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Dr. Ed Young - Marriage, The Big Picture

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    Dr. Ed Young - Marriage, The Big Picture
TOPICS: Marriage

Strategic word of Scripture found in Psalm 1:27. It reads, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it". Say after me, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it". Do you realize what a strong dogmatic statement that is? It says unless the Lord builds the house, the family, the church, if there's to be a home in a house, the Lord has to do it. You say, "Surely there's a plan B". No. "Surely there's some other ways you can build a family, a marriage other than this exclusive way". No. You say, "God is like that". All the way through the Old Testament, you can look in Deuteronomy 4. He says, "I am a lone God". You can look in Isaiah 45. He claims to be the exclusive, the one and only. You get the New Testament, it is compounded. Jesus says in John 14, "I am the way, the truth, the life and nobody under any other conditions can come to the Father except through me".

That's pretty limiting, isn't it? See, we don't like that as Americans. We say we live in a pluralistic society. People can decide for themselves. There are many ways. There are many opportunities. Whereas Luke says in Acts he said, "There's only one by which you might be saved," just one name. That's the only name. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he looked at the cross and saw that in the cup of death, he was about to drink all the filth would be poured into his life. And he says, "Lord, let this cup pass from me". He said, "Is there any other way"? God says, "No. There's only this one way". So, unless the Lord builds subsets, there's no fine print, there's no other design. Unless the Lord builds the house, they that labor labor foolishly. There's only one way to get a home into a house.

Now, the secularists, they really get upset at this. Even those of us who are Christians say, "You know, we don't wanna be too dogmatic, too pious". But God knows and recognized that this is a very strong preemptive statement, a thesis with no other alternatives. Unless the Lord builds the house, there's no other way to do it. Look with me in Matthew chapter number 7. It's the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Remember Matthew 5, 6, and 7 contains the beatitudes and the basic fundamentals of how the Christian life operates. It's the most profound statement of ethics, morals, how to live ever written in the history of the written Word, Matthew 5, 6, 7. And how in the world would you end the greatest teaching ever pronounced in all of history? How would you end that? What would be the climax of it?

And we read that in our Scripture. It relates directly to our thesis. Remember our thesis. Unless the Lord builds the house, our labor is foolishness. It doesn't work. Unless the Lord builds the house. But look how this fits in. Verse 24, Matthew 7 "Therefore..." Therefore meaning everything that's gone before Matthew 5, 6, 7, Sermon on the Mount. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who builds his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against the house; and it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and slammed against the house; and great was its fall".

It fell. The fall was great. That's the end of the sermon. Huh? We know that story. Two builders, two foundations, two results, one catastrophic event, same thing. Let's look at it. Build a house over here on sand. Build a house over here on rock. The house built on sand, my goodness, it starts to go up immediately. It begins to show the 2 by 4s, 2 by 8s, 2 by 6s. It goes up and before long, you see the forming of the roof and the roof begins to put on. And what's the matter with this bunch over here? They haven't even come out of the ground. They're still digging. They're going down trying to find rock and sometimes you had to go down over 30 feet in Israel to find my rock, though it's a very rocky land. And all of a sudden, this house is moving on. It's in the dry. The roof is on and they're still digging. This house is bigger. It's cheaper. It's gonna be beautiful. And it's going right up.

My goodness, they're saying, "What's the matter with these folks over here in your house? You hardly have anything coming out of the ground. You've been working the same times they've been working". And finally, the two houses get built. Boy, this one is bigger, under budget, more beautiful. Man, this house solid, it's up. It's nice. So, you got two different builders, two different kinds of foundations and then the same storm come. Read it, identical words, the house built on rock, rain, flood, winds, lashed against the house. Sound familiar? Hurricane Ike or we can name them. And the same thing happened to this beautiful spacious house, larger house, cheaper house, magnificent house. It went up so rapidly lashed against that house. What happened? This house flattened. This house stood.

Ladies and gentlemen, understand something. There is no pleasure that would compensate for a house that has been built that when trouble, and trials, and tribulation comes and the house collapsed on your head. There's no way that you have shortchanged, taken halfway steps that will compensate for the house being flattened. And the truth is all of us in life will face these catastrophic moments. Most of us could say, "Yes, I've been there. It was health. It was in my marriage. It was in my kids. It was in my vocation. It was in relationships. It was in..." On and on and on. We can make a list that would go from here all the way to Dallas of all the tribulations we've gone through.

