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Marriage Matters

CityRise October 28, 2020 Devotionals, sermons, houston, marriage, Paul Magyar, Reset, sermon,

Each week we will be sharing a post from a staff member in response to the most recent sermon in our “Reset” series. Click to watch, listen, or read the sermon shared by Pastor Roger Patterson on October 25, 2020.

Marriage is one of life’s greatest joys, and greatest challenges! After thirty-seven-plus years of marriage to my life-partner, Mary, I can testify that it is worth every bit of blood, sweat, and tears she and I have invested. Every. Single. Bit.

Jesus affirmed marriage by attending a wedding in Cana in Galilee during which he performed his first public miracle.

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11, ESV)

Then, as part of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to his listeners on the subject of divorce.

It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32, ESV)

In this statement, our Lord challenges his listeners in reiterating God’s plan for the sacred union of marriage, which comprises the basis of human society. In another discourse, Jesus clarifies the meaning of God’s plan for humans from the dawn of Creation.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9)

Marriage is a covenantal – and not a contractual relationship; as such, marriage requires constant energy, twenty-four/seven attention, and continual loving care. Regular investment of time and resource will result in a stronger, and lasting relationship that will endure the challenges life inevitably brings. Whether written or spoken, phrases such as these can help strengthen the marriage union.

How may I serve you?

What can I give you?

Whatever it takes I am happy to do it!

I accept responsibility.

I will give one-hundred percent.

I will be faithful to you forever.

I am sorry.

Thank you.

I love you.

In the first weeks and months of our marriage, Mary and I made a promise never to use the “D” word (divorce). Though we have shared many disagreements through the years, and suffered through our share of arguments, (including a few we thought might discharge a third world war), we have faithfully upheld that promise to one another. Standing as we did before our minister-Dads during our wedding ceremony, we heard the words of the Apostle Paul, and have sought to faithfully follow them.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

These are not easy guidelines, even for two people raised in loving, godly homes as Mary and I were. However, we have sought to follow these instructions, and to follow the examples our parents set before us. Author and preacher, Tim Keller, said ‘marriage is a stunning blend of love and law,’ and I could not agree more!

There aren’t too many hymns and/or worship songs on the general subjects of home and marriage. One that I have placed before congregations through the years is a prayer, and is titled God Give Us Christian Homes.

God, give us Christian homes!

Homes where the Bible is loved and taught,

Homes where the Master’s will is sought,

Homes crowned with beauty Your love has wrought;

God, give us Christian homes; God, give us Christian homes!

God, give us Christian homes!

Homes where the children are led to know

Christ in His beauty who loves them so,

Homes where the altar fires burn and glow;

God, give us Christian homes;

God, give us Christian homes!

Baylus Benjamin (B.B.) McKinney, 1886-1952

Another more recent song is simply called The Family Prayer Song, and is based on Joshua 24:15:

Come and fill our homes with Your presence;

You alone are worthy of our reverence.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;

We will serve the Lord.

Morris Chapman

Maranatha Praise, 1994

As you and your spouse continue your journey together, I would challenge you to embrace the following two charges:

1.          Husbands, love and serve your wife more than yourself.

2.          Wives, love and serve your husband more than yourself.

Jesus defined discipleship as follows: If anyone would follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Self-denial is difficult, but an absolute must for the Christ-follower. And, self-denial is equally vital for the husband and wife who choose to love and cherish each other – until death. I pray you will accept this challenge, and continue walking your journey – together, and make your home a ‘bastion of grace.’

Dr. Paul Magyar is the Worship Pastor at West University Baptist Church, overseeing all aspects of worship for that campus, and leading the 8:30A Traditional Service each Sunday. He lives in Houston with his wife, Mary.