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Summary: Marriage is a sacred institution.

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Just a piece of paper-yeah, right!

Genesis 2:24

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:

and they shall be one flesh."

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times from opponents of marriage-its

just a piece of paper. To that I say, "Yeah, right!" I've never believed that those who

say, "it is just a piece of paper," believe what they are saying. If it is "just a piece of

paper," what are they afraid of?

For many, marriage vows are unimportant. A study cited in a recent edition of Time

Magazine indicates that cohabitation before marriage is on the rise, up from 10% in

1960 to 50% 1998. (From FreshIllustrations

http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Why would 50% of Americans choose living together without the benefit of

marriage vows? Maybe its because of the cultural climate. Some people don't seem

to take their marriage vows that seriously anymore.

Recently, network television made a mockery of marriage when they asked the

question, "Who wants to marry a millionaire?" and turned a sacred institution into a

for profit game show. Though I didn't see the show, I did see a news report about

it. Things didn't turn out so well for the couple, but really, wouldn't we have been

surprised if it did?

A couple of years ago, I read a news report about a groom that stabbed his wife to

death just hours after exchanging their marriage vows. What was the argument

about that led to murder? Apparently, Louis Deleg, the groom was jealous of an

acquaintance of his bride, so he stabbed his bride, Tina Entwistle to death. Those at

the wedding reception tried to intervene, but to no avail. (From FreshIllustrations

http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

God's purpose for marriage is in startling contrast to the majority view of our

culture. He intended for the marriage relationship to be an intimate, permanent

union. God created woman with marriage in mind. Our text says, "And Adam said,

This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man. [24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and

his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". (Genesis

2:23-24).

In the creation narrative, God looked out over His creation and said the same thing

about every thing he created, "it is good." He did not say something wasn't good

until He turned His attention to Adam. Look at Genesis 2:18 "Then the Lord God

said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for

him."

God's design is for a man and woman to enter into a permanent, intimate

relationship with one another. A relationship like Eddie and Mary enjoy. Let me

read you a letter that Eddie wrote to Ann Landers:

Dear Ann Landers:

On Aug. 14, 1945, the war ended in the South Pacific. That was the day I met the

most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world-my wife. There was a celebration

downtown, and I was kissing whoever came along. Then, I kissed Mary. That kiss

was special, and I immediately put her name and phone number on a handy piece of

paper-a policeman's traffic ticket, which I put in my wallet.

One day, as I lounged in my barracks, I opened my wallet, and out fell that ticket

with Mary's name on it. I wrote her a letter and the rest is history.

We have been married for 50 years and have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Now, my Mary, my beautiful rose, is wilting. She has Alzheimer's disease, and I am

helpless to do anything about it. There are no letters to write, no courtship to win

her love, only wonderful memories. I hold her hand, serve her breakfast in bed, hug

her and try to hold on. How long this rose will continue to bloom only God knows.

Seeing this disease rob me of this wonderful person is hard, but I am grateful that I

have always told Mary how much I loved her. I will never abandon her. She will be

with me always until "death do us part."

(From FreshIllustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

And a relationship like Jimmy & Barbara enjoy. When Jimmy slipped into a coma

after World War II, the doctors told Barbara to get on with her life, Jimmy would

never recover. She wouldn't listen. Determined, she found a way to support her

family, serve her Lord at her church and fulfill her vows. She refused to treat her

vows as mere words and dispose of her ill husband and her commitment, and by the

power of God, Jimmy was healed. They stood in front of me a few years ago on the

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