I DoPastor Wes Aarum - August 27, 2017
Our fuel for faithfulness in marriage is found in God's faithfulness to us.
Community Group Study Notes
- What do we mean when we say that God is faithful to us? How do you know that He is?
- Regardless of your marital status, what does faithfulness to God look like in your life?
- What is one action step you can take in response to Sunday’s message (or in response to this entire “I Do” Series)?
You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Yeah, that's good stuff, man. That is really good. A quick recap: The series that we've been in entitled "I Do" and today is the final installment. The title of the message, the talk today is "I Did". My name is Wes Aarum, I'm the College and Young Adult pastor here at The Chapel, and I am so excited to be able to share this truth. It's an honor to be able to speak God's truth any time and to be able to do it here today. It's awesome, because here's what I believe, I believe the Bible tells us the truth. That one verse from here, one word from God can absolutely change our life, it can change the trajectory of our life, can turn things completely around. And the truth we're going to look at today has that power to transform us from the inside out and effect all of our relationships.
But here's what I know, you've got to hear from God. The great news is that God arranged the details of your life to put us right here together right now, to put you in front of that screen right now. Because He has something to say to you. See, He knows your life. He knows what's going on inside your heart, your head, your relationship world. He knows your future and with all that understanding He wants to speak to you personally with that knowledge, because God loves us one at a time. He saves us one at a time, He speaks to us one at a time. So the only thing is, will we listen to Him? So I've been praying like crazy that you will, because even though our time is brief together, it can make an enormous difference in your life and in my life if we'll hear from God today.
So I'm going to invite you how I invite our college students to do every time I get a chance to speak to them. I'm going to invite you to ask God to speak to you. So would you please bow your heads with me? Close your eyes just for a moment. Out of respect for those around you. Just silently ask God to speak to you. Silently just say something like this: "Dear God, you've got my attention. Speak to me and I will respond."
God, we bow our heads and our hearts before you and acknowledge that you are the King of the universe. Jesus you have the words of life. You are the One that we need. So Lord, even though our time is brief, may it matter in each or our lives, give us ears to hear, hearts to respond and you get all the glory because You alone are worth it. In your name we pray these things, Christ. Amen.
If you have your Bibles, please open up to the book of Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 5. This text that I'm telling you about is not going to be on any of the screens, but I want you to see it in front of you. So in your Bible that you brought with you or the Bible that's been provided in front of you or an electronic device. Or if you don't have any of those things, and you see somebody with a Bible get close to them, borrow their Bible and share with them. That's totally cool, too. Cause like I say this won't be on the screen, we'll be there in just a few minutes.
Okay, so as we get started, let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever participated in a marriage ceremony? Let me see your hands. Participated, okay. How many of you have ever attended a marriage? Okay. How many of you know what a marriage ceremony is? Okay, I just wanted to make sure that everybody gets a chance to vote, okay? Some of you voted twice, bonus for you, okay.
Alright, I'm the College Young Adult pastor. I've had a chance and the privilege to do a lot of marriages during my lifetime. And you know what I'm talking about. You're sitting there, or maybe you're standing on stage and here's the bride and the groom and they're looking lovingly into each other's eyes. And the pastor, which will be played by me in this scenario, you know, he's standing before them, alright? And they speak these words to each other. Have you ever heard them speak anything, any vows like this: I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse and I promise to love you until you annoy me. Or until you make me mad. I promise to be selfish and bullheaded and completely self-absorbed. I promise to point out to you your every little fault and to do so very often. Finally, I promise to make sure that our marriage continues to spiral downward into a complete mess so that one day we will land together in a pit of disaster and utter despair, so help me God!
Have you ever heard that before? I hope not, right? Cause that like, that's a mess. That's a disaster. If you're the one dude who's sitting there going "man, that's cool" cause you're just being real and authentic. Punch yourself in the face, okay? Would you do that right now? I say that in the love of Jesus, man! Do it, cause that's nuts.
Nobody does that, nobody stands here and makes those kinds of promises, right? You've never heard that because nobody does that. The vows that we hear go along the lines of this, right? I take you to be my wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. To love, to cherish, 'til death do us part. So help me God. Those are the kind of vows that we're used to hearing at a wedding. And as you take those vows and kind of put them all together. They can be all summed up under one word, one heading. It would be this: Faithfulness. They're promising to be faithful to each other and that's where we're going today.
