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Matt. 19:4-6, Gen. 2:18-24
Series Intro: The modern family is in trouble! Divorce is rampant. Dissatisfaction between mates is at an all-time high. Parents have lost their way and they are watching their children lose theirs as well.
The modern family has lost its moorings. There was a time, and it was not so long ago, that most families acknowledged God, His Word and His right to rule in the home. That day has long since past. The family needs to be brought back to God. The family needs to be deeply anchored in the things of God if it is to survive.
The modern family is in a mess. There are examples here and there of godly families in action, but most families are adrift on a tossing sea of immorality, selfishness and discontentment.
The modern family can be saved! When families know and honor the unchanging principles of the Word of God in their lives, they can survive. Families can even thrive in this world, if they are given the right tools, the right encouragement and the right path to follow.
Over the next several weeks I am going to preach a series of sermons on the family I have entitled Home Improvement. We say that our world needs saving, and it does! But, if the world is to be changed from what it is, that change must begin in the home. There must be improvement in our homes before there can be improvement in our world.
When I speak about the about the subject of Home Improvement, you realize that I am not talking about putting on a new roof, installing a hot tub, or painting the walls. I am talking about strengthening your marriages, helping your children become the men and women God wants them to be, and turning our homes into a small slice of Heaven in this world. We can do that, but we may need to do a little Home Improvement to make it happen. So, as the Lord leads, I am going to deal with some topics that affect the modern family. I am going to preach about some things that affect your family. I believe the Word of God can teach all we need to know about this matter of Home Improvement.
Matt. 19:4-6, Gen. 2:18-24
ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS ONE
Sermon Intro: Sometime back, a magazine printed an article about saved people who survived life and death situations. That article revealed the truth that when the end of life seemed certain; people’s thoughts would invariably turn to their family and to God.
In that article there was a story about a man who shared his experience. He said that he was having some difficulties on his job and it appeared that he might even lose his job. He was called by the CEO of the company to come to headquarters.
He made the plane arrangements and was greatly troubled about it. He could think of nothing but his job and his job security. He got on the plane and as the plane was making its way to the city where the home company was located, all he could think about was his job and what he was going to encounter when he met with the CEO. In the course of the flight, the plane got into some very serious trouble. It appeared that it was going down and that he might lose his life.
He says when that occurred, suddenly everything that had been a concern to him, every worry related to his job situation, disappeared and his thoughts were dominated by thoughts concerning his family. He said that when you really get down to it, the bottom line is not so much your social connections, it is not so much your financial circumstances, it is not even so much your job. What really matters when you get to the bottom line is family.
The Bible says in I Tim. 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” We need to understand the importance of working toward having strong family relationships.
Of course, the great authority on family is the Lord Jesus Christ. I have read His words today. These words reveal to us that when it comes to marriage and the family, Jesus Christ is the Great Home Builder. He is the Great Home Improvement Expert!
We know also that the devil is the great home wrecker. The devil has a number of tools in his arsenal to try to destroy family life.
· Divorce is an enemy of the family. Nearly one out of every two marriages in our country end up in divorce.
· Alcohol is an enemy of the family. Almost every situation where there is marital discord and family problems, you will find that alcohol is a feature.
· Materialism is an enemy of the family. In our families we have an abundance of material things, but that doesn't seem to have made us very happy. We have more cars and yet less compatibility. We have more gadgets and yet we have less grace. We have more luxuries and yet we have less love. We are finding out that an accumulation of material things does not necessarily give you a stable, happy family.
So Jesus is the Great Home Builder, and you will notice in verse 4 that He said to them, “Have you not read...” Then He quotes from Genesis, chapter 2.
He is referring here to the formation of the original marriage and the original family. The Bible says that God brought all the animals to Adam so that Adam could give them a name, Gen. 2:18-20.
All the animals came before Adam and he gave them the name he wanted them to have. This process was not to see how smart Adam was. God used this to build within Adam a desire for a mate.
When Adam, saw all the animals and their respective mates, it dawned on him that he was alone in the world. He had God, but there was not another person with whom Adam could share his life. As God said in verse 18, this was a situation that was “not good”.
