Sermons

Summary: The challenge of building a strong marriage in a world increasingly opposed to godly marriage.

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“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

‘This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.’

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” [1]

There are two very practical and human views of the creation of man and woman. One is the man’s view; the other is the woman’s view. Are you ready? The woman’s view of creation is first. Woman’s view says that God made the man, looked at him, and then He said, “I can do better than that.” So, He made the woman.

The man’s view states that God made the beasts and man, and then He rested. After a while, God created woman. Neither beast nor man has rested since.

Frankly, I relate jokes such as these with a degree of trepidation, because marriage is held in increasingly low esteem today; and even telling a joke can possibly be used to disparage commitment of a man to a woman and of a woman to a man. There are a great number of jokes illustrating the war between the sexes. I wonder if the humour directed at marriage actually masks a deep dissatisfaction, a gnawing resentment we moderns feel at the imposition of what we construe as a hopelessly outmoded institution.

Marriage is falling out of fashion; it is not unusual for people in their thirties and forties to have been in multiple relationships—relationships and not marriages. Our youth are sexually experienced at increasingly earlier ages. Gratuitous teenage sexual activity has become so commonplace that though we may still be disturbed, we are no longer shocked at reports of twelve-year-old girls having babies. One news article a few years back stated that one in five middle school students have engaged in sex. [2] The expectation that a bride—or that a groom—will be a virgin on their wedding night is increasingly remote. Despite our contention that the Bible is authoritative for faith and practise, some studies suggest that professing Christians may not be faring that much better than are outsiders.

I fear that defenders of marriage have already been defeated. Whenever we are compelled to define a social institution as well-established as marriage, that institution is ridiculed by the very fact that it requires definition. Nevertheless, I am compelled to define marriage because of the insistence by social and judicial activists that it is proper—and even desirable—to speak of same sex unions as marriage.

The ascendancy of modern feminism exposed a long-standing tension between the sexes that had long simmered just below the surface. It is not merely that contemporary social currents threaten the institution of marriage, but it is apparent that the present social condition finds its roots in human discontent and in the struggle for supremacy between the sexes. Nowhere is this struggle more evident than in the marriage relationship.

Unfortunately, men have sometimes abused their responsibility as husbands and even their responsibility as men. If history provides an accurate gauge, societies often conspired to ensure that women were treated as chattel—some still do treat women as chattel! As a result, whether consciously or unconsciously, men have at times treated women as inferior to themselves and acted as though the opinions of their wives and daughters were of no value. Men have assumed at various times in history that they had the right to act like boars when it came to gender relations. I am not saying that all men at all times adopted such attitudes, but it is apparent that such attitudes were often tolerated in society. Attitudes such as these are still tolerated in some religious communities and within a surprising number of cultures in this day.

Women, likewise, often considered themselves superior to men even as they chafed under what seemed at times to be an unjust domination. In reaction to perceived injustice, contemporary feminism has evolved until it is less an affirmation of women’s social equality then it is raw male bashing. For the moment, the pendulum has swung to an extreme and the most oppressed group in western society may just be white males. While feminists and feminised males complain about a political, and even an ecclesiastical, patriarchy, males are in danger whenever a woman becomes angered. An example of where the craziness is moving was recently suggested in my reading.

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