Marriage Needs Perspective
Text: Mark 12:18-27
Title: Marriage Needs Perspective
Theme: The be all end all relationship is with Christ, not with a spouse.
Goal: to encourage the congregation that the relationship with Christ transcends marriage, singleness.
Need: Churches are often guilty of seeming that marriage is expected of every person, and not getting married is abnormal.
- Introduction: Principles for Christian Coal Mining. Marriage needs to be put into proper perspective. It may be the place where raising of children happens. It may be the place where people learn a lot about themselves. But it isn’t the be all, end all relationship in the universe.
- Marriage doesn’t exist in the New Creation
- Marriage is never commanded or expected.
- Marriage is not the primary relationship in the garden.
- Conclusion: to encourage congregation that the relationship with Christ must transcend marriage and singleness.
Sermon in Oral Style:
It is good to be back again preach this morning. For the last several weeks the pastors of the area have been working together on a sermon series. Each week you have heard from a different pastor. And boy, and if your couldn’t be getting any worse, you get me back here again!
As the pastors of the CRC churches in the area have made there way through, we should have heard something about how marriage needs faithfulness, marriage needs servanthood, and marriage needs respect.
But we have to be careful as we go through a series about something like marriage. Marriage is the only relationship worth anything. That’s the message that many single people here in church. Much of what preachers preach and teachers teach is how to relate to a spouse or children or something like that.
People who are married might not realize it, but single people probably do. What would it be like to go to a church service where much of what happens doesn’t really take into consideration where I am at in my relationships? Since I am married, I can only guess, and I want the married people especially to think about what this is like.
It’s probably like if you went to church and for five straight weeks pastors came in to preach on the principles of Christian Coal Mining. What? I’m not a coal miner? What does this have to do with me? Why do I need to spend hours and hours listening to what coal mining is like? No matter how committed your are to Christ, you would feel like an outsider in the congregation.
Well, the deep and mysterious principles of God’s word are applicable in all our lives. They may be applied differently according to our different circumstances.
With that said, today we are going to talk about marriage. Even though God created marriage, even though healthy marriages is a part of healthy churches, societies, and a healthy world, God doesn’t require everyone to be married. In fact, God’s word really ought to put marriage in perspective for us all. Marriage has its time, and place and purpose. We often glorify marriage so much that it becomes something almost immortal in itself. We forget that Marriage has its limit, but our relationship with Jesus Christ is what is forever.
The first part of the frame that we need to put around marriage is to realize that the new creation is for single people. That’s right. The new creation is for single people. You do not enter the new creation for all time with a spouse. In the New Creation, there is no marriage.
The passage that we read for this morning isn’t first of all about marriage, but the example that is used does help us put some frame around our understanding of marriage. The main point of that passage is to assure us of the truth of the resurrection of the dead. You see these Sadducees that come with this strange question of the widow 7-times over with no children, is supposed to show Jesus how ridiculous the idea of resurrection is.
The believed that if there was resurrection, then there would be no way for this woman to be married to just one man like they would have expected in their society. They wanted to prove that Jesus’ teaching about resurrection were just nonsense. But Jesus tells them that their question is just pure nonsense. Jesus says in verse 25, “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
Jesus’ main point is to defend the truth of the resurrection from the dead. But we also hear that the new creation will not have marriage. Marriage needs to have that sort of perspective and often we don’t have that. The state of eternity is singleness. But not in a way that should make us sad about losing a spouse because we won’t be married to them in heaven. Heaven is the state of perfect singleness. It’s the point where, like it says in our passage, we become like the angels. We don’t become angels. But we live forever like the angels. We have a perfect relationship with every other servant of God, like the angels. And, best of all, we have the perfect relationship with Jesus Christ.
What is relationship #1 for you right now? I hope those of you who are married don’t say your marriage relationship. Marriage and singleness should always play second fiddle to the permanent relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s one part of the way we need to frame marriage. Eternity will be so much about our relationship with Christ, that every other earthly relationship will seem tiny. It’s that way not to make you fear that you won’t recognize your best friend or spouse in eternity. It’s that way because Jesus Christ just that unimaginably incredible. The joy of being in the presence of the eternal God is that inexplicably powerful. The new creation of singleness, and complete togetherness, will absolutely blow our minds.
Now what does that change today? If we know that eternity is going to be so much about our relationship with Christ, that it dwarfs all other relationships, and there will be no bonds of marriage in the new creation. If we know that, what difference does it make for what we are doing with our lives today? Shouldn’t it cause us to think again about our addiction to connecting with people? Shouldn’t it cause us to think again about what the most important relationship in our lives are?
Don’t you think that is really at the heart of what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 7? This is one of the most interesting passages in the Bible about singleness and marriage. The heart of the matter comes out in verses 32-35. The passage there says, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. Paul says get married if you must, but the most important thing is always your devotion to the Lord.
That’s the second way we can frame our perspective on marriage. Today, your relationship status with others is always behind your relationship status with Christ.
Are you married? That’s fine. In your marriage are you devoted first to the Lord, and secondly to your spouse and kids. When you make decsions about the way to spend your Sabbath day, Is it about making your spouse and kids happy? Or is it about being devoted completely to your Lord. What about if you are single? How are you spending your time and money, is it on your self and on friends, hoping you might hook up with someone right eventually? Or are you devoting yourself first and completley to the Lord? What about your spiritual gifts and talents? Are you denying them because you are “so busy” connecting with random other people on the internet? Or are you developing as the person Jesus wants you to be by devoting your talents and gifts to Jesus Christ?
That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Single, Divorced, Widowed, Married? Be devoted first of all in this life to Christ?
So marriage needs perspective. We’ve framed marriage with the Biblical perspective. In the New Creation, eternity, marriage will not even exist. In the creation today, as important as we make marriage, it shouldn’t necessarily be the norm. We don’t need to assume that everyone get married in their 20’s settles down and starts a family. The assumption should be, whatever a person is doing ought to be about devoting their life to Jesus Christ, being obedient to him.
So we move from the future, back to today, and you know, even in the original creation, the primary relationship was not the marriage relationship. We know the story of how God saw Adam, saw that he needed someone with him, so God created Eve. We know that God ordained marriage already in the garden. But the relationship between Adam and Eve was not the most important. You remember what happened. Eve tastes eats the fruit from the tree that God says, Don’t eat! She finds that it is some good fruit, so she nicely shares with her husband, who gladly accepts from his beloved wife. What a good couple together, right?
NO! God is disgusted at Adam and Eve. They forgot that the primary relationship was always supposed to be their relationship with God. If they obeyed him, they would have eternal life in the original creation. Life would be perfect.
Marriage always needs to have perspective. Even though you will hear messages about marriage for the next four weeks, we start off this week remembering that marriage has its place. You will be asked over the next several weeks to think about your own marriages. I hope you who are not married can hear life changing truths for single life as well. But for this week we begin by putting marriage in the proper frame. It was, is and always shall be secondary to the relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since that is true, how is that truth going to affect your life this week and in the weeks ahead? Take time not just here and now, but thoughout your life to evaluate your relationships. Are you making more of them then you do of your relationship with Christ? How about your perspective on marriage, have you made more of it than ought to be? Let God’s word encourage you to make your relationsihp with Jesus Christ the first in your life. No matter what. That’s way God intended it from the beginning to today and it will be that way throughout eternity.
This is God’s will from his Word. All God’s people say, AMEN.
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984