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Dr. Ed Young - Intimacy

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    Dr. Ed Young - Intimacy
TOPICS: Marriage, Intimacy, Relationships

In our culture, I think we all know that marriage is in trouble. The Bible begins with marriage, and in Genesis chapter 2, we know that Genesis 1 is an account of creation, Genesis 2 is a commentary, an explanation of chapter 1, which dealt with creation. We read in the Bible in chapter 1, six straight "good". God created, he said it's good, it's good, it's good, it's good, it's good, it's good. And then the last part of chapter 1, he says it's very good. He had created man out of dust and his image, and then in chapter 2, he tells us that God breathed into man life. Image of God, now breath came into man.

An Italian director was writing a movie on the Bible and he wondered how in the world he'd picture creation. God, creating man, mankind. And it was a foggy kind of mist, and then the mist began to sort of coagulate, and there was a body on the ground. The creation of man. Now, was that body laying on the ground or lying on the ground? Objects, inanimate objects that are not alive lay, living things lie. There was this inanimate body created by dust which was man in chapter 1, but in chapter 2 we can say not that he was laying on the ground, inanimate. When God breathed into him through his nostrils, he breathed into him life, and now he is lying on the ground. He's alive. And the movie depicted man standing to his own feet. Six "It is good," one "It is very good," and then finally we see an assignment was given to Adam, to man, to name all the beasts that had been created. One assignment.

That idea in heaven we're gonna be strumming on harps or floating around in clouds, God's gonna give us wonderful, creative, unperceived, unimagined assignments to carry out for him throughout eternity. What anticipation, what excitement this must be for all of us. And here was Adam, first man, and God is parading by him animals he had to name. Naming all the animals, all the birds. To name something indicates authority over it, and Adam had the assignment of being a steward, of being a shepherd, of being one who presided for all of creation. What a magnificent assignment, ladies and gentlemen. And now God says, "Name the animals," and how quickly did he do it? I think he took his time.

The Bible pictures God leading one animal out and Adam looking, and praying, and searching out the characteristic of that animal, and he finally decided, "Aardvark". And the next animal would come out and it could be, "What will I name this animal"? And he named it a hippopotamus. Doesn't a hippopotamus look like a hippopotamus? Good name, isn't it? But as the animals were paraded by, Adam didn't see anything that would complete him. He didn't see the other half of himself until he went to sleep and God performed a divine operation. He took a rib out of his side, took that rib, and made woman, the rest of man.

Man, the rest of woman. Out of his side, not out of his foot so we would dominate. Not out of his head, so he'd be superior. But out of his side, so there would be equality there, and there would be protection there under his arm, and it will be close to his heart. And there we have the beautiful picture of Adam and Eve, and then we have the first marriage performed in the Bible. And we have a divine formula for marriage, but marriage is in trouble. Marriage is suspect. The homosexual community has tried to redefine marriage for us. God has already defined it. God invented marriage. God tells us what marriage is all about. But we're worried about it because we know that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. I dare say half of us here have gone through a divorce, and so we know it is a precarious thing. Someone said it's a dangerous institution to be a part of.

I remember when I got married a long time ago. I dated my wife 6 1/2 years. And before the ceremony, I remember standing out on the side saying, "You know, my friend said this is a good time to run". I didn't know if I wanted to be a part of an institution. And we've made marriage something that the young people look at it and say, "You know, I don't know if I want to be a part of this". And so they live together, they cohabit without being married, thinking, "Well, this is the way I'll improve upon the family from which I came. We'll have a little trial period here". What they don't realize that those who live together before they're married, they have a smaller chance of getting married than those who do not, and those who live together before they're married, when they do get married, the odds of them being divorced are astronomical. But still, you have 50%.

But what we don't know is that so many of these 50%, or those who dropped out of school before there were 18, pregnancy was involved and they got married, and that's the reason, the primary reason, divorce rate is so high. What we don't look at is that when two young people finish their education, come from a home that is intact, and they are genuinely Christians, not, "Well, he used to go to the Presbyterian church," or "He was christened," or whatever, but they're genuinely practicing Christians, and they get married when they're 25 or later, you know what divorce rate is for those in that category? It is microscopic. God's way works.

So, we have to work through this process. It's God's process and the results are magnificent. And then he gives us, in the very first marriage ceremony in Genesis chapter 2, the five things that will take any marriage... if you've been married five minutes or 50 years, it makes no difference. Some of you are back there saying, well, you know, I don't know about marriage. It's like that comedian stood up and his opening line is he had a routine on marriage. He said, "If you're single, you're lonely. If you're married, you're bored". And a lot of people have bought that lie. Folks, God gave us marriage. It is to be exciting, dynamic, fulfilling, creative, magnificent. And if you think, "Well, that can't happen to me," it's because you haven't put it into practice, the basic fundamental steps that makes a dynamic marriage and a marriage that sizzles.

