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Summary: We had the privilege of having a couple renew their vows on the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. This is the message I delivered as part of that service.

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THE VALUE OF MARRIAGE

EPHESIANS 5:21-34

I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE VALUE OF MARRIAGE. THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN FACING ATTACK FROM MANY FRONTS IN RECENT YEARS. SOME HOLLYWOOD MARRIAGES ONLY LAST A FEW HOURS AND THEY GET ALL THE PUBLICITY, BUT THE ONES THAT HAVE LASTED SEVERAL YEARS ARE OUT OF THE PUBLIC EYE. I GUESS PEOPLE LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT TURMOIL.

I’VE KNOWN OF MARRIAGES THAT HAVE LASTED LESS THAN A YEAR, AND SOME COUPLES WHERE BREAK-UPS HAVE OCCURRED AFTER MORE THAN 20 YEARS. PRESENTLY THE DIVORCE RATE IS AT APPROXIMATELY 50%, AND WITH THE SECULARIZATION OF SOCIETY WILL GO HIGHER, SHOULD PEOPLE CHOOSE TO MARRY AT ALL. ALSO SIGNIFICANT IS THAT THE PERCENTAGE OF DIVORCE AMONG “CHRISTIANS” IS JUST AS HIGH AS WITH NON-CHRISTIANS.

I TOLD YOU THESE THINGS TO INDICATE TO YOU HOW IMPORTANT AND SIGNIFICANT THE SERVICE IS THAT WE ARE HOLDING TODAY. WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS LOOKING FOR HOPE AND GOOD NEWS TODAY, BUT NON-CHRISTIANS ARE SEARCHING THE ONLY RESOURCES THEY KNOW OF.

TODAY WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE WHAT IS RIGHT AND OF VALUE IN MARRIAGE TODAY. THIS IS NOT A SERVICE ABOUT JACK AND VELMA, EVEN THOUGH THEY WILL BE THE MAIN PARTICIPANTS. THIS IS A SERVICE ABOUT CELEBRATING A TRADITIONAL, CHRIST-CENTERED INSTITUTION THAT JACK AND VELMA ENTERED INTO 50 YEARS AGO.

I WAS REMINDED OF THE WORDS OF RUTH GRAHAM WHEN ASKED ABOUT HER LONG MARRIAGE TO BILLY. SHE REPLIED THAT IT WAS A LIFELONG COMMITMENT. SHE SAID SHE HAD NEVER CONSIDERED DIVORCE, MURDER YES, DIVORCE NO.

THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP, NEXT TO OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, AND HIGHLY VALUED RELATIONSHIP THAT WE WILL EVER ENTER INTO. THE LATE REV.DR. PETER MARSHALL DESCRIBED MARRIAGE AS “THE HALLS OF HIGHEST HUMAN HAPPINESS.” JACK AND VELMA’S RENEWAL IS A PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATION OF THIS.

A TRUE CHRIST-CENTERED MARRIAGE HAS ONE GOAL AND ONE PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF THAT GOAL. THE PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE GOAL IS FOUND IN V. 31, “THAT THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE BODY.”

PAUL WAS PROBABLY THINKING ABOUT GENESIS 2:24-25 WHEN HE SAID THIS, AND WHILE THE MEANING IN GENESIS IS THOUGHT TO BE PRIMARILY SEXUAL, I BELIEVE PAUL USES IT HERE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS. OVER THE YEARS MARRIED COUPLES CAN TELL WHAT THE OTHER IS THINKING JUST BY THE NOD OF THE HEAD OR A LOOK.

LESLIE IS SHOCKED AT TIMES WHEN WE SAY THE SAME THING AT THE SAME TIME OVER THE SAME ISSUE. I TELL HER I THINK SHE IS BLESSED TO BE THINKING MORE AND MORE LIKE ME. SHE SIMPLY RESPONDS THAT “IT’S SCARY, VERY VERY SCARY.”

SADLY, STUDIES HAVE SHOWN, AND INDEED WE HAVE WITNESSES THIS FROM FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION, THAT ONE PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF A LONG AND CLOSE RELATIONSHIP, IS THAT WHEN ONE SPOUCE DIES, THE OTHER SPOUCE WILL PASS AWAY SOON AFTER.

IF THE EXPRESSION OF THE GOAL OF CHRIST-CENTERED MARRIAGE IS A “ONENESS” EXPRESSED BY THE COUPLE, THEN WE MUST NO2W AKS THE QUESTION, “WHAT IS THE GOAL OF MARRIAGE?”

THE GOAL OF A CHRIST-CENTERED BIBLICAL MARRIAGE IS FOUND NEAR THE END OF THE PASSAGE, AND IT HELPS TO BRING THE SHOLE PASSAGE TOGETHER.


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