The following sermon was preached on Sunday, October 2nd 2005 at Filer Mennonite Church. These are the notes that I preached out of.
I was having a sleepless night–an evening cup of coffee, my husband’s abnormally loud snoring, and details about an upcoming trip were keeping me hopelessly awake. Even after I slipped into the guest bedroom, I still had trouble. Finally, at 3:15 a.m., I crawled back into my own bed, next to a now half-awake husband.
“Honey, I can’t sleep,” I whispered. “I start to drift off and even dream, but then I wake up with a jerk.”
“Wait a minute,” my husband said, now fully awake. “I am not a jerk!”
Karen Wingate, Coldwater, Kansas, Christian Reader, “Lite Fare.”
Alcohol.. the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and now marriage.
A friend of mine said “you better watch out, the offerings are going to go down.
Practical aspect of the Bible. It speaks to areas of our everyday life.
Vision for marriage
How does the world see marriage?
50% of marriages end in divorce. myth
Pollster Louis Harris has written, “The idea that half of American marriages are doomed is one of the most specious pieces of statistical nonsense ever perpetuated in modern times.”
It all began when the Census Bureau noted that during one year, there were 2.4 million marriages and 1.2 million divorces. Someone did the math without calculating the 54 million marriages already in existence, and presto, a ridiculous but quotable statistic was born.
Harris concludes, “Only one out of eight marriages will end in divorce. In any single year, only about 2 percent of existing marriages will break up.”
J. Allan Petersen in Better Families. “To Verify,” Leadership.
1 in 8 is still too high. But significantly, We believe that statistic because it appears to be true around us. Broken marriages have become such a part of our landscape that we’ve grown cynical to the Biblical vision of a Godly permanent marriage.
What the Christian vision for marriage is.
Love. Love your neighbor as yourself. No one is your closer neighbor then your spouse.
Help for each other. I can make breakfast for myself… but I will forget to take care of myself and eat cheetos and coffee if Deana doesn’t put a lunch and dinner in front of me.
Are you lacking in love? Not helping each other? Then hopefully this time will be useful to you.
Me as an example:
I’ve grown up in the church and been to bible studies and conferences. I’ve noticed two tendencies among Christian ministers regarding marriage. Teach either principles that aren’t grounded in everyday living. Or testify that they almost lost their marriage, but now thanks to these three steps their marriage is made in heaven and so can yours.
Here’s my problem with that: neither are realistic. Biblical principles are lived out in the trenches of the real world. And it’s unrealistic to paint a marriage as perfect.
My approach: No magic bullet. It has been hard. We’ve had to work hard. We’ve been in a dark tunnel with no apparent light at the end.
But as H. Norman Write says “All the experiences that we’ve had are a rich storehouse of memories. We learned from the difficult times, and we learned from the times of laughter as well. I’m not one to look back and say I wish I would have done this or that differently. I’m more of an optimist who says, “Let’s learn from what we’ve done in the past and let’s look forward to today and tomorrow.”
H. Norman Wright, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 7, no. 3.
If you are struggling in your marriage, we are humble about ours and want to help anyway we can. No magic bullets. Just good ears. And our own story. And scripture.
What are the rules, spoken or unspoken that your family lives under?
If someone gets a toy for a holiday, they are the only one that gets to play with it for a season… few days, week.
Tap Tap seat back.
“Calling” it. I call the front seat.
When Deana and I are gone, Alexis or Brittany are in charge. I will support them 100%.
The world we live in has a code for marriage.
1. It should make you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy… if someone else comes along who makes you happy.
2. Group of men at Buhl talking about prenuptial agreements. ONe of them asked if the other had a prenuptial agreement. He said “yes. we agreed that my wealth would become hers, and her debts would become mine.” Code = plan to get out.
3. Another code is for the women to become more like men and for the men to become more like women.
I used to have _really_ long hair. Honestly, I prefer having my hair long.
But I became convicted that I needed to help discriminate between male and female.
I don’t think I looked like a woman.
But in spite of all the progress of liberalism in this world, we still associate long hair with women.
This has a profound effect on our marriages.
Is a marriage better when the man becomes more like a woman, and a woman becomes more like a man?
Does the Bible discriminate between men and women when it provides instruction on marriage?
Read Ephesians 5:21-33
21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body. 24 But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; 26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly; 30 because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. 31 “For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly. 33 Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Area where we are equal: Submit to each other.
Areas where our roles are different.
1. Men love your wives as yourself.
2. Wives respect your husband.
In Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs writes
“The wife is the one who asks “Does my husband love me as much as I love him?” She knows she loves him, but she wonders at times if he loves her nearly as much. So when he comes across as unloving, she typically reacts in a negative way. In her opinion, he needs to change into a more sensitive and caring man.
“On the other hand, a husband does not commonly ask, “Does my wife love me as much as I love her?” Why not? Because he is assured of her love. I often ask husbands “Does your wife love you?” They reply, “Yes, of course.” But then I ask, “Does she like you?” And the answer usually comes back, “Nope.”
In many cases the wife’s dislike is interpreted by the husband as disrespect and even contempt. In his opinion, she has changed from being the admiring, ever approving woman she was when they courted.”
According to the Bible, each spouse has a unique role to play to make sure that their marriage is great. The husband is to love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife needs to respect her husband.
Confusion about this even in the church:
A 2002 gender survey conducted by Christianity Today International’s research department shows that most readers are unsure what the Bible really means in what it says about the roles of men and women.
Of the 750 respondents, 88 percent agree that “there is a lot of confusion about male and female roles in the Christian world today.” Only 19 percent say that the Bible’s teachings on the matter are “very clear and plainly understood,” while 39 percent say that the teachings are “clear in principle, with much room for personal choice and practice.” It’s no wonder, then, that 78 percent of respondents think that “Christian leaders need to speak out on proper roles for men and women,” while only 9 percent say they don’t need such guidance.
