Building A God Centered Marriage
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Joshua 24:14-15
Sunday 8th May 2016
We continue our family-focused teaching with this second message titled ‘Building a God-centered Marriage’. Our focus during this family Convention is to give Christ the preeminent position in our homes.
Our foundation scriptures taken from Joshua 24:14-15 reads: “So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
This scripture establishes the truth that there is a purpose for marriage, which is to serve the Lord. We can infer from this statement that marriage is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Joshua understood this, and was careful in declaring to the nation of Israel, that he and his family were going to take a stand and serve God faithfully, despite living during a time when humanism and relativism was rife. Conversely, we all have to make a decision about our families – a decision to serve the Lord.
God’s had purpose in mind when He originally established the institution of marriage. We find this purpose documented in Genesis 1:27-28; ‘So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” The word ‘Be’ in this verse connotes purpose. The union of a man and woman in marriage is ordained for a purpose. Unfortunately, many marriages are existing without purpose. Self-centeredness and selfish ambitions has replaced Christ-centeredness.
Let me take a few moments to address our singles. Many are desperate to get married, without considering the purpose of wanting to do so. Reasons such as, 'it is a nice thing to do', loneliness, the pressure of time running out are not good enough reasons. These reasons are mainly born out of selfishness, which often leads to breakdown in relationships. Again, let’s take a look at the first marriage in the Garden of Eden, drawing out the main purpose from Genesis 2:18 reads: ‘Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him” (NLT). The word ‘helper’ also connotes purpose.
When a couple begins married life, the divine reason for the union is the fulfilment of purpose. Each marriage is ordained to fulfil God’s mandate, and not that of personal fulfilment. It must be categorically stated that no human being can satisfy the longings of another – fulfilment and wholeness comes only from Christ. Colossians 2:10 reads: ‘and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power’. One of the by-products of a Christ-centered marriage is a fulfilled, loving, caring, affectionate, thriving, stable and joy-filled marriage. A spouse cannot make their partner happy constantly, as the capacity to do so only reside in Christ.
Here are 3 ways to serve God with your marriage:
(1) By modelling Christ to the world: Our decisions, values, lifestyle and outlook to life ought to reflect Christ. As our marriages were ordained by God to model Christ to the world, this should be obvious to outsiders when they observe our families. From Ephesians 5:22-30, Apostle Paul admonishes each couple to play their God-given roles in maintaining a wholesome relationship with each other. ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones'.
This scripture points out that the husband is the head of the wife. The headship that wives are called to submit to is not that of superiority or domineering, but rather that of leadership, love, guidance, direction, care and responsibility. Wives are called to submit to their husbands, in accordance to the will of God, in the same way that the Church submits to Christ. When this model is followed by wives, undoubtedly the world will eventually stop to take notice. Husbands were admonished to love their wives, in the same way that Christ sacrificially loved the church. Christ loved the church irrevocably, unconditionally and totally. It is a church, far from perfect and undeserving. Yet Christ loved her nonetheless.
(2) By modelling Christ to our Children: Our relationship with each other as married couples shapes the lives of our children. Genesis 1:11-12 reads; ‘Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good’. This scripture gives us a principle that everything reproduces after its kind. If godliness is modelled before our children, they would reproduce this accordingly. As our marriages were ordained by God to raise godly children, we must be intentional about the things we expose our children to.
(3) By modelling Christ to the Church: Our marriage must exemplify Christ to others in our circles, especially in the church. Other believers must be edified by our marriage relationships.
In conclusion, how can we achieve serving God with our marriages? Amos 3: 3 provides us with an answer. ‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’ Agreement is the right basis for serving God and fulfilling His purpose for our marriage. Agreement in Hebrew means Ya’ad, which means to fix, appoint, assemble, meet, etc. The more meeting points a couple can create, the better they would become at walking together. This forms the point of agreement, and makes it easier to walk together in fulfilling God’s purpose for the union.
In establishing meeting points, each couple must make a list of things you both enjoy based on your godly values, including spiritual, social, entertainment, recreation, vacation, sports, intimacy, investments and nutritional values. This is vital to sustaining the relationship well into the advanced years of the couple, long after the children have left home, and ensuring that creeping separateness is banished from their home. God desires that our homes are centered on Him, hence let’s give our marital relationships the necessary attention that it deserves.
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