Robert Morris - The Blessed Marriage
So we're in a series called Blessed Families. This weekend, I want to talk about The Blessed Marriage. Marriage is under attack in our country and all over the world. I don't know if you've noticed that. There's a statistic... let me make sure I get it exactly right here. 1930 - in 1930, 83% of adult Americans in America were married. Today, 49.7% are married, and I want to show you why Satan hates marriage so much.
And I want to show you, in Matthew 19, what I believe to be the most in-depth passage on marriage in the Bible. Now that's saying a lot, because most would believe it's Ephesians 5, and I'm not downplaying Ephesians 5. I'm not downplaying that at all. That's an extremely important chapter on marriage. But, in Matthew 19, we have a question being asked about marriage and divorce, and Jesus Himself gives the answer. Remember, Jesus is God. So, this is God's answer about marriage and divorce.
Now, I also want to make another statement. If you've experienced a divorce, in no way do I ever want you to feel condemnation, no way at all. I'm gonna say something, and I'll say it a little differently than the way you've heard it and I'll explain it. But for Debbie, there go I. Now, let me tell you what I mean by that. The saying and expression is, which I agree with and I think it's a great expression, is, But for the grace of God, there go I. I agree with that, that God's grace has played a huge part in our marriage. I agree with that. But, some could hear that who have experienced divorce and say, well, this guy said, But for the grace of God, there go I. I would be divorced also.
And so, they might think, well, where was the grace of God in my situation? You see what I'm saying? And you have to understand that when it comes to marriage, it takes two people. So, the reason I'm saying that is, yes, but for the grace of God and Debbie, I would be divorced, because Debbie could have divorced me on several occasions. I mean, I was a jerk. I was a chauvinist. I verbally abused her in my 20s. I said and did stupid things. She could have divorced me. So, but for Debbie and the grace of God, I would have experienced divorce as well. Are you all following me?
So if you've experienced divorce, this is a no condemnation message. But, I want to show you what the Bible says about marriage and divorce, and how important marriage is in the Bible, and personally, I think most people don't realize how serious God is about marriage, and I want to show you why. He tells us why. In other words, He gives us the reason why marriage is so important. He gives us the reason, and it's God Himself. It's in red. I like to say that, it's in red. So, it's Jesus talking, all right?
So, Matthew 19:3. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him and saying to Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?' And He answered and said to them, are you crazy? No, I'm kidding. But, that's kind of what He's implying! Here's what He says. Have you not read? In other words, have you never read the Bible yourself? If you'd read the Bible, you wouldn't have even needed to ask me this question. Watch. Have you not read that He who made them, them, that's husband and wife, male and female, at the beginning, that's before the fall, before the broken family came in that I talked about last week. And then it's quotations now. It's cause He's quoting, Genesis 1:26-27. "Made them male and female, and He said, 'For this reason.'"
Now, we're gonna come back to that, because there's a reason why He's talking about marriage and divorce, and why God would not have permitted divorce in the beginning. Okay, there's a reason, okay? For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. This word, joined, is the word you use when you yoke animals together, and by the way, it means equally yoked. That means each person does his share. That's the only way marriage works. I heard someone say one time, marriage is 50/50. It's not. It's 100/100. It takes 100% commitment on both parts. Okay. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be equally yoked to his wife. And the two shall become one.
Now, I've got to stop again. Do you think that Jesus exaggerates? Do you? That shouldn't take you that long to answer that question. Do you think He lies? Do you think that He stretches the truth? Jesus said, The two... the two, watch this, The two become one. The two become one. They become one. They become one flesh. Therefore... I remember hearing an old preacher one time and he said, Anytime you see the word therefore, you need to look to see what it's there for. Therefore, what God has joined together, made one, let not man, that would be the husband as well. This is asking about a husband, can a husband divorce his wife for any reason? Let not man, or any man, separate.
Okay. This is the answer to the question that they asked. Here's my problem. They ask another question, which we're gonna read it in a moment, and then He answers that question. But, a lot of people will give that answer to this question. Are you following me? I don't know how familiar you are with this passage and the teaching of marriage and divorce, but many people will say, will give the next answer as His answer to this question, but that's not His answer to this question.
They said, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? And He said, Have you not read? Have you not read that when God made them in the beginning, He made them male and female, and a man will leave his father and mother and be joined, equally yoked, to his wife? And the two will become one. Therefore what God has joined together, let not any person in the world separate that. That's His answer. It's over at that point. That's His answer. Then they ask another question, okay? And then He answers that question.
