Marriage 911 - Keep God’s Commands
SITS Prayer Cards! The Sherwood Baptist Church has done it again. Courageous – Movie Trailer (DVD) I want to wish every Dad – a Happy Father’s Day! Obviously, as the movie trailer stated, a good Dad plays a pivotal role in the life of a child. It takes courage to be a good Dad. I am so thankful to God for my Dad. He was a good Dad – a courageous man. He loved me – more importantly he loved God! Dads, you might receive a gift today. A tie, a gift card, a power drill – some kind of golf accessory! But the Bible says – you’ve already received a gift. Genesis 1:28 says, God blessed them – Adam and Eve – and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number…” The implication is that the increase is considered a blessing. I’ve received two gifts – that is two blessings – a daughter and a son. Now sometimes I’m tempted to think they are not a blessing – like when my daughter Jeanna was a baby and did not like to ride in the car. That made for some long days! This crying child is not a gift, but she is a gift. A precious gift. My son too! The Apostle Paul wants us to see that marriage is a gift too – maybe we just need our perspective tweaked a bit! Turn in your Bible today to 1st Corinthians 7. Do you need a Bible? We just started a series called Marriage 911. 911 is for emergencies only! Some marriages in this room are in trouble! You need to call out to God! “God, I need help. My spouse needs help!” The truth is Dads. One of the greatest gifts you will ever give your children is to love their mother! If your marriage is good, you’ll enthusiastically agree. If it’s not so good, you’ll be hard pressed to crack a smile. Either way… the Apostle Paul gives us Biblical principles in regards to loving your wife in this 7th chapter of 1st Corinthians!
The first five verses of this chapter Paul tells us to beware of Satan’s temptations! A huge temptation for a single person is to have sex but not be married. A huge temptation for a married person is become selfish – that is to not to have sex with your spouse. That takes us to verses 6 & 7. (Read) I want to read these verses again – this time from The Message! I'm not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.
 Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. I’m just curious. When was the last time any of us thought our current life situation (whether single or married) was a gift? “Greg, if my marriage is a gift, can I go back to the store and get my money back? I want an exchange!”
Maybe it’s time we do this: (Rethink marriage clip)
No matter what anyone says about marriage. God says it’s good or at least it was designed to be. But often marriage is less than it was created to be. Why? Verses 1-5 show us that Satan tempts us to be selfish! It goes something like this – I think about more about me than I do about my spouse. What do I want to do tonight? Where can I go this weekend? What money can I spend on myself? You watch the kids so I can be alone! Now a natural question to ask here is – can I ever look out for myself? Sure – but can I ask you? Does the HS of God direct your life? If he does – he will convict you when you are being selfish. The only question – will I listen to his prompt warning? Marriage also tends to suffer when we choose not to be content! Let’s examine verses 8-24, and believe it or not I want to start right in the middle. Find verse 17! The rule is this – when you accepted Christ what life situation did you find yourself in? Were you single, married or even a slave? Becoming a Christian does not alter that situation. Let me give you some specific examples. Go back to verse 8.
Paul refers to two groups of people. The “unmarried” and the “widowed.” He’s talking about people who are now single! Probably leaning more on the “by circumstance” side of being single. My spouse died – or my commitment to my spouse died. Now if you find yourself single today, don’t wish that you were married, be content! You might be sitting here right now thinking, “If I were married my life would be so much better! A wife would make all my dreams come true. A husband would be fantastic. Someone to talk to again and again and again – he would become my own personal Snuggie – with him I’ll have built in security!” Anyone can buy a Superman shirt – one with a big S on your chest. But that doesn’t make you Superman. Often our expectation is that our spouse will be just that. That’s the American dream, not God’s dream. Find verse 9. Have you ever wondered if there are any benefits to marriage? That’s next week’s message. One awesome wonderful reason to get married is that a couple can make love or express love to each and not feel guilty! If your loins are “burnin” all the time – it would be wise to get married. Paul said it, (it is better to marry than to burn with passion.) But please understand this – that’s ONE reason, but not the only reason! Being married involves commitment!
