Faithlife Sermons

The Purpose of Marriage

By God's Design   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The purpose of marrage is to help one another become our new creation selves.

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I. Introduction

The Bible begins with a wedding, the marriage of the first humans, Adam and Eve. The Bible ends with a wedding, the marriage of the Lamb and the Church, when heaven and earth collide and humankind once again lives and walks before the presence of God himself. Marriage is not a human institution. It is of God’s design.
Marriage is an incredibly important image in the Bible and an incredibly important event in our lives. However, the essence and purpose of marriage has been in confusion for more than a century, especially in Western culture. Some may point to the issue of same-sex marriage and say, “This marks the downfall of marriage,” but in reality the essence and purpose of marriage has run off-track long before that.
The purpose of marriage in particular is what we’re looking at this morning. In today’s world, marriage is often seen as merely a transaction of services: husband and wife give one another social status, financial security, or sexual pleasure. If ever the costs outweighs the benefits, or if you start putting in more than you’re getting out, the marriage is no longer fulfilling its purpose of providing individual satisfaction, so it’s time to look elsewhere.
Marriage is sometimes seen as a vehicle for self-fulfillment or self-realization. We look for someone who will support our goals in life, our values, our lifestyles. If our spouse asks for change or for us to sacrifice any of these areas of our lives, the marriage is no longer fulfilling its purpose of promoting and supporting my dreams, so it’s time to look elsewhere.
Even in Christian culture, we miss the purpose of marriage. How many young Christians fret over and rush to get married because they’ve been told directly and indirectly that marriage is the ultimate source of happiness and fulfillment. Marriage is the gateway to a lifetime of joy and bliss. All one needs in life is a someone to love and be loved by. And when the marriage isn’t always sunny, isn’t always easy, and your partner begins looking more and more, dare I say, human, marriage is no longer fulfilling its purpose, so its time to look elsewhere.
None of these purposes are satisfying nor durable. If marriage is of God’s design, than surely the purpose is more stable and satisfying than any of these options. So this morning we’re going to look at the biblical purpose for marriage, and what we see from Scripture is that the purpose of marriage is to help one another become our New Creation selves.

II. See and know the flaws and blemishes.

A) Marriage brings you into the closest, most inescapable relationship possible among people.

1) In marriage you are forced to deal with the flaws and sins of another.

a) : There is a profound unity in marriage.

i) “You are my bone and flesh” and “hold fast” is covenantal language.
A covenant is a legal, binding commitment between two or more parties. The relationship in a covenant is more important than the individual members.

b) : There is a profound intimacy in marriage.

b) : There is a profound intimacy in marriage.

i) “Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” and “they shall become one flesh” is language unparalleled in Scripture to describe the intimacy to be found in marriage.

c) The combination of unity and intimacy in the marriage relationship means that you are forced to deal with each other’s flaws and sins.

i) Illustration: Melanie and I’s different outlooks on how events will unfold.
My optimism often led us to make rash, unwise decisions without fully addressing the consequences, whereas Melanie’s pessimism would lead us making decisions based on anxiety, fear, and we’d miss out on a good opportunity.

2) Your spouse is more keenly aware of what is wrong with you than anyone else ever has been.

No one is as inconvenienced and hurt by your flaws as is your spouse.

a) Others have seen and been affected by these flaws and sins of yours. However, given the flexibility in your other relationships, you may not have had to come to grips with them.

Others have seen and been affected by these flaws and sins of yours.

i) Parents, siblings, roommates have all lived with you and thus have shared some aspects of the intimacy of marriage.
But, unlike in marriage, you could easily escape their criticisms by claiming they are biased or mistaken, or you could simply offer a vague promise to do and be better in the future.
ii) Friends have shared some aspects of the intimacy of marriage.
But unlike marriage, it is unlikely that your confronters keep up their confrontations, and so you haven’t really had to admit the severity of the problem.

b) However, given the flexibility in your other relationships, you may not have had to come to grips with them.

b) No one is as inconvenienced and hurt by your flaws as is your spouse.

i) What are mild problems for other relationships, are often major problems for your spouse.
Holding a grudge can cause problems for a friendship, but in a marriage it can kill the relationship.
Pornography can cause problems among friends, but in a marriage it can become a black hole in the relationship.

