All posts by Larry Evans

Unashamedly, I am a Christian who will not hesitate to defend The Lord and His Word. I believe that the LORD is God, and that He is faithful to His Word. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that THE WORD of GOD [Jesus] is the fulfilled covenant promise and the one and only way to the Father, by grace through faith... not through works I've done or not done. I am thankful for everyday He gives me and for having been given a taste of heaven right here on earth right now. He has proven faithful and true in all things time and time again. I have nothing to prove. I have nothing to hide. I only have The LORD to serve and Jesus to Love. I am a Dad to 4 wonderful children, and a husband to the most amazing mid-westerly charming woman I could ever imagine--it is a pleasure to serve her. All this (and then some) makes up who I am.

“Pastor, what goes through your mind when someone falls asleep during your sermon?”

Pastor Dan Borgelt
Pastor Dan WP Cover

And Family…

Audio: [36:22]

Audio Transcript:
“As we said we’re going to be talking about the questions that you guys have a submitted through our Ask the Pastor series. And some of you may know that we had this series happen a couple of years ago and it was received well, a lot of questions submitted.

And one of the things I learned from that experience is that folks here at Kirkmont like to use this as an opportunity to submit some of their silly questions along with some of the more serious questions. And so a couple years ago, I was asked whether I was dying my hair, and to which I had to reply, “sometimes” (LAUGHTER).

So I found a new product that I think works much more naturally… it’s like a shampoo that you use every other day (laughter).

Anyways, I had all these questions on my desk this week and was separating them into the serious and not so serious piles and I came across this question and I wasn’t really sure what category to put it in.

Let’s just put on the screen, let you see it and maybe you can tell me…

ask the pastor question

Well, of course, the first thing that went through my mind when I read those questions, they must have meant this for different Pastor (LAUGHTER), because I’m unaware of the fact that there are people who don’t listen to me or fall asleep when I preach (LAUGHTER).

By the way, I told the first service people I was 99% confident that this came from the second service (LAUGHTER). I feel obligated to reveal that to you.

In all seriousness, what goes through your mind?

Let me just say when I first thought about dealing with this question, I was going to deal with it in a couple minutes and we’d get on to some more theologically serious questions, and we’ve got plenty of those. Thank you for submitting them.

But I do want to take the time to say thank you to whoever submitted this question because I felt like the Lord wanted me to read this question. I think he wanted to do a work in my heart and mind, and so as I was preparing I realized there are a lot of places that I can go with this, and so instead of my short, quick answer, let’s get on to another question, it became like my sermon… because I think there’s a lot of application for us. I mean, it does sort of raise some questions along the lines of like:

  1. Who do we live for? and,
  2. How much does what other people say about us or think about us matter to us?

Some of those types of issues that I think we all kind of struggle and deal with. In all seriousness just the sort of the quick answer of this though is,

What goes on through your mind, do you see someone who’s not paying attention or sleeping?

I do see that. I think I’ve told you before that I pick up on a lot of nonverbal communication when I’m preaching. I grab most of what goes on out there. And so yeah, I see that.

And I’d like to think I was the kind of Pastor who just was like, “Oh I’m so thankful that person’s getting a chance to finally rest”  (LAUGHTER). That’s not what goes through my mind… and so,

Do you try to get their attention?

Well, I mean kind of. We have to be careful not to manufacture enthusiasm in the Pulpit. There’re a lot of pastors who were like start yelling, but when you really listen to what they’re yelling, it’s like that’s not a lot different than the stuff they were just saying calmly a few minutes before.

And so, I don’t do that, but I have been trained in seminary to keep people’s attention with your pitch and with your pace and with punch verbally, and then, of course, to be moving around and doing some of those kinds of things to try to engage people.

Sometimes we use the screen and things like that, so yeah, I mean we try to do that. I will often sometimes, maybe speak into someone or a certain group of people’s lives, if I sense that I’m losing them. But for the most part, I’m not adjusting anything on the fly.

Does it affect you negatively?

One of my big takeaways is just sort of, “YES”, but it’s not just sleeping or not paying attention… I just realized that through this question that there’s just too big a part of my identity and who I am that’s wrapped up in the response you get from people when you preach… and that rears itself in different ways which we’ll talk about together this morning.

But it does and it can affect negatively.

I was taught that it’s my responsibility to stand up front and assume that people aren’t paying attention and to get their attention and then to preach and keep their attention.

And so if you fail at that, you could be tempted to point the finger. But I think a good shepherd is more inclined to say, “Okay, what else could I be doing?”

Or is it a challenge for you?

Yeah. I think the person meant the question like,
“Is it a challenge in the sense that you feel like, “Hey, somehow I got to do better and keep this from happening again.”

And yes, there are some of those thoughts that go through my mind.

Gold Dividing Line[00:05:36]

So I’m going to springboard from this question into some practical application and Scripture about where are we finding our identity? And how much do we value other people’s feedback of us and some of those types of things.

Here are a few just a few observations I’m going to make for you this morning.

Well first, our BIG IDEA would be that,

The Christian Life is best lived when we put others opinions of us in their proper place.

Our life, as we walk with Jesus, is best lived out when we put other people’s opinions of us and their proper place. Now, of course, by that we mean you could err of having too high of an opinion of other people–like what they think about you, meaning people’s feedback of you just really makes a massive impact on you.

You could also err on the side of taking other people’s feedback and having it not impact you at all–too really low of an opinion of other people’s opinion of you.

But it’s really not the latter, it’s the former that we struggle with most as a society–that we tend not to devalue people’s opinions of us too much, if we err and we make a mistake, it’s having too high of an opinion of what other people think of us–allowing it to impact us too much.

And so much of what I’m going to say today is designed to address some of that a little bit. So here’s a few principles we’re going to look at together this morning briefly. First,

Our identity has to come from Jesus and not others.

If we’re going to be healthy preachers, healthy parents, healthy spouses, or healthy, whatever it is that God’s called you to do, our identity has got to come from Jesus and not others. Second,

Our approval has to come from Jesus and not others.

And ultimately then we have to realize that…

We are living for Jesus and not really living for others.

These a few just sort of takeaways as I was meditating if you will on the question that I was asked, and what I think the Lord’s done in my life in preparation for our time this morning.

Okay, first this idea that,

1) Our identity comes from Jesus and not others.

