Why Marriage

Why Before What

Pastor Jerry Gillis - February 14, 2021

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching. 

  1. What was one thing that God was showing you through this message?   

  1. What is the picture that marriage is supposed to reflect? How does this change the typical, cultural view of marriage? How does this change your own view of marriage? Be specific. 

  1. How should an unmarried person apply the truth of this message? (If there are unmarried people in your group, don’t answer that question before they do.) How should a married person apply the truth of this message? (If there are married people in your group, don’t answer that question before they do.)   

  1. What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today? 


Abide


Sermon Transcript

Amen. Aren't you grateful for those who lead us in worship every single week? Man, man, oh man. It's like, usher me into the throne room. So happy Valentine's Day to you. I don't know if you're like deeply scarred from second grade. You know, you're that kid who did not get the candy or the Valentine's you got skipped over, but the teacher had some extra and gave it to you but you knew it was the teacher giving you some extra. And so, I don't know what this day does in terms of your memory bank and what all that looks like whether you love it or whether you loathe it. I really don't have any idea. And I'm really not sure about the origins. I've looked into them. The origins of this day, it's kind of murky historically, probably from the Roman empire times, conjoin to the death of two martyrs named Valentine. There were two of them actually in the third century A.D. Didn't die in the same year, but nonetheless somehow some way that kind of ebbed and flowed through history. But, from a U.S. standpoint, the United States standpoint, I can tell ya how this emerged in the kind of, 20th century, was from a company called Hallmark. That's how that went. I can go ahead and tell you. And by the way, good business decision for them. I'm sure I don't, we don't make a particularly big deal about Valentine's Day in our house. The phrase that I use, my wife knows this. I say it all the time. It's Valentine's Day, every day in my house baby. Yeah, now you're clapping, which that's awesome, 'cause she usually rolls her eyes. And just goes, "Ah, I've heard this like a thousand times," right? But, that's still kind of what we do. So it's not a big deal in my house particularly, it is in some and that's perfectly fine. But whether you like Valentine's Day or whether you loathe Valentine's Day, it does get everybody talking about love and marriage. And it doesn't matter if you're married or if you're single, everybody ends up talking about love and marriage at least to some degree. And I wonder if maybe some of the deeper questions around like love and marriage actually come out as we think about it at this time during the year. You know like, why do people get married anyway? Or why did I get married at the beginning of all this anyway? Or I'm single, why do I want to get married? Right? We're asking these why questions around this idea. And fortunately, we've got a really great source of information to help us understand the why behind marriage and it's called Twitter. I kid. But, if you do turn to it and see some of the things that they answer based on why they would get married. I looked from about a little over a year ago and here were some of the answers in that particular thread. Lindsay said, "Because she's never ridden in a limo before." That's why she wants to get married. Thank you, Lindsay. Sure Jan said, "Because I only have to do one tax return instead of two." Very pragmatic reason there. Barry said, "So you can register for a new slow cooker" It is against the law if you're not married to get a slow cooker? Like do they check your marriage ID at this point? All right, then Jim Szabo said, "700 pounds of beef." That's why you get married. And he's responding to a guy called Dangerously Beefy, which is one of the best handles on Twitter apparently. Who's single and not happy about it, because he says, "My house is paid for. I make a good salary. I get health insurance. I have a 401k. 700 pounds of beef a year." He just throws that one in there. "And I live on a couple of hundred acres. I'm a puncher by trade with a bachelor's degree. And I swear, you women would rather have a loser than a provider. It's sad." He's not happy. But what's awesome about this is he just throws in, I got a house, I've got a good salary, health insurance, 401k, 700 pounds of beef. Who wouldn't wanna marry that guy. 700 pounds of beef man. That's fantastic. Captain Findhorn said, "The reason to get married is it's easier than prison, and sometimes the food is better." It's ridiculous, right? So here's what I would suggest to you that Twitter is probably not the source of information to be able to answer the question why we should get married. But thankfully we have a trustworthy deposit of truth called the scripture that we can turn to. And the scripture speaks to all of life including and specifically the idea of marriage. But unless you misunderstand, I wanna make sure that you get right now at the very beginning, that this message is not just for married people. Some of you are thinking to yourselves, well, I'm single, is this message for me? Oh yeah. Because when we start basically looking at the question why marriage, it's much bigger than you actually think it is. This is not a message that's going to be just pragmatic. Here's 10 ways to have a better marriage. That's not what we're doing today. We're asking the why question when it comes to marriage. And if you're single, maybe you're an adult who's working, and you wanna be married at some point. Maybe