Marriage – Part 2 (Proverbs Week 7)

Pastor Dan Borgelt

Pastor Dan WP Cover

Audio: [35:59]

Transcript:
I don’t think it’s a secret that marriage is on the decline.  In the last few decades, we’ve had about a 25% decline in the percentage of adults who are married. A few decades ago around 75% of the people who are adults in our country were married. And now today we’re at roughly 50 percent of the adults in our country who have chosen to get married.

Marriage is indeed on the decline.

Now,, I don’t know all the reasons why marriage is on the decline. Several reasons are being given by people. I think quite frankly one of the reasons why my marriage is on the decline is that there’s just this rebellious spirit in some of us.

Starting a couple of decades ago people grew up in the context where they were expected to get married. And the surroundings around them sort of expected them to get married. And everybody was pointing them and pressuring them in that direction. And it felt kind of rebellious and freeing and independent to choose an alternative option besides marriage.

Other people have listed financial reasons as a reason not to get married. They say, “We’ll be better off financially if we choose not to get married.”

Well, we looked briefly last week at the statistics behind that, and they’re not true at all. Some have seen the statistics of marriage and said, “Hey if such a large percentage of people who get married end up getting divorced then maybe marriage is like a relationship killer and therefore if we want our relationship to survive we’ll just avoid marriage”.

Well, of course, the problem with that is that the statistics of those people who just live together happily ever after without getting married are far worse than those statistics behind marriage.

Whatever reason and there are many many reasons why people have decided not to get married, it’s ultimately because there’s a low view, a poor view of the marriage relationship.

But what we’re after here at Kirkmont is what does the Bible have to say. in particular this morning, what does the Book of Proverbs have to say about the subject of marriage?

Here’s our BIG IDEA for you that despite what the culture has to say, we believe that Proverbs teaches that marriage is good. That,

Despite what the culture has to say, we believe that the Book of Proverbs teaches that marriage is good.

And not only that but that in it we discover the goodness of physical intimacy. We’re going to take a quick look at that together this morning as well. Not only that marriage is good, but in that marriage, we discover the goodness of physical intimacy. Marriage is good, and in that marriage, we discover the goodness of physical intimacy.

Let’s look at our first proverb together this morning Proverbs chapter 18 verse 22 says,

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

He who finds a wife finds what is good.

Last week we said that the Book of Proverbs was written to mostly two young men. So it makes sense that it’s addressing a he finding a wife but there’s absolutely no reason biblically not to just take most of the Proverbs and go ahead and see them in the reverse as well.

She who finds a husband finds what is good.

The emphasis isn’t so much on the fact that he’s good or she’s good, but the idea that they’ve come together in a relationship, a marriage relationship that the Bible is calling good.

Now some people may not have taught you that. Your classmates not but may not believe that marriage is good. Your best friends may not believe that marriage is good. Your parent’s marriage may not have taught you that marriage is good. Your current marriage may not make you feel as if marriage is good.
But the Bible says this very real and true thing that “s/he who finds this special marriage relationship finds a good thing.”

[00:04:26]
Not only does it say that we find a good thing but notice that word “find”… “He who finds a wife”.

I think it’s an important word in this verse because many people, particularly in church circles, have reduced this idea to marriage may be to being something like,
“Okay, if God has the special perfect fit for me out there, then my job is just to sort of sit here and let Him bring that person to me.”

Well, last week one of the things we said was there isn’t a special perfect person. There’s no such thing as 100% compatibility. Now, let me be clear I commend those who are willing to wait upon the Lord and Trust in his timing and his leading and Direction, and I’m not suggesting that finding a marriage partner has none of that involved. I’m just simply offering to you that I think the Scripture gives you a greater license to be proactive in pursuing a husband or a wife then maybe some of you currently believe.

He who finds right a wife finds what is good?

And again, I think that this is a goes in reverse as well. I think it’s culturally based. We embrace the idea and have for a long time that a man is the one who finds a woman, but I think to take for example the headship of a man and say that because we embrace that principle, a woman has to just not only wait on the Lord but has to wait and hope that a guy finds her, is conjecture–that the Scripture doesn’t clearly teach that. I think that’s a cultural influence. I think actually more biblically would just see that both a young man or woman or one that’s you know, looking to be remarried later in life are welcome to seek to find a husband or a wife.

And of course, the Bible doesn’t say exactly how we do that. Nor does it say there’s a lot of wrong ways about how we shouldn’t do it.
I remember when I first became a pastor, I think of the first 5 minute marriages that I performed, three of those couples when I sat down with them for the first time and asked them. How did they meet? They said, “We met online.”

And at first, when they would tell me they met online, I used to have to kind of make sure I maintained a straight face a little bit. And I even sensed that they were apologetic in telling me that.

And then I came to realize like, “Hey, this is the new norm… this is not a big deal. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

[00:06:56] Gold Dividing Line

I remember I had one father who was worried about his daughter, pursuing the idea of a relationship that way, through one of those dating sites or something like that, and I was able to bring some relief and say,
“Well, you could consider what most of your daughter’s friends are probably doing… which is getting dressed up a certain way, going to the bar scene and hoping some guy sees how attractive she is and enters into a conversation with her based on mere looks alone.”

That’s the common dating culture in America today. And so I mean, I think there’s a lot of variety of ways we might use technology now, maybe it’s old-fashioned,

but either way…

He who finds a wife finds what is good.

Now look at this,

and receives favor from the Lord.

I wish I had the biblical insight to be able to explain to you exactly what favor from the Lord we get when we enter into a marriage relationship. I don’t have that, but I do know that the Scripture talks here about this idea that when we enter into a marriage relationship, there’s a unique blessing or favor that comes from the Lord that is perhaps reserved for those inside of a marriage relationship. And one ought to expect that when they’re in a God-honoring marriage relationship.

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor fr

Remember this thing called marriage, it came back in Genesis chapter 2, like before the fall; before sin entered into the world. It wasn’t like God designed us to be single and then all sudden sin entered the world. And He’s like, “Oh, plan B… we got to find a way to kind of like put these pieces back together. Let’s create marriage.

No, marriage is Genesis 2.. pre-fall pre-sin entering the world. It’s part of God’s design. It’s a good thing. In fact Genesis chapter 2 tells us in chapter 10 verse 21 through 25.

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Now, here’s what this man’s response is… you can’t pick up on it in English, but he breaks out in song. I’m confident, that if Adam had a guitar he would have just sat down on a stool somewhere and written this song. And in Hebrew it probably rhymes or something. I don’t know, but he writes this,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

He’s just ecstatic about this thing that God has done for him.

This (he says) is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Marriage is a good thing. It shows up not only in Proverbs but the beginning of the book of Genesis.

Gold Dividing Line[00:09:54]

Some of you who are here this morning, you know the goodness of marriage you’ve had a long marriage and you know, the incredible goodness of it.

I suspect many of you here, didn’t fully realize the extent of the goodness of your marriage until you lost your husband or you lost your wife.

And it was in the loss of what God had provided for you… I mean you thanked God for your husband or your wife before… you knew you had something special, but it wasn’t until the loss that you really understood the goodness of marriage.

And others of you, unfortunately, because marriage has the potential to be such an incredible Joy, it also comes with the potential to have such incredible heartache. And some of you only know that side of it.
You were married to a husband or wife who never really was able to show you, and you were never able to really experience with them the goodness of what God has designed for a marriage relationship.

Gold Dividing Line
I remember when my grandfather passed away. I’m confident that my grandmother mourned him, for they were married many many decades, and I’m confident that she grieved his loss, but I cannot deny the fact that while she was living after him, she, in many ways, was free for the first time.

He was abusive and controlling and never knew the Lord until his death bed. And she never understood and got to experience the joy of what God has in store for us in this good relationship.

See, some people never experience that, but others of you maybe, you know the incredible goodness of marriage and perhaps you didn’t know it until you lost your husband or you lost your wife.

Marriage is an innately good thing. It’s part of God’s design. That’s one of the reasons why maybe controversially, I personally am willing to marry two people who are unbelievers–who don’t have faith in Jesus Christ because I don’t think that marriage is restricted to something that the church ought to do.

I think that the church owns marriage because God is the one who designed it and instituted it, absolutely, but I think he designed it as a creation mandate.

It’s his desire to see… he understood that not everyone would believe in him and some would follow him. But either way, the marriage relationship is in people’s best interest whether they’re walking in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or not.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m willing to marry a couple that’s not walking in relationship with Jesus. I talk to them about Jesus. I pray that they will start a relationship with Jesus, but I see the value of the marriage relationship that God has designed in their following those that pattern even if they don’t walk in relationship with Jesus Christ.

There’s actually only one marriage situation that I’ve consistently turned away. And that is what the Bible calls this idea of being unequally yoked.

In 2nd Corinthians chapter 6 verse 14 the Bible gives us an example of when a marriage would not be good. He’s writing about marriage and he says,

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.

Yoked” is a strong word. This is the Bible talking to those who are following Jesus Christ. It’s not saying, “Don’t be friends with people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus.” It’s not saying, “don’t love them, don’t care for him. none of that stuff. The Bible’s filled with the opposite of that…

But yoked is the strong marriage language where they come together and become one. And his rationale is,

For what do righteousness
those who believe in God’s law
and wickedness
those who reject God’s law.
have in common with one another?

Or what fellowship can light
those who have embraced Jesus as light of the world
and darkness
those who have reject Jesus as light of the world,
what Fellowship can they have together with one another?
2 Cor 6:14

And so the Bible tells us that that’s a relationship we ought to avoid, and a wise Minister, and a wise family member, or wise friend recognizes an unequally yoked situation and encourages someone away from that dangerous trap and pitfall.

Some of you who are here this morning, as I know because every church has couples who, are unequally yoked. For some of you it’s you entered into the relationship that way, but for many of you-you were both non-believers and one of you became a follower of Jesus later. And you know the difficulty and the hardship of not having a husband or wife who shares your faith, and you can imagine, and only imagine what you’re missing out on.

