Summary: The outline for this message is taken from Hal Seed’s reference to wedding rings in his 3rd sermon for the Fireproof Series. They are 1. round(no end) 2. Equally strong at all points 3. Costly. As God intended our marriages to be.
Love for a Lifetime
Fireproof Your Relationships: Sermon Three
Scripture: Matthew 19:3-12
A little boy asked his mother, “Marriage makes you have babies, doesn’t it, Mom?”
The mother reluctantly answered her son, “Well, not exactly. Just because you are married does not mean that you get pregnant.”
The boy pressed her, “Then how do you get pregnant?”
The mother, not at all enthusiastic to continue this discussion with her very young son, answered, “It’s kind of hard to explain.”
The boy paused and thought for a moment. Then he got real close to her, looked into her face, and with tenderness, said, “It’s okay Mom - you don’t really know how it works either, do you?”
For the last two weeks, we’ve been talking about how relationships work. Today we’re going to talk a little more specifically about the marriage relationship.
If you’re not married, I hope you will take good notes this morning, because what we’re going to learn will make a huge difference in any future marriage, should you decide to take that step of faith.
Most often, these days, wedding ceremonies include the exchange of rings. There are three aspects to those rings, that are most significant to marriage.
In the movie, Fireproof, Caleb and Catherine are starting down the road to divorce. Caleb explains to his friend, Michael that the marriage is probably over. To which Michael responds, “I’ve seen you run into a burning building to save people you don’t even know, but you’re going to let your own marriage burn to the ground.”
One time Jesus was asked about marriage, and he said: “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” That’s the warning given by every pastor at the conclusion of every wedding. By this point, the couple is beaming. They’re about to turn and face their parents and friends, as husband and wife, for the very first time. In just a minute, the music will swell, the people will clap, they’ll descend the stairs and live… happily ever after.
It’s at that moment I’m most tempted to say, “Stop, wait! Let me tell you what’s most likely to happen from here! Because reality is, while you marry for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, there’s going to be a lot more worse, poorer, and sickness than you expected. You’ll have better, richer and health, but not all the time.”
So let’s look at our scripture passage, and the symbolism of the wedding ring and see what we can learn about FIREPROOFING our marriages.
The first thing I notice about the wedding ring is that it’s round, which means it has no end. And that’s the nature of marriage.
1. It’s ROUND. It has NO END. (vss 5,6)
The Bible says that marriage is not to have an end. The man leaves his father and mother, is joined to his wife, and they become one.
In the movie, when Caleb and Michael are talking, Michael takes the salt and pepper shakers and glues them together despite Caleb’s protests. As different as salt and pepper are, you always see them together. Caleb was going to try to break the shakers apart but Michael stopped him - he said, “Don’t do it Caleb. You pull those apart now, you’ll break either one, or both of them.”
And that’s how it is when God glues us together in the covenant of marriage. In fact, in Genesis when the Bible says, “a man will cleave to his wife” that word cleave literally means, “glued together.” When something, or someone pulls that union apart, it breaks either one or both of them. That’s why sex is reserved for the marriage relationship. Sex is the closest physically that any two human beings can be. (We’ll talk more about that on Tuesday in our Bible Study.) But you pull apart what has become one flesh and you are going to have people entering into other relationships - different relationships, broken. Every time we have a sexual encounter with someone outside God’s ordained design, we leave a piece of us - a part of our soul remains, when we break apart that oneness. And if we don’t recognize that brokenness and allow the Lord to heal it and restore it to wholeness, then our hearts will become hard.
Verse 8, Jesus tells us that divorce was allowed because of hardness of heart, but that was not God’s original intention. God never wanted us to be broken and hard-hearted.
He never intended for that which he had joined together, to be torn apart. Remember, last week we mentioned how marriage is a reflection of Christ and his church. This beautiful mystery of the joining of a man and a woman in the marriage relationship is a tender, sacred act of worship which is a reflection of Christ and his bride, the church. When we, as believers, defile that relationship, we make a mockery of Christ and his church.