PROVIDE FOR YOUR FAMILY Part Two, Marriage, Happy Valentine’s Day
INTRO: Valentine’s Day can be tricky for a guy. I remember one instance, in particular, where I really dropped the Valentines Day ball! Alba story…
On this Valentines Day, I want to continue to talk about providing for your family during a time of trial. Today is about marriage.
Allow me to read the introduction to the marriage ceremony I wrote many years ago and still use today.
Today we have gathered here to celebrate a glorious occasion. This couple will enter into the beautiful covenant of marriage. Marriage is God’s idea and He still calls couples to hallow this sacred union at a holy altar and, in His presence and in the presence of witness, vow till ‘death do us part’! Through marriage God illustrates the mystical union between Christ and His church. Through marriage, God has ordained that two separate personalities merge into one brand-new creation. Through marriage, God has provided a crucible where He can mold the character of each into the image of Jesus Christ and demonstrate to the world the power of agape love! Through marriage, God has provided for joy, pleasure, comfort, companionship, security, provision, and hope. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing!” Therefore, knowing what God has prepared for these in this wonderful union, let us now begin.
Marriage is God’s idea.
Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 2:18 (NKJV) And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
The fullest expression of man being made in the image of God is in marriage. There is an exponential increase in the power of God when male and female come together in marriage.
Deuteronomy 32:30 (NKJV) How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them?
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (NKJV) Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Listen to the rest of the story about Eve’s creation…
Genesis 2:21–24 (NKJV) And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now 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 mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Jesus declared this in the Gospels.
Mark 10:7–8 (NKJV) ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so, then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Paul declares it in his writings.
Ephesians 5:31 (NKJV) “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
So, this singular expression carries with it the dynamic truth that the full expression of what God meant for mankind is manifested in marriage. That is why the devil hates it and tries to destroy every marriage.
We are in a marriage crisis in this country. Unmarried couples now outnumber married couples. Even among Christians the number of unmarried couples are growing exponentially. The very definition of marriage is being destroyed. Why? The devil knows that if he can destroy the Biblical marriage, the first institution that God created, he can ultimately defeat the church. Why? Because marriage is the picture of the church. The relationship of Jesus and the Church is a mystery that is lived out in full color before the world and demonstrates to the world the power of the union of Christ and the Bride. If that is marred, then people will lose the ability to see the power of a living Christ through his Church!
Listen to Paul again…
Ephesians 5:22–33 (NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
A married couple is an expression of the power and purpose of God! There are three passages in the New Testament that deal in depth with the marriage relationship: Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-21, and 1 Peter 3:1-7. The context of all these passages deals with a larger picture of living out the Christian life. The context of the Ephesian passage is the spirit filled life; the context of the Colossians passage is the resurrected life; the context of the Peter passage is the obedient life. It is clear in each of these passages that the laboratory of the Christian life is the Christian home! It is there we learn to live out the transformed life Jesus gave us. We then take what we have learned in the laboratory and live it out on the main stages of life!
For some practical steps, let’s look at the Colossians passage. The theme is “Not carnality but Christ.” Now think about putting all these into practice in your marriage!
Live Out the Resurrected Life
Colossians 3:1–21 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Bury the Old Desires
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Put Off the Old Man
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Put on the New Man
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
The Christian Home
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
These instructions seem short, but the context gives them weight and structure.
Now this is the result…
Colossians 4:2–6 (NKJV) Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
You see what happens? The things you have perfected in the home and in your marriage, you can now take to the world and demonstrate the power of a risen Christ in a life: the transformed life, the transformed marriage, the transformed home!
One of the greatest couples that Alba and I know are Richard and Barbara Peterson. They have ministered to literally thousands of couples through their local churches, Nova Shalom, Marriage Ministry International, and many others. But their ministry started with them in their marriage and in their home. They proved it out before they gave it out. Then their home because a place of ministry and healing to the wounded and hurting.
You can be that! God is not a respecter but persons. God can heal your marriage and your home and use it as a light to the world. On this Valentine’s Day 2021, let’s ask God to work a miracle in our homes so that the power of Christ living through a couple can be demonstrated to a jaded world that needs God’s love!
Now just a word to singles. You are not forgotten; you are not second-class citizens of the Kingdom. You have a special place as fully committed servants of the Lord God. You have the ability to serve God unhindered by the irresponsibility of a partner! Your spouse is God Himself and He never fails! You are a builder, perhaps a re-builder. God has special plans for you and special things for you to accomplish!