Now, if you want to stay like you are, don't pay any attention to it. Just surrender. I'm content just to hang in there and stay with her. I'm gonna stay with him through thick and... my glory. The law of gravity works, right? You haven't seen the laws and the principles of God about marriage work every single time, whatever stage you're in. Let's look at them. First of all, the first reason for your marriage is... The first thing you do is you leave. You leave father and mother. A lot of marriages start off in trouble because one of the mates holds onto the relationship with a mom, or dad, or some other person.

When you get married, you leave those relationships. Not that you don't talk with your parents. You commune with your parents, but they're not your best friend, your closest friend. You don't share with them all the intimacies of your marriage. You leave father and mother. And a lot of people in marriage haven't done that. Their first allegiance may be to father or mother or brother or sister or a friend or a prior relationship. When you say, "I do," ladies and gentlemen, you leave and your primary direction of your life is devoted to your spouse, to your mate. That's where you start. Say, "Well, I didn't marry the whole family". Yes, you did. If you think that doesn't work, you married everything about the past, everything about the present, and the future of the person that you have taken under your arms.

You said, "I do," and they said, "I will". You married the whole shooting match. Everyone, "Well, I didn't know I was marrying my mother-in-law". You certainly are. You certainly have. What's the next thing? It says you cleave. You hold onto. You grab. And that's a picture almost of super glue. You cleave to one another. You cleave to that love that you have. You have to do that. You have to work on marriage. You know, I was married for three months, and we dated all those years, and I woke up one day and I said, "Who is this strange woman I've married"? You married a stranger. And nobody is naturally compatible. Don't believe that. There's no such thing as that perfect soul mate. There is not such a person. Or I could have only married one person. No, you don't get that from the Bible. And so we cleave. You work at it.

Say, "I didn't know you had to work at love. I thought is just a feeling". No, love is not a feeling. It's an action. And feelings come and go, but a commitment of love, and to love, and to love. And in marriage there has to be two things, love and truth. Love by itself is mushy. Can't have much of a marriage like that. Truth by itself is harsh. That won't work either. But in marriage, in the cleaving, there has to be truth and love. How in the world can truth and love work together? In the human person it cannot, but when the Holy Spirit can come and blend truth and love, and truth and love together, it will help your marriage know how to sing in the clinging process.

Remember that divine math, one plus one equals one. And all of a sudden you are one. You leave and you cleave. You work at marriage every day. And you realize it is a... Paul says it as he deals with marriage in Ephesians 5, and Jesus echoes this in Matthew 11. Same opening words of God when he performed that marriage, and he says marriage is a great mysterion. It is a great mystery. Have you discovered that? It really is. That's the part of the glory, and the excitement, and the thrill, and the dynamic of it. You leave. You cleave. Then you become one flesh. Say, "Well, that's just a sexual thing". Oh no, that's part of it. Body to body, yes. Soul to soul, personality to personality, yes. Spirit to spirit, yes. And that's the process of cleaving and becoming one flesh. It's a marvelous thing and that's the reason.

What is marriage for? Procreation. Be fruitful and multiply. It is for pleasure and also it is a physical symbol of the relationship you and I have in Jesus Christ. Therefore in marriage, they have to be operating all the time repentance and forgiveness, repentance and forgiveness. Just like in the Lord Jesus Christ, we repent and by his grace he forgives, in marriage we repent and there's forgiveness. You have to have those things working. That's the process of becoming one flesh. Leave, cleave, one flesh, repentance and forgiveness operating together. And then what's the next step? You're naked. Not so much physical nakedness. Certainly that's a part of it, but you're just vulnerable. You're open. You've exposed yourself.

You see, when you get married, you're totally reprogrammed. Did you know that? Somebody has told you all your life, friends, family, parents, teachers, "You know, you're just not very smart". And your mate says, "You know, you are sharp and you've got stuff in so many areas". You see, your mate has reprogrammed you. By the same token, if you're married somebody in a negative case, heaven help us all. They reprogram you and you say, "You know, I've always felt pretty confident," but your mate keeps under cutting you, and under cutting you, and you lose your confidence. Your wife, your husband reprograms everyone here. And if you are a negative kinda programmer, change your view.

You see, the wife is to be the cheerleader, and the husband is to be the one who can be trusted. Trust and cheering, cheering and trusting. And your mate reprograms you. Any prior opinion you had of yourself, any prior affirmation you had of yourself, it is your mate that determines who you really are and who you believe you are. And so in marriage, see, we expose ourselves. We're just naked. We're open. We're vulnerable. And therefore, our mate reprograms us, hopefully in the finest and the best ways. Not just making up stuff, but being honest with us, challenging us, rebuilding us in a wonderful way, without trying to change us. If you marry anybody to change them, God help that person, and you are stupid to say "I do" in the first place. But we do get reprogrammed. This is being naked.

Soren Kierkegaard the philosopher talks about a costume ball, and said back in the old days they'd have costume balls, and everybody would dress up with mask on, and nobody knew who the other person was, and they'd intermingled all in the party. They would dance together, and eat together, and talk together, and everybody had a wonderful time, totally in mask. And then about 1 o'clock, everybody would take their mask off and you would see these people and who you really had been engaged with. That's what marriage is. The mask comes off and all of a sudden you see that person as they are, and they see you as you really are. That's the beautiful part of being naked, of being open, of being receptive, of being reprogrammed.

