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					                                                 -1-
                                        "Marriage: God’s Plan"
                                A Sermon preached by the Rev. Rob Hinman
                                First Presbyterian Church, September 9, 2007

        Today, we begin a three-week look at marriage. It is vital for us to learn God’s plan for
marriage, especially since many people today are as confused about marriage as the little boy who
heard in Sunday School how God made Eve from Adam’s rib. Later that week, his mother noticed
him holding his side. She asked if something was wrong, and he replied, “I have a pain in my side. I
think I’m having a wife.” Hardly a Biblical understanding!
      So today we examine God’s plan for marriage. Next Sunday, we will ponder God’s
promises for marriage. And on September 23, we will examine God’s purpose for marriage.
      These are not groundbreaking sermons. God’s Word has the message; my role is simply to
declare His truth. In fact, some, if not most of what I will say may seem obvious.
       I want to make some preliminary observations before we look at our text. First, all
Christian marriages are not alike. Each is unique. Some marriages are filled with energy and
enthusiasm, and God often teaches these couples to slow down and savor what they're experiencing.
Other marriages are deeply reflective and quiet, and many of these couples learn together to step out
and take risks of faith. Some marriages are poems, others are prose. Some are stormy, others
tranquil. Our Father shows endless variety as He unites a man and a woman.
        Thus, simply knowing the tricks ahead of time does not mean that marriage will be easy.
Difficulties, failures, unexpected turns in the road happen to every marriage.
         And there is no guarantee that marriage will occur for all who desire it. Many folks wish
to have a spouse, and have done all they can to seek God and healthy relationships, and yet they are
still not married. What they long for hasn't happened. And it isn't easy. God doesn't explain why
some good gift that a person longs for is withheld. Just knowing what the Bible teaches doesn't
guarantee things will work out the way we want.
     Additionally, there are believers everywhere who are either widowed or divorced. The
memories they have of being married color everything they think of the present and the future.
       Some who are currently married and who are miserable find that trusting God in the
midst of a difficult marriage requires more faith than they have. To know well what the Bible
teaches about marriage is a great advantage; the Lord uses truth to shape us for our benefit and His
glory. But knowledge, by itself, does not banish life's struggles.
       Finally, I must note that in contemporary discussion the subject of marriage is not
always regarded favorably. We live in an age when Biblical marriage is increasingly under attack.
Strident voices announce that anything and everything that claims itself to be a marriage is in fact a
marriage; serial marriages, open marriages, homosexual marriages, the list grows yearly. For many
young people in our culture, the possibility that they can aspire to a good marriage is receding. Many
of them have given up. They have looked at the adults around them and concluded it's not possible
to succeed as husband and wife; therefore, why try? So they live together.
        Answering such discouragement is a marvelous text in the 2nd chapter of Genesis.
There we find what scholars call a "primary reference point," the first place in the Bible that marriage
is mentioned. We must understand what is said here before we can understand the other passages
that follow.
       Here is simple yet powerful language that is normative for all people in every
generation. This scripture wasn't true just for Adam and Eve; it is true for the nature of marriage in
every generation. Jesus quoted it and said this is marriage, and what God has joined we must not
separate. The apostles quoted it and said this is marriage, and believing people must trust God to
                                                 -2-
live this way. Every generation of believers who are faithful to God's word will define marriage in this
way. So let’s read God’s Word:

