the messenger – your argument is with God. Take it up with Him!
SO this morning buckle up as we will go back to the basics and look at the foundations of marriage.
We will answer two questions:
Gen 2:18-15 – turn to this passage
We find ourselves in the 6th day of creation and God had repeatedly state that what he created before was good and now here before the end of the 6th day of creation all of a sudden we read these starling words:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
God identified that man by himself was inadequate, he was incomplete.
I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Marriage is from God - He gave us marriage
In any research you may do – always go to the original, the source document. So you want to know about marriage – Here it is – This is the source document on marriage.
Right from the beginning, before the Fall on the 6th day of Creation. God made an assessment – It is not good for man to be alone! God made man but man by himself was inadequate to fulfill his God given task – what is that?
Gen 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” What theologians call the cultural mandate given to man – the God given stewardship of man over the earth.
But Man by himself was incomplete for this task and he needed help. He needed a companion, a helper, one his equal. So God took the initiative and instituted marriage. Man needed a companion, and God made the woman as a helper suitable for man.
Important to note - This was not man’s idea – it was God’s. He made the assessment, He determined to make man a helper, He caused a deep sleep, He took a rib from Adam and formed it into a woman, He brought her to Adam.
All from God.
Marriage is an institution given to man from God- a blessing from God.
So know an attack on marriage, as God intended it to be, is nothing more than an attack on God and His plan and purposes. It is slapping a gift from God away saying – we know better - your plan, your purpose, your blessing is not a blessing at all it is not even cultural relevant anymore.
Be very careful who you allow to influence your view of marriage.
It is a gift from God!
Now secondly: What is the Blueprint, what are the characteristics of Marriage/family? We will explore 4 this morning
God gave marriage for companionship
No other created being was suitable as a helper, as a companion for man.
19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him
God created man in His image, both man and the woman (1: 27 ). Being made in the image of God and given to one another to compliment the other in marriage have certain implications.
It means that man has the ability to have meaningful relationships at a level that no other created being on earth is capable of. So forget that saying – Dog is man’s best friend – nonsense – dogs may be very loyal but relationships between two people, especially between a man and his wife operates at a much deeper level than any other relationship.
It means that in marriage you are entering into a full partnership in fulfilling God’s purposes – of filling, multiplying and exercising dominion over His creation.
It means sharing life together – sharing one’s dreams and aspirations and hopes with one another.
It means through marriage, man can give full expression of his ability to love another. Intellectually, emotionally and physically.
It means sharing ideas, insights, and opinions with a close companion - enriching your lives
It means worshipping one’s Creator together- praying together, growing in your knowledge and love for the Saviour - together, counseling one another about personal sins, encouraging one another, holding one another accountable.
God instituted Marriage for Companionship – immensely enriching our lives and enabling us to worship God together in fulfilling his mandate better than we can do it by ourselves
It is wonderfully amazing to see a godly couple who has been together for many years, how close they are. They are true companions- each just knowing what the other will think and say over a given situation. Why because it just happened? – No because over the course of time they learned each other’s preferences & pet peeves. They have come to be united, pursuing the same goals, have the same hopes and dreams. They work together beautifully. They have learned that it is less and less about me and more and more about us.
Are you true companions of each other? Who is your closest friend, your greatest confidant? How well do you know each other? Are you open and vulnerable to each other? Each knowing the other’s strengths and weaknesses, not to exploit but to compensate and to compliment, SO that together you are a formidable team, united – not clones of one another. But partners, each bringing a set of God given gifts to enhance and strengthen each other in pursuing a common goal, common ambitions, hopes, and dreams. Have you ever sat down and discussed what is your goal in marriage. Spiritual goals, social, economic. Have you asked yourself the question – why am I married? Or why do I want to get married?
God gave us marriage for companionship – don’t overlook it and don’t neglect such a precious gift from God – Don’t be two individuals living together –but be true companions doing life together.