And the problem is when we see ourselves as we really are, it's like that bridge that had all those little flaws, little, microscopic cracks in the bridge, and nobody knew it was there until that big ol' Mack truck came over that little bridge. And that Mack truck was so heavy, all those little bitty, microscopic flaws were expanded and you saw how weak the bridge really was. That's what happens in marriage. That's the thrill of it, the challenge of it, how God works in it. Naked. And then finally, finally, what's the last thing? There's no shame. Isn't that great to live a life? There's no shame, nothing hidden, no unusual agendas, no under cutting of someone. Just no shame.

Let me tell you, that'll work wherever you are. It works every time. Leave, cleave, one flesh, naked, no shame. Boy, that marriage will sizzle. If you want your marriage just to stay wherever it is, you can certainly do it. When I was a boy, polio was epidemic proportions. They found that Salk vaccine and everybody stopped getting polio. What if that were you? You say, "You know, I'm not gonna take that vaccine". You're not gonna use God's principles? If you're 50 years in marriage or five minutes in marriage, how absolutely stupid can someone get? God has a way. God's plan works. Think it through, pray it through, put into practice, and then come back and say, "Well, it didn't work for me". You can't find anybody like that. Have the courage and the boldness to do those things.

And there's a little operating principle. What do you think the best known verse in the Bible is? Known all over the world. What verse is it? You'll guess and you'll be wrong, but your happy to guess. It really is. What verse in the Bible is the best known verse around the world? Somebody said John 3:16. That's what I said and I was wrong, and you're wrong. What is it? Somebody said it. Golden rule. That's right. A-plus, you can miss next Sunday, no charge. No, no, you need to be here. The Golden rule. The Golden rule is known in all kinds of cultures, Western, Eastern, all over southern. It's just known, but a lot of people don't know it's in the Bible. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. By the same token, it's the best known verse in all the world.

And I would guess that nobody here has ever heard a sermon preached totally on that verse. I've never preached one on that verse. Isn't it something? I don't believe you've heard it mentioned. I've mentioned it many times. You've never heard a total sermon on the best known verse in the Bible in all the world completely. How many, be careful, have ever heard a complete sermon on that one verse? Lift your hand. Be careful. I may call on you. I've never seen anybody lift their hand. Isn't that something? Because what does the verse mean? Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. What in the world does that mean? Sounds nice. It means this, simply stated. Whatever you need, that's what you give. That's what it means.

In a seminar on marriage, mostly singles, and a dumb thing to do, I said, "Are there any questions? Now raise your hand. Yes, yes, yes, yes, what's your question"? "I've been married and divorced twice and I need a husband. Where do I get a husband"? Just stand where I stand and see how you manage that question. And you know, I thought, I said, "Well, why do you want a husband? What do you need"? She said, "I need someone to cheer for me, to encourage me". I said, "Okay". I said, "Whatever you need, that's what you give. And when you give that which you need, it'll come back to you like bread on water".

Jesus said, "You cast your bread on water, it will come back to you". Not through that person that you encourage, but probably through someone else. It's one of those principles. It's like the law of gravity. This is a principle. It's a law. Whatever you need, what is that you need? Anybody here, will you need anything? What is it, that is what you give. And when you give that which you need, it will come back to you. And you'll understand maybe in relationships the genius of marriage.

I love Abraham. He got his servant to go out and find a wife for his son Isaac. Isaac means laughter, by the way. That's his name. And I guess he laughed so much he couldn't pick out anybody, so his daddy had to do it for him. And he sent his servant out to find a wife, and this servant goes out to another country, another land, and what a challenge he had. It's tough enough to pick out a mate for yourself, let alone to pick out a mate for somebody else. It's like the old boy in Walgreens was picking up glasses, looking through it, and picking up glasses and looking through it, and you know, I said, "It's hard to find out which one fits". He said, "It really is, particularly when you're picking out glasses for somebody else".

That's what the servant had to do, pick out a wife for Isaac. He goes in a country and there you have all the young girls all watering their camels. Rows and rows of young girls. That's what they did. The young teenagers watered the camels. And he looks and he said, "How in the world am I going to know which one of these girls I'm to pick out for Isaac"? And he prayed to God, he said, "God, show me. Help me know". And God told him, he said, "The one that becomes a servant, that goes the extra mile". So he's studying these young girls, not their face, or their form, or their voice. He just studies these young girls. They all water their camels, watering their camels.

And finally, one little girl comes to him and said, "Sir, I see you're a foreigner and you don't know exactly how to water your camels. Let me take your pots and fill the water for you". And he said, "That's Isaac's wife". You look at the person you married and see, "How can I serve? Will I enjoy serving that person"? And you look at one another like that, not what I will get, but what I can give and what we can become together. What do you need? Whatever you need, that is what you give. And you throw that need out into somebody else, meet somebody else's need in that area, and it will come back to you like bread on water in another wave, not necessarily with that person. It'll come back to you in God's appointed time like bread on water, and that bread will have butter and jelly on it.
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