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Summary: Today we face a very deliberate attack on the institution of marriage. This message not only defines marriage for the audience but also demonstrates through scripture why marriage may only be defined as ONE MAN-ONE WOMAN.

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ON STAR SERMON SERIES

DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE

Genesis 2:18-24 - ©Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2006)

Introduction: the Institution of Marriage is under Siege! Tragically, we have seen our society work to systematically re-define marriage. We desperately need guidance and we desperately need to turn to God’s word for direction.

Fifty years of the sexual revolution has led to an explosion of pornography, promiscuity, cohabitation, and divorce and all have weakened marriage. Yet now, powerful forces in our society want to change the very definition of marriage itself--in effect, defining marriage out of existence.

The History of Marriage Trouble in America

• The traditional idea that marriage is a lifelong commitment has been undermined by the divorce revolution. Today, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.

• The traditional idea that marriage is the only appropriate context for sexual relations has been undermined by the sexual revolution. Premarital sex, cohabitation, promiscuity, and infidelity all stretch traditional boundaries to the breaking point.

• Now, the most fundamental definition of marriage itself--as the union of one man and one woman--is being challenged by homosexuals who demand the right for same-sex couples to "marry."

Yet at the same time, social science research has uncovered a large and growing body of evidence that marriage has significant benefits for husbands and wives, and for their children. Put simply, families headed by married husbands and wives are:

• happier

• healthier

• more prosperous

Given the clear social benefits of marriage, and the threats now facing it, it is important to ask, what can we as the church do to protect marriage from being deconstructed, redefined, or simply rendered irrelevant

To answer that question, we must first address three fundamental questions regarding marriage…

I. WHY DO WE HAVE MARRIAGE?

Marriage is an institution created by God. That much is clear from Genesis 2:18-24:

“The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 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. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 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." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:18-24 (NIV)

BECAUSE IT WAS INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE ORIGINAL CREATION, IT IS CLEAR THAT GOD’S FUNDAMENTAL INTENTION FOR MARRIAGE APPLIES TO ALL HUMAN BEINGS. However, a look at the whole of Scripture reveals that marriage has special meanings for the people of God.

1. Theological Meanings of Marriage

a. Marriage Reflects the Nature of God

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity says that there is only one God, but that God exists as three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Father, Son, and Spirit are the same in that they all possess the same divine nature; yet they differ in roles and personality.

This combination of "sameness" and "difference" also characterizes humanity. Indeed, it may be this combination that reflects "the image of God" (Gen. 1:26).

In Genesis 2, Adam names the animals, but they are not "suitable" companions for him, because they are not the same as him--they are not human. To create a "suitable helper" for Adam, God takes a part of Adam’s body to fashion one the same as Adam--another human being. YET THE PERSON GOD CREATES IS ALSO DIFFERENT FROM ADAM--A WOMAN, NOT A MAN. The human race is incomplete without both male and female. Yet when they unite to become "one flesh" (Gen. 2:24), their oneness--despite their difference--reflects the oneness of God, despite the plurality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

b. Theological Symbolism of Marriage

i. Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the covenant of marriage serves as a metaphor for the relationship between God and the people of Israel.

The worship of other gods (idolatry) is viewed as the equivalent of adultery, with Israel as the unfaithful spouse. (see Jeremiah 3:6, 8)

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