MARRIAGE ISSUES

ADAM

 

Understanding your roles in marriage†† Genesis 2:18-22

 

Adam and Eve were created in submission to God. The animals were in submission to Adam and Eve. But unlike animals, God did not create Adam and Eve at the same time (1 Timothy 2:13). Eve was a helper suitable for Adam (1 Cor 11:3, 8-9). So men, women, animals and even plants (Gen 1:29-31) were created to function within a hierarchy in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.

 

With sin came the Fall and the curse, and both were a perversion of the original creation. The hierarchy was still in place but now the man is to rule over the woman who apparently desires to rule over him (cp Gen 3:16 and 4:7). So God established submission in human relationships even though submission is ultimately to God so noone is to submit to someone asking them to sin. Mutual submission is a contradiction in terms. When Paul says and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Eph 5:22) he never defined that mutually. He defined it clearly in the next verses as the church to Christ, wives to husbands, children to parents and slaves to masters (Eph 5:23-6:9).

 

Men (males) are both incomplete and essential for expressing the image of God on earth. Neither men or women are an option if Godís image is to be observed on earth. The first couple were Godís agents for carrying out His purposes on earth. The first and only time God said it is not good about His creation was for the man to be alone. It seems then that a man maturesas he takes on the responsibility of becoming a husband. Males were not designed to reflect Godís image, carry out Godís purpose or become mature in God, without a wife. The man was formed, the woman was fashioned. Both are the creative work of God. The woman in all her design and beauty are Godís idea not manís. But they were made differently and for different immediate purposes.

 

(1) Their ultimate purposes were the same--to complete the image of God and be His #1 agents to carry out His purposes here (Genesis 1:26-27).

(2) Their immediate purposes were quite different. The man was created for Godís sake, the woman was crteated for the manís sake (1 Cor 11:9). The man was created from the dust, the woman from the man.

(3) The man is to bring glory to God. So is the woman but the way she does it is by being the glory of man (1 Cor 11:7). Glory seems to be used in the Bible as multiplying teh character or reputation of someone. Here the idea is that a husband is to handle his life in such a way that he revelas the character of God. He is to advertise Godís reputation by his own. What the wife does is to multiply the reputation of God--His righteousness, goodness, lovingkindness, justice by magnifying, multiplying and advertising to all creation thopse aspects of her husband.

(4) The husband must then be comeone his wife can advertise to the world and have the result of bring an enhancement of the reputation of God among His creation.

 

A. God takes the risk of putting His reputation on the line by the way a man husbands his wife.

B. The woman takes on the risk of enhancing her husband when she marries him because she will be tampted to not want to.

 

The husband has the role and responsibility of being in authority in the relationahip. But that authority is nothing like an employer/ee be cause an employee can be fired. A husband has to be the authority oiver one he cannot be independent of. So its more like the head having authority over the body. While the head rules over it it is ruling over its own future, its own completeness, its own well-being, itís own existence. That makes this authority highyl vulnerable filled with tremendous risk and great reward.

 

(1) So God has placed the man in a high risk situation. If he chooses to press onto maturity as a man and become a husband he enters a situation that is full of risks. This responsibiloty and authority will either make him or break him.

 

®      Itís a permanent decision.

®      If he, as head, cuts off his wife, he dies.

®      If his rule over her is such that she cuts him off, he dies.

®      If he gives her no development, heíll be weak.

®      If he gives her no love, compassion, tenderness or mercy, she will be hard, stiff and unmovable.

®      If he smothers her, he suffocates.

®      If he does not make her #1 in his life, he terminates.

®      But if he keeps her, nourishes her, develops her, loves her, gives her freedom while making her #1 in his life--she is the key which unlocks all the future development as a mature man of God.

 

(2) Set your priorities.A. Manitain your personal and spiritual maturity. B. Develop marital intimacy. C. Fulfill your parental responsibility. Establish your professional competency.

 

Headship is not like kingship or dictatorship. Its not even like being a boss or a general. Its not like any other kind of leadership. No matter how much a King loves his subjects, he does not need them. If one should perish its sad but it does not affect t his being the king. However, if your body dies, your head is useless. Why? Because its dead too. A head must rule over a body. Thats essential for its survival. But how must it rule?