Gold Dividing Line[00:14:45]

Now some might say,  “Well if marriage is so good then why do I feel like I’m supposed to be single?” That’s because the Bible affirms singleness as well. In First Corinthians chapter 7, the Scripture tells us this,

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried,

Please hear this… if you’re single and you’re not married, but you’re of married age, or maybe you’re not a marriage age, but you’re trying to think about, “Like how urgent should you be to get married?”… or one of those kinds of things; or maybe you’ve married and you’re divorced and you’re wondering whether you should get remarried; or married and widowed to whether you should get remarried.

It may be that you should, but please know that the Bible affirms the state of being single,

It is good for them to stay unmarried,

Paul was single and not married,

 9 But, he says, if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

So here we get this first introduction to the idea of physical intimacy and he is saying, “Most people are wired in such a way that they desire the opposite sex and physical intimacy. And therefore if they desire that, they should eventually be in a marriage relationship where that can be fulfilled and satisfied.

He says it’s better than to be married, but that’s assuming they cannot control themselves, which is implied that some people can, and it appears to be biblically that those who can, it’s not just naturally that they’re wired that way but that God has designed them that way or gifted them Spiritually that way… we call it maybe the gift of celibacy of the gift of singleness.

I know brothers in Christ who have gone their entire life, who’ve never necessarily desired or lusted to be physically intimate with a woman in their life. Do they feel like they have the gift of singleness, the gift of celibacy, but it ought to be and it seems to be presented to us from Scripture as the exception rather than the norm, and a unique gifting from God.

He goes on to say in First Corinthians 7 a little bit later on in the chapter.

32-34 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. 

and rightfully so

 An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.

Likewise.

So here, not only does the Bible affirm the state of singleness, but one of the reasons it gives for the affirmation of the state of singleness, is that Devotion to the Lord a married person might not be able to bring.

I think you should consider that if you’re single no matter what stage of singleness you’re in.
– If you’re single and you’ve never been married, or
– If you tried marriage and it didn’t work and you’re now single, or
– If you’re single and you’re widowed and you’re trying to decide whether or not God wants you back into a relationship, again,. He may want you back into a relationship…
…but I do think you should pause and consider and pray about this whole idea of being divided and devoted and think about, “Hey, what might I be able to do for the kingdom of God in this new stage of singleness that I haven’t had before?”

Have you ever viewed your singleness from that positive of a lens in this opportunity that you may have to serve the Lord, like you may not have been able to when you were married?

Gold Dividing Line[00:18:16]

The Scripture goes on we see Proverbs chapter 18:22 talking to us about marriage from a positive light.

 He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord

Whatever reason one might give to argue that marriage is not good.. the popularity of such a view is wholly dependent upon a culture that embraces casual physical intimacy.

What I mean by that is, the only way that 50 percent of the adults in America today can reject the concept of being married… they don’t all have the gift of celibacy, right?

The only way that 50 percent of the adults in America can reject the concept of being married is because a huge portion of them have embraced physical intimacy as some casual thing to do and therefore don’t care whether it happens within the marriage relationship or not.

That’s what we’re going to look at next Proverbs Chapter 30 verse 18 tells us this,

“There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:

First one:

the way of an eagle in the sky,

Have you ever seen an eagle on National Geographic… pretty cool scene.
Number 2:

    the way of a snake on a rock,

Probably not one I would have chosen but okay right number two is this is kind of a cool thing… the snake’s body slithering on a rock.
Number three,

the way of a ship on the high seas,

Up and down., as it’s navigating the waters, a beautiful thing. I mean, personally, I think that the writer of Proverbs is using graphic illustrations for us, he’s helping us to imagine a husband and wife together.

Okay. but anyways, that’s for your minds now. Okay those three things and now he says,

    and the way of a man with a young woman.

Sorry, ladies.. if you don’t consider yourself young. Remember this was written two young men who were pursuing young ladies.

But this is actually not all about all that positiveness. It’s all made to create a negative point here. Verse 20,

“This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth
and says, ‘I’ve_done_nothing_wrong.’
~ Proverbs 30:20

It says this physical intimacy that can happen between a husband and a wife is an amazingly beautiful thing, but it comes along and says, well, there’s a woman who’s labeled as an adulterous woman. An adulterous man gets the same statement said about him… the adulterous person, right?)

There’s a way of the adulterous person: they eat and they wipe their mouth and they say “I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong”

You see here in this proverb physical intimacy is being compared to casual eating… and not just casual eating but sloppy eating. Sloppy eating whose consequences last no longer than merely wiping your mouth and moving on.

That’s the way of an adulterous woman.

Having this physical intimacy with a man or woman is nothing more than sitting down for a meal, whose consequences can be put behind and aside by merely cleaning up after oneself, and after supper.

That is the casual nature of our culture’s view of physical intimacy.

[00:21:37]

And because our culture has embraced such a low view of that physical intimacy, then who the physical intimacy comes with, and what commitments may or may not in most cases come with that, is almost irrelevant to most people.

The other thing, of course, that comes from this analogy that the proverb is using is from this mule comparison is this excuse that says,
“The physical intimacy hookup culture is nothing more than the satisfying of a simple craving or desire like sitting down for a meal of some kind.”

And particularly troubling to me is when I hear within the church culture and world people who say, “Yeah, but this is a God-given desire. That’s why we’re hooking up this way.”

Now see, the proverb says, “those who have such a casual attitude about physical intimacy, ultimately carry the same mindset as the adulterous woman or the adulterous man.

Because we treat physical intimacy so casually, our appetite for it goes then completely unchecked.

Gold Dividing Line
[00:22:50]

So, let me tell you Church… if you’re here, and you’re married, and you are considering the way of the adulterous woman, or the adulterous man, please, do not make the mistake of believing the enemy, that this is no big deal.

Please do not make the mistake of thinking that you’ll be able to sit down and have your enjoyable meal and then wipe away the consequences and move on with your life.

If you’re here and you’re single and you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who would like you to move into a stage of physical intimacy before you’re married, please do not make the mistake of believing him or her or your friends… embracing the lie that the culture is telling you, that this is really no big deal. Or you’ll be able to do this and move on.

No, those of you who are here in this room, who are older, who have been maybe married or were married for decades… you know, the blessing and could testify this morning of the blessing of keeping the marriage vows. And many of you could also testify to the incredible pain of breaking those vows either personally or having a spouse do that.

The way of the adulterous woman is in contrast to God’s good design of marriage.

Gold Dividing Line[00:24:17]

One of the reasons why we’ve become so casual about the physical Intimacy in our culture, and maybe one of the consequences of becoming so casual about physical intimacy in our culture is an incredible emphasis on the physicality of a potential partner—a man or a woman, because that’s where our focus is, right?

So in Proverbs chapter 11 verse 22 tells us this,

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

This is kind of a peculiar proverb… like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

Let’s take a stab at explaining this one. So he says, okay imagine there’s this precious gold ring, you want it. It’s this beautiful thing and you’re fixated on it. In fact, it attracts you so much that you forget that it’s attached to a pig for crying out loud, right?

He says this is the potential of… he’s talking to young men….right? Don’t be distracted by the beauty of a young woman who has no discretion, no character, no foundational character, so that you see this gold and beautiful ring that is her outward beauty, but you forget that her inward character is that of a pig… you get the idea.

And so he says, “Hey, have the wisdom here to realize that ones physical appearance needs to be put in its proper place.

The number of things that men are blinded to because of the beauty of a Woman, The Proverbs warn about that… and it goes both ways of course.

Gold Dividing Line[00:26:09]

I remember when I was in college if you don’t mind a story of self-deprecation here… when I was in college, I remember a young woman who had reached out to me through a friend and she wanted to meet me at Froggies Cafe on campus.

I had seen this woman, I knew who she was, but I had never really paid any attention to her… her physical appearance wasn’t enough to really garnish this sort of second look from me.

But I said yes, nonetheless, and we met at Froggies Cafe and she was a pleasant young lady and we had a good conversation. And we enjoyed each other’s company in that way, but I left there feeling still unattracted. And as such, I ended any chance of a second relationship with that person.

Let me be clear before I forget… God has since blessed me with someone who I love their character and their beauty.  Amen. Ladies, right? (Laugher).

But I realized the mistake that I made in that night and the days to follow… is that while I was probably right to realize the Bible says we should be attracted to our husband or wife, I thought that the attraction came first and then the other intimacy came after.

In biblical physical attraction, it works the other way around. We develop a relationship and understand one another’s character, and from that flows and develops a physical attraction.

The best, lasting, most biblical, and satisfying attraction is the attraction that we develop towards one another after we get to know each other.

It’s the opposite of the world’s understanding. The world is following a Proverbs 11:22 pattern,  and we’re here saying if you’re in a stage where you’re thinking about that, please heed the Bible’s advice. If you’re disappointed because your husband or wife no longer fits the requirements, the goals, the mindset that you had when you first met, please wisen up to realize it’s not their job…  to be and satisfy all of your worldly fantasies about what he or she should look like.

No, your attraction to them flows not from what the scale says about them, or what clothing they wear, but from the emotional and spiritual intimacy that you develop with them.

Lest we forget THE WOMEN
[00:28:44] 

Quickly, before I move on to our last proverb. Let me address the women in our congregation as well.

Statistically, women, of course, are prone to perhaps overlook a series of faults about a man because of his physical appearance, but statistically, women overlook other things… I mean overlook these same faults for other purposes and reasons.

So statistically what we find out is that women will crave maybe stability; and so they’re looking for a guy that has the right job, the right career, the right house the right car… there’s some stability. I’m not saying they’re shallow. I’m not saying you’re shallow in this, but I’m saying you overlook that, some of the flaws, because of what that person has to offer in that area.

