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A Love That Endures

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Title: A Love That Endures

Theme: Essential Elements for Marriage

Series: Until Death Do We part

Marriage is God’s idea not man’s

I want to share with you something that is no big revelation, but a simple truth that should always be in the fore thought of our minds, “The world has changed, and it is going to keep changing.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving) While change is certain, the marriage that thrives in uncertain times has a man and wife who set their spiritual hearts on the unchanging truths found in God’s Word.

These truths are: One: the heart of humanity has not changed. Two: the Lord’s will for marriage hasn’t changed. Three: the marriage dedicated to Jesus Christ enjoys God’s faithfulness and compassions. Four: God’s truths revealed in the Word of God will always remain unchanged.

A truth worth grasping on this special occasion, the wedding day of _______________________ and __________________, is that marriage is God’s idea not man’s. The Bible holds a powerful truth written by Moses, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:24-25) Regarding the Christian marriage the Apostle Paul quoted this passage of Scripture in his exhortation to husbands and wives in his letter to the church in Ephesus. (Ephesians 5:31) Jesus said during His teaching on marriage, "Haven't you read, …that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female.’ …`For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-5)

These very words should draw all of us to a heart desire to be in prayer for this wonderful couple as they choose to obey the Lord’s command and make a public profession of their marriage covenant (Malachi 2:14) for one another which is to last “Till Death Do They Part.” Let us Pray!

I would propose to you, the world has changed and it is going to keep changing, but God never changes and the marriage that allows the Lord to protect it through the prayerful counsel of God’s Word has a couple who finds safety in the guidance of Jesus Christ. God’s protective and guiding hand is available to those who truly seek Him. Many have allowed the Lord to make Himself real in trials, temptations and hardships. Many have allowed their spiritual hearts to be opened to God’s protective hand, provision and unfailing love.

How can a man and woman achieve and enjoy all God intends for a couple to acquire in marriage, “Until Death Do They Part?” Just what are the essential elements of marriage and how do they build on one another?

True love that comes from God

A key truth to grasp for enjoying love until death do you part is to understand the love that comes from God is different from the world’s view of love. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails or [ends, ESV].” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

The Greek language, the original language of the New Testament uses four separate words that describe different kinds of human affection that are all translated as “love” in English.

The Greek word “eros” is defined as a passionate emotion. It is physical sexual attraction, infatuation or lust for power, wealth or fame. It is also indicative of the strong feelings of patriotism. It is commonly selfishly motivated and arises from a person’s own inner desires. However, when this love is governed through “agape” love, “eros” love can be a blessing in marriage.

The Greek word “storge” is an affectionate emotion. This love is a naturally born emotion and is typical of the bonds between parent and child or the attraction between a loyal citizen and a trustworthy ruler. Both of these types of love are very unstable and are easily affected by present circumstances. They can wax cold and wane depending on the whim of the day.

It is important to note, sometimes these two loves focus on what is good and sometimes on what is bad. Unfortunately, these are the very two types of love that seem to be most widely sought after. Certainly most forms of media and music promote these forms of “love.” It is interesting to note that neither of these words is used for the word “love” in the New Testament. (Practical Word Studies in the New Testament)

A third type of love is “phileo.” This is the cherishing and endearing love of a husband and wife, family members for one another, or the love of life-long friends. It is a deeply tender love that holds someone or something ever so dear to the heart. This type of love is pleasing to the Lord, and can be enjoyed until death do we part, only if we surrender to the Lordship of Christ. When mankind tries to exercise this love in his own flesh it can fade away, however, when “phileo” love is intermixed and controlled by the enabling of the Holy Spirit for Christ’s sake it can be enjoyed until death do you part.