B) You must cultivate a marriage where sins and weaknesses are seen, known, and spoken to.

1) Marriage reveals your weaknesses, it doesn’t create them.

a) Illustration:

a) Marriage brings out the worst in you that has been there all along.

i) Illustration: My struggle with negative emotions.
This erroneous perspective on emotions was there before the marriage, but it wasn’t until being married to another human being who allowed herself to be angry, sad, and afraid did I have to actually face my faults.

b) This is actually a blessing.

i) The only flaws that you are enslaved to are the ones that you are blind to.
How can you become your new creation self if you assume you’re already pretty close to perfect as is?
How can you see the flaws that you’ve become numb or blind to unless someone reveals them to you?

2) Revelation helps to free you from your sins.

a) If you are blind to your sin, it has control over you.

i) On the cross, the grave consequences of our flaws, sins, and weaknesses are displayed.
i) Illustration: If you are unaware that you are a perfectionist, then that unseen tendency to be critical of others and especially yourself will unwittingly control your interactions with others. You’ll constantly find fault in others. You’ll feel superior, and yet at the same time your core belief that you yourself are never good enough will cloud your judgment of how others perceive you.
1. Our response to the cross is not, “How dare you show me that!”

b) Bringing sins to light is the first step towards freedom.

i) The cross is the ultimate revelation of our sinfulness, and the basis for our freedom.
On the cross we see the grave consequences of our sins and weaknesses.
Recognizing our need for saving and utter dependency on Christ is the beginning of our sanctification.
: Marriage is connected to this process of Christ sanctifying us all, washing us of all spots and wrinkles, some that we knew about, and others that were made known to us along the way.
: Faithful are the wounds of a friend
: Exhort one another every day that non of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
: confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

3) Liberation can only happens when spouses are given the right to speak to these sins.

a) Create an environment in the relationship that gives your spouse the right to speak to your sins.

: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

i) : “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
ii) : “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
If this is true for all Christians, how much more true must it be for those who are in Christian marriages?
iii) : “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Show your spouse that you need their help in revealing your faults and weaknesses by confessing them regularly and inviting your spouse to pray with and for you.

III. Give yourself up for the vision of your spouse renewed.

Give yourself up for the vision of your spouse renewed.

A) Christ gave himself up for us so that we could become our new creation selves.

1) Christ’s love is a commitment to our renewed selves.

a) : Jesus did not die for us because we were lovely, but he gave himself up to make us lovely.

a) The goal of Christ’s love is set on the horizon of the New Creation.

i) : Jesus did not die for us because we were lovely, but he gave himself up to make us lovely.

a) : Jesus did not die for us because we were lovely, but he gave himself up to make us lovely.

ii) : “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
iii) Jesus’ forgiveness of our sins was the good work that was begun, but it is not finished. The purpose of Christ’s love will be accomplished only when we are standing before the throne of the Lamb in the New Creation without spot or wrinkle.
Illustration: Melanie and I have purchased a ticket to Hawaii, which is exciting, but it’s a good work begun. We are eagerly looking forward to its completion.
In the same way, the intent behind Jesus giving himself up for the church is so that we, his bride, can become our New Creation selves.

2) The love of Christ is forward looking.

a) Jesus has a vision of our future glory, and everything he does in our lives moves us towards that goal.

i) : By the Spirit’s power, we will put on the “new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
ii) : As Jesus continues to make himself know to us, we are “being transformed into [Christ’s] image from one degree of glory to another.”
iii) : Even in our sufferings, Christ’s work continues, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

c) He gave himself up in love to move us in the direction of who God is making us to be.

iv) In , Jesus accomplishes this work as our Divine Husband, serving as the model for both spouses in marriage. The purpose of marriage is linked to the purpose of the Ultimate Marriage between the Lamb and the Church.