Another one is kids.
How many women get to a certain stage in life, or they’re so desperate to have children that they finally find a guy who will have kids with them and they will overlook a whole multitude of mistakes and failures about this person so that they can have kids finally.

So we don’t want any of these things to get in the way of helping us to see people the way that we really should.

Gold Dividing Line[00:29:52]

Proverbs Chapter 5, then finally tells us in verses 15 through 19. This is a good positive example to close our time together this morning, It says,

Drink water from your own cistern,

You knew it wasn’t going to just lay it out straight for us, right? It as going to have to be some kind of thing that we had to figure out. What is he saying here?

    running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?

No.

Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

So the Bible uses this imagery of water to make another analogy of physical intimacy. Only this time it’s a positive one. And he likens the desire of physical intimacy in the relationship and marriage of physical intimacy to that of thirst.

And he says, okay, “You drink from your own cistern.” …running water from your own well. You don’t go somewhere else. You don’t go looking somewhere else for you. You don’t go into the streets. You don’t go into the public squares. You leave those things alone. Let yours be alone. You don’t invite someone else into this special thing you have”… right?

That’s where we’re getting satisfied this way.

I love the fact that this proverb gives positive affirmation to our physical intimacy within a marriage relationship. Because the church, in particular, has acknowledged and recognized the abundance of sin that can come with physical intimacy such that some Churches end up making it something that’s almost taboo or bad or negative.

I’ve known couples who could not be physically intimate and pray together the same night… because they somehow saw them as contradictions of each other and failed to see that God has created this wonderful precious beautiful thing.

I love the affirmation of it… and notice what he says,

“rejoice in the wife of your youth.

It doesn’t say rejoice in young women or young men… rejoice in the wife or the husband of her youth. They may not be young anymore… your husband or wife, but that’s who your rejoicing in.

This is a picture of lifelong beauty of it a growing together and rejoicing in each other physically.

It’s amazing to see when couples keep bonding over decades, spiritually and emotionally, that although three decades later their bodies may not be anything like they were 30 years before, how much more physical intimacy can be satisfying because it flowed from this ongoing committed relationship.

Look at that expression of the very last line.

May you ever be intoxicated with her love.

This continuous ongoing wonderful thing happening between a husband and a wife that God gives us. Our wives are going to change, our husbands are going to change, all things about kinds of things about them are going to change… but the Bible gives us this wonderful gift of marriage that we might experience the beauty of physical intimacy inside of that, and it’s one that’s lasting and ongoing.

If you’re here this morning, and you’re like me every time you hear something about marriage it can leave you feeling incredibly inadequate. It can leave you feeling kind of like, broken in that way.

Maybe you’re here and you feel broken because you know that either in reality or in your heart, you have broken your marriage vow. Maybe you’re here this morning and you’re broken in the sense that you know that you have failed to recognize the good thing that God has given you and your husband or your wife.

Here’s what the Scripture tells us,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
~ Ephesians 5:22-33

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who calls us his bride has died on a cross and to make us holy and blameless without blemish, He is indeed the perfect spouse because we have not been the perfect spouse.

I invite our praise team to come forward. Let’s pray as we prepare to sing our closing song together?

LET'S PRAY (2)
Thank you Lord for your passage of Scripture again this morning as we walk through the Book of Proverbs. Thank you, Father, for the husband or wife that you may have placed us here with. For those of us who recognize that marriage is a good thing, we thank you and praise you for that.
For those who are in the midst of a marriage situation who need it really to be a blessing to them… some things have gone wrong. some things have piled on each other and things are spiraling perhaps of control… we pray that you step in and rescue that situation in that reality.
We pray against a spirit of the adulterous woman or man… that whether we are in a marriage, or single, that we would honor you with the state in the stage in life that you have put us in.
We recognize that your Scripture says that all of us have been unfaithful towards you… and we praise you for your constant faithfulness in the midst of our unfaithfulness. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, who was able to present us pure and spotless without blemish.
We ask these things in his name. Amen.divider

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Marriage – Proverbs Week 6 – 9 AM

Pastor Dan BorgeltPastor Dan WP Cover

Watch Opening  Video First
Marriage Promise
(5 min.)

The video is saying, “Hey, the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but it is to make us holy.” And in doing so we honor and glorify God.

Audio: [38:36]

Audio Transcript:
Here at Kirkmont we’re walking through an Old Testament book of the Bible known as The Book of Proverbs. We’re looking at God’s wisdom for us over the last several weeks. We’ve seen God’s wisdom on various subjects. His wisdom on the subject of forgiveness, his wisdom on the subject of friendships, and last week we talked about the words that we use and our tongues… and here we find out that it’s impossible to really walk through the Book of Proverbs and not realize that God has a lot of wisdom that he wants to communicate to us on the subject of marriage.

Now by no means is the Book of Proverbs an exhaustive teaching on all that God has to say to us about marriage. This isn’t a marriage sermon in that sense. We have to look at all kinds of other texts from the Old Testament and New Testament as well. But nonetheless, we get a lot of wisdom from The Book of Proverbs alone when it comes to the subject of marriage. And that’s what we’re going to be looking at together this morning.

In fact, our BIG IDEA for us as we gather together around God’s word. Is this…

The wise person… this is the wisdom coming from The Book of Proverbs, the wise person understands the many ways a married couple can glorify God.

The wise person understands the many ways marriage can glorify God.

Notice a couple of things about that.

  1. One of the things is the many ways and that’s what we’re going to be using as our outline in our time together this morning. We’re going to be looking at several, 6, in fact, different aspects that the Proverbs point out about the nature of the marriage relationship.
  2. But notice that the intent or the purpose, where this is all pointing to is to glorify God, right? In fact, they made it so clear in the video by telling us. Hey, look the purpose of marriage is not to make you happy, the purpose of marriage is to make you holy. And in being coming more holy we glorify God. It’s one of the ways we glorify God in the marriage relationship,

So let’s be clear from the beginning as we walk through this, this is all pointing towards the glory of God.

The wise person understands the many ways a married couple can glorify God.

And those ways, just to list them and give you a sense of where we’re going to be going from The Book of Proverbs is this…

As I studied through the Book of Proverbs and use some other resources. I found that Proverbs presents to us:

  1. Marriage as a Covenant;
  2. Marriage as Friendship;
  3. Marriage as Intellectual Partners;
  4. Marriage as Managing Partners;
  5. Marriage as Economic Partners; and finally
  6. Marriage as Ministry Partners. 

Gold Dividing LineWe could have a whole sermon on each one of those but from just the Book of Proverbs alone it allows us to quickly walk through those various aspects of marriage.

Now, here’s a couple points that we need to realize about the Book of Proverbs so we can understand these Proverbs on the subject of marriage.

FIRST: The first one is that the Book of Proverbs was written primarily, it was directed and aimed towards young men to read and to have wisdom. And so that’s why when the Proverbs are speaking to someone it says something like, “Son, heed your parents’ advice, young man watch out for… or men look for this in a wife.”

So the reason why we need to understand that is because you don’t have a lot of the same reverse council about what a woman should look for in a husband because the Book of Proverbs was written first to be read by a group of young men.

I say that though not to exclude men or women from the value in reading the Book of Proverbs, but rather to help us see that if we’re going to understand these Proverbs correctly, we have to realize that they need to be read in the reverse as well.

For example, Proverbs chapter 31, the famous Proverbs wife, we could read through that and then flip it around and apply all those attributes for the most part to men as well and say this is what a woman should be looking for in a husband.

But the reason why Proverbs is speaking in the language of women is because it’s speaking to young men.

Okay, so we need to understand that, that these Proverbs, most of them go back and forth between husband and wife.

SECOND. The other thing we need to understand about these Proverbs before we read them is that marriage back that was very different—incredibly different.

Marriage back then, as we talked about with friendships a couple weeks ago, was so incredibly transactional in its nature. Men married women primarily for how they might provide for the home inside the house. They sought lovers outside of the home. Women married men. I mean for very practical reasons some of the marriages of course as you know had been arranged, etc.

The Book of Proverbs actually, as we’re going to see, speaks right through that and actually gets to much closer of an intimate relationship.

We see that God desires the marriage to be much more exclusive and intimate than the culture, in which it was written, viewed marriage.

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1. Marriage as a Covenant

All right… let’s first look at marriage as Covenant. Proverbs chapter 2 verse 16-17 tells us this…

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, (so there it is, it’s being written towards a man)…
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
(We’
ll talk about some of the physical intimacy issues and marriage next week. So we’re going to leave vs. 6 alone for the most part now)
17 who has left the partner of her youth

    and ignored the covenant she made before God.”

So marriage is addressed to us as this idea of a covenant. A covenant is the concept of an agreement or contract between two parties. We have sacraments that are visible signs of God’s New Testament Covenant with us–his new agreement, or his promise, his contract.

In today’s culture, the greatest sign of an informal Covenant is to shake someone’s hand. Or we might for a more formal Covenant, we might sign a legal document of some kind.

God created marriage as a covenant.

And notice it says, “you’ve ignored the Covenant she made before God”. It’s not just a covenant with one another as we might think of a covenant being, but it’s a covenant before God.

That’s why whenever I do a wedding I say something like, “Hey, Dan, you’re not just saying today that you will love Amanda, you are saying ‘God, I will love Amanda’.”

“And Amanda, you’re not just saying, ‘Dan, I will love you’. But rather you’re saying, “God, I will love Dan’.” You’re making a covenant, not just merely to one another, but look what the Scripture says, “the Covenant before God”.

And that’s how marriage is given to us in the Bible.

Now, how can we think about a covenant marriage before God without thinking about the great Covenant, the New Testament Covenant, the visible reminder that we’re going to partake in later today in our service (communion), this new agreement that God has with his people built upon his grace and mercy that says, “Jesus’ body has been broken for our sins. His blood has been shed for our sins, and by faith alone, we can then have access to the complete forgiveness of our sins”.

This is the beautiful New Testament Covenant–the Gospel.