So, storms will come. Storms have come. Storms will come again. It's called life in a fallen world. Is it not? And the problem is so many of us, though we did not know it, we built our foundation of our homes, of our lives, our houses on sand but when storms come, the sandy soil moves away and many people get flattened while others, when the storms come, many people stand up and stand tall and come out of the storms stronger than they were prior to the hurricane, the hurricane in life. So, how do we know? If the Lord builds a house, it stands. If a house is built on any other foundation other than the foundation of the Lord, it will not stand. It will not function.

You see, in many of us, the Lord is a subcontractor. God insists on being the general contractor, doesn't he? He has the blueprint, here's the foundation. He is the general contractor and he will put a house that will stand on top of it. Now, what about your life? What about your house? What about your family? How do we know what that foundation is? Really, our Scripture tells us. Did you catch it? Jesus said, "He who hears and acts on my Word..." Oh, we're good at hearing. All of you seem to be hearing now. I have two or three dozed off. That's all right. I just want you to start awake. If I put you to sleep, that's okay. But we're good at hearing but the test is in the acting and the doing so this foundation is all the teachings of Jesus.

It is Jesus himself and he says the foundation that he wants us to put in that he will put in for us as our general contractor, we have to hear and we have to do. The rock is Jesus but it's more than just I'm standing on Jesus. It's letting the Holy Spirit as we are in Christ, put those principles and practice in your life, in my life, in your house, and in my house. And then we go to, I think, a summary statement. Probably Paul didn't intend for it to be that but it works perfectly and that's the Ephesians 4:15 passage. It says simply to speak the truth and love as we grow into Christ, as we... how do we grow into Christ? What word best speaks of Christ, act of love? It would be the word "grace," as we grow in grace.

So, in that one little verse we have truth, love, and grace. We've talked about truth. So, this foundation is built on Jesus. We hear, and we act, and now we speak and in that house that he is building in and through us, there must be truth. You can't have a relationship. You can't have a house unless truth is there, real truth, valid truth, unvarnished truth. But you can't just have truth. I don't stay around people who always say, "I always tell the truth". Run from those folks. You and I don't always need to hear the unvarnished cold, steel truth. If you're married to somebody like that, God help us all. "Oh, I just tell the truth"! Truth has to be there absolutely, but to speak the truth without love in relationships, especially in marriage in building that house, is devastating.

So, truth is vital. It has to be there but love has to be there as to the timing, as to the Word, as to the tone, as to the purpose. It has to be covered completely with love. So, we're to speak the truth in love and truth plus love leads us to grace as God, as Christ, is being blossoming, is growing out in your life and in my life and suddenly we're getting a foundation. Unless the Lord builds a house, any other way of building a house will not have a foundation. It will be a standing foundation and not a rocky foundation. And Jesus, as a general contractor, comes and says, "I am the foundation but you have to hear, and you have to act it out, and you have to speak it out".

And we speak the truth in love and that leads us to grace. Grace, what we need is grace. What is grace? Oh, there's so many wonderful definitions. Grace is something we need and do not deserve. Grace is God's love acting in time, in space, in Jesus, to bring us into right relationship with our heavenly Father. That's grace. It's amazing. It's hard to describe. It's truth plus love. It's unmerited, overwhelming, almost impossible to define. We cannot measure it. It is God acting in time, and history, and in your life, and in my life and we have to have truth, and love, and grace in that foundation. That's how God builds a house. And we see it so dramatically in grace-full marriages.

Is your marriage full of grace? Marriage is something. If you're not married, you don't know that. If you are married, you say, it certainly is. see, we fall in love, right? And then we are loved and we reciprocate with love. We're in love and we're with love and then finally there comes moments that we have to do love. Somebody says, "Well, I don't love her anymore. I don't have any feelings anymore". Somebody said, "You know, my marriage is killing me". That's exactly what it's supposed to do. It is to kill us. "Anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and die". What? Daily. Marriage is to kill the self.

