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Life’s Biggest Decisions: Marriage

Thesis: God cares very much about who you marry because it’s a gift that refines our character and testifies to the world of His love.

Goal: Inspire people to prayerfully consider who they marry or (if they are married) change the way they relate to their spouse.

Text: Topical


Title Slide

A.  Synergy Series

1.    Small Group Registration

2.    Family Edition

a)    Children: Second Service Sunday Morning & Kid’s Choir

b)    Teens: Second Service Sunday Morning Small Groups

c)    Bible Studies will have Family Question Section

3.    Outreach: Next Week

B.  Two Week Series on Life’s Biggest Decisions

1.    Last Week: Does God care about my career?  Yes & if you missed the message, you can go to the website or subscribe through iTunes

2.    This Week: Does God care about who I marry?

a)    Tip my hand: “Yes” and I think you should want God’s involvement in the task

b)    Example

(1)  November 2006

Tracey Edmonds (movie producer) start dating Eddie Murphy (comedian & actor)

(2)  April 2007

Eddie Murphy’s former girlfriend (Spice Girl: Melanie Brown) proves by DNA testing (because Eddie wouldn’t accept responsibility) that he is the father of her baby (her people called his people because he hadn’t even visited the baby)

Tracey’s good with all that

(3)  July 2007: Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds engage
(4)  New Year’s Day 2008
(a)  Private Island off of Bora Bora among the French Polynesian Islands
(b)  Tracey walked barefoot down the beach at sunset for the ceremony in a custom designed dress
(c)  Eddie was dressed elegantly as well while they stood in a custom designed gazebo made of 6000 shells
(5)  January 14, 2008: Edmonds and Murphy Split

"After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forego having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further," Murphy and Edmonds tell PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "While the recent symbolic union in Bora Bora was representative of our deep love, friendship and respect that we have for one another on a spiritual level, we have decided to remain friends.”

Trouble started at the wedding when Eddie began yelling at Tracey in front of the guest

(6)  God cares very much about who you marry because it impacts not only your life but the lives of everyone around you.

Transition: We need to begin with the question, “Why is marriage important to God?”  Three reasons but first, prayer

I.     Understand the Goal of Marriage

A.  Your Marriage Is a Testimony

Slide 1

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. (Ephesians 5:25-26 NLT)

1.    God wants marriage to be a living illustration to the world of how much Christ loves His church

2.    Example

Kelly James was a 48-year-old landscape architect who loved to climb mountains. On December 9 of 2006, he and two of his friends set out to climb Mount Hood in Welches, Oregon. Tragically, they were caught by a sudden blizzard after reaching the summit, and forced to take shelter in a snow cave. Kelly was able to use his cell phone to call his family and tell them what was going on, but the storm was too severe for rescue workers to operate. All three hikers eventually perished.

In an interview with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News, Kelly's widow, Karen James, demonstrated the extreme faith in Jesus Christ that had defined life for the couple. During the interview, Couric asked if Karen was angry at all with her husband for choosing to climb in the first place. She replied: "I'm not angry."

Impressed by the strength of Karen's faith, Couric asked if the family's confidence in God had been tested by her husband's death. "No, it was never tested," Karen answered. "I remember one time we were watching TV, and Kelly said to me, 'I can't wait to go to heaven.' And I said, 'What?' We were watching some show that had nothing to do with it. And he said, 'Yeah, that's going to be really cool.' And I said, "Can you hold off? Can we wait?' But he wasn't scared. And so those conversations are what I hold on to."

"Climber's Widow Tells Her Story," CBS Evening News (12-21-06)

B.  Your Marriage Is a Refinery

1.    God Refines Our Character through Relationships

Slide 2

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)

The Concept of “Spur” – one of my Greek Dictionaries

a)    Can mean encouragement: with the implication of stimulating a change in motivation or attitude[1]

OT (1 Samuel): Elkanah  has two wives.  One bears him sons, her name is Penninah, she taunts the other wife, Hannah, relentlessly.

