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Summary: This is a sermon that confronts the increasingly difficult moral problem of cohabitating heterosexual adults in America.

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“The Problem with Playing House”

Provers 16:25 - ©Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2005)

Introduction: This past Monday I was confronted by a full page of articles from USA Today which the Lord used to prompt my spirit and address a growing problem we are facing in America. The title of the articles: “Wedding Bells Aren’t Ringing” and “Cohabitation Is Replacing Dating in America.” - USE PICS

As I read those articles I was confronted with this quote: “Few ministers have the courage to risk offending these people. Pastors are afraid that if they preach on cohabitation, many people will get mad and that some will hit the exits.” Scott Stanley: Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver.

Michael McManus, president of The Marriage Savers network said his organization is active in 163 cities and in 39 states and, wherever he travels to speak he never sees more than one or two hands raised when he asks, “How many of you have ever heard a sermon on cohabitation?’ I am convinced most pastors simply do not know that 5 million unmarried Americans are living together.” Michael McManus: Marriage Savers: Helping Your Friends and Family Stay Married

With this in mind please look at today primary text:

Proverbs 16:25 (NIV)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

The literal translation is simple: In our lives there are times the enemy will bring before us a path that absolutely appears RIGHT. Tragically, the rightness is present only as a phantom, it is provided from the Enemy of your soul to deceive you; once you take this path and judge falsely you find you have gone astray. You will always take this path without regard to God and His word. Those who walk on this path follow their own opinions and are proud of their positions; obviously their positions are very important because it helps justify the fact they have chosen this destructive path. The bottom line is this: Once you choose this path you willfully chose to be estranged from God. In order to satisfy your fleshly security you choose a path that seems perfectly innocent, even justifiable and yet God’s word clearly states that you have put into motion the act of death. SOMETHING DIES when we willingly choose a path in direct opposition to God’s plan for our life. Make no mistake about it: It seems right but it’s dead wrong!

To illustrate the scope of this growing problem in America, listen to a few of the quotes from this week’s articles:

“Cohabitation is here to stay and I don’t think its good news; especially for the children. As our society shifts from marriage to cohabitation you have an increase in family instability!” Dr. David Popenoe, Rutgers Sociology professor and author of “The State of our Unions 2005.”

“In the USA, 8.1% of our coupled households are unmarried heterosexual partners.” USA Today (7-18-2005)

“Men and women who moved in together used to raise eyebrows. Living together out of wedlock, once considered shacking up or living in sin, has lost its stigma as cohabitation has now become mainstream. In some sense, cohabitation is replacing dating.” Cohabitation is Replacing Dating; USA Today; (7-18-2005)

“65% percent of altar-bound men and women live together before getting married. There has been a 700% increase in cohabitating heterosexual adults since 1970. It is time to look back and ask, ‘What are the effects of living together having upon marriage and relationships?” — Bride’s Magazine – Dr. Phil McGraw

“Today 10 million people are cohabitating with members of the opposite sex. The average age is 25-34.” U.S. CENSUS

One does not have to be a trained sociologist to know there is a growing problem in America involving couples simply living together out of wedlock. What at one time was considered unthinkable now appears our society is attempting to redefine cohabitation as an appropriate lifestyle.

Today, my desire is not to make you feel uncomfortable but to share with you TRUTH; an honest biblical response to this growing problem in our society. In this message you will hear the biblical truth and the consequences associated with cohabitation as it relates to adults, children, and to our society. Remember, our problems in our society will never go away simply because our culture has lowered the moral standards.

Let’s begin this study by examinging first, THE COHABITATION MYTHS…

I. THE COHABITATION MYTH (Prov. 16:25a)

“There is a way that seems right to a man…” (Prov. 16:25a)

Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines cohabitation as: “living together as husband and wife without being married.” Strangly Webster associates cohabitation with marriage and I call that defination a myth. Myth, according to Webster is: “A person or thing having only an imaginary existence.” Cohabitation is an imaginary marriage.

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