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THE SPIRIT-FILLED MARRIAGE
Intro: One of the most neglected aspects of our walk with the Lord is the necessity for every child of God to be filled with the Spirit. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit in verse 18. Being filled with the Spirit is the only way we ever hope to be Christlike in our daily walk. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will display the fruit of the Spirit in our daily walk, Gal. 5:22-23.
The characteristics that set Jesus Christ apart from the rest of the world will be fleshed out in our lives. Characteristics like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, will mark us, and they will transform every relationship in our lives.
In verse 19-20 teach us that being filled with the Spirit will affect our worship. When we are Spirit-filled, we will see God as He is, and we will give HIm the worship and praise He is due. Being Spirit-filled will transform our relationship with God.
Verse 21 teaches us that being filled with the Spirit will transform our way of thinking, so that we do not place ourselves ahead of others, but so that that we walk in humility and mutual submission. Thus, the Holy Spirit, when He controls a life, will not only revolutionize our walk with God, He will also revolutionize every relationship in our lives.
Beginning in verse 22, Paul begins to flesh out this thought. In these verses that follow, he walks us through some of the most important relationships we have in life. He begins by talking about The Spirit-Filled Marriage.
No matter how great your marriage is today, there is always room for improvement. There is always a place for us to give God more control in our relationship with our spouse. The fact is, we can all use the teaching in these verses, because as goes the home, so goes the church. As goes the church so goes the nation. It is imperative that our marriages be all that God designed them to be. This passage has something to say about that.
Some time ago, I read a story about a couple who celebrated their fiftieth wedding. They were in their seventies. Ted, the husband, had lost much of his hearing during this time. And yet they were still getting along together and celebrating this great anniversary. Their family came from all over and enjoyed celebrating together through the midmorning into the afternoon. Finally, toward sundown, all the family went home.
Bessie and Ted decided to walk out on the front porch and sit down on the swing and watch the sunset. The old gentleman pulled his tie loose and leaned back and didnt say much.
Bessie looked at him somewhat in wonder and said to him, You know, Ted, Im real proud of you.
The old gentleman turned and looked at her rather quizzically and after a moment said, with a puzzled look on his face, Well, Bessie, Im real tired of you too!
Sadly, far too many marriages reach that same place. The husband and the wife just get tired of one another and they go their separate ways. That is not Gods ideal for marriage.
God wants marriages to be strong. He wants them to last. He wants them to be a reflection of His relationship with His redeemed people. He wants them to bring glory to His name.
I want to preach about The Spirit-Filled Marriage. I want to talk about The Foundation Of A Spirit-Filled Marriage; The Fundamentals Of A Spirit-Filled Marriage and, The Fruit Of A Spirit-Filled Marriage. I want to help us understand that building a strong marriage is not so much finding the right person as it is about being the right person. Lets consider the lessons in this passage together as we consider The Spirit-Filled Marriage.
I. THE BEDROCK OF A STRONG MARRIAGE
The Lord is mentioned in these verses in some fashion at least 14 times. It seems clear that God is the essential foundation of a strong marriage.
Psalm 127:1 says, Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. This verse teaches us the truth that every endeavor in life must be based on a relationship with God.
This is especially true when it comes to our marriages. If they are to be strong; if they are to glorify God; if they are to be a blessing to us and other; they must be built on the bedrock of a strong and serious relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As His love operates in the heart of a husband and a wife, the married couple is better able to love one another.
I am able to love my wife better today than I could before I knew the Lord. My love is deeper, stronger and more pure because I am able to love her with His love. People in love with Jesus are able to be channels through which His love can flow to those around us.
Being rightly related to the Lord Jesus brings a divine dimension to marriage.
When both the husband and the wife are in a vital, growing relationship with the Lord, they can pray together.
They can worship together.
They can discuss the things of God together.
Their mutual relationship with God moves their own relationship beyond the physical into the spiritual.
Thus, their love is stronger, purer and more enduring than it could ever be otherwise.
As most of us know, over 50% of all marriages in our nation fail. Many fall apart during the stormy times. Things like debt, lust, the day-to-day business of life, loss of interest in the other partner, and a host of other things can bring marriages to the brink of disaster.
No marriage, not even Christian marriages are immune from these upheavals. However, a marriage that stands on the bedrock of a strong relationship with Jesus Christ can weather any storm that comes along. Ill. Luke 6:47-49
Marriages in which both partners are not saved can and do last for many years. That is a wonderful thing. Still, those marriages can never achieve the spiritual purposes God has for marriage. The marriage is real and the love deep, but it can never be everything God designed marriage to be.
I. The Bedrock Of A Spirit-FIlled Marriage
II. THE BASICS OF A STRONG MARRIAGE
There are several non-negotiable essentials that stand as pillars in every strong, spiritual marriage. This passage shares them with us.
A. Love – Eph. 5:25, 28 - When we speak of love, we are not talking about the kind of love portrayed in Hollywood. Movies and television depict love as nothing more than sexual desire. While the sexual relationship within the context of marriage is very important, 1 Cor. 7:1-5, even it flows from a deeper, more spiritual kind of love.
