The Heart of Marriage
Dennis & Jill Eenigenburg
4. WHO IS GOD’S POWER FOR MARRIAGE?
In many cultures, marriage is an endangered institution. In the United States for example, it is estimated that of all the marriages taking place in 2012 at least 50% will end in divorce. Also in the States, fewer couples are getting married, opting instead for informal cohabitation. In some segments of American society, close to 70% of children are born out of wedlock. Of those who are married, many say they are unhappy or are just remaining together for cultural, religious or economic reasons. Why do people find marriage to be such a difficult living arrangement? How did what God intended as a gift and blessing, become for too many, an unwanted burden? For the answer, one needs to revisit the garden in which the first marriage took place.
I. IN THE BEGINNING MARRIAGE WAS IDEAL:
ADAM AND EVE REFLECTED THE PERFECT PORTRAIT OF MARRIAGE
A. IN THE BEGINNING ADAM AND EVE REFLECTED GOD’S IMAGE PERFECTLY
Adam and Eve had a perfect marriage because they were morally perfect. They always loved each other consistently; they always served each other sacrificially. They always spoke words of encouragement and good. They enjoyed perfect oneness with each other and perfect fellowship with God.
B. IN THE BEGINNING ADAM AND EVE OBEYED GOD’S WILL PERFECTLY
Adam and Eve were given responsibilities to manage and maximize their resources and potential. They were to maximize their reproductive potential by filling the earth with their offspring. They were to manage the natural resources such as fish and animals. To “subdue the animals” may have referred to domesticating them for work. Thus they would maximize their productivity. The cultivation of the garden indicates the garden needed tending and that Adam and Eve could improve its potential by caring for its plants. This assignment received no negative response from Adam and Eve and it was all pronounced, “very good.”
C. IN THE BEGINNING ADAM RECEIVED EVE ENTHUSIASTICALLY
The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib, which He had taken from the man, and 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, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:22-23
II. MARRIAGE BECAME AN ORDEAL: ADAM AND EVE’S DISOBEDIENCE DISTORTED THE PORTRAIT OF MARRIAGE
A. God established a test of Adam and Eve’s loyalty and submission to Him
• The test was a prohibition against eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
• The test was set in the midst of freedom to enjoy the fruit of all the other trees.
• The test reminded Adam and Eve that they were under the authority of their Creator.
• The test reminded Adam and Eve that God was their source of Life and Blessing.
• The test would result in death, if failed.
B. God’s test of Adam and Eve’s loyalty was failed.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field, which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:1-6
C. God’s warning of “death” took place.
The consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience was “death.”
The definition of “death” is separation from life. After eating the forbidden fruit death took place. Adam and Eve were immediately separated from the life God has given them. Adam and Eve were immediately separated from the life of personal holiness. They were immediately separated from the life of perfect fellowship with God. Adam and Eve were immediately separated from the life of perfect marital oneness. Adam and Eve were immediately separated from the life of eternal existence on the earth as God’s overseers.
D. The “death” caused by disobedience produced devastating consequences.
Adam and Eve were ashamed before each other.
Adam and Eve were ashamed before their Creator.
Adam blamed the woman God had given him.
Eve blamed the serpent God had created.
Eve would experience pain when she gave birth to children.
Adam and Eve would experience pain in their marriage.
Adam would experience pain in his labors for food.
Adam and Eve would experience the pain of physical death.
Adam and Eve would experience pain in their parenting.
Summary: “the wage of sin is death.”
III. THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MARRIAGE CAN BECOME A NEW DEAL: THE PORTRAIT OF MARRIAGE CAN BE RESTORED THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AND THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. GOD PREDICTED ONE WHO WOULD REVERSE THE CURSE OF SIN ON MANKIND
B. GOD PROVIDED THE ONE WHO WOULD REVERSE THE CURSE OF SIN
C. GOD PROMISES TO REVERSE THE CURSE FOR ALL WHO PUT THEIR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
1. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WE CAN EXPERIENCE FREEDOM FROM SIN’S PENALTY.
2. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WE CAN EXPERIENCE FREEMDOM FROM SIN’S POWER.
3. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WE WILL EXPERIENCE FREEDOM FROM SIN’S PRESENCE.
IV. GOD’S NEW DEAL FOR US BEGINS WITH OUR PERSONAL REQUEST FOR FORGIVENESS BY FAITH
A. Placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ is a personal choice
B. Placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ shows trust in His work not our works.
C. Placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ acknowledges He is the only way of salvation.
D. Placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ means you accept the Gospel as true.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
TAKING IT TO HEART:
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and would like to ask Him to forgive you and grant you new life you can do it now through a simple prayer of faith.
“Lord Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross in my place. I confess that I am a sinner unworthy of your grace. I believe that you paid for my sins through your death. I believe that you can grant me forgiveness and new life by the power of your resurrection. Lord Jesus, be merciful to me a sinner and forgive me of my offenses against you. Lord, grant me your new everlasting life by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
As a child of God we need spiritual food and exercise to be healthy. God’s word is our food and God’s work is our exercise. In the book of James it says, “Faith without works is dead.” So we need to feed on God’s word and obey what it says. As we trust and obey we will grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. As we grow closer to Christ’s likeness we will see growth in our marital oneness as well. The pure love of God described in I Corinthians 13 is now within our Spirit filled ability to live out. At this point consider the following simple Bible study method for your daily feeding on God’s Word.
V. GOD’S NEW DEAL IS EMPOWERED BY OUR PERSONAL SUBMISSION TO THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT
A. The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead along with the Father and the Son.
B. The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to empower our new life in Christ. The Holy Spirit ministers to believers on earth until they are reunited with Christ in heaven.
*He is called a “helper.”
*His is called “the Spirit of truth.”
*He is with the believer forever.
*He is indwelling every believer.
C. The Holy Spirit is our Source of Power unleashed through our obedience. Jesus promised to send His disciples One who would give them the power to do His will and work on earth.
D. The Holy Spirit’s power is neglected when we disobey.
1. The Holy Spirit is “grieved” by disobedience.
2. The Holy Spirit is “quenched” by disobedience.
3. The Holy Spirit is unleashed by willful submission.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is contrast to the drunkenness of wine. When a person is drunk he is under the influence of that drink. The world offers many drinks, drugs, addictions and influences to which we are tempted to yield for temporary pleasure. All of the world’s offerings ultimately destroy our bodies, our morals and our relationships. The only influence we can trust to have control over us is the Holy Spirit. He is perfect and brings only good things to those who will trust Him with their daily decisions and behavior.
F. The Holy Spirit is our Source of the behavior and attitudes that exhibits Christ’s likeness.
GOD’S NEW DEAL ENABLES US TO FUFILL HIS PURPOSES IN OUR MARRIAGES
The Holy Spirit enables us to Mirror God’s image
The Holy Spirit enables us to Mutually complete each other
The Holy Spirit enables us to Multiply a Godly legacy