As I’ve confessed to you, I realized that my identity is too tied up and connected to the people’s response to me. And of course one of the main ways that that happens in my life is through preaching. And so I’ll have too high of highs and too low of lows in relation to how people respond to my preaching.

And of course for a pastor,  often the measure is numbers or attendance. And so if you’re preaching in a setting where more people are coming, then you can naturally sort of absorb that as being too positive of feedback. If you’re preaching in a setting that’s continually declining in attendance, you can find and discover that you’ve got an issue there.

Here’s the thing, God is really kind of faithful in helping us to realize when we have a problem finding our identity from him and not from others, right? He’s faithful to put us in these situations that expose that reality for us.

I’ve often thought highly of those pastors, many of whom are much better preachers than I but are in settings where the church was continuing to decline in attendance and yet somehow they just bring it every week.

And I’ve wondered, would I be the type of person who could do that?

Or do I need the feedback, this identity of from others… is so much of my identity from others wrapped up in that I need this kind of feedback?

Gold Dividing Line[00:09:17]

Our social media culture has exposed this weakness about who we are in our society—that we value people’s opinion of us too much, that our identity is wrapped up in what others think of us far too much. You know, the social media world, where we’re just longing to have someone, ‘like’ how we look, and ‘like’ how we parent, and ‘like’ the house we live in, or the new haircut we have, or the restaurants we can eat at, or whatever it might be.

God will do this to you in your life. He will be faithful to expose you to the reality that maybe you have in finding your identity from Jesus and not others problem if it exists.

Romans Chapter 5 Verse 6 through 11 speaks about the identity that we have in Jesus, I think in a really cool way. The passage tells us this,

 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Let’s be clear about something… when we talk about getting our identity from Jesus, we are not buying into the lie that, really what it means is that we are just perfect little people, precious little people who got their lives and acts together. That’s not what it means.

The Christian Gospel, the Christian identity isn’t an identity that’s just a religious way of thinking better about who you are,

No, really what the the Christian Gospel is, the finding your identity in Christ begins with the reality of your not a perfect person, but the difference is that the world recognizes some of those failures and flaws, even though you try to keep them from them, and they expose them, and they harp on them; they judge you for them; they treat you differently as a result, but here In this passage, what we’re going to discover is no, God knows all those things about us, but his love for us is incredibly unconditional.

It says,

9-11 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies,we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Now, I love this passage because it first affirms our identity in the reality that we are people who are unconditionally loved—that Jesus knows all our failures and flaws and went to the Cross to die for our mistakes because of his love.

That someone, I don’t know how anyone else feels about you, but what I can say with confidence that there is One who loves you so much and loves you so unconditionally that He knows all your mistakes and they still went to the cross for you.

That’s a huge part of our identity. It ought to be a big part of our identity.

I am a person who is unconditionally loved,
And that’s going to change my ability; it’s going to strengthen my ability to go through the ups and downs of feedback like my preaching, for example.
“All right fine, it didn’t go over well, ten of you fell asleep this Sunday, I’m still unconditionally loved.” (laughter)

That helps, right? It changes some things. Not only does this Scripture affirm that we are unconditionally loved, but it affirms the fact that we are a saved people; that our Salvation is done and secure and accomplished; that Christ has died for us, and we talked about that a lot at Easter last week around here at Kirkmont.

That is a significant part of our identity and it also affirms for us the idea that we are reconciled people to God.

I was someone who was an enemy of God, but I am a person now who has been made right with God. Because my identity in Jesus teaches me that I’m not only unconditionally loved, I’m saved, but I’m also reconciled.

And . this is what it means to have biblical identity in Jesus. Not just some loose idea that says were really great people. No. We are unconditionally loved, were saved and were reconciled because of what Jesus has done. It’s not what God feels about us, it’s what God has done for us in our life; it’s our new identity in Jesus Christ.

And this is going to begin to change everything about how we interact with the world around us.

Psalm 62 verse 5 through 8, which we read at the outset of our service tells us this,

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
I love this line…
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

This idea of realizing that our identity comes from Jesus and not from others is so important and significant, I’m convinced that someone should not begin preaching until they understand this.

A pastor in the Pulpit who doesn’t get their identity from Jesus is a dangerous Pastor. It’s not only true of preaching, it’s also true of many other aspects of life.

I wish we could somehow test this before we allow someone to get married. We ought not to get married before we realize that our identity comes from Christ… not from our potential husband or wife.

There’s a perhaps a whole host of things that we must realize that our identity comes from Jesus before we become successful at doing those things.

Gold Dividing Line[00:15:19]

The application for me, as I said, is when I started to realize that there’s too great of an emotional high for me that swings too high and swings too low.

– – – – – – –
I remember a seminary Professor telling us in preaching class something like, “You’re going to give yourself way too much credit when things go well, and you’re gonna give yourself way too much blame when they don’t.”

My wife has been a voice of wisdom keeping that message throughout my Ministry. You might not realize this but sometimes we’ll have a week and there will be less people there and I’ll think ,
“Oh, they really didn’t like my sermon last week. I said something that upset them.”. Or, “I told him what we were going to preach about this week and they don’t want to hear about that subject”.

I start going all these places in my mind and my wife is always like,

“No no no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, they were on vacation… they stayed up too late… they did whatever… they just wake up and they’re either going to come to church or not come to church. Most people aren’t really thinking about what’s the pastor going to talk about that morning and assessing whether they’re to come… you’re wrapping yourself and your identity into whether we come or not way too much.

And it’s been helpful for me to realize that.

You see, not only does realizing our identity comes from Jesus make me a better Pastor, but for you guys, I think if you could really grasp your identity from Jesus and not from others, it would make you a better husband, make it a better wife, certainly make you a better parent, better kid; make you a better worker in the workplace, make you a better boss; make you a better teammate, make you a better coach;
…make you a better parent who watches their kids play soccer. 😁
(LAUGHTER, because he confessed once to yelling at his kid’s soccer coach).

My identity is in Christ… it’s not in my kids, it’s not in my spouse; it’s not in the size of my church. It’s just in Christ and I am unconditionally loved, saved, and reconciled to God. That’s who we are in Jesus.

Second Point:

2) Our approval comes from Jesus, not others

This really flows from the first one, but the second point is that our approval comes from Jesus not others.

Galatians chapter 1 verse 10 has this really cool verse. Here’s what the scripture says, and then I’ll explain it a little bit. This is the Apostle Paul, he is writing to the church in Galatia. He says,

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul was the person who gave the gospel to this church… that is the basic message, that Jesus has died for us on the Cross and we place our trust in him and we’re saved—he’s done all the work.

