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Why Marriage is More about God than You.

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It is imperative that Christians learn that marriage and divorce not a social issue, rather it is a spiritual issue.

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Why Marriage is More About God than You.

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Malachi 2:10–16 NKJV
10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers? 11 Judah has dealt treacherously, And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, For Judah has profaned The Lord’s holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob The man who does this, being awake and aware, Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts! 13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 16 “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”
PRAYER
ILLUSTRATION: Sana Klaric and Adnan met online. His screen name was Prince of Joy and she was Sweetie. He entered the online chat room from work. She worked at an Internet cafe in Bosnia. They were both married to other people, but their marriage was in trouble and they shared their concerns with their new found, online soul mate.
They eventually decided to meet up - but there was no happy ending when they realized what happened. Turns out, Sweetie was already married to Prince of Joy. Sana and Adnan were married to each other, and having an affair with each other.
A few months later, they were filing for divorce - each accusing the other of being unfaithful.
Sana said: “I thought I had found the love of my life. The way this Prince of Joy spoke to me, the things he wrote, the tenderness in every expression was something I had never had in my marriage. It was amazing, we seemed to be stuck in the same kind of miserable marriages - and how right that turned out to be. We arranged to meet outside a shop and both of us would be carrying a single rose so we would know the other. When I saw my husband there with the rose and it dawned on me what had happened I was shattered. I felt so betrayed. I was so angry.”
Adnan said: “I was so happy to have found a woman who finally understood me. Then it turned out that I hadn’t found anyone new at all. To be honest I still find it hard to believe that the person, Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things to me on the Internet, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years.”
Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/ weird/online-couple-cheated-with-each-other/ story-e6frev20-1111114445717
A year or so ago, Joanna and I re-read a college text book by Willard F. Harley, titled His Needs Her Needs that encourages couples to focus on meeting the needs of each other to affair proof their marriage, but one thing that is even missed among Christian conservatives, like the author, is the fact that marriage is not really about the man and the woman. Marriage is really all about God and His design for it.
Malachi gives a clear indication of God’s purpose for the marriages of His people and His feelings about their divorces, but there is so much more we can learn and apply from this text that I do not want to spend too much time on introduction or numbers. Consider some of the other issues God addresses.
Some Sins and Wrong Beliefs Addressed in the Text:
Everyone is a creation of God, but not everyone is a child of God.
We may all be of the same human race physically speaking, but biblically speaking God is not the Father of everyone. This fact is established here in verse 10. Malachi may have been referring to a passage where God is described as both creator and father.
Exodus 4:22 HCSB
22 Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son.
Malachi may have been referring to a passage where God is described as both creator and father.
Deuteronomy 32:6 HCSB
6 Is this how you repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people? Isn’t He your Father and Creator? Didn’t He make you and sustain you?
Deuteronomy
What Malachi was not establishing something that so many people state wrongly in our culture, both non-Christian and Christian alike, and that is the falsehood of “the universal brotherhood of mankind” The meaning and context of this passage relates solely to God’s chosen people. The “we” and “us” are pronouns specific to Malachi’s fellow Jews. Israel is spoken of as God’s first born.
Exodus 4:22 HCSB
22 Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son.
Hosea 11:1 HCSB
1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
Hosea
90-95% of the OT is the account of God calling out and establishing a chosen race of people for fulfillment of His intended purpose. Move forward into the NT and we see that Gentiles/Non-Jewish people can become the children of God because of Jesus for the fulfillment of His intended purpose.
Galatians 4:5 HCSB
5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
John 1:12 NASB95
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
Malachi establishes the fact of the fatherhood of God because God’s children are to reflect the character of their father, the One who taught them to walk in His ways. The sin here in the later part of v. 10 can be addressed by saying:
Churches (The Family of God) should not be a spiritual version of The Hatfields and The McCoys.
God speaks through Malachi to rebuke their ill-treatment of one another in the community of faith. Malachi’s point is that due to the fact of God creating all of them and the fact that God is the father of all of them, they should treat one another with dignity and respect. His concern was loyalty among the family of God.
