Love & Marriage: Marriage’s Message

Love & Marriage: Marriage’s Message

Opening Illustration: Message In A Bottle
I can remember as a kid writing a message and stuffing it inside a plastic bottle and throwing it into the ocean.  I might have been 10 or 11 at the time.  I can remember writing on the paper my name, things I enjoyed, where I lived and a phone number.  I was really hoping that someone around the world would find my message and give me a call.  Sadly, my message was never found.  It was never discovered. 

Not so with this message.  

The oldest message in a bottle spent 108 years, 4 months and 18 days at sea.  It was discovered on Amrum Island in Germany on April 17, 2015.  It was tossed into the ocean by the Marine Biological Association from the United Kingdom.  It was part of an experiment to test and demonstrate the patterns of ocean currents.  Sadly, those who tossed out the bottle have long passed away.  

However, Guinness World Records recognized this message in a bottle as the oldest ever discovered.  

When the bottle was found, people were very excited to see the message.  It made news all over the world.  

Point:
You know, God sent us a message some 2000 years ago.  Many people have discovered it.  Of course I am talking about Holy Scripture.  Those that have read the Word of God and put the Word into practice are like those who have found the message in a bottle.  They are excited and overjoyed.  Sadly, there are those who have discovered the message of God’s Word and do very little with it.  Some find it and simply throw it away as if it means nothing or it’s words and meanings are old fashioned.  They choose to ignore it.  

Friends, God has sent us His Word, the Bible, our message to help us.  It serves as the owner’s manual of our life.  Remember last week that I said that God was the maker and definer of marriage.  I told you that He is the manufacturer of marriage.  He guarantees it.  If all this is true, then this (the Bible) is the owner’s manual.  The Bible gives us instruction on how best to operate the equipment.  It gives us helpful hints on how to live our lives to the maximum.  To the fullest.  

So, What Will You Do With God’s Message? Reject it or Read it?

Hebrews 13:4-7 ESV
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Background:
We don’t really know who wrote the book of Hebrews.  Some think Paul.  Others think that it was a disciple.  Nevertheless, Hebrews contains some of the strongest theology in the Bible.  Hebrews is meant to be an encouragement.  Likewise, it was meant to help Christians connect what they know to their actions.  Simply put, the book of Hebrews wants believers to practice what they preach.  That’s a good message for us today.  Hypocrisy is not something that we admire or strive to practice in our lives.  We admire people who do what they say and say what they do.  

In verses 4-7 God is sending us some powerful messages about our lives.  Marriage is the most signifiant earthly bond that we have here on earth.  So, in Hebrews, we can receive these messages or we can choose to live outside of these words and create hardship for ourselves.   So, let’s look at the message that God is sending to us about marriage today. 

What’s God’s Message For Our Marriages?

I. Blessing vs. 4
Hebrews 13:4
Let marriage be held in honor among all…

Illustration:
In one PEANUTS comic strip, Lucy, Charlie Brown’s girlfriend is berating Charlie Brown for losing the baseball game for their team. She says, "You blockhead! You struck out, and we lost the last game of the season!" Then she adds accusingly, "You were standing there thinking about your new girlfriend, weren't you?"

As Charlie Brown walks away, he mumbles, "I thought being in love was supposed to make you happy" to which Lucy replies, "Where'd you get that idea?"

Point:
Marriage is a blessing friends.  Marriage was designed to be one, if not the greatest, source of joy and fulfillment for humanity.  Marriage should be not only be a blessing between the husband and wife, but they should also be a blessing to others.  Marriage was designed so that the husband and wife serve together.  They are a team.  They are a united front to do good in this world for the Glory of God and for the expansion of His Kingdom.  

Remember last week.  Marriage is meant to be an image or a physical representation of God here on earth.  You have husband, wife, child all living in harmony together in one unit called the family.  The same what that you have God the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit living in harmony in one entity called the Trinity. 

Point:
Marriage is a blessing but the author of Hebrews says that it should be held in honor by all.  What does that mean exactly?

The word for “honor” in Greek is τιμή, ῆς, ἡ.  It is pronounced tee-may’.  It literally means to value or show worth to something.  It also means to prize something.  The author of Hebrews is saying that marriage is something to be prized.  If something is to be prized, it is to be protected.  

For those of us who are married this means that we are treasure our spouses.  It means that we are to guard them, protect them and not abuse them or hurt them.  It means that when we are married that we do not look on other men or women in lustful ways.  