 

(1) Become a husband worth being submitted to. Just because I must be submitted to does not mean I am worthy of that submission. Marriage is not fifty-fifty its 100 percent a husband being a husband and 100 percent a wife being a wife. Now submission meaning Ďto place or rank under, to subject, to obeyí is something a wife is commanded by God and as such should view her obedience to her husband in relation to God. Husbands really have nothing to do with it other than the fact that they are recipients of your pursuing a right relationship with God. So a husband determines to become a husband worth being submitted to. He does that by applying the responsibility God gives to him as a husband to his wife. However, whether he is or not, a wife is still responsible to God for her submission.

 

Marriage is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. But thatís the commitment Christ made to us. He committed Himself to an imperfect church. That is high risk. God is a risk taker. His character will not change of course but His reputation very much depends upon us, His church. (Use risk-taker illustrations from the Bible).Even though husbands are sinful, headship via love is still the directive.

 

(2) Is your wife number one in your life? Marriage comes down to that one question. Am I willing to place one woman above everything and everybody else in my life except God? That includes, by the way, my children and my parents. I do not owe this to any other woman in the body of Christ. I owe them and my wife everything God says I owe another believer but in addition to this one woman I also owe her everything God says a husband does. I become a student of that woman and spend the rest of our lives together being worthy of her submission. So marriage is a high risk, irreversible, permanent decision by a husband to put a woman ahead of everything and everybody for the rest of their lives together. Women are to submit to their husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored (Titus 3:5).

 

You husbands likewise live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman, and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7).

 

1. Dwell together: means not to do that seperably. It is a combination of words Ďtogetherí andĎhouseholdí. The idea is that of establishing a household together, one which is not dominated by your parents or your friends or by either one of your dominating over the other. So that is to be done.

2. This is a common word for Ďknowledgeí not Ďunderstandingí. The idea is that a husband is to alweays be learning. HGood husbands are not ignorant. that is one reason why becoming a husband is the next step of growth after becoming a man. To become a lifelong student of your wife. Continuing education. Becoming a husband is the most stretching thing a man can do.

3. In what sense is a wife a weaker vessel? Other passages that use this same word are:

the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41)

by working hard...help the weak (Acts 20:35)

he who is weak eats vegetables (Rom 14:1-2)

So they can tire faster since not as physically strong. They have basic security, sfaety, nourishing, protective needs.

4. A wife is first of all a fellow believer. That relationship takes precedence over all others. She is Godís child not your personal property.

 

A. So husbands establish a relationship with his wife which creates a new household. It is not to be interfered with by the church, parents of either spouse, friends, special interests, children or fulfillment of career desires. It is the husbands responsibility to make this household something he and his wife both do together.

 

B. Be a student of your wife. Also be a student of what makes for good relationships (Relationship brochure & communication brochure), what specific things make your wife happy, grumpy, hurt and insecure, and how your relationships with your parents effects yoru wife.

 

C. Husbands must realize that wives tend to be physically weaker, more difficult to provide for material needs of the household, more apt to have protective virew of spiritual things. When a wife is strong in any of these ares, it usually means the man is extreemely weak in the areas God expects him to be strong.

 

D. Husbands must see their wives first as a spiritual partner, a sister in christ. She is indwelled by the Spirit of God as well. Both the husband and the wife are accountable to God for their husbanding and wiving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JACOB

 

Romantic love is a legitimate factor for initiating marriage Genesis 29:11, 17-20 and 30

 

Jacob fell head over heels in love with Rachel. Probably it was love at first sight. She was beautiful of form, face and eye. She dominated the rest of his life. He was willing to work 14 years in all to get her. He continued to prioritize her even when she was barren. He favored her children when she finally conceived. Even after she died having her second child, Jacob favored her children (Joseph and Benjamin) over all his other children until the day of his death. And he never married anyone else to replace her when she died. In the end, itís Rachelís son Joseph who is the most godly character in the book of Genesis.