What is this love from God? There is a love from God that is available to those who truly surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

There is a truth worth grasping, a man and woman who are trusting in God and Jesus Christ in genuine faith may enjoy “agape” love. A marriage that has both couples seeking the Lord with all their hearts will find God faithful (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9) to give them an enduring love that will last a life time. Through a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ a man and woman may enjoy what Galatians 5:22 calls “the fruit of the Spirit,” one of them is “love” (ἀγάπη). This love only comes from God and is supernaturally placed within the child of God as he trusts in the Lord to live in a way that is in contrast to the flesh, the world views and the lies of the devil. (Practical Word Studies in the New Testament; Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words; The Daily Bible Study Series; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary)

“Agape” love is a self-less love that enables a married couple to show true love regardless of feelings – whether a person fills like expressing action of love or not. This love from God enables couples to show love to one another during personal offenses. This love enables couples to show love even when harsh words are spoken, when neglected or rejected. It enables couples to enjoy each others successes, victories, and open doors of opportunity. Agape love enables couples to work for the good of each other, for the good of their children and for the good of each other’s family. This love enables Christian couples to make sacrifices joyfully so those who are exposed to their lives can see it is Christ’s doing a work in and through them.

Through God’s love, married couples find completeness, a new fullness, a new satisfaction, and new contentment. It enables couples to make the right adjustments and sacrifices birthing forth a fuller, joyous, more satisfied life than any life in singleness could experience.

Man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife

Once a couple understands God’s love and allows Him to place His love within them, they can properly apply the four principles found in Genesis 2:24-25. The first principle is, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife…” (Genesis 2:24) This is God’s divine revelation to a couple who want to enjoy marriage, “Til Death Do they Part.” (The Daily Bible Studies; The New American Commentary; The New Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary; The Pulpit Commentary)

In order for a marriage to enjoy all that God wants a couple to experience there must be a separation. The significant of the language, “leave” is that marriage involves a new pledge to a spouse in which former familial commitments are superseded by commitments to each other.

Do not read more into this statement than the Lord intends. This does not mean that a couple abandons their parents nor are they not to listen to their parent’s wise counsel. While continuing to honor their parents, couples are to first honor one another.

For example: A retired father wants his son to go on a fishing trip, but the husband is needed home to tend to the needs of his wife. The husband’s first priority is towards his wife. This especially true if the wife has health needs and even if she has practical needs. However, if dad has a physical need the son is not to neglect the need of his father to meet any selfish wimps of the wife. The wife is not to spend all her time down at mom’s and neglect physical and practical needs of her husband. It means that dependence is to turn from dad and mom to one another. It means to leave the security of dad and mom’s check-book to trust in the Lord to provide through each other, while allowing parents to give gifts as the Lord leads them.

Be joined with his wife

Once a couple makes a Biblical separation, the element of “stability” can be applied. The Bible says, “…be joined with his wife.” (Genesis 2:24) “Joined” (dāḇaq) means to cling to and stay with. The application is something sticking together and when used in a marriage relationship it is a man clinging to his wife, no matter what life throws at them and she sticks with him, thus bringing stability.

While attending Junior High School, our wood working instructor, Mr. Klinn, was making a heavy duty work bench. He did not have large enough pieces of wood to make the legs that would be needed to withstand all the stress that would be applied to the table in the upcoming years. He took several pieces of wood and glued them together with wood glue. He put them in a vice and tightened it down. After the glue dried he took the four legs to the wood lave. It spun with tremendous speed and he took different tools and carved the image he desired, amazingly the wood pieces held together. He then attached the four legs to the bench and for 30 years this bench has withstood all sorts of pounding, moving and the different weights laid upon it.

A marriage that allows God, Christ and the Holy Spirit of Christ to join the couple together will withstand all the weight that is laid upon it. Many a Christian couple surrendered to the Lordship of Christ has enjoyed the stability of absolute devotion, absolute loyalty, uncompromising affection and love.

They shall become one flesh

A Biblically joined marriage enjoys what the Lord knows to be unity. Our key Scripture says, “…they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) “One” (eḥāḏ) “stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness.” “It has the idea of unity or integrity as when it designates one justice for all.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll; The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament)

The perfect Biblical presentation of this is found in Exodus 26:6, “You shall make fifty clasp of gold, and join the curtains to one another with the clasps so that the tabernacle will be a unit.” (Exodus 26:6) Several translations say, “couple the curtains one to the other with clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole one [unit].” (English Standard Version; King James)

Moses used the same Hebrew word for one (eḥāḏ) for the building of the tabernacle and for the bringing into the complex unity of man and woman for marriage. “This unity is diversity brought into harmony.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)

