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The 10 Commandments #7 - Keeping Marriage Intact

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The 10 Commandments #7:

Keeping Marriage Intact

Text: Exodus 20:14

Thesis: To stress ways to keep marriages healthy.

Introduction:

(1)   Divorce is out of control.

(a)     “The divorce rate has quadrupled from 4.3 million in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996” (http://www.divorcereform.org/rates.html).

(b)    It is estimated that around 50 % of first marriages will end in divorce.

(2)   One of the leading causes of this problem is marital infidelity.

(a)    However, most people today fail to see that this is truly a problem.

(b)    It is estimated that 90 % of more of sex portrayed of television is between people who are not married to each other.

(c)    According to the Janus report, 35 % of men and 26 % of women have had affairs.

(3)   In the 10 commandments, God speaks concerning this problem:

Discussion:

I.                   What does God say?

A.    He very plainly stated: “You shall not commit adultery.” There are 3 important truths contained in this command:

1.      At the heart of the principle is the sacredness of marriage.

a.       God designed marriage (Gen. 2:24 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”).

b.      “Marriage is not a prerequisite to being within the will of God; for anyone who does marry, however, the will of God requires that he or she honor and keep the holy covenant made before God” (Shelly 139).

2.      At the heart of marriage is the permanence of the covenant.

a.       In Matthew 19:6, Jesus said: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

b.      “It is obvious that the divine intention of permanence is inherent in the marriage covenant” (Shelly 141).

c.       In Malachi 2:14-16, we learn that:

(1)    Marriage is a covenant made between man, wife, and God.

(2)    God hates divorce.

3.      At the heart of covenanting is the celebration of intimacy.

a.       “God designed man and woman for each other” (Atchley 129).

b.      God commands that spouses be responsive to the sexual needs of their mates (cf. 1 Cor. 7:2-5a.).

c.       In Hebrews 13:4, we learn that that sex can be pure.

B.     God is saying to us: “Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone” (Prov. 5:15; TEV).

II.                How can we observe this command?

A.    We must first understand where adultery begins.

1.      According to Matthew 15:19, adultery comes out of the heart.

2.      In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us:

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

(Matt 5:27-30)

a.       In 1975, Jimmy Carter told an interviewer that while he had never committed adultery, he knew he had failed the Lord many times by entertaining adultery in his heart.

b.      What can we do to keep a brief thought from going to a prolonged period of “daydreaming?”

B.     We must set clear boundaries.

1.      “Affairs are less about love and more about sliding across boundaries” (Glass 7).

2.      Most affairs start between people who are “just friends” at work.

3.      Gregg Jantz, in his book Too Close to the Flame, gives 4 key principles regarding boundaries:

a.       Keep Relationships Clear

b.      Keep Relationships Clean

c.       Keep Relationships on Neutral Ground

d.      Keep Relationships focused Outward

C.     We must remind ourselves of the permanent negative consequences.

1.      A counselor once asked: “What effect will my actions have if I go through a door called Desire?”  He thought of:

I will grieve the One who redeemed me

I will drag His sacred name through the mud

I will have to look Jesus in the eye one-day and give an account for my actions

I will inflict untold hurt on my wife, who is my best friend and who has been faithful to me

I will lose my wife’s respect, love, and trust

I will hurt my beloved daughters

I will destroy my example and credibility

I might lose my wife and children forever

I will shame my family

I will lose my own self-respect

I could form memories and flashbacks that plaque future intimacy with my spouse

I could reap the consequences of diseases

I could cause a pregnancy that would be a lifelong reminded of my sin

I could invoke lifelong shame and embarrassment on myself

2.      We must keep God’s will ever before us.

D.    We must work at keeping are marriages intact.

1.      According to 2 Timothy 2:13, we learn that God is faithful to us even when we aren’t faithful to Him.  We must “not let our spouse’s failures to love be an excuse for our unfaithfulness” (Cloud & Townsend 134).

2.      “Faithfulness means to be trusted in all areas, not just the sexual, trusted in matters of the heart as well as those of the body. Being faithful to your spouse means that you can be depended upon to do what you have promised, t follow through on what your spouse has entrusted to you” (131).

3.      Ed Wheat, in his book Love Life for Every Married Couple, suggests 4 ways that we can enrich our marriages:

a.       Blessing (e.g., “Thank you”)

b.      Edifying

c.       Sharing (i.e., time together)

d.      Touching (e.g., holding hands)

4.      According to the Gallup poll, a key predictor of whether a couple has a happy marriage is if they pray together.

Conclusion:

(1)   “In northern Europe, there is an animal called the ermine that has a snowy white fur which the animal values dearly. The ermine will do anything to keep its beautiful coat clean. In fact, when hunters find an ermine’s lair, they dab the entrance with tar, then use their dogs to track the animal and chase it back to its den. When the ermine sees the tar, rather than entering its den of safety but soiling its fur, it turns and faces the dogs. Then, while the dogs hold it at bay, the hunters are able to trap it. To the ermine, purity is dearer than life” (Atchley 127).

(2)   The only way to have a good marriage is to let God be the Lord of your marriage.

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