Do you realize that here in the United States of America, we are now in the midst of the worst epidemic of family breakdown in our life time. The world is overdue for an answer. And that answer is Jesus Christ. I'd like for you to come to the last book of the Old Testament: Malachi 4. This makes a prediction that in the last days something will happen. Look at Malachi 4:5,6, the last two verses of the Old Testament. "I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers;" Apparently there's going to be a great dearth of affection in the family. "or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." I think we're feeling that curse. I think we're in the moment these verses predict.
Did you know that over two million children are abused every year here in the United States? That's a lot of children. Did you know that Alcohol breaks up one home here in America every seven minutes? Don't get into alcohol. Forty-five percent of all children live in a family torn by divorce. That's almost half. Single parent families will soon out number two parent families. That's shocking, isn't it.
We are in the midst of a National Domestic Emergency. I think we need some answers. Valentine's Day is coming up and I remember sitting in our beautiful Valentine banquet out here and looking into the face of my wife. I thought, "God has really blessed me with a wonderful companion. Fertilize that relationship that you have. Foster and develop the love that Christ has given you.
All too many modern American homes seem to be working on three shifts: Father works the night shift. Mother works the day shift. And the children shift for themselves. You know, I think that all too often the children are raised by the television. Is there any hope? The Bible points to some great keys where you can have a happy marriage. You can make your marriage work. You can make it last a long time.
1. Jesus must be the centerpiece.
Come over here to Psalm 127. Apparently Jesus is a contractor because it makes a statement about our God. Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord build the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen guard in vain. Unless God builds your house, you're building in vain. So, if you're going to have a happy marriage,
1. God needs to be at the centerpiece of the marriage.
Jesus Christ needs to be central in your home. You need to have family worship. You need to pray together. You need to develop the love of Jesus Christ in your hearts and in your home.
So, Jesus Christ should be the focal point of every family. And until Jesus is in the heart of the home, it will never achieve the greatness for which it was intended. Either Jesus is building your marriage up, or the devil is in the process of tearing it down. It's one or the other. And the devil hates a Christian home. The only source of true fulfillment and lasting joy in any marriage is Jesus Christ. So, get Him into your home.
Our little children have it right. They sing: With Jesus in the Daddies heart, Happy Happy home. With Jesus in the Mamas heart, Happy Happy home.
Unless Jesus is in the core of your central values you are not going to have a happy home
A home needs more than a wedding, more than a blueprint. Homes need more than vows. The answer is Christian love because Jesus lives in that home. But how does love work in a five-room house with four walls, three children, two dogs and one cat? It works very well if Jesus Christ is the glue chosen to hold it all together. Then you can go through financial problems. You can be struggling and digging in the drawers for a quarter or a dollar to go down and get a little loaf of bread or something, and you'll make it because Jesus is at the core.
A little girl was in a home that was not experiencing very much happiness. She was asked to define the word, Matrimony. She said, "Well, matrimony is a place of torment through which every man and woman must pass on their way to glory." The questioner said, "Oh no, that's Purgatory." And the little girls said, "Mister, at our house that is matrimony!"
The home where Jesus abide is going to have a little bit of heaven on this earth. It's not going to be like a little hell.is where love abides. "A home is where love dwells and where it finds expression in looks, in words, in acts, is a place where angels delight to dwell."1 Do the angels like to stop by your house as a little oasis, a little place they can enjoy? Or, do they kind of by-pass your home?
2. Successful marriages are built on Bible principles.
The values of the Scriptures are paramount in a good Christian home. A good Christian home is where the Bible is studied. Where there's a daily family worship, getting into the Scriptures. Notice the record of the first home back here in Genesis. Genesis 2:18. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. You know, if you get to studying the Bible, you could go through the first chapter of Genesis; He created this day, and said it was good. He created the next day and said that's good. Seven times in the first chapter of Genesis God had said of His Creation: It was Good! The very first thing God ever says something is not good is about Adam. Genesis 2:18, The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him an helper suitable for him. Adam was the very first thing that God saw that wasn't good. Adam wasn't good because he wasn't complete. So, God said, "I will make a helper suitable for him." That proves that man needed help. We need help. And the women need help. We need each other.
Now, singleness is fine. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you can, try to make a pair out of yoursleves.
Look at Genesis 2:21-24. And the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh." Now, I don't know how Adam knew that because he didn't have a mother. I guess Adam had a lot of wisdom already. He'd never seen a mother in his life. A man should leave his father and mother and should cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.
