Jentezen Franklin - Missional Marriage
So I wanna talk to you for a few moments tonight, I'm gonna share something that I've never shared before, never spoke this anywhere, never heard anybody preach on it. It's just kinda crazy, and, but the more I looked into it, I began to find material and people who had picked up bits and pieces, but I've often wondered, why is it in the New Testament you cannot find many couples? It's like, in the Old Testament, the Bible's a Book about couples. It's Abraham and Sarah. It's Adam and Eve. It's the famous couples, and I could just go on and on and on and on, naming couples. You move to the New Testament, and about the only couple that I could find was Mary and Joseph, and he disappears at some point, and she's left by herself at the Cross. I mean, let's just tell it like it is, it never mentions him again after the birth. That's in your Bible.
And so, and then I'm searching, I'm like, I know that Paul was married, because to be a Pharisee, in that sect, you had to be married. But, his wife is never mentioned, he ended up living by himself, we don't know if when he got converted, you know, because it was a major conversion, and because of the change of religion, many theologians believe his wife deserted him and left him with the blessing of the Jewish community, because he became a Christ follower. We know that Peter was married. The only way we know that is 'cause his mother-in-law had a fever, and Jesus healed her. That's all it says. It's just nothing in the Bible about couples, it's kinda scary, and I've found one couple that really are, the more I looked at it, the more powerful they became. The more obvious it became that there was more to their marriage than a physical union.
There was absolutely a divine assignment and mission attached to this couple. They're found, their names, and this is interesting, every time their name is mentioned, it's together. They're mentioned eight times in the Bible, in six different passages, or six different, yeah, six different passages, and every time, their names are mentioned together, and their names are cool, too. Their names are Priscilla and Aquila. That's just nice names, when you... you know that God's in it when your names rhyme. Priscilla and Aquila. It's just good names, Priscilla and Aquila. They were a middle-class couple, I'll prove that scripturally. They did not have a prophetic ministry. They did not sing in church. They did not preach. They did not perform any miracles, but they're mentioned eight times in the Bible, and all they did was every time that they're mentioned, they're together, and yet, there was a profound assignment and mission to their marriage that I pray you never forget what I'm about to share with you, because I wanna preach tonight on "Missional Marriages".
If you're gonna make it together, sometimes, life will try to pull you apart because the enemy, Satan, knows that there's a mission attached to your marriage. There's more to it than just making love. There's more to it than just living together. There's more to it than living in the same house and raising babies, but there is a mission that God has for your marriage. There's no doubt about it. There's no doubt about it. So there are four phases of marriage. First of all, there's the attractional phase. And that's why you married that person. Marriage isn't all spiritual. Marriage has to do with physical attractions. Say "Amen," somebody.
There's the attractional. I hope that you were attracted to your mate. Turn to your mate and say, "At one time, you were attracted to me". I don't know how you're doing now, but at one time, you couldn't keep your little beady eyes off my rear end. You couldn't keep, your hands, were like they had magnets in it. You ought to be attracted to one another. There's attractional, and we need to stay sharp for one another. Stay attractive for one another, and look good for one another. But that's gonna change.
You say, "Well, I haven't changed in 30 years". Go look in the mirror. And thankfully, mirrors don't lie, and thankfully, they don't laugh either. But, there's the attractional phase, it's love at first sight, it's exciting, it's powerful, it's passionate. It's real. That attraction, you've never felt anything like that, and it just is amazing. And then, after you've been married some time, you don't have to lose that attractional phase, it's important. But after you've done that, then you move into, most marriages, the parental phase, where the kids start coming along. But here's the thing that I want you to understand about the parental phase. It's when things really get crazy, because for us, we just cranked 'em out, one every two years for five years. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Five children, and then life becomes about diapers, and homework, and soccer games, and basketball and football and cheerleading, and one thing after another after another, and one of 'em's sick, and one of 'em's got an assignment, and one of 'em, and it just starts to get crazy. And at some point, you just wonder, where did all the love go? 'Cause you're on edge, and it's tense.
But you don't have to let the children take the joy out of your marriage, and the romance out of your marriage, and the love out of your relationship. Then, there's the third phase, it's the survival phase. It's just, you go through seasons, and this is serious for a moment. The average marriage lasts 8.2 years. Something happens after they get married, the attraction is real, it's there, and then on top of that, the children, and all that that brings, the challenges, the car payment, the house payment, the insurance, the this, the that, the all kinds of things that happen in life.