And so when a married couple comes together and they realize that they’re operating in a covenant not just with one another but in a covenant with God, they Infuse, they begin to infuse this wonderful Gospel into their relationship. And they start walking… two people in a marriage covenant before God are walking in relationship with the best spouse that they could ever possibly have–not one another but Jesus Christ who has called us his bride.

So we come before God in this Covenant with one another we recognize that the New Testament Covenant and the Gospel message that flows from it, that we can be the bride of Christ and now a husband and wife are coming together, walking together in perfect relationship with Jesus Christ and all that He has to offer.

This begins to erode away one of the biggest problems with our modern marriage, which is, when we start walking with Jesus and receiving from him what he has to offer, it starts to help us be more realistic about what we’re trying to get from our husband or our wife in a marriage relationship.

Most marriage relationships fail because they come together and they’re looking for too much from their husband, too much from their wife, and not enough from their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hear that again… most marriages, I think, ultimately fail because they’re looking for too much from their husband or too much from their wife and not enough from Jesus Christ.

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The Gospel teaches us from the outset of our marriage how incredibly flawed we are… “for I am a sinner that needed Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. My wife is such a great sinner that she needed Jesus to die on a cross for her sins.” So let’s be realistic from the beginning about what this is like before we enter into this relationship.

Marriage, God says, is this covenant that we make before God and to God about one another. It’s then therefore not a promise so much or an expression so much of how I feel about you now as much as it is about my commitment to how I’m going to treat you in the future.

This is what a real Christian marriage covenant means.

Now some of you say, “Man, I hear all this Covenant stuff, but you don’t know, I married the wrong person. I mean, I married the wrong person.”

This is a time for me to be pastorally sensitive and realize that some of you I mean really did. And that person has done things that biblically allow you to leave that relationship. That person may have done things that I would even pastorally counsel you to leave that relationship. But in general, most people when they say “I’ve married the wrong person”, need to realize and be reminded of the Covenant that they made before God. And maybe to get a little bit of this wisdom that says, “none of us married the right person.”

No one married the right person. There’s no such thing as 100 percent perfect compatibility. None of us married the right person. And we all change incredibly in our marriage.

You might think you married the right person and five years later they’re the wrong person. Or there’s someone else different five more years later.

There’s this quote where this guy says,

“In the 20 years, I’ve been married to my wife. She has lived with at least four different men… and all four of them have been me.”

Isn’t that true? Because we change dramatically. So we can’t go into a marriage covenant based on our compatibility with the person or even how they’re currently making us feel. It must be something bigger and greater than that, and it’s only our commitment before God that sometimes keeps us in a marriage.

Gold Dividing LineWhen I talk to couples who are about to get married or who have just been married and I say to them something like, “There will come a time. When you will not be want to be married to your husband or wife.” They look at me… as if I’m foreign of some kind and I’m speaking this alien language that somehow they pity me because of my marriage relationship must somehow be something that they never want there’s to be.

No, I love my wife and have a wonderful relationship with her. But the statement is still true. Anyone who’s been married for any length of time when realistic enough says, “There’ve been Seasons where I didn’t want to be married to my wife… I didn’t want to be married to him.”

But marriage is presented to us in the Book of Proverbs as a covenant before God and our spouse may change a hundred times over, but the character of God never changes.

Gold Dividing LineSome people say, “Love shouldn’t be this hard though… but it really shouldn’t be this hard. I mean maybe the fact that we have to work at it this hard is a sign that we’re not really supposed to be together.”

Who came up with that idea?

Since when does hard work mean that something isn’t of value or worth or something that God wants us to be behind.

We don’t say that about the fact that “Well, you know, you’re a great piano player, but it took you a lot of practice to be that good at it. So it must really not be of that value.”

Or, “You ran a marathon. That’s an amazing feat. But you had a practice at it so hard so, I mean, it’s really not that impressive of a thing.”

When is something that’s of value, that’s worth accomplishing not something that you also have to work hard at? 

So the idea is that maybe your marriage isn’t a state right now where you really have to work hard; maybe you have to work hard at just getting along. Or maybe you really have to work hard at finding JOY in the relationship… that you so long to have joy in physical intimacy, or emotional intimacy, whatever you may have to work hard at it.

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But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want you in that relationship. That doesn’t mean that what comes as the result of that hard work isn’t worth it, or it’s not valuable in any way.

Marriage is presented to us as a covenant that we make before God.

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Marriage is not only presented to us in the Book of Proverbs as a covenant, but it’s also presented to us in the Book of Proverbs as a friendship. marriage as a friendship.

2. Marriage as a Friendship

In fact, if you go to the next verse it’s also Proverbs Chapter 2 verses 16 through 17 this look at these same verses again with just a little different focus and we’ll see this part come out…

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
(more on that next week)
17 who has left the partner of her youth
    and ignored the covenant she made before God.”

who has left the partner of her youth“. This is one of those great times where the original language gives us so much insight as to what God is trying to communicate to us.

Her partner or his partner. Let’s jump over to Proverbs chapter 6 verse 28 and show you real quick here that this is the exact same word that we dealt with a couple weeks ago when the Bible says an expression like…

A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates…what is it?… close friends.

That’s the same word that’s being used here in Proverbs Chapter 2.

Let’s go back to our Proverbs chapter 2 verse 16 and 17,

who has left the partner of her youth

You see what’s lost in that translation is this idea that they in their marriage relationship are best friends and close with one another.

You see, to have Marriage as a Covenant, as a part of your identity, but not Marriage as Friendship as a part of your identity, is a pretty difficult place to be in isn’t it?

Some of you know what it’s like to go through years, maybe even decades, some of you sadly, maybe even your entire marriage have been married as a covenant you stayed together, but never really discovered the beauty and value of finding marriage as a friendship.

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And there’s a song that came out back in the 90s by this group called Pearl Jam. We’re going to let you listen to a clip of it. It’s a secular song and he’s writing about really the state of this woman who’s in this marriage relationship and clearly there’s no joy being found in it. But they’re still together and she’s staying together and you can just kind of cut see an image, an artistic image of what “Marriage is Covenant” without “Marriage is Friendship” kind of looks like.

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Pearl Jam – Can’t Find a Better Man

You get the gist of this from Pearl Jam… this expression of a relationship that’s there, it’s still intact… there’s this marriage as Covenant component, but a marriage as friendship part is lost.

The Proverbs go on to tell us in Proverbs chapter 21 verse 9..,

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Again, sorry ladies. The Proverbs pick on you because it was written to young men. But this goes both ways.

Now maybe you thought up the idea of sleeping on the couch was bad, apparently, this guy’s having to hang out in the corner of a roof.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Proverbs chapter 21 verse 19 says something very similar to this…

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

Proverbs Chapter 19, Verse 13 tells us,

A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.

Notice that we have the word quarrelsome for all three of these Proverbs. All three of these Proverbs speak about this idea of “quarrelsome”–somebody who is combative, who’s constantly picking out and finding faults in the way someone else is doing something and it’s as if they’re seeking some type of argument on a regular basis.

These people who are quarrelsome in their marriage. either husbands or wives lack true Gospel understanding, don’t they? They go into the marriage failing to recognize that they are flawed sinners, as well, who need God’s grace; and that their spouse is a sinner who needs not only God’s grace but their common Grace as well.

Sometimes you just want to shout into marriages that are falling apart and say. 

Buddy… buddy that might be fine that that’s the way you do the dishwasher, but let her load the dishwasher, however, she wants. Are you really going to lose your marriage over this?

I mean the things that we choose to fight and battle and quarrel over are really quite ridiculous when you think about the beauty and the goal of what a marriage relationship is supposed to do, and point towards glorifying God.

“Friends” is what the marriage relationship is after, and here’s a warning about not being quarrelsome in the marriage relationship.

I mean some of you could just pause and stop and just ask the Lord to say,

“Hey, if I’m a quarrelsome husband or wife, like show me this week.” How much effort and energy, how taxing is it to be married to me?

It would be a very interesting place to start as we think about the nature of our quarrelsome behavior and how that gets in the way of us becoming the Friendship Partners that God has designed for the marriage relationship.

Not only should we ought not to be enemies as so many marriages find themselves in, but God is after us not being even just roommates… but truly friends.

It doesn’t mean that you have to have everything possible in common with one another; it doesn’t mean that your husband can’t golf and you don’t enjoy golfing; it doesn’t mean that your wife can’t shop and you don’t enjoy shopping.

Sorry for the stereotypical examples, but you get the idea.

Being friends doesn’t mean you have to have every last thing in common, but there should be something we’re aiming after. And it might not be natural.

Maybe you’re hearing this you’re realizing, “I don’t have a friendship with my husband or my wife the way that I think God wants me to have a friendship with my husband or wife. It may require work. It may not be natural just because you don’t have the friendship now doesn’t mean that you can’t.

Marriage as a friendship… that’s a goal that we’re aiming after. And we glorify God when we interact with one another that way and take such incredible delight in each other’s company.

This is one of the radical teachings of Proverbs into that culture. This would be like going to the Middle East today and saying to men,

 “You should be best friends with your wife and treat her like your best friend.”

Going to the women and saying,

“You should be best friends with your husband and treat them like your best friend.”

It’s radically different than their culture and mindset. Some people might call that culturally insensitive, but it’s biblical.

Back then, the mindset of a marriage relationship was not one of emotional intimacy with one another where they had that type of friendship, but the Bible’s speaking right through that cultural aspect of that time and giving you an eye–the vision of being friends, best friends and partners with our husbands and our wives.Gold Dividing Line[00:23:54]

The Book of Romans chapter 15 verses 1 through 3 gives us maybe some insight into the part that we might control and to how we might achieve this in a relationship. He says,

 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors… for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.

If you don’t mind, I’ll take a little liberty to replace the word neighbor with your husband or your wife and see something along the lines of…

“each of us should please our husband or a wife for their good to build them up for even Christ did not please himself.”