you're a high school student or a college student, and you've not really thought about that but you need to hear the truth about why, when we talk about marriage, not just the what, when it comes to talking about marriage. So this message is actually for everybody. Now let's pretend for a second. Since we're turning to this great deposit of truth, we call the scripture. Let's pretend we've never read it before ever. And we open it up to page one. And on page one, we read this first chapter and it is epic. It explodes at us. When we read it, we're reading about this God, who has existed from eternity past, who's not been created but has always been, who steps out on to nothing and makes everything that we know. He's created everything, the sun, the moon, the stars. He's created the heavens and the earth. He's created plant life and animal life and all of these things. And we see it in, it just explodes off the page. We're reading this for the first time going, "Man, this is incredible." And we're thinking, what does the sequel to this look like in chapter two? And here's what it looks like. A young man and a young woman who love one another and get married. You're thinking to yourself, "That's not what I was expecting." When I opened this Bible up and this first chapter explodes with this creation narrative, and then we got two people, a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, who love one another and who get married. Now you're thinking to yourself, well that's not exactly what I was anticipating. No? And what was the reason for their marriage? Well, we're not told fully right away. I mean, when we read the text, we can draw out a few things as to the why, but we're actually not told the full story because we're just reading it at the very beginning of the whole story of scripture. But here's what Genesis 2 does tell us, Genesis 2 beginning of verse 20 it says, "But for Adam, no suitable helper was found." He was alone. "So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. And while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.' That is why, a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame." So when we look at kind of right here at the very beginning in the divine design of everything, we see this young man and this young woman who are joined together, in marriage. Now why was this such a thing? Why did this marriage happen? Well, was it for companionship? Well, sure, there's no question that the man was alone and now one was created so that he would not be alone. And so there was this idea of companionship. Was there an idea of procreation? Sure, yeah, right? The Bible talks about very clearly. God said, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth." So procreation was a part of the why here. Pleasure? Sure. Having somebody to walk through life with, to be able to do life with, to actually help steward all of life with? Yes, sure that was a part of it. A reunion of two, where now this woman had been taken out of the man and the man recognizes her as different than he, and recognizes her for who she is, and now they are reunited in this one flesh reunion, so to speak. Yeah, that's all a part certainly of the why, but it goes deeper. It's bigger than that. And it's deeper than that. Those things are all true and all beautiful, but it's bigger and deeper than that. But we don't know that quite yet, because we're early on in the story. But if we keep reading the story, what we find out is that sin enters and begins to mess things up, right? As we continue reading in Genesis 3, sin enters and it messes things up. It not only messes up humanity's relationship with God, but humanity's relationship with one another and specifically, begins to mess with and cause tension and heartache in the marriage relationship. And we begin to see that play out over the course of time as we keep reading through the book of Genesis. But, thankfully what God is choosing to do is He's choosing for Himself a people. And he does that through Abraham. And then you have Abraham and then all of the patriarchs and all of a sudden, you've got this people called Israel and God actually speaks about this people called Israel, in marriage terms. In fact, when you begin to read the book of Exodus which comes right after the book of Genesis. You start to hear the nature of that language in Exodus 6. Here's what God said. Speaking of Israel, He said, "I will take you as my own people and I will be your God. Then you will know that I'm the Lord your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians." Now this phrase right here, "I will take you as my own people and I will be your God." In the ancient near East, this was covenant marriage language. That's what God was actually saying. This was language that was familiar to those in the ancient near East. They knew this to be the language of marriage, the language of union, right? And so now, God is actually calling Israel, His people that He's chosen. By the way He didn't chose them. He didn't choose them because they were awesome, because they were powerful, because they were beautiful, because they were better than everybody else. In fact, the Bible tells us that. He didn't choose them for any of those reasons. He chose them for His own sovereign purpose. He chose them because he chose them, right? Because He's wise and He chose to do it this way. But He said, I'm going to, I'm going to love you. I'm going to take you as my own, and you're going to be with me. This was marriage language that God was using, relative to Israel. Now the interesting thing is, is not only was that language, that same phrase that's used in Exodus, it was also used in Leviticus, it was also used in Deuteronomy. And as you fast forward, even further into the prophets, you'll see Jeremiah