The survival stage. You go from attractional to parental to, sometimes, a marriage moves into a survival stage. But the fourth stage is the one that will hold you together through the tough times, and it's the missional phase. That's where this couple, Priscilla and Aquila, show us, I think, a remarkable example of what our marriages are supposed to be. A common mission together that God placed us together for. When God put you and your spouse together, He puts couples together on purpose for a purpose. We're joined together as a missional couple. God allowed us, out of billions of people, to gather and meet and fall in love and get married, and a marriage is two funerals and one wedding. You can't have a marriage without two funerals, two people dying to self, and becoming one. He made you different to make you one. So you're supposed to be different, but you have to have two funerals at every wedding if you're gonna have a marriage.
Aquila and Priscilla were newlyweds. When we first hear of them in the Bible, they're newlyweds, and they're living in Rome. Now, here's what happened. Aquila was a Jew, he got saved in Jerusalem, your Bible says that. He then goes to Rome, and when he goes to Rome, he meets a Greek girl, who was Roman, meaning she's from the city of Rome, and he falls in love with her. They're from different religions, they're from different backgrounds. She was a pagan, but he, because he had Christ, won her to the Lord. And now, they're living as a young couple in Rome, and they're having their honeymoon. I mean, how romantic would that be to live in Rome on your honeymoon, and while they're living there, on their honeymoon, something happens. There is racial tension, like we would call it racial tension, in the Roman culture despised Jews. They were very prejudiced against Jews, and Emperor Claudius did something, he expelled all Jews from Rome.
Therefore, this young, newly-married couple, who had both been converted to Christianity, he out of Judaism, she out of pagan worship of idols, but they're passionately in love with Jesus and have been changed and transformed, and now something amazing happens, as this Emperor Claudius decrees that all Jews have to move out of Rome. And so, now, they're forced in an injusticed situation, in a brutal situation, to leave everything that they have, and they have to go to Corinth to find another home. It was a big deal for a young couple, and here's the point. They had a chance to allow bitterness to get in their heart in that moment. They had a chance to allow unforgiveness against the people who had done something to them that was unjust, it could've got in their heart. And the Lord spoke to me when I read that, and He said that one of the greatest enemies of the mission that God has for our marriages is bitterness and unforgiveness, and sometimes, that can be from the outside situations that you're dealing with, or it can be from inside your own marriage.
When the enemy wants to destroy the mission of a couple, he comes with his number-one weapon, bitterness and unforgiveness. But missional couples don't get hung up on bitterness and unforgiveness, their mission was driving them to a greater place of destiny. So they go from Rome, and now, this new couple moves to Corinth, and while they're in Corinth, something amazing happens to this young couple. They're there, and there happens to be a guy by the name of Paul. Very few people have ever heard of him in the body of Christ. He has recently had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and he's stopped killing Christians and persecuting Christians, and God is doing work in his life. He doesn't have anywhere to live, he's gone through such a transformation that all of his peers, his Pharisee friends, have kicked him out. He's homeless, and this couple, in the Bible, in Acts 18, take an unknown guy by the name of Paul into their apartment. They had an extra room, and they gave it to him, and this is what I thought was interesting, and Paul lived with them for 18 months, in their home.
Can you imagine? The great apostle Paul, the man who wrote half the New Testament, living in your house for 18 months? And they didn't know that the guy in their little apartment was writing half the New Testament. They didn't know that he would write words that we would sing, that would shake us and comfort us. "If God be for me, who can be against me"? Words like: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Watch this. Paul felt led by the Spirit in Acts 19 to leave them after 18 months, and go to Ephesus. Now, I'm just teaching tonight, can I just teach? You with me? You okay? I'm talking about missional marriages. And he leaves, he leaves Corinth, and he goes to a city called Ephesus, and it was exceedingly wicked. And revival breaks out, and the whole city turns to God. The Bible said they turned from their idols, and they're having revival in Ephesus, and in Acts 19, Paul sends for Priscilla and Aquila to come and help him start the church in Ephesus, and your Bible said that they turned their home into the first church in Ephesus.
And we have the whole Book of Ephesians and all the miracles that God did from a couple that obeyed God, opened their home up, realized they had a mission, that, yes, they had to go to work every day and make tents, and yes, they had to pay bills, and yes, they had to put food, and yes, they had to raise kids, and yes, they had struggles and things that were aggravating, and things that were going... but they were understood, and we have the Book of Ephesians, because this couple had a church. And the sermons that you read, and the scriptures you read in Ephesians, came from the church that was in their house. And while they're there, a guy by the name of Apollos, who was a great speaker, very eloquent in speech, but he only knew of the baptism of John, he had never heard of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the Bible said Aquila and Priscilla, after he gave a speech, pulled him off to the side of the pulpit, and laid hands on him, said, "We wanna show you a better way". And when they laid hands on him, the Bible said he was filled with the Spirit and began to preach. That's a missional couple.