 

The Song of Solomon teaches us about the legitimacy of romance as a motive for getting married. C.S. Lewis put it well when he said that romance blinds us to the realities of marriage. Romance says you have something to offer me and I want it. Romance is not the only consideration, and itís a wild card that does not confine itself to marriage. It also causes unwanted pregnancies, affairs, children and sexual diseases. It destroys marriage and families. Leaves spouses and children embittered and alone. It may be the most destructive force known to man. What a boy does when romance leaves is to drop the girl or wife and go look for it elsewhere. But romance does have a legitimate function--to get us married. It probably peaks right before marriage and it must be traded in on real love after marriage--giving instead of getting. Love says, I have something I want to give to you and you need it. Nonetheless, it has a legitimate role. With all its dangers, romantic love is a valid basis for initiating marriage.

 

Husbands love your wives. God does not like to see a wife unloved Genesis 29:31

 

With Laban, Jacob met his match in the deception department. Laban promised Jacob Rachel, gave him Leah, and Jacob consummated a marriage he did not ask for. It is dark in those tents and the girls were apparently about the same size but he also was possibly drunk (Genesis 29:22-23). So he ended up married to both of Labanís daughters. But that did not affect the fact that then only one he loved romantically was Rachel. Then God stepped into the situation. We read, Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved and He opened her womb bit Rachel was barren (Genesis 29:31).

 

God said nothing against Jacobís romantic love for Rachel except that it left Leah unloved. But true love is defined by a giving which is not reciprocated. You cannot give it back. For God so loved the world that He gave....(John 3:16). Not only that, but He gave His only begotten Son. How could we possibly reciprocate that kind of love? Even if Jacob had romantic love for Rachel, he could have given attention to Leah. Giving love does not expect a return. When we focus on getting (as romantic love does) we will tend to ignore whoever we are not going to get something from. In giving love, the focus is on the giving itself and on God, who it pleases. Give expecting nothing in return. The thing that keeps giving from being cheerful is when we expect a return. When paybacks are omitted from our giving motive we are free to enjoy giving by itself. It hopes for a reward from God, not the person loved. So even if marriage is started because of romantic-getting love, it can only continue to be what a marriage should be if itís based in real giving love.

 

FAMILY ISSUES

NOAH

Our Primary Community is our Family Genesis 6:18

 

Noahís walk with God did not come from the influence of his society, but it did influence his family. Not only did his wife and sons get on the ark but his daughters-in-law left their parents behind to get on the ark.

(1) Leadership in the church family is to come from those who manage their own households well (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) not those who succeed in business, politics or those who are socially prominent.

(2) The church is an extended family not an extension of the society.

(3) The church is a network of families who create a community throughout the city not a bunch of separate competitive organizations dividing up the community of believers within the city.

 

By the way, the decision to become a father is to accept the discipleship responsibility for instructing our own children.

 

Keep yourself and your family from being yoked together with unbelievers, even if they are good peopleGenesis 33:1-17

 

When Jacob reconciled with Esau, he introduced him to his large family and talked him into receiving a gift, which helped to ensure peace between them. Esau then invited Jacob to accompany his group of 400 back south to Seir. But Jacob begged off, saying thay needed to move slowly becaue of the children and the nursing animals. Esau offered to leave some men with him, presumably for protection, but Jacob politely declined that offer too.

 

So what Jacob did was keep his family and his extended family completely separated from Esau and those with him. Esua was no longer a threat. His people see,med nice enough. However, Jacob wanted his people to remain separated from the Edomites. So did God. This is consistent with Godís Word that He would build a nation from Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15; 35:10-12).

 

It is good to be good to unbelieveing neighbors, friends and relatives. But they are not part of what God is doing today--building His church. We should be available to them evnagelistically and do all the good for them we can but not make them part of the moral spiritual decision-making influence on our families or extended families. This also includes the wordly influence of television, internet and other unbelieving authority figures in our lives or childrens lives.