So, but His question right now is... let me just sum it up. No. That's His answer - no, it's not. That's what He's saying. No, the two have become one. God's joined them together. Okay, now watch the next one. They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command,'" notice this word, command, to give a certificate of divorce and to put her away? He, Jesus, said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you,'" permitted you, 'to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.' Not until sin came into this world, because of the hardness of your heart.
Now, listen to me carefully. Please hear me again. I've got to speak the truth, and please don't think I'm trying to attack someone if they've experienced this, but I will say this. In every divorce there is at least one person with a hard heart. Sometimes there are two, but most times there's really just one that has a hard heart. And here's what He said. They said Moses commanded, commanded, to give a certificate of divorce. He said Moses permitted you to put your wife away, to divorce your wife, if you had a hard heart, men - if you have a hard heart.
And here's what was going on at the time when this became a part of the law. Men were marrying other women and neglecting their first wife and abusing her, and actually letting other men abuse her, and not letting her go free. And so, Moses then, it became a part of the law and Moses then made a commandment. Give her a certificate of divorce and maybe another man will treat her like the queen and the princess of God that she really is. That's where this came from. That's where this came from, okay?
So, I want you to notice something, by the way. Moses, in biblical language, biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, exegesis, all of those words I love - okay. Moses represents the law and Jesus represents grace. Let me show you the verse, so you know. John 1:17, For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus. Okay, here's my point. Jesus said...they said, is it lawful? Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? Jesus said, no, it's not. They said, well, Moses said you could. He said, under the law, you can.
Okay, listen. We would think it's the opposite. We would think that the law said you're not supposed to divorce, and that grace says it's okay. Are you all following me? Grace says, no, you're in a covenant and you work it out. Law says, yeah, you got a hard heart, so just let her go. Are you all following me? Okay, so why? Why? Okay, so Jesus said these three words - Have you not read, that in the beginning, God made them male and female, and then He makes the statement, For this reason. Okay, what reason? What reason? Well, you've got to go back to Genesis 1:26, but I'm gonna tell you the reason. Okay.
So, there are three things about a blessed marriage you need to know, okay? Number one, marriage represents God. Marriage represents God on this earth. So, back in that Matthew 19 again, And He answered and said, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined.' Okay, so now we've got to go back to Genesis 1. Okay. Then God said, Verse 26, let Us make man. Is Us singular or plural? Plural.
So, three in one. Let Us make man, and that word, remember, is Adam, which means mankind. Let Us make mankind - not male. He didn't say let Us make male in our image, He said, Let Us make mankind, male and female. Let Us make mankind in Our image, our is plural, according to Our, plural, likeness. And let them, plural, male and female, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle over all of the earth, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, So, God created mankind, again, that's the word here in the Hebrew, mankind, in His own image; in the image of God, He created him, male and female He created them.
Hear me! Male and female is the image of God. But, not just any man or any woman, a husband and a wife, because Adam and Eve weren't living in sin, okay? We know that. The sin was eating from the tree they weren't supposed to. The other stuff they were doing was fine. That wasn't sin. Okay? Cause they were married. So, when God wanted to create a portrait of Himself on this earth, He created a marriage. That's what you've got to understand. God said, let's put Our image, Our likeness, on the earth, and He put a married couple. That is the image of God, okay? Marriage is the image of God.
Listen, male is not the image of God, and all of the women can say, praise God! Male is not the image of God. Male and female is the image of God. A marriage is God. Do you want to know why Satan hates marriage so much? Because it's the image of God on this earth. That's why. Satan...listen to this, think about this! Satan did not attack Adam. He did not attack until the image of God appeared on the earth. That's when he got scared. He wasn't scared of man by himself, He was scared when God showed up. When he looked at God, he saw the image of God, but he didn't see it in Adam, he saw it in Adam and Eve. Are you all following me? This is phenomenal! That's when he got mad.
Okay, so God is a triune God. I know that's a theological word, but what that means is three in one. Okay, but now, some people will say, well, now, if He created male and female and that's His image, His image is three in one, but marriage is two in one. That's where you completely missed Him, because marriage is a husband, a wife, and God. That is a blessed marriage. That is a blessed marriage, and that's the only way marriage works: three in one. When you get three in one, then hell can't stand against you. You make sure God's in your marriage. So, marriage is the image of God on this earth.
Here's number two. Marriage represents Christ and the church. This is why marriage is so important. It represents Christ and the church. Okay, here's the Ephesians 5 passage. Watch what three words it starts with, and watch what verse it again quotes from Genesis.
Ephesians 5:31, For this reason, in other words, that we're the image bearers of God on the earth. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, glued to his wife. He's not glued to his parents anymore, he's glued to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife, now this is talking to the men, as himself, and now talking to the women, and let the wife see that she respects her husband So, the two of you together are representing the Trinity, but as a couple now, as a man or a woman.
