Live by God's Rules

-- One marriage -- One man, One woman --
-- honoring one another --
-- submitting to one another --
-- forgiving one another --
-- living in obedience to God's Word --
-- resisting sin, turning away from evil --
-- loving each other as Christ loved the Church --

Ephesians 5:25

Each child deserves to have a place at home for rest, where he or she is accepted by the family. A place where family members build one another up, not tearing one or others down. This is the place in ones life where one should feel safe, loved, accepted, and peaceful, even when we make mistakes.

The home is the place where we are forgiven in love, just as if Jesus were sitting right there. The home is the place where we can join our spirits together in worship to our wonderful Savior. The home is the place where our children can learn how to be faithful to God in their life, walk in the light, and find the joy and peace that comes by a developing a personal relationship with Jesus. In fact, the home is where we should get our first lesson in knowing God,...simply by watching our parents in action!



Preached at Boronia Baptist Church by Rev. David Morland Sunday 10 September 1995 (Scripture: Gen 2:20-25)

In the image of God. Here is the first statement in the bible that something is not good - V18. It is not good for the man to be alone. It is not good, for we cannot be fully human if we are alone. Humans are made in the image of God and God is a community of three. In the trinity the three persons honour one another, the three persons give to one another, the three persons receive from one another, the three persons serve on another. All this is love in action. So when God created Adam he created him to live in a community too. Hence he must have a partner.

The woman is created out of the man. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Adam understood that they were truly one. God did not create two races, a male and a female race.

So in creating humans as male and female in his image and joining them together so that they become one flesh, God makes us a copy of himself in His trinitarian unity and distinction as one God and three persons. So the man and his wife are one yet they are still separate entities, as are the members of the Godhead. In creating man male and female and joining them together so that they become one flesh God make us copies of himself. The Godhead came first and then we were created in that image.

The relationship that exists between a man and wife is the closest relationship possible between humans. It is closer than that which can ever exist between a parent and a child. The marriage relationship takes precedence over all other relationships. When it comes to the point you must put your partner before your parents and children. 2:24 we are told that a son would decided against his parents in favour of a woman and he would take the initiative and cleave to her. (Not she primarily to him).

Which is why when we marry we must leave our parents and cleave to our spouse. The relationship with the parents now takes second place. Our first loyalty and allegiance is to our spouse. When you marry you come out from under your parents' authority and care. (But not out from under _parental_ authority and care. You are under God's.)

There are three pillars of marriage.

1. Sexual intercourse. Without sexual intercourse there is no marriage.

Sexual intercourse without marriage is wrong. God created sexual activity to be part of a permanent relationship and outside of that it will damage you. Sexual intercourse is not just a bodily activity. It touches you deep within your spirit. (1 Cor 6:15-29) God has so built the man that when sexual intercourse takes place his spirit latches on to that woman to protect her and provide for her and to care for her. In like manner, a woman's spirit latches onto the man and she looks to that man to nurture and care for her and to bless him by bringing forth children for him.

To have all this open up while still living at home with obligations to parents is to bring all sorts of stresses into our lives. You cannot be a true partner while still living at home. You must leave your parents and commit yourself to your partner. When we are ready to start having sex we should want our parents' blessing. That is why we have marriage services, and our parents send us off after the ceremony to bed! Jesus is waiting for his bride and so should we. Adam received his wife from God and was full of thanks for her. So should we be!

It has been said that the foremost cause of premarital sexual activity in teenagers is parental failure. It has been claimed "it is respect for parents that will cause a teenager to want to keep themselves chaste. And inversely teenagers instinctively know that the most powerful way of punishing their parents is to throw away their sexuality". The only way to over come bad parenting is to come to know God as Father. Fathers: do not leave your teenage girls with such lack of affection and affirmation that there is an enormous hole in their emotions just waiting to be filled by some lust-filled boy. Mothers: boys who are belittled by their mothers will have a resentment toward females that can express itself in wanting to defile a girl rather than cherish her.

2. Covenant or contract. But the marriage must be based on more than sexual activity. No marriage will last if sexual excitement is all that it has going for it. A marriage commences when two people covenant to live together for the rest of their lives. They make vows to this end. These vows are made without qualifications or conditions. These vows are a commitment to live out marriage as marriage was meant to be lived.

In Ephesians 5:32, when speaking of marriage in Gen 2:24, Paul says that he is talking of a "profound mystery". Now the profound mystery is that 2:24 is speaking of more than the marriage of Adam and Eve. It is also dealing with the marriage that is going to take place between Jesus and his people. The relationship that exists between Jesus and his people is like the relationship of marriage. Therefore our marriages are copies of this original. God made us male and female and designed the marriage relationship in order that we might have a glimpse into what is the depth and the breadth of the relationship between Jesus and his church and the essence of the relationship within the trinity.

We could say that God is on about a marriage. The marriage of the church to his Son. The end of the creation is to provide a spouse for the son of God. It is God's desire to admit the church into the divine family as the bride of his son. (Rev 19:7-9)

So the relation between Jesus and his people is the model for us in our marriages.