God created this desire within Adam for a mate and God satisfied that desire. In verses 21-25, the Bible tells us how God formed the woman from Adam’s rib and gave her to the man. So, God planned, organized and conducted the first wedding. The animals were the witnesses. On that day, God brought Adam and Eve together in holy matrimony.
As they married, I have a feeling that Adam looked over at her and said, “You're the only girl in the world for me.”
Of course, she could not say, “I want you to know I had a lot of offers before you came along.”
So, the family unit was formed, and the first marriage came into existence.
In Matt. 19:4-6, the Lord Jesus Christ quotes from that Gen. 2. He makes a strange statement. He mentions it twice in the verses I have read to you. He says in verse 5, He says “They twain shall be one flesh.” Then He says it again in verse 6. “They are no more twain, but one flesh.” This is the same thing God says in Gen. 2:24.
God uses some very strange math here. The Word of God says that God took one man and one woman. He put them together and they became one. One plus one equals one. That is some very strange math indeed!
Now, if you want to carry out a real Home Improvement project, then you are going to have to do it God’s way. To do that you must understand the mathematics of marriage, that one plus one equals one. If you want to have a fantastic marriage and family, then God says, “Do the math.”
I want to do the math today. I'm talking primarily about the husband and wife relationship. If you are going to have a strong family and a strong relationship between parent and child and siblings in the family, you first of all have to have a strong marriage relationship. God says the way to have a strong family relationship is to understand One Plus One Equals One.
As we do the math today, I want to to show you the ways God has made the husband and the wife one in Him. I am sure that we have some serious math lovers with us today, so let’s do a little math and look at the ways God has made us one. I want to preach on the subject One Plus One Equals One.
I. ONE PLUS ONE
EQUALS ONE PHYSICALLY
(Ill. Man was made in the image of God, Gen. 1:26-27. The Bible teaches us that God is a trinity. That is, God is a Godhead made up of three Persons. He is Father. He is the Son and He is the Holy Spirit., man is a trinity. Man is also a trinity.
Every person is made up of body, soul and spirit, 1 Thes. 5:23; Gen. 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God made the human body; He breathed the spirit into it; and man became a living soul. That one verse tells us that there are three aspects to every human being. There is a part of us that is physical. There is a part of us that is psychological. There is a part of us that is spiritual.
When a marriage takes place as God intended, the man and woman becomes one physically. They become one psychologically. They become one spiritually.)
We want to begin by exploring the physical portion of our lives. There is a physical union that occurs within marriage. There are several statements about the physical relationship that exists between a husband and a wife that I feel need to be made.
Ø Sex is the gift of God.
Ø Sex is God's idea.
Ø Sex is good.
Ø Sex is of God and it is good when it is within the circle God intends for it to be, in the circle of marriage.
I don't want to spend a great deal of time on this physical oneness, but I do want to hit on some highlights.
A. There Is A Word About Perversion - Turn to 1 Cor. 6:9-11. In these verses Paul speaks of how some pervert God’s plan for human sexuality. He warns those who misuse sex that they give proof of their lost condition before God and before man. In Heb. 4:13, God speaks of those who use sex properly.
· Sex can either be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. Which it is depends on where it is found. Let me illustrate.
Ø Is mud good or bad? Mud is good in the pig pen, but it’s bad when it’s on your carpet.
Ø Is fire good or bad? Fire is good if it is being used to cook me a biscuit, or keep us warm, but it is bad it occurs in your attack, or in your wall. (Ill. Pro. 6:23-29)
· We are living in a culture today where people, especially young people, are being told that there is nothing spiritual about sex. People talk about casual sex. We have a generation of people who have been brought up in America who have been taught and believe that they basically came from animals. Therefore, if they come from animals, it is all right if they live their lives as animals. Our generation has come to believe that unregulated sex between consenting partners sex is okay. The philosophy is, if it feels good, do it! (Ill. Parents providing birth control for their children. Ill. Parents facilitating opportunities for child to be sexually active.)
· Look at what God says in 1 Cor. 6:16, “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. There it “one flesh” statement again. Something occurs when the sexual act occurs. Whether it is between a husband and wife or whether it is between two people who are not married. Sex is never just a casual act. Something takes place physically. Something takes place psychologically. Something takes place spiritually. So it is not a casual matter.