The Old Testament Lesson:                        Genesis 2: 18-25
       Life would be so much easier if we were all back in Eden. When Adam and Eve had that
ideal marriage: Adam didn't have to hear about all the men Eve could have married, and she didn't
have to hear about the way his mother cooked.
      But we’re not in Eden and sin has twisted our world. So it’s vital to understand God’s plan
for marriage.
1.     The seasons of married life
      Marriages are dynamic and go through different seasons. Many experts see at least three
stages of marriage:
A.     The first stage they call the romance stage. Most marriages begin here. This is a time of
intense feelings as couples focus on each other. Couples tend to be idealistic. Love-struck King
Solomon described his mate like this (SOS 4):
       How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead [remember, this is a middle-eastern
setting!] Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely...we get the idea. Romance is a
heady stage!
B.      A second stage is the Reality Stage. Suddenly what once attracted us to our spouse
becomes the very thing that drives us crazy. We know we’ve left the Romance stage when we start
rolling our eyes at couples who haven’t! Excitement dulls. Disagreements turn passion to ice.
       It’s like the young minister who sought the advice of an older pastor before he
performed his first wedding. The experienced man told the younger everything he needed to do
and then made one final suggestion: “If you ever forget what you’re supposed to say, just quote
Scripture.”
       The ceremony went smoothly until he pronounced the happy couple husband and wife.
At that point his mind went blank. Remembering the advice, he quickly quoted the first verse that
came to mind: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Romance is the beginning of marriage but reality will strike.
C.     The third stage is the rethinking stage. As we reassess our relationship, we find there are
three choices.
       First, we can settle for what we have. Minnie Pearl said it well, “Getting married is a lot like
getting into a tub of hot water. After you get used to it, it ain’t so hot.” For some of us, our marriages
have cooled off. For others, married life is a superheated battlefield. It’s a choice, not much of one,
but we could settle for what we have.
       A second choice is to bail out on your marriage. Maybe you just can’t take it anymore and
want out. You hurt too much. The average American marriage lasts about 7 years. It’s a choice, but
not a good one, to bail on your marriage. And if you have already made this decision, remember
God’s grace and forgiveness offers the opportunity to move into healing.
       A third choice is to build our marriage. Here is where some of us are thinking, “You’ve got
to be kidding. Do you know how difficult it is to live with my spouse? There’s no way to build my
marriage!” Ted Turner once said: “After having done CNN and the Superstation, winning the
America’s Cup in 1997 and the ’95 World Series with the Atlanta Braves, I feel that I can do just about
anything. Except have a successful marriage.”
                                                   -3-
      There’s not a marriage in which those words have not been said, including Ginger’s and mine.
But, God has said that we can build if we are willing to trust Him.
       I don’t know all of your difficulties, but we do know the One who does, and He says it is
possible to build. That is why we must understand God’s instructions for marriage. God has given
us a plan and it works. Just look around at all the marriages we have in here that are working.

      (Stand up if married over 20 years!)