And Paul gave them that message and a group of people came along and tried to mess with that message and give a different one.

So Paul is in a battle for the attention of the church for them to hear his message and not the supposing message. But leading up to this verse he’s told him some pretty difficult things. He’s basically is like,
“Hey, if someone comes along, even some of you, and shares a message other than the one we shared, may they be eternally condemned for it.”

And so he follows that up by saying, “Look

10 aAm I now trying to win the approval of human beings?

I hope you realize, no, I’m not. If I was I would have just said to you what flattered you the most–what you wanted to hear. But I love you enough and I care about you enough that I’m willing to say something that you don’t want to hear. Because I’m not here to win the approval of human beings. I’m here to win the approval of God.”
That’s what Paul says.

And I’ve always thought that Pastors need to give their church’s that same permission. Maybe not as much permission as the Apostle Paul had, but to a degree a certain amount of permission that says, “Go ahead like step on my toes.”

In fact, you could say, “If I go to church here for a whole year and you don’t say something that kind of rubs me wrong, it kind of makes me question whether you’re really preaching the whole truth of God’s word.”

You shouldn’t be asking yourself, “Do I like what the pastor said?” You should be asking, “Is what the pastor said biblical?”

If it is then okay, he’s got permission to win the approval of God, even if it displeases me.

Or am I trying to please people?

10 b Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Now, look… this passage does not mean that it’s wrong to want people to be pleased. In our last point we’ll see that it’s actually biblical to labor in such a way that we want people to like what we do.

In fact, sometimes we’re in blessed situations that if we do something well, it will be to the approval of God and to the approval of people as well. There are many good sermons, for example, that are preached, that both find the approval of Christ and the approval of people.

However, sometimes we’re in circumstances in our life where we have to choose. And the passage is reminding us that push come to shove we_choose_God—that God’s approval of us matters more than the approval of other people. You’re going to have to fill in the blank here. I know how this fits for me as a preacher, but you’re going to have to fill in the blank for you and your life.

And whether it’s your family or your workplace or whatever it might be,
“How does this apply to you in the sense that, finding approval from Jesus must be more important than finding the approval of other people?

For me. I made a list of the people from whom I’m most tempted to seek approval. And I created that list in some kind of a rank if you will. I think that part of the Christian Life is having even people’s approval of you in the proper rank and order.

For me, some of the top ones that I came up with was our church.

I’ve confessed that to you already. I don’t think it’s all entirely bad… that I would like the church to kind of like me… just kind of you know, right?

Our session… that’s our elders who have been biblically appointed by you to lead the church. They steer things in the life of our church and I respect their call as ordained elders, and so I think they’re up a step from the rest of our congregation as far as my desire for their approval.

My family my extended family. I still care what my mom and my sisters and in-laws think about me. I move to my immediate family. This is important order to get right because:
I don’t want someday to have a group of Elders who really like me and I think I won their approval, and a group of children who I didn’t win their approval.

So we prioritize those types of things.

My wife, of course, is the head of all of that. There’s no other human being on the face of this planet whose voice has the ability to encourage or discourage me more than my wife’s feedback because I value her approval more than any other human being.

If you’re married, I think your spouse should be that for you as well.

But here’s the point… take the whole list of all the people who matter the most to you and put it on one side… and then put a greater than sign pointing towards the other side and on that side… and

 It’s got to be Jesus. It has to be Him.

Jesus Greter Than

I’m blessed to have a Godly wife that often I think if I’m finding her approval I’m probably finding the Lord’s approval as well, but I do need to be a faithful enough a person that I value the Lord’s approval more than her and I’m willing to act and to decide and choose accordingly if necessary.

Jesus is not only more important than all the other people in our life, but his approval of us must also be more than the sum total of everyone else’s approval of us in our life.

Are we at that place?

[00:24:05]
What we discover from this passage is that it’s possible to grow in popularity with people but not in favor with God. Paul could have chosen a route that would have allowed him to grow in popularity with people but not necessarily in favor with God.

That’s true not only of a pastor, it’s true of classmates. It’s true of those who are in the social media world. You can have more friends. You can become more ‘liked’. You can have more attention in social media while declining in your favor with God.

You can do that with the workplace. You can get promotion after promotion after promotion, and doing all these things while declining in favor of God. And if we’ve bought into a lie, it’s to assume that as long as we’re being successful in this world, and this world is continuing to lift us higher and higher that somehow God must be doing that. However,

It’s possible though to grow in popularity and approval of men and women and not with God.

But we find Comfort this morning in the reality that the opposite is also true—that it is possible to decline in our approval of people while growing in the approval of God in the way and manner in which we live our life.

07052012figure_j

And I’ve had to just pause and put a lot of the blame on myself. If I don’t think things are going well with you and the congregation, I have had to pause and learn to say sometimes, it may not have gone over the way some of you wanted, but I feel peace that this is what the Lord wanted me to say.

I’ve learned to have to realize that there are people who come to church who have their own issues that don’t impact anything about what I was going to say. They stayed up so late on Saturday night, it didn’t matter what I did up here, they were going to fall asleep.

Some people have valid excuses: they’re on medicine, or they have health issues, or they’re working the late-night shift… and we’re just thankful that you’re here. Even if it means you might need to fall asleep sometimes.

Others of you have invalid excuses: you did stay up too late doing something silly.Gold Dividing Line[00:26:33]
Let me give you a few questions to consider as I try to not bear the entire burden of how things go on Sunday. And as I give you some of these questions, I want you to think about the impact that they have on you and your life–how you might turn those to people in your life and realize, for example, as I try to relate this to your life someday, sometimes you’re your boss might just be a complete jerk, but it really wasn’t about you.
They have a story behind their life and what’s going on and they were going to act that way to the first person they saw that morning in the elevator regardless.

So here’s a couple questions for you to consider as it relates to our context.

Two questions to consider before coming to church:

  1. Have I treated Saturday night like Sunday morning is a priority?
    Have you treated Saturday night like Sunday morning is a priority? If you haven’t and you show up and you don’t leave with something the way you wanted, you got to assume some of that responsibility.
  2. Have I prayed for myself, my pastor, and my church family?
    I think a really good point to consider is that some of you, let’s be honest, and I’ve been here I’ve done this before, before I was in the ministry full time, I would go from Sunday to Sunday and not think about God really anywhere in between there… not real it really much to do with God, and then I show up and I wonder why the pastor couldn’t just you know, really knock my socks off.

