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Family Life - Part Six

 

Good Morning Family,

It's so good to see all of you here today.


In continuing our series Family Life, I'll be talking about
Understanding Marriage and Finding the Right Partner

'Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall direct your path. Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones."

The foundation for a lasting marriage is understanding and obedience of God’s plan. This involves four important concepts as the couple works together to build the family in the beautiful way that God intended. These concepts are companionship, spending time, commitment, making a decision, covenant, a pledge or vow, and communication, our expression.

In our culture today, little advice is given to the groom and bride about joining their lives in the most intimate human relationship ever designed. Since God ordained marriage, He approves of it because He designed it, He gives examples and guidelines in His Word.


God designed and sanctified marriage as the basis of all society. God saw that Adam was lonely, so He made him a partner and brought her to him.


The need for companionship is first felt, while we are still involved in the family unit of our parents. Have you ever been to a family gathering, in the middle of cousins, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, and still felt entirely alone?

That is because God has placed a need for the companionship of one special person inside each of us. It is both a natural and universal feeling. When we realize this is from God, it helps us deal with the need.
A companion is “a person who goes with or accompanies another, someone who shares another's experiences, whose company one enjoys” according to Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary.

According to a
Focus on the Family Internet article by Derek Scotton on
"The Covenant of Marriage,” companionship involves the following:
Unity of purpose;
Unity of thoughts;
Unity of efforts;
Unity of bodies, in marriage only.
The Bible speaks of both the man and the woman as a companion in marriage. 

Malachi 2:14 speaks of the woman as the companion.
Proverbs 2:16-17 describes the husband as the companion.

One important thing to remember about biblical marriage is the meaning of “commitment.” Marriage was never meant to be primarily a “love match” or sexual intimacy, but a pattern or picture, of Christ and His relationship to His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25-33 

If the Bible was talking only about the physical union of a man and a woman when it spoke of marriage, why is there so much reference to fornication? Would this not rather be called some type of loose marriage? Why mention adultery? “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is a straightforward commandment. If sexual relations alone meant “marriage,” then adultery would be called bigamy, at least in some form.

When God brought the woman to the man, He intended a physical joining ,“the two became one flesh.” It is cheapened when it is not confined to marriage. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 makes it clear that the physical union of the man and woman is a special and important part of a marriage, but it is not the most important part.

Marriage was used by God to symbolize the depth of His commitment to Israel found in
Isaiah 62:4-5; Jeremiah 31:32. Since commitment is “a continuing obligation, promise, or pledge” as defined in Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language), it must be kept.
 
Commitment is not a trap.
Say that with me,
Commitment is not a trap!

Commitment is not a trap, it is actually a safety net! 

As we look at a biblical perspective of marriage, the critical word is not love but commitment: a commitment of life. In a Christian marriage and we should expect no less, there must first exist a total commitment to Jesus Christ and His perfect will.

Only after this commitment with God is sealed can I, as a Christian minister, be satisfied that these two people can effectively commit themselves to one another.
It is critical to understand that God, not man, designed marriage. In the quiet of the Garden of Eden, before evil had touched the world, God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. He made a partner suitable for him, two persons complimenting and corresponding to one another, and established the rite of marriage.

We must emphasize the importance of what will take place in the uniting of these two persons to our youth! After Christ, marriage is the foundation of home life and social order and must remain so until the end of time. It was sanctioned and honored by our Lord Jesus Christ. So it happens that "a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31 

Prayer and Bible reading must be a vital part of preparation for marriage.
When they feel God leading them toward one another, they need to pray diligently to be sure that this feeling is from God.
They should ask God to reveal any hidden trouble with the other person involved.
Because nothing is hidden from God, and He can reveal what needs to be known prior to marriage!
They should ask God to help them understand the commitment they are about to make.
They should understand that this is not “trial and error.” There is no “multiple choice” involved.
They have one opportunity, and if they fail, their whole life and the lives of the children will be forever affected. They should pray together specifically for God’s direction in their lives, even if it means not getting married.

Just think for a moment, about the words spoken at most wedding ceremonies:
“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

These words, though spoken often, seldom are meant sincerely. Divorce is so prevalent worldwide that the institution of the family is threatened.
Can this be prevented? If so, how can we prevent this?
Just as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Before marriage, the couple should make sure their reasons for marrying are the right ones. They should start by making sure the one they have chosen for a life partner is in line with God’s pattern and design.

PARTNER HUNTING—THE BIBLE WAY
A common foundation of life is needed, Genesis 24:3-4
Couples will not have exact ideas, no two humans ever do, but there should be some basis of mutual agreement about everyday living:
Intellectual, the importance and level of education and experience.
Social, at least some understanding of their part in their community and family.
Physical, the principles of appearance.
Spiritual, a common understanding and love for the things of the Spirit.
This is vital to sharing the deepest oneness possible between two humans, as they are one with God.
  
God must be involved in the choice of a life partner, Genesis 24:6-8
If God was concerned about Isaac, certainly He is concerned about the choices His children make today. He is looking out for their best interests and waiting for them to talk to Him.
What did Abraham’s servant do to be sure that God was involved in his choice? He prayed!
Before he ever saw the girl.

Many mistakes are made in marriage because couples never talk to God.
They begin the engagement process, and prayer never even enters the picture.
They use custom and culture to determine if they “think” the marriage will work out.
They check their financial condition to see if they can “afford” to marry.
They look at each other to see if they "like the appearance" of their partner.
Prayer is left out of the process of deciding if this is God’s choice for their marriage partner.
Couples would do well to follow the example of Abraham’s servant and pray, pray, pray.