using this exact same term in Jeremiah 30. "So you will be my people," God says, "And I will be your God." It's marriage language that He's using. And do you know that in the book of Jeremiah, God actually says that three different times, just in Jeremiah. That He's actually reinforcing this and reinforcing this. So what you're seeing, is you're seeing the storyline that began with a marriage between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, at the very beginning. And now you're seeing the storyline beginning to build of God as the faithful bridegroom and His people as a bride. But as you keep pressing forward and you start reading again in the prophets, you find out that this bride is an unfaithful one. That's what you keep coming across, is that you've got this faithful bridegroom in God, and this unfaithful people or this unfaithful bride called Israel. In fact Ezekiel, when he's writing the prophet, Ezekiel, he's actually, God is speaking through Ezekiel and says these words in Ezekiel 16. "Later I passed by, and when I looked at you." Speaking of Israel. "And I saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the sovereign Lord, and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you. And I put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. And I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry. I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck. And I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver. Your clothes were a fine linen, and costly fabric, and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen and your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the sovereign Lord. But you trusted in your beauty, and you used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his." It's extraordinary how God describes Israel here. That the beauty that Israel now has, is because God is the one who has endowed Israel with that beauty, but they have taken that fame and that beauty, and they have chosen other lovers instead of the faithful one who was their God. By God's grace, you start to see grace start to emerge at the end of this very long chapter of Ezekiel 16, Because at the very end of the chapter in verse 63, I think it is, says this. God said, "Then when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation declares the sovereign Lord." What you hear at the very end of this, is even with this unfaithful bride called Israel, God says, "I'm gonna make atonement for you." So, right now you're seeing this picture that's building in the scripture, as it begins to unfold of God who is a faithful bridegroom, to an unfaithful bride, but has sowed the seed of saying, "In my faithfulness I'm going to atone for you. I'm going to rescue you." In fact, if you look at some of the other prophets, Hosea, one of the prophets was called by God to marry a prostitute. If you remember. He told Hosea, I want you to marry a prostitute. Because I want this to be a picture for my people so that they can see faithfulness that I'm representing and unfaithfulness that they are experiencing. But what God does, is He speaks such grace even after this happens with Hosea and Gomer, God speaks such grace about how He's going to interact with his own bride, Israel. Listen to what he says in Hosea 2, "In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me my husband. You will no longer call me my master. I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips. No longer will their names be invoked. In that day, I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle, I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord." You see, even though there was this unfaithful bride of God's people, God in His faithfulness said, there is something that I'm going to do for you because I am faithful, even when you're faithless. In fact, He reminded the people of Israel of this when He spoke through the prophet Isaiah. Listen to what it says in Isaiah 62. "No longer will they call you deserted, or name your land desolate, but you will be called Hepzibah," which means the delight of the Lord. "And your land Beulah," which means married. "For the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your builder marry you. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." You see, this is the picture that is building all along in the scripture. It's a picture of marriage. The building storyline is that God is a faithful husband to an unfaithful bride. But what He's promised to do, is to rescue that unfaithful bride, because He, Himself is faithful. Enter Jesus into the story. When Jesus is born. It's interesting, isn't it? That the scripture says you will call him Emmanuel. Which means what? God with us. Have you heard that phrase yet? I will be your God and you will be my people. We will be together. You will be with me. I will take you with me, to be with me. And here we have Jesus entering into the story, who's called Emmanuel, God with us. Why? Because we continue this theme of God, when he's talking about this idea of marriage. In fact, when you look at John's gospel, we were introduced to someone in the very beginning of John's gospel named John the Baptist. And you know who John the Baptist was? He was the best man, for the bridegroom who was about to come. You see, the best man's job is to introduce the bridegroom. And that's exactly what John did. And upon saying, there He is the lamb of God, that's Him right there. The best man introduces the bridegroom. And do you know what? Listen to this. Do you know the first stop in the bridegroom's ministry for his first miracle where it was? A wedding. John 2 wedding of Canaan in Galilee. And what does he do? Not only in this miracle does he rectify them being out of wine. But what we see, is we see a prophetic glimpse of the true