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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Crafted, Marriage God's Way - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Crafted, Marriage God's Way - Part 1

Michael Youssef - Crafted, Marriage God's Way - Part 1
TOPICS: Marriage, Relationships

Years ago, there was a very popular book on marriage entitled, "Men from Mars and Women from Venus". If that is the case, then I can tell you that our marriage is with two people who come from two different galaxies, and it is the grace of God and the grace of my wife that kept us together. But by the same token, I am not fond of this statement: "Marriage is hard work". To be sure, in every marriage, there are painful lessons to be learnt. There are painful experiences to go through. There are difficult days at times. But when Christ is not only at the center of the husband and at the center of the wife, but also at the center of the relationship, in a corporate relationship, when he is at the center of individually and corporately, even the pain can turn into something sweet. Even the sorrow can turn into joy. Even the failure can blossom into success.

I know there are single people here, and there are single people watching, and there are widows and widowers, there are all the people who says, "Well, you know, this stuff is just past me, and I don't need this". But let me plead with you, don't switch off because I'm gonna teach from the Word of God, and the Word of God always has something to say to every one of us. Now, as a single person, take notes because you may need this information down the road. And you say, "Well, it's too late for me". No, no, no, hope springs eternal. Don't ever give up. So, in this message and the next few messages, we're gonna look at marriage God's way, and I'm gonna focus on three foundational stones to a fulfilled marriage.

You notice I said, "Fulfilled marriage," not, "perfect marriage". I don't know where the perfect marriage is. And here are the three foundational stones of marriage God's way: selflessness, forgiveness, and conversation. Now, you find that in any marriage, any problem, any potential problem, if you really take time and look at that problem, and then you trace it all the way through, you're gonna run into one of those three things, one of those three foundational stones. Except if there is an unrepentance of sin, a deliberate sin, a continuous sin, an intentional sin, and no repentance coming.

Now, I want you to turn with me, please, to Philippians chapter 2, we only have two verses today: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others," another translation says, "better," more accurate translation, "consider others more important than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others". Be seated, please. This general instruction that the Apostle Paul gives us in those two verses alone is applicable to all relationships among believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is more poignant in marriage.

Here's a statement I'm gonna make, and I take responsibility for it. If this godly instruction fails in marriage, it will certainly not succeed in other relationships. I know and you know, and I want to get this out of the way because you know where my heart is, but I want to state it, that in this culture in which we live right now, this humanistic, this secular culture that is hell-bent in destroying marriages, they are working so hard to destroy what God has made. Now they talk about marriage as any two people contracting to live together, regardless of what background, or gender, or whatever it may be. They talk about a marriage as if it's a human right issue. They talk about marriage as if it's only a contractual agreement between two people.

Hear me right, please. Of all the deceptions that are forced upon us in our culture today, this is the biggest. This is the biggest. Why? Because marriage is not man's idea. Once you accept this premise that marriage is man's idea, it's a human right, that it's my right, or your right, and his right, and her right, then you're gonna cease to believe that marriage is God's divine ordained institution, and it is. The Bible makes it very clear. It is God's divine institution. This falsehood about marriage will not only undermine and trivialize biblical marriage, it will try to absolutely destroy it.

The truth is this, marriage, according to God, is between a man and a woman for life. This is God's plan for humanity, all of humanity. He's the Creator, and like all of God's plans, it is a perfect plan. It really is. It's a perfect plan. It is the only plan that God basically gave us. Just like there's only one plan for salvation, and that is through Jesus Christ alone, there is one plan for marriage, for a fulfilled marriage, for a joyful marriage, and it is a husband and wife, a man and a woman for life. And God is the one who conducted the very first wedding in the garden of Eden, and it was a perfect marriage.

Now, you already heard me say, "No perfect marriage," but that one was. It was perfect marriage until Satan got in the middle of it. Listen to me, I cannot imagine more perfect marriage than that between Adam and Eve. I really couldn't. I mean, Adam could not compare Eve's cooking with that of his mother, dead issue. Eve could not compare Adam with all the guys that she dated before. They were not there. Eve could never go to Adam and said, "Addy boy, do you love me"? "Well, who else would I love"? I mean, that's it. But there's even more important reason as to why Adam and Eve marriage was perfect. They had a perfect love relationship, the kind of perfect love relationship that God truly desires for all of his children, a perfect love relationship with each other, and a perfect love relationship with God.