        The very position of this first text on marriage tells us that marriage matters to God. It is
part of the creation detailed in Chapters 1 and 2. Let’s look at the details.
2.    A suitable companion (18-20)
       Marriage is given by God to meet our core need for companionship. Adam was created
in God’s own image, which means among other things that he hungered for community in which he
could praise God. God has that community within the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But
Adam did not and God was not pleased. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a
helper suitable for him.”
      This is a remarkable statement. Six times, after each major creation event, God looked at
what He created and said, “It is good.” But here God says “It is not good.” So God acts.
       He makes a helper for Adam. This word “helper” throws us off. We think of a subservient
assistant. That’s not the idea in the original Hebrew at all. God calls Himself a helper in Psalm 46:1,
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” A “helper” supplies what is lacking
so that God can be praised. Isn’t it amazing that God helps us to praise Him? Eve was given to
Adam so that the two could glorify God.
      Adam was naming the animals and realized that he was incomplete. Then He watched
God complete His creation as He made woman. Eve was Adams’ suitable companion and marriage
was part of God’s plan for God’s praise.
        Nothing here about the man being better than the woman, or woman over man, or that we
can’t live effective lives in singleness. This is about the completion of creation in a man and woman
united in marriage to the praise and glory of God.
3.    Man and woman: God-made unity (21-23)
       In verses 21-23, God tells us what marriage is. It is a God-made union between one man
and one woman. No other union can be called a marriage. And the first wedding was
magnificent! Look at verse 22: “God brought her to the man.” God was the original Father of the
bride. Adam’s joy is lost in modern English. Adam’s word should be translated: “Wow! This is it!” In
The Message it’s “Finally!” Adam knew this woman was his suitable companion.
      God then spells out four essentials for marriage.
4.    Four essentials
      a. Severance (24a)
       Severance means to sever, as in cut the apron strings. The word “leave” is very strong in
the Hebrew. Real severance is necessary for a new family to be established. The woman is subject
to her husband, but the husband is subject to his wife because forevermore he is responsible for her.
        I read a story about a mother and father who gave their only daughter away in marriage.
After the honeymoon, the newlyweds moved several states away. A few weeks later, the phone rang,
the mother answered, and it was their daughter. She was in tears because she and her husband had
just had their first fight. The daughter asked to speak to her dad. He took the phone and went into
another room and talked to "his little girl." When he returned, the mother asked, "What did she say?"
                                               -4-
The father replied, "She and her husband had a big fight and she wants to come home." The mother
asked, "What did you say?" The father answered, "I told her that she IS home."
      That’s good! That father understood severance. This doesn’t mean that we forget our
parents. We must honor our parents, but our chief loyalty now belongs to our spouse.
      b. Permanence (24b)
       A second essential is commitment to permanence. The word “united” literally means to be
glued together -- “to melt 2 separate entities together to form a permanent bond.” The traditional
word we hear in some weddings is “cleave”. Think of something so permanently joined that it would
take a meat cleaver to break it apart.
       This is a lifetime process. Being united is choosing to invest your best in strengthening the
relationship. It's choosing to spend your time in a way that enhances the other. Choosing to listen, to
be vulnerable, and to let your spouse be vulnerable without any rejection. It's choosing to be united in
Jesus Christ.
      c. Unity (24c)
      Unity is an essential in marriage. God says that the two will become one flesh. As God knit
us together in our mother’s womb, He can knit our souls together in marriage. Our Lord Jesus said:
“They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate.” (Mt.
19:6)
        There is a word of caution to be given. Unity is soul oneness but it is not uniformity. We
still see two separate people. A couple is united but they are not made uniform. Most of our
struggles come because we try to make our mate look and act just like us. Unity is soul oneness that
comes as the two surrender their life together to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
       In many respects the best biological analogy to marriage is the creation of a life.
Husband and wife each give a cell having 23 chromosomes, and a unique individual life is created. In
marriage, two unique individuals are given to each other and God creates a living thing that never
existed before.
       It's worth noting that the penalty in the Old Testament for both adultery and murder is
the same, because both of them take the life of something that matters to God. Human
individuals and marriages are His creation. I don’t say this to pour salt in the wounds of those who are
separated or divorced. Rather, I say this to encourage all of us to learn to have God’s attitude. We
cannot regard marriage as some kind of throw-away experiment or vehicle for personal pampering.
Thus, when a marriage dies, we should mourn as we would for the loss of a person's life.
      d. Intimacy (25)
       The final essential in God’s plan is intimacy. Too often verse 25 is not read at weddings,
leaving out the Bible’s most beautiful picture of God’s plan for marriage: “The man and his wife were
both naked, and they felt no shame.” Adam and Eve, were completely exposed in every respect, not
ashamed about anything they saw, thought felt or believed. How many miss such intimacy. But God
plans for us to be so transparent.
       Sin has another idea. God’s plan was shattered in a moment of rebellion recorded in
Genesis 3. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and in verse 3:7 we read, “The eyes of both of them
were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made
coverings for themselves.”
       Sin stole the intimacy. And sin will steal the intimacy from our marriages. But there is a
defense provided. It requires our willingness to remain humble before God. Only with God’s help can
we build Christ-centered marriages that exemplify severance, permanence, unity and intimacy.
                                                   -5-
        Earlier, I read a bit of King Solomon’s love poetry. Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes and in
it he said that two together are better than one alone. Doubling increases strength exponentially.
Double a 4x4 piece of angle iron and the load increases 43 times! 1 piece holds 2,200 lbs; 2 - 96,000!
       Solomon went on in verse 4:12 to say, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” If two
are that much stronger, can you imagine what happens when you add a third? God knows and has
given us a third strand for marriage - Jesus. He makes possible marriages that fit God’s plan.
        There is no more important ingredient in life, single or married, than the Lordship of
Jesus Christ. It’s like the reaction the little boy had when he heard that Jesus went to a wedding and
turned plain water into wine. When he got home, his dad asked him what he learned from this story.
The boy thought for a moment and then answered: “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is
there.”
      If you want a marriage like God plans marriage to be, make sure Jesus is there.

