The paradigm for marriage.
On Sunday as we studied Mark 10:1-12, Pastor Andy reminded us that marriage was created by God to be heterosexual, monogamous, and permanent. Man and woman are biologically, anatomically and socially complimentary. A lifetime commitment between one man and one woman is God's good gift and design.
While we may feel that God's paradigm for marriage is under "assault" from a hostile culture, we should take heart that the true nature of marriage cannot be corrupted or redefined. God has woven marriage into the finished story of redemption. The Bible repeatedly paints the church of God as a bride, and God Himself, particularly Jesus, as the groom. (See, e.g., Isaiah 54:5; Ephesians 5:22-33.) The difference in God's design and roles for bride and groom will be on display forever in heaven, even after earthly marriage is no more. (Revelation 19:6-8; 21:2.)
Paul writes that this mystery of marriage between Christ and His church is profound. He is right. It is hard to understand fully right now. Yet, fortunately, we catch glimpses of it today when the Holy Spirit bears fruit in our marriages. Consider any marriage of believers whose lives you want to imitate. You probably find and are attracted to self-denying, sacrificial love between two otherwise selfish people. You probably feel encouraged when watching the team effort of two diverse people together bearing burdens and building a community or family together. Your heart is warmed by the security of fidelity and commitment between the two spouses. These earthly manifestations of marriage done imperfectly but for God's glory are just a foretaste of the glory to be revealed in our marriage to Jesus our bridegroom.
- How did God fulfill the role of a good husband to his people Israel?
-How did Jesus demonstrate the role of the ideal, sacrificial, servant-hearted husband in his ministry to his disciples and others?
- In what ways do our marriages need to be transformed to be like what God designed?
- Are there any false ideas about marriage that we've picked up from the culture around us that we need to repent of?
Father, thank you for designing the good gift of marriage. We pray that whether we are now married, divorced, or single, that we would all esteem marriage highly and hold it in honor. Help us to understand your purposes for marriage. Give us faith to see our role as the bride who you came from heaven to redeem for yourself. Please make the marriages in our church family a demonstration of your holiness and goodness so that you would be glorified. In Jesus's name, amen.
"Praise The King"
The problem of marriage.
Pastor Andy pointed out in this week’s sermon that the central problem in marriage—as in all our relationships—is selfishness. When we first fall in love with the person of our dreams, we like to think that the attention we lavish on that person, the hours spent talking, and the fancy dates are all about that wonderful other rather than ourselves. But even in the earliest days of budding romance, a lover doesn’t need to look very deeply to discover a self-centered streak in the things he or she does to romance the object of their affection. And after we say “I do,” our self-centeredness becomes impossible for either of us to hide or ignore. Small matters such as who washes the dishes, who cooks and when, who changes the diaper next become symbolic battlegrounds for much larger contests over our conflicting senses of our right to personal satisfaction, happiness, and ease. What sorts of things annoy you about your spouse’s words or behaviors? Why? Do you sometimes leave a chore for your spouse just because you don’t feel like doing them now? What are some ways your relationship with your spouse have exposed features of your character that you wish you could keep out of view?
Marriage’s ability to expose our sinfulness is in fact one powerful way that it functions as a means of God’s grace in our lives. It reveals to us our need for Jesus, who sacrificed himself for us in his death on the cross. When we marry, we enter into one of God’s most powerful and demanding ways of exposing the residue of our old self-centeredness and re-forming us to become like Jesus. As Andy pointed out in his message, marriage demands mercy for, and sacrificial love from, both partners. Ephesians 5:22-33 tells us that as we submit to one another in respect and self-sacrificing love, our marriages become a picture to the world around us of the mysterious relationship of love between Jesus Christ and the Church. The transformation happens incrementally, one meal at a time, one diaper change at a time, one act at a time of setting aside our own wishes to serve our spouse in Jesus’s name.
What practical way can you think of today to show sacrificial love for your spouse?
When your spouse does something annoying or thoughtless, how can you show grace to him or her, even while addressing that matter in a loving way?
How can you pray for your spouse today?
Lord Jesus Christ, you displayed your glory by laying down your life for us in death on the Cross and making us new creatures through the New Birth. You have ordained our marriages to display your self-sacrificial love to one another and the world around us. We confess that we daily fall short of that purpose. We need your transforming grace. Fill us with your Holy Spirit of love, forgiveness, and service to our spouses. Make us sensitive to your leading today, as you call our attention to opportunities to serve each other in love.
"Lead Me To The Cross"