Hear me right, please, because their nakedness was not just mere physical nakedness after they sinned. You see, it was the nakedness of transparency with each other and with God. But when selfishness entered into their hearts, everything fell apart. You see, they were so transparent with each other, they were transparent with God until sin came in and then blew everything up. Now, that is why the first foundational stone in a marriage, as I already said, is selflessness, not selfishness. Selfishness, I am personally convinced, or self-centeredness is Satan's number-one tool to destroy a marriage. You see, what God has carefully crafted and placed together between the first couple, namely, selflessness and transparency, it got dismantled by Satan and this entering of sin. How? Well, first of all, he separated them.

This is the beginning of the rule that a lot of dictators use, that is, divide to conquer. So he separated them. He did not come to them while they were having dinner together and say, "Guys, can I talk to you about something"? No, he waited until they are apart, and he aimed for Eve first. "Oh, girl, you need to think of yourself. You haven't lived until you asserted yourself. Oh, girl, you really need to find yourself not in him, but in you. Oh, girl, you need to fulfill yourself. Eve, my girl, you have to indulge yourself. And when you do that, you're gonna have it all. You know what, Eve? God really does not want you to have it all. Having it all means that you'll be like God. You will become a goddess, and Adam will be a god," with a small G.

And who doesn't want to be a goddess or a god? And poor Eve, she swallowed this lie, hook, line, and sinker, and so did Adam. And at that moment, their DNA became depraved and they passed that depravity to all of us. In fact, the garden of Eden, with its perfect plan, with its perfect marriage, experienced its first marital fight. In our home, we do not call it a fight. We're too spiritual for that. We don't have fights in our homes. We have vigorous discussions. Isn't that sound nice? It sounds more spiritual. The first marital fight started because of selfishness. Let me give you a fact. Every marital fight from the time of Adam and Eve to this time, including the ones that we have at our house, stem out of self-centeredness, stems out of selfishness.

Some of you here are probably thinking, "Well, Michael, Michael, what's the alternative? Should I just roll down and play a doormat"? No, read my lips, no, because that will make things worse. Never do that. It's not biblical. But when self-examination follows every act of disharmony, when self-examination takes place, you will repent, and you'll confess, and that's why I'm calling this series of messages, "Crafted: Marriage God's Way". And if there is, by any chance, somebody here who has never submitted their life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, let me tell you, this is not gonna work for you until you come to Christ, and I pray that you do that here today.

Because this series of messages, short as it is, it is for people who not only received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, but they are walking with Christ every single day in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because it's the Holy Spirit who is going to come and bring you conviction every time there is an act of disharmony. He's the one who bring you conviction. It is those moment of self-examination that the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin of selfishness, of which I repent first and I repent to my wife.

Adam and Eve's case, instead of repenting and confessing and said, "Lord, we're so sorry. You did tell us this, but we're so sorry". No, they blamed, bottom line, they blamed God. "God, it's really your fault for creating this environment in which Satan came in and impersonated in this wise creature called the serpent, and it deceived us". See, it's God's fault. And hey, we still do that today, right? Through the years, I've noticed beautiful marriages always start beautifully, it's well and good, it's wonderful. I always like to give them a dose of reality, but they do, and that's great. Perfect union of mutual affection, mutual edification, mutual nurturing of each other. But then, all of a sudden, it collapses into exchange of accusations and recriminations.

I have been guilty numerous times of selfishness, self-centeredness, and secondly, I will tell you, I have not yet learned how to be completely selfless, I have not. I'm working on it. And that is why this series, as I said, entitled, "Crafted". I want you to be sure to understand that it takes time for a masterpiece to be crafted. Be patient, and don't jump to conclusions. Wait and be patient. You will be amazed at what God can do.

So, the question is, what are the three components of selflessness? I have them all, starting with the letter M, and I think we have them on the screen: maturity, magnanimity, and malleability. What is that maturity? Please listen to me. Maturity says, "How can I fulfill my wife's needs"? Immaturity says, "How can I get my spouse to fulfill my needs"? Maturity says, "How can I sacrifice for my spouse comfort"? Immaturity says, "How can I get my spouse to do more for my comfort"? Maturity says, "How can I be more patient with my spouse? How can I respond gently to what irritates her or him? And when will I be transparent and open and vulnerable"?

