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Summary: We will be discussing 4 things that contrast to illustrate how to wash the feet of our family

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Introduction:

A woman is depressed so she went to her doctor. After examining her and talking with her the doctor said that she did not need medication to deal with her depression. What she needed to do is loving acts of service for someone for the next 14 days. The woman began making excuses why that would not work. Disgusted the doctor finally said, “If that’s the case it will take 21 days to work for you.”

Thesis: To find out what that has to do with marriage and family and our Scripture this morning, we will be discussing 4 things that contrast.

I. Contract vs. Covenant

We have been talking lately about how a Christian marriage is a covenant between two persons and God. Kind of like what Ecclesiastes 4:12 calls a cord of 3 strands.

Increasingly in our society marriage is considered a contract. This is shown in our day by prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. These are full blown contracts. According to a 20/20 television special, today’s prenuptial agreements address more than money. Increasingly they include such things as how often a couple will be expected to have sex, what time spouses will get up in the morning, and what time they will go to bed at night. This is contract marriage at its worst.

Contract vs. Covenant- A contract is an agreement made in distrust. A covenant is an agreement made in trust. A contract is based on limited liability. A covenant is based on unlimited responsibility. In contract you sign on the dotted line. In covenant you tow the line. A contract focuses on the growth of self. A covenant focuses on the giving of self. A contract is predicated on results. A covenant is predicated on relationships. A contact is made at arm’s length. A covenant is made at arm’s embrace. A contract asks, “What am I getting from this marriage?” A covenant asks, “What am I bringing to this marriage?” A contract is enforced by a court. A covenant is enforced by character. A contract is bound by leverage. A covenant is bound by loyalty. A contract is convenience- based. A covenant is commitment- based. A contract is a “have to” commitment. A covenant is a “want to” commitment. A contract is for a specified time. A covenant is forever. In contract two are connected until the agreement is broken. In covenant two are committed “until death do us part.” In contract nobody leaves until the terms are met. In covenant nobody leaves- period!

Don’t waste another day living as if marriage is nothing more than a legal contract that can be easily broken. Upgrade to a covenant marriage.

But covenant marriage sounds too good to be true. Is covenant marriage a dream that cannot be lived out in reality?

2. Stubbornness vs. submission

This has to start with our covenant with God through Jesus Christ. “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 3:21, NIV. When we are presented the gospel, we can either accept it or reject it, no neutral ground. We answer yes or no. If we choose to say yes, we complete the covenant by being baptized. This pledge (from 1 Peter 3:21) is like signing our name on the dotted line of the covenant. The agreement is then binding on both parties. When we turn to Christ and declare that we want to become a disciple of Christ, God asks us to take an oath. This oath is Christian Baptism. God has already taken His oath. He did it in the cross and signed it with His blood, our baptism “seals” the deal.

From the day we’re born, our worlds revolve around ourselves. That’s the nature of what the Bible calls “the flesh.” As we grow in Jesus Christ, we overcome this self serving nature. “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15, NIV. However, many times our stubborn heart wants to continue to live, not for God, but for ourselves. This stubbornness to Christ is what causes many problems in the home. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Titus 3:3, NIV.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21, NIV. This is the deeper spiritual problem. "Submission- That word has received such a bad reputation that we rarely use it. Submission is a willful act of yielding to the power, control or authority of another. Submission is a voluntary act. A critical part of the discipleship process is submission. To be true followers of Jesus, we must learn to be submissive."

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