Adam and Eve started out in their Eden home. It was a perfect environment. They didn't have any bills. It was not a shack in need of paint. It was a beautiful place. It was all paid for. They had no car payments. No Insurance Payments. No student loans. No In-laws and there were no outlaws. No children already. You know, some homes begin with children already before the marriage. They both had outside employment in a Landscaping business. They were exceedingly happy.
Adam never looked at another woman with lust. Adam never ran around on Eve. It was an ideal environment. God chose Eve for Adam. Let God choose your wife or husband for you. In fact she was tailor made for him. She was part of him, wasn't she. Then God glued them together. Their marriage lasted until after they celebrated their nine hundredth anniversary. It was a wonderful marriage.
Was the marriage without problems? No, they were evicted one time. Have you ever been evicted? That's tough. They had all kinds of problems. They had deaths in their family but the marriage held together. I think they were committed to each other.
The word, 'commitment' is perhaps the greatest word to describe true marriage. If you don't have commitment, then you could pull out of it at any time. You are committed to staying with it. Commitment. That's mentioned here in Malachi 2:14. ...the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Marriage is a covenant, a lifelong commitment with your partner.
I have seen some people that have been married to some spouse who was very hard to get along with. And yet they stuck with it because they were committed to it. It seems to, me that marriage ought to be a lifelong commitment. It seems that we modern folk have been experiencing a kaleidoscope of evil in our homes. Every kind of foundation is laid for a home imaginable. Today we have homes that are lead by two men or by two women. We have both of these now adopting children. We have live-in's. We have strayed from God's blueprint. We need to get back to the original marriage relationship of Eden. Unless God joins the man and the wife together, they will be put asunder. It won't last.
3. Marry a Believer.
A porcupine should never marry a pig unless the pig enjoys a lot of squealing and blood and misery. Don't do it. Come to 2 Corinthians in your Bible. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
If you marry someone who is not in love with Jesus, and you are in love with Jesus, you have automatically limited the potential for happiness in your new home. You are going to have constant strife. You're going to have a home where the shadows are never lifted. A Catholic should never marry a Baptist. One is go9ing to go to church over here and the other is going to go to church over there. A non-Christian should never marry a Christian because they're headed two different ways. A Seventh-day Adventist should not marry someone who believes differently. When Dad goes to one church and Mother goes to another church, little Billy, when he gets his driver's license will probably skip church altogether. Such a home will never reach the optimal happiness that it could reach.
My wife and I will be married for forty years this May. We met right outside the lady's restroom. Well, she went in there and I knew there was no exit except that door so just waited for her. Sure enough, she came out and I asked her if she would got for a date with me and we've been dating ever since. I bout her some flowers yesterday and brought hem home. It's good to do these things, you know. Way back, almost forty year ago, the future seemed so far away. We talked about it, we heard about it, pastors were preaching about it. The Lord is going to come, you know. And He's going to come quickly. We heard about how evil the world was becoming. And we read about the future, but we really wondered if the future would really happen to us. Certainly not to our 3 lovely little innocent babies.
Then one day the future started happening to us. When you see your children growing up they change. The long haircuts were in style. The chopped haircuts. It seemed that one day I was standing there saying, "I do", and the next I was pushing our granddaughter around the block in an eight-wheeled stroller with seat belts that cost almost $100. It has all gone by so fast. My Wife and I are living in a new world order that is governed by people whose diapers we used to change. Things are changing.
We had hoped that Jesus would come by now, but He hasn't come yet. We had hoped that we would all be home in heaven. And yet here we are. The thing that has helped over this quick span of time is our faith in Jesus
I have often thought of our wedding vows. WE have a tape recording of our wedding. We promise each other that we would love each other. You did that. And we said we'd do that "For better or worse!" Do you realize that God loves us for better or for worse? Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. This is actually an emulation of how God treats us. Jesus died for us while we were sinners, while we were still sinning! He is committed to us for better or for worse.
God loves us even though our sins killed His Son. He loves us even though we have hurt Him deeply. God loves us for better or worse. God's love will always be there for us no matter what we do. In Spiritual sickness or Spiritual health, God's love is dependable. We can always depend on God's love. No matter what you do, whether you're in Spiritual sickness or Spiritual health, for better or for worse. God's love is going to be there.