B) Give yourself up to the vision of your spouse renewed.

1) A spouse’s love is a commitment to the other’s renewed selves.

1) The goal of marriage is set on the New Creation.

a) In marriage we get a front-row seat, as we watch God transform our spouse more and more into the likeness of Christ through the Word and the Spirit.

b) In marriage, each spouse should give themself to be a vehicle for that work.

i) Be committed to your spouse’s beauty, honesty, passion for the things of God, boldness, strength of faith, generosity, and give yourself up for their growth in these things.
Beauty
ii) Illustration: Cleaning so that Christ’s love is made known to my wife after a long week.
Boldness
iii) Illustration: Melanie pushing me to go for a walk or exercise during a stressful time.
iv) Illustration: Casting lots for taking the dog out.
Faith
In all of these times, our goal is not to get brownie points, but to make our significant other more whole, that they’d be more satisfied in the Lord.
This is
v) Your goal in marriage is modeled after Christ: to help your spouse become the person that God wants them to be.
No other person or activity should get more of your love, energy, industry, and commitment than your spouse.
: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Family was everything in that time, and to leave it was to set aside the greatest priority for another.
Honest

c) Commitment means giving of yourself even when your spouse is not particularly lovable.

i) Jesus did not look down from the cross on us with a heart filled with admiration and affection; and yet, he gave himself up for us.
ii) C.S. Lewis’ definition of love: “Love is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God.”
Your commitment to your spouse’s holiness is what will keep your marriage going throughout all the ordinary days of life as well as the seasons of strife.
ii)

IV. Love Jesus more than your spouse.

A) You are not naturally good at being married.

1) You are not naturally good at speaking the truth in love.

2) You are not naturally good at putting the needs of others ahead of your own.

3) You are not naturally good at forgiving others or repenting of your own sins.

B) For marriage to work, God’s love must be more foundational to who you are than any other thing, including your spouse.

1) : “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” describing what it means to be “filled with the Spirit.”

2) If you love Jesus more than your spouse, you can serve their needs ahead of your own.

3) If you are filled with God’s love for you, you can be patient, tender, and open with your spouse even with things are not going well in life or in the relationship.

4) The more joy that you get from your relationship with Christ, the more joy you can share with your spouse and family.

C) Therefore, help your spouse love Jesus more than any other thing, including you.

1) If you love Jesus more than your spouse, you can serve their needs ahead of your own.

2) If you are filled with God’s love for you, you can be patient, tender, and open with your spouse even with things are not going well in life or in the relationship.

3) The more joy that you get from your relationship with Christ, the more joy you can share with your spouse and family.

V. Conclusion

What happens at a Christian wedding ceremony is leaps and bounds more stunning and beautiful than we at first recognize. Many times we think we were at our most beautiful on our wedding day, but I hope we see that that is not the case. What’s happening at a wedding ceremony is a celebration of what’s on the horizon. One day, the groom and bride won’t be standing before a priest, but they’ll be before the throne of the Lamb. And they’ll see one another spotless, without blemish or wrinkle, perfect in every way. And they hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You’ve spent years lifting one another up. Praying for one another. Sacrificing for on another. Rebuking and pushing each other towards me. Confronting and hugging and forgiving and repenting. And now look at you.

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The goal of marriage is to help one another become our New Creation selves. We won’t get there in this life, but we are confident that he who has begun this good work, Jesus the Divine Husband, will see it through to completion. And the beautiful part of it all is that you get to be a part of that work for your spouse. And when we stumble and fall down on the job, we know that there is grace upon grace, which the Lord loves to lavish upon us, as he works in us while we work for our spouses. So be honest and open, be forgiving, repent of your sins, and lift each other up to the Lord without ceasing. Let’s Pray.
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