Summary: My original premise for this sermon was "strong Christian marriages are built upon the commitment the Christian has to their marriage" - but I don’t believe that anymore... find out why.
OPEN: In our series of building a G-rated home in an R-rated world, one of the things we need to realize is that much of what we’ve come to believe about marriage has come from those who teach an “R-rated” view of how married people ought to think. God’s view of marriage is far different than this world’s concept. There are several in our congregation this morning who are not presently married, and while this sermon doesn’t directly apply to you… there are things you can learn this morning that will help your friends and families in their marriages.
ILLUS: Many young couples get nervous during their wedding ceremony. Some will get so nervous they shake, others sweat, some will cry, others experience their ring finger swelling to the point where their partner can’t get the ring on their finger.
A preacher by the name of Tim Coop was performing a wedding ceremony some time ago and the young bride became nervous to the point where she got the giggles.
He was repeating the vows for her and got to the place where he says, “till death due us part” and the bride started laughing.
There was an awkward silence in the church.
They waited until she settled down. Then he said again, “Till death due us part.”
This time she said, “Till . . .” and burst out in the giggles again. The congregation began to giggle with her.
Tim tried a 3rd time and said to the Bride: “Till death due us part.” And she couldn’t get it out. She started laughing again.
Finally Tim leaned over to her and said: “Well, if you don’t want “til death do us part”, would you settle for a couple of years.”
APPLY: We’re going to focus today on one of the most significant cornerstones of a strong family: two people who have decided to make their marriage last til death does them part. A husband and wife who strive to make their marriage strong and lasting.
Now when I first began studying for this sermon, I began with a certain premise:
“Strong Christian families begin with a husband & wife who are committed to each other.”
And that seemed like a reasonable thing to teach.
So I went into my computer’s Bible program… and I looked up “commitment.” But I couldn’t find that word anywhere. The word “commitment” wasn’t in the KJV, the NIV, or the RSV… or any other version I researched.
So, I thought, I’ll just look up the word “Commit”. And when I typed that into the computer I found a whole slew of references. Most of them were to “commit sin” and to “commit adultery” – neither of which were things I’d want to teach you to do from this pulpit.
But then… I found two passages that caught my attention.
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Psalms 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
When I read those two passages I knew I had to change my premise. Because, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that:
A strong Christian marriage is NOT built upon the commitment two people have to each other.
A strong Christian marriage IS BUILT upon the commitment the husband/wife have to God.
ILLUS: Years ago I watched a counselor draw a chart on a piece of paper when he was talking to a couple who were having marital problems.
(on our overhead we had a graphic of a male and female standing at each side of the screen with an “arrow” line drawn between them – half the line was pointing to the male and half pointing toward the woman. The Line had an empty space in the middle where a lightning bolt split the line -indicated a break in this couple’s relationship).
That counselor explained that, when couples are dating they’re drawn together by of a number of factors:
1. physical attraction (they way look, they way they kiss)
2. common interests (music, movies, art)
3. but primarily they are drawn to each other because they make each other feel good about themselves. There’s a technical scientific term for this “feel good” attraction: it’s called the “warm fuzzies”.
But when this couple get married - over time and even in the best of marriages - a husband and wife can get to the point where they don’t "feel good" about each other anymore. They get irritated with one another. They begin to argue over all kinds of issues. They can begin to take each other for granted… or even misuse one another.