Faithlife Sermons

The implications of Christian Marriage

Let's Be a Christ-Centered Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction: TODAY, DO NOT THINK OF THE INADEQUACY OF YOUR SPOUSE. MAKE ASSESSMENTS OF YOU, AS COMPARED TO A GOSPEL-MARRIAGE PARTNER
Garland’s Chapter Outline:
Sexual relations within marriage
Celibacy or Marriage for the Unmarried & Widows
Instructions about divorce for those married to Christians and for those married to non-Christians
Guiding principle underlying the discussion: Remain as you are
The advisability of marriage for the betrothed and for widows
What we must keep in mind to properly understand this portion of Scripture:
Scriptural context: All of this is founded upon the wisdom of the Cross. Our thinking/living should be marked by how God acted toward us in Jesus Christ.
The Cross is not simply the way we enter into covenant with Jesus Christ; but the Cross is to determine the way we live with each other in covenant.
Unity is evidence of the continual living with the cross-wisdom. Relationships within the body must be lived according to this same union.
Immediate context: Just prior to this passage: the issue of temple prostitution is addressed. Our bodies are to be used for our new Master.
Cultural context:
Divorce & remarriage were common in the Graeco-Roman world
Various ways to get married:
Common Law Marriage (live together for year)
Slaves were forced into marriage
Wealthy had ceremonies similar to our ceremonies today
Immorality was rampant:
Wives for cooking and house duties
Concubines for sexual pleasure
Women’s Liberation Movement of the Time
Jerome Carcopino, "Some women were not content to live their lives by their husband’s side, but carried on another life without him.”
Jerome Carcopino, "Some women were not content to live their lives by their husband’s side, but carried on another life without him.”
Another writer says, “What modesty can you expect in a woman who wears a helmet, hates her own sex, and delights in feats of strength? We have some of those in our society. The same writer, Juvenal, says, “Thus does she lord it over her husband but before long, she vacates her kingdom, flits from one house to another wearing out her bridal veil,” end quote, by overuse.
Another writer says, “What modesty can you expect in a woman who wears a helmet, hates her own sex, and delights in feats of strength? We have some of those in our society. The same writer, Juvenal, says, “Thus does she lord it over her husband but before long, she vacates her kingdom, flits from one house to another wearing out her bridal veil,” end quote, by overuse.
The Lord wants his people to have:
a right view of intimacy in marriage (a view that is shaped by the Cross of Jesus Christ)
a selflessness in their marriage intimacy
a safeguard against Satan
An understanding of the implications of the marriage covenant
Our cultural understanding of intimacy in marriage shows various extremes:
A Disciplinary Use of Abstinence in Marriage: Withholding intimacy in marriage as a form of discipline to the other spouse.
A Dirty Understanding of Intimacy in Marriage: Some religious influences teach this.
A Self-Seeking pursuit in intimacy in Marriage: Just getting a personal release.
We must decide today,
"Will we be selfish in our relationships or selfless?
Will we reflect the sacrifice of the Cross in our relationships or the self-centeredness of humanity?
Will we be offer our relationships as beautiful sacrifices to the Lord or as opportunities for Satan?"
Proposition: Because Jesus Christ has sacrificed Himself to bring us into covenant with Him, we must be devoted in relationships that reflect His sacrifice!
What should Christian Marriage be like?

Let it be a monogamous marriage lived by equality (v. 1 - 2)

The extreme view of the Corinthians (v. 1)

“touch” -
It is good for a man not to use a woman for sexual gratification” - Pillar

The error in interpretation

Wrong: “To avoid pornea, they just need to get married.”
Right: In marriage, a man and woman should have each other to avoid extra-marrital temptations/relations.
Illustration:
Adulterers Beware
Topics: Adultery; Betrayal; Community; Example; Faithfulness; Marriage; Purity; Relationships; Self-control; Tolerance; Unfaithfulness; Vows; Workplace
References: ; ; ;
Sheriff’s deputies in Pinellas County, Florida, will be suspended if they commit adultery. So says Country Sheriff Dennis Fowler. His reason is that adultery is not a victimless crime. Rather, it has created difficulties within his department that go beyond the offenders. “Adultery affects other people in the workplace, people’s ability to do their job, and I think that is relevant,” Fowler says.
—“County to Suspend ‘Cheating’ Sheriff’s Deputies,” local6.com (February 8, 2006)
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (p. 256). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

The exhortation to intimate monogamy - “have own” (v. 2)

The exhortation to equality - “let every woman have here own...

Application:

(1) The church is to be full of relationships that show forth the glory and beauty of the Lord (think in terms of redemptive history) -
Ephesians 5:25–27 KJV 1900
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(2) Men, ONLY your wives deserve intimacy in every sense of the word.
If your intimacy is characterized by unfaithfulness - repent today and let the cross shape your way of life.
(3) Women, in the Cross economy, you should sense equality in worth because of the Gospel.
(4) Singles, sexual intimacy in marriage is a wonderful way to bring glory to the Lord; but this is only sanctioned in the covenant relationship of marriage. -
Hebrews 13:4 KJV 1900
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
If you have been unfaithful to Christ already in this, repent of this sin and ponder the wisdom of the cross today.
Recap: Let it be a monogamous marriage lived by equality...