       I invite us to stand as we close in prayer. If you’re married, and your spouse is here, I’d like
you to hold hands. And those who are married, I encourage to reach out and hold the hands of your
children and those who are single today.

Father, we pray for all marriages.
 For those that have survived long years.
 For those in trouble and teetering on the edge of destruction.
 For those that have not yet begun but are being planned even now.
 For those that are blossoming after long years of growth.
Father, we pray that every heart here will be surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Renew our
marriages.
Father, strengthen all those who find themselves in singleness.
 For widows and widowers, may they thank You for sweet memories.
 For the divorced, may they find Your grace in intimacy with Jesus.
 For single parents, may You be that missing parent, Father.
 For the unmarried, and those who want to be married, God bring Your best to them in Your own
  time.
 For those having the gift of singleness, may they have an eternal impact in Your kingdom work.
 May we support and love them. And Lord, consecrate us to purity and holiness in our lives according
  to Your grace and truth.
     In Jesus’ mighty and magnificent Name. Amen.
                                                 -6-
                                        "Marriage: God’s Plan"
                                  A Sermon preached by the Rev. Rob Hinman
                             First Presbyterian Church, September 9, 2007 (6 PM)

        Tonight, we begin a three-week look at marriage. It is vital for us to learn God’s plan for
marriage, especially since so many people have the wrong understanding of marriage. A dietitian
once addressed a large group in Chicago. "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have
killed most of us sitting here years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks erode your stomach lining.
And none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is
one thing more dangerous than all. Can anyone tell me what food causes the most grief and suffering
for years after eating it?"
        A 75-year-old man in the front row said, "Wedding cake."
      So tonight we examine God’s plan for marriage. Next Sunday, we’ll ponder God’s
promises for marriage. And on September 23, we’ll examine God’s purpose for marriage.
      These are not groundbreaking sermons. God’s Word has the message; my role is simply to
declare His truth.
       I want to make some observations before we look at our text. First, every marriage is
unique. Some marriages are poems, others are prose. Some are stormy, others tranquil. Our Father
shows endless variety as He unites a man and a woman. Thus, simply knowing the tricks ahead
of time does not mean that marriage will be easy. Difficulties, failures, unexpected turns in the
road happen to every marriage.
         And there is no guarantee that marriage will occur for all who desire it. Many folks wish
to have a spouse, and have done all they can to seek God and healthy relationships, and yet they are
still not married. What they long for hasn't happened. And it isn't easy. God doesn't explain why
some good gift that a person longs for is withheld. Just knowing what the Bible teaches doesn't
guarantee things will work out the way we want.
     Additionally, there are believers everywhere who are either widowed or divorced. The
memories they have of being married color everything they think of the present and the future.
       Some people are married but are miserable. They find trusting God in the midst of a difficult
marriage requires more faith than they have. To know what the Bible teaches about marriage is a
great advantage for them, but knowledge by itself does not banish life's struggles.
       Finally, I must note that in these days, marriage is not always regarded favorably.
Biblical marriage is increasingly under attack as strident voices announce that anything and
everything that claims itself to be a marriage is in fact a marriage; serial marriages, open marriages,
homosexual marriages, the list grows yearly. Many young people have looked at the adults around
them and concluded it's not possible to succeed as husband and wife; so they live together.
        Answering such discouragement is a marvelous text in the 2nd chapter of Genesis.
There we find what scholars call a "primary reference point," the first place in the Bible that marriage
is mentioned. We must understand what is said here before we can understand the other passages
that follow.
      Here is simple yet powerful language that is normative for all people in every
generation. This scripture was true for Adam and Eve; it was true for Jesus; it was true for the
Apostles; and it is still the definition of marriage today. So let’s read God’s Word:
The Old Testament Lesson:                        Genesis 2: 18-25
       We sometimes think how easy life was in Eden. But marriage was hard for Adam and Eve,
too.
                                                   -7-
       One day Adam took a walk in the Garden of Eden. He told Eve he’d be back soon. But we
all know that "soon" means different things to men and women. So when Adam got home, Eve
pounced. "Where have you been all this time?" "Out walking," Adam replied. "Where could I have
been? How can you be jealous when we're the only people on earth?"
       Eve didn't argue anymore, but that night while Adam was sleeping, she made sure to count his
ribs. And ever since, it has been vital for people to understand God’s plan for marriage.
5.     The seasons of married life
      Marriages are dynamic and go through different seasons. Many experts see at least three