Another characteristic of marriage is courtship. God’s blueprint for marriage includes courtship. He gave us marriage for Courtship – for romance. You have to bud your eyes like this and pucker up your lips like this – sweet ole Romance - We have here a picture of all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the heavens brought before man, but not one was suitable. I can only imagine Adam sitting there with the animals passing by - nope too many feathers, nope too “scaley”, too clawey, no, too hairy, no, no, not that one,…. seriously have you seen the horns on that thing?
Adam was smitten by her, for he met his match, his perfect match. Why? For God made her with Adam in mind.
Tell me do you view your wife, your husband as the one God made just for you? I can tell you that one thought alone applied in your marriage will change your marriage – your view of your wife, your husband as the one the Lord made for me. Just for me. Young men, young women – let that thought dominate your thinking when you start looking for a life mate. Keep yourself pure for the one God made for you.
Marriage is given for courtship and courtship is meant last your whole marriage. Husbands are your still smitten by your wife? Do you still romance her? Court her? DO you still treat her as the one! Wives are you still charmed by your husband? Do you still spend time and effort to make yourself attractive to him?
God has given marriage for companionship and for courtship and also commitment.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
In verse 24 we see that marriage is a Commitment between 2 people – one man and one woman, not between one man and 2 women, not between two men and one woman, not between two men or between two women, Not between a man who once was woman or wants to be a woman and a woman, Or any other variation you can come up with.
God gave marriage to be between one man and one woman – anything else is a perversion of God’s design, His blueprint
One man and one woman. One husband and one wife!
It says a man shall leave his father and his mother
Leaving means –to abandon, to forego, to forsake.
This does not necessarily mean leaving geographically – that your have to move away – though sometimes that is advisable – But it means to let go, to adandon the responsibilities associated with this family and to take on the new responsibilities and priorities of a new family. Just a sidenote – according to Scripture – a husband and wife make up the basis of the family – whether they have children or not. Children are blessed additions - We’ll deal with this in a few weeks – But the basic family unit is the husband and wife –
SO leaving the responsibilities of one family and taking up the responsibilities and priorities of a new family.
This leaving speaks of a public commitment. I am publicly declaring that I am breaking away from the responsibilities of this family unit and I am committing to the responsibilities of a new family. That is why we have a public ceremony. Yes it is a celebration but it is also a public declaration - Declaring the commitment to the responsibilities of a new family unit.
That is why fornication is wrong. Fornication is a failure to make a public declaration to take full responsibility of this new family.
Marriage is therefore a commitment -between one husband and one wife and it’s a public commitment
A man shall leave his father and his mother … and hold fast or cleave to his wife.
Hold fast or cleave is to cling to, to stick, or to hold on to .
This is not physically that comes next, but emotionally and relationally – it is another call to and confirmation of the companionship between a husband and a wife in marriage.
A man will publicly leave his father and mother as I said not necessarily implying geographical separation but in terms of commitment - and be stuck to, cling to, super-glued to his wife, if you wish. Your husband, your wife is now the one you invest all your emotional and relational energy into. Your spouse becomes your primary responsibility; your highest priority and your previous parental loyalties are now supplanted by a new loyalty to one another. It does not mean that parents are now trashed – no – they will always be your parents and a great source of wisdom and you do have responsibility for them – but not primary any more.
Leave – father and mother and cleave to his wife …and they shall become one flesh
This describes the consumation of the marriage union, the uniting of two people within the bonds of marriage. As the woman was taken from Adam’s side, becoming one flesh is the coming back together of two people as one.
It signifies ultimate completion and unity. Getting married means becoming one spiritually – we both love Jesus and desire to glorify Him and now will serve Him as one, It means becoming one emotionally and relationally and then finally becoming one physically the consumation of marriage
Commitment forms part of God’s blueprint for marriage – permanent commitment
Companionship, courtship and commitment – which is between one man and one woman, commitment mad by public declaration to take on the responsibilities of a new family, commitment to permanent union between a husband and wife, emotionally, relationally and physically
But there is one more very important characteristic, which forms part of God’s blueprint of marriage. = It is that of Male headship in the family.
In Marriage the husband is the head of the wife. No – I don’t have it wrong, it is not a result of the Fall, as many would have you believe. We are still in chapter 2 – this is God’s design for marriage right from the beginning.