“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8 NLT)

b)    Can mean something a little more direct: a severe argument based on intense difference of opinion—‘sharp argument, sharp difference of opinion[2]

2.    Examples

a)    Jacob and Laban

b)    Paul confronting Peter over his behavior

3.    Marriage is one of the greatest relationship refiners that God has given us – sometimes our spouse is the spur and sometimes our spouse is the bur

C.  Your Marriage Is a Gift

Slide 3

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22 NLT)

In the Garden of Eden, it was a gift to Adam to address his loneliness – need for companionship, aid, love – the ability to create a family was given to us before the Fall, before being outcast from Eden

Transition: if marriage is a testimony, refinery and a gift, what do I do? Let’s take a look at each:

II.   Build Your Marriage on a Christian Foundation

A.  Build It from the Beginning

Slide 4

You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. (Deuteronomy 7:3-4 NLT)

1.    At FCCH:

a)    We marry couples when neither have faith in the hope that they will find it

b)    We marry couples when both have faith because of the joy of the union

c)    We don’t marry couples when only one has faith because of the testimony

2.    Why is this so important?

a)    Do you want to spend eternity with this person?

b)    Do you want your spouse to pray for you during times of need?

c)    What do you want your children to believe?

d)    Do you want your spouse to share in the joy of your faith?

e)    Do you want your spouse to be a part of your spiritual family?

3.    Still not sure: ask someone who comes to church alone

Transition: what do I do if I came to faith after I married?

B.  Work on Remodeling

Slide 5

Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a Christian man has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy… Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you? (1 Corinthians 7:12-16 NLT)

1.    Three Important Truths

a)    You bring holiness to your marriage – your spouse has the opportunity to see Christ’s love for the world

b)    You bring holiness to your children – Your children can experience the hope of God’s love

c)    God promises you hope

2.    Example: Lee Strobel

Transition: Because marriage is a testimony of Christ’s love for His people, build your marriage on a Christian Foundation.

Because marriage is a refinery:

III. Cooperate with God’s Refinement

Slide 6

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT)

A.  Let God do the refining, you do the loving

1.    We know exactly what’s wrong with our spouse:

a)     not patient, not clean, not considerate

b)    nag/rude/crude/inconsiderate

2.    My Translation

“Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your husband’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your husband, ‘Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your husband’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NCV)

3.    Personal Testimony: Our personality tests

Complete opposites: she completes me by strengthening my weak spots – not an excuse to avoid but an aid to make me better

4.    Practice the Second Commandment at Home

B.  Instead of Resisting, Surrender

1.    Our tendency is to complain about our marriages:

a)    “My husband annoys me.” 

b)    “My wife bugs me.”

c)    Really saying: “My marriage is not making me happy.”

2.    But refinement is not easy, it’s hard

Process of refining a sword

3.    Example: Amy Sutherland, "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage," The New York Times (6-25-06)

IV.        Celebrate Your Marriage

Slide 7

Enjoy life with the wife you love. (Ecclesiastes 9:9 NCV)

A.  If God says something is a gift, then it must be valuable

B.  Tips

1.    Stop comparing your spouse to someone else

2.    Find regular time to connect

3.    Look for the Treasure Within

4.    Learn from Funerals


A.  What do I do if I think I’m married to the wrong person?

Slide 8

1.    Ask: “Is your spouse the wrong person or the right refiner?”

2.    Clarify Your Expectations with a Mature Believer

3.    Remember, divorce is never the easy solution

In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes:

A character in the Anne Tyler novel A Patchwork Planet comes to realize this too late. The book's 32-year-old narrator has gone through a divorce and now works at an occupation that has him relating almost exclusively with elderly people. As he observes their long-standing marriages, he comes to a profound understanding:

I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they'd married the right person. Finally, you're just with who you're with. You've signed on with her, put in half a century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she's become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point.

I wish someone had told me that earlier. I'd have hung on then; I swear I would. I never would have driven Natalie to leave me.

Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage (Zondervan, 2000), p. 124; submitted by Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois

B.  What if I’m not married and want to be?

Slide 9

1.    Spend time in 1 Samuel 1

Change the scenario from infertility to wanting to be married

2.    Clarify Your Expectations with a Mature Believer

3.    Don’t Compromise!


[1]Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:804). New York: United Bible societies.

[2]Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:439). New York: United Bible societies.

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