Sermon Sunday October 29, 2019 – The Sanctity of Marriage

Malachi 2:10-16

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How do you view marriage?

In the culture today, fewer and fewer people are getting married. Marriage is the first institution that God ordained in Genesis 2:24. God takes marriage seriously, but society has reduced it to a social contract and sometimes a contract of convenience.  

Historians agree that the primary reason for the collapse of the Roman empire (27B.C. to 476A.D.) was the internal decay of morality and the dismantling of the family structure.

In Malachi 2:10-16 the Lord rebukes the nation because of their broken relationships, relationships between the tribes of Israel and also personally in their weak view of marriage.

In verse 10, Malachi reminds them that they are a nation, created and called by God. God called them to be one nation, for His purposes and for His glory. But it seems that as they came out of exile, they became selfish, as the Lord blessed them with comfort and wealth, they forgot about their purpose as a nation.

America is a blessed nation, but the problem with financial blessing is that it frequently leads to selfishness. We have forgotten our roots as a nation. Forgetfulness lead to unfaithfulness.

As followers of Jesus, we are to be known for our unity and love. It doesn’t matter what our race, age or ethnic background, we are to display unity and love because we are united around the Gospel and we have the unity of the Holy Spirit drawing us together. Unity is a miracle because it is only possible by the power of God’s presence.

When we set aside petty differences and we prefer each other in forgiveness, we are putting God first in our church and that is worship. All unity in the body of Christ is only because of what Jesus has done for us.

In verse 11 and 12 we read that the second indictment God has against the people is in their lack of faithfulness to Himself. We don’t know the details but from Jeremiah 7 we can assume that they were turning to idol worship, running after the gods of the land that had been brought in since the exile began. The nation was profaning the name of God and His temple.

Idol worship is something that we can all fall into, it is when we value other things more than we value God.

In verse 11, Judah is described as the bridegroom and the daughter of a foreign god as the bride. Malachi is referring to a practice that whereby the Jewish men were divorcing their wives and marrying the wealthy non-Jewish inhabitants of the land. The Jewish men found this was the quickest way to restore their wealth in their homeland. This was strictly forbidden by God (see Deuteronomy 7:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 6:15-16).

The people of Israel were marrying idol worshippers, people outside of the faith. The problem with marrying someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, someone today who has not submitted himself or herself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is that they simply do not have the same worldview. A worldview is the lens by which we view everything that is happening in your life. A Christian worldview determines how we use our time, the places we go to, the way we spend our money and raise our children. The Christian worldview makes it difficult to be in unity with someone who does not share the same value system.

In Verses 13 and14, we see a picture of a man weeping and the groaning. This is a man who has divorced his wife and married a pagan woman for her wealth and God has judged him. The husband cannot understand why God is taking marriage so seriously as we see in verse 14.

A marriage is where both participants leave their past influences and begin a new life together. Jesus taught in Mark 10:6-9, that marriage is serious and that it is a covenant before God whereby both partners leave their past influences and begin a new life together. In our culture divorce is no longer viewed as the last resort, rather it is simply viewed as a way out of a difficult relationship. Celebrities have made a living out of marrying and divorcing each other simply for the media attention. And sadly, as marriage is treated with less significance the true casualties of marriage are the children and the next generations.

As Christians, we view marriage as a holy commitment, not simply between two people, but before Almighty God, who instituted marriage in the first place.

Finally, in verses 15 and 16 God issues a warning and a challenge. In the last sentence of verse 16, God says, “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless”

Walking the Christian life takes daily monitoring; in the same way, being faithful in marriage takes daily monitoring and attentiveness.

The reason God takes marriage so seriously is that it is designed by God primarily to display the relationship that Christ, the bridegroom has with his church. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul writes about the roles of a husband and a wife, but we get so tied up about wives submitting to their husbands that we don’t see the big picture that God is pointing to. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ in faith and love. Husbands are to give their lives for their wife as Christ who gave his life for the church. This passage is primarily about the glorious relationship between Christ and the church.

Marriage is so much more significant than what our culture teaches us. If you are married, remarried, about to be married or single, settle in your heart right now that marriage is a covenant before God, it is His institution that He chose to portray the relationship between Christ and the church.

Ultimately, we are weak in our faithfulness, but Jesus is the faithful one. The nation of Israel was easily seduced away from God, but Jesus is faithful. Even when we are unfaithful and value other things more than God, Jesus relentlessly pursues us as his bride. Jesus remained faithful to the point of death, giving his own precious blood for our sins.

God takes marriage seriously, commit today to pray for the marriages in your life.  

Lessons from the life of King David part 3 April 17, 2016

2 Samuel 6

King David 3 Title.2-01 Shortly after establishing his palace in Jerusalem, David decided to retrieve the Ark of the Lord and bring it to Jerusalem. The ark was the most sacred symbol that Israel had, it was the presence of God.