You see this idea that we enter into this relationship with each other’s needs and each other’s benefit on our mind, is one of the greatest ways we can become great friends and serve one another and have great friendship amongst each other in our marriage relationships.

This is the opposite image of the many selfish reasons why we got married, isn’t it?

If I was to ask you to list off a bunch of reasons why you married your husband or your wife, they might be wonderful things. You’d say something like,

“They earned a good living. They were attractive. They were funny. They…” you know, and you could just start listing all kinds of things. “We had this in common.” You start listing all kinds of things that you liked about your husband or wife.

But if you think about it as you look through that list you realize most of those things on the list, what you were attracted to about that person was because those things served your best interest.

So we enter into a marriage relationship from that default position. And here we’re finding God’s wisdom and counsel helping us to see that ‘no’, those of us who are followers of Christ, we put each other first, and we start serving each other.

And that’s really the only way to accomplish marriage as friendship.

Quickly then, the other aspects that we see in the Book of Proverbs regarding marriage, is we see Marriage as Intellectual Partners.

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3. Marriage as Intellectual Partners 

The Book of Proverbs Chapter 1 starting in verse 8 and 9. This is another one of those again radical concepts of marriage at this time the idea where most women didn’t receive an education to be seen in valued by The Book of Proverbs as an intellectual partner is something that was incredibly transforming to the marriage relationship back then

Proverbs chapter 1 verses 8 through nine tells us…

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
 For they are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.

Listen, right? …your father and your mother has something important to teach you, the Book of Proverbs is saying/

They both have something invaluable to say. For they are intellectual partners in rearing, for example, their children, in this case.

Another such incident in Proverbs chapter 6 verse 20 tells us something similar…

My son, again, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Again, they have something valuable to say, they both have something valuable to teach you, and to instruct you.

Let me just ask you, Are you intentionally giving your kids the wrong impression about either of the parents? …for those who love you who are still raising your children.

A lot of marriage relationships do this because they operate in such a way that one of them is the intellectual person. The other one is the emotional person or something along those lines.

And unintentionally, they communicate to their sons and daughters that people of that gender, whether it was the husband or the wife, the father or the mother, are people who don’t have something intellectually to offer.

The same comes true, I think, with discipline as well when it comes to them being Intellectual Partners.

If you’re going to instruct your kids, if both the husband and wife have something to instruct them on, then you think they’d be able to reinforce those boundaries as well.

One thing I always tell parents to do is “Don’t ever get into the habit of saying something like, ‘When your father comes home’ or ‘When your mother comes home, he or she’s going to spank you or send you to your bedroom.”

My family operated that way and all it did is reinforce the fact that I shouldn’t really respect my mom. She told me what not to do, I didn’t do it, and she didn’t have anything to do in response other than to say, “Wait till your dad gets home”.

So then the next time she says something it’s like. “You’re really not that respect worthy.” Right?

No, a mother and a father who are Intellectual Partners not only provide instruction for their children but they mutually then reinforce that instruction and are willing to say to them, “Here are the consequences.” and then to reinforce those consequences.

Proverbs chapter 31 verses 10 through 11 tells us this…

A wife of noble character, who can find?
    For she is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her… 

Another translation is her husband has full trust in her. This is one of the only times in the Bible where it commends the idea of trusting someone else–other than God… is this expression of a husband trusting his wife. Because he recognizes that she is someone who he can place his trust in.

And we want that both ways. We want a husband and a wife to operate in such a way that he can trust her and she can trust him–that they are indeed intellectual partners with one another.

Proverbs chapter 31 verse 26 tells us…

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

The Bible says, “Hey go find an intellectual partner.” A wise spouse then is someone who will recognize their spouse’s intellectual strength and heeds to those intellectual strengths.

– – – – – – –

You look at your husband and you say,

“He knows more about this area than I do. He’s going to take the lead here.”

You look at your wife and you say, “She knows more about this than I do, and she’s going to take the lead here.”

Anything… anything short of that is a complete failure to recognize the gifting and intellect that God has given both the husband and the wife.

Next, not only do we see marriages Intellectual Partners, but we also see marriage presented to us in Proverbs as Managing Partners as well.

 

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4. Marriage as Managing Partners

In the Book of Proverbs Chapter 14 verse 1, the Scripture tells us…

The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

It’s an interesting expression, “the wise woman builds her house”. Does that mean, “Ladies, If you want to be wise you have to be able to like hammer nails and cut and sawed and all those kinds of things… surely, there’s more at stake than just the physical construction of a house?

Here’s a quote from Tim Keller on this Proverb. He says,
“Proverbs assumes, as does the rest of the Bible, that the husband is the head of the home. If that’s a new expression to you we’ll deal with that another time,
This headship will take different forms in different marriages. 
Completely true.
But however one conceives it, it cannot be taken to mean that the husband alone makes all the management decisions.
The wise woman builds her house, and here the word house means not to merely construct the physical dwelling, but to lay the foundations for a family’s life: socially, economically, materially, emotionally, and spiritually, to come together as managing partners of their home.” 
t

Do you view each other that way?

Proverbs chapter 31 verse 21 and 22 tells us this…

When it snows, she (that is this Proverbs 31 woman) has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Proverbs 31 in verse 27 tells us this…

She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Ya know some pastors go past the biblical authority by instructing husbands and wives exactly how they should manage their household saying,

“Husband’s you must play this role. Wives, you must play this role”

And when pastors do that, they go beyond the scope of the biblical Authority is that is provided for them. The biblical Authority is that a husband and wife should be Managing Partners as they come together and care for their home.

Both those domestic things that need to be done around the house, and the earning of income that needs to happen. Here, she has both of those aspects as we’ll see.

But a husband and wife both need to recognize these Dynamics as they come together and manage their household with one another.

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Next, the Bible also presents marriage as an economic partnership.

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5. Marriage as Economic Partners

Proverbs 31 verse 13+ says…

She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

Again, as Tim Keller said some marriage relationships will handle the details of this differently. Of course in some of our marriage relationships both the husband and wife work; sometimes ones working part-time sometimes ones working full-time.

We have all kinds of different arrangements. And to get much more specific than that, I think again would be to go beyond the scope of the biblical Authority.

But what we see here in this Proverbs 31 Woman is she’s not only both at home, but she’s also at work. She’s bringing income in and caring for the house.

And I think in many ways that speaks to what we want in a husband and wife–essentially saying,

Wise couples are filled with husbands and wives who care both for their home and for their income in the workplace around them.

When I meet men who are so chauvinistic as the think that there are domestic tasks around the house that they’re above… it bothers me.

When I meet women who think that they are so free that to stay at home is somehow a slight on women… then that bothers me as well.

The Bible isn’t saying you have to be one or the other, but it is saying that wise couples care for both.

And here this Proverbs 31 Woman has an economic dynamic in the relationship together.

Proverbs 31:24 and 25 says this

She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.

Just a statistical reality church that people who are married retire with more wealth and earn more income as individuals their whole lives than single people do.

It’s so ironic that single people often don’t want to get married because they’re worried about the economic impacts of it.

Here in God’s design, we see that ‘no’, they come together as Economic Partners, they actually increase the likelihood of prospering.

Finally, marriage as Ministry Partners.

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6. Marriage as Ministry Partners

There’s just one Proverb here, Proverbs 31 verse 20 tells us…

She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

Perhaps the piece of the puzzle that in some ways drives all the rest of these is discovering this together. It’s coming together and finding a way as husband and wife to realize that you’re ultimately Ministry Partners.

You should be doing something for the Kingdom of God together, equally serving the Kingdom of God. Coming alongside each other in that way is a precious thing to find in a husband and wife–someone who’s truly is caring for the things of the Kingdom of God.

 

Communion

Church, as we look at all these aspects of the marriage relationship, we’re reminded together this morning as we come to this table, that God uses marriage perhaps more than any other relationship here on Earth to help us see our need for this table.

No relationship more than the marriage relationship will help us to discover How Deeply flawed we are, and how broken we are.

Some of us will come to this table as single; some will come married and struggling with our marriage; some will come married and blessed in our marriage, and others will come maybe divorced.

Some will come widowed… but this table is a reminder that each and every one of us by Christ’s body being broken and blood being shed can walk in a great intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as he calls all of us, “His bride”.

I invite those who are serving this morning to come forward at this time.

We’re going to pass these elements out to you invite you to take both cups in each slot and you’ll find the bread underneath.

You’ll find the bread underneath the cup and we’ll take them together in just a minute. Thank you..”

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Marriage–Proverbs Week 6 10:30 am

Pastor Dan BorgeltPastor Dan WP Cover

Opening  video: Marriage Promise
(5 min.)


Audio: [32:32]

Audio Transcript:
“Here at Kirkmont, we’re walking through an Old Testament book of the Bible known as The Book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs addresses a whole array of various topics and subjects that are really pertinent and relevant to our life.

We looked at the concept of friendship. We looked at the concept of forgiveness. We’ve looked at the words we use and all kinds of different things. But today’s topic brings us to the subject of marriage.

It’s hard to deny when you walk through the Book of Proverbs that God has a whole lot to say to us, a lot of his wisdom that he wants to pass on to us about our marriage. And in fact, so much we’re going to look at it for a couple of weeks together. Next week we’re going to look at more of the PG-13 version of marriage, and so we will have our second through fifth-grade children’s church back up and running. But today we will be looking at other aspects of marriage.

Our big idea for you this morning as we look at various Proverbs is,

The wise person understands the many ways a married couple can glorify God.

The many ways… we’re going to look at several aspects of the marriage relationship as they’re presented to us in the Book of Proverbs. And we ultimately want to see from the outset that this is pointing towards glorifying God.

I love what the video said,

“Hey, the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but it is to make us holy.” And in doing so we honor and glorify God.

