The Basis of a Biblical Marriage
Malachi 2:11-16 - Ephesians 5:21-33
INTRODUCTION: Often marriages are characterized like the couple that were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. When the festivities were over, the woman turned to her husband and said, "We've been miserable for 50 years. We've fought every day.
We've disagreed on nearly everything, and I am convinced that we can't keep going like this. I have made a commitment to pray that God will help us solve this problem. I'm praying that he will take one of us home. And when he answers my prayer, I'm going to live with my sister in Grand Rapids."
As humorous as this is....it has a ring of truth to it. Sometimes couples think the only way out is death...or divorce.
However, it does not have to be this way. Certainly this is not God's plan. Marriage should be a happy bonding of two people who commit themselves to living out their lives together in harmony....as one. The Cherokee marriage-ceremony is very expressive and reflects this biblical truth. The man and woman join hands over running water, to indicate that their lives are thenceforth to flow on together in one stream. God in His word the Bible explain to us that marriage is a commitment. A good and happy marriage is not an accident, nor automatic....it two people who chose to devote themselves to each other....in spite of knowing the others weaknesses and faults.
• This has to do with Judah's spiritual adultery. They were very religious outwardly, but were worshiping of false gods and disobeying God.
• The real issue the Lord is addressing was the breakdown of marriage in Judah.
• The seriousness of this sin is expressed in 11 and God says their actions were profaning the holiness of the Lord. Profaning meant they violated the honor of God and treated Him as common, defiling, polluting and desecrating themselves by not holding the marriage holy before the Lord. Marriage was instituted by God and it dishonors Him when we do not take marriage seriously. Further marriage is the basis and foundation of our families and of society...and to pollute it as they were doing was destroying God's chosen people. They were certainly no witness of God's holiness and righteousness.
• In verse 13 we read
"And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand."
The weeping and crying here is a combination of tears and crying of wives that had been left. But that was not all. It also refers to the false weeping and crying of crocodile tears of false repentance. False repentance meant they knew what they were doing was wrong, but did it anyway and all the while they outwardly they piously claimed they were following the Lord. That was a lie. You cannot deal with your spouse dispectfully, scornfully, treat them wrongly and be following the Lord. That is gross hypocrisy.
• Verse 14 - "Yet, ye say, Wherefore?" They denied there was a problem. Yet, God knew their hearts.
• When we think of breaking God's laws of marriage we generally think about separation, divorce and adultery. But there is more than these that breaks God's plan for a marriage. Yes, these are serious, but what are the failures that bring these about? A poor marriage, or a marriage in conflict is the result of some unbiblical action on the part of husband or wife or both.
2. It means to have no respect for the other person or consideration for them. Prime examples is when we are being unforgiving, caustic, cutting. We do that by being unrelenting, harsh, cruel, demanding, unkind,.... holding out against the other person.
3. We do that by our anger, bitterness, divisiveness, harshness, resentments, scorning, etc.
4. You would think that two people who marry each other should respect and show genuine love to the other person. For a Christian who does these things it shows a serious spiritual problem. It shows they are letting their carnal nature rule them and their actions. To be spiritual is to let the Holy Spirit have control as Ephesians 5:18 says and if He is in control we will be kind, respectful and show real love....not just respond in emotion.
2. In verse 3-8 God speaks of the command sins of the world and warns against them. Why? The believer as once a sinner lost in sin and followed these sins.
3. Verses 8-11 says, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
We are not only to turn from sin, but reprove them. That is the attitude of one who is spiritual and mature in the Lord.
4. The Lord continues saying in verse 16-20: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Can you see the contrast between living in the Spirit and living for self?
5. Note that in this context God addresses the relationship between husbands and wives. Ephesians 5:21-33. Can you see the point? Can you see how that in this context God is addressing the marriage responsibilities of each spouse?
Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
D. The love expressed in 1 Corinthians 13 also applies at home! We can readily see that this passages addresses other people.
Christ-like love is one of the most down-to-earth concepts I know of. The Apostle Paul brings it right down to the dust on our feet in his extremely practical description in chapter thirteen of 1 Corinthians.
• Love is kind! While patience is the lack of nasty reaction, kindness is a positive reaction. Kindness reaches out to help even when the other doesn't seem to merit it. God directs every man to be kind to his wife when she least of all deserves it, because that was when she would need it the most. Good advice as well as for women in regard to their husbands.
• Love does not envy! There is no mental uneasiness over the other's success – no sulking because our partner is experiencing something we were denied.
• Love does not boast, is not proud! It's tough to live with a proud person. Love doesn't say: "Don't you know who I am? I deserve better than this."
• Love is not rude! Too often we reserve our politeness for people outside the family. We think we have the liberty to treat harshly those who are close to us. Not so, says Paul.
• Love is not self-seeking! While we can expect to get something out of marriage, this sacrificial attitude should dominate us! We are not seeking our so called rights!
• Love is not easily angered! We would understand this better if it were translated "does not fly off the handle." Anger is not always wrong, but love doesn't lose control.
• Love keeps no record of wrongs! Keeping score and getting even is destructive. Peter says "love covers a multitude of sins." If you keep harboring ill feelings and ruminating on them, you'll produce enough "emotional upset" to make you suddenly explode like a broken furnace.
• Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth! Someone has said that you can tell when the honeymoon is over. "You are absolutely perfect!" is exchanged for "The problem is with you." Faultfinding is a damaging activity that love avoids.
• Love bears all things! Forbearance is the major ingredient in marriage not perfection . . . just as forgiveness and not obedience is the major factor in our relationship to God. We put up with each other as God puts up with us!
• Love always trusts! To doubt someone is unloving. Love trusts. To say to your partner, "I believe in you," "I trust you," is one of the more supportive things you can do for them.
• Love always hopes! Sometimes one of you will be despairing. Depression makes you see a black sky in every direction. Then your lover says, "there is hope -- the future is better than you think."
• Love always perseveres and never fails! It will always continue -- it is stable for His glory!
2. From marriage until we depart from this life we will disagree at times. It is more damaging when one is a controller and must have everything his way, or no way. Mark it down you will have conflicts and disagreements because we have a sin nature as well. (Gal. 5:16-18; 5:22-23; Rom. 7:18)
2. Put away childishness are any response that is not adult, but child-like. It is so easy to revert back to childish ways of getting back at our spouse. This is sinful, wrong, and damaging to both partners.
D. The Word of God tells us the best advice of all -- "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife; but every fool will be meddling." (Proverbs 20:3)
When you look at a braid of hair it appears to contain only two strands. But it is impossible to create a braid with only two strands. Herein lies the mystery: What looks like two strands requires a third. The third strand, though not immediately evident, keeps the strands tightly woven. In a Christian marriage, God's presence, like the third strand in a braid, holds husband and wife together."
2. Do not think that all this rests with your spouse. Many think, "Well, that is a great message for my wife or husband." Dear friend.....a God honoring marriage begins and depends on you. Even if one's partner turns their back on God, and refuses to love you....that does not negate your responsibility. Two people, both doing wrong....will always end in tragedy. If one does what is right...there is hope. And even if the marriage fells....if you did what was right....God will honor that.
3. No matter how bad things can get....there is strength in following the Lord and He will sustain us through whatever comes our way......good or bad.