Maturity is a very necessary ingredient to selflessness, and selflessness is one of the foundation stones of a joyful, fulfilled marriage. And so, it not only maturity, but also magnanimity. What do I mean by magnanimity? Well, let me illustrate. A number of years ago, someone said to me, "If I knew how insensitive and unfeeling he is, I would never have married him". Same long-distance time ago, a man said to me, "You know, I think when my wife said, 'I do,' she meant that, 'I'll give him hell every time he makes a mistake.'" Hear me right, please. Insensitivity toward your spouse is the opposite of magnanimity.

Listen to what the Bible said about magnanimity in Ephesians 5:17: "Therefore do not be foolish, but understanding what the Lord's will is". Those two words stand in absolute contrast to each other, foolishness, understanding, foolishness, understanding. Understanding depends on magnanimity, and magnanimity means that I am seeking to understand my spouse's thought, my spouse's thought patterns, my spouse's feeling and needs. Magnanimity means to study the other person as if you're studying for exam. You see, the alternative to understanding is foolishness, and who wants that?

So, the three foundational stones of a crafted marriage God's way is selflessness, forgiveness, and conversation, but the three foundational stones of selflessness, maturity, magnanimity, and malleability. What would I mean by malleability? When Paul said to the Ephesians and the Colossians, and then Peter, and the principle is the same throughout the Scripture, when he says, "Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church".

I know this causes some people to bristle. You've seen it. I've seen it. I actually seen people going into fits when that statement is made. They really do because they fail to understand the true meaning of these godly instructions. They really don't. Submission never meant for the wife to lie down and become a doormat. That is not what the Bible means, and that is why they like to twist that truth. Not any more than a husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church and be willing to die for her is a sign of weakness on his part. Some Christians almost feel embarrassed when their non-Christian friends shove these truths in their faces and they're feeling like, "Ooh, ooh, well, we don't really know what that means, and we..."

You know what I'm talking about? Far from it. We must never be embarrassed of the biblical truths. These are wonderful truths. In fact, the fallacy of this deception is literally keeping a lot of believing and Christian couples from truly living an exemplary marriage 'cause they've been impacted. Let me ask you a question. You don't have to answer it. Answer it only to yourself. What is harder, to die for someone or to cook a meal for someone? You answered it to yourself? Okay, Paul said for the husband to love his wife so much that, like Christ, they should be willing to die for their wives. Last time I checked, dying was not a walk in the park.

Now, beloved, here's the truth, listen carefully. You cannot love without submitting. Oh, but you can submit without loving. I'm gonna repeat this just in case some of you didn't get it. You cannot love without submitting your will, your desire, but you can submit without loving. We have such hypocrisy in the secular culture that we stay silent at what they're doing to women in the Middle East. But we pick up a piece of Scripture without understanding and embarrass Christians by it without proper explanation.

You see, remember, this is always Satan's way, attack biblical marriage, attack biblical, whichever way it comes, on whatever it may come from. It could come from pulpits, or it could come from denominational headquarters. He did it in the garden, and he keeps doing it every single day to this day. This is the bottom line. Malleability means that both husband and wife subject their own desires to the other out of respect for Jesus. That's why you do it. And that's why I said in the beginning, if Jesus is not the center of your life, this is gonna be moot issue. But you do it out of respect for Jesus.

Malleability means that each sacrifice for the other. Stubbornness is the opposite of malleability, and stubbornness is the characteristic of Satan and sin. It does not mean that you're not gonna have a disagreement. Of course not. It doesn't mean that you're not gonna have, at least what we call at our house, vigorous discussions, but call it what you want, fights or whatever. No, it doesn't mean that you'll never have a knock-down, drag-out argument. No. But because of maturity, magnanimity, and malleability, and because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, you're always gonna land your plane on selflessness' runway.

And that is the joy that can come out of pain that I talked about. That is the beauty that can come out of ashes. That is the success that can come out of bitterness, and that is the renewal of the marriage vow that should take, in some form, beyond a daily basis, that renewal. And God honors it, and it gets more joyful every day. The last thing I want anyone in this room or even those who are watching around the world is to sit there with a load of guilt. That is not from God. Whatever the pain of the past, whatever mistakes you made in the past, whatever failures you made in the past, today is a new day. God will turn a new leaf today. So don't leave with a lot of guilt. You're gonna walk out of here truly renewed.
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