David writing is the confession of his sin of adultery and murder, yet he writes “against you and you only God have I sinned.” He understood that a sin against a child of God is a clear sin against God and breaking of the covenant made by God.
Illustration: One pastor tells the story of a church splitting over fight at the potluck. The dastardly deed - she made congealed salad out of cool whip instead of real whipped cream.
About 3 years ago George Barna clarified some myths about his research about divorces among Christians. The origina focused specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems and didn’t take worship attendance into account. After re-running the numbers, they found that if you were in church last week, your chance of divorce dropped by 27%.
The clearest sign that points to a person’s salvation in Jesus Christ is their unity with other believers. I add to what Robbie Gallaty asked, “Could someone really say of a Christ follower, ‘He’s angry with everybody, but he is saved.’ or ‘She’s critical all the time, but she is faithful to attend church. That group in the church is prejudice against most people, but hey they love Jesus.’ Are those descriptions of true Christians?” The point is God is love and in turn His children will be known by their love for others, especially their brothers and sisters in Christ. No clearer picture of that fact than the cross.
The shape of the cross represents 2 broken relationships Jesus came to heal.
Malachi gives a clear indication of God’s feelings about divorce, but there is so much more we can learn and apply from this text that I do not want to spend too much time on introduction or numbers. A year or so ago, Joanna and I re-read a college text book by Willard F. Harley, titled His Needs Her Needs that encourages couples to focus on meeting the needs of each other to affair proof their marriage, but one thing that is even missed among Christian conservatives, like the author, is the fact that marriage is not really about the man and the woman. Marriage is really all about God and His design for it.
About 3 years ago George Barna clarified some myths about his research about divorces among Christians. The origina focused specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems and didn’t take worship attendance into account. After re-running the numbers, they found that if you were in church last week, your chance of divorce dropped by 27%.
The shape of the cross has a vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension for the purpose of bridging the divide of sin between God and humanity, and the divide of sin between fellow humans. The process is repentance and forgiveness on our part. Jesus has done all the hard work. As we live forgiven by God we must remember to forgive others. As one commentator says, “Forgetfulness leads to faithlessness.” These 2 relationships can never be separated.
The shape of the cross has a vertical dimension and a horizontal dimension for the purpose of bridging the divide of sin between God and humanity, and the divide of sin between fellow humans. The process is repentance and forgiveness on our part. Jesus has done all the hard work. As we live forgiven by God we must remember to forgive others. As one commentator says, “Forgetfulness leads to faithlessness.” These 2 relationships can never be separated.
Our vertical connection has an impact on our horizontal connections and vise versa.
The reason for some people’s sins against others in the family of God of our day is the same as those in Malachi’s day. From the beginning of the chapter we have seen how the priest or the spiritual leaders lead them into corruption from sin. This text here is God’s accusation against the men of Israel of breaking faith with Him. They had not done their part to keep the altar fires going, they were robbing God by not giving their tithes, they were offering lame and blemished animals. In other words, they broke their vertical connection with God. This in turn affected how they related to one another. Nehemiah, gives indications of what had already transpired over several years: high interest, slavery, taking peoples farms and vineyards. In other words, they broke many of their horizontal connections.
The worst connections broken were those of the marriage covenant. This was a detestable act or an abomination unto God to act treacherously toward one another, especially toward the wife they had married long ago. The most detestable part is the fact of their intermarriages. But not for the reason many Christians have used this verse for over the years.
Intermarriage has nothing to do with skin color or ethnic background.
The “daughter’s of foreign gods” were definitely people of a different race. They were women outside the faith family of Yahweh. God, early in the life of Israel, forbade these intermarriages, however, not on racial grounds but on spiritual grounds. Moses married a Cushite woman, and there were mixed multitudes that came out of Egypt, yet they commited themselves to the Lord through circumcision and keeping the passover. Jesus’ ancestor Ruth was a Moabitess who turned from her false God to the True God of Israel. The spiritual concern:
Deuteronomy 7:4 HCSB
4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you.