And so we ask, “Have I prayed for myself, my pastor and my church family?

I’m convinced, and I already like our Kirkmont Sunday Morning Experience, but I’m convinced that the single greatest thing that could happen to improve our Sunday Morning Experience would be to have an enormous number and percentage of you who are committed to praying for yourself, pray for me, and pray for the rest of your church family.
I think at that started happening, and maybe it is already… but if that continues to happen, and continues to grow, and those who are doing this, we would see the power of Prayer in all of our settings and dynamics.

And then, continuing, “Questions to consider at church, before the sermon…

Two questions to consider before the Sermon:

Maybe you’re here and it’s like the introduction or we’re leading up to the sermon...

1. What am I distracted by that’s more important than God?

Of course, the answer to that is nothing, but it’s just an opportunity to ask yourself.
“What’s distracting me?
Why am I allowing it to continue to distract me?”
“I don’t really think that the Cincinnati Bengals are more important than God, but darn it whether they beat the Browns today is really on my mind.”

2. What are they talking about this morning that the enemy doesn’t want me to hear?

This is a reminder that preaching is the exposition of the Word of God and it is spiritual warfare.

And it’s a reminder of the reality that God often has something he wants to say to you, and the enemy doesn’t want you to hear it, and you should come to church realizing that there’s a battle for what you hear, and what you don’t hear.

And sometimes what God wants you to hear is not even what you want to hear. It may not produce like a warm fuzzy easy to pay attention to feeling… that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want you to hear it any less.

So He may want you to hear this thing and you’re going to have to have discipline and focus to say, “I’m paying attention because this is God’s Word and I think he has something to say to me this morning.”

Okay we said:
1) Our identity comes from Jesus and not others;
2) Our approval comes from Jesus and not others, and finally

3) We live for Jesus and not others.

Colossians chapter 3 verse 23 tells us this,

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

The context of this is a really cool context.

The Bible is giving us instruction and wisdom about how to act with one another…
– husbands and wives,
– parents and children,
and back then in the Bible part of their culture was
– slaves and masters.

And so it’s giving us wisdom and instruction. And basically what was happening is a lot of these people were in these relationships as Christians with people who weren’t Christians, and essentially the whole point is to say,
“Hey, look… the way you treat your husband or your wife isn’t dependent on how they treat you. The way you treat your parents or your children isn’t dependent upon how they treat you. You treat them
“as you would do it for the Lord”. 

Your behavior towards one another is for the Lord.

Whatever you do (he sums it all up), work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

This empowers us to treat others better than they treat us… better than perhaps they deserve.

So yes, I notice when you fall asleep. Will it ever change the way that I treat you? Absolutely not.  It doesn’t even remotely cross my mind.

And I think when we have our identity in Christ, when we seek the approval of Christ, for you and your life when your family members aren’t treating you the way they should—your husband, your wife, your co-workers, whoever it might be… empowers you to say, I’m living for Christ, and part of the way I live for Christ is to treat my husband as Christ would want me to treat him even if he’s not treating me the way that Christ would want him to treat me, and vice versa.

That’s what it means to live for Christ.

Notice that it tells us in this passage that this is not an excuse for mediocrity. Notice what the text says,

work at it with all your heart,

Work at it with all your heart. Just because we’re not finding our identity in others, just because we’re not seeking approval from others, and just because we’re doing it for Jesus doesn’t mean we do it mediocre.

Gold Dividing Line [00:32:48] 

Someone gave me this book a couple of years ago. When you guys give me books, it always freaks me out because I can’t tell when I’m reading it what you wanted me to read (LAUGHTER).

I hope this wasn’t the chapter.

“I want to examine one place where I think there’s entirely too much mediocrity in the Church of Jesus Christ. 
Preaching.
I want to talk about preaching because of what God has called me to do. I get to be in churches around the world for about 40 weekends each year. I am with some body of Christ somewhere in the world. Often I’m not able to return home on Saturday so I will tend to service of the local congregation when I’m not scheduled to preach.”

In other words, this guy goes to a lot of different churches and he’s a pastor himself and an author.

“What I’m about to say will probably get me in trouble, but I’m convinced it needs to be said. I am saddened and distressed to say it but I’m tired of hearing boring and adequately prepared theological lectures read as manuscripts that will inspire No One by uninspired preachers, all done in the name of biblical preaching.

There is a way in which if you examine the whole process it is neither biblical nor preaching.

I am not surprised in these moments that people’s minds wander. I’m not surprised that people are struggling to keep attentive and awake. I am surprised that there aren’t more.

They’re being taught by one who has not brought the proper weapons in the Pulpit to fight for them. And with them the spiritual war that every moment of preaching actually is.”

Just because our identity isn’t in Jesus and our approval comes from Jesus and not others., it doesn’t mean that living for Jesus is an excuse to be mediocre. Right?

We do it with all of our heart. In fact, if we’re doing it really for Jesus shouldn’t it like raise the bar, and how we do it?

For me, here’s my takeaway:
I realize that I haven’t given anyone permission to give me feedback here about my preaching. And I want to put together a team of people who I can meet with regularly who are honest and discerning enough to really give it to me. Maybe some of you would like to volunteer to be on that team (LAUGHTER… but I think he was serious).

But what do you need to do as a step of application to make sure that living for Jesus is not an excuse to be mediocre at whatever you’re doing.

What do you need to do? From whom do you need to seek feedback?  And maybe some of you it’s just simply going to your husband or wife and giving them permission to really be honest with you. Or your kids or your co-workers or whoever it might be in your life to give you that honest feedback. So that you can do living for the Lord with all of your heart.

Let’s invite our praise team to come up as we lead this closing song for you. You guys can go ahead and stand.

We’re doing the song called, Christ Alone is our Cornerstone. And I think it in some ways really helps summarize and connect some of these points:

  • our identity comes from Jesus (He’s our Cornerstone)
  • our approval comes from Jesus as our Cornerstone.
  • we live for Jesus as a Cornerstone alone. Not for others.

I look forward to worshiping with you through this song and continuing in our series as we deal with your wonderful questions.