It’s a kind of little twist on what many people have taught us about the concept of marriage and it made be the very thing that moves you and pushes you through the spot that you’re in as you gather here this morning.

The purpose is not to make us happy but to make us more holy.

Today in Proverbs we’re going to be looking at:

  1. Marriage as a Covenant;
  2. Marriage as Friendship;
  3. Marriage as Intellectual Partners;
  4. Marriage as Managing Partners;
  5. Marriage as Economic Partners; and finally
  6. Marriage as Ministry Partners. 

Gold Dividing Line

To understand what the Book of Proverbs has to say to us about marriage we have to understand two very key points.

FIRST, we need to understand is that the Book of Proverbs was addressed initially to young men. That’s why it repeatedly says things like, “son” or “young man heed your mother’s wisdom … and your father’s wisdom”.It’s addressing young men.

It warns against the adulterous woman, but it doesn’t warn against the adulterous man. Why? Not because there aren’t adulterous men out there, but because it’s instructed towards young men. And so we’re going to have to realize that as we look at what the Bible has to say to us about the subject of marriage.

Because I think the main takeaway for me on that is that when we see what a young man should be looking for in a wife, which is how Proverbs mostly addresses the subject, for the most part, we could reverse those and say, “Young ladies, here’s what you ought to be looking for in a husband as well.” So we can’t let the language leave us in the dark and not realize the application that Proverbs has for all of us.

SECOND. The other thing we need to understand about the Book of Proverbs is, it was being written at a time when marriage was something drastically different from what we think of it today.
Marriage was so incredibly transactional, as we used that expression a couple of weeks ago under friendship.

Nowhere in marriage at this time were they really pursuing not only emotional intimacy, but they really honestly weren’t even pursuing physical intimacy.

It was widely accepted that that happened outside of the marriage relationship.I mean the marriage back then was so drastically different, when you read Proverbs then, it’s really powerful that God spoke right through that culture and said, “No, this is what I have in store for a husband and wife as they come together.”

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[00:04:26]

1. Marriage as a Covenant;

All right, let’s first look at this idea of marriage as a covenant as we dive Into the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 2:16-17 tell us these words,

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
(more on that next week)
17 who has left the partner of her youth
    and ignored the covenant she made before God.”

Now a covenant is like a contract or an agreement between two parties. Today, we shake hands, we write-up legal documents or something like that to say, “here’s a covenant between us”.

Many people think of marriage as a covenant–they’re not completely a loss when it comes to this… they just think of a covenant between two people. And they’re missing that what the Scripture says is that she has left and ignored the Covenant she made before God“.

That’s one reason why, whenever I’m doing a wedding ceremony I’ll say something like, “Hey Dan, today you are not just saying to Amanda. “I will love you”, but you’re saying,, “God, I will love Amanda”.
“And Amanda you’re not just saying to Dan that you will love Dan, but you’re making a covenant saying, “God. I will love Dan.” You’re making this commitment before God, not just a commitment before one another.

And so the Bible uses this language of a covenant that we’re making with God,

Well, how can we possibly use the word covenant without thinking about The Great Covenant that God has invited us into in relationship with him–this wonderful precious Covenant where God comes before us and says, “Alright, I’ll be your God and you will be my people. You can become my children if all you do is place your faith and trust in my son Jesus Christ.”

It’s a Covenant that Jesus’s body has been broken for our sins that his blood has been shed for our sins. And the Covenant is that those who place their faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the Forgiveness of their sins are forgiven of their sins.

That’s the precious Gospel.

So people who come together and understand that they’re making a covenant before God, understand and walk in this New Testament Covenant of Grace, that we’re going to celebrate in a little bit together around the communion table, and therefore they walk and they live in the Gospel with one another.

They walk and they live in relationship with Jesus Christ whom God promises us to be in relationship with.

And so an incredibly powerful thing begins to happen when two married people start to walk in relationship with Jesus Christ…. they realized first and foremost that He’s the best spouse that they could ever have.

If your marriage is struggling, it’s probably a pretty good indicator that one of you doesn’t realize that Jesus is the best spouse that you could possibly have.

Not only do we not realize that he’s the best spouse that we could have, but we fail at times to recognize then all that he has to offer us.

But when we walk in Covenant relationship with him and in relationship with Jesus Christ, we begin to realize he’s the best spouse that we could have; we seek from him all that he has to offer and it changes something dramatically about our marriage relationship. Because don’t marriage most marriages fail ultimately because we enter into them expecting too much from our husband or a wife and not enough from Jesus Christ.

Don’t most marriages ultimately fail because we go into them expecting too much from our husband or our wife and not enough from Jesus Christ.

And so immediately we see God is establishing marriage not just as between two people that we get all we can out of each other, but he’s part of the equation and our relationship with him is key and pivotable as we come into that relationship with him and seek what he has to offer.

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The other thing is that this new covenant, the Gospel teaches us how incredibly flawed we are from the very beginning. And incredibly how incredibly flawed our husband or wife is from the very beginning and it changes our expectations dramatically about what we ought to be looking for in a marriage.

Now some of you say, “Yeah but Pastor you don’t know… I mean you do not know my husband or my wife or my ex-husband or my ex-wife. I_married_the_wrong_person… No, I mean really I married the wrong person.”

Let me be clear pastorally, some of you did just that… I mean some of you did. And the Bible says that there’s such a time where a husband or wife crosses a line or a boundary. where not only does it give you permission to possibly break that Covenant, but there are times where even pastorally I would tell someone it’s probably time you should break that Covenant relationship.

That does exist out there. But let’s be honest… the overwhelming majority of the time that someone says, “I married the wrong person…” we all did all right?

Didn’t we all marry the wrong person? There’s no such thing as 100% compatibility. There’s no such thing as 100% compatibility… to a degree, we all married the wrong person. No one’s a perfect person for us.

As soon as we think that maybe we’re going into the marriage relationship with someone who’s just a great perfect fit for us, they change. That’s the incredible thing about marriage is people change within the context of marriage repeatedly over and over and over again. So if we go into the marriage relationship entering into that Covenant with them alone based on their character and personality alone, we’re ultimately going to feel disappointed and burdened by the fact that they’ve changed.

There’s one guy who’s famous for saying, “My wife and I have been married for 20 years. And in our 20 years of marriage, she has lived with four different guys. And all four of them have been me.” 

As he acknowledges the fact that he’s been a totally different person over the years in his marriage relationship and he’s thankful that his wife had a commitment to God and to his unchanging character, and not towards just him and him alone.

Some of you might want to break the Covenant by saying, “Love shouldn’t be this hard. We have to work so incredibly hard at it, surely love shouldn’t be this hard.” Whoever came up with the idea that something that one has to work hard at must not have any value? That doesn’t make any sense. Right? If someone says, you know, “Hey, you’re an incredible pianist, but you had to work really hard at it”.

So we do we devalue that? No, we honor that and recognize that.  Or,

“We’re so proud of you for running a marathon, but, oh, you had to practice and train?”

No, all great feats are accomplished through hard work, and marriages one of those. Saying love shouldn’t be this hard comes from Hollywood. The Scriptures never speak of the marriage relationship in any way shape or form like that.

Love… true Covenant marriage is indeed going to be at times incredibly hard work.

Marriage as a Covenant.

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[00:12:02]
Proverbs also tells us about…

2. Marriage as Friendship

We can actually look at the same passage of Scripture in Proverbs Chapter 2 verses 16 and 17. We’ve just highlighted a different word for you. Let’s look at this again

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
(more on that next week)
17 who has left the partner of her youth
    and ignored the covenant she made before God.”

This word partner a powerful word. In the original language, the word partner means something much more profound than just the concept of partner.  It’s more like what we saw a couple weeks ago in Proverbs 16:28, and this is actually the exact same Hebrew word…

A perverse person stirs up conflict,
    and a gossip separates close friends.

Okay, same exact keyword. Now, let’s go back to Proverbs Chapter 2 verses 16 and 17

who has left the partner of her youth

… this close friend of her youth. The Book of Proverbs is moving us in a marriage relationship beyond just a covenant where we’re just committed to God, we got to put up with each other, to a place where we truly_are_best_friends.

Well, let me tell you something…  a marriage that has a sense of the Covenant, but not a sense of the Friendship can be a difficult place to be in… can’t it?

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[00:13:42]
Pearl Jam, a music group from my teens, wrote a song that I think kind of depicts how difficult and how taxing it can be to be in a marriage relationship where there’s this Covenant thing going, where we’re staying together, but there’s not any real friendship or enjoyment that comes from being in that relationship. This is just a little clip from that song.

Pearl Jam – Can’t Find a Better Man

I think you get a sense from that passage in Proverbs 2 about the difficulty perhaps of being in a marriage relationship where there’s no real friendship that’s going on. In fact, the Book of Proverbs speaks of the opposite of friendship when it comes to marriage with regards to the words quarrelsome.

In Proverbs chapter 21 verse 9, the Scriptures tells us this,

Better to live on a corner of the roof

I don’t know who does that or what that’s like, but I guess it’s like sleeping on a couch only like worse. Maybe.

than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

(Laughter)

Again, this goes both ways men and women.

Proverbs chapter 21 verse 19

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

Proverbs Chapter 19, Verse 13 tells us,

A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.

Quarrelsome“.. this word quarrelsome is like used for all three of these Proverbs that speak into this idea that there are other options besides having good friendship in a marriage, you could be in one of these types of relationships.

Most quarrelsome based marriages are marriages that have lost site— at least one partner has lost sight of the Gospel, of their own failures and their own shortcomings, and therefore they’re quick to point out their partner’s shortcomings and failures. They’re not willing to show the grace to their husband or wife that they have received from Jesus Christ.

No, I mean, marriages that are marked by friendship are marriages that have words like grace, and tolerance, and picking your battles, infused into them.

Some of us need a pause and stop and ask ourselves., “Am I really being wise in the battles that I’m picking? Am I going down the path of a friendship based marriage or a quarrelsome husband or wife?”

