Marriage: Where to Stand
Message #2 of "Christian Sticky Wickets" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. -- www.oursaviorsbaptist.org -- My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. I pray that they will be helpful to you.
The Solid Rock
Great is Thy Faithfulness
How He Loves
Marriage: Where to Stand
What the world says:
Marriage is where man loses his bachelor's degree and woman gains her master's degree.
Marriage is not a word, it's a sentence - a life sentence.
Love is one long sweet dream and marriage is the alarm clock.
--- Why is Marriage a Sticky Wicket? ---
* More people than ever are LIVING TOGETHER rather than MARRYING.
13% increase between 2009 and 2010 in couples living together. Why? Perhaps the recession means cohabitation is cheaper.
Less than half of the country today thinks that living together before marriage is a bad thing.
Pew/Time, November 2010
* Lots of Christians ARE GETTING DIVORCED.
They promise "'til death do us part" but the divorce rate is identical to that of the rest of the United States.
* The move toward ACCEPTING GAY "MARRIAGE" makes biblical perspectives opposed to the mainstream.
We'll probably be asked to vote about it soon. We're called "out of touch" or "unloving hypocrites" if we say we don't believe in gay "marriage." Soon enough, it'll be considered a hate crime to speak against it, people who believe it's wrong will be considered unwelcoming.
--- God's Expressed Intents for Marriage ---
Genesis 1, 2; Matthew 19:3-9; 1 Corinthians 7; Romans 7:1-3
1. God is incredibly HAPPY to give MARRIAGE to us.
"It was very good."
2. In marriage, God wants to us to reflect God's own HAPPINESS through RELATIONSHIP and PROCREATION. (Genesis 2:24-25)
3. Marriage is a COVENANT relationship BETWEEN 1 MAN AND 1 WOMAN for LIFE.
People should expect it to last for life.
Video -- Piper, Carson, Keller (FCS "The Gospel Coalition")
Piper, Carson, and Keller on Sustaining the Covenant of Marital Love from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
* Covenant from this day forward sustains the love.
* Romance and falling in love is beautiful, but re-falling in love after seasons of pain is important, but only works if the covenant is honored.
* Can't just be kindred spirits because you will move in and out of that. Affection comes and goes.
* You change, your spouse changes - the basis of your marriage can't be a feeling. The thing that keeps it is the promise - "I made an appointment that in the future, I will be your husband."
* Covenant - does that sound like it's tough? Too duty-oriented? Yes? But you nurture the plant when it's wilting, you don't yank it out of the dirt. This is work. This is the promise.
* Grounded in God's new covenant. We are testifying to God's covenant when we persevere in our covenant with each other.
--- End of Video ---
How fun it is give a child a gift for birthday or Christmas. They are excited and they're playing with it and we're enjoying watching them play with it. The more complicated, the more likely that things might go wrong (something jams, batteries run out). And then the child starts twisting and pull on it, getting frustrated and then they throw it to the ground and break it. And the parent says "All you had to do was ask me and I would have helped you!"
Do we toss the new toy and walk away, declaring it "broken" and the situation "hopeless", or do we ask the one who gave it to us to help us fix it?
Divorce is one of the things God says He _hates_.
Much of what's described about marriage in the Bible puts Christians at odds with what the world believes.
The Bible says it's about God's (and ours together) happiness, the world says it's all about our own selfish happiness, as long as it remains happy.
The Bible says it's a covenant, the world say it's an arrangement.
The Bible say it's between a man and a woman, the world is looking for other options.
Just because one has the civil right to do something does not mean God says it's right.
--- Officiating the Sticky Wicket of Marriage at OSBC ---
Position Statement on MarriageImplication #1 - No place in the Bible is a model of marriage shown as anything other than one man and one woman. Not two men, or two women, or one man with multiple wives or one woman with multiple husbands.
Our Savior’s Baptist Church
Affirmed by OSBC Elders, August 9, 2011
We understand Christian marriage to be a sacred institution ordained by God for the happiness of mankind and the propagation of the human race. It is a spiritual and physical union to which one man and one woman choose to commit themselves for the glory of God. According to God’s stated scriptural ideal, marriage is to be for life.