Let it be an intimate marriage lived submissively (v. 3 - 4)

Live submissively to your covenantal obligation (v. 3) - “due benevolence” (both ways)

“render” - pay back; repay

An explanation of this covenantal obligation (v. 4)

“power” - has rights over; has exclusive claim to; authority
The property ethic applied to sexuality -
Deuteronomy 20:5–7 KJV 1900
And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.
Anti-mysoginistic language, especially here - wife power over husband
Gospel Connection:
Why would this kind of exhortation flow from the Gospel?
(1) Jesus Christ gave Himself on the Cross for the maximum benefit of the Church - TO ENTER INTO A COVENANTAL RELATIONSHIP THAT REFLECTS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.
(2) A more true consideration is what the initial covenant relationship means for His ongoing supply towards His bride. - IT IS A NEVER-ENDING FULL SUPPLY FOR HIS BRIDE.
No greater submission can ever be seen than what we see in Jesus Christ.
In this supply, He has given to you all that is necessary to enabled you:
2 Peter 1:2–3 KJV 1900
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Illustration:
Illustration 480
Finding Freedom in Marriage
Topics: Dying to Self; Giving; Marriage; Sacrifice; Self-centeredness; Singleness
References: ; ; ;
The biggest drawback to living alone is having nobody to forgive, says author D. J. Waldie. It’s not that you don’t get certain things, such as companionship, sex, and somebody to share the chores; it’s that you can’t give to them. You are deprived of a great opportunity: to learn to love your neighbor as yourself.
“This was a radical notion in Christ’s time; it is radical now,” Waldie says. “It will always be radical because it is the hardest way, the most illogical way, the ‘unfairest’ way—and the only way that can grant us the peace that passes all understanding.
“In a way I can see only dimly, marriage is causing me to be freer with my time, my money, my affections. It is changing my heart, one molecule at a time, from stone to flesh. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, it is giving me the opportunity to die to myself.”
And that, as Saint Francis said, is the only way to awaken to eternal life.
—Based on D. J. Waldie, Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir (Norton, 1996)
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (p. 268). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

Application:

In like manner, a Christian marriage reflects the Cross continually, when we give ourselves for the pleasure and benefit of the other person.
(1) For husbands and wives, this means there is one dominant truth that makes the mood and setting to be right: the Gospel.
The humanistic way of thinking says, “My husband didn’t clean today, so he doesn’t deserve intimacy tonight.” - (this reflects a gospel of works)
The humanistic way of thinking says, “My wife doesn’t know how physically tired I am, so she doesn’t get intimacy tonight.
The mind renewed by the Gospel says, “My husband didn’t clean today, but I want to lavish on him the grace that has been lavished upon me in Christ.
The mind renewed by the Gospel says, “My wife didn’t do as much as I did today, but I want her to receive the benefit that I graciously received in Christ.
Repent: To husbands and wives that have been making each other earn credit, please repent of this ungracious way of living life together.
We have made much about the differences between men and women, but we have made little of how the Gospel transforms our way of thinking and interacting.
We have made much of marriage counseling material, but we have made little of how the Gospel teaches us to live inside of marriage.
(2) For the singles, learn now:
Seek healthy relationships because of the gospel (don’t sit back and wait for people to meet your criteria) - Lavish the gospel on all people.
Serious relationships need to be vetted through the gospel lense: “does the conversation of the individual reflect a gospel of works or of grace?”
ILLUSTRATION:
I was recently at an event where a young man and woman were apparently getting to know each other. Although I was not shocked, I was reminded of our self-centered we are in our conversations.
Recap: Let it be a monogamous marriage lived by equality...
Recap: Let it be an intimate marriage lived submissively (v. 3 - 4)

Let it be a safe marriage lived soberly (v. 5)

Safety from each other - “Defraud not..” (v. 5)

Mutual consent is required
Spiritual reason for mutual consent
Definite termination point

Safety from Satan -

1 Peter 5:8 KJV 1900
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Illustration 833
A Match against Temptation
Topics: Desires; Hell; Sin; Temptation
References: ; ;
Muhammad Ali once said that he had come up with a way to resist temptation. Wherever he went, he always carried a small box of matches. “Whenever I go to a party and I’m tempted by a beautiful woman, I simply pull out one of the matches and strike it,” Ali said. “Then I put it out with my fingers and remind myself, ‘Hell is a lot hotter than this.’ ”
—Keith Todd, “Muhammad Ali Faces Temptation,” PreachingToday.com
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (pp. 453–454). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
Ward off Satan by shield of faith?
Ephesians 6:16 KJV 1900
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Ward of Satan by marital intimacy?
1 Corinthians 7:5 KJV 1900
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Both: “The answer for married people is that faith makes use of sexual intercourse as a means of grace. For the people God leads into marriage, sexual relations are a God-ordained means of overcoming temptation to sin (the sin of adultery, the sin of sexual fantasizing, the sin of pornography). Faith humbly accepts such gifts and offers thanks. - JP
For the people God leads into marriage, sexual relations are a God-ordained means of overcoming temptation to sin (the sin of adultery, the sin of sexual fantasizing, the sin of pornography). Faith humbly accepts such gifts and offers thanks.

Conclusion:

Proposition: Because Jesus Christ has sacrificed Himself to bring us into covenant with Him, we must be devoted in relationships that reflect His sacrifice!
Will you seek the Lord’s help this morning?
(1) Does your marriage truly reflect the gospel of grace?
Does your spouse have to earn merit with you?
(2) Is your relationship under the onslaught of Satan right now?
(3) Singles, have you aroused desires within you that are to be for God’s glory in marriage?
The gospel of Christ crucified for our sins is the foundation of our lives. Marriage exists to display it. - JP
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