 

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Parenting – Proverbs Week 8

Pastor Dan Borgelt

Pastor Dan WP Cover

Audio: [33:31]

Audio Transcript:
“There is so much we could say about parenting… there’s so much that the Bible has to say about parenting, but in particular we’re looking at what does the Book of Proverbs have to say about the idea of parenting.

Let’s cut right to the chase in case you’re about to fall asleep on me because you were watching basketball too late last night or something…. here’s our BIG IDEA this morning. I think that The Book of Proverbs is going to teach us this… that,

Wise parents, the Book of Proverbs is all about becoming wiser…

Wise parents use Grace, Instruction, and Discipline to point their kids towards Jesus.

Wise parents use grace, instruction, and discipline to point their kids towards Jesus,

We’re going to be talking about all three of those things right in that order Grace, then Instruction, then Discipline. And let’s be honest… some of us will try to do one of those over the other, and I think the Bible is going to tell us, “We_ will_fail”.

If we try an only Grace approach, where we’re like,
“Hey
, we’re just going to treat our kids as if they’re our best friends, and never do that whole instruction and discipline thing”, then I think the Bible is going to teach us that we’ll fail to point them to Jesus — core elements will be missing in our parenting.

If we are on the other end of things, and all about the instruction and whenever they fail in our instructions, it’s like discipline, discipline, discipline… then we’re going to fail to teach them something important about the character of God and point them towards Jesus.

And so here’s what we have for you,
[00:01:29]

Wise parents use Grace, Instruction, and Discipline to point their kids towards Jesus.

Now, I know some of you here are thinking,Hey, this is kind of irrelevant for me because I don’t have kids. I don’t have kids yet, or I’ve already raised my kids.” Let me just take a moment to address you if that’s you in the room.

If you don’t have kids yet, the best time to learn how to fly a plane is before you take off, not after (laughter). And so there’s value in learning a little something about parenting before you start having kids.

🧡 If you’ve already raised your kids then maybe one of the things that God’s going to talk to you about this morning is like, “Hey, my parents rocked… they did a really good job”, and you’re going to be moved to thank God for that.  Awesome.

💗However, some of you are going to have to come to peace and reconciliation with the fact that you’re going to need to get this from your loving heavenly father because it didn’t come from mom or dad.

💗Those of you who raised your kids you’ll be thinking about not your parents but your own raising of your children, and you’ll be thinking to yourself, “You know, there are some things that we messed up. I didn’t provide them the grace of instruction or discipline.”
And some of you might be prompted even to call them today or write them a note this week and say,
“Hey, we love you. Just want to let you know… here are some things that we didn’t do the way we think we should have.”

💗Or maybe some of you will be at peace today and you’re like, “Hey, I was a pretty good parent.”
[00:02:51]

So whether we presently have kids or not, there’s something for all of us in this message. And let’s just be honest,,,

The Bible talks far more about a spiritual family than a biological family.

So no matter who you are here.. if you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, you’re part of the family of God, and you have kids.

If you don’t have kids yet, if you’re a follower of Jesus you do have kids.

If you’ve already raised your kids. Well, if you’re a follower of Jesus, there are still more kids to be raised — you’re part of the Spiritual family of God.

Wise parents use Grace, Instruction, and Discipline to point their kids towards Jesus.

[00:03:23]
Let’s look at this concept of the grace that’s needed.

1. Grace

Book of Proverbs chapter 22 verse 15 tells us this,

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.

Now, I know most of you are paying attention to the word rod and discipline. We’re going to talk about that later. So for now if you don’t mind just look at this first line…

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,

I think that this is the most revealing and life-changing thing that the Bible has to say to us about parenting.

It says something about our kids. It says, “Our kids have Folly in their hearts.”  The New Testament version of this, it’s, “sin in their hearts” – they are not born to us as perfect little angels. And so Folly is not just a part of their character, it’s not like they have like 10 percent folly or 25% folly.

If you did a pie chart of their character would be just a part of them’s kind of messed up. No, the Bible is saying Folly is bound in their heart… it’s a part of the very core of who they are. So everything that they say and do is tainted by sin.

Parents need to realize this when they’re raising kids from the very beginning.

It’s not just that they become Sinners after they make their first mistake in the world, no, they sin eventually because they are sinners.

They don’t become Sinners because you and I messed up and somehow introduced sin to them, no they are sinners and sin because they were born that way. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.

Gold Dividing Line
[00:05:09]

King David over the nation of Israel was writing about his own kind of brokenness and he said in Psalm 51:5 these words. He said,

Surely I was sinful at birth,

…not when I made my first mistake or something…

Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

David understood this idea that he was broken from the beginning. This is absolutely revolutionary when it comes to raising children… to realize that we are bringing children into the world who are broken. And the reason why this is incredibly important is because we embrace the fact that our children are born below the line of Salvation.

They’re not born above the line – meaning we incorrectly think that they’re already on the course of going to heaven and all we have to do is not mess that up for that.

I think that a lot of parents parent that way. A lot of parents who are in religious circles raise their kids from a religious system. Meaning what they think is, that they were given this child who’s this precious, perfect thing, and all they have to do is help their child not mess up.

So they become legalistic parents.

Like someone who gets a brand new car… you ever get a brand new car, and you’re like, “I don’t park in this car anywhere near anyone else.” You park it way out there because you don’t want any dents or dings on it.

And we think we have a child that all we have to do is just keep from the world and then they won’t have any dents or dings on them and we’ll be able to present them without blemish to God someday that way.

But here’s the thing, the Bible’s not saying that “In your children, you received a perfectly Mint Condition car.” It’s saying “you received a child each and every one of us is born into this world in Collision state — in a complete collision in desperate need of repair.”

Born below the line.

So something amazing has to happen in our children’s lives before they come above the line, and that is we’re pointing them to Jesus. We’re pointing them in that direction. And so we call that The Gospel. We talked about having gospel-centered parenting, not religious parenting.

The religious parent is going to be legalistic and try to protect this thing that’s precious and they think that they just need to keep it pure and perfect because they’re trying to get their child to earn their way into heaven just like they’re trying to earn their way into heaven.

But the Gospel, the good news of the Bible is not this religious message. It says, “Hey, you’re broken sinners. All of you have Folly in your heart. You were sinful at Birth, but Jesus_died_for_that_sin.”

That’s the good news that we celebrate and we want to believe that not only in our own Hearts but for our own children as well.