Now listen, right up front let me just say I understand, there's a lot of different stories in the room today. Every single one of us has a story in terms of our relationship with the world. You're not married, you are married, you were married, everyone brings something to the table. But this is our goal, this is our target, I want to tell you right up front that when we walk out of here, we will have this ringing in our heads, ringing in our hearts and being lived out in our life, and it's this. From today forward, I can choose faithfulness. From today forward, I can choose faithfulness in my relationship with God, in my relationship with other people, and in my relationship with my spouse. In my marriage, I can choose faithfulness.
So to make sure that we're all on the same page, let's get a working definition of faithfulness so we understand what we're talking about. If you go to the dictionary it says this: "Faithfulness" - is strict or thorough in the performance of duty; true to one's word, promises, vows; steadfast in affection or allegiance. That's what faithfulness is. I think we all would agree that we understand that and we said yeah, that's what faithfulness is.
Now, as you start to step in and start to read the Bible, you know what you find? Faithfulness is a big deal to God. It's not a side issue. It's not over in the corner somewhere. Faithfulness is a big deal to God. I'm going to give you three reasons why that is. Three reasons why faithfulness is a big deal to God. Reason number one is this. Faithfulness is what God requires. Faithfulness is what God requires. It's not an option, it's not a hey, I hope you consider this, cause this is a really good idea. I'm God and I think I have a good idea. You might want to check this out. Nope. It is what He requires.
Take a look, just two verses for you, two verses. First, in 1 Corinthians: "Now is is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." A trust is something that's been entrusted to you and everyone of us has been given that. Lots of things. God has entrusted us, right? You have a trust with resources, with opportunity, with time, right? And, specific to our conversation, a marriage. If you're married, you have been entrusted with that and God says I want you to be faithful in that. That's what I require, right?
Look at this next one here in Psalms: "My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me." God says the person who's faithful, that's the one I'm paying attention to. That's the one, you know, who will get to dwell with me. Faithfulness is important to God, and we need to understand that that is what He requires.
Now if we're honest, let's just be honest. If we're really honest it's what we all want, isn't it? Don't we all really want faithfulness? We want faithfulness to characterize our relationships, especially in our marriage. We want to know that our spouse is in this for me and that I'm in this for my spouse. We want to know that. Our souls crave it. And how good of God to command something that He knows that we need and that we desire. He says "I command this. I want you to be faithful."
That is one reason, one of many reasons why the hook-up culture in which we live today is so disastrous and destructive and doesn't work. The continual revolving door of sexual encounters puts faithfulness at the very bottom of the barrel. When we choose to do that, we marginalize the very thing that we need in order to have and experience, fulfilling, satisfying intimate relationships. When we bail on faithfulness we are, listen, we're sowing the seeds of destruction into the very thing we say we care about. And that's never going to go well.
God knows that. He wants something different for us. He wants faithfulness, so much so that He actually wrote it into the original marriage covenant. When Jesus, in just a moment we're going to take a look at what He has to say in regards to marriage. When Jesus talked about marriage, He goes all the way back to the very beginning, because He wants to show us that this is what marriage is to be about. This is the template for marriage. Some people say oh, marriage needs to grow and develop with our culture and everything. God says no, Jesus said no, this is the way it's supposed to be. God's the originator of marriage. He came up with it. This is how it's supposed to look.
So Jesus says this in Matthew: "Haven't you read," he replied, "that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." United, joined together, one flesh, that's covenant language, speaks to a commitment. Contract, covenant, two different things.
You say, what is a covenant? Let me tell you what it's not. A contract is so much of what's happening in our society today, especially when it comes to marriage. A contract says, hey, I will keep up my end of the deal if you keep up your end of the deal. My faithfulness depends on you, and if you're not faithful I'm out, right? That's a contract, that's not what is calling us to. He says marriage, a covenant marriage--one man, one woman and a committed covenant marriage says this: That I will hold up my end of the deal regardless of what you do with your end of the deal, because my being faithful does not depend on you. It depends on me. That's what God wants. That's what He wants. In a covenant marriage, you say this: I'm not going to look for reasons to leave, I'm going to look for reasons to stay because that's what faithfulness does. So God commands, He requires faithfulness because He knows it's what we need and ultimately what we truly want. So faithfulness is a big deal to God and that shows us that He requires it.