While it's true, life partners should look good to one another. This however, involves more than the outward appearance, but includes actions and character!
There is an old saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Different cultures view “beauty” in different ways, but whomever one chooses to live with for the rest of his life should be someone he can at least stand to look at and enjoy being around.

Life partners should be morally pure:
In modern society, some cultures claim that it is almost impossible to find a young lady who is pure. What about the young men? Are they supposed to play around with every young girl or woman they desire and then come to the marriage claiming to be the spiritual “head”?
Staying pure is an important part of preparation for marriage. It is vital to the mutual respect and love needed between two people.

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Galatians 5:19-21 

God forgives sin, but the consequences of that sin, injury from abortion, children born out of wedlock, disease from drug use or alcohol, mistrust because of repeated wrong conduct, etc may be dealt with for the remainder of your life. It takes a long time to build someone’s confidence in you, and only one failure to break it. This is especially true in marriage. Research has proven that those who partake in sexual activity before marriage are more likely to have an affair after marriage. That is why it is so important to teach and train our youth to avoid immorality. They will need the power of God to help them, but it is possible; and a godly example in the home will help a lot.

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 

There are other works of the flesh besides sexual acts. One who partakes of one or more of these “works of the flesh” can find forgiveness and hope, but how much better it is to have never experienced these sins.
Preparation for marriage begins from childhood, as children are taught that their bodies are the temples of the living God. They should learn how to “possess their vessel in sanctification and honor.” Parents should be mindful of the dangers of childhood curiosity and train their children accordingly.

Parents should be involved in the marriage decision:
In Genesis 24 the parents of Isaac and Rebekah were an important part of their marriage. Abraham started the process and gave specific guidelines to his servant for choosing Isaac’s wife. Rebekah’s family also played a major role, and they were consulted about every decision.
Culture and tradition are different today, but this principle cannot be overlooked if a couple wants a peaceful and profitable marriage. The man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. However, this is a much easier process if he has given his parents the opportunity to get to know and approve of his bride. Parents need to know that their judgment is respected and that their children desire their blessing. 

The decision to marry involves God’s timing:
Right timing is critical. The first thing for the couple to remember is, “Don’t be in a hurry.” Many times, they pray and God answers, and then they jump into marriage too quickly. The first time Abraham’s servant prayed, God answered exactly as the servant had requested, Genesis 24:19.

But the servant still waited and watched in verse 21.
Even with his prayer answered positively, the servant wanted to check more important things. Who was she? Is she of the tribe of my master? Are her parents willing to give her to my master’s son? What if they don’t agree?

Often, when God gives one “yes” answer, a couple thinks this means everything is fine. Openness to God’s leadership is needed here, and most people do not take time to even think about this. The couple should talk to each other. Spend time together in prayer and Bible study.

Get to know each other in everyday situations such as work or family gatherings.
How does he/she treat elders?
What attitude does he/she have toward children and those less fortunate?
Is he/she in submission to those in authority in their life?
Is he/she a person of integrity and honesty?
Is he/she concerned with the welfare of others, or just their own interests?

The answers to these questions will reveal much about the character of the other person. They will help determine whether or not the couple even likes one another. If they choose to skip over this area of “getting to know” one another before the wedding, it can lead to disaster in marriage. There is an old song that fits this principle. The first two lines go something like this:
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you; Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.”
The time before marriage is special for two people who plan to live the rest of their lives together. It should be carefully considered and enjoyed.

The other side of the timing issue involves action. Only when the couple is sure their marriage is God’s will should they get married, knowing that God will be a part of their life together, as long as they allow Him to lead them.

God’s will is the foundation of a proper marriage. Isaac loved Rebekah after they were married in Genesis 24:67. It would have been a bit difficult to love her before, since he had never seen her. This is not our cultural way, but it does give a better understanding of God’s plan. When God has led a couple in the choosing of each other, He will not leave them unable to love one another. God is love, and His way of loving is the best and most wonderful love of all. This is the biblical basis for marriage. 

Gary Chapman in Toward a Growing Marriage” says it like this:
“The Christian should get married because he or she is deeply convinced that this marriage is the work of God, that God in His infinite wisdom has brought the couple together and intends that they live their lives in union with each other and with Him.”
If a couple is already married and did not know God’s plan for marriage when they wed, it is never too late to talk to God about their marriage. He will take them right where they are and help them grow into His best; but they have to desire His help and be willing to be changed into His image. God’s work on something as personal and intimate as marriage begins in the mind. He can and will transform the prayer’s mind until he/she is “made into His image.” 

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:2


In closing.....

Using this Old Testament story of how a bride was chosen for Isaac as a guide for finding a partner does not mean that you should send your servant to choose the bride as Abraham did. Most people do not have servants, and this is not the way marriage is worked out culturally in most parts of the world.

This Old Testament example of how a partner was chosen has some important principles in it, which, if followed, will make it easier to obey the New Testament guidelines.
God loves us all. In His wisdom and care for us, He developed the institution of marriage. He intended for this to be a beautiful and blessed part of life on earth. Let us pray and work to train those preparing to marry to be prayerful and careful as they go about finding the right partner. And those of us who are already married should strive to be the right partner following God’s pattern and will.

Marriage isn't just about finding the right person, but also being the right person.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you:

The Lord make His face to shine upon you
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you;
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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