Gold Dividing Line[00:07:54]

I came across this Facebook image that contrasts religious parenting and gospel-centered parenting. The religious parenting says something like, “I messed up. My dad is going to kill me.” Because here you are, it’s all legalism. It’s just saying hey, I’ve got this kid that I need to just keep perfect and before God.

But the gospel-centered parent has a kid that says, “I messed up. I need to call my dad.”Religious'Gospel Centered.jpgIsn’t that what we want from our children? Because that’s who we believe our loving heavenly Father is. It’s not that he ignores the fact that we mess up, it’s that he’s dealt with that mess up through his son Jesus dying on the Cross.

And so He’s there for us when we mess up we go to him. We want him to be there for us and we want to be that kind of parent. This would be a gut check for some of us who are in religious circles… are we raising our kids from a religion based mentality or gospel mentality? … where our children say, “I messed up. I need to call my mom… I need to call dad. I need to bring this to an end.”

Gold Dividing Line[00:09:00] 

First Peter Chapter 3 Verse 18 tells us,

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Just think about this verse as it relates to your kids.

Christ also suffered for their sins”… for their Folly in their heart, as Proverbs says. “He, the righteous one, has died for them, the unrighteous ones to bring them to God”.
They are born below the line. They’re born separated from God and we as Gospel-centered parents point them to Jesus because he’s the one who died to bring them to God, their heavenly father.

07052012figure_j

And so we’re looking to be gospel-centered parents who infused an element of Grace into our kids’ lives because we realize they’re going to mess up. Never should we say to our children something like,

“Oh, man. I cannot believe_you_did_this!”

What are we saying when we say that — that we don’t understand that they were born sinful with Folly in their hearts. We’re also saying that “I would never do that myself.” You are so broken that I can’t even think about what you’re doing let alone do it myself.”

No, our kids don’t surprise us when they sin or when they mess up or when they make a mistake because we understand the wisdom of the Scripture that says, they’re gonna mess up, they’re gonna make these mistakes. So we want to point our kids towards the grace that they so desperately need.

Gold Dividing Line[00:10:24]

Grace is something that very few of us parents demonstrate for our children, isn’t it?
We’re pretty good at setting boundaries and then disciplining people if they don’t follow those boundaries, but Grace is something that most parents only talk to their kids about, if that, and almost never demonstrate.

So here’s my challenge for you this week…

Next time your kid messes up some-time, it’s going to happen this week. they’re going to mess up, you’re going to set a boundary, you’re going to say something they’re going to do something that they shouldn’t… go ahead and tell them,
“Hey, that was wrong. Mom or dad didn’t want you to do that.”

But then, the next step… is to show them Grace. Go ahead and buy their favorite type of ice cream ahead of time, and then walk them into the kitchen and sit down and start to have ice cream with them and they say,

“I just messed up. Normally you’d be mad at me. Normally I have to go to “the room”, or you take screens away, or whatever. Why are we having ice cream together?”

And you just say one word back…

“Grace”

Because how are they ever going to receive and understand the grace that God has for them if we as parents aren’t willing to demonstrate it?

[00:11:32]

And why are we so afraid to demonstrate it to them?

Why are we so afraid to demonstrate it, if it’s an intentional and purposeful and wonderful characteristic of God—a perfect and holy God. Why are we afraid to show Grace to our own children?

And so your homework assignment is to show Grace of some kind. I don’t know maybe ice cream, isn’t it for your kids. For me, if I was your kid–ice cream would work.

07052012figure_j

For some of you, this is an important concept to realize–that kids have Folly in their heart because some of you feel incredible guilt because you feel like you’re ruining your kids’ lives. Like,
“They’re messed up”… and you feel like it’s your fault.

Maybe it is your fault. I don’t know (laughter) BUT… (more laughter), but, in all likelihood, it’s not. Right?  Your kids don’t have to have parents do something wrong before they do something wrong.
And so you get to embrace and find comfort in the fact that they have their own FOLLY in their hearts and your job is not to feel the guilt and burden for their own mistakes, but to point them to the Jesus who died_for_them.

So we need that Grace if we’re going to point our kids towards Jesus because that’s how he rescues us.

Gold Dividing Line[00:12:41]

2. Instruction

We also need instruction as well. The Book of Proverbs chapter 23 verse 22 through 24 tells us this,

Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23 Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

So the Scripture says “Hey, listen to your parents“, right? “listen to your father, listen to your mother, they gave you life.”

Now this may simply mean the idea that Mom and Dad came together (implying coitus), we talked about that last week (slight laughter)… yeah, and anyways, thank you for the two of you who laughed. 😁

Okay… Mom and Dad came together and they gave life. It may simply mean that… or it may be the life–the awesome life that Jesus was talking about when he said,  “I came that you might have life and the life to the fullest…” and maybe that kind of life that comes from having wise parents with kids who are listening to them.

Don’t despise your mother when she’s old,

Now here, listen to this…

Buy the truth and do not sell it—

In other words, your parents have some truth to pass on to you, take it, receive it, and don’t exchange it, don’t trade it for the world.

Now this, of course, is being written to the children, but we as parents want to say, “Hey, do I have truth? Am I giving my kids the type of Truth and instruction that they should value above all else?

And then it goes on says,

wisdom, instruction and insight ….

Look at all the things that a parent can give to a kid—things that we can give to our children:

wisdom, instruction and insight_as_well.

I love that, “the wisdom the instruction and the insight” that we could be giving to our kids.this is good

Of course, I think the natural question when you see that line is, “Like… about what though?
You want me to give my kids Wisdom… about what?
Instruction… about what?
Insight… into what?

Because here’s the thing… we’ve got some really smart people in this church. All of you have wisdom and instruction and insight into a particular area that you could be giving to your kids. But what does the Bible after?

I mean, I think the Bible loves all the wisdom and instruction that you have to give your kids. But I mean is it telling you that… this is about manners, for example? We want to raise properly behaved kids… we want to give them the wisdom and instruction and the Insight so that they’re well-behaved kids?

Is it about schooling? Do we want to give them the wisdom and the instruction and the insight so that they get straight A’s? And some of you parents fixate on that.

Is it about sports?  Do we want to pass on to them wisdom and instruction inside so they become the best soccer player, or the best dancer or the best softball player… or whatever it is on their team?

What is the Bible after here? Is about the birds and bees? Do we give them wisdom and instruction and insight?

I think the Bible would love that idea of us giving all those things, but I don’t think that’s the main point… in any way at all.