Secondly, there's a second reason. Faithfulness is a big deal to God because faithfulness is what God rewards. How awesome is it that God rewards what He commands? God rewards faithfulness. Check this out. Look at this Scripture. "His master replied, "well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" Here's the context, these are the words of Christ. Here's the context. At the end of our lives as Christians, Christ followers, we will stand before Jesus and we will have the privilege of giving an account to Him for how we stewarded our lives. How we used what He gave us. Now we won't have to give an account for our sins, Jesus paid for all that, but we will have the opportunity to give an account for what God entrusted to us. And the measuring stick is faithfulness. Well done good and faithful, not well done good and successful or productive or awesome. On good and faithful service.
You know why that's such amazing, good news for us? That's because so often our lives of faithfulness are lived in the shadows, right? You say no to temptation, nobody's jumping out going "hey, good job, way to go". You go the extra mile for your spouse, many times no one sees it, nobody's applauding you. You're alone in your room and you're praying, you're spending time with God in the Word, nobody's jumping out going, hey, that was a, Pastor Jerry's not popping out from underneath your bed going "that was awesome", right? Because that'd be creepy, okay? And awesome if we think about it right? You're there, you're reading, all of a sudden Pastor Jerry "whoo" you know, come on. That'd be kind of cool. Check your bed tonight, alright. So, just saying, just saying, right? We want that.
Let's be honest. When you look over your shoulder, when you look over your shoulder what kind of a story do you want your marriage to tell? Here's what I think I know about you, because I know this about me. I want it to be a story of faithfulness. I do, I want it to be a story of faithfulness, I'll bet that you do too. Well, I actually have a living real time example of that in my life. And I want to share a glimpse of that with you right now. Would you please look at the screens.
Pastor Wes, Jr: I'm here with my dad, Reverend Wes Aarum, because when I think of faithfulness this is the guy I think of. He's been faithful in his relationship with Christ and his calling, and also, and specifically to our conversation, faithful in his marriage. Dad, first of all, thanks for doing this.
Pastor Wes, Sr: You're welcome.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: Appreciate it. Now Mom and you have been married for sixty years.
Pastor Wes, Sr: That's right. She didn't know it was a life sentence.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: Alright. Sixty years, cause I've never heard that one before. Sixty years. Okay. So, you know, for those of you who don't, those who don't know you, here's a quick resume. You've been a pastor, an evangelist, worked with the Billy Graham Association, you were a president of the Canadian Youth for Christ, you were president of a Bible Conference. And then you moved to New York State and started a youth camp, Circle C Ranch, and now it's in its forty-ninth year. So those are the highlights of Reverend Wes Aarum. So, you and Mom obviously have been through a lot over the past sixty years.
Pastor Wes, Sr: Oh, yes.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: Let's start with how you guys met, real quick.
Pastor Wes, Sr: Alright. I had a buddy come up to me, I was a youth pastor and he said he had dated this nurse, she wouldn't date him any more and asked if I ever went to any hospitals, I said yeah. He mentioned the Deaconess, I said yeah, I'm going to be there next week, would you mind? I said no, he gave me her name, Margaret Stevenson. So, I went there and I did what I had to do. And then I asked a girl where it was, down the line. There were two brunettes talking to each other and this tall blonde in the middle looking at a chart. I couldn't see her face, but I walked up. I said "Hi, I'm looking for Margaret Stevenson". She lifts her head up and looks at me and says, "I'm Margaret Stevenson". For about five seconds I didn't know why I was there. Wow, she effected me. Finally got her to church, and it didn't work out with the other guy, so I said "mind if I try" and I tried and my first attempt was a terrible failure. I asked her to go out to dinner and had a nice Christian concert planned. She asked what night and I said "Friday". She said "oh, I wash my hair that night." And I've never had a girl do that to me. That was it, so I tried one more time. The second time was the crusade in Buffalo and she said "what night?". I said "what night don't you wash your hair?". I got a date. About the third date I told Mom, I said "I think I met her".
Pastor Wes, Jr: So, you knew as early as the third date?