bridegroom, turning the water of external cleansing, into the wine of authentic relationship. This is what we begin to see as the story unfolds. And I can tell you this, Jesus the bridegroom who was coming to rescue the bride, He fulfilled His task. He gave His very life's blood to be able to do that. He died, so that He could save her. Just as the first woman, Eve, was taken from the bleeding side of Adam. So too the second woman, the church, was taken from the bleeding side of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. You see my friends, this is what we understand, is that Jesus gave His life to be able to purchase to redeem and to beautify His bride. Through His death, His resurrection and His sending of the Spirit, the bride is being made ready, for that great day. And so if you fast forward to the rest of scripture and you get to the very end of it in the book of Revelation, we see a radiant bride. Listen to what Revelation 19 says. "Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, 'Hallelujah for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory for the wedding of the lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.'" Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God's Holy people. "Then the angel said to me, 'Write this, blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the lamb.' And he added, 'These are the true words of God.'" And if you fast forward to chapter 21, it says, "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God's dwelling place's now among the people, and He will dwell with them.'" Listen to these words. "They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." Have you heard that before? "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." And then a few verses later, it says, "One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, 'Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me away in the spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper clear as crystal." See the people of God are pictured here, as the new Jerusalem, the bride who is now ready for this incredible wedding supper that has been prepared. You see, this is an extraordinary thing we have to remember, when we looked through the whole of the Bible, do not understand marriage as just one theme of many themes. It bookends the scripture. Beginning and the end. What we see there is marriage. In the beginning, we see a royal marriage between two image bearers, Adam and Eve. In the end, we see a royal marriage between King Jesus, the second Adam, and His people called the church. Everybody who's put their faith in Him. It's as if in the very beginning, the heavens and the earth were made for Adam and Eve. And in the end, the new heavens and new earth were made for King Jesus, and for His people. This is the picture that we get in the scripture. And understanding this helps us get to the why of marriage.
You see what the apostle Paul did is he recognized what was going on in the very beginning in Genesis. And he recognized what happened with God and the language of God throughout the whole of scripture, through the prophets. He recognized what happened with Jesus, the great bridegroom showing up to rescue the bride. And that's why Paul, when he writes about husbands and wives in Hebrews, I'm sorry, in Ephesians 5, he's actually quoting from Genesis 2 and then helping us to see what we did not see back in Genesis 2. That we couldn't have seen back then if we were just looking at it from that perspective. Here's what Paul says, "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh." He's quoting Genesis 2. Then he says, "This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church." There it is. Now we've landed. Now we're starting to understand the why. If you wanted to write it down, write it down this way. If you're asking the question, why marriage, here's why, because it's a living picture of the faithfulness and love of Christ for His church. That's the why. Why marriage? Because it's a living picture of the faithfulness and love that Christ has for His church. Now I know some of you are jotting this down but I want you to understand something. When I say that, I want you to understand what I am saying and what I'm not saying. God did not create marriage and later decide that that would be a good analogy. God created marriage as an analogy of something that He had already decided to do. And that was be the faithful bridegroom who was going to rescue the unfaithful bride so that she could be beautified and be with Him forever, He, their God and they, His people. This is the picture that we have about marriage. So understanding that, and I know I've just taken you on a really big sweep of the scripture, but you're welcome. I'm glad to be your tour guide today, tip me of the back. We've done this for a purpose and here's what we've done. We've done this to understand the implications because when we asked the question of why marriage we need to understand the implications of that, right? Whether we're married, whether we're single, we need to understand the why, because it's one thing to understand the what, right? We have that in our minds sometimes we're like, yeah, I'm gonna get older. And then eventually I'm gonna get married. And you know the what, you even though the, how. Yeah we're gonna do that at the church, we're gonna stand up there. We're gonna say our dues and all that stuff. Like, you know, the what, and you know the how, but maybe you've lost sight of the why. The why is what's important here? The why is what helps us to stay focused on the point of all of this. The reason God did all of these things. And because God has said that this marriage is supposed to be a picture, a living picture of the faithfulness and love that Christ has for His church. That