Paul describes the kind of love we are talking about in 1 Cor. 13:4-6. A closer look of loves character is in order here.
v. 4 Suffereth Long - This word means patient endurance even when provoked, long-tempered. Love does not retaliate!
v. 4 Is Kind - This word refers to active goodness. It is never hateful or mean. Love is kind in words and actions.
v. 4 Envieth Not - True love is not jealous. Instead of being jealous when others prosper or excel, love is pleased when they do well.
v. 4 Vaunteth Not Itself - Literally, this phrase means does not make a parade. Love does not brag! It does not draw attention to itself or to what it is doing.
v. 4 Is Not Puffed Up - Love is not arrogant or proud. It does not demand to be number one.
v. 5 Does Not Behave Itself Unseemly - Love is never rude, but it always treats others with compassion, consideration and respect!
v. 5 Seeketh Not Her Own - True love is never selfish and self-centered, but it is actively interested in what will profit others. It never looks at itself first, but it always considers another ahead of itself.
v. 5 Is Not Easily Provoked - True loves keeps no record of evils done to it, but it willingly endures all slights and injuries. It is not irritable.
v. 5 Thinketh No Evil - takes no worthless inventory Two thoughts are in mind here. First, genuine love does not attribute evil motives to people. Second, genuine love does not keep a record of evils done to it. It doesnt hold a grudge.
v. 6 Rejoiceth Not In Iniquity - Love does not rejoice in sin.
v. 6 Rejoiceth In The Truth - It rejoices when truth is proclaimed and when truth wins the victory. Love is glad for the truth, even when the truth hurts. Love is glad when truth wins the day!
This kind of love is to be mutual. The husband is commanded to love his wife with every fiber of his being, Eph. 5:25; 28, 31. The wife is commanded to love her husband, Titus 2:4. A home filled with love is a home filled with the essence of Heaven!
B. Loyalty – Eph. 5:31 speaks of the law of leaving and cleaving. This was what God expected of the first married couple, Gen. 2:24, and it is what He expects of every other married couple. When a man and woman are married, there is a fundamental shift in their relationships to others.
Their relationship with the parents is altered forever. It can still be strong, but the marriage relationship must have preeminence over the parental relationship. Children need to let go and so do parents. Few things are more devastating to a marriage than a failure to leave and cleave.
The word joined means to be glued. It is the idea of two things being bonded together in such a way that they cannot be torn apart. It is a bond so strong and so deep that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.
This kind of loyalty is spelled out in 1 Cor. 13:7. Look at the characteristics of true loyalty.
Beareth all things – There is loyalty even when things are tough. It doesnt walk out in the day of trouble.
Believeth all things – Loyalty believes in ones mate. It trusts them.
Hopeth all things – Loyalty never looks for the worst in them, but only believes the best.
Endureth all things – Loyalty sticks it out. Loyalty does not abandon the fort.
C. Respect – Mutual respect is fundamental for any marriage that expects long term success. Several passages speak about this matter. Lets consider a few today.
Eph. 5:22-24 – These verses have been among the most loved and hated of the New Testament. Some men love to hang these verses over the heads of their wives and demand that they fall down before them in obedience. Some women read these verses and feel that they make the wife inferior to the husband. Neither interpretation is correct.
God is not establishing the husband as some kind of dictator in the home. Nor is God relegating the wife to a place of servitude. The word submit means to arrange under. The truly spiritual wife recognizes Gods order in the home. She understands that it is a reflection of Gods order in the church. Jesus is the head of the church and we are to submit to His headship. The husband has been given the responsibility of leading the home and the godly wife follows the husbands leadership willingly and humbly.
The husband is not to demand submission from the wife. She is to offer it freely and lovingly. This submission is to her own husband only! Women are not subservient to men. They are equals, even in the home. But, God has invested leadership in the husband and he will be held responsible for the home. He will give an account for his actions as the head of the home when he stands before Jesus.
Eph. 5:28-29 – I willingly submit to the Lordship of the Jesus in my life because I know He loves me. I understand that He gave Himself to save me sacrificially, willingly, lovingly and unconditionally. I respond to His love by submitting to Him. The same is true in the home. When the husband loves His wife sacrificially, willingly, lovingly and unconditionally, she will respond by respecting him.
The reason some wives have a hard time submitting to their mates is because the man is anything but Christ-like in his love for her! Ladies, this is no excuse for rebellion in the home! You are told to submit without respect to how he acts toward you. Even if your husband is lost, you have the duty of submission, Ill. 1 Pet. 3:1-6. Men, your wife will be more likely to follow your lead if she knows you love her with every fiber of your being.
Verses 28-29 teach us that the husband is to love his life like he loves his own flesh. Husbands are to nourish their wives, and they are to cherish their wives. Lets consider these two words for a moment.
- He Is To Nourish – To bring to maturity. A godly husband helps his wife to reach her fullest potential in God. He helps her to grow by meeting her needs and by being an encouragement to her life.