It also means that others should respect the bonds of marriage.  Meaning that we are careful not to flirt with married men and women.  

Point:
If marriage is to be honored, prized and protected then it will take some commitment.  Again, I point you to Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

What’s God’s Message For Our Marriages?

I. Blessing vs. 4
II. Boundaries vs. 4
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 

Illustration:
A college senior took his new girlfriend to a football game. The young couple found seats in the crowded stadium and were watching the action. A substitute was put into the game, and as he was running onto the field to take his position, the boy said to his girlfriend, "Take a good look at that guy. I expect him to be our best man next year."

His girlfriend snuggled closer to him and said, "That's the strangest way I ever heard of for a fellow to propose to a girl. Regardless of how you said it, I accept!"

Point:
Now that’s a couple who will need to set up some boundaries.  

Point:
Boundaries are very important.  Our lives are surrounded by boundaries.  We have boundaries on where we can send our kids to school.  If you live in Daphne, you don’t send your kids to school in Spanish Fort.  That is a boundary.  When you drive down Highway 98, you cannot drive 100 mph because there are boundaries on our speed.  Just down the road from here is the Daphne City Jail.  You cannot just walk in the door and say let me in.  There are boundaries set up to prevent you from entering.  

You see, boundaries are really protective devices set in place to keep us from hurting ourselves.  In most cases we respect these boundaries.  

However, when it comes to marriage, fidelity, commitment and purity, we often disregard the protective devices that God has put into place.  

Scripture tells us that the marriage bed is to be undefiled.  What does that mean?

The marriage bed is symbolic of intimacy.  Most people equate intimacy as a physical act and that is certainly true.  However, in that physical act, intimacy is extended to every area of our lives.  Intimacy, in that moment, is emotional, mental, and spiritual.  Becoming “one flesh” as we read last week is intimacy.  

The author of Hebrews was living in a very hedonistic society.  Meaning, whatever felt good people just did it.  Much in the same way people act and respond today.  We have many people who choose to live outside the boundaries of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual intimacy.  They have chosen not to protect their marital bed.  

The Bible goes on to list what it means to soil the marriage bed.  Sexual immorality is one way. The other is another form of sexually immoral behavior which is adultery.  Sexual immorality would include, fornication (physical intimacy before marriage), homosexuality, or promiscuity.  

Questions:
So preacher, are you saying that if we are not married that we should not be living together or sleeping together?  No, I am not saying that, God is saying that. 

So preacher, are you saying that if I have engaged in sexual immorality or adultery that I have not kept the marriage bed pure? No, I am not saying that, God is saying that.  

Point:
God takes this stuff seriously and so should we.  Remember, one good way to void the manufacturers warranty is to do something to the product that the manual specifically says not to do.  

Illustration:
When I was in college, I had a Sony Playstation.  The Playstation was a home gaming device.  I read some stuff online that I could modify my playstation to actually play other games from other systems.  However, the article said that if I modified the Playstation to my specifications that it would void the manufacturer’s warranty.  I didn’t care.  I modified the unit and guess what, it broke.  Busted.  

So what do you think I did next?  I boxed up the Playstation and sent it back to Sony asking for them to give me a new one.  They sent me a letter saying that I had voided the warranty and that the Playstation was no longer a working unit.  

It was busted.  

Point:
Now, the good thing about God is that God is more forgiving than Sony.  Sure, when we have soiled the marriage bed we will have to suffer the pain and consequence of that action.  However, God is a great cleaner.  He can remove the spots and the stains of our sin.  He offers forgiveness and a new a start.  

Point:
However, if we just listen to God’s message and trust Him as our maker and warranty giver, we will bypass all the pain and heartache not keeping the marriage bed pure and spotless.  

Psalm 119:9 ESV
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

What’s God’s Message For Our Marriages?

I. Blessing vs. 4
II. Boundaries vs. 4
III. Bliss vs. 5
Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have

Point: Marital Bliss
Marital bliss means to be happy in your marriage.  It means to be satisfied.  It means to be content.  That is the way that most of us start out but somewhere along the way we take our eye of the ball. We get wrapped up in work, kids, and yes money.  Especially money.  

Point:
Over my years of being a pastor I have done lots of premarital and marital counseling.  I have seen lots of problems over the years.  Most of the problems that I deal with center on finances.  The couple disagrees on how to spend money.  Generally the wife spends money her way and the husband spends money his way.  Essentially, both husband and wife become selfish.  You know, when you are being selfish as a couple, you cannot shine for Jesus as a couple.  Those things just don’t go hand in hand. 