Every Husband and Wife would do well to emulate God's type of love in their own home. Psalm 103:10,11. Here's a picture of how God treats us. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. That's the kind of love you want to have for your wife, for your husband.
4. Marriage takes time.
Devote some time to your marriage. You devoted time when you were dating each other, and now you can devote time when you are together. Spend time with your wife. Turn off that TV or sell it. Spend some time with each other. Look into her beautiful eyes. Hold her hand. Tell her how much you love her. You know how!! Yes you do!! You used to do that when you were dating. Sit and talk. A good marriage requires energy input on a regular basis. How often do you prime the pump? Once in a life time? No way. Many times a day give her a true compliment.
Gentlemen, continue the same courtesies that won her affection in the beginning. Can you remember back far enough to the time when you used to graciously open the car door for her? You made sure her dress was in before shutting the car door. Now she is lucky if she gets in before you take off from the curb. Spend time with your wife. It takes time, daily time. Just because you told her you loved her on the wedding day doesn't men you don't need to tell her every day.
Think about the human body. Did God create our lungs so that we only have to breath once a month and that would do it? One deep breath would last for 30 days? NO! How often do you breathe? You're breathing all the time. Did God make our heart in such a way that one good strong beat one time every week would be all we would ever need? NO, the heart has to beat all the time! Did our Creator so design our stomach so that one meal a month would be all that is required? No way! Did God design husband and wives so that one time they would tell each other they love each other? No, it needs to happen all the time. Immerse you marriage in love. Our health depends on regular, frequent actions on the part of these important organs. And your marriage depends on regular frequent action on your part to keep that marriage going. Luke 11:3, Give us each day our daily bread. You need a daily bread from heaven and your marriage needs a daily feeding.
Marriage does not run on perpetual motion. Even true love that is unexpressed is going to die. You need communication. I told my wife the other day that the best times that I enjoy our marriage are when we sit on the back porch and just talk. I like that. That is so neat.
A good marriage is like a good relationship with Jesus. How strong would you be spiritually if you were to pray once a week, if you read your Bible once a month and read only a verse or two? I like to pray as often as possible. In fact it has become such a habit, that I often find myself praying when I wake up. I pray when I am out for my morning walk. I tell Him of my love for Him. It is a close walk, a wonderful relationship that is available if you put Jesus first.
By the way did you know that if you love your spouse more, your prayers will work better? To the extent that you love you spouse your prayers will get better. Did you know that's in the bible? Look at 1 Peter 3:7. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. If you don't love your spouse, it hinders your prayers. Grumping at your wife actually hinders your prayers! When you're nagging your husband, your prayers aren't going to work very well. Arguing and zeroing in on each other's faults.
A good marriage takes time. Express your love to your wife. How recently have you said to her: "I love you. How long has it been since you held her hand? Treat your wife just like you want to be treated. Matthew 7:12, In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Give your wife a true compliment. Find something to compliment her on and say it often.
5. Control selfishness.
Selfishness is a bad thing. Philippians 2:3 NKJV, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Place your spouse first (after Jesus). You will have a successful marriage. They come before you. Never marry a selfish person. If your husband is selfish and yells at you...Don't treat him as he deserves. If your wife harps and nags at you... Don't treat her accordingly. Treat her nice. In Every woman there is a Queen. Speak to the Queen and the Queen will eventually answer (Norwegian Proverb). How does God treat us? God is exceedingly kind. Better than we deserve! God is gentle and forgiving. Be like that.
Ephesians 5:25--God speaks to Husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.
Do you ever see a command in the Bible that says, "Love you husbands?" There is none. The command is to the husband: "Love your wife." There is no command in the Bible for wives to love their husbands. Not at all. The instruction is for the husband to love the wife. The burden is on the man. God has given you a beautiful companion. Instead of complaining of a shortage of matrimonial water, go home and prime your own pump. That's right!
A wife is sort of like the old fashioned well pump. If you prime that pump you will get all the good wholesome pure water you can possibly use. If a husband will pour in the love he will get far more back in return. Jesus has so designed a wife that if the husband will do the proper priming at the proper times, she will respond until his cup overflows with rich blessings. That's how it works.
So, on the Valentine's Day that is coming up, and every day, don't have a purgatory but make your matrimony into a little heaven on earth.
1.Adventist Home, by E.G. White, p. 426.6 .
Hymn of Praise: #25, Praise the Lord, His Glories Show Scripture: John 13:34,35 Hymn of Response: #655, Happy the Home 050212#17
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