10 Purposes of Marriage

It has always been true that as the family goes, so goes the culture. We shouldn’t be surprised then that our culture is in disarray. People don’t value marriage today much less see its significance. And with the decline of marriage, so too has the culture fallen into shambles. In view of this, Christians must continually be reminded of the blessing and purpose of marriage. Marriage was designed by God and is hugely consequential. If we are going to see renewal and revival in the church and in the culture as a whole, it must start with the family. It must start with husband and wife being faithful and obedient to God’s Word.

Here are 10 purposes of marriage. I will let the Scriptures speak for themselves.

  1. Companionship: “Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3).

 

  1. Enjoyment: “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18). “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4).

 

  1. Completeness: “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man (Adam) said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24).

 

  1. Fruitfulness or Procreation: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28). “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:1-2).

 

  1. Protection: The husband is to protect the wife by laying down his life for her. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The wife is to protect the home. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).

 

  1. Typify Christ and the Church: Marriage is to be a human picture or object lesson of the divine relationship between Christ and believers. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32).

 

  1. Sanctification: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) It will be readily acknowledged that living in close proximity with another person has a way of exposing our warts and bumps and bruises (in short, our sin). We see our own pride and selfishness in ways we can’t when isolated. God can and will use this to make us more like Jesus and to give us victory over indwelling sin.

 

  1. Support and Trust: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil….a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,12). “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

 

  1. Mutual Honor and Respect: “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

 

  1. The Glory of God: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). This is the goal of everything, including marriage.

Where is God when I need Him?

Something happened this past summer that I won’t soon forget. My son John was playing on our front porch with his two sisters. I was inside the house but only a few feet away, watching through the door window. My memory fails me as to what exactly happened, but John started crying and immediately crawled over to the door and started pounding on it. Normally, I would have opened the door as quick as I could and grabbed him and consoled him, but instead I just watched him because I knew he was really ok  (I’m sorry if this sounds cruel to you). I watched John with great intrigue as he looked through the door window, screaming, crying, and wondering where his Daddy was. Here’s the kicker – I was right there on the other side of the door and had been watching him the whole time. You see, the sun was shining on the window pane in such a way that he couldn’t see me. I was right there with him, he just didn’t know it. Now, before you get worried, I did eventually open the door, picked up my son, and consoled him with a big hug and a kiss. This whole sequence of events only took a few moments to unfold but it did teach me a powerful lesson I would like to share with you.

All to often when we are experiencing pain and trials in life, we wonder, where is God when I need Him? We wonder if God cares that we are suffering? What we don’t realize is that God is right there in the midst of our pain. Just like the experience of my son John, we might not be able to see Him (1 Peter 1:8), but we can take comfort in knowing that God is with us. If you are a Christian, that means you are a child of the King, and the Bible assures us that God takes care of His children.

Two thousand years ago, God entered into our world and became a man. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Why did Jesus do this? Hebrews 2:17-18 explains. “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

No matter what you are going through, always remember that you have a merciful and faithful high priest, who is not immune to suffering (think of the cross). God is right there in the midst of whatever you are experiencing and if you trust Him, He will see you through and you will grow in the process (James 1:2-4).

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

“Gordon and Emma met at a church function. She was an admirable young woman, and he was a fairly new pastor. Their wedding day seemed to be the launch of a godly couple in the promise of fruitful ministry in the decades ahead. But just a few days into their honeymoon, all of Emma’s dreams for her life were crushed. Gordon made it clear that he didn’t love Emma, and that he had married her simply because there were more opportunities for married pastors than single ones.

 

For forty years, through the birth of six children, and the while functioning as a pastor, Gordon made no meaningful attempt to kindle love for his wife. Freely admitting to an adulterous affair that began after the birth of their fourth child, Gordon insisted he must remain married – divorce would derail his pastoral career. Marriage for Emma became a life of secret shame. She was relegated to sharing a room with their two daughters, while her husband stayed in a separate room, and their four sons in another.

 

Gordon’s disregard for Emma permeated almost every facet of their marriage. While she continued to live under the same roof, she never experienced life under his care. Seemingly normal on the outside, Gordon’s disdain for his marriage created a home ruled by his hypocrisy and indifference to his wife’s well-being. His children grew up with a clear sense of the difference in their family and others, but little grasp on the fundamental wrong being done to their mother on a daily basis.