When there is a sexual relationship that exists outside the boundaries God established, it never ends well. It brings fear of disease and unwanted pregnancy. It brings guilt. It shatters relationships. When sex exists outside the boundaries created by God, it reveals the true nature of your spiritual life and your relationship to God.
B. There Is A Word About Prevention – 1 Cor. 6:18 says, “Flee fornication.” That means run! You should never get yourself in a position where you can be compromised sexually. You should never expose to yourself any influences that would cause you to be unfaithful in your marriage relationship or impure in your sexual life.
· Do not expose yourself to anything that could hinder your walk with God, damage your testimony and harm your relationship with your spouse! When it comes to sin and immorality, flee! Run! Be a first class coward.
You remember Joseph (Gen. 39). The Bible says that Potiphar's wife got her eyes on Joseph and she burned in her lust toward that young man. Then one day, she reached out to Joseph and grabbed his garment. All she got was his coat. He didn't lose his character. Joseph fled! That's you ought to do when sexual temptation comes up.
C. There Is A Word About Provision – 1 Cor. 7:2-3. These verses make it clear that sex is intended not only for procreation, but also it is intended for pleasure. There is nothing wrong with a beautiful sexual relationship between a husband and his wife as they bring about physical oneness. There is something wrong in a relationship when physical intimacy is not a regular part of the marriage.
· Some people have the idea that God is up there in heaven, looking down all the time and He says, “You folks down there are having fun. Knock it off!” No! God is pleased when His people find pleasure in the means He has ordained for their pleasure.
I. One Plus One Equals One
II. ONE PLUS ONE
EQUALS ONE PSYCHOLOGICALLY
(Ill. Not does a married couple become only one body, they also become one soul. We each possess a physical nature, and we all possess have a psychological nature as well. This means that you possess an intellect. You think. You have emotions. You feel. You have volition. You make decisions. You have a will. You exercise that will.
When we are married, we become one physically with our mates, but we also become one with them mentally. It is in a marriage that the partners work toward this whole matter of psychological compatibility.
Sometimes, people will get a divorce and they will state as the grounds for that divorce that they are incompatible. That sounds foolish on the surface, but I have come to believe that is a fact. Some people simply cannot live together because they are incompatible.
Dr. Billy Graham used to say that he and his wife “were happily incompatible”. I like that. The problem that many couples experience is that they fail to factor God into their incompatibilities. They try to make it work using human energy, and when it doesn’t go to suit them, they throw their marriage away like it was a piece of trash. There is no sense of commitment. There is no sense of absolute devotion. Where are the people who would rather die than allow their marriages to fail?
(Ill. I heard about a couple who were having all kinds of problems and they went to a marriage counselor.
He tried very hard to help them work out their problems.
Finally, in exasperation he said, “Isn't there anything you two have in common?”
The wife said, “Well, there is one thing. Neither of us can stand the other.”)
· I am talking about working towards achieving psychological oneness.
· I want to warn you of the dangers of modern secular psychology. There is a place for psychology when it is under the authority of God's Word. It is possible to gain a great deal of insight from the extensive research into the human mind that has been conducted. It is possible to glean from the concepts that teach us about how families are to come together. But I must you that you must make a difference between what you hear as human opinion and what is based on the teachings of God's Word.
· Dr. Phil may do a whole lot of good, but Dr. Phil is not one of the books of the Bible. Neither is Oprah! Dr. Phil and Oprah are only right in so far as they are in agreement with what the Word of God has to say. They give good advice sometimes, but it is not good advice unless it is according to the teachings of the Bible. You must always ask yourself the question wherever you get your information, how does the Bible square up with that?)
A. Intellectual Oneness – The key word there is the word “communication.” To develop intellectual oneness, oneness of mind and thought, there has to be communication. I'm going to talk more about that. I may preach an entire message on communication and the family later on in this series of messages. I'm going to admit right up front that we men are normally a large part of the problem when it comes to this area. We just don’t communicate our feelings very well. Of course, it can work the other way!