means there's some implications for us. Here's the first implication as I see it. We shouldn't redesign marriage. We don't get to do that. The reason is, is because God is the one who planned all of this. God's the one who initiated this in His divine design. You see, when we read Genesis 2, and He says that man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. That's covenant marriage language that's being discussed right there. And it means that that particular relationship is of a completely different order than every other relationship. It's not the same thing as being a son or a daughter. It's not the same thing as being a brother or a sister. It's not the same thing as being a friend. It's not the same thing at all. It's a different order of magnitude. This relationship is a unique one. Now, that's the reason that we can't begin to redesign this because it's completely different in terms of category. It's designed such that there are no barriers to this relationship. It is a one flesh union of man and woman. A one flesh union, no barriers here. Every other relationship that we have has barriers. Every other relationship that we have, a parent and a child, a brother and a sister, a friend and a friend. All of those have some barriers but this relationship is very unique. That's why, and I say this kindly, I say it with grace but I also say it truthfully, there is no such thing as a same sex marriage. I don't say that to be critical of people. Every single person, regardless of who they are deserves for us to treat them with dignity, with respect, they are image bearers of God. But what we have to understand is that the truth of the scripture reminds us that this is not, listen. The picture that God has given to us as a living picture is not the bridegroom marrying the bridegroom. Jesus can't marry himself. The church does not marry the church. This is the bridegroom and the bride. And this is the original picture God has designed. It's also why, though we say this with great respect for those who are dealing with the struggle of maybe some gender confusion, that the whole transgender idea actually works against God's fundamental premise for marriage because what it does is it counterfeits the divine design. What happened when Adam was asleep and a woman was taken from his side is that Adam recognized someone different than him. Adam did not recognize himself as a woman. Adam recognized himself as a man who now saw independently a woman and the two now were reunited and rejoined in a covenant of marriage that is a different thing all together. Now, if we were just talking about marriage as just maybe more intense friendship, then maybe somebody could make an argument for a same sex union in that regard, but listen carefully. It is not that, it is a different category all together. And as a result, it cannot be defined as marriage. It can be defined by governments as a civil union but it cannot be defined by believers in Jesus as marriage because God invented marriage, God defined marriage, and nobody gets to redefine it because God has already done so. Now I say that with great grace and with great love to everybody, but we should not redesign marriage. That's the implication of understanding that this entire theme runs from the beginning of scripture to the very end. It is literally the bookends that we have God describing His relationship as the faithful bridegroom to a bride. But there's a second implication here and it's this. We shouldn't underestimate marriage. What do I mean when I say that? Well, marriage is a greater reality than just what we're involved in. If what we're saying is, is that this is a living picture of the faithfulness and love of Christ for the church. If that's what marriage is, and it's picturing that, that means that this is bigger than just me. This is bigger than just my involvement in a marriage. Listen, your marriage is bigger than your personal happiness and your personal fulfillment. It's bigger than that. Now I'm not suggesting by the way that, you know, get married, be completely unfulfilled, get married. You'll hate it. That's not what I'm suggesting. I've been married for 27 years. I love every year of that 27 years. There are a few moments, that Edie would probably say, right? But I'm so grateful to be married to a woman that is my best friend that I love, that I'm walking through life with. I'm grateful to God for that. There's so much joy and happiness and companionship and pleasure and all of those things which the divine design actually affirms, right? It affirms those things, but it's bigger than that. It's not just that. Now it's interesting because there was this pew research study in 2019, that actually was studying why people got married and why people were living together. They just threw those into one lump and you know, they're different, but they threw 'em into one lump. Why are they married? Why are they living together? As you can imagine, the biggest answer was love and companionship, right? I mean, that was what most people answered. But it was interesting because the people that were married married for love and companionship, more than the people who were living together, their answers were significantly lower on that particular scale. What the people that decided to live together, where they superseded the married people in scale was when they said that their rationale for getting married, they scored much higher than married people on this front. That the reason that they wanted to live together, listen to this, was for, financial reasons and convenience. Happy Valentine's Day. Hope your heart grew three times larger, right? And then 25% of the people that were living together, said what they were doing is testing it out. They were testing it out. Making