Let’s pick our battles in the areas of what restaurants we go to, and things like dishes and laundry, and football, and money, and sex, and Saturday afternoon hobbies, and you name it… on and on and on. And that goes both ways, for both sides.

Romans chapter 15 verses 1 through 3 tells us this,

 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors

If you don’t mind, I’m going to take the liberty to insert husband or wife. Each of us should please our husbands or our wives for their good to build them up, right?

This is a mentality that followers of Christ embrace about their husband or about their wife in that relationship that is the opposite of being a quarrelsome wife or quarrelsome husband. 

It’s like, “Hey, like I’m going to choose not to bring this up and mention it because I’m here to serve you, I want to lift you up. I want to build you up. My goal is to please you in this relationship.” right?

And so the Scripture speaks of not only marriage as a covenant but also marriage as a friendship —a radically different component than the time of the Book of Proverbs. And maybe radically different than what some of us have today.

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[00:18:35]  Next…
3. Marriage as Intellectual Partners

In the Book of Proverbs chapter 1 verse 8 and 9 the Scripture tells us this…

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
 For they are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.

Another radical concept in an age where most women were not being educated.

The Book of Proverbs speaks into this idea that these young men ought to pay attention not only to what their fathers but also what their mothers say.

So these husbands and wives, these fathers and mothers have something worth saying. Here’s a wise saying, “Your father and your mother have something important to teach you for they are intellectual partners in their marriage relationship with one another and they’re rearing you and raising you as such.”

In Proverbs chapter 6 verse 20 the Scripture tells us something along the same lines,

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Again, the father has something to teach the child, mother has something to teach a child… because Proverbs views this marriage relationship, as they come together, as one of intellectual partners.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, some of our marriages don’t really recognize the intellectual value of each other.

Some of you wives view yourself as being a smart person in the marriage. Or some of your husband’s view yourself as being a smart person in the marriage, and we fail to value each other intellectually the way that we should.

Let me just ask you. Are you unintentionally, if you’re rearing your kids right now especially, are you unintentionally giving your kids the wrong impression about either of the parents based on the way in which you are raising them?

I think this applies to discipline as well. I mean if we’re going to expect our moms and our dads to provide equal instruction into the lives of kids, they should also be providing the boundary and the consequences for those things as well.

As a child, in my home, we didn’t operate that way. At my house if you didn’t listen to my mom, then what did my mom say? You know it.

“Wait till your father gets home”

Right? Which only made me think, “Actually it’s really not that big of a deal to not listen to you. Because you’re not someone who has a big enough place in this home that you can really do anything to me. Is that helping me respect you?”

It doesn’t.

So my advice and counsel, and I don’t say that to make people feel bad about the way you’re raising kids, but we should consider the fact that that expression may not have a lot of biblical wisdom behind it.

The Book of Proverbs, the Bible as a whole, views these two coming together and being intellectual partners and I think that flows all the way through… the teaching, the instruction, the boundaries, the discipline, the whole process.

Proverbs chapter 31 verse 10 tells us this,

A wife of noble character, who can find?
    For she is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

“Her husband has full confidence“… some translations say trust. Some of the commentators say this is one of the only places in the whole Bible where the Bible gives us permission to trust anyone or anything other than God, within this marriage relationship.

He gets to TRUST her. He has full confidence in her because he recognizes the value in which she brings to the marriage.  Again, that goes both ways. I ask you, husbands and wives, are we valuing each other as intellectual Partners?

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Proverbs 31:26 tells us this,

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

The Bible is saying, “Hey, go find an intellectual partner as a husband or as a wife—a wise spouse is a spouse who recognizes the intellectual strength of their husband or wife and lets them lead in that area.

A wise husband says, “Hey, wife… you’re smarter than me about… you know, what.”  A wise wife says, “Hey husband, you’re smarter than me about.. you know what.” and lets them take a lead in guidance and direction in their areas of strength.

This intellectual component was one of the things that attracted me most to my wife Amanda. We were in college and we were doing the college thing together. I can’t remember if we were still just friends or just dating, but at one point in time I was a youth ministry major at and I wanted to be in the ministry.

She was the one who told me,
“Hey, you know, what they’re teaching you in these classes are basically a bunch of stuff you could learn six months on the job.” She said, “You didn’t grow up in the church, so what you really need is a Bible theology degree.” And you know what? She was dead right.

I switched Majors and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

She was the one who came along at another time and said,
“Hey, maybe you should consider this reformed view of viewing the Bible.” …which is another subject, but it’s one that I came to embrace and realize was the correct way of viewing the Scripture.

So it was those are the types of things that I was able to see from her that made me value her as an intellectual partner, and someone who I wanted to be married to.

I hope that if you’re out here today, you have a husband or a wife who values you as an intellectual partner and vice versa.

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[00:24:21] 

The other component we see in Proverbs is a managing partner.

4. Marriage as Managing Partners

In the Book of Proverbs Chapter 14 verse 1

The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Now this is kind of one of those peculiar Proverbs where one might ask, “To be a wise woman, does that mean I need to be able to hammer nails and cut boards and that kind of stuff? Surely building a house has some bigger meaning than actually constructing a physical house”

And it turns out (surprise, surprise), it does.

Tim Keller who’s a well-known pastor and author writes this about Proverbs 14 verse 1. He says,
“Proverbs assumes, as does the rest of the Bible, that the husband is the head of the home. This headship will take different forms in different marriages. 

If that’s a new expression to you we’ll deal with that another time, but it’s a Biblical expression that needs to be dealt with in the life of the church and is given to us from the wisdom of God.

But he says this,
However one conceives it, it cannot be taken to mean that the husband alone makes all the management decisions. The wise woman builds her house, and here the word house means not to merely construct the physical dwelling, but to lay the foundations for a family’s life: socially, economically, materially, emotionally, and spiritually.”

And so these are instructions to a young man to find a wife who can not only be an intellectual partner but a managing partner.  And young ladies, we want the same for you as well as you’re looking for a husband… to seek someone who will not only be an intellectual partner but a managing partner as well—someone who will do their part in caring for the house both domestically inside the home and outside of the home as well.

The Scripture tells us in Proverbs Chapter 31 verses 21 and 22 these words….

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

It goes on to say in verse 27 these words…

She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Some pastors view this whole managing relationship of husband and wife, and when they teach about this, quite frankly, I think many go past the scope of biblical authority, into saying, “This is the role the husband should play. This is the role of the wife should play.”

We don’t really have a lot of biblical authority to go too far down the road into details. What we do have the biblical authority to say is that these folks should be managing partners of the household, that both the husband and wife should be productive members in caring for and providing for the house.

We’re going to see that the Proverbs 31 Woman not only managed domestically, but she also made money and brought in an income as well. Isn’t that a little stressful to think about ladies? Like we often think about women as being either stay at home moms or working moms. And of course, our working moms may more naturally know this, that there’s no such thing as a working mom who doesn’t also have to do work at home. And here we see the Proverbs 31 Woman was someone who had both worlds going on.

And we want that for our husbands as well… who are providing for the family but also are not above doing domestic things around the house. There’s a dynamic where wise people come together in marriage and realize that they’re managing partners together.

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The Bible also presents these married couples as economic partners as well.
[00:28:10]

5. Marriage as Economic Partners

The Scripture tells us this in Proverbs 31 verse 13 through 18:

She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

It’s sad, of course, when we run into people who are in an economic situation when either a husband or wife is refusing to be a part of the economic partnership.

Here we see that in a Proverbs 31 Woman, a man is seeking not only a woman who has the ability to provide for her family that way, but also we desire, as with all these Proverbs of course, the reverse as well—women looking for men who are willing to go out and work, even if it means that the lamp doesn’t go out at night, to care for and provide for their family.

God has given us this beautiful marriage relationship that we might not suffer some of the economic consequences of not being in that relationship.

It’s so ironic because so many people say, “One of the reasons I’m not getting married is I think marriage is going to suck all my money away.” You’ve heard that one before.

Here’s the thing… there are lots of different factors involved in this, but statistically speaking married people earn far more money than single people over the course of their lifetime, and they retire with far more wealth than single people do as well.

And again, there’s all kinds of different variables and circumstances for why that’s true. But I think one of the reasons why is because God provides within that economic partnership.

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And then finally, church, just one verse on the reality that marriage is also a Ministry partnership as well.
[00:30:34]

6. Marriage as Ministry Partners

Proverbs 31:20 tells us this,

She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

There’s something beautiful about when you’re seeking a husband or a wife, finding one who is about the business of doing the work of God, and has a heart for the things that God has a heart for.

And that’s one of the wonderful ways that God wants to make us holy, is to bring us into a marriage partnership where it’s also a Ministry partnership, and both people have a heart for the things that God has a heart for and they’re pushing each other and that direction and encouraging and challenging each other and stretching each other’s Faith along those lines.

Let me just ask you, “When is the last time that you had your husband or your wife challenge you, push you, engage you in the direction of having a Ministry heart, or you did that for your spouse?”

This is one of the beautiful things about this Proverbs 31 women and I would say, men as well… they’re people who care for the things that God ultimately cares for.

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Marriage is all these different dynamics, but by no means is it an exhaustive teaching on the subject of marriage. The Bible has so many other things to say, but Proverbs alone tells us a lot and as we go through and we evaluate the type of husbands and wives we are, or might be someday, or were… we are reminded as we walk through that list of the great shortcomings in our life. I mean, perhaps no relationship better than the relationship we’ve had with our husband or wife is faithful to remind us of how broken we are… and how sinful we are… and how much we need the blood of Jesus Christ for our forgiveness.”

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Love In Action – Proverbs Week 3

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan Pulpit 3

Audio: [17:58]

Audio Transcript:
Proverbs Chapter 24 verses 11-12:

11 Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

“The context of those proverbs a difficult one to figure out. Some people think that this proverb was written in the context of war trying to preserve people from being led to death through an unjust war. Other people recognize the common practice back then of infanticide where many cultures around the Biblical times of the Old Testament practiced various forms of infanticide where they would have these child sacrifices.