Remember the ticking clock, self, self, self. The self that's in you and the self that is within me. Well, how does this work? Soren Kierkegaard tells a story about a costume ball. Everybody came with their mask on, all their outfits on. In the first half, first half part of the ball, nobody knew who anybody else was. They were masked. They had their costumes and they had a time they danced, they ate, they moved around. But at 12 o'clock, bang! The masks came off and now everybody recognized and knew who the other person was and the whole atmosphere of the ball changed its character.

You say, "When does that happen? When does our mask come off"? You say, "Sound like judgment day to me". No, no, no, it's called marriage. That's when the mask comes off. If this were a bridge and this bridge looks pretty solid but it's been here a long, long time and has many cracks in it, many flaws in it, you wouldn't know it unless an 18 wheeler loaded with ball bearings drove over this bridge and all of a sudden all the fissures, all the cracks will begin to appear and you would see them. Marriage is a 18 wheeler driving right through your life and my life and suddenly, that person we're closer to than anybody else on the earth, closer than our parents.

You know, 18 years or so and we move out. Closer than our children. Eighteen years or so and they move out. But in marriage, do you remember that part when somebody said, "Till death do you part"? There's an intimacy there and in that intimacy, your partner, your mate, your spouse, sees all the cracks and the mask is taken off. And therefore, you find then whether or not you have a graceful marriage. You see, our mate defines us. Everybody else can say you're dumb and your mate can say, "You know, you're sharp. I'm sharp". See, your marriage partner really reprograms your whole self-image because they see warts and all. And if it is a graceful marriage, the marriage kills us and we discover that marriage isn't all about me, all about my needs, all about my happiness, all about my joy.

We discovered that marriage is about the partner that we said "I do" to and our highest priority is to see him and her fulfilled, and loved, and complete. You say, "Well, that just takes everything away from me". No, no, we don't lose our personalities but we happen, our personalities, our character is remade and we begin to discover how to speak the truth in love and in grace. That's a graceful marriage. In that marriage, the main operative word, and there are many, is the word "forgiveness". As God has forgiven us, we're to be in the forgiveness business.

I bumped into an old, old story and I'd never seen forgiveness in it before. David and Bathsheba, rang a bell with everybody. Say, "I didn't read in the Bible but I sure saw the movie". David and Bathsheba, it's a tragic story but it's a story of forgiveness and perhaps we've only got to the tragic part. David looked, saw the beautiful woman. He was married, she was married. She was Miss Universe taking a bath and there was lust, there was a adultery, there was murder, and there was lying, and there was an unwanted pregnancy. Now, if you wanna have a terrible way to start a marriage, you just hardly can beat that. That's what they had, lust, adultery, murder, lying, lying, lying. Boy, what could ever happen in that situation?

Years go by. God does a work of grace in David as he has confessed and repented. I'm sure Bathsheba was a part of that, now they were husband and wife. God does a work of grace a when God was looking for someone in the Messiah to bring in the Davidic line of prophecy, God selected Joseph as a surrogate father to Mary to bring in that royal line of prophecy and therefore Bathsheba now is the great, great, great, great grandmother of Jesus. Whoa! How can this be? Many scholars believe this same Bathsheba wrote Proverbs 31, "A worthy woman who can find", which was probably one of the most profound, beautiful, proclamations of feminine life that you can find. That is a grace-full marriage. It doesn't mean, "Oh, it's good all this happened", No, that wasn't God's plan but in the tragedy, in the storm that came out of it came grace and forgiveness.

A couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. All the kids came, the grandkids came, and they sort of cornered grandmother and said, "What in the world did you and grandfather do these 50 years that you're so happy in love, that you've had so much fun? And look at all of us, what in the world did you do to make your marriage sing? What did you do"? And the grandmother said, "Well, when I married your grandfather," said, "I made a list of ten things. I saw flaws in his personality right upfront". And she said, "I said, I'm taking this list of ten things and if he violates anything on that list I'll forgive him". And she said, "I've carried that list with me everywhere I go". And her granddaughter said, "Boy, would you give us a copy of that list"? And she said with a twinge in her eye, "You know, the truth is I never did make a list". But she said, "Every time your grandfather would make me hoppin' mad, I'd look at him and say, 'I'm sure glad that's on that list.'"
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