sure that it was convenient for their financial needs. We don't need to underestimate marriage because ultimately even what I looked at when I looked at that study is that the whole course of that study and I don't know every person that answered right, there were thousands of people that answered and some of 'em may have been believers, whatever. But the interesting thing is there's no definition of love on there. And that generally speaking, all of the answers appealed to a sense of personal happiness and a sense of personal validation and a sense of personal fulfillment. That's what it all appealed to. Even though those things can be true in marriage, and thank God, there's a bigger idea at work here. That bigger idea's that marriage is supposed to be a sign that is pointing to something. Pointing to a greater reality. The faithfulness of God, to His promise the faithfulness of Christ to His church. The fact that even when we were an unfaithful people, God was still faithful. You know what it's pointing to? The gospel. That's what it's pointing to, the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ. And so don't underestimate marriage because it's not always going to be happy happy, joy, joy, rainbows, and unicorns. That's not what's going to be going on all the time. It's going to take perseverance. It's going to take endurance. It's going to take sacrifice. Paul said in Ephesians 5, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her." Don't underestimate the picture that's being painted when we talk about marriage. But let me give you a last implication. We shouldn't overestimate marriage either. You're like Jerry, didn't you just say don't underestimate marriage.? Yes. And then did you just say don't overestimate marriage? Yeah. Let me explain. Some people have in their minds and in their hearts that getting married to a spouse or being married to a spouse and you hear it on every love song, you're all I need. You've filled up every place. There's another word for that, idolatry. Jesus is everything we need. If you think that your spouse can fill every one of your needs, you've created an idol. Only Jesus can do that. And it was never intended that that was supposed to be the case. Being able to, listen, as a husband or as a wife, trying to meet the needs of the person that we love, absolutely. Serving the people that we love. Absolutely. All of those things should be true of followers of Jesus. But can every need be met by your spouse? No. Can your spouse save you? No. I'll tell you this. Your spouse makes a horrible God and you do too. We make horrible gods. We cannot meet every need that we have, only God can do that. So we can't overestimate marriage. Listen, carefully. Marriage is a temporary sign, that's actually pointing to an eternal destination. When we read the Bible from cover to cover that's what we find out. It's a temporary sign heading toward an eternal destination. Now listen carefully. You don't need signs, when you've arrived at the destination. You're saying wait a minute, are you saying, like that, in the new creation, there's no marriage and that kind of stuff. I'm not saying that, Jesus did. He had a conversation with a group of people called the Sadducees. They were like the Pharisees but they didn't believe in the resurrection, that's why they were sad, you see. It gets a laugh every time. It's the stupidest joke of all time. But it helps you to remember, right? That they didn't believe in the resurrection. And what they were trying to do is they knew that Jesus taught about the resurrection and they thought that was a foolish thing to do. And they wanted to make Jesus look foolish. So they actually created a hypothetical situation so that they could laugh at Jesus because He believed in the resurrection. Listen to it, it's in Luke 20. "Some of the Sadducees who say there's no resurrection came to Jesus with a question. 'Teacher' they said, 'Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother,'" which is true. "Now there were seven brothers." Now here, they're getting the hypothetical right. "Now there were seven brothers, the first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her. And in the same way, the seven died leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" You can just see 'em doing that, right? We've got Jesus. "Then Jesus replied, 'The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they can no longer die for they're like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection,'" You see, here's what I wanna remind you of. There's not many marriages in heaven, there's one. Jesus and His church. That is the picture that we have here and what our marriages should do is point to that. We are a sign that is pointing to an eternal destination. Now you're single in here, some of you, and some of you are watching or listening, you're saying, well, I'm single. What if I never get married? What does that mean for me is? You know, listen, you can skip the appetizer and still show up at the meal, because you need to understand that at the end of all of this, you won't have missed a thing because Jesus will be your all and all. You will be His, He will be yours. This is where all of scripture is running. So what we need to do is we need to get out of our own way in marriage. We need to stop being so selfish. And I'm saying that to myself, as I say it to you. We need to be stop being so selfish in our marriage because it's bigger than us. It's why people who know and love Jesus need to stay together because it's not an arrangement just of convenience or self-fulfillment, or just being happy all the time. We've gotta persevere. We've gotta be self-sacrificial. Now, I say that with grace and love, recognizing, that humanity is imperfect, that sin scars