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Summary: This is the first sermon in a series of four on Christian marriage which deals with God’s Original Plan, God’s Plan Gets Sidetracked and What That Looks Like in Life - from an “exchanged life’ perspective.”

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Many Christian couples want to do the right thing. They try like crazy to have a Christian marriage. But they end up tired, discouraged and feeling like failures. Few of us are equipped to do the right job when it comes to creating the best relationship with our spouse. We se that there’s a big job to be done and we try to use the best relationship tools we know, but we end up getting off course in our Christian marriage.

Too often the work we try to do as Christian spouses is not the right job at all. We focus on “unspiritual” or wrong behavior then we set out to apply pressure, control behavior and do everything in our power to change our spouse. That’s the primary cause of exhaustion, depression and the hopeless sense of wanting to bail out of it all. When people spend their lives trying to transform their spouse the natural result is tiredness, discouragement and the desire to quit.

For that reason we need to see where we get off course in Christian marriage. We burn ourselves out doing a job we were never meant to do. We need to learn the difference between God’s job and ours. It’s God’s job to fix and change us as persons. It’s not our job to fix and change each other. We get off course in so many ways and we need to be able to isolate these. But first of all let’s examine:

I. God’s Original Plan For Christian Marriage

Genesis 1:26-28 tells of God’s creation of mankind in His own image and likeness. . . It took both male and female in order to truly represent the likeness of God. This is reiterated in Genesis 5:1-2. . . The “man” was in charge, but the man to whom responsibility was given to be fruitful, fill the earth, subdue it and rule over every living thing was both male and female. So this is the first aspect of God’s original plan for marriage: for males and females to be co-rulers, co-subduers.

Then God said, “It’s not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). It doesn’t say that God gave the man an assistant to order around. Beasts of the earth were to be ruled over, but this helper had to be ”suitable” for the man. She had to “correspond to” him, to be in partnership with him. So God caused Adam to fall asleep and then “fashioned” Eve (Genesis 2:22). God created Eve. The language conveys something carefully and intentionally arranged on the part of God. Adam was formed, but Eve was fashioned. No wonder women are so fashion minded!

Watch Adam’s response when he awoke and saw Eve. He took one look and said, “Whoa man!” He went on in verse 23 “This is bone of my bones . . . She shall be called Woman.” He didn’t say, “Great, now I have someone to go get me my stuff, do the chores I don’t feel like doing and cater to my every want.” No, in the Hebrew she was “a suitable helper,” a second self, a corresponding second self, a life saver, a completer, a compliment, one doing together with oneness, doing together what they couldn’t do separately. God’s purpose in Christian marriage is stated as the Word goes on in verse 24 “For this cause . . . and they shall become one flesh.”

This was God’s plan for marriage: entering into the process of becoming one flesh. It isn’t to “subdue” or to “rule over” each other, control each other or fix each other. Rather, God’s original plan for Christian marriage is a dependence upon God as we find our source of completion in Jesus Christ: two becoming one flesh, co-ruling, a relationship in the image of God. However, the reality is:

II. God’s Plan For Christian Marriage Gets Sidetracked

In one nightmarish moment everything for Adam, Eve and the rest of mankind changed. Once they were dependent upon God and in communion with God. Then came deception, rebellion, shame and hiding. What had been “one flesh” changed into disunity and blaming. Listen to how the story goes as we read Genesis 3:1-13.

Adam and Eve had lived in a relationship with God in which they were dependent upon Him as the only One who could give life and meet all their needs. Therefore, they needed to make no demands of each other. And looking only to Him they reflected His image, likeness and life. Then the serpent convinced them they could do a better job of being God than God. He convinced them to depend upon themselves instead of God as their source of life. That’s where God’s plan for them to be dependent upon Him got sidetracked. According to Satan’s thinking, control was better than dependence. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve cooperated with this plan and disobeyed God. They sinned in their attempt to be gods and meet their own needs. But oh how sad and unnecessary. They already had a God who was faithful, loving and eager to give them everything they could ever need, but they chose to sin.

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