If a couple is selfish long enough, crack will appear in the marriage.  

Point:
Friends, the author of Hebrews is trying to help us as believers to be content.  There are so many Scriptures that teach about being content.  

Philippians 4:11-12 ESV
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I Timothy 6:6-11 ESV
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 

Point:
There have been more divorces attached to couples being selfish and unable to find contentment than just about any other reason.  It’s sad.  

Video:
The other day I saw a Saturday Night Live video that spoke to the reality of being content, saving, spending and how it can improve our lives.  Check it out.  




I Timothy 6:6 ESV
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,

What’s God’s Message For Our Marriages?

I. Blessing vs. 4
II. Boundaries vs. 4
III. Bliss vs. 5
IV. Brave vs. 6
So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Illustration: Barking Wife
"Pastor," complained the man visiting his pastor for marriage problems, "I’ve only been married for a couple of years, but things are really getting bad. Just a year ago I would come home from work and my dog would race around barking for joy and my wife would bring me my slippers. Not it’s the opposite: my dog brings me my slippers and my wife barks at me."

Point:
Make no mistake, you’ll have some hard days when you are married.  The great thing about marriage though is that you will face those hard days together.  In our church, we have families that endured the loss of children.  We have husbands and wives right now that are standing together in the midst of job loss.  We have wives in our audience today whose husbands are facing deployment to the Middle East.  

Oh friend, marriage is fraught with peril but praise God that we have each other.  God has created this marvelous institution so that we can encourage one another and build up one another during hard times.  

The author of Hebrews practically guarantees that over our days of living that we will face hardship, disappointment, loss and suffering.  

Point:
Take a second those of you who are married and remember the most difficult time of your marriage.  Got it.  Now think about how difficult that time would have been if you were not married to your spouse.  

Point:
Friends, we have to be brave as we face these difficulties.  Now the truth of the matter is that we are never alone.  Married, single, divorced, God is there.  That’s what Scripture says.  The Lord is my helper.  The Lord is the one who will never leave you.  For some, death will one day separate us from our spouses, but the Lord is always there for us, ministering to us and loving us even through the hardest of times.  

Point:
Genesis 2:24 ESV
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Point:
I think it is interesting that the Scripture tells us that we should hold fast to each other.  There is a lot of meaning in that statement.  It’s really quite beautiful.  To me I see a tremendous picture of a man and a woman standing in a storm together.  They are battered by the wind and the waves.  They are soaked from the whipping rain.  So, what do they do.  They hold fast to one another.  The know that one day the storm will be over but they hold fast during the storm.  

Point:
Perhaps there are a few of you going through a storm today.  Hold fast to God and hold fast to each other.  Maybe you are single or divorced and you don’t have that husband or wife to hold fast to.  That’s ok, hold fast to God.  Trust me, will be enough to get you through.  

What’s God’s Message For Our Marriages?

I. Blessing vs. 4
II. Boundaries vs. 4
III. Bliss vs. 5
IV. Brave vs. 6
V. Beacons vs. 7
Hebrews 13:7 ESV
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Point:
So, who do you look toward.  If you are married or want to be married, what examples to you try to find?  What beacons of light do you try to find? Well the author of Hebrews is trying to encourage believers, believers who are married, believers who are single, believer in general to look toward leaders of the faith to imitate.  

So, are you a newlywed today? Find a couple that has a happy marriage, a Christlike marriage and model what they are doing in their marriage.  

So, are you a new Christian? Find a man or woman who has bearing Christian fruit and follow their lead.  

So are you engaged? Look for a couple that lives out God’s Word in their marriage?

Are you parents?  Well look for parents who have raised children, made mistakes, taken bad turns then found their way back on the right path.  Learn from their example, learn from their faith.  

Quotation:
“A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.”

-D.L. Moody.

Point:
Friend, we are not only to look for lighthouses to follow but we are to strive to be lighthouses ourselves for others.  No, no one has a perfect marriage.  However, there are many couples in our church that have committed themselves to protecting their marriage, to purity, to perseverance and to uphold the truths of the Gospel.  They are letting their light shine everyday.  

Point:
If your marriage is struggling today, if you are not even married, if you are looking to grow deeper connections in life, read the owners manual, God’s Holy Word and follow the instructions.  I promise you this, if you do, you will discover peace, joy and fulfillment.  


Turn This Information Into Your Inspiration!

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