This is the first sermon in a series of messages on marriage. The title of this sermon is “Marriage is God’s Plan” and will also serve as the title of the series. In this series we will discuss God’s plan for marriage and consider the following: 1) God’s Plan for the Husband 2) God’s Plan for the Wife 3) God’s Plan for the Father 4) God’s Plan for the Mother and 5) God’s Plan for the unmarried. This series is timely because Christians must regularly be reminded that marriage is God’s plan and God has a plan for marriage.
God Defines Marriage
One of the criticisms many men receive is that we do not read the instruction manual before attempting to assemble or work some type of product. Typically, men think we can figure it out on our own while our wives seek to convince us that reading the instructions would make it much simpler. Good instructions provide the clearest and simplest method of assembly and usage. Good instructions also convey the benefits of the product and also express the intention and plan of the designer. If we desire successful, joyful, and loving marriages we must consult the instructions provided to us by the designer of marriage. God is our Creator. As the Creator of all things, He designed marriage with a specific plan. Here is how God defines marriage: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman who pledge themselves to one another and to God.
Not a Contract
You may hear marriage described as a contract, but God did not intend marriage to merely be a contract. God designed marriage to be a covenant. Consider for a moment, if marriage is a contract, then it is considered a temporary agreement entered into for personal benefit. The contract may be broken (with or without a penalty) at anytime if a better opportunity becomes available. But, if marriage is a covenant, then it is a pledge to dedicate yourself and all you have to another for their benefit. Marriage is not temporary and it is not primarily for personal gain (though you do benefit). Marriage is not a contract between two parties, but a vow to God made by two people (man and woman) who desire to help one another become mature in their faith.
Based on Love
Let’s briefly recap: Marriage is God’s plan, God defines marriage, and Marriage is not a contract but a covenant. Here is our last point: God designed marriage to be based on love. Marriage should be rooted in love because it is designed to reflect the love of God.
Here is an important point all of us need to understand: God does not define love the same way the world defines love. How does the world define love? For the world, love is an emotion that is usually based on physical attraction. As an emotion, you hear people speak of “being in love” or “falling out of love”. It is an emotion and a feeling of affection.
God does not define love as primarily an emotion or feeling, but as a commitment. The fact that God defines love as a commitment rather than a feeling is great news for marriage. A marriage based on emotion is a marriage on a roller-coaster. As emotions go up and down the marriage goes up and down and the wife or husband may wonder if they are still loved. But, a marriage based on commitment is a marriage on solid ground. Regardless of emotions, the commitment remains strong because love is a commitment/pledge of faithfulness through the good and bad.
What does this mean about beauty? Does beauty and emotion play any role? Of course. Men believe that their wives are the most beautiful of all. Physical attraction plays an important role in marriage, but a Christian husband is committed to his wife regardless of what her outward appearance looks like. If sickness or tragedy were to bring harm to her outward appearance, his love would be no less than before.
You may be thinking, “That sounds great, but…” Maybe you are divorced or soon to be divorced and think that God’s design for marriage does not work. Maybe you are married but you and your spouse have drifted so far apart that it feels as if there is no hope left for your marriage. Regardless of the current state of your marriage, there is hope. Let me restate that in order to emphasize the truth: there is hope for your marriage. Maybe you have a good marriage in which you and your spouse rarely fight and almost never have any problems. If so, this series is just as much for you as it is for the couples who are struggling. How can all of us have healthier, more vibrant, and more loving marriages? It begins with J.O.Y. Jesus, Ourselves, and Your Spouse.
- Jesus – It begins with a personal relationship with Jesus. Your marriage will never function according to God’s design without Jesus as the center. Are you a disciple of Jesus? Are you following Him? Are you being changed by Him? Are you committed to His mission of salvation?
- Ourselves – If you want to be a godly husband/wife, then you cannot start changing your spouse; the change must begin in you. Only you can change your thoughts, your habits, your reactions; and this change can only happen through Jesus.
- Your Spouse – Focusing on Jesus causes you to examine yourself to see where you need changing. Only at this point can you properly love your spouse and help them have the J.O.Y. you have just experienced.
May God bless you and your marriage as you seek Him and His plans for you.