stages of marriage:
A.     The first stage they call the romance stage. Most marriages begin here. This is a time of
intense feelings as couples focus on each other. Couples tend to be idealistic. Love-struck King
Solomon described his mate like this (SOS 4):
       How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead [remember, this is a middle-eastern
setting!] Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely...we get the idea. Romance is a
heady stage!
B.      A second stage is the Reality Stage. Suddenly what once attracted us to our spouse
becomes the very thing that drives us crazy. We know we’ve left the Romance stage when we start
rolling our eyes at couples who haven’t! Excitement dulls. Disagreements turn passion to ice.
      It’s like the young minister who sought the advice of an older pastor before he
performed his first wedding. The experienced man laid it out for him and then said, “If you forget
what you’re supposed to say, just quote Scripture.”
       The ceremony went smoothly until he pronounced the happy couple husband and wife.
Then his mind went blank. So he quickly quoted the first verse that came to mind: “Father, forgive
them, for they know not what they do.”
Romance is the beginning of marriage but reality will strike.
C.     The third stage is the Rethinking Stage. As we reassess our relationship, we find there are
three choices.
       First, we can settle for what we have. This morning, someone said this was resignation.
Minnie Pearl said it well, “Getting married is a lot like getting into a tub of hot water. After you get
used to it, it ain’t so hot.” We can settle for the status quo. It’s a choice, not much of one, but we
could settle for what we have.
       A second choice is to bail out on your marriage. Again, someone this morning said this is
when we rescind our marriage. Maybe you’re there. You just can’t take it anymore and want out.
You hurt too much. Bailing out is a choice, but not a good one. And if you have already made this
decision, remember God’s grace and forgiveness offers the opportunity to move into healing.
         A third choice is to build our marriage. One person this morning suggested this is the
reconsidering stage. Some of us are thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding. Do you know how difficult it
is to live with my spouse? There’s no way to build my marriage!” It’s why Mary buried her husband
Sam twelve feet under? Because deep down, he was a good guy.
      There’s not a marriage in which those words have not been said, including Ginger’s and mine.
But, God has said that we can build if we are willing to trust Him.
       I don’t know all of your difficulties, but we do know the One who does, and He says it is
possible to build. That is why we must understand God’s instructions for marriage. God has given
us a plan and it works. Just look around at all the marriages we have in here that are working.
                                                  -8-
      (Stand up if married over 20 years!)
        The very position of this first text on marriage tells us that marriage matters to God. It is
part of the creation detailed in Chapters 1 and 2. Let’s look at the details.
6.    A suitable companion (18-20)
      Adam was created in God’s own image, which means that among other things he hungered for
community. God has that community within the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Adam did not
have community and God was not pleased. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will
make a helper suitable for him.”
      This is a remarkable statement. Six times, after each major creation event, God looked at
what He created and said, “It is good.” But here God said “It is not good.” So God acted.
       He made a helper for Adam. This word “helper” throws us off. We think of a subservient
assistant.
         It’s like the psychiatrist who advised a henpecked husband to assert himself. "You don’t
have to let your wife bully you. Go home and show her you’re the boss."
          The husband decided to take the doctor's advice. He went home, slammed the door, shook
his fist in his wife's face, and growled, "From now on you're taking orders from me. I want my supper
right now, and when you get it on the table, go upstairs and lay out my clothes. I’m going out with the
boys while you stay home where you belong. Another thing, you know who is going to tie my bow
tie?"
         "I certainly do," said his wife calmly. "The undertaker."
       Subservience is not the idea in the original Hebrew of this text. God calls Himself a
helper in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” A “helper”
supplies what is lacking so that God can be praised.
      Adam was naming the animals and realized that he was incomplete. Then He watched
God complete His creation as He made woman. Eve was Adams’ suitable companion and marriage
was part of God’s plan for God’s praise.
       There is nothing here about the man being better than the woman, or woman over man.
This is about the completion of creation in a man and woman united in marriage to the praise and
glory of God.
7.    Man and woman: God-made unity (21-23)
       In verses 21-23, God tells us what marriage is. It is a God-made union between one man
and one woman. No other union can be called a marriage. And the first wedding was
magnificent! Look at verse 22: “God brought her to the man.” God was the original Father of the
bride. Adam’s joy is lost in modern English. Adam’s word should be translated: “Wow! This is it!” In
The Message it’s “Finally!” Adam knew this woman was his suitable companion.