Pastor Wes, Sr: Yeah, because she was so special. She was a sweet Christian. Yeah.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: So, you guys got married. So let's talk about the first, early part of your marriage. You're out in Calgary, Alberta, Youth for Christ. Don't have a lot. And you're going through a lot of different challenges as a married couple. Talk about that.
Pastor Wes, Sr: Alright. Well, we went out to Alberta. We slept on an air mattress in a sleeping bag, cooked on a hot plate. We never had any money to go to a market, so I was out shooting moose, elk, deer. We had so much wild meat we jumped to meet each other when I came home. But your mother really went through some tough times because I was traveling when we first went, we did it together, but once we decided to have you, well then she stayed at home and it was not an easy thing for her. But a woman has to have a love for Jesus to go through what your mother went through. She was amazing. I couldn't have made it without her, I really couldn't have.
Pastor Wes, Jr: So, let's jump to Circle C Ranch, which has become your life work. You came down here, borrowed some money and bought three hundred fifteen acres in the middle of cow country, so to speak, to start a camp. Now that had to be some pretty challenging times for you and Mom.
Pastor Wes, Sr: As the Board Chairman said, he said with your my wife we wouldn't have made it because she was the cook, she was the bookkeeper, she was the nurse, she did everything behind the scenes. I was out raising money, trying to get guys to help build this place and all the rest of it. But I think of one thing, Wes, that really was so interesting. We had a car, a car had a problem and we paid about four hundred-thirty dollars say and seventy-five cents. We put it up on the mantle and I said "Marge, we're serving the Lord, we've got to ask Him to pay it, we don't have the money." That girl, she graduated from Bible School, your mother did, and a girl friend of hers graduated with her and sent a check that time, felt led of the Lord, it was $430.75. She said "Marge, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I have to write it out for this. And both of us, that was better than a million dollars.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: Those are the kind of experiences you guys had.
Pastor Wes, Sr: All the way through building this place and everything. Everything was given to the Lord. "Lord, you've got to do it, you've got to do it." We didn't know how.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: So, it's here, effecting thousands of lives. God has directed you and Mom to do all this, and you've been married sixty years. So, as you look back, you know, talk to us, cause all of us who are going down this path, we're married, want to be married, you know, going in this direction. We want what you have.
Pastor Wes, Sr: Okay.
Pastor Wes, Jr: So, help us. How do we get there?
Pastor Wes, Sr: If they're not married, when you start out, our first date had devotions. I prayed and asked the Lord to bless and after that we had devotions. The thing that we did, Marge and I, we committed ourselves to the Lord, and to each other. We said we were going to let the Lord program our life and everything we did we centered around the Word of God. And your mother was phenomenal on this cause I traveled, moved from Pennsylvania to Alberta, to Ontario, back here. Never once did she ever complain. All she ever said is this, do you have the assurance it's the will of God? I showed her the Scripture. She said when do we move? She never complained. Her whole attitude was living with eternal values in view. That's what she did. And she was a phenomenal mother to you kids.
Pastor Wes, Jr.: Oh, yeah.
Pastor Wes, Sr: Oh, yeah. So I mean, if you want to have a successful marriage you've got to center on the Word of God. You've got to be willing to give in, and you've got to be willing to say "I'm sorry" and men, you need to lead that. We need to let the women know we care, they're special. And try to outdo each other in kindness. "Be ye kind one to another".
Pastor Wes, Jr: So that is how God has helped you guys be faithful for all this time.
Pastor Wes, Sr: And I like what your mother said. She agreed with Billy Graham's wife. Divorce, no, never! Murder, maybe!
Pastor Wes, Jr: Oh, great! Awesome! Well, Dad, thank you. Thanks for the example and the legacy that you've left me and Wayne and so many others. And thanks for being my Dad.
Pastor Wes, Sr: And I couldn't have better sons! Thank God both are in the ministry. And wonderful grandchildren!
Pastor Wes, Jr: Oh man. We did that in one take. And my dad, he's heavily medicated now. But, no, totally kidding. He's 90 years old, and my mom's 86. So yeah, man. Praise God for that, right?
Here's the deal. We look at something like that, and we're like how in the world do we get there? How can we from today forward choose faithfulness? Well the third point we want to look at real quick helps us get there. Third reason faithfulness is a big deal to God is this: faithfulness is what God gives to his Bride. Faithfulness is what God gives to his Bride.
