Summary: Series of marriage.
Celebrating Marriage #101 -- Pt 2
Introduction: The word courtship sounds pretty archaic by today's standards in a world filled with language like "one night stand" or "hooking up" and the very notion that "waiting until marriage" is the best option is laughed at in our culture. I'm going to tell you a "courtship" story that many of you are probably going to think is funny and very old-fashioned. At the first church I ever pastored there was an older couple name Gilmore and Ivy Adkisson. They related this story to me and I have never forgotten it. In the day when they were "courting" a date consisted of them walking behind a wagon with Ivy's parents in the rig and a lantern shining to light the way. Gilmore and Ivy would be allowed to talk to each other and at some point they would be allowed to hold hands. Gilmore never told how long it was before he got his first kiss from Ivy!
When you compare this courting ritual by today's standards you wonder if we are even in the same country. This morning I'm going to try to give some guidance that I trust will serve as a model for our relationships prior to marriage.
"Our Courtship Before Marriage"
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
I. Our Beliefs about Courtship
Remember one of the first things that I said in last week's message was that we all have a belief system, all of us, and your belief system comes into play in courtship rituals. What you believe determines how you behave and what you do in a given situation. So what you believe is important. Do you recall the principles that we stated at the end of the message last week? #1 one man and one woman for life; #2 purity before, during, and after courtship; #3 biblical separation, and a couple of other important beliefs. So with that being said lets dive off into the subject of courtship.
First, just a general observation about courtship; most people in our culture do not take this subject as seriously as they should despite the fact that every dating opportunity could potentially lead to marriage. Since the potential is always a possibility then we need to make certain that our approach to this subject is thoughtful and carefully considered.
a. The principle issue
Are you determined to operate on the basis of principle or preference; on the enlightenment we find in God's Word or on your emotions? Daniel was a young man when he "purposed in his heart," not to defile himself with the diet provided to him by a pagan King. Have you "nailed" some things down that you will or won't do while you are dating? If you wait till you are in the dating situation to decide you will more than likely make the wrong decision. Sampson is an example of someone who violates almost every rule and he pays a high price for doing so.
b. The purity issue
Nothing is more important to God that the issue of holiness and purity, nothing! If you are serious about pleasing God and glorifying Him in you decision making, then this tops the list of things you should consider. We are living in a culture that laughs and scoffs at the notion of purity. I want to share a quote from an article written by Reggie Osborne. He was reacting to what the schools in San Francisco are teaching students about "sexual consent." Students were asked to come up with a phrase that could be used when they were in a sexual encounter. They phrase they came up with was "you good?" For instance, at each step of each sexual encounter the boy would ask the question, "you good?" If the young woman replied yes, then he could advance to the next step and ask the question again. Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous this is? Here is what Mr. Osborne writes: