Summary: Do Honor God we must honor our marraige in a God honoring way.

Honor Marriage

Ephesians 5:21-33

Great Expectations

Matthew Sullivan

Do we have any couples in the room who’ve been married for 50+ years? Even if your spouse is now deceased, go ahead and stand up if the two of you were married this long. Now, if you’ve been married 40 years or more, join the ones standing. If you’ve been married 30+ years, stand up. Wow! Let’s give all these folks a round of applause! These are the examples to follow, church.

“And it was good.” With these words God gave commentary over all of creation. That is until he created man and in Genesis 2:18 God says that “it is not good for man to be alone.” As a result God created woman and brought her to the man and performed the first marriage ceremony.

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “At the beginning the Creator made them male and female…Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate” (Matthew 19:4,6).

As a result the marriage institution is the institution that all other institutions come. The earliest education was done in the home, as mothers and fathers instructed their children to eat, walk, speak, work, and do many other things. From this basic and natural responsibility have come all formal centers of learning. The earliest health care was developed in the home. Then came hospitals, clinics, and hospices. The home was the earliest center of human government. So if marriage is allowed to decline then other institutions will decline as well. If you contribute to the decline you are sinning against God.

Walter Maier “…Throughout history red blotches of warning mark the final record of devastated nations that forgot the divine origin of marriage and holiness.”

Marriage is under assault. It is spiritual warfare. It is not just selfishness on the part of man. God invented it and the assault will be spiritual in nature.

This is why Paul’s discussion of marriage is where it is. In between the urgings of a spirit filled life and the discussion of the Christian Soldiers defense against Satan found in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The attack on marriage is coming from all over. No fault divorces and the availability of pornography not withstanding. We are me first people. We are pleasure oriented, materialistic, and we demand instant gratification. The world can take the blame for that. The Misuse of Television and internet can be blamed somewhat.

But what worries me more is the assault on marriage coming from within the church. As a Church we are adopting the worlds thinking of marriage and that is where Satan is the most deceptive. Many of the churches leaders have adopted the world’s view of marriage.

There is a list of respected Christian leaders who have left their wives, many for other women and are still leading as if nothing happened. We have encouraged divorce way too quickly. And treated it as if nothing happened.

There are now many writers who have stepped up to the plate lately to help win this battle. Many of them declare from the housetops that marriage is a holy institution. Mary Pride, Ed Wheat, Mike Mason, and others are telling us the way out of the divorce malaise back to happy, permanent, marriages is for a couple to openly acknowledge that marriage is an irrevocable covenant and is therefore, until “Death to us part.”

This is the way Paul approaches this in Ephesians. These Christians had been pagans not long before the writing and there are marriage problems among them as there is among us.

Now we turn our attention to today’s text. But first some background:

William Barclay: “No one reading this passage in the twentieth century can fully realize how great it is.”

Barclay notes that through the years a Christian view of marriage has come to be accepted. We fail to live up to it in the Western world; we do accept God’s standards for marriage as proper. However, when Paul wrote these verses that view of marriage is seen as radical.

The Christian Scriptures are written to three ancient cultures: Hebrew, Greek, and Roman. The Hebrew culture had the highest ideal of marriage. This is too be expected but by the time of the writing of the NT the Bible’s proper ideal of marriage had been undermined and virtually destroyed. At the time of Christ a Jewish woman was not a person but a thing. She had no legal rights and could be dismissed at will.

The two schools, shammai and Hillel disagreed on the interpretation of Dt 24:1 the chief divorce law in Israel. It was said that a man could divorce his wife if he found “something indecent about her” (NIV). Shammai said this was adultery only. Hillel said this meant anything that might displease her husband such as burning his dinner. This is a major difference. Both were recognized so you can imagine which one prevailed.

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