Summary: In this sermon, we explore the fact that God created marriage, therefore, marriage belongs to God. God's higher purpose for marriage is to proclaim the gospel. Much from this sermon comes from chapter 6 in David Platt’s book, Counter Culture.
A. Our sermon for today continues our series called Marriage Matters.
1. Last week, we discussed the fact that marriage ain’t easy.
2. We talked about some myths about marriage that can set us up for marriage failure.
3. Today, we want to explore the fact that marriage belongs to God.
4. I’m borrowing a lot of information for today’s sermon from chapter six in David Platt’s book, Counter Culture. The chapter title is: A Profound Mystery: The Gospel and Marriage.
5. I appreciate Jake Lougee for directing my attention to this resource.
B. One day, a psychiatrist visited a mental institution and interviewed a patient. “So, how did you end up here? What is the nature of your illness?” he asked.
1. The psychiatrist received the following reply…“Well, it all started when I got married. I married a widow with a grown daughter who then became my stepdaughter.”
2. “Then my dad came to visit us, fell in love with my lovely stepdaughter, and married her.”
3. “So my stepdaughter is now also my stepmother, but that also makes my wife my step-grandmother.”
4. “Soon, my wife and I had a son who was, of course, my daddy's brother-in-law since he is the half-brother of my stepdaughter, who is, my daddy's wife and my stepmother.”
5. “Now, since my new son is brother to my stepdaughter who is also my stepmother, he also became my uncle.”
6. The patient ended his explanation asking: “Now can you understand how I got put in this place?”
7. After staring blankly with a dizzy look on his face, the psychiatrist replied: “Now I think I’ve lost my mind as well!”
C. Marriage has always been a complicated matter, but it is getting even more and more complicated with the moral revolution that is taking place in our time.
1. For millennia, civilizations have defined marriage as an exclusive, permanent union between a man and a woman.
2. Two decades ago, politicians in our country voted across party lines to defend this definition of marriage in what was called the Defense of Marriage Act.
3. Yet in June of 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down key provisions of that Act, paving the way for the complete redefinition of marriage across our culture.
4. Presently, there are 37 States that have legalized same-sex marriage (only three by popular vote), and there are 13 States with laws outlawing same-sex marriage.
5. Presently, the Supreme Court is deliberating about whether same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the United States.
D. As if that 2013 Supreme Court ruling were not enough of a paradigm shift, the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy asserted that the men and women who had voted for the Defense of Marriage Act had acted with intent to harm.
1. The majority opinion painted supporters of marriage as it had been defined for millennia as “bigots” who sought to “demean, disparage, humiliate, and injure” same-sex couples.
2. In that sweeping decision, the Supreme Court of our country redefined “an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence-indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history” while at the same time labeling proponents of traditional marriage as “enemies of the human race.”
E. The court’s 2013 decision represents only one part of a much larger trend away from traditional marriage across our culture that has been taking place over many years.
1. Census figures continue to project that nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce.
2. Many men and women have turned to cohabitation rather than marriage and so the number of cohabitating couples has nearly quadrupled over the last 30 years.
3. We are seeing more and more singles postpone marriage, or put aside marriage altogether.
4. Statistics show that over the past forty years, the number of independent female households in the U.S. has grown by 65 percent, while the share of independent male households has skyrocketed by 120 percent. (Mark Regnerus, “The Case for Early Marriage,” Christianity Today, July 31, 2009)
F. All of these realities cause us to wonder…
1. Is marriage really that important in the first place? And what’s the problem with redefining it?
2. Are we really going to say it’s wrong for two men or two women to marry each other?
3. Isn’t it more wrong, or even hateful, to deny two men or two women the right to love one another like this?
4. In the words of Rob Bell, a “Christian” leader who advocates the redefinition of marriage, “God is pulling us all forward into a greater realization that we need more love…we need more people who are committed to each other. It’s not good for us to be alone. So this is a huge moment when I think lots of us are realizing the old way of seeing things doesn’t work.” (interview: Why Rob Bell Supports Gay Marriage, youtube.com/watch?v=-q0iDaW6BnE)