Summary: Summary of series on family...ends with marriage vow renewal service
9The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. 11Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples. 12For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. 13Be gracious to me, O LORD. See what I suffer from those who hate me; you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death, 14so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance. 15The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught. 16The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah 17The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. 18For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever. 19Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you. 20Put them in fear, O LORD; let the nations know that they are only human. Selahlll Psalms 9:9 - 20 (NRSVA)
Today we come to the end of our series on the home. We come to the time of a sacred commitment, and re-commitment. In a few moments our guest minister will lead us through a time of reaffirmation of marriage vows – the key to the household’s stronghold: the Christian home designed by God.
But first, let’s review where we’ve been up to now:
I. Marital Rocks and Hard Places
We began in week one with the up-front view of today’s reality – building a strong marriage is not a piece of cake! There’s no lack of challenge in relationships. Nevertheless, God designed marriage and home to be permanent arrangements for as long as we live. But today more than half of all contemporary marriages end in divorce.
First Corinthians 7 tells us that swallowing our pride is the chief building block of a good marriage. It is the kind of swallow that is done at the altar of your heart, where you realize you’re not God; you climb down from the throne and give Jesus your life.
II. Family Ties
In week two we looked at the marriage plan in Genesis. God said it was not good for Adam to be alone, so he built, and then brought Eve to him. Adam was made in God’s image; just as God desires relationship with us, we also have the desire for close relationship. This is why marriage is ordained of God; it is His natural way for us.
But we humans are good at missing that point. Do you remember the fellow who went to the doctor because he hurt all over? He said, “Fix me, Doc; everywhere I touch I hurt. When I touch my head it hurts; when I touch my side or my toe it hurts. It all hurts; Doc, I’m falling apart.” The Doc said, “Relax – your head side and foot are OK – you have a broken finger!” Contemporary culture looks at marriage that way; we miss God’s way but it’s not marriage that’s broken; it’s us!
III. Family Birthmark
In week three Psalm 1 showed us very clearly that God’s family members all have a birthmark. It comes from working on the Christian home place. The birthmark is a compass really – it’s all about charting our course through life with godly choices.
We learned that we must pattern our lives after what we see in godly homes, and from godly people. By making Biblical choices we see Christ grow bigger in us.
Do you recall Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia? In one of the books, Lucy returns to Narnia as an older child. She encounters Aslan the lion (Jesus) and remarks, “you’re so much bigger now.” Aslan tells her, “It’s because you’ve grown”.
The family birthmark is a sign that develops as Christ grows big in you. You almost don’t know it until you are faced with the same struggle with temptation you lost a year ago….and now it looks so much smaller. As Christ (the birthmark) grows in us, we grow stronger.
IV. Training Wheels
In week four we looked at the process, purpose and product of using the training wheels we find in Proverbs 22:6. The whole point is demonstration by the adults rather than lecture. Kids practice what they learn from us by observation rather than instruction.
You may recall the illustration of the Mom who was singing Gospel songs and hymns as she was cleaning. Her toddler was singing along in the next room. Mom began singing Andre’ Crouch’s “Soon and Very Soon We Are Going to See the King”. After repeating herself a few times she sensed the three year old was right with her…but it was a little different. So she stopped and listened; from the other room a budding opera star belted out, “Soon and very soon we are going to Burger King”. It’s a good thing to check up on what they’re learning at your knee!