That takes us to Paul’s second group of people. Find verse 10. (10-11) I’m a little confused. Paul is addressing married people. And instead of building up the grand institution of marriage – he says – don’t divorce! If you are sitting right next to your husband or wife right now – would you lean into them and say – “I am committed to you!” Is it possible to be married, but wish that you weren’t? What was I thinking? Officials have finished the first manual called “Understanding women” – here it is! Man, I just don’t understand my wife! Do you know what I think? I think my life would be so much better if we divorced.
So many Christian people drew the same conclusion in Paul’s day! Do you remember where these people lived? In Corinth! Corinth was an immoral place to live. Have you heard of Ray Vanderlaan? His website – www.followtherabbi,com helps us better understand what these Christian people were experiencing. In the OT, the prominent false gods were Baal and Asherah! In the NT the names changed but the concepts stayed the same. Instead of Baal it was Zeus. Artemis and Aphrodite played the role of Asherah! Vanderlaan writes, “In Corinth alone, there were more than 1000 prostitutes in Aphrodite’s temple.”[i] So this is the normal lifestyle and along comes Paul with the Gospel message. Live for God. Trust Jesus Christ. Be holy - don’t live an immoral lifestyle. The trouble is – some spouses were obedient to the Gospel, but many others were not! It’s allot like this – you are married, but you partied allot before you became a Christian. You drank – got drunk – both husband and wife lived this way. Then one of you begins to follow God and your life/priorities change. The other person is confused and frustrated. So the natural thought is – just dump them! Paul says not so fast! Find verse 12. (Read 12-14)
If one person is a Christian you have a much better percentage of leading your spouse and children to Christ rather than no one following God! Look at verse 15. God hates divorce but divorce is not the unpardonable sin! God will permit divorce for legitimate reasons. There are just not many! Jesus tells that if your spouse chooses to commit adultery time and time again and is not repentant. You can divorce them. Paul tells us if your house has no peace! (Go back to verse 15) Your spouse hates your choice to follow God. I want nothing to do with your God. Let them go! Greg, enough talk about divorce. I want my marriage to be good. How can my marriage be good? Find verse 18. (18-19) Do you want your marriage to be good? Follow God’s commands! Which commands? Many websites will encourage you to have an affair. One states, “We’ve served 8.5 million people. We’re in 10 countries. There’s a book out called Affair! How to Manage every aspect of your extramarital relationship with passion, discretion and dignity! The cost is $19.95. But an affair will truly cost you much more. Chad Maxeiner said this to our elders last Wednesday morning, “The average American lies 23 times a day!” How many of those lies are directed to your spouse? If you can’t trust your spouse your marriage will not be good! Obeying God’s commands makes the difference. A man visits a friend one afternoon. His friend has a four-year-old daughter named Michelle. She tugged at his pants saying, "I got a new bicycle. Do you want to see it?" I said, “Sure, so off we went and there it was. A brand-new girl's bicycle. "Wow, Michelle! That's a beautiful bicycle. Can you ride it?" "Yeah, I can ride it," she said, but it's broke." I looked at it and asked, "What's wrong with it?" "I don't know," she shrugged, "but every time I ride it, it falls down!" It’s not the bike! Trusting God provides a new perspective! Find verse 20 - (20-23a). What was that price? The blood of Jesus on the cross! I am so grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross because I’ve broken many of God’s commands. We are all in the same boat! We desperately need God’s forgiveness! Erwin Lutzer has a book out called, Making the Best of a Bad Decision. He uses Adam and Eve as his example. They should have made a good decision in the best of circumstances, but they didn’t. What does God do? He goes looking for them and when he finds them they are wearing fig leaves. That’s not going to work, so God kills an animal and uses the hide of the animal to cover their shame. David said this in Psalm 32:1: Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Are your sins covered? God has come looking for you today. Don’t leave condemned. Leave forgiven!