 

ABRAHAM

God asks men to leave homeGenesis 12:1-50

 

Abraham was forced to separate from his home and family. In general, it seems that God asks men to leave something behind (home, possessions, relationships). In order for a boy to become a man he must leave. He must also learn to work, rest, go to war and become a priest.

(1) Chaos must become order. (2) Then order must become established. (3) Then maturity must be developed. From boyhood to manhood to Patriarch.Leaving begins this whole process and it permits maturity to begin to develop.

 

A. Jacob had 12 sons who served their father and stayed at home--except one. That one eventually became the patriarch of the entire family. His name was Joseph.

 

Genesis

11†††††††††††† TERAH†††††††††††††† Died††

12†††††††††††† ABE†††††††††††††††††† Commanded to leave home by God

24†††††††††††† ISAAC††††††††††††††† Forced to leave his parents when they died

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (1st his mother then his father)

27†††††††††††† JACOB†††††††††††††† Forced to leave his parents fleeing from his††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† brother

37†††††††††††† JOSEPH††††††††††††† Forced to leave home by his brothers

 

The circumstances under which a man of God leaves is a variable. Leaving is a constant. It is usually necessary and/or forced.

 

B. Moses was separated from his family when he was forced to flee for his life from Pharaoh (Exodus 2:15).

 

C. Samuel was separated from his family as a young boy to serve the Lord in the priesthood with Eli (1 Samuel 1:26-28; 2:11).

 

D. David was separated from his parents to become Saulís armor bearer (1 Sam 16:17-22) even though God called him earlier (vv 6-13).

E. Ezekiel and Daniel were both separated and called by God to serve the exiles in Babylon (Ezekiel 2 and Daniel1).

 

F. The apostles, James and John separated themselves from their father in order to follow Jesus Christ Mark 1:20.

 

G. The apostle Paul was separated from his home by his conversion. We never meet his parents but he is apparently part of the Synagogue of Freedmen who stoned Stephen (Acts 6:9, Paul being from Cilicia). This was a synagogue of Jews who were free citizens probably because their parents were freed by From much earlier. Paulís zeal for his faith was obviously consistent with the conviction of his family and friends (Acts 7:58; 8:1). His conversion means a separation from all that.

 

H. Jesus Christ like the other boys who became men, left home. Unlike many of them, He was not forced to leave. His family seemed to have wanted him to stay. He had learned a practical trade and apparently became the primary provider. But when time to present himself to the world He separated Himself from that family (John 2:1-4; Mark 3:20-35; 6:20-21; John 7:3-10; Matt 12:46-50). The submission of the perfect boy (Luke 2:52) was no longer appropriate for the perfect man. Jesus had left the family and His leaving was an example of what it takes to become a man. How might a boy and then a man answer the following questions?

Who am I? Why am I here? What am I for? Am I significant? Where am I going? What should I do? How can I develop myself? Whatís important to me? How should I develop physically, intellectually, athletically? How should I relate to women and my sexuality?

 

Marriage should be consistent with the parameters of the will of God given by the Word of GodGenesis 24:4-8

 

With the death of Sarah, Abraham had one major task left in his life--to find a bride for Isaac. So he sent his servant to get a wife for Isaac from his relatives. He told his servant, But if someone is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath, only do not take my son back there (Genesis 24:8). So it seems Abraham had two priorities.

(1) No matter what--and the implication seems to be even if Abraham died before all this got done--Isaac was under no circumstances to be taken out of the land.

(2) Isaacís bride must be a Semitic Mesopotamian, not a Canaanite.

 

So we cannot do as Abraham did and let race and geographic origin determine the qualifications for marriage. The church, unlike Israel, is of every race all over the world. For the church, there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek (Romans 10:12). But that does not mean any matchup is okay. We should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We must not marry homosexuals (1 Cor 6:9-10). We must not marry a divorced person whose former spouse is still living (Roams 7:2-3). Our separation from the world should be spiritual and moral not racial and geographical. There are also matters of wisdom and unity in the body that must be considered. Marriage involves families, not just two people romantically in love. Backgrounds, habits, customs, cultures, and life-style preferences must all be taken into consideration (see Ruth 3:10-13).