But rather I think the main point of the wisdom, the instruction, and insight that we’re supposed to be giving our kids is like, right here right in the Bible that we are teaching them and instructing them and giving them insight into the ways of God:

  • How much he loves them

  • How much he desperately wants to have a relationship with them, and

  • The Power of The Word that he has given us.

This is so challenging to me… because I think to myself, “Well wait a second, if that’s the case, then I have to be a man who kind of dives into this book, right?

We got to be a father and a mother who dives into this book before we’re in a position to really pass on the wisdom the instruction in the Insight that it has to offer.

Matters of faith, I think is what Proverbs is all about.

Jesus said this in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 28 verses 19 through 20. Some of you will recognize this as a passage of Scripture known as the Great Commission. He said,

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and (here it is) teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


[00:17:02] 

Part of fulfilling the Great Commission was recognizing that people not only needed to hear about Jesus, but they then need to be instructed to obey everything that Jesus had taught. That’s what we’re passing on to our children.

Here’s the problem that many of us parents make:

We forget our own children when it comes to the Great Commission. We start praying for our neighbor or co-worker. We want them to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We start thinking about them.

We even start talking to our kids about other people as well before we really deal with the reality that our children were born below the line, and the first order of business in following the Great Commission in raising kids is teaching our own children to obey everything that Jesus has taught them—to point them in the direction of Jesus Christ and not to forget them when it comes to the Great Commission. And so we teach them this.

Proverbs chapter 4 verse 3 through 4 tells us that one of the ways we can do this is through our own words, of course.
[00:18:05]

Teaching Our Children through

1. WORDS

For I too was a son to my father (the author of Proverbs says),
    still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
(listen to this… these awesome, precious words)….
    “Take hold of my words with all your heart;
    keep my commands, and you will live.

This father has been so intent in teaching and instructing his child about the ways of the Lord that he’s able to just say take hold of my words.

Here’s the thing… I want you to just imagine this, a little illustration for you. I love the idea of us as parents giving a Bible to our kids that’s like in their own language, maybe written at their level, that kind of thing. It’s a great idea.
I just want you to imagine for illustration purposes though that you didn’t have that tool. And the only source that your children had to learn about what God has to say to them is from your words.   

 “Take hold of my words with all your heart;

Would we be able to say that to our kids?

I’ve been so intent about passing on to you the truth of Gods Word, what He has to say, that I can say, “Just go ahead and listen to what I have to say; because what I have to say is what God has to say.” 

[00:19:20] 
And that’s an incredibly challenging thing — especially for some of us who aren’t wired that way naturally.

  • For some of us, it will be easier to talk about our faith to our children.
  • Others will be able to show and demonstrate their faith in the life they live (and we’ll talk about that in a moment)—it will be easier than for others.

But for those of us who have a difficult time, maybe being that intimate and personal with our kids to sit down and chat with them about the things of the faith…. maybe your parents didn’t do that with you, or maybe you feel ill-equipped as far as your knowledge of the Bible, or whatever it might be, this is a challenging verse. But it’s one where I think God pushes us into these Waters and says, “Go ahead and take the step of Faith.”… to get to a place where we can say,

“Son/daughter, take hold of what I’ve said to you because what I’ve said to you is just merely what God has to say in_His_Word.”

[00:20:15]

Teaching Our Children through

2. ACTIONS

Well not only do we use words, but we use our actions as well Proverbs chapter 20 verse 7 tells us this,

The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.

So the Bible says, “Hey, one of the ways we instruct our kids is to lead a blameless life,” and it says, “our children’s will be blessed having parents who lead this blameless life.”

The Hebrew word here for blameless is not so much about being perfect, for none of us are perfect, but it does talk a lot about and emphasizes the idea of the consistency of the life that a parent lives.

So let’s be honest, one of the greatest reasons why our children will be tempted to abandon the Christian faith will be because of the hypocrisy they see in our lives.

And so the Bible says “there should be a blameless life” in that sense. They shouldn’t be able to say, “Hey Mom or Dad, you said this, you were taking me to church we did our prayers or night, but then this was happening in our house as well.”

We can’t blame kids when they leave the faith for a period of time when that happens.

So the children who have parents, who are not perfect, but blameless, are blessed because of that model and example.

And again, some of you will be better at using your words to instruct. Some of you will be better at using your actions. But either way, we all want to have a little bit of both in our life.

Gold Dividing Line[00:21:34] 

The famous proverb about instructing is Proverbs chapter 22 verse 6 says,

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Remember, Proverbs are not promises. This is not a guarantee. It’s a Biblical principle of Wisdom. So some of you parents need to just feel God’s grace and mercy right now because you have kids who have gone completely wayward from the faith and you’re feeling like, “Did I not do something right? Because the proverb seems to say that if I would have done my job right, they would be walking and step of the Lord.”

Remember this is not a promise, it’s not a guarantee… it’s a Wisdom principle that in general, children are more likely to walk in a relationship with the Lord when their parents are people who point them in the direction of the Lord.

And so that’s what we’re after…
Not only the Grace that we need to point them to Jesus not only the Instruction that we need to point them to Jesus. But finally, and this is where we start getting a little more controversial… the Discipline as well.

[00:22:39] 

3. Discipline

The discipline tells us in Proverbs chapter 3 verse 11 through 12,

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

So this Proverbs actually about God’s discipline for us, but it draws a parallel to the idea of God disciplining us like the way the Bible expects a parent should discipline their child.

And so the first takeaway for us under discipline comes this idea that the Bible expects that our disciplining of our children, would parallel the disciplining that God has for us. And notice, what is God’s primary motivating factor in His disciplining of us in verse 12…

12  He disciplines those he loves, 💗

And so “loves”, if you hear nothing else about discipline, is the overarching word that must define all discipline of Christian parents who want to raise their children.

So the Scripture teaches us that not only is the discipline of our kids is LOVING, but that it should be DONE in a LOVING WAY as well—that it should be done in a loving way.

Gold Dividing Line[00:23:54] 

In Proverbs 13:24 the Scripture tells us this,… now here’s where we get controversial… because, let’s be honest… we parents are pretty uptight, me included, about people talking to us about how we should raise our kids.

If you want to offend me, just overly correct my kids in my presence, as if I wasn’t there to correct them myself… something like that.

So here we come across Proverbs chapter 13 verse 24…

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

Okay, we got to talk about this for a minute…

The rod has been often used by the church as a symbol of physical punishment and has been used by the church at times to provide a justification for the idea of spanking.