Eighty-nine percent of our readers agree with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s tenet that “God made men and women to be equal in personhood and value but different in roles.” But, when asked specifically about the often-debated roles, a surprising number of respondents seemed to move away from the belief that men are by divine right in charge of churches and families.
“Adam and Eve in the 21st Century,” Christianity Today (3-11-02)
Let’s walk through this.
1. First, submit yourselves to each other.
I Peter 5 5 Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
1Corinthians 7:4 The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife.
Not manipulative. We’ve both encountered books that were using male female distinctiveness to manipulate our spouse into becoming what we want in our relationship.
Not passive aggressive.
I am to subject myself to Deana. She is to subject herself to me. The importance of where the chapter verse breakdowns happen.
2. Wives Respect and Submit to your husbands.
One evening my husband, Mark, and our preschooler, Krystal, were on the couch chatting. “Daddy, you’re the boss of the house, right?” I overheard her ask sweetly.
My husband proudly replied, “Yes, I’m the boss of the house.”
But Krystal quickly burst his bubble when she added, “Cause Mommy put you in charge, huh Daddy?”
Rhonda Mony, Lake Elsinore, California. Christian Reader, “Kids of the Kingdom.”
We need leadership. God has appointed leadership.
We need people whose job it is to see the bigger picture and to help make decisions to move towards that bigger picture.
Husbands are a gift to their families to see the bigger picture and lead towards it. Submitting then is taking the divinely ordered place in the marriage relationship.
Submission is not subjugation. Subjugation turns a person into a thing, destroys individuality, and removes all liberty. Submission makes a person become more of what God wants him to be; it brings out individuality; it gives him the freedom to accomplish all that God has for his life and ministry. Subjugation is weakness; it is the refuge of those who are afraid of maturity. Submission is strength; it is the first step toward true maturity and ministry.
Warren Wiersbe, Leadership; submitted by Kevin A. Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International
Submitting is allowing your husband to fill the role that God has place him in.
1. Keep on the lookout for some small decision that needs to be made. “You make the decision.”
2. After.. keep on the lookout for a large decision.
A case in point is an episode from the life of Don Balasa, a Chicago lawyer and CBMW’s legal counsel, and his wife, Kate Balasa, who homeschools their daughter. The Balasas were visiting Buffalo, New York, when the terrorist attacks suspended air travel. They had airplane tickets for September 13 but weren’t sure they would be able to fly home that day.
“An area that Don usually defers to me is travel,” Kate told me. “So he asked me, ‘What are our options?’ After giving him all the scenarios, I told him I’d prefer to wait at the hotel and fly home.” But Don thought it would be safer and a better use of time to drive home to Chicago immediately.
“I told Don, ‘I’m deciding to submit to you here, but I really disagree with your decision.’ He just very lovingly, very kindly said, ‘I think this is the direction we need to go,’ ” she says. They ended up renting a car and, “as it turned out, we would have been stuck there for several more days.”
Does she feel resentment when Don goes against her wishes?
“No bitterness has built up,” she says. “I trust God that he has put Don in a place of headship in our home, and Don’s leadership is loving.” She adds that many times Don is clearly opposed to something she wants to do—like a recent home renovation—yet he gives her a go-ahead.
Just because your husband is leading doesn’t mean that you are respecting his leadership.
Just because your husband isn’t leading doesn’t mean that you are submitting to him.
There is a story about a little boy who was instructed by his teacher to sit down and be quiet. Because of his rebellious nature he did not want to do this, but was forced to by his teacher. Later, the children in the class were chiding him by saying, “Boy, you really sat down and shut up when the teacher approached you with the paddle.” The rebellious boy replied, “I may have been sitting down on the outside, but I was still standing up on the inside.”
Scripture to study
1Timothy 2:11, 12
3. Husbands love your wives.
On February 14, the business of Valentine’s Day is to ardently pursue love interests and warmly renew those already in progress.
Daniel Webster, a 19th century lawyer and statesman, was courting his wife-to-be, Grace Fletcher. As he held skeins of silk thread for her, he suggested, “Grace, we’ve been engaged in untying knots; let us see if we can tie a knot which will not untie for a lifetime.” They stopped right then and tied a random silk knot that would be almost impossible to untie. Grace accepted Webster’s proposal.
After they passed from this world, their children found a little box marked “Precious Documents.” Among the contents were letters of courtship and a tiny silk knot—one that had never been untied.
Those who know the love of Jesus can boldly say, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).
Jim Bassett; Source: Clifton Fadiman, The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, (Little, Brown & Co., 1985)
When you first dated.
These verses put such demands upon the Christian husbande that it is impossible to see how a charge of male shauvinism could justly be made against the Bible or how a license to exploit women or wives could eve be claimed from such texts.
Wayne Grudem, a CBMW council member who coedited the complementarian magnum opus, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway, 1991), made a big sacrifice for his wife, Margaret.
For several years, she has lived with constant pain due to fibromyalgia. The soreness eased whenever the two visited hot and arid Arizona, and they entertained the idea of moving there. The move could have hindered Wayne’s career. A scholar at the well-known Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, Wayne found one school he could work at in Arizona: the little-known Phoenix Seminary.
“I came to , ‘Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies,’ ” Wayne later wrote in a newsletter. “If I were to love my own wife as I love my own body, then shouldn’t I move [to Arizona] for the sake of Margaret?” Wayne applied to teach at Phoenix and the two moved last year
2. Don’t be bitter against them.
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Having the authority doesn’t give you license to be a jerk.
3. Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed; And rejoice in the wife of thy youth.