Sure Male Headship had been abused – many over the years have argued that it as a license to belittle and to abuse women - and sad to say men have abused women over the ages. That is not God’s design. Abuse is the result of sin - Not headship. In the weeks to come we will look with greater detail how God intended this to operate. But today we’ll just introduce it.
I hope that you can see that God’s design for marriage is awesome and wonderful and a rich expression of His grace to us – designed as a blessing to mankind, providing you follow His blueprint and Male headship is part of that blueprint.
Male headship is established right here in Gen 2. Let me explain
In 1 Cor 11 in addressing the trouble filled church at Corinth and in particular certain women in the church - Paul asserts the headship of the husband over the wife. He said:
3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
He then goes on to support his assertion coming back to our text here in Genesis 2
1 Cor 11: 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. So Paul draws from God’s original blueprint to support his assertion – He appeals to the created order – Man was made first and the woman was made from him. He also appeals to the reason why the woman was created – It was for the man – to be his suitable helper. By nature of the created order and purposes of God – Male headship is established.
But there is more: In 1 Tim 2 Paul writing to his son in the faith Timothy whom He had set as shepherd over the Ephesian church instructing him about the role of women in relation to her husbands and in relation to the church
1 Tim 2:11 - Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. Why Paul?
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
Paul under the inspiration of the Spirit goes back to the blueprint of God right here in Genesis 1-2 – He again appeals to the created order. Adam was created first. He was the firstborn – so to speak - and throughout Scripture the importance and responsibilities of the firstborn is affirmed. The firstborn received a greater inheritance, but he also had the greater responsibility- he had to maintain the family line and secure the heritage of the family.
Male headship is God’s design in marriage – that does not mean women can’t lead, for in many cases they are better leaders. It simply means that God’s plan for marriage is for the husband to lead His home. God has made the husband responsible.
So Men if you don’t lead – you are sinning and are not following His design for your marriage and you will have to give an account to God. We will look more closely at what this headship should look like next week.
Wives if you refuse your husband’s headship- likewise, you are refusing God’s blessing to you and you are sinning against God. You reject His blueprint for your marriage. We will also further explore this aspect in a couple of weeks time.
This is off course very counter cultural, but that is what Scripture teach. If you are a Christian- then this is what you must do, if you refuse or have a problem with it – there is something wrong and the problem extends much deeper than mere marital difficulties and disagreements – it touches at the heart of your relationship with God.
Men you have to lead and wives you have to allow them to lead. Why? Let me just summarize the reasons I already mentioned and add a few more.
Yet Adam was blamed for breaking the covenant with God. The agreement not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He was held responsible – why because of male headship.
He failed in his leadership, he failed to stop Eve, he failed to protect her. He did not say – whoa, WHOA! Stop Honey! What are you doing – that is wrong that is not what God wants. He failed to protect her from the evil schemes of the serpent – he abdicated his God given role of headship and allowed Eve to take the lead.
Rom 5:12 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
Adam failed in his headship, his authority, and his leadership over His wife resulting in all of mankind being dumped into sin.
Men you are responsible to lead in your family. Many, many, many marital strife and problems can be traced back to this one fundamental characteristic of marriage – male headship.
When men abdicate their responsibility to lead and to protect and women live in mutiny, despising the leadership over them. That’s a breeding ground for much sin, heartache and pain.
Marriage can be heaven or it can be hell. Follow God’s blueprint for marriage, add what is lacking, correct what is wrong to bring your marriage back in line with God’s blueprint and return to the blessing of what marriage was meant to be. – Marriage as a Gift from God.
You may find yourself maybe in a situation that cannot be changed. You may be suffering consequences of choices and actions your cannot restore You cannot rewind the clock – Like when someone come to you with an omelette and ask your to change that back into three eggs again – Somethings cannot be changed – But I know and I can promise you that God’s Grace is sufficient for you – – He said: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness - Entrust yourself to Him, change, and implement that which is in your ability to do and rest in the sufficient grace of Christ.
Let us pray!