Christian Marriage John 2, Mark 10
“Christian Marriage” John 2:1-11; Mark 10:1-11? 1/26/14? Dr. J. Ben Sloan
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Next week is ?National Marriage Week.?? Getting ready for it, we will take a second and look at something that was not controversial at all when I was a teenager but is very controversial today- that is marriage.
I will never forget as long as I live going to Cana in Galilee with a group from our church, and about 12 couples of us renewed our marriage vows where Jesus turned the water into wine. It was a little ironic because my daughter and her brand new husband were with us and they renewed their week and a half old vows too.??It is wonderful that Jesus, a single man, who probably knew he would remain single, appreciated and blessed marriage.? Marriage affects us all and is a blessing to society in general when done right.
I have grown to really love this passage in John 2.? To me it shows that Jesus is not just concerned that we survive but that we thrive.? Many of us are just trying to survive through life- and many in our culture today are having a really tough time.? The ironic thing here is that Jesus didn?t say to Mary when she pointed out that they ran out of wine- ?they?ve got bread and water ,isn?t that enough??? Jesus was concerned about human joy.? Remember God is the One who created beauty, and He also creates joy.? By no means am I saying God wants us to overindulge.? But I AM saying that God wants to enrich our lives.? In this instance Jesus did so by blessing marriage by His presence and His turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.? Jesus did not say we can?t have any wine until everyone in the world has water.? He did not say we can?t have wedding cake until everyone in the world has bread.? But He showed us that where He is, there is blessing- more than we could ask for- 180 gallons of it the finest wine.? ???????The thing is marriage is relationships like wine is to water.? We all need relationships.? Psychologists and the Bible agree that we cannot even survive without love and human touch.? But marriage is the ultimate- it is committed, loyal, intended- forever- love.
According to an article this year in Time Magazine,? couples who live together before tying the knot “are more likely to have poor confidence in their union, more negative interactions (like withdrawal) and a greater risk of filing for divorce;? CDC also said couples living together before getting married actually have a higher likelihood of breaking up.? One out of every five women who move in with a man get pregnant in their first four years.?? Surprisingly that does not increase the likelihood of getting married, but the pregnancy according to this 2012 CDC study decreases the likelihood of getting married.? People are afraid because marriages fail and there is so much heartache in a failed marriage.? But that does not mean that marriage is bad.? Christians fail- but that does not mean Jesus is bad.? When we fail, we need to get back up, find forgiveness and the grace of God.? Divorce sometimes happens and even can be necessary.? The good news is there is?grace and God gives second chances.
This past week an article came out that we do not need to ignore that relates to this topic.? Richland County (where we are right now) leads our state in syphilis and in STDs (s
For Christians, the main reason to get married instead of live together is the blessing factor.? Jesus showed at Cana He cares about blessing marriages.? Do we want God?s blessing on our relationship, or do we want to be out there on our own without His blessing?? Obviously- not everyone is supposed to get married.? Jesus didn?t.
II. THE BASIS OF A DEFINITION- Today there are all kinds of competing ideas on what should constitute a marriage.? It is important, very important for us to realize that the church?s view of marriage SHOULD be a bit different from the culture?s (read ?world?s) or the government?s view of marriage.? If we lived in a place where there was no separation of church and state then they should be one and the same.? But just because something is legal in our world does not mean the church needs to endorse this.? If the church?s goal is to keep up with the world, then we no longer need the church and we no longer need God to guide us and help us in life.
I will be quite frank with you.? It would be easier for me to be quiet about this, and some may want me to not even raise the issue.? But it is clear that God is more concerned about human relationships than the state or the media.? The scriptures point out that the worst of times are the times of the judges when ?everyone did what was right in their own eyes.? Perhaps they did so to keep the societal peace.? But the best of the times are when people moved beyond their own lusts and selfish feelings to really love others and love God.
The basis of the definition of marriage is not love alone.? Love is an important foundation for any human relationship.? But we corrupt the good- even corrupt love.? If someone were to come up to me and say, ?I love your wife and I want to marry her.?? I would say, ?Well, she?s already married.?? And I would say it quite forcefully.? If they were to say, ?But I love her and therefore I have a right to have a relationship with her.?? I would say, ?Hold on buddy.??? Yet I have heard several say, ?If you love someone who are you to tell me it is wrong.??? If I have a seven year old daughter and some 40 year old fellow says ?I am in love with your daughter and cannot live without her and want to marry her.??? I would not only say no, I may ask the police for some help.? He could tell me, ?But I love her and I have a right to marry her? til the cows come home, but it wouldn?t make any difference.? Do you see what I mean?? We confuse love with lust in our society.? Love is meant to be not only the wonderful feeling given by God, but also the wonderful feeling given by God within the boundaries given by God.?? It is no accident that ?Thou shalt not commit adultery? is one of the top Ten.? This was not written in playdough but chiseled in stone.? It is not accident that Jesus said, ?a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to His wife and the two shall become one. ?? It is not the three shall become one.? There are obvious boundaries here.
When Jesus turned the water into wine, Mary said ?do what he says? and they did.? They could have argued with him.? They could have said, ?wait a minute it is a long way to the well and you are talking about 6 containers of 30 gallons each- that?s 180 gallons!?? But they trusted this Jesus, though he had never done a miracle before.? We see His miracles.? We have heard he rose, but we do not trust in His blessing- His words.
III. THE HOPE OF MARRIAGE- 97% of adult? Americans have sometime in their life wanted to be married.? This is a strong common desire I believe placed in us by God.? The American dream is not about having a ton of money as much as being in a committed relationship. ?There have been people who have said that marriage is dying.? There are some things that are killing marriage.? Fear is killing marriage- being afraid of failure.? But let perfect love cast out fear.?? Cost is killing marriage.? We live in such a money-driven culture that perception is that marriage costs too much.??? But ironically, whether we marry or not Is a predictor of economic stability.? The Brookings Institution has estimated that poverty rates would be 25% lower if marriage rates were the same today as they were in 1970.? Family stability and family formation play an important role in the economic stability of the people involved.? ?In 1970, 84 percent of all U.S.-born 30-to-44-year olds were married. Today the percentage is below 60 percent. According to Bowling Green State University, ?Since 1970, the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 percent.? The Atlantic Monthly had an article that pointed out that for most women marriage is an economic blessing.? In fact, the author of the article, mma Green said that the decision to get married or not is one of the most important economic decisions someone in a poor or middle class could decide for their economic future.? One reporter for FOX News said, there is a ?2 percent chance of poverty if you finish high school, work full time, and postpone marriage and childbearing until age 21.? If you don?t do these three things, there is a 77 percent chance of poverty.??[Breakpoint.org 1-25-14]. ?In other words marriage is an important factor in the battle against poverty.? A ?2012 [Heritage Foundation] study put it, ?The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high-school diploma or less.”? ?????Jesus blessed marriage.? The question for us is whether we believe marriage is a blessing or not.
The other day Kay and I bought a new car together.? The title reads- Kay or Ben. It says that because we trust each other.? I would love for the guy who said ?sign and drive? to say, ?You don?t have to sign and drive.? It won?t cost you any commitment.? But things that are worth investing in- are worth committing toward.? If we are careful with our cars, can we not be careful with our hearts and our lives???? Love, commitment, and holiness go together.? When they do their is great joy, peace, and strength.? Jesus wants us to thrive and not just survive in life and in human love.? He wants to bless us- but we need to not go our own way-but His way.