(Ill. A lady went to her pastor because she wanted a divorce from her husband.
During counseling he asked her, “Do you have any grounds?”
She said, “Yeah, three acres outside of town. You’ve been there preacher!”
“No” he said, “I mean, do you have a grudge?”
She thought a minute and said, “No, we have a carport!”
Trying a different tactic, he said. “No, like, does your husband beat you up?”
She said, “No, I get up at 6, an hour before him!”
The preacher said, “What I am asking is, do you have a case?”
Without missing a beat, she said, “Nope, we’ve got a John Deere!”
Finally, in exasperation the preacher said, “Ma’am, what I’m trying to ask you is this; are you and your husband having any troubles?”
She said, “Oh yes, preacher. We’re having lots of troubles”.
“Like what,” asked the preacher?
“Well” said the wife, “the problem is my husband. He just can’t communicate.”)
· Let me just give you a few thoughts about communication to whet your appetite.
Ø Learn to listen to the other person. When you talk, it would be good to look at one another. It wouldn't even hurt to turn the TV off. It might not even hurt to lean forward and get a little closer to one another.
Ø Learn to handle your anger. We have so much anger in our culture. There is so much anger in family relationships today.
When people are angry they handle it in one of several ways. Sometimes they just blow up. Other times they clam up. Sometimes they throw up, as in the past!
We have to learn to open up and learn to properly express ourselves.
Ø Learn to avoid certain words. You know exactly what words to say to get your mate upset. You know the words that cut them and cause them pain. We all know which buttons to push, don’t we? We have to work and learn to get rid of those kinds of words.
Ø Learn to not dwell on the past. There comes a time when you have to let the past go. There comes a time when forgiveness kicks in and the past is allowed to be the past and you begin to move forward.
Some of you sitting here today have a whole truckload of past that you've been hauling around in your marriage and in your family. Every time an issue comes up in your family, you just drag all that old past out. You have to learn not to dwell on the past.
· When it comes to communications between spouses, let me give you some quick thoughts.
Ø Be careful what you say.
Ø Be careful how you say it.
Ø Be careful when you say it.
Ø Be careful why you say it.
B. Emotional Oneness – The word operative here is the word “consideration.” We have to learn to be considerate of one another.
· There are three basic needs every individual has.
Ø Every person needs to be loved.
Ø Every person needs to be respected. They need to feel that they have self worth and that they are a person.
Ø Every person needs to feel appreciated. They need to feel like what they do matters to someone and that someone is appreciative of the things they do.
· Consideration goes a long way toward helping a marriage be what it ought to be and helping a family be what it ought to be. Nobody marries a perfect mate.
(Ill. I heard about a couple who was having a little spat. Finally the man said to his wife, “You must think I'm a perfect idiot.”
She said, “No, I wouldn't say anybody was perfect.”)
· Getting married is kind of like buying a CD. You buy the CD for the song you really like. There may even be a couple of other songs on that CD that you kind of like. But the rest of the songs, the ones you can’t stand and will never play, come along with it.
Any mate has a series of plusses and minuses. If you count up the plusses and they are more than the minuses, you are ahead of the game.
· There will always be some measure of incompatibility between spouses, but we can work toward achieving greater harmony in our marital relationships. Married couples become one physically. They also become one psychologically.
I. One Plus One Equals One
II. One Plus One Equals One
III. ONE PLUS ONE
EQUALS ONE SPIRITUALLY
· You are more than a body with skin and bones and organs. You are more than a soul with thoughts and feelings and with drives and desires. You are also spirit. That means that you have a spiritual nature. That means you have the capacity to relate to God.
· If you do not understand the spiritual component of marriage and family, you may have everything else in your family and you will have this gnawing feeling that there is still something missing in your relationship. What will be missing is spiritual oneness.
· I believe that the most important thing we need to learn in marriage and family is that we need to be like Jesus. How does being like Jesus Christ relate to marriage and the family?
The Bible says in Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” He is saying that, in our marriage relationships, we have to learn to love one another the way Jesus loves us.
How did Jesus love us? Jesus loved us sacrificially. “Christ gave himself” for the church! Christ loved the church. We have to learn to love like Jesus loved.