As a man, you're representing Christ, and as a woman, you're representing the church. So again, let's talk about now lost, someone lost. You're trying to win them to the Lord. So, you're trying to win a guy, let's say. Husbands, I'll start with you, then ladies, I'll get to you. Husbands, I'll start with you. Let's say that you're trying to win Joe to the Lord. And so, Joe says to you, Well, if I give my life to the Lord, what's my life gonna be like after I give my life to the Lord? And how is God gonna treat me if I give Him control of my life? This is your answer.
Well, you know the way I treat my wife? God is gonna treat you just like I treat my wife. Would you like to be saved? Yeah, let's get honest. What would Joe say? Uh, God's gonna treat me like you treat your wife? I don't want to be saved. I don't want to be laughed at, I don't want to be put down, I don't want to be made fun of, I don't want to talked about behind my back, and I don't want to be ordered around. And we're gonna talk about servant leadership, but sir, if that's what you think marriage is, you're a horrible example of Jesus.
And sometimes, I just say things just straight out, don't I? I just... it even surprises me. I think, well, you just said that kind of straight up there. But, what Joe should say is, You mean I'm gonna be loved, and I'm gonna be honored, and I'm gonna be treated like royalty? Yes, I want to accept Jesus Christ. If Jesus treats me like you treat your wife, I'd love to be saved. See, we represent Christ. Okay, ladies, it's your turn. So, let's say you're talking to another lady, and she says, You know, I don't really know how to pray. I don't know how to talk to the Lord.
And so, you say, Well, let me use the example in the Scripture. If you want to know how to talk to the Lord, you talk to the Lord the same way that I talk to my husband. What's she gonna say? You mean I can cuss Him out? You mean I can be disrespectful? You mean I can talk about His weaknesses to everybody else? Please hear me. Marriage is a lot more important than you think. This is why Jesus got upset when they said, is it okay to divorce? You know what He was thinking'? Would it be okay for the Trinity to divorce? Have you not read that you represent Us on this earth? And you not only represent the Trinity, you represent Me and the church.
That's what Ephesians 5 says. Marriage, a husband and wife, represents Christ and the church. The third thing marriage represents. Marriage represents covenant. Covenant. Are you catching how important marriage is to God? It's His image on the earth, it represents Christ and the church, and it represents covenant. In Malachi, He's telling them why He's not accepting their offerings. The first reason, by the way, is their family. Their family is out of order. Actually, their faith is out of order. The second reason is their family, and the third reason is their finances. That's where we get into the part on tithing, but this is the family part.
So, He's telling them, I am not receiving your worship or your offerings. And they said, Malachi 2:14, Yet You say, for what reason It's amazing that the other two passages also begin with For this reason. Now they're saying, For what reason are You not accepting our offerings? Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously, yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. In a contract, we protect our rights and we limit our responsibilities. Think about if you're buying a house, or you're entering into a business agreement. In a contract, you're trying to protect your rights, right? And you're trying to limit your responsibilities. A covenant is just the opposite. In a covenant, we give up our rights and we pick up our responsibilities, and this is the example to the world.
See, again, if a lost person says, How do I know that God will keep His word to me? You know what you should say? You should say, Look at how my wife and I have kept our word, because see, we entered into a covenant, too. And by the way, let me just remind you of the covenant that you entered into if you're married - for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Here's one - for better... what? Cause I've done a lot of marriage counseling and people will say, well, it's really gotten bad. Uh-huh, that's what you signed up for! And then, you just couldn't shut up. You went on and said, 'til death do us part. That's the covenant you entered.
Okay, but it is an example. It is... well, an example, I guess I should say, of the new covenant, not the old covenant. God said, I'm gonna love you, I'm gonna protect you, provide for you, bless you. I'm gonna be your Father. That's My part. Your part is... you know what? Son? Son, would you come over here? Jesus, would you come here? And the Son walks over, and the Lord says, Jesus, this is Robert. Robert's not gonna be able to keep the covenant. So, Son, I was wondering if you would go to the earth, and if you would fulfill the covenant for Robert, and you'd live the life that he can't live. And I also need you to die the death that he should die.
And Jesus said, okay, I'll do it. And then the Father said to me, do you believe that Jesus lived the life that you couldn't live, and He died the death that you should have died? And in a motel room, when I was 19 years old, I said, Yes, I believe it. And the Father said, You're in the covenant now, and you're My son, and I will never leave you nor forsake you - never, never. That's what marriage is. Listen, that even if my spouse doesn't keep her end of the covenant, I'll keep my end of it. That's marriage, and we're telling the world, this is what God's like.