The Purpose of Marriage

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Marriage is under attack. I believe, that one of the reasons why we see marriage under attack in the world today is because the church has an incomplete view of marriage.

In 2015, the Supreme court ruled that people of the same sex could legally marry. But this man-made law simply determined that two people can legally obtain the benefits that society provides for married couples. It doesn’t change what God says about marriage. Do we trust the designer? The only way that we can embrace same-sex marriage is to devalue marriage all together.

People will argue that Jesus didn’t specifically speak out against homosexuality. But he was pretty clear about marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). The church must celebrate and teach a Biblical understanding of marriage. It’s sad that in the 21st century, we have to define marriage.

This is more than cultural wars, this is spiritual war, Satan hates marriage and has a specific purpose to destroying marriage.

John Stott wrote: “Marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God preceded by the leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership, and normally crowned with the gift of children”

Sexual immorality is any sexual activity outside of this biblically defined covenant of marriage. Within the Biblical bond of marriage, sex is blessed, while outside, it is sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7).  

The reason marriage is so sacred is because the primary role of marriage is to portray and proclaim the Gospel (Ephesians 5:32). Satan hates marriage, because it is a picture of two non-interchangeable and different parties, made one by the work of Christ. Husbands portray Christ, and wives represent the church. Both parties have definite roles and functions, the church cannot do what Jesus is doing. And that is why Satan created a counterfeit, a lie that mocks God’s design.

God takes marriage very seriously, and has defined immorality for what it is, regardless of how cleverly the courts, and the entertainment, and media machines have redefined it (Hebrews 13:4).

In Ephesians 5:22-24 Paul focuses on wives. Many people struggle with the language of submission, but this is not about a form of subjection or controlling power. Submission simply means to prefer others. And it is only possible as one is filled with the Spirit of God.

Andreas Kostenberger wrote, “While some may view submitting to one’s husband’s authority as something negative, a more accurate way of looking at marital roles is to understand that wives are called to follow their husband’s loving leadership.”

Husbands and wives have equal value, but different roles within marriage.

The husband’s primary role is to be a priest, being the spiritual leader in the home. Tragically, men have abdicated their authority in this area by giving in to laziness, leisure, pornography, and a general lack of spiritual discipline.

The women’s role is to follow and support the husband in the spiritual leadership of the family, ensuring that the home is a place that is sacred and holy to the Lord.

When both are fulfilling their roles, marriage is a beautiful thing to observe.

We must be careful to reject any teaching that says that women are subservient to men, or that the husband is a form of a CEO in the marriage. Submission must be voluntary and follows sacrificial love.

Typical human nature is that women crave love and men desire respect, that’s the way God has wired us.

So, we have the two aspects of marriage: love and submission.

Love and submission can both be defined as putting the will of the other person ahead of your own, to prefer the other person. Love and submission are two sides of the same coin.

In verse 25 Paul tells husbands, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

What is Christlike love? It is the love that took Jesus to the cross to give his own life for the church. It is sacrificial love.

For men marriage is a call to die to self. It is daily giving yourself away for the good of your bride. It is sacrificial and preferential love. You cannot love your wife like Christ loved the church and be passive. This is loving by serving and giving of your time and energy.

It is also a sanctifying love, as we see in verse 26, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”

This does not mean that any husband has the ability to atone for sins, only Jesus can do that. But men are to be the spiritual leader in the home. Encouraging their family to read the Word and allowing the word of God to bring transformation.

Here is a good question for men. Are our wives more like Christ because she’s married to us? Or is she more like Christ in spite of us?

But there is an eternal purpose in marriage. In verse 32, Paul writes that the mystery of marriage refers to Christ and the church. It is beyond our understanding. When God created the world, and the covenant of marriage, he had Christ and the church in mind. Not the other way around.

Marriage is not the ultimate, Christ is.

Christ is ultimate, not our husbands or our wives. Our primary loyalty must be to Jesus.

If I was to ask you, what is the biggest problem that marriages struggle with today, I would get a multitude of answers. But the root problem of every marriage is sin.

Marriage is ordained by God for the glory of God. Therefore, He is the source of the love and the only one who can cause a marriage to flourish and proclaim the Gospel of Christ to the world.