 

But Emma loved the Savior who was merciful to her and clung to him through the trials and years. Bereft of human love from the man she had wed, she threw herself on the mercy of God. The gospel reminded her that she needed a Savior – and that her principal need was not to be saved from a cruel twist of fate, or the evil of the man who shared her home, but from her own profound sinfulness before God. Emma understood the mercy and forgiveness of God for her sin, and accepted the Father’s call to extend mercy toward her husband. Emma never allowed bitterness to take root in her heart. Instead she learned how to stand with dignity by entrusting her welfare to Christ.

 

For four decades, mercy defined her actions, thoughts, and words toward the man whose very purpose in life seemed to be to crush her spirit. Knowing that her response to her husband would testify to her children about the God she served, Emma was resolutely determined to draw on Christ for grace and to honor Christ in her actions.

 

The marriage ended sadly and painfully after forty years – an apparent ministry call squandered, a financially destitute family shattered by the unrepentant sin of one man. In the years following their divorce, Emma sent Gordon birthday cards and periodic letters, calling the lonely and rebellious man to God. She was tasting the sweet joy of a deep relationship with the Father, and increasingly longed for Gordon to know that for himself.

 

Somewhere in that time, the mercy of God broke in on Gordon and he responded to the gospel call in saving faith. The children, now adult Christians, lovingly confronted him on his past sins, and for the first time Gordon took responsibility for the destruction of his family. Gordon wrote a letter to Emma confessing his sin against God and against her. Emma was faced with the test of forgiveness. Can it be that easy? Can mercy cover forty years of wrong? We have Emma’s choice preserved in the note she wrote back to her former husband:

 

It is with mixed emotions that I read your letter. Sad, as I was reminded of many difficult years, but also glad for the work the Spirit of God is doing in your life. Glad to hear you share your failures so frankly and ask for my forgiveness. And glad to hear you share them with your children. Gordon, I forgive you. I forgive you for not loving me as Christ loved the church and for your disregard of our marriage vows. Though I am saddened by many marriage memories, I have released them to the Lord and have guarded my heart from the ravages of bitterness. I rejoice in the mercy of God, that in spite of our failed marriage, our children all serve the Lord faithfully….God uses confession and forgiveness to bring healing. I’m trusting God that will be true for both of us.

 

Both Emma and Gordon have gone on to be with the Savior, who wove restoration into a torn family with the strong threads of mercy. All of their children love the Savior and now see the mysterious purpose of God as they look back. Though Emma and Gordon were never restored as husband and wife, Gordon was laid to rest in old age, no longer alone, surrounded not only by his family but by the friends of his church with whom he had knit his life. Emma’s body gave in over time to stroke, but her spirit and story define a work of God that transcends the failure of marriage and touched many lives.

 

For Emma, mercy had triumphed over judgment decades before Gordon repented. Mercy triumphed with every prayer cast heavenward, every sin covered in love, every refusal to grow bitter. For Gordon, mercy meant getting what he didn’t deserve – the forgiveness of his sins, the love of his family, a home with the Savior, six God-honoring children, Emma’s life-long love of Christ. Each of these remarkable outcomes point to the triumphant sweetening effect of mercy – the remarkable mercy Emma received from God and lavished on her family.”

 

Taken from Dave Harvey’s book When Sinner’s Say I Do: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage (pages 77-78, 94-96).

Guaranteed Victory!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

As a sports fan for almost all of my life, I have been disappointed again and again and again. I have a really hard time being un-bias when I watch sports, so I tend to pick a favorite and cheer for them. Sometimes that team or individual wins, but it seems like most times they don’t. Obviously, I am not all that unique when it comes to this and probably most fans would be able to identify with me. What surprises me is that there is always something that pulls us back. We continue to subject ourselves to disappointment time and time again. Maybe every once in a blue moon our team wins the championship, but mostly we end up saying – “maybe next year.” As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that we don’t have to worry about this as Christians. Victory is not something that happens every once in a while, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we have guaranteed victory in several senses.

  1. Victory over indwelling sin: “But thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).
  2. Victory over Satan: “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Also check out Ephesians 6:10-13, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:9-10.
  3. Victory over death and sorrow: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” Revelation 21:4).