All of us come into this world, we all have a problem, every single one of us. No one is exempt. We are alienated from God. Bible calls it sin. We're sinners by birth, sinners by choice. We have each chosen to say God, no thanks, I'm gonna be in charge of my life. I'm gonna be my own savior. I'll do some good things. I'll tip my hat to you every once in a while. But at the end of the day, it's me. It's not you. I'm in charge. That is sin. And that separates us from God. And that brokenness in that relationship goes all the way down into our very soul. We are spiritually dead, separated from God. And if nothing changes in our lives, when we step off this planet and death. And every single one of us is gonna die.
When we step off this planet and death, if that hasn't changed, we're gonna spend eternity separated from God forever in a place of justice and judgment called hell. People don't like to talk about hell, but when you read the Bible, the Gospels especially - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which are the life and times of Jesus Christ, Jesus talks about hell more than he talks about heaven. Why? Because love is in the warning. He says, I don't want you to go there. I don't want that to happen. But it's reality. Why? Because in order for there to be justice, then there has to be punishment equal to the crime. Our sin is eternal crime against God, because it's an eternal crime against an eternal God, it requires an eternal punishment.
But God doesn't want that for us. And so he launched a rescue mission. John 3:16. Most famous verse in all the Bible tells us, for God so loved, not just sort of loved, so loved the world you, me, so loved the world that He gave His only Son. He says, I'm gonna pursue you with my love. I'm gonna come after you with my love. He gave His only Son. Why? Because somebody had to pay the price for our sin! God's just not going to sweep justice under the rug. He can't just sweep it under the rug. Somebody's got to pay the price. A sinner can't save a sinner. Only Jesus can save a sinner.
And so he came. He lived a perfect life. The life we should have lived. And he died on the cross. And on the cross, he took all of our sin, all the payment, for the payment of sin is death. And he took that for us. He was buried. Two days later, rose from the grave, conquering hell, sin, death. All of it. And he comes to you to me and he offers us this amazing redemption, this amazing salvation that you saw pictured here in baptism today.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever, wide open invitation, no one is exempted, whoever believes in him. Not believes about him. Lots of people believe about God. They believe about Jesus. They believe he's an historical figure. That's not what believing in someone is. You know what that means. When you believe in someone, you believe in what they stand for, what they're all about. You believe in them. You commit. That's the force of that word belief in that verse. Whoever believes in him, whoever surrenders, commits to him, saying Jesus come into my life. Save me. Whoever believes in Him will not perish, will not perish, guaranteed. But will have guaranteed, will have eternal life. Eternal life is a home in heaven. It's a relationship with God. The moment you give your life to Christ, he moves in. Forgives our sin. Gives us a purpose. He satisfies our soul, because only the infinite can satisfy the infinite hole that we have in here. And he says, now you've become new.
And one of the new things that God declares about us is that we are his Bride. If you're a Christ follower, we are referred to in the Bible as the Bride of Christ. God has given us marriage to give us understanding a glimpse of the intimacy that we as followers of Christ can have with him, and the faithfulness that we get to experience from him.
Ephesians chapter five. You have it in front of you. Start with verse 22. It says this, wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ as is head of the church, jis body of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church. That's the kind of faithfulness he says I want you to see as a picture in marriage. My faithfulness to you. As Christ loved the church and gave himself, gave himself up for us.
God doesn't need you. It's true. Doesn't need you. You bring nothing to the table. I bring nothing to the table, but my brokenness and my junk and my mess. So do you. It's greater than that. He wants us. He wants you. That's why Jesus gave himself. It's incredible. Loved the church, and gave himself up for her. Verse 26, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present to her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body. But he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.
Marriage is to give us a glimpse of the faithfulness that God wants us to know that he has towards us. You want to know one of the vows, one of the wedding vows that God gave to you the day you stepped into a relationship with him, the day you said yes to Jesus? You want to hear one of those vows are? Hebrews 13:5. I have it for us here in the amplified version, which kind of gives us a fuller understanding his original meaning the Greek text of the New Testament. It says this. He God himself has said, I will not in any way, there's no possible way, God says, fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you. Walk away from you.I'm never gonna get tired of you. Nor let you down. I'm never going to relax my hold on you. Assuredly not! That is one of the wedding vows that God made to you the day you stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ. That's the kind of faithfulness we're talking about here.
