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Summary: Marriage is not an invention of man. It is God's creation. So it seems to me that our great need is to dust off the Instruction Book & find out what God has to say about His creation. (PowerPoints Available - #374)

MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request PP #374.)

TEXT: Genesis 2:18-25; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

A. This Friday will be Valentine’s Day, & for weeks now florists & candy makers have been reminding us of that, & urging us to show our love with gifts of flowers & chocolates. In fact, you can see all kinds of cute & novel signs urging us to buy “Sweets for your sweetheart” or to “Say ‘I Love You’ with flowers.”

ILL. Talking about signs, I'm told that if you go into some jewelry stores in Reno, Nevada, once known as the "wedding & divorce capitol of the nation," that you'll find signs prominently displayed that proclaim, "Wedding Rings for Rent."

Now I suppose most people who see that sign for the first time probably read it with amazement. Some may even think, "Hmm, that's an interesting idea. With so many marriages ending in divorce it really might be more practical to rent than to buy!"

ILL. On college campuses you’ll discover some who think that marriage itself is no longer practical. They ask, “Is it practical for us, when we’re so young, to pledge ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives?” And, "Is it right for us to impose a possible 50 year contract on each other at this point in our lives?"

B. Those are not new questions. There have always been those questioning the need for such commitments. The world has seen so many unhappy marriages, domestic conflicts & spiraling divorce rates. This is not unique to our time.

I'm almost surprised when I meet non-Christian couples who have a happy marriage because they’re bucking tremendous odds. Many in that category have experienced shipwreck of their marriages. In fact, nationwide nearly one-half of such marriages end in divorce.

ILL. But a study made about 50 years ago revealed that church going families where both husband & wife professed a strong personal faith in Christ, & who went to church together regularly, experienced only 1 divorce in every 55 marriages. It really was true that "Families who pray together, stay together."

However, I'm afraid that more recently some church going people have fallen in step with the world & now believe that marriage is not all that important. Some are packing their bags & going in different directions without any twinge of guilt, thinking that marriage is something you can try for a while, & then just leave if it doesn't seem to be working out.

C. Yet marriage is not an invention of man. It is God's creation. So it seems to me that our great need is to dust off the instruction book & find out what God has to say about His creation. In the 2nd chapter of Genesis we have what scholars call "A primary reference point."

This is the first place where the idea of marriage is mentioned in all of God's Word & we must understand what is said here before we can understand what is said in other passages that follow.

Before we go into that, I want to remind you that Genesis 1:31 says, "God saw all that He had made, & it was very good."

I. IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE

A. But in Genesis 2:18 we find that for the very first time God sees something that is not good. God looks at Adam & says, "It is not good for the man to be alone." In the Hebrew language He is literally saying "Aloneness is not good."

Now stop there for a moment. Here is the scene. God has created Adam & breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And Adam is working in the Garden of Eden, for God has given him an assignment.

God said, "Adam, I want you to name all the animals of the field, the birds of the air, & the fish of the sea."

So Adam is busy naming animals & fish & birds. And as he does, he sees Mr. & Mrs. Robin build their nest, & Mr. & Mrs. Kangaroo settling down for the night, & fish spawning in the lake. But Adam himself is alone.

God looks at that & says, "It is not good." You see, loneliness can be a pain you feel, a knot deep inside your stomach that keeps eating away. I'm not talking about just being alone. I'm talking about loneliness, & it hurts. You can be in the midst of hundreds of people & be very lonely. Adam was lonely.

ILL. Now, I’ve officiated a lot of weddings, & one of my most enjoyable weddings was that of two 75-year-olds. They had first met when they were in grade school. And in both Jr. High & High School there had been a little attraction for each other & a little dating. But then they had gone their separate ways.

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