everybody, and that Jesus has demonstrated some grace, even though He held to this strongest idea of the insoluble desire to have one man and one woman for life. He also held out some grace for those who have walked somewhat differently. But I remind you that if we're going to tell the story to the world about the faithfulness of the bride groom to the bride, then the picture of our marriage ought to help us live that reality out. I like how Ray Ortlund, pastor scholar said this. He said, "Marriage is a prophetic whisper of the final and eternal declaration of the love of Christ for the undeserving." That is such a great summary of what the whole of the Bible says. Somebody else has said it this way, "You can summarize the Bible this way. God said, I love you, but I lost you. And I want you back. I loved you, but I lost you. And I want you back forever." You see, this is the heartbeat of the good news of the gospel. That while we were sinners, unfaithful, choosing other lovers, Jesus still died for us. You know why? 'Cause He's faithful. Even when we were faithless. We cannot save ourselves only He can. And that's why this picture of love that's been described from beginning to end as marriage, how God, the faithful bridegroom refers to His people, that the reason that we can't have words that describe this kind of love is because we don't have categories for comparison of this kind of love. So instead of just words, we have pictures. And that picture is marriage. That's the why. Let's bow our heads together. We'll be dismissed in just a moment but if you're here or maybe you're watching us online, I wanna say first and foremost, to those of you who've maybe never come to a place of having received Jesus, that you would recognize that He's been faithful even when we were faithless. You see our sin, what we read about in Genesis 2, which we would've continued to read about in Genesis 3, is that our sin interrupts our relationship with God. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, every single one of us. And so because of our sin, we have interrupted relationship with God. And the only way that we can be restored into relationship and fellowship with God, is to have our sin forgiven, but we can never forgive our own sin. But the faithful one came to rescue, and Jesus, you'll call his name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. Sins of unfaithfulness, of choosing other lovers, of being idolatrous. All of the things that we've done. And Jesus died on a cross to step into our place, to satisfy the justice of a Holy God. He died for our sin and died because of our sin. But He rose from the grave, conquering sin and hell and death and the grave on our behalf. So that by faith in Him, we now can be reconciled to God. God is faithful, even when we've been faithless, and the only way we can experience forgiveness for our sins is by faith, in what Jesus has done in paying for, or as God foreshadowed atoning for our sin. But he's done it. God says, I loved you. I lost you. And I want you back. Here's how much. My son willingly comes to die in your place to satisfy the justice of God so that you and I can be together. You can be my people and I can be your God. If you've never come to a place in your heart where you have received Jesus. Bible says to as many as received Him, he gave the right to become children of God to those who believed on His name. If you've never received Jesus, then I would ask you wherever you are, whether you're in this room or whether you're watching online, to pray something like this with all the faith that you have. Pray something like this in your heart. Lord Jesus, I know that I can't save myself. I know that my sin has separated me from you but I believe You to be faithful. And I believe that Jesus died for my sin. And because of my sin. And I believe He rose again, conquering sin and death. And so with all the faith that I have, I put my trust in you, Lord Jesus, to save me, to forgive me and to change me. As our heads are bowed still and our eyes are closed. I just, if you're here in this room, and you just prayed that prayer with me just now, when we dismiss in just a moment, I hope that you'll come right across the atrium, into the fireside room for just a moment. You're not signing up for anything you don't wanna sign up for, nothing like that. We just wanna pray for you and send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith. We've got some pastors, some other friends over there who'd love to just take a moment. They'll stay properly distanced. They'll have their masks on all of that, but we'd love to be able to do that for just a moment. For those of you that are watching online, you'll hear about how to follow up with that in just a moment. Father I pray in Jesus name for each of us because this word is a word to us all. You've created marriage as an analogy of the faithfulness and love of Christ for the church. And those of us who are married or who may be married at one point, you've called us to something bigger. You've called us to a why in marriage that is bigger than just the what or the how. And I pray that you'd realign our minds and our focus so that we can demonstrate to a world the faithfulness of Christ to the church. And they would see that represented in the marriage of people who love Jesus. And Father, we trust you to write this on our hearts because we are always just pausing to stand in awe of how gracious you've been to us. That even in our unfaithfulness, even in our sin, even in our idolatry, that you still came and you still died and you still purchased and beautified us, thank you for that. May we reflect that in the way that we live with hearts of gratitude, we pray in Jesus name, Amen.


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