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07 - VII. Marriage and the family

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3 Aug, 2008 AM

Tree Of Life Wesleyan Church

Billings MT

VII. Marriage and the Family

Gen. 1:27-28; 2:818-24; Heb. 13:4; Eph. 5:23-32

                A five-year-old boy said to his friend, “My father can beat up your father.”  To which the other boy replied, “Well, so can my mother.”

                Albert S. Taylor said, “One percent of the child’s time is spent under the influence of the Sunday School; seven percent under the influence of the public school; and 92 % under the influence of the home.”  

                Most parents of problem children blame the school system and society for the children’s attitudes and behavior problems – but according to this – they should be looking at themselves.  A parent who does not attend church and does not see it as a priority in their lives is doing nothing but hurting themselves and their children.  God did not institute marriage and then tell us to leave the church and never seek Him again, but His intent was that a family would have God fearing parents, those that believed in the One and Only Supreme Being and who would  pass that on to their children.  Much of today’s problems come about because people do not involve God in their marriages – with that said, we are going to look at what the Wesleyan church believes when it comes to marriage and the family,  Article 7 – Marriage and the Family states:

                We believe that every person is created in the image of God, that human sexuality reflects that image in terms of intimate love, communication, fellowship, subordination of the self to the larger whole, and fulfillment.  God’s Word makes use of the marriage relationship as the supreme metaphor for His relationship with the covenant people and for revealing the truth that that relationship is of one God with one people.  Therefore God’s plan for human sexuality is that it is to be expressed only in a monogamous lifelong relationship between one man and one woman within the framework of marriage.  This is the only relationship which is divinely designed for the birth and rearing of children and is a covenant union made in the sight of God, taking priority over every other human relationship.  (Discipline)

                At the heart of this article of religion is the belief that every person is created in the image of God.  This is not something that we made up – like the rest of the articles of religion there are Scripture references that back this up and we are going to look at them.  Let’s start in Genesis chapter 1, verses 27 and 28. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

                We believe that every person is created in the image of God and that is what we are told in this passage – that God created us in His image, male and female He created them.  And then God went a step further and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number. . .”  This is very important because there are many people today who believe that God created Adam and Joe and told them to be fruitful and increase in number – or that He created Mary and Jane and told them the same thing – this passage tells us that God, the Supreme Creator, created a male and a female in His image.  I want to bring your attention to something here.  In the Hebrew, the words for male and female are very close and this may be the reason that some say its OK for same sex marriages and families – but in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew, the word for female is translated this way, “the one who suckles.”   This is not a word that is used for a male and it should prove even further that it was male and female that God wanted to be together as husband and wife – and He told THEM to be fruitful and increase in number.

                Now look at chapter 2, starting with verse 18.

                The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
(drop down to verse 20)  But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

                We live in a society where anything goes and we try to make it OK in our minds.  Many people live together and some even call themselves Christians, but what does this tell us here – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”  It does not say that they will come together and act like a family – because when we act, that means that it can go back to the way it was before.  It does not say that we can live together as long as it suits our needs or as long as its fun, and then we can call it quits – it says that we are to come together as husband and wife and become one flesh.

                We are created in the image of God – and when we stop and think about it, God does not jump from one thing to another, He does not sit and think to Himself – I will be Jim’s God as long as things are working out, but as soon as things start getting ruff, I’m going to go find someone else.  He is with us in the good times and in the bad times, that’s intimate love!  We are created in God’s image and “Our human sexuality reflects that image in terms of intimate love, communication, fellowship, subordination of the self to the larger whole, and fulfillment.” 

                When we talk about having a relationship with God we often use these same words.  We talk about how we have great love for Him and we enjoy the communication with Him and the fellowship we have with Him.  Sometimes we even say that because of our fellowship with Christ we are whole.  We are called upon to give up ourselves for the greater good of God’s kingdom – and we gladly do it.  Well, marriages are to be the same way.  I find that I’m happiest with my wife – we communicate and fellowship together.  She is my best friend, she has been with me in the good times and in the bad – and I will even subordinate myself to the larger whole of the family – with my wife, I have total fulfillment.  And that is what God wants for us.

                Continuing on in the article, “God’s Word makes use of the marriage relationship as the supreme metaphor for His relationship with His covenant people and for revealing the truth that that relationship is of one God with one people.”  In Eph. 5, starting with verse 23, we are told:

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

                This verse is so often misquoted or misinterpreted – many men want to use this with their wives telling them that they are the only ones that need to submit in a marriage – they fail to read all of it – men are to be like Christ, in that we are to be leaders in the home, we are to be the spiritual leaders – we are to love our wives the same way that Christ loved the church, and He loves it in such a way that He would never use the church for His own good, but for the good of Kingdom of God.  Men also need to be role models for our children – just as Christ should be our role model.  Children learn by watching us and imitating us, and if we are showing them that its OK to live together outside of marriage, that its OK to disregard the laws of God, that its OK to come to church only on special days and ignore it all the other times – then that’s how they’ll grow up.

                Did you also notice what it said in the article?  One God with one people – in other words, one husband with one wife – not multiple wives or husbands.  God did not change His mind because His chosen people kept disappointing Him – He remained faithful to them.  And in keeping with this thought of one God for one people, and one husband for one wife, article 7 continues with,

                “Therefore God’s plan for human sexuality is that it is to be expressed only in a monogamous lifelong relationship between one man and one woman within the framework of marriage.” 

                Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”  Not only will God judge the adulterer, but also the one who lives together, outside of the covenant of marriage.  This monogamous lifelong relationship between one man and woman – according to the last line in article seven – “Is the only relationship which is divinely designed for the birth and rearing of children and is a covenant union made in the sight of God, taking priority over every other human relationship.” 

                This covenant union of marriage is to take priority over every other human relationship – it does not take priority over our relationship with God, but with other human relationships.  There are husbands and wives who never spend any time together – they join in marriage, but the husband still wants and even demands his nights out with the guys – or will meet with the gang for hours while the wife waits at home – wives do the same thing – telling their husbands that they need to have a night out with the gals every week to get away from the kids – but we believe that marriage should take priority over every other human relationship – marriage should come first – everything we do should be done to honor God, then our spouses, and then our families – again, children learn from what they see – and if they see their dad’s and grand fathers, honoring their wives, they will grow up honoring their spouses.  There is a poem that goes,

        Before I married Maggie dear,

I was her pumpkin pie,

Her precious peach and honey boy,

The apple of her eye.

But after years of married life

This thought I pause to utter:

Those fancy names are now all gone,

I’m just her bread and butter.

                If you’re married, make it a priority in your life – don’t let it become just a ritual, keep in conforming to the standards that God has provided for us – put Him first – that doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard times, but it means that you, your spouse, and God can sure work it out.

30 June, 2002 AM

Miles City Wesleyan Church

Miles City Mt.

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