Summary: Suitable for Mother's Day. The greatest Institution – Marriage and the Family; the greatest Stewardship – a Child; the greatest construction – a Christian Home. We need to follow our makers instructions: Purity before marriage and faithfulness within marr

Three of Life's Greatest Blessings

Suggested Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:20 – 25; Exodus 2: 1– 10.

On this Mother's Day I want to share some thoughts about three of our world's greatest benefits.

The greatest Institution – Marriage & the Family.

The greatest Stewardship – a Child

The greatest Construction – a Christian home.

People of all persuasions recognize that the family is the basic unit of society. As goes the home, so goes the nation. A country is only as strong as the homes & families that make it up. Today, as never before in the history of this country, the home, marriage and the family are in serious trouble. Here in Nova Scotia, since 1968, when the laws were relaxed, there's been a tenfold increase in the number of divorces and broken homes. Some are even asking, can the family survive? Is marriage obsolete? Even though I don't want to dwell on the negative side, what is taking place in our world today offers great reasons for concern. Because history shows that no civilization has ever survived the disintegration of its home and family life.

This morning I do want to be sensitive to the needs of individuals. When Carol and I were married, 59 years ago, there were no cases of divorce in either of our families, for several generations. But now we have two nieces, two nephews and one son who have gone through painful divorces. So we know something about the heartaches and the hurts that need to be healed. We also have nine grandchildren and some of them are getting married and we wonder what kind of a world they are facing. In the USA it is estimated that the average length of a marriage is only 9.4 years. In almost every family today there are those who can identify with stories of broken marriages, single parent families or even family violence. So please understand that I'm not speaking with any judgemental attitude. And I'm sure that as a church and as Christians here this morning, we want to reach out to those who are hurting and demonstrate the love of Christ.

By the way, if you're planning to get married, I give you a word of advice. Don't marry for money, because you can borrow it cheaper! Someone asked a couple down in Arkansas the secret of their 50 years of a happy marriage. His answer was, I rule the roost and his wife added – I rule the rooster.

So the first subject we deal with this morning is the greatest institution in all the world – marriage and the family. I believe that marriage originated in the mind and heart of God. God himself performed the first marriage ceremony in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:27, 28 we read God created man in his own image, male and female created he them. And God said in Genesis 2:18, it is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmate for him, for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife and the two shall be one flesh. Verse 25 we read the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. These words affirm the purity of sexual intimacy in marriage.

Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christian's. If anyone says that sex itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. Sex is a beautiful gift from God. Before sin ever entered the world, God said, bear children and multiply. The maker's instructions of purity before marriage and faithfulness in marriage, are safeguards to protect us rather than rules to punish us.

Remember when we were young, how we read fairy-tales about Cinderella or sleeping beauty being rescued by Prince charming. Usually, there were all sorts of problems during the courtship stage. But once they were married all their problems were solved and the story would end with the words, “They lived happily ever after.” I fear that many people today are going into marriage with that fairytale mentality. We've been so brainwashed from Hollywood and television, that we expect marriage to be a perpetual honeymoon with no problems whatsoever. Then when we discover that our heavenly angel has feet of clay we feel that we must have made a tragic mistake and so we have the right to throw it all over and start again. Like the lady who said, “I thought marriage would be the ideal, it turned out to be an ordeal and now I want a new deal” We need to be reminded of the fact that marriage may be made in heaven, but all the maintenance work has to be done right here on earth. And to have a good marriage you have to work at it continually.

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