As we shine the light of healthy marriage, the world will see a picture of Christ and the church (John 1:5).

Talking about Sexual Immorality

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When we talk about sexual immorality, it really boils down to do we believe that God is the designer and creator of all things. And as the designer, He designed our bodies perfectly. And then He gave us a manual, His word, to give us non-negotiables for how we are to function to avoid unnecessary pain.

As the world becomes more and more immoral, we see pain increasing. Marriages are breaking down and children are hurting. Pornography is affecting all spheres of society. The LGBTQ lifestyle is causing a dramatic increase in depression and suicide. Young children’s bodies are being mutilated in order to appease a lie – an identity that is not from the Designer.

The world is seeing the effects of a fatherless generation due to promiscuity and selfishness.

That is just some of the effects of not believing the designer and his manual.

The most common Greek word translated as “sexual immorality” is porneia (πορνεία). And it means, fornication, whoredom, adultery, and Idolatry. It means to surrender sexual purity.

Porneia defines any sexual activity outside of the boundaries of a biblical marriage.

Those claiming to be Christians who persist in immorality, cannot come into the presence of God (Psalm 24:3-4). We cannot possibly maintain a healthy intimacy with God when we are giving our souls, minds, and bodies to immorality.

In John 8 we read an account of Jesus teaching in the temple courts when the Pharisees barge in and interrupt the meeting by bringing a woman, that they had “caught” in adultery, right in front of Jesus for all to see. It is an obvious set-up, and they want to catch Jesus speaking contrary to the Law of Moses.

Jesus doesn’t respond to them; he simply begins writing in the dirt on the ground.

They keep pressing Jesus, wanting an answer to spring the trap, and then he finally stands up, the tension in the room rises and he says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b.And then he simply stooped down and began writing on the ground again. As the tension grew, their consciences began to be provoked and the older, perhaps wiser or more guilty men, began walking away.

Jesus was left with the woman and asks her, “where are your accusers?” To which she responds in verse 11, “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus sets her free, relieving her of any condemnation and giving her lifegiving counsel, “leave your life of sin”. She leaves in freedom.

Notice the irony of the story.  The accusers leave one by one, convicted of their sin, but not realizing that the only one who could forgive them of their sins was standing right in front of them. The accusers left, still in bondage. But the woman who was the accused, walked away free.

When it comes to sexual immorality, we are all guilty. This is because sexual immorality, like all sins, begins in the mind, in the thought life (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus raises the bar on the perfect design he created for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife.

We know that the one who casts doubt on the perfect design of God, is also the one who’s only agenda is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

Look at the fruit.

A high percentage of pre-marital sex results in abortion.

Homosexual activity cannot produce life, but rather a staggering escalation in depression and suicide.

People addicted to pornography isolate, and retreat from community, and slowly die from the inside.

Sexual immorality destroys lives, families, and generations.

The problem that we face in the 21st century is that we are so desensitized to immorality that we tolerate sinful behavior, and even embrace it as a bad habit or a minor struggle.

Paul writing about unrepentant sinners, who are practicing sinful lifestyles, their sin will lead to eternal separation from God 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

So how do we respond as the church, believing what God’s word says regarding sin.

There is a very dangerous message that is being taught in churches and by evangelists all around the world, “God loves you just as you are…”

And when people hear that, they hear that there are no conditions to being a Christian, “I can continue to live in rebellion towards God, I don’t have to leave my sinful lifestyle. I don’t have to repent of my sin, I must just accept Jesus into my life.”

The Bible is clear that God hates the unrepentant sinner who has chosen a lifestyle of rejection of God and His Word (Psalm 5:4-5, Proverbs 6:16-19, James 4:4).

 R.C. Sproul said, “God doesn’t send the sin to hell, he sends the sinner to hell.

It is extremely dangerous to neglect repentance in our presentation of the Gospel. We simply don’t have a right view of the holiness of God.

True joy and peace are only found in Jesus, as we follow him in walking in purity. God desires purity and holiness from us, not for His benefit, but because it is for our good. Sadly, as the church, frequently we are the scribes and the pharisees, pointing fingers at other people’s sin, while at the same time being enslaved to private sins.

Today, you can walk in freedom. Don’t continue to live a lifestyle that leads to death.

Do you trust the designer? Do you trust His operations manual?