That is why God forbids saved people from marrying the lost, 2 Cor. 6:14, which says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Unless the Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of both spouses, the marriage will never be all that God wants it to be. It will never be all it could be.
· Even when both partners are saved, it is still hard to love your mate like Jesus loved the church! Listen carefully. It's real hard for you to love your mate the way you should all the time. But not for the reason you think. It's hard for you to love your mate, not because of your mate, but because of you.
Most of us are basically selfish. Most of us enter into marriage and family with the wrong idea. We come in asking, not what can I give to this relationship, but what can I get from this relationship?
· I’ve watched the couples that I have married. They come to me for counseling. They come in all “goo goo eyed.” They think they are heading for Shangri-La. Some don't know it, but World War III is where they are headed to. They are so innocent.
Most couples enter into marriage like two ticks on a dog. A tick is a little parasite which attaches itself to a host. A tick gets on a dog and sucks the blood out of that dog. The tick contributes nothing to the dog. It just sucks blood out of the dog. The problem in marriage is sometimes you have two ticks and no dog. You just have two people who are draining the life out of one another, with neither partner contributing anything to the relationship. It’s all about what each can get out of the other! That is a recipe for disaster!
· The number one problem in marriage and family is selfishness. The marriage becomes about me, my needs and what I want and think; with absolutely no regard for my spouse. That is a recipe for disaster. It is also poles apart from the attitude Jesus demonstrated when He died for those who did not deserve His love and grace.
· The best thing that could ever happen in our homes is for both husbands and wives to become more become like Jesus. We must learn to love our mate and love our family as Jesus loved the church.
Some married couples have been trying everything they know to do. They've been to counseling sessions. They've read books. What they really need is a personal, faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot be like Jesus Christ until you come to Jesus Christ and He has come to live in your heart by the new birth experience. You can't be like Jesus Christ until Christ is in your heart and life. That's what a lot of couples need.
Some folk just need to just admit to the Lord that you are a sinner, call of Jesus to save your soul. That is a great Home Improvement project. If you ever get your heart renovated it will change the spiritual temperature of your home! It would forever revolutionize your marriage!
· Let me make some suggestions. If you already know Christ as your Savior, I want to suggest to you that you institute a family altar in your home. I mean by that that at some time at the beginning of the day you gather as a family and read God's Word together and pray.
You don't have to read a lot, just a verse or two and then pray. You moms and dads need to pray for those boys and girls as they get ready to go out into the schools. You need to pray that God will protect them and give them courage and grace. You wives need to pray for that man as he walks out that door. You husbands need to pray for your wives as she goes out. Start the day in Bible reading and prayer. Have a family altar.
· Then you need a family pew. God bless you for being here this morning, but come back tonight. We have members of our church who have literally built their families around the fellowship of the Calvary Baptist Church. That doesn't mean they haven't had problems. That doesn't mean they haven’t been difficulties. That doesn’t mean some of their children haven't wandered away. It does mean that they possess many of the resources they need to survive and thrive in the storms that will hit their marriage.
If you will build your family around the church, we have resources here. There is opportunity here for God to work mightily in your family. It will make a difference if you will establish a strong church relationship in your marriage and in your family. Some of you have been playing in this area, and you need to deal with your unfaithfulness to God and His house!
· I am calling on our families and our married couples to work toward spiritual oneness. Pray together! Study the Word together! Love Jesus Christ together and watch Him change you and your home for His glory!
Conc: One plus one equals one! God has some strange math doesn’t He? He is able to take two people from two totally different backgrounds, bring them together in Jesus and make them one physically, psychologically and spiritually. That is a beautiful thing!
· I wonder today, do you need to come and pray with and for your spouse?
· Do you need to bring your children before the Lord today?
· Do you need to commit to their spiritual formation today?
· Do you need to repent of some sin? Of selfishness? Of self-centeredness?
· Do you need to come to Jesus Christ for salvation?
· Do you need to apologize to your spouse for the way you have acted toward them?
Let’s obey His voice today.
This message was adapted from a sermon by Dr. Jerry Vines entitled, “Formula For A Fantastic Family”.