There is nothing he will not do for his people. This is seen in the story of Hosea and Gomer where Hosea represents God and his wife Gomer the people of God. It is not a nice story. Gomer has affairs. She leaves him with the three children. She moves in with another man. Yet even when she is in financial trouble in this new relationship Hosea still provides for her. Eventually dumped and abandoned she is to be sold as a slave. There she is humiliated as she has to stand naked before the crowd, an embarrassment to all. Hosea comes, buys her and owns her as his wife. Goodness knows the agony of Hosea's life. In Deut 24 there are provisions for divorce. Hosea did not use them. If there were no options then we could say that Hosea had no choice but to hang in there. But he did have a choice and he chose not do use them. He is love. It is no law that holds God to us. Man and woman were made in love. For them to love would have been natural. We have been structured to love. Not to love is an oddity.

For a husband to be what a husband is meant to be he must give himself up for his spouse. Jesus longs for his people to live in his image. Jesus went to the cross for his people.

We must see that marriage is not the ultimate. It is a symbol of the ultimate. The primary marriage is the marriage of the bride and the lamb. Our marriages are copies of that marriage. Our marriages are living demonstrations of that marriage. Our marriages are models of the true marriage. That is why when asked about divorce Jesus said that from the beginning it was not so. God created Adam and Eve to be together permanently. This is why Jesus said that no one was to put asunder that union. (Mat 19:6)

Therefore to enter a marriage and to take the vows means that we are setting ourselves up for some really hard work. Jesus' spouse causes him the most awful suffering and your spouse will cause you suffering. You must accept that to be married will mean some suffering. True love will face that and deal with it. Throw away your images of what your spouse should be. The goal of marriage is not pleasure but the doing of the right thing. We live in a culture that encourages a love of self. We see our partners as there to contribute to our sense of well-being and when they do not we feel that the marriage has no further purpose. Our marriage does not exist just for us! It exists for the glory of God. God would have us be living examples of his love for us.

In Eph 5:21 we are called to submit to one another. The husband submits to the wife's needs by serving her and loving her, just as much as did Jesus the church. The husband builds her up and by leaving his father and mother in order to live with her he devotes all his energies to enriching her life. The wife submits to the husband by allowing him to be the head of the home and following him through life. The wife's role is that of helper. V18. The relationship cannot have two different goals. It cannot go in two different directions. The wife's role is to support the man in his endeavours in life. Her satisfaction will be in serving her husband. This is the way that God created her. We live to serve not be served.

Marriage in our society is made up of two parts: legal paper work and a church service. But divorce is only made up of one part - the legal. Folk come to the church and ask for the church's blessing on their marriage but they do not come back and ask for the church's blessing on their divorce. Why? Surely some divorces need to be blessed. Or if the church cannot bless the divorce the couple ought to be told so up front.

Yet it must be said divorce as a way of avoiding the inevitable suffering of marriage is despicable. The death of a marriage is so painful that we can in our distorted state seek to ameliorate the pain by forming another relationship. This is dangerous. There is no way around the pain. Covering it with a new relationship will not work. 75% of all second marriages fail. What humans desire almost more than anything else is emotional satisfaction and nothing spurs the emotions like sexuality. The desire for sexual fulfilment and intimacy tends to override a rational approach to this matter of marriage and divorce.

3. The third pillar of marriage is companionship. There should be a rich friendship between the marriage partners. A couple's minds should be united in that they have a common goals and dreams. They should have similar interests in that they talk about all the affairs of their days and find satisfaction in listening to each other.

There should be a marriage of the spirits too. Not to be able to share intimate spiritual realities with each other, not to be able to pray with each other, not to be able to worship with each other will deprive the marriage of great richness. In fact far better for two non-Christians to be married than a non-Christian to a Christian. Note 2 Chron 8:11: Solomon could never be close to his wife Pharaoh's daughter: she had to have a separate home. To marry a non-Christian is to set yourself up for disappointment: there is a certain level of intimacy that you can never enjoy.

We are told that they were naked and not ashamed. This sentence carries a double meaning. Firstly nakedness excites sexual activity. In the marriage this is good and proper. Outside of the marriage it's wrong. Therefore nakedness in the presence of any but our spouse is wrong for it stirs up feelings of lust. Secondly we live in ambivalence. We hate the thought of not being noticed - this is because we made in the image of God. Therefore we believe that we are worthy of notice - and we are!. On the other hand we hate being stared at. When we are stared at we feel as if someone is prying deep within us. We feel as if we are about to be exposed and we therefore want to hide ourselves. Adam and Eve stood naked before God and themselves for they had nothing to hide. Before God we need to cover ourselves. But when we have been forgiven by him we do not. It's the same with our spouse. First date we go to great lengths to present ourselves as good. Then second date we expose a little more of ourselves and tell a few of our failures. And so the process goes on, until in the marriage we think there is nothing that we do not know about each other. And the more open the marriage and the more we allow our partners to see our imperfections the more healthy the marriage. No other relationship can provide the utter openness that a marriage does.

Jesus is our true bride. He will meet all our emotional needs.

The answer to our nakedness is what Jesus has done. He has promised to clothe us and cover us. One day we will stand before God so naked that we will either want the rocks to fall on us or we will be dressed in splendour. (Rev 6:15-17)

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