These are just a few of the key ways in which we have guaranteed victory as Christians. This victory comes by way of the cross of Christ (1 Peter 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21) and we can know with absolute certainty that this victory is ours in Christ. It is ours not because of anything we bring to the table, but because of the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. May we live in victory until Christ returns and brings the final victory (Revelation 19-22) to pass.

What is Baptism?

Two Key Scripture Verses:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4

“In him you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11-12

Wayne Grudem writes, “When the candidate for baptism goes down into the water it is a picture of going down into the grave and being buried. Coming up out of the water is then a picture of being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. Baptism thus very clearly pictures death to one’s old way of life and rising to a new kind of life in Christ.” This can be seen in the above Scripture quotations. Grudem continues, “Baptism pictures (i) Christ’s redemptive work, (ii) my response in faith as I come to be baptized, (iii) and God’s application of the benefits of redemption to my life.” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 968, 980)

The Mode and Subjects of Baptism:

 

The proper mode of baptism is by immersion. In fact, the Greek word baptizo means “to plunge, dip, or immerse.” This was the method practiced by the New Testament church (Mark 1:5, John 3:23, Acts 8:36-39).

The proper subjects of baptism are only those who have given a believable profession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is why it is sometimes called believers’ baptism or credo baptism. Although there is disagreement on this, even among evangelicals, paedobaptism (infant baptism) lacks biblical support.

Why Get Baptized?

 

Baptism is a symbol of the new birth (regeneration). It is an outward sign of an inward transformation. Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is an ordinance (or sacrament) done in obedience to Christ’s command (Matthew 28:19) and is a time for great joy and celebration. “The amazing truths of passing through the waters of judgment safely, or dying and rising with Christ, and having our sins washed away, are truths of momentous and eternal proportion and ought to be an occasion for giving great glory and praise to God” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 969). Lastly, it is a public proclamation of one’s new union with Christ. As the apostle Paul put it, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

10 Purposes of Marriage

1. Companionship: “Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3).

 

2. Enjoyment: “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18). “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4).

 

3. Completeness: “And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man (Adam) said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24).

 

4. Fruitfulness: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28). “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:1-2).

 

5. Protection:

A. The husband is to protect the wife by laying down his life for her. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  B. The wife is to protect the home. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).

 

6. Typify Christ and the Church: Marriage is to be a human object lesson of the divine relationship between Christ and believers. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32).

7. Sanctification: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) It will be readily acknowledged that living in close proximity with another person has a way of exposing our warts and bumps and bruises (in short, our sin). We see our own pride and selfishness in ways we can’t when isolated. God can and will use this to make us more like Jesus and to give us victory over indwelling sin.

8. Support and Trust: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil….a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,12). “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

9. Mutual Honor and Respect: “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

10. The Glory of God: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). This is the goal of everything, including marriage.

Sharing Christ This Christmas

For years now, we have lamented over how “Christ” is being taken out of Christmas. For example, this morning I drove by a house with a giant sign that read “Merry X-Mass.” And I am sure at some point during this Christmas season you will hear “Happy Holidays.”  As I pondered this trend, it occurred to me that we shouldn’t be surprised by it. We can protest and demand that people say “Merry Christmas,” but why should we expect everyone to celebrate this holiday when many don’t even believe in Christ or know about the Christ of the Bible?

I was talking to someone in church on Sunday who told me that he recently witnessed to a man who had never even heard the Christmas story. That is the shocking reality of the world we live in. There is a lack of Biblical literacy that permeates our society. But rather than demand everyone say “Merry Christmas,” perhaps a better approach would be to use this season of Christmas as a platform to share the gospel. One simple idea is to give someone you know a New Testament Bible and encourage them to read the Christmas story and learn about the person of Jesus Christ. It’s simple, but it could be life changing for that person.

It’s a wonderful privilege to freely celebrate Christmas each year. As Christian’s we know that Christmas is all about the incarnation – how God came to earth in human form to dwell among us. No matter what kind of language the world uses, we know that this season is all about the birth of Christ and the hope that we find in him. To the unbeliever, it doesn’t make sense. “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). To the believer, it is the glorious message of salvation and eternal life in Christ.

Let me encourage you not to miss this opportunity to tell the Christmas story to those who need to hear it most. Be bold and be prayerful and then watch how God works. One more thing – Merry Christmas!