And if you're going through a tough time right now, and you're like my situation seems to be telling me a different story. God says, that's not what's most real. My truth is what's most real. Look at. Satan wants you to look at the wrong things. That's been his strategy from the beginning, right? Adam and Eve back in the garden. Unbelievable place that they have. Right? They walk with with God in person. Every need is met, right? They have an incredible marriage relationship. The Bible says they're naked and unashamed. Come on with that, right? I mean it's amazing what's going on there. And yeah, over the billions of yeses that God has given to them, there's one no. It's a tree. He says, don't eat of it. Don't eat of it. Just one no. It's for their good. What does Satan do? He comes along, he tells him hey look at that. See that? Look at it. He gets Eve to focus on that one no, right there. And when he gets her to focus on that one no, she becomes blind to all the other yeses. And when she focuses on that one no. There's Satan right there, going hey see that? You know why God doesn't want you to have that? Because he knows it's the best. Proves he doesn't love you. And she bit, man. And we know the fallout from that.
He's doing the same thing in your life. If you're in a tough spot right now, and Satan is just right there going, see this proves that God doesn't love you. It's not true. God says, listen, I have got you. And even though maybe you don't understand this right now, you need to understand this - is that this is not what is most true about you. My word is what is most true. And this is temporary. Satan wants us to make temporary our permanent. He wants us to make eternal permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. And God says no. Step back. Look at all my yeses, and understand that even in the midst of your situation, I'm not letting you go. I'm the God who hung the stars. I hung the planets. I uphold everything by the word of my power. I'm up to something here in your life. And even when you can't see it, you got to understand that you can trust me. Because I'm the one who says this is where the water stops, and I'm never going to let you go. And that, that kind of faithfulness will impact your faithfulness. Will impact my faithfulness.
Look at the verse that starts this whole series in Ephesians 5 verse 21. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submit to one another. Be who you need to be one another. Why? Because your spouse deserves it. Nope. Because of him. Out of reverence, out of holy awe, terror, joy, excitement, over who Christ is and what he has done. I am faithful to my wife Connie, not because of her, not because she deserves it, because of him. Because he deserves it. She is faithful to me not, because I deserve it, because there's lots of times I don't. She is faithful to me because of Christ, because he deserves it. And when we understand his faithfulness to us, and it starts to get on us, it'll change you from the inside out. It'll change you, absolutely, totally, it'll change you.
It brings us to this truth right here. Our fuel for faithfulness in marriage is found in God's faithfulness to us. Our fuel for faithfulness in marriage, the horsepower, energy, strength of faithfulness in marriage is found in God's faithfulness to us. When God's faithfulness gets ahold of you, when you become so overwhelmed and blown away by his faithfulness and his love for you, it's gonna change how you operate in your marriage.
One final story to drive this home, because man, this got me. This is truth. The Apostle Paul wrote to a group of believers in the city of Corinth. They were called Corinthians. And so that's where we get our two letters in the Bible - 1st Corinthians and 2nd Corinthians. And tucked away at the end of chapter six, 1st Corinthians is this verse right here. It says this. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
The moment the Corinthians read that, instantly they had a picture to couple with that. Corinth was a mess. It was the city that well, it was legendary for its immorality and debauchery. I mean it was gross immorality of the highest form. It had had that temple of Aphrodite. At that temple, they employed 1,000 prostitutes as priestesses, so people could go to the temple, engage in some of the most base and disgusting sexual immoral acts as a way of worship to their god.
Corinth was also the first century center, first century hub for sex trafficking all over the Roman Empire. In fact, right in the center of town there was a slave market. Women and girls were just shuffled through, they were hustled through there like cattle. It was disgusting and despicable. Just about any day you could go down to that slave market, bid as a guy, bid on a woman, on a girl. Take her home, make her your slave. Totally legal. You know what else you could do? It was unheard of. You know what else you could do? You go down, buy a woman, set her free. It's totally legal. Unheard of, but you could do it.