And so it’s hard to know for sure exactly what the context of this proverb was, but one thing we know for sure was that God saw this unjust, killing, or leading to death of some human life, and he calls his people to stand up and to do something about it—to rescue them, to hold back those who are being led in this path… let’s do something about that.

This is the subject of life and rescuing life.

Now of course around the whole pro-life / pro-choice argument has often been for decades whether or not we were really dealing with a life when we’re talking about a child inside of a mother’s womb. That argument even from the pro-choice movement is fading quickly.

Embryology, the science of embryology is advancing and growing, and it is starting to really squelch that whole argument.

A few decades ago many of you would probably say, “You know, we were just taught in high school…” and you would share some story that basically made it sound like the idea of having an abortion was not that big of a deal. But with the advancements of embryology, we are starting to realize more and more undeniably we’re talking about life,

In fact, I was rereading a book this past week from a guy who goes around from college campus to college campus and debates, from the pro-life perspective, others who are there to debate from the pro-choice perspective.

And he’s getting to a point now, or like in this book, he doesn’t even have a section on the arguments for the fact that we’re dealing with life because he realizes that in the debating world, that is a declining argument from even the pro-choice perspective–they’re no longer even really holding on to that argument.

And here’s the thing… once we embrace the idea that what we’re dealing with is life, and isn’t that a wise thing to do, if anything, to at least err on the side of life, then we would have to acknowledge that many if not all of the arguments from the pro-choice side begin to fade very quickly:

  • the betterment of a child;
  • the betterment of a mother even in painful circumstances such as sexual assaults;
  • arguments of my body my choice

All those, when really tested up against the reality that does this circumstance justify taking someone else’s life, really begins to fade away.

The advancement of embryology is helping to make that happen.

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Ultimately, Proverbs 24:11-12 is about action. They not only tell us to rescue and to hold back but then in verse 12 you can tell the writer of Proverbs is anticipating the excuse for inactivity. .. “But we don’t know anything about this injustice that you’re talking about.”

And the answer we get back is, “Hold on. Wait a second. Yeah you do.  And, more importantly, God knows that you do.” 

“… does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life really know what you really know?” in other words.  
And will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
Proverbs 24:12

This is ultimately a proverb about moving into ACTION, rescuing those who are being Unjustly having their life taken from them.

Gold Dividing Line

Now we could, in order to respond in action, we could take up the cause like this author has done and become a debater and an arguer of people.

That has its role and its value in this subject. But here’s the thing and as far as when we study church history when we study the truth of God’s Word, the Church has rarely transformed culture and society by arguing and debating, but it has almost always transferred culture and society by love_in_action… by their faith being put into action.

In fact, he tells a wonderful story about how the body of Christ did exactly that for a particular woman. He tells this story of this woman who we will recognize here in just a bit. He says,
“Consider this. how it happened to win over the most famous pro-abortion advocate in the world. Anybody remember her name?
Norma McCorvey aka Jane Roe. The plaintiffs in the infamous Supreme Court case Roe versus Wade that declared that state laws against abortion were unconstitutional.

She writes previously, “Abortion was the sun around which my entire life orbited. I once told a reporter the issue was the only thing I live for. I live, eat, breathe, and think everything about abortion from a pro-choice movement.”

Well turns out by the sovereignty of God that her organization ends up renting space right next to a Miami Valley Women’s Center-like organization—they shared a common wall with one another. And so people from both sides of the subject crossed each other’s paths. Some from the Christian side who were there on the pro-life side maybe didn’t handle themselves the way they should’ve, but ultimately the majority of the people who operated out of that place next door to Jane Roe,  eventually won her over. And here’s what she goes on to say,

“Love shakes people to the core. You begin to question your long-held beliefs, then the lie soaked with love like a hillside slowly softens and then it gives way. In a moment your whole world view is mud.”

In Norma’s case, her defense of abortion gave way soon after she put her faith in Christ. She says, “When my conversion became public knowledge I spoke openly to reporters about still supporting legalized abortion in the 1st trimester. The media was quick to use this to downplay the seriousness of my conversion saying I tipified the general ambivalence of our culture over abortion.

But a few weeks after my conversion I was sitting in the OR’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The expression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me, “Norma,” I said to myself, “they’re right!”

I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through 3 pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing a picture of that tiny 10-week old embryo.” (and we have a 12 week old on display in the back of the sanctuary).

“I said to myself, “That’s a baby… as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth… that’s a baby.”

You see Church, we’re talking about Proverbs 24 calling us to action and we’re acknowledging the fact that the Church has won people over and been the most winsome when it put its’ love in action.

So it has to be more than a political vote right?

To satisfy the demands of Proverbs 24 it must be more than just trying to sleep at night saying, ‘I have voted for the party which I think is most pro-life.’ It has to be more than the denominational change doesn’t it?—to satisfy the demands of Proverbs 24 upon our life, it must be more than Kirkmont left a pro-choice denomination a few years ago and became a part of a pro-life the nomination. Right?

It has to be more than just that. It has to go beyond to active, real genuine as Michael saying, real genuine support of organizations like the Miami Valley Women’s Center.

Some of you have more money than time and some of you have more time than money. And I think they need both. The only thing I would ask you is that you don’t decide whether God wants your money or your time, but rather you open that question up to him and let him decide for you.

My mom was forced into retirement a few years ago because of her battle with cancer, and about 9 months ago she was given no viable mainline course of treatment that was going to deal with her cancer.

And so since then, she has been spending a lot of her money in dealing with holistic forms of treating her cancer.  She was a pro-life person her whole life but had never done anything besides vote in that direction.

And so now she has more time than money and so she recently decided to start volunteering at her local version of the Miami Valley Women’s Center. They could use either one, I’m sure.

Another option is foster care.

That’s why we said at the beginning if we’re going to be truly a pro-life Church it has to be more than things like just voting in this direction, there has to be actual love and care and things put in place so that women have choices and options.

You know the majority of the women who are having an abortion right now are having an abortion, believing,
1)  that it’s wrong
and,
2) they justify doing what they’re doing because their circumstances demand it, they believe.

We get so hung up on the media and how far and extreme it is. We see examples of women bragging about abortion and forget that the majority of women enter into a situation that they believe is so dire, so hopeless, that they do something life-changing and altering even though they don’t think that they should.

And so the church has to rise up and provide other options. Foster care is a great one. What if moms knew that there were an abundance of loving homes waiting for children.

You know right now in Ohio, there are more churches that exist than children waiting in the foster care systems. Which means that it just in one family or person from each church in the state of Ohio decided to respond to this pro-life movement by putting their faith in action here, we could take all the children out of the foster care system and put him in loving homes.

Of course, adoption is another means.

Michael shared his having adopted both a son and a daughter. Or support in adoption and adopting a child and knowing that women are providing women an actual alternative option.

Some of you are here you’re on the stage in life where you think, “That’s not really relevant to me, I’m too old to adopt.”

Let me just say this, that just because you’re past your natural years of childbirth doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily too old to adopt.

Michael shared that he was 48 years old when he adopted.

Now some of you, you may be too old to adopt. (LAUGHTER) But that doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in supporting someone else who adopts.

You guys help support us in our most recent adoption, and our last church helped us with our previous one. But there was one woman who wasn’t a big fan of the whole idea. In fact, we were having an adoption fundraiser for another family, and I remember her coming up to me and saying, “Why are we doing this? We don’t help people pay for their medical bills when they have a child. Why are we supporting these families who are trying to do this?”

And God gave me this example, an illustration:
I want you to imagine that one day we gathered here Sunday, morning for worship and when we walked in we saw a child had been dropped off before our gathering. And, as a church family knew 2 things about this child
1) We knew that this child needed a loving family to bring them in,
2) it was going to take a large sum of money to bring them into a loving family.

Once that had been announced we’d all start looking at each other looking around the room, waiting for someone to rise up, waiting for the family over there to rise up; waiting for the family over there to rise up. We’d probably be looking at each other… we’d probably be crickets after we made that announcement.

But then I want you to imagine if one of our families or one of our individuals in our church raised their hand and said, “Hey… we will bring this child into our house, and we will parent them, and we will feed them, and we will clothe them, and we will pay for the water and electricity that they consume, and maybe by God’s grace will even be able to put a little aside for their college some day.  We will be their family and treat them as our son or daughter, but we don’t have the sum of money that it takes to put that child into our family 

All the rest of you like, (handing them money), “Here you go, here you go…” You’d be so relieved that someone else was willing to take on that incredible burden, you’d gladly as a church family come around that person and help make it happen. and together we will have rescued that child.

Gold Dividing Line

So the point is simply to say that, no matter what stage you are in life the concept of paralleling our spiritual adoption in Christ is always available to us… to support, as we bring children into loving families and provide options for our moms so they can see the love of Christ indeed in action.

Gold Dividing Line

 I’ll close by reading the Scripture that speaks of our spiritual adoption. It tells us this:

Galatians 4:1-7

What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.  For he is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.  So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.  But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law (faith and love in action), to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full right of sons. Now because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s son, his child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

This is a passage about a call to action regarding helping those who are in justly being led to their death to be saved and rescued And we would probably be remiss  to close our time without .pausing and saying, “Thank you.”,

I hope you leave here today with a challenge but I hope you leave here today also with a sense of. “thank you”. Because when you support Kirkmont, as he said, you also are supporting the Miami Valley Women’s Center

Some of you already volunteer there; some of you have already done things in your life to advocate for this cause and we thank you for just that.

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Kirkmont Closing Pic Combo
Kirkmont Composite Pic

Link to Kirkmont Presbyterian Church Website
http://www.kirkmont.org/

Listen to recent sermons
http://www.kirkmont.org/listen-to-sermons/

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