Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Flesh: God's design for marriage

First Corinthians 7 contains one of the most detailed treatments of marriage found anywhere in the Bible. At church this morning, we concluded a five-part series on the subject, after taking some "detours" along the way to look at singleness, divorce and remarriage, contentment, and discipleship as slavery to Christ, plus two weeks while I was at the hospital to care for Natalie.

But here are the links for all five messages side-by-side. They really stand alone as an independent series.

Part 1: Purity
Marriage is one of God's antidotes to lust and sexual immorality

Part 2: Pleasure
God commands a husband and wife to be united in heart, mind, and body, and to bring pleasure to one another. (No audio available, but here is the link to the full transcript)

Part 3: Permanence
God instructs a believing husband and wife to stick together, through thick and thin.

Part 4: Permanence, cont.
Even when one spouse is an unbeliever, God still calls the believing spouse to remain faithful for the good of the home

Part 5: Perspective
This life is a short journey, so travel light. Even the best of marriages needs to keep an eternal perspective.

At the beginning of the new year, when we launched into this series, I asked our congregation the following questions. Why not ask them for yourself, then listen to what 1 Corinthians 7 has to say:
  • On a scale of 1-10 how strong would I rate my love for my spouse when I first got engaged and married? How strong is it now? Do I think this is God’s will for our marriage?
  • Have I learned to tune out my spouse when they speak?
  • Am I ever critical of my husband or wife when I’m around friends?
  • Is our marriage relationship nothing more than a contractual obligation, just two roommates sharing the same roof?
  • Have I entertained, even for one moment, the thought of divorce?
  • Because of my spouse’s lack of attention, have I begun to seek emotional, relational, or sexual fulfillment in someone else?
  • Do I see my spouse as someone who mainly exists to love and help and serve me, or someone God wants me to love and help and serve? In other words, is our marriage primarily self-centered or God-centered and others-oriented?
  • As I’ve listed these questions, have I been thinking to myself, “I sure wish my husband or wife is listening right now,” or have I been examining my own heart?

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