When Paul says you're bought at a price, instantly they understood. They had a picture for that. And as we close, I want you to walk with me if you will. In your imaginations, I want you to lean into this. I want you to imagine you and I we're going to Corinth, first century Corinth. And we're going down a side street. And as we're walking closer to the center of town, we hear, man, it's loud, it's noisy, it's raucous. Something is going on. And as we turn the corner, it's like it slaps us in the face. Laid out right in front of us, overwhelming our sights, our senses, our hearing, our smells is a slave market. It's beyond sickening. It's like somebody sucker-punched us in the stomach. See what is going on in front of you. It just turns you.
But we don't go there alone that day. Because God Himself actually comes with us. He comes with us. And we watch as the next item is put up four bid. It's a woman. And as we looked through her tattered hair, we see eyes. And those eyes etched in there. She's known only the abuse, and the pain of prostitution and rape. It's all she's ever known. She's an absolute mess. She has nothing to offer anyone. She looks awful. She smells worse.
And yet, through the shouting and the cursing of the auctioneer, God bids on her. He purchases her. He brings with him the currency of the life and the blood of his own Son, Jesus. And as he buys her, he takes her off and takes her over to the side. And undoes her bindings that have cut into her wrists. And then He says, you're free. You're free. She's stunned. And as she stands there, hardly believing what she's just heard, an unexpected twist that no one sees coming takes place. God reaches down, takes her hand, yes. He looks her in the eye, and with a voice pungent with emotion, he says, you are the one I want. You are the one I've come for. You are my beloved. And today I'm making you my bride. And he steps back, and he transforms her into something wonderful and beautiful and whole.
Here's the thing. I'm that woman. I'm that woman. And if you're a believer, you're that woman. That is how unbelievable and scandalous is the grace and the love and faithfulness of God. And if you're here, and you're not a believer, this is what is waiting for you. It's what God has for you if you reach out and accept him. That's the kind of faithfulness that God has for you as a believer every single moment, every single day, every single now.
And that is why when we allow that to grab a hold of us, that is why from today forward, I can choose to be faithful, because he is faithful to me. His faithfulness impacts our faithfulness. We can be faithful because he is faithful. And that is the stuff that will make our marriages, enable them to go the distance. To take them all the way from "I do" to "I did". That's the truth.
Let's pray. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed just for a moment. Thank you so much for your kind attention, man. I really appreciate that. Here's the thing. If you prayed and you ask God to speak to you, I believe absolutely he's good to his word. That means he has. So what are you going to do with that? What has God spoke to you about, and what do you need to do about it?
If you're here, and you're a believer, you know you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And what did God say to you? What has he spoken to you about? What has he reminded you of? What does he called you to? And respond to him. He speaks to us because He loves us. Respond to him.
Final question. If you're here today, and you've never invited Christ into your life. Can I just tell you, that's a singular reason why God has brought you here today? A singular most important reason. It's cause he wants you to know that there is a God, that you matter to him, and that you can know him today. You can know you're going to heaven today. You can step into a relationship with this incredible God today. His terms are simple. Demand nothing, surrender everything. It's not about hey, I'm a good person. I do this. The standard is never good or good enough. The standard is perfect. That's why we need Jesus. But within Jesus, it's given us eternal life.
If you're here today, and you want to give your life to Christ. Let me ask you, if you died tonight, do you know you go to heaven? Cause you can. You can know. You can know that you know that you know. You can know you have a relationship with God. If that is you, if as I've been speaking it's just like somebody's putting their finger right in the middle your chest going, hey man, that's you. That is not me. I don't have that ability. That's God's Spirit. He's talking you because he loves you. Will you respond to him?
If you're here, saying yes, Wes, I will. Then tell him. Tell him. So prayer is, we pour our hearts to God. If you're here, and you want to invite Christ into your life, and you're not sure what words to use, let me help you. Because somebody loved me enough one day to help me. Heads bowed, eyes closed, no one looking around. Just silently, just pray something like this. Say, Dear Jesus, I'm a sinner. I get it. I need a Savior. I want you. I need you. I know I can't save myself. I believe you died for me. You have life to give me. I want that. I want you. So I turn from my sin, I repent. I don't want that anymore. I want to see what you can do with my life. So I turn to you. Come into my life. Save me. I'm all yours. I am all yours.