An illustration of the Ark of the Covenant(istock/thinkstock)

Amongst other items it contained the stone tablets of the law that Moses received on mt Sinai. It represented the promises and the blessing of God. The Ark had been separated from the tabernacle and the place of worship for 100 years, it had been captured by the Philistines, and after being moved around it ended up at a place called Kiriath-Jearim. ark-mapDavid had established Jerusalem as the political capital of the nation, but now he wanted it to be the religious capital, he would do this by building a tabernacle and setting the Ark of the Covenant in it on mt Zion.

In his eagerness to retrieve the ark of God, David made a big mistake and it cost young Uzzah his life. David did not ask God what he should do, he asked his military leaders and advisers. His actions were brash and impulsive and it had consequences.

God had given strict instructions for the moving of the Ark, it was to be carried by the priests by putting poles through the rings on the sides of the ark. David reasoned that the 10 miles to Jerusalem were too far to carry the ark so he had the ark put on a new cart. The oxen stumbled and young Uzzah reached out to stabilize it, but Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah and he died. This reaction by God offends us, it doesn’t seem fair. David was angry, but note the Bible doesn’t say that he was angry at God. After a time of reflection Verse 9 tells us that David was afraid of God (Proverbs 9:10).

He realized his mistake, and realized that he had acted out of his own desires and not according to the will of God. With our post-modern reasoning, we struggle to see why God would kill someone for attempting to save the ark from falling. But it serves as a reminder to us, just as it was a reminder to David, God is an all Holy God. He sets up boundaries for our own good. If we try to do things our own way, we are going to face disaster. Because God set the rules for how the ark is to be transported, if he did not punish Uzzah, He would not be true to himself (note Hebrews 12:28).

The Bible is our instruction manual. If we decide to do things our own way and try to bend the rules, we will suffer the consequences. Follow the plan, follow the map that God has for us, it is for our own good.

In fear David decides to leave the ark at the house of Obed Edom a Gittite. But after three months of blessing, David hears that Obed is getting blessed and he wants that for the Jerusalem. It is obvious in the three months of reflection that David has repented and done some research, because this time as we read in 1 Chronicles, he gathers 862 priests and Levites who have been consecrated before the Lord, rather than his army and he instructs them to carry the ark in the appropriate way. Notice their caution, they take 6 steps and stop, and when all seems good, David sacrifices a bull and a fattened calf. How different to the 1st attempt.

Then the party began. David took off his royal robe as king and put on a priestly garment. David dances before the Lord with all his might, the word used for dancing here only appears here in the Bible and describes a whirling or a spinning dancing. David must have literally been giddy with joy. He probably spun and stumbled, laughed and continued. He danced with total abandon, he was not concerned with public opinion, he was worshipping the Lord the holy God of Israel.

True worship comes out of a heart of humility. David humbled himself in the eyes of man in order to see God.

People look for an outward appearance but God looks at our hearts, what is your heart posture before the Lord?

As they brought the ark into Jerusalem David offered more sacrifices to God and then blessed everyone with cakes of raisins and dates, a loaf of bread and then sends them home so that they can celebrate together as families. This was a day to remember and David wanted to ensure that they told this story to each other at home around a meal.

David also goes to his home, and he is probably still dancing a bit, he is full of joy and excitement, but he is in for a shock. His wife is there to meet him at the door…..

Michal despises David. In her eyes, he is the enemy of her late father Saul. Theirs was not healthy marriage, David won her as a battle prize, even though Michal loved David initially, she was not a good partner for him.

As David grew in favor and fame in the land, Michal began to hate him. She did not have any understanding of his love for God and his worship. She wanted David to act like her father did, but David had the heart of a worshipper, he Loved God with all his heart and soul and all his strength.

David understood that he was king only because of God’s blessings. He was not going to allow pride a foothold in his life. He intentionally humbled himself in order to bring Glory to God.

But Michal didn’t understand, she despised David.

When true worship arises, it provokes. True worship provokes, because the observer is convicted of their own lack of worship. This is not about worship style or music style, this is about worship, true worship before an all holy God. Whenever someone has an encounter of the living God, and their lives are transformed, they get a glimpse of the Glory and beauty of the all Holy Creator, and their lives are radically changed. But, this leads to a lifestyle of worship. This lifestyle provokes their friends and family. It makes them uncomfortable because they know that they are supposed to worship God, but they are not willing to humble themselves before God. So what do you do when you don’t want to humble yourself? You act like Michal and try to bring the worshipper down, slander and criticize. True worship will always provoke.

We have the misconception that worship is only singing, but it is so much more than that. Worship is not entertainment, or a style of music or even a particular instrument. We don’t come to be entertained, we come to put God first.

True worship is a lifestyle. We worship God by placing Him first, by loving him with all our heart and soul and strength. We worship God by living sacrificially, by giving sacrificially, by not caring what other people think of us.

Let us live lives of worship that provoke others to want to know the reason for our joy and love.

True worship of God provokes, does your life provoke others to want to know Jesus?