- He Is To Cherish – To soften with heat. The husband is to give tender love to his spouse. This is the primary want and need of most women. They need to feel loved and they crave special attention. They need time, attention, and a sense of security. A loving husband can easily provide all these things to his wife. Ill. 1 Pet. 3:7 calls the woman the Weaker vessel. This does not means that she is inferior and weak. This phrase refers to a vessel that is delicate and of immense value. It refers to something that is to be handled with love and tender care!
D. Faithfulness – Eph. 5:31 speaks of the bond that exists between the husband and the wife. It is a bond that can only exist between two people. There is no room in the marriage relationship for a third party. It is never acceptable for a man or a woman to have a sexual or emotional relationship with a member of the opposite sex on the side. Our relationship with our spouse is to be one of absolute faithfulness, both physically and emotionally. Adultery is a sin regardless of the form it takes, Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:28.
I. The Bedrock Of A Spirit-FIlled Marriage
II. The Basics Of A Spirit-Filled Marriage
III. THE BLESSINGS OF A STRONG MARRIAGE
What will be the outcome of all the love and effort in a marriage? A strong marriage will bear fruit to the glory of God. Let me share with you what a strong marriage will produce.
A. A Spirit-Filled Marriage Sanctifies The Home – Eph. 5:21-22; 25; 29 – A marriage that is lived out according to the principles of the Word of God is a marriage that keeps God at the center. It produces a home where Jesus is King and God is Sovereign. It is a marriage that opens the door for God to bless in amazing ways. It is a marriage that invites the power of God to dwell in the home. Ill. 1 Cor. 7:12-16.
B. A Spirit-Filled Marriage Glorifies The Savior – Eph. 5:32 – A marriage that operates according to the principles of Gods Word brings glory to the Lord. God is glorified when we live out our marriages according to His precepts. This is true because a marriage that functions according to the Word of God is a marriage that honors His will, and doing His will always brings glory to His name! So, God is glorified when we love like He does.
C. A Spirit-Filled Marriage Witnesses To The Lost – A strong godly marriage is a witness to this lost generation because it is a living, breathing example of Christ and His church. It demonstrates the power of the love of God and the grace of God to all who witness it. A godly marriage exemplifies forgiveness, patience, love, hope, and the power of Gods saving grace. A good, godly marriage is a powerful witness to a lost world. When the world looks at our marriages, they should see how Christ loved His church. They should see that there is just something different about our love for our spouse.
D. A Spirit-Filled Marriage Instructs The Next Generation – Eph. 6:1-3 – In these verses, Paul speaks to the children in the home. Children have a duty to submit to their parents. But, I am talking to husbands and wives today. We need to realize that our children learn about marriage and about how to treat their future spouse by watching you.
How you treat your spouse is probably how they will treat theirs. How you talk to your spouse is how they will talk to theirs. Dad, how you love you wife will be hoe your son will love his wife. Mom, how you react toward your husband will be how your daughter will react toward hers.
A man who curses and abuses his wife will raise sons who are prone to do the same. He will also raise daughters who expect that kind of treatment. Women who ridicule and belittle their husbands will raise daughters who have no respect for men. They will also raise sons with who lack the power to lead.
We need to take a step back and look at our marriages. How do the children around us see us? What are we teaching them about marriage? We have a responsibility to the next generation. We are responsible for teaching them the right way to walk and live.
By the way, dont use your own upbringing as an excuse for bad behavior in your marriage. Your parents may have fought all the time, but it does not mean you have to. Your father may have abused your mother physically or verbally, but that does not mean you have to treat you wife that way. Your mother may have talked down to your father, but that does not mean that you have to act that way. If you are saved, act like a saved man or woman. If you are saved, you have been changed, 2 Cor. 5:17. Live like the person you are and stop the cycle of sin that has operated in your family.
Conc: Marriage is a wonderful gift to humanity. A marriage that operates as God intended truly is a beautiful thing. The only way a marriage can be what that God designed it to be is for both the husband and the wife to be filled with the Spirit of God.
We are living in a generation when the institution of marriage is in trouble. Liberal, worldly agendas are seeking to change the definition of marriage. The biblical standard is no longer the standard for most of the world. Men want to marry other men. Women want to marry other women. People want to take multiple spouses. I even read about a man recently who is petitioning for permission to marry his goat. Some of these abnormal, warped views of marriage are already being practiced in our society. The world has gone crazy and is doing its best to destroy the family.
In my opinion, all of this is the work of Satan. He knows that the home is the very bedrock of society. If the biblical standards for the home and family can be eliminated, society can be dismantled.
That is why people who still believe the Bible, people like us, should take our stand for marriage. The best way to do this is living out the biblical standard for marriage in front of a lost world. The best way to do that is for husbands and wives to be filled with the Spirit of God.
This would be a good time for couples to come before the Lord to pray about their marriages.
This would be a good time for husbands and wives to come before the Lord and seek His presence and power in the homes that make up our church.
It would be a good time for each of us to seek the Lord and the filling of the Holy Spirit.