INTRO: God has thoughtfully given us so many good gifts. It was James who reminded us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.... (Jas 1:17). Perhaps our thoughts would go to the many spiritual blessings He has showered on His children. And that sort of thinking is very appropriate. But my thoughts this morning are of another sort of gift from God. It is the gift of marriage. For some of us, however, marriage has not worked out to be a gift - we have felt pain and tragic disappointment in marriage. Still, I want to affirm and to assure that your marriage can be great.
I. BUT IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE IT SO
A. Biblical marriage involves a man and a woman: husband and wife
1. so, we are dealing with two personalities and all that entails
2. suddenly, one person living a single life must make an enormous transition to living with another person in married life
3. Eph 5:31 reminds us they two shall be one flesh
B. Thus, husband and wife must work at it to make the marriage great
1. somehow, the words of Eph 5:22 must be implemented such that the I can become the we ... or, even the you
2. each spouse must be devoted to the other - anything less is dangerous
3. such devotion subjugates everything else - jobs, hobbies, relationships, etc. - to ones spouse!
II. BUT YOU MUST COMMIT TO GODS PLAN
A. Note Mt 19:3-8 - Jesus insists that Gods people commit to Gods plan!
1. having forsaken His plan resulted in tragedy in the homes of Israel
2. Gods plan, then? one man and one woman for life!
3. such commitment implies marital fidelity without which the plan does not work as God intended
B. Ps 127:1 - But His plan includes roles, values and such
1. commitment to Christian values and understanding roles of husband and wife are so important to a great marriage
2. scripture frequently addresses these issues - learn to listen to it
3. and both spouses must commit to His plan
III. BUT YOU MUST LEARN TO FORGIVE AND COVER
A. In marriage there are so many opportunities for hurt, disappointment, etc.
1. how we deal with those things will have much to do with quality of marriage
2. Im afraid that too many keep their list of hurts caused by the other
3. is that the way people who love each other and who are Christian people behave?
B. Col 3:13 - Note the forbearing ... more forbearing, less forgiving!!!
1. 1 Pet 4:8 - I always have the choice of forbearing, covering, overlooking
2. one of the human problems with this has to do with our not feeling vindicated until someone has asked forgiveness ... so things just simmer and seethe
3. Prov 19:11 - this absolutely must be practiced to have a great marriage
IV. BUT YOU MUST LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
A. Note that communicate has a relationship to commune
1. commune speaks of a depth of relationship ... note 1 Cor 10:16
2. essential to communing is togetherness, fellowship ... and inherent in this togetherness is communication
3. human beings are blessed with the faculty of speech and depth of communicating
B. Communicating requires interest, time, effort, listening ...
1. over the years, I have kept coming back to Eph 4:29
2. especially in marriage must communicating minister grace unto the hearer
3. husband and wife must be engaged in the communion of communication - and I would suggest that both read Biblical passages and good secular materials which assist with beneficial, wholesome communicating
V. BUT YOU MUST KEEP NEGLECT FROM YOUR RELATIONSHIP
A. Neglect grows from carelessness
1. I would guess that neglect is rarely intentional
2. we become so busy, so fragmented, so weary that we just let the important things slip a bit ... and, little by little, neglect sets in
3. many a good marriage has found its way into deep trouble because of the neglect of one spouse toward the other
B. Do not begin to take each other for granted!
1. do you pray for your spouse every day?
2. do you often do some small, significant thing for your spouse?
3. do you take time for each other ... real, committed time?
CLOSE: I continue to believe that any marriage, no matter the number of anniversaries, can be great ... but, as I said at the very beginning, it takes two to make it so.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 August 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)