And then, something tragic happened. There was a guy by the name of Nero who didn't like what was going on. And so, he burned the whole city down and blamed it on the Christians, and it's a historical fact that in that city, he burns down the city, and he burned their home down. And now, they're being forced, this generous, hospitable couple are being forced now to leave Ephesus and go back to Corinth, because a man burned their house down. This super-effective couple in the gospel, they're doing so good, and then a fire comes. But see, when the fires come and when the troubles come, and when the issues of life come, when bad things come, when you've got a mission to your marriage, you just grab hold of each other and say, "We're going through this". God's not taking us out of it, we're going through chemo. We're going through this, we're going through this attack. We're going through this setback. You got laid off, you're not alone. We're gonna make it, baby. We're gonna make it through this, because God is with us, and He's got a mission on our life.
But here's what got me. Here's what got me. This no-name couple, had such a touch of God and a mission assigned to their marriage that in the Book of Romans, or 1 Corinthians, it's actually Romans 16, I knew it was. Listen to what Paul said. "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ". That's a very important phrase, I looked it up. Paul is saying, he's using the same word that Jesus used when He said He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Paul says, "I want you to know there's a couple in the New Testament," they did not have a ministry, they didn't pastor a mega-church, they didn't have a television ministry, they weren't a musical band. They were not famous for anything spiritual, they were tent makers, but there was such a touch and such a mission on that couple, that they became co-equal with me in the ministry.
Everybody thinks about the great apostle Paul. But he says, "When I look back over my ministry, when I look at how God has used me, I have to say, the only reason that I have been able to do what I've done, write all these books in the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is my co-laborers were a power couple," who had more than modern-day feely love, that threw in the towel when the thrill was gone. But they made it through the fire and the burning of their house. They made it through being done wrong, bitterness and unforgiveness. They didn't let it ever take up root in their heart. And because of it, and then he goes on to say, in the next verse, he says, "They risked their own necks for my life". You ought to do research on that.
Somewhere, the theologians said somewhere, the literal Greek means they were almost killed for my sake, and many theologians believe it was when Paul was being followed by assassins, and they placed him in a basket, and the Bible said that there was those, his friends, the Scripture called 'em his friends, I forget where it's at in the Bible. But it said that his friends lowered Paul, assassins are knocking on the door, and this couple puts him in a basket. They've got the New Testament, half of it, in that basket. Everything's swinging on the end of that rope, the gospel that we celebrate and preach so much, "I am not ashamed of", all of that is hanging by rope, and guess who's holding it? A couple with a mission. And Paul says, "I can't leave". He's given his final goodbyes, and he writes a greeting to a power couple, and he says, "Your marriage was so missional in my life that I see you as co-equal with everything I've done for the cause of Christ". I want that kind of purpose on my marriage. I want that kind of purpose on my family. I want that kind of purpose on my home.
You may be watching this program right now and you feel like your marriage is crumbling and falling to pieces. I have such compassion for you today. I know Jesus cares. The first miracle Jesus ever performed happened at a marriage. And maybe you've tried everything in your power to keep your family together. And you're staring at the screen today and you're listening to this message and you're starting to lose hope. But I believe God had you hear this so that you could know He put you together. Even if the circumstances that brought you together were not perfect in God's eyes, He makes all things new. And when you got married to your spouse, God said, I lay my hand of blessing, because you've done it under the Lord, upon this marriage. He can renew your relationship, He can heal your family, and what you need to do today is trust Him and put Him at the center of your home and your marriage.
Remember, marriage isn't a duet, it's a trio. It's man, it's woman, and it's Jesus Christ intertwined as the glue holding the two together, making the two one. And it's so powerful and so holy, your marriage, that God even likened the husband and the wife relationship to Christ and his bride, the church. And all of Heaven is about a marriage, the marriage supper of the Lamb, between the church, the believers, being married for eternity with Jesus Christ.
Maybe you're watching this as a couple, maybe you've been so mad at each other you haven't touched, you haven't even hardly talked to one another... Why don't you just grab that husband or that wife by the hand and get on your knees right there in your home or wherever you're watching this. I'm gonna tell you just that simple of an invitation to God in your home and in your marriage. To get down on your knees together and hold hands and say, "God, we don't have the answers". Be honest. "I'm mad, she's mad, we're angry, but we need You today. We invite You today". Do it. "We invite You today," say those words, "into our marriage, into our home, into our family. Oh God, Prince of Peace, Jesus, bring peace to our lives, bring love. Renew, restore, and give us a mission for our marriage. In Jesus' name, we pray". Go to the phone if you would like prayer. You can dial the number that's on the screen or send us your email today. We would love to hear from you. It means so much to hear from you. Thank you so much for praying with us and believing with us.