      God then spells out four essentials for marriage.
8.    Four essentials
      a. Severance (24a)
       Severance means to sever, as in cut the apron strings. The word “leave” is very strong in
the Hebrew. Real severance is necessary for a new family to be established. The woman is subject
to her husband, but the husband is subject to his wife because forevermore he is responsible for her.
        I read a story about a mother and father who gave their only daughter away in marriage.
After the honeymoon, the newlyweds moved several states away. A few weeks later, the phone rang,
the mother answered, and it was their daughter. She was in tears because she and her husband had
just had their first fight. The daughter asked to speak to her dad. He took the phone and went into
                                                   -9-
another room and talked to "his little girl." When he returned, the mother asked, "What did she say?"
The father replied, "She and her husband had a big fight and she wants to come home." The mother
asked, "What did you say?" The father answered, "I told her that she IS home."
      That’s good! That father understood severance. This doesn’t mean that we forget our
parents. We must honor our parents, but our chief loyalty now belongs to our spouse.
      b. Permanence (24b)
       A second essential is commitment to permanence. The word “united” literally means to be
glued together in a permanent bond. The traditional word we hear in some weddings is “cleave”.
Think something so inseparable that it would take a meat cleaver to break it apart.
         Sam was invited to his friend John’s home for dinner. John and his wife had been married
for nearly fifty years, so Sam was pleasantly surprised that John preceded every request to his wife
by endearing terms, calling her Honey, Darling, Sweetheart, Pumpkin, etc. When Sam commented
on it, John could only hang his head and whisper, "Tell you the truth, I forgot her name three years
ago."
      This is a lifetime process. Being united is choosing to give your best to the relationship. It’s
choosing to listen, to be vulnerable, and to let your spouse be vulnerable without any rejection. It's
choosing to be united in Jesus Christ.
      c. Unity (24c)
      Unity is an essential in marriage. God says that the two will become one flesh. As God knit
us together in our mother’s womb, He can knit our souls together in marriage. Our Lord Jesus said:
“They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate.” (Mt.
19:6)
        There is a word of caution to be given. Unity is soul oneness but it is not uniformity. We
still see two separate people. A couple is united but they are not made uniform. Most of our
struggles come because we try to make our mate look and act just like us.
       In many respects the best biological analogy to marriage is the creation of a life.
Husband and wife each give a cell having 23 chromosomes, and a unique individual life is created. In
marriage, two unique individuals are given to each other and God creates a living thing that never
existed before.
        It's noteworthy that the penalty in the Old Testament for adultery and murder is the
same. Why did God make it this way? Because just as murder ends a life God made, so adultery
kills a marriage He made. Our Creator-Father wants us to take both with the utmost seriousness.
And, He wants us to mourn the death of a marriage just as we mourn the loss of a life. Both require
God’s grace and the hope of resurrection.
      d. Intimacy (25)
       The final essential in God’s plan is intimacy. Too often verse 25 is not read at weddings,
leaving out the Bible’s most beautiful picture of God’s plan for marriage: “The man and his wife were
both naked, and they felt no shame.” Adam and Eve, were completely exposed in every respect, not
ashamed about anything they saw, thought felt or believed. How many miss such intimacy. But God
plans for us to be so transparent.
       Sin has another idea. God’s plan was shattered in a moment of rebellion recorded in
Genesis 3. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and in verse 3:7 we read, “The eyes of both of them
were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made
coverings for themselves.”
                                                 - 10 -
       Sin stole the intimacy. And sin will steal the intimacy from our marriages. But there is a
defense provided. It requires our willingness to remain humble before God. Only with God’s help can
we build Christ-centered marriages that exemplify severance, permanence, unity and intimacy.
        Earlier, I read a bit of King Solomon’s love poetry. Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes and in
it he said that two together are better than one alone. Doubling increases strength exponentially.
Double a 4x4 piece of angle iron and the load increases 43 times! 1 piece holds 2,200 lbs; 2 - 96,000!
       Solomon went on in verse 4:12 to say, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” If two
are that much stronger, can you imagine what happens when you add a third? God knows and has
given us a third strand for marriage - Jesus. He makes possible marriages that fit God’s plan.
        There is no more important ingredient in life, single or married, than the Lordship of
Jesus Christ. It’s like the reaction the little boy had when he heard that Jesus went to a wedding and
turned plain water into wine. When he got home, his dad asked him what he learned from this story.
The boy thought for a moment and then answered: “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is
there.”
      If you want a marriage like God plans marriage to be, make sure Jesus is there.