Not only do some people try to justify spanking, but they say on Proverbs like this that you must, that you’re required, that you’re being disobedient to God by not spanking.

Let’s look at Proverbs 13:24 with hopefully some fresh eyes. Let me put you at ease this morning.
I am not going to tell you not to spank your kids. I’m not going to tell you should spank your kids. Okay?
Why because I like my job, and I don’t… (LAUGHTER).

No in all seriousness, I’d like to think that I would tell you something that was hard to hear if I really thought the Bible taught it.

Here’s why I’m not going to tell you should spank your kids or you shouldn’t spank your kids… because the Bible doesn’t say you should spank your kids or you shouldn’t spank your kids — it’s just not in there.

Someone, somewhere along the line, came up with the idea that the rod represents spanking or that spanking represents the rod, but they made that judgment call. It’s completely conjecture. I mean, why doesn’t the rod equals something else?
Why doesn’t the rod equal of a belt, or a frying pan, or a stick, or a rod for that matter? Who came up with the idea to say “On biblical authority, I can say that a rod equals spanking?”

We can’t say that.

Gold Dividing Line[00:26:11]

When I was a kid my mom was mostly the kind of mom who said, “Wait till your dad gets home.” Yeah,  but one day I was in second grade and apparently I had pushed her over the limit. I mean, I don’t know. I was a precious little kid (LAUGHTER), I’m not sure what I could have done wrong, but apparently, I got under her skin.

And so she was going to spank me with something; and she ran out of the room and came back with this long stick and it was like a piece of trim, like molding that goes around the baseboard of your house.

And she told me to turn around, bend over, and the door to my bedroom is like right next to me and it’s sticking out a little further than my bottom.

And so she takes a stick and she’s like, WHACK..

And I hear this loud smack and the stick breaks but I feel nothing because she hit the door before she got to my bottom. And I heard her say some stuff  I can’t repeat now, she leaves the room, and so we had all that kind of stuff going on.

And here’s the thing… in secular arenas when the Bible was written the rod was it was a form of corporal punishment.

But do we get our parenting wisdom from how the secular government was treating its citizens and punishing its citizens… or do we learn our parenting wisdom from how God parents his children?

😎 That was supposed to be an easy question. 😎

In Psalm 23, we see the use of the word Rod as it relates to the character of God and the Bible. The psalmist says,

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You’ve heard that Psalm. And here is David talking about his relationship with God as if he was a sheep and God was a shepherd and he says, “God you used the rod to comfort me.”                         [00:28:33] 

You see I have to look this kind of thing up. But when you do look it up you discover that a Shepherd used their rod for one of a few things. They might:

  1. Ward off an intruder with their rod to protect the Sheep,

  2. They might part the wool of a sheep to look for and search for disease.

  3. They might, the closest thing attached to discipline, they might throw it in front of sheep who are moving astray to redirect them, and guide them in a different direction,

…but never did a Shepherd hit the sheep with the rod. 

Now again, I’m not saying that you ought not to spank your kids. I’m not saying you should spank your kids. I’m just simply saying that the Bible doesn’t teach that issue. It teaches the idea of using this rod as David saw God—as a great Shepherd comforting him.

[00:29:34]

Okay in Proverbs chapter 29 verse 15 scripture says,

A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

Proverbs 19 Verse 18 says,

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.

Indeed, the lack of discipline has severe consequences for our kids, doesn’t it? And when The Word in Proverbs is using this word discipline, it’s a word that indeed could mean correct, it could mean punish, it could mean admonish, but it also means to exhort, it also means to instruct. And that’s why the NIV uses this expression, careful discipline”.

So whether you choose to spank or not to spank or use timeouts or you know snacks are taken away, or screens are taken away, or whatever it might be; or maybe you just give your kid a look and they know they better shape up or whatever. Whatever it might be, the Bible says, take the rod with the wisdom of God as our Shepherd, and use that and combine it with careful discipline to point your kids towards Jesus.

Some of you may need to do some things with some kids and other things with different kids of yours.

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Church, let’s finish with Colossians chapter 3 verse 21 which tells us,

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

And whatever strategy you use to provide Grace and Instruction and Discipline for your kids, know that the Bible is passionate about you not overwhelming your kids to the point that they become embittered and discouraged.

Which means before you make a rule, you should think twice about what that’s really a battle you’re willing to fight. Because if you make too many rules, you’re either not going to fight those battles, or you’re eventually going to imbitter your children and cause them to be discouraged.

So we think wisely about whether we want to make a rule. We follow the rule. If we make the rule and our punishment is the type of punishment that is a punishment that shows the love of our heavenly father and not one that embitters our children and discourages them.

Hey, we got some things we can take the Lord in prayer. Let’s do that.

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LET'S PRAY (2)Father for those of us who hear this message today, some of us are just reminded that we had great parents and we want to praise you and thank you for them.

Some of us are here this morning, and we realize that our parents really failed to raise us as the Book of Proverbs would maybe have called them to do. And maybe some, very severely. Some people who are here need to express some forgiveness for their parents. We need to realize that you are their loving heavenly father and although they may not have received what they would have wanted here on Earth from their Earthly parent, they’ll spend an eternity with you. That’s awesome.

And those of us who are currently raising kids right now we ask for your forgiveness for:

  1. the many mistakes that we’ve made
  2. the times where we failed to show Grace,
  3. the times where our instruction was not in accordance with Your Word, 
  4. the times where our discipline wasn’t loving….

Father forgive us for that. We asked you to change our character. We ask that you be patient with us as you increase our patience with our children and give us love for them. Give us wisdom for them.

And we commit them to you because ultimately you’re the only one who can deal with the Folly that’s in the heart—You their Creator. We lift them up to you and pray for them and pray Lord that they would know Jesus Christ and put him above every other relationship.

We ask these things in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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Marriage – Part 2 (Proverbs Week 7)

Pastor Dan Borgelt

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Gold Dividing Line[00:05:43]

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.

[00:09:45]

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.

[00:14:33]

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.

Gold Dividing Line[00:14:50]

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.

Gold Dividing Line[00:16:50]

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.

[00:17:22]

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.

Gold Dividing Line

[00:26:04]

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.

 

Gold Dividing Line

[00:30:45]

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.

Gold Dividing Line

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.

Gold Dividing Line

[00:36:07]

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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Kirkmont Composite Pic

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