“Get In Line to Fix Your Marriage!”
Turn with me this morning to Ephesians 5, as we continue on in our study of the book of Ephesians. Remember this is a book written to Christians at Ephesus,
which was the capital of where?
(Asia Minor - modern day Turkey)
Paul writes to encourage them, reminding them in 1:3 that
they have been blessed in the heavenly realm with what?
(Every Spiritual Blessing)
He goes through the first three chapters telling us about what these blessings are:
•we are predestined for salvation
•we are redeemed, being forgiven of our sins
•we are identified and sealed, kept secure by the Holy Spirit
•Paul prays for the believers to experience the power of God at work in their lives
•Paul reminds them that Jews and Gentiles together have become one body, the church
In chapters 1-3 Paul gives us teaching, reminding us what is true. In chapters 4-6, he gives us application, reminding us what we DO with what we know to be true. He reminds us that as Christians we are to “measure up” to the standard of Christ in every area of our lives.
•We are called to Unity, as believers we are to work together for the good of the church.
•We are called to Purity, we have a new way of thinking about how we live our lives.
•And we are called to Harmony, we are called to have a new way of relating in our interpersonal relationships: both in our families and in our working relationships.
Today we look in Ephesians 5:21-33, and we see what God has to say to us about our marriages. I’ve titled this message “Get in line to fix your marriage” - because that’s the problem and that’s the answer. The problem is this: people everywhere are struggling with their marriages, getting in line to end their marriage.
Sociologists David Popenoe and Dr. Barbara Defoe Whitehead have researched and summarized their findings: "Key social indicators suggest a substantial weakening of the institution of marriage. Americans have become less likely to marry. When they do marry, their marriages are less happy. And married couples face a high likelihood of divorce."
Today, nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Among those identified as born-again Christians, 27% have previously been divorced.
I say that simply to make this point. Couples everywhere are struggling in their marriages. If you are struggling in your marriage, join the club. All couples struggle. It’s natural, because marriages are made with two sinful, selfish individuals. People are lining up everywhere to get out of marriages that make them unhappy. But the answer is simple. It’s not getting OUT of an unhappy marriage, but it’s putting our marriages in line with what God says they should look like. The answer is to line up with what God says our marriages should look like.
If you went in to the hospital for a knee replacement surgery -- like Berniece Fidler just did -- but instead of a knee, the doctor put in a new hip -- maybe he got a discount from the orthopedic parts supplier -- you would sue that doctor for malpractice! A quick phone call to 1-800-CALL-SAM and you’d be on your way to an easy settlement. A new hip - no matter how nice it is -- can’t be used to fix a deteriorating knee.
But that’s what we as a people are doing. We try to fix our hurting marriages by watching Oprah or Jerry Springer. We take the advice of thrice divorced “marriage consultants” who can’t even keep their own marriages in line. We read Redbook or Cosmopolitan and try to follow their erotic suggestions to put some sizzle back in our love lives. But that’s just like putting a hip socket in for a knee. Or more realistically, it’s like trying to put a spark plug from your car engine into your body. It just doesn’t work.
What we need is to understand God’s design for our marriages and follow that. After all, marriage was his idea in the first place. In Genesis 2, we see that Adam lived in what appeared to be a perfect world. But even in this perfect world, God knew that Adam was missing something. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will create a helper suitable for Him.” God wanted a helper suitable for Adam. Adam was a perfect man in a perfect world, but it was no good, because he was alone. God knew that Adam needed a helper. And so he made Eve. He brought them together and Genesis 2 says, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.