A Loving Covenant
A. We have an Epidemic on our hands today. It is not a disease epidemic that medicine can cure. Nor is it an epidemic of pestilence or natural disasters.
The Epidemic that I am talking about today is the Break down of the Family!
Today: One Half all marriages end in Divorce; only about 13% of all kids live with both natural parents.
B. We have been talking about LOVE – God’s Love for you and me, everyone! God’s desire – command for us to not only experience His Lavishing Love but to Love others. Certainly, our LOVE should be most evident in our Marriages and families.
God has an Answer to the Epidemic and it begins with God’s People living their Marriages in a Loving Covenant – as God intended!
Loving Covenant = a God honoring binding agreement, or commitment with all the Love God intends!
C. Today, amongst us there are people at different stages in life and marriage:
- People, not married, seeking to be married but have not yet found that right man or woman.
- People who don’t want to be married and whom God has blessed with the gift of Celibacy.
- People who have formally been married but are now widowed or divorced.
- People are married but who are not happy in their marriage.
- People who are happily married and God is blessing your marriage.
D. Sociologists tell us that Marriage grew out of the need to domesticate rogue males. Religious ceremonies were invented so that wild males would stay long enough to raise the children whom they fathered.
Modernly people often approach marriage in similar fashion as a trap or some kind of “religious ceremony.”
But God wants us to Understand Marriage as a Loving Covenant between a Man and a Woman.
So what do we learn about this Loving Covenant? How can we make the most of our Marriages as God desires?
A. We need to see our Spouse as God’s Loving Gift.
Vs. 18 – God sees that Man is alone – and it is not good!
So God creates a woman from the man’s Rib and brings her to the man – VS. 22-23
You can see the love and Passion in the Man as he responds to God’s gift to him.
Action Steps: 1. Recall how your spouse is a Gift from God and He has brought you together. 2. Know that as God worked this out for Adam and Eve, He wants to work in your marriage as well. 3. Tell your spouse and treat him/her as a Gift from God.
B. We need to Follow God’s Loving Plan for the best Marriage.
God not only calls us to a Loving Covenant in Holy Matrimony but He gives us a Plan. Just like in His Loving Covenant He desires with us is more than just a call – He sets out the plan through Jesus Christ.
So God wants us to know and follow His Loving Plan for Marriage.
God’s Loving Plan = Vs.24
1. Leave – part of what this means to “leave father and mother” is that we GROW UP - ILL> Birds when their babies get to a certain age, nudge them out of the nest to fly on their own. It is time to take responsibility for yourself, so in marriage we must grow up and take responsibility. Leave also reflects those things that we might be committed to more than our Spouse. So we need to make our greatest commitment to our Spouse. When a person is more Committed to their parents or family heritage than their spouse, or their job, of their friends, or…. Than their spouse – their marriage will struggle and be hindered.
2. Be United or Cleave – this involves our choosing to invest ourselves completely with our spouse. It is choosing to spend time with him/her in a way that enhances the partnership rather than detracts from it. It is choosing to listen and share in a vulnerable way without rejection or put-downs. It is choosing to be joined together tightly over a lifetime. When one or both partners become emotionally distant or have bad or harsh communication the marriage will weaken and eventually dissipate.
3. Become one Flesh = this obviously refers to physical consummation of love between a man and woman in marriage. But it also refers to God working two very different people into One as they join in similar ideas, thoughts, experiences, life purposes, etc. This takes time, commitment, love and God working in a couple to make this happen. So when one or both of the partners in a marriage lose that Oneness from physical and emotional oneness, the marriage can be damaged.
One of the problems we face in marriages in our society today is that so many are reversing God’s order to the Plan: People today want to Be One in a physical sense without the Leaving (Growing UP in life and being responsible) and Be United (Committed to Joining together in some important non-physical ways). So we have so many in our society who quickly become physical in their relationship or live together without the commitment. Yet, this is not God’s way and often causes problems in so many marriages – it is why statistically speaking, those who live together before marriage or more likely to get divorced than those who don’t and get married.
Man’s wisdom says – try it out, make sure it will work. But it doesn’t. Remember – God’s Word – man’s wisdom is foolish to the wisdom of God. God’s wisdom is that He has a Loving Plan for the BEST and Happiest Marriage.
This plan of God is important as Jesus quotes it in Matthew 19 and so does Paul in Eph. 5.
Steps of Action: If you are not married yet and looking, seek to Follow God’s plan from the beginning. If you are married, then which part of God’s plan do you need to work on in your marriage? Leaving those commitments that take precedent over your spouse or growing up more? Choosing to invest yourself completely to your spouse? Becoming One – being more vulnerable emotionally, making more time for physical oneness?
C. YOU need to understand that your spouse is God’s loving Blessing for you. Vs. 25
Nakedness without Shame – this is so much more than just physical nakedness but really reflects real honesty, openness, energetic, joyful, enthusiastic and hopeful life as you share life together with your spouse!
Nakedness without shame is more a spiritual condition than it is a physical one. And so Scripture teaches us over and over again how we learn and grow more in our relationship with the Lord through our Spouses – 1Cor. 7 teaches us that even if we have an unbelieving spouse, we need to live our faith before him/her. Eph. 5 teaches us that especially for the husband we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church; gave himself up for her to make her holy and blameless before the Father.
So our Spouse should be a Blessing to us – we can live our lives without shame – b e free and grow in our relationship with the Lord. In God’s love as you marry the one God has sent truly sent to you, you will be blessed!
Action Step: If you are not married and seeking to be married are you looking for spouse who you can truly be blessed without shame before others and God? If you are married, are you such a spouse that you are a blessing to your wife/husband?
A. Today our society is experiencing an epidemic of broken and unhappy homes. The solution = We need to get back to God’s understanding and Plan for Marriage.
If you are one who has experienced the hurt and pain caused by a broken or unhappy home, I want you to know God cares, He loves you and He is there to heal.
If you are unmarried and looking to be married – get right from the beginning Understand God’s loving Plan for marriage and seek a spouse accordingly – you will be blessed.
If you are married and struggling, God wants to work in you His understanding and plan to bless you. He cares and is there for you!
The problem in society is growing as those in their 20’s and 30’s and those currently in their teens have seen and experienced so much pain from broken and unhappy homes that they are more accepting of alternative marriages of same sex and more apt to live together with someone instead of marriage or before.
B. WE, as God’s people, need to live blessed marriages by God for them to see and seek. So we need to …
1. Invest in our Marriages; take the action steps given here. Follow God’s plan. Do whatever it takes to make your marriage stronger and more healthy and fulfilling. People will often invest in their occupations by reading books, listening to tapes, getting better training – but they won’t do anything like that for their marriage.
2. Be Salt and Light with your marriage of God’s love and Blessing through a Loving Covenant of Marriage. There are so many who are looking for answers and want more of their marriage either now or when they get married – but need others to show them. Will you be that example – model of God’s loving Covenant to others?
C. God loves you (Period)! As you experience God’s love you must love others. If you don’t truly love your spouse as God desires, I believe you can’t truly Love others or God!