I especially appreciate an illustration from the book “Love Is A Choice.” What Moses was writing “is the picture that is seen in a figure-skating couple gliding across the ice. The man and woman intertwine their arms and legs, spinning and twirling in perfect synchronized movements with music playing. Their movements are individual, different, yet carefully executed so that you see them as one working unit. Then suddenly they part ways and move in opposite directions, spin in perfect unison, they come together again, creating a beautiful picture of two people living as “one-flesh.” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)

The Christian marriage surrendered to the Lordship of Christ as head of the relationship has individual movements which are different, yet present to an on looking world a picture of unity, a couple working in harmony for the glory of God who created the marriage covenant.

They felt no shame

A marriage unified in Christ enjoys true Biblical intimacy. Moses wrote, “…The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)

A Biblical marriage destroys thoughts of self-consciousness, they defeat shame, there is no fear of ridicule, no hang-ups, they can choose to avoid embarrassments and with Christ leading the marriage they miss the emotional hurts from abuse or poor choices.

Biblical intimacy avoids the world’s view which is sex driven to being victorious living through shared discussion, shared silence, shared history, yes, shared trials and heartaches, as well as shared joys.

The marriage couple who builds on the essentials in this message has a husband who knows his “responsibility is to love his Lord so deeply and accept his [God given call] so completely that he gives himself to his wife without conditions. A marriage surrendered to the Lordship of Christ has a wife who knows her “responsibility to respect her husband so much that she gives herself to her husband without hesitations [every part of her life].” (Marriage, From Surviving to Thriving, Swindoll)

God’s call for marriage is intimacy not familiarity. Gordon Lester wrote, “Familiarity and intimacy are not the same. Each has a value in life, certainly in married life, but one is no substitute for the other. If one is confused for the other, we have the basis for major human and marital unrest. In marriage, familiarity is inescapable. It happens almost imperceptibly. Intimacy is usually hard to come by. It must be deliberately sought and opened up and responded to. Familiarity brings a degree of ease and comfort. Intimacy excitingly searches for deep understanding and personal appreciation.”

Make it a point to avoid sin that destroys intimacy and surrender to God’s will for marriage so intimacy may be often experienced and enjoyed

Spoken Marriage Covenant

A marriage under the Lordship of Jesus Christ has a couple who has made the proper separations so they can put each other first. They have stability in their marriage and by praying through to unity, they enjoy true intimacy. They come to fully know, enjoy and express a truth written by the Apostle Paul, “Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV)

(Move the couple to get ready to speak forth their covenant promises)

______________ and _______________, before we come to the public proclaiming of your love covenant (Malachi 2:14) to each other, before the Lord, and before all who are here today. Henry Ford was asked to give some of his wisdom for marriage of which he said, “Stick to one model!”

______________ – ______________, stick to one model, stick to God’s plan for your marriage, stick to one another:

(Have the couple proclaim their covenant marriage promise!!! (Malachi 2:14)

____________ - will you have _________ to be your wife, to live together in the Holy Covenant of marriage (Malachi 2:14); to love her, comfort her, and keep her in sickness and in health - forsaking all others and being faithful to her as long as you both shall live? If so, please say, "I will."

____________ - will you have __________ to be your husband, to live together in the Holy Covenant of marriage (Malachi 2:14); to love him, comfort him, and keep him in sickness and in health - forsaking all others and being faithful to him as long as you both shall live? If so, please say, "I will."

You are exchanging rings as a symbol of your never ending love for one another. Please take and hold each other’s hand, look into each other’s eyes and repeat.

___________ - put the ring on _________ finger and repeat after me. "I _______ take you ________ - - to be my wedded wife - - and I give you this ring - - as a sign of the covenant promise - - I make to you and God today."

___________ - put the ring on _______ finger and repeat after me. "I _________ take you ________ - - to be my wedded husband - - and I give you this ring - - as a sign of the covenant promise - - I make to you and God today."

By the authority vested in me by God and the State of Nebraska, I pronounce you husband and wife. _________, you may now kiss your new bride.

Prayer of Blessing --

Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. _________________.

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