A single white Christian can marry an African, Asian, Australian, Brazilian, Britain, Cuban, Latino, Mexican, you name what they look like and where they are from, and the two can be married in the eyes of God on two conditions: One is male, the other female and both are Christians. Why?
Deuteronomy
God’s concern was their Spiritual DNA.
God’s concern was their Spiritual DNA.
And ours. “Daughter of” implies “bearing the character of” a false deity who stands in total opposition to the righteousness of God intended to be seen from His people. Malachi calls the wife a marriage “partner” - meaning the two should have shared goals, shared values, same commitments all based on God’s Word.
V.15 tells another intended purpose of not intermarrying - “godly offspring”
V.15 tells another intended purpose of not intermarrying - “godly offspring”
God’s design for marriage through leaving home/parents and cleaving to one another is fruitfulness through the one flesh union from which most people can produce and disciple children who would in turn fill the earth with His glory through righteous and obedient living and in turn would leave, cleave and become fruitful.
The painful, horrible and unfortunate effects of sin is barrenness, most often in women, but at times men. But, they joys of and opportunities for adoption abound. I and my siblings were all adopted to people who could not have children. My biological sister, is fruitful through adopting a foster child. God works in and through all of those who are faithful to his plan.
This is made extremely difficult by intermarriage. The problem with marrying an unbeliever is the problem of competing world views. Paul reminds Christians of this fact when writing to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 6:15–16 HCSB
15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
Christians should have a framework based on Christ on how they do everything in life, and if so it will stand in opposition with an unbelieving spouse. That leads to the temptation of abandoning God for the worldly pursuits. When children come along then competing views on how to raise them and discipline them will arise.
The men to whom Malachi were speaking came to worship having married these younger women worshipping false Gods, did so themselves yet could not imagine what it was keeping God from accepting their acts of worship. How they treated their first wives through divorce or even before the divorce went up to God as unacceptable prayers before they ever arrived at the Temple.
That leads to the temptation of abandoning God for the worldly pursuits. When children come along then competing views on how to raise them and discipline them will arise.
There’s no such thing as magic church ground.
People come to church having already spoken to God in an unacceptable way through their actions at home. Yet when the
People come to church having already spoken to God in an unacceptable way through their actions at home. Yet when they arrive at church step out of the car it is totally different. YOu have done it. I have done it. Millions have done it. Disputes at home will happen like they will at church, but the attitude of the heart causing it or being unforgiving after it matters. The men of Malachi’s time had committed an abhorrent sin, faithlessness to the marriage covenant, which meant faithlessness to God. God shows His disapproval.
Acting unfaithfully in the home renders your worship as worthless.
In Jesus’ time there were 2 schools of thought:
1 - that any type of sexual immorality gave justification for divorce.
2 - that if the wife became displeasing to him. (burnt the biscuits)
Jesus reiterated God’s intended design for marriage - an inseparable union representing the union of God and His people - of Christ and his church. Nothing more closely resembles that union than marriage. Nothing better gives a witness to the world about the love of Christ and what it looks like to be a committed follower of Christ.
It is imperative that every Christian understand that marriage and divorce is not a social issue, rather it is a spiritual issue.
Go back to the beginning. That is God’s design. Everything after is sin. God detest adultery, fornication (shacking up), polygamy, homosexual actions and union, and divorce because it effects the gospel.
The big D affects the big G.
Look to Jesus - relentlessly pursuing his bride and faithful till his death to redeem his people.
Paul in & 6 give a very clear understanding of the marriage relationship and its gospel impact.
Conclusion: Jesus is the answer. We must be careful to guard ourselves. Those never divorced need not look condescendingly upon those who have. - is the hope for divorce. The gospel is the hope for married people.
I do not know from the story if Adnan and Sana were Christians or not. I do know that if both of them would have been and kept the spiritual dimension properly at the center of their relationship, then it would have added to the stability of the home and the chances of this story happening would have been greatly reduced.
About 3 years ago George Barna clarified some myths about his research about divorces among Christians. The origina focused specifically on the divorce rates of those with Christian and non-Christian belief systems and didn’t take worship attendance into account. After re-running the numbers, they found that if you were in church last week, your chance of divorce dropped by 27%.
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