This is the second sermon in a series covering marriage, family, and the church. This message was delivered on June 3, 2012 at Hillcrest Baptist Church. This message deals with the type of love that is foundational to a marriage. You will find the text of the sermon, and the audio. Please note that the sermon text is NOT a full transcript. Typically, as I preach, I add to what is in my notes. So, for the full sermon, please listen to the audio version.
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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – The Love of Marriage
It is estimated that 50% of marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce.
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
76% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, so statistically, roughly 76% of marriages are by “Christians”, and half of those will divorce.
In our text, Paul is speaking to the church, but as we will eventually see in this study, marriage and the church are so intertwined that Paul often uses the marriage relationship as the model and instruction for the church.
What applies, in this passage to the church, also applies perfectly to the marriage relationship.
God has a perfect plan for marriage, and it works! Unfortunately it is misunderstood or just plain ignored, even by Christians.
God’s perfect plan has been abandoned in favor of secular plans that have destroyed God’s holy institution of marriage.
When Christian couples try to imitate the world and get their standards from Hollywood instead of from heaven, there will be trouble in the home.
But if both partners will imitate Jesus Christ in His submission and obedience, and His desire to serve others, then there will be triumph and joy in the home.
Marriage is a covenant relationship, that means that is is based on a promise. As God unites a couple in that promise, it will take love (real, God type love) to keep and fulfill the promise.
This begins the pattern of love that MUST define a marriage, and we will see that it is much more than just a warm fuzzy feeling.
Love is an attitude which is characterized by one’s actions.
Love is a verb, it requires that you DO!
There is probably nothing harder in today’s instant, microwave society. But, it is essential!
Impatience causes bad decisions, and stress on your spouse, and. . . it is a contagious attitude.
Jealousy can destroy a relationship. but we need to define a couple of different types of jealousy.
2 Corinthians 11:2
We see that our loving God IS jealous. How can that be? Simply because He has a righteous expectation to our exclusive worship of Him.
Likewise, in a God-ordained marriage, both spouses have a rightful expectation of the exclusive affection of the other. Therefore, jealousy on that basis ALONE (as long as it does not lead one to sin, would be righteous.
But, we must be very careful here. . .because a faithful healthy marriage should be characterized by a sense of security. Therefore, there should be no need for jealousy.
Jealousy is characterized by distrust, so it doesn’t really matter whether the jealousy is righteous, or misplaced, if it exists, there is a problem with the marriage.
There is also another context which we must look at. One spouse should never despise the other, because one has something the other doesn’t. Instead, each spouse should rejoice in the blessings that the other has received.
NOT BOASTFUL OR ARROGANT:
Where true love exists, no one has to prove himself to the other. For one to be boastful and arrogant only serves to demean the other.
Each spouse should always be treated with dignity and respect by the other.
You won’t always get your own way, its not all about you. True love will put the interest of the other first. True love will be willing to sacrifice. When this happens, everyone wins!
If every little thing irritates you and makes you mad, you have a problem, there is some resentment somewhere. True love does not behave this way.
THINKS NO EVIL:
True love won’t think bad things or wish bad things on his spouse. True love will want only whats best for the other.
DOES NOT REJOICE IN SIN, BUT IN TRUTH:
True love will not laugh when the other falls or stumbles, instead, true love will help them up.
True love will take joy and comfort in being truthful. No guilty conscience here, nothing to hide. The truth will set you free!
BEARS, BELIEVES, HOPES, ENDURES ALL THINGS:
True love will share the burdens, believe the promise, share the hope of the future, and endure trials together.
Thus, marriage should be a place of patience, humility, joy, truth, peace, affirmation, and hope.
The perfect model for this love is, of course, Jesus Christ. We wouldn’t even know what love really is, if it weren’t for Him.
1 John 4:19
Without the gift of His love, we would be unable to truly love.
This is just one more reason why a marriage must be Christ centered, because without Christ, true love would not exist.
Conversely, marriage is not a place for abuse. Nowhere in Scripture is a husband or wife given authority to strike or demean his/her spouse.
God’s plan for marriage flies in the face of modern culture, it sets up a hierarchy of leadership and accountability.
The majority of Americans (even Christians) have abandoned God’s plan. They see it as old fashioned and irrelevant in today’s evolved society.
They say that there should no longer be any gender distinctions. Even our vice-President has said that he sees no difference between men and women.
I thank God that I can see a difference! In fact, I’m really glad that women don’t look like men.
The women’s lib movement has sought to remove gender references of all types, and to somehow eliminate all gender differences.
They have wanted a gender blind society, and have done a good job of achieving that.
Is it any wonder that our society is so gender confused?
God didn’t create us to be the same. He made us different so that we could compliment each other. Man has weaknesses that women make up for, and vice versa.
Men and women tend to think differently, and approach problems in different ways. This can be a very good thing.
God has taken those differences, those strengths and weaknesses, and told us how to best utilize them through the gender roles which He has defined.
The world says that this “patriarchal, male dominated” view is demeaning to women, and has no place in today’s society.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
God’s plan for marriage honors both the man one the woman.
They say that they have a better way. Well, we’ve tried their way, and it doesn’t work. Remember the divorce statistics?
We never saw numbers like that when Biblical marriage was widely observed.
God’s plan for marriage is orderly, it removes confusion and uncertainty.
With God’s plan for marriage, there is no power struggle, there are clear lines drawn.
No marriage is stress free, but God’s plan removes unnecessary stress.
When this attitude of love is adopted by both the husband and wife, then the gender roles, which we will discuss in the next two sessions, don’t seem like such a big deal, they will be willingly accepted.
The question is, are you willing to take this leap? Are you willing to put aside cultural preconceptions and ideologies, and listen to what the Word of God has to say?
Are you ready for a healthier marriage? Are you ready to make that commitment?