Summary: THis message will help us to think critically about marriage- why marriage is to be between one woman and one man, for a lifetime. As society’s definitions change, the Christian idea of marriage needs to be more definite than ever.
“Mary and Joseph and the Case for Marriage” Matthew 1:18-25
One of my favorite radio programs, when I get the chance to listen to it, is the Prairie Home Companion, In one episode Garrison Keillor tells the fanciful tale of John Tollefson. John leaves Minnesota, moves to New York, and makes a life for himself far from Lake Wobegon. One day John Tollefson calls home and tells his parents about something his girlfriend had said: "There’s no such thing as a successful marriage. There are marriages that give up, and marriages that keep on trying; that’s the only difference."
The question I pose to you today is not one I pose lightly. Its one I have had on my mind now for quite some time- What is Marriage?
In reflecting about the Biblical account of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus there is a message for all of us here about what marriage is and about the morality of what we are doing in our society today. The relationship of Mary and Joseph teaches us about what God has defined marriage to be. Its time we think critically about these issues because we are facing them, and increasingly we have less and less to say about it because by and large we are taking ourselves out of the picture. And if we do have a response its usually throwing up our shoulders and saying we don’t have a definite answer on anything. Meanwhile the church stands by and watches all this happen feeling it doesn’t have anything meaningful to say to a world that already perceives us as anything but relevant. Its because we should have spoken up sooner. It answers the question about why did God send His Son to a man and woman? Its says something to us about the reason and necessity for marriage. .The marriage of Mary and Joseph and their understanding of it and family life upholds the standard that God expects. Marriage needs to be between a man and a woman. Marriage is to be a commitment. And Marriage where ever laws are in place to establish it, needs to be legal.
I. Marriage- One Man, One Woman.
We live in a society that tries to paint the picture of marriage and family in broad strokes. Indeed I don’t really think our society even knows what the picture is going to look like when its finished. It has certainly rejected the model God has given us. So without a model to go by, its going to look like one of those wild, impressionistic post-modern pieces of artwork. It has really clouded what we thought we understood marriage to be now with almost any combination of people living together, not living together, children, no children, related, unrelated, opposite sex, now even same sex. Based on a thorough study of God’s word, the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message defines the family as the ’foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption." I doubt that will make any difference to Hollywood, or to the Supreme Court. It may not even make much of a difference to you. But I believe it does make a difference to God, and it ought to make a difference to us. It made a difference, I believe, to the earthly parents of Jesus.
Why did God place His one and only son, the baby Jesus, in the care of a husband and wife? A man and a woman. True, Mary and Joseph at the point that the announcement was made were legally married but they were not living together as yet as husband and wife. They had not consummated the marriage yet. There were many reasons for this. The Jews would have their married partners to live apart initially to build the commitment and love relationship between them first. They prepared themselves financially, emotionally to manage the stresses of bringing two distinct persons into one. Joseph was building up the money to establish his home through his trade. Mary was learning what it meant to be a wife and a mother. We also know that people didn’t date then as they do today. Marriages were more often than not arranged as a partnership between families which is another reason why they did not live together initially, so that they would learn to love and trust one another, and build the relationship of commitment. But aside from all the differences in the culture, the very first thing that ought to be said about what marriage means is that it is between one man and one woman- not two consensual partners, but a husband and a wife, one male and one female.
Josh McDowell said a few years ago that “when God created the first two people and placed them in the Garden, He created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. Still, all funny stuff aside- now we are not just advocating marriage between same sex partners, it is going on right now! Its reality, its not funny, it is happening, and its wrong. Its wrong because God said its wrong. Aside from God telling us that same-sex partners is an abomination, God tells us from the very beginning in 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. This is the way God designed and built man and woman- to be together, to express sexual intimacy, to work together and build a life together. That is interesting because when God made Adam and Eve, they did not have a father and a mother the way we have a father and a mother. They weren’t brought into the world that way, but this is the way God designed every human being after them to be. They were not born with certain inclinations for the same gender. Jesus alluded to the creative design of His Father when He said in Matthew 19: 4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” Well, okay so those people won’t listen to God, so who will they listen to?. Well, the very essence of our biological nature says that its wrong. By the simple way that God, in nature made us shows us that a man and a woman belong together. A man and a man and a woman and a woman were not built to express the kind of intimacy that a man and a woman can provide. Paul says this in Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: It is self evident in nature who needs to be together and who does not. But Paul goes on: for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” In same sex unions, how are we going to sustain any life for the future? How are we going to build a life for a future legacy? You can’t tell me that these same sex unions are committed to a life for the future? What it really comes down to is this- homosexuals are not coming together because they are building a life for the future: they are coming together out of lust for today.