Since God instituted marriage as a covenantal union between one man and one woman, no other redefinition of the composition of marriage is scripturally acceptable. OSBC will only perform, affirm and recognize “marriages” of those of one man and one woman, even if other “marriages” have been recognized by the state or other authorities.
God’s command is for Christians to be married only to other Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14-16; 1 Corinthians 7:39).
Therefore, OSBC pastors will not perform a marriage between a believer in Christ and one whom the pastor discerns does not believe.
God’s intent is for marriages to last a lifetime. Therefore, the bias of OSBC will be to encourage and assist in the building up and preservation of all marriages, no matter how difficult the circumstances, because we believe that God’s grace can overcome the greatest of sins and hurts.
At the same time, we recognize that because of the reality of sin in the human race, God allows divorce under certain circumstances. Therefore, we will minister to and with the divorced, treating them with grace, and helping in their healing so that they may maintain a right relationship with their Savior, family and church.
Implication #1 - "what's the big deal? It doesn't hurt me,why do Christians get so hung up over it?" It's simply not a marriage. We consider ourselves more "enlightened" but we're simply more "overexposed" to an agenda. But if the Bible says it's a problem, then it's a problem.
Implications #1 - saying that I differ in my way of life than someone else does not mean I oppose a person. That I cannot love them, that I think any less of them. This is not an issue of people, this is an issue of sin. And guess what? Bam - you're a sinner (I'm a sinner). This isn't in any different classification.
Implication #2 - they will marry two believers or two unbelievers, but not a mixed-couple. Unbelievers probably wouldn't be married inside the church because what's the point? They would still go through the same counseling and be witnessed to. A mixed marriage is like building a house on multiple foundations.
Implication #2 - if the person you're thinking of marrying isn't a Christian, it's not a good match, no matter how well you connect.
Implication #2 - there are plenty of stories where a Christian will marry a non-Christian and over time the non-Christian will come to know Jesus. But OSBC does not believe it has the right to violate scripture. By grace, it can work, but it's not the ideal.
Implication #3 - "I do" means I'll keep on doing, even if it hurts. God still says He wants you to try to stay together.
Implication #3 - Saying "I do" means you're promising never to say "I quit." It isn't "I did."
Implication #4 - Divorce is always the result of someone's sin - their desire to keep on sinning instead instead of working to right things. We can't treat divorcees as someone who's committed a sin that's unpardonable. Estimates that between 30-50% of adults at OSBC have been divorced.
Implication #4 - Too many churches would rather a murderer or swindler tell their story of repentance and acceptance of Jesus' love in front of the church rather than someone who's been divorced.
Implication #4 - Every marriage hurts. There's no such thing as an amicable split. This is exactly the time people need the church, they need help rebuilding their relationship with Christ. We must be committed to them, divorce is not an unpardonable sin.
--- Maneuvering the Sticky Wicket of Marriage Personally ---
It is sin -- defined by selfishness -- that destroys marriages. Repent. Draw a line in the sand and then step across and re-declare your commitment.
Need counseling? Ask to the pastors, they may even be able to help with the cost.
No longer praying together? Start.
No longer playing together? Go back to the things you did together.
What brought you together? Have you left that behind? Go back to go forward.
Are you drifting apart because you're not running after God together?
Are you stuck in the past and resisting change? Change is inevitable, are you embracing and celebrating it?
Do you feel like it's work? What isn't? If we invest time and effort into our children, our careers, our investments, our cars, our spiritual walk, why wouldn't we also want to give our best to our marriages to help them, grow, flourish, adapt, change?
2. Stand FOR marriage God's way, and your world will see what REAL MARRIAGE UNDER CHRIST CAN BE.
We, as a church body, stand against the politicized attempts to redefine marriage but our best argument against it is a full and rich marriage as God's defined it. The more we stand FOR a strong Christian marriage (our own) means spending less time standing AGAINST that which isn't because the world will see the difference.
From the Inside Out