       I invite us to stand as we close in prayer. If you’re married, and your spouse is here, I’d like
you to hold hands. And those who are married, I encourage to reach out and hold the hands of your
children and those who are single today.

Father, we pray for all marriages.
 For those that have survived long years.
 For those in trouble and teetering on the edge of destruction.
 For those that have not yet begun but are being planned even now.
 For those that are blossoming after long years of growth.
Father, we pray that every heart here will be surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Renew our
marriages.
Father, strengthen all those who find themselves in singleness.
 For widows and widowers, may they thank You for sweet memories.
 For the divorced, may they find Your grace in intimacy with Jesus.
 For single parents, may You be that missing parent, Father.
 For the unmarried, and those who want to be married, God bring Your best to them in Your own
  time.
 For those having the gift of singleness, may they have an eternal impact in Your kingdom work.
 May we support and love them. And Lord, consecrate us to purity and holiness in our lives according
  to Your grace and truth.
     In Jesus’ mighty and magnificent Name. Amen.
                                            - 11 -
                                    "Marriage: God’s Plan"
                        (The first in a three part series on Christian marriage)
                         The Rev. Rob Hinman First Presbyterian Church
                                           September 9, 2007
                                         Genesis 2:18-25

1. The seasons of married life
   a. Romantic


   b. Reality


   c. Rethinking


2. A suitable companion (18-20)



3. Man and woman: God-made unity (21-23)




4. Four essentials
   a. Severance (24a)



   b. Permanence (24b)



   c. Unity (24c)



   d. Intimacy (25)
                                             - 12 -
                                     Marriage Assignment
                                      September 9, 2007
                                       Genesis 2:18-25

1.   Discuss what season your marriage is in:
     a. Romance
     b. Reality
     c. Rethinking

2.   Then spend some time talking about where your marriage is on a continuum between soul
     oneness and soul isolation. Are you united or just sharing space?




3.   Spend some time thinking about specific ways in which you can build your marriage. What are
     some things that you can start doing to have a marriage according to God’s plan?
     a. How can you assure severance?



     b. How can you establish permanence?



     c. How can you build unity without demanding uniformity?



     d. How can you develop intimacy on all levels, emotional, physical, and spiritual?
                                          - 13 -
                                  Marriage Assignment
                                   September 9, 2007
                                    Genesis 2:18-25

1.   Discuss what season your marriage is in:
     a. Romance
     b. Reality
     c. Rethinking

2.   Then spend some time talking about where your marriage is on a continuum between soul
     oneness and soul isolation. Are you united or just sharing space?




3.   Spend some time thinking about specific ways in which you can build your marriage. What
     are some things that you can start doing to have a marriage according to God’s plan?
     a. How can you assure severance?



     b. How can you establish permanence?



     c. How can you build unity without demanding uniformity?



     d. How can you develop intimacy on all levels, emotional, physical, and spiritual?
                                                 - 14 -
Illustration not used:

[Hold up both cords to show the idea of leaving our parents -- cords should be held apart and pulled
away from parents]

[Take two cords and put two ends together to show that the two are now “glued” together]

[Take two ropes and wrap them around each other several times to make one strong rope]

[Let ropes loose at bottom so they start unraveling]

[Take 3d cord and slowly wrap it around the other two]

				
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