Sermon delivered September 20, 1997

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

How to Have a Happy Home in an Unhappy World

This morning I want to talk to you about How to Have a Happy Home in an Unhappy World. That's something we have to face. We invest a lot of money on weddings. We've had a lot of nice weddings here in this church. The average cost of a formal wedding in the USA is $17,470. I wonder if Adventist weddings are cheaper or more. Nobody will ever tell. I always ask them, "How much did this wedding cost?" "Well, I won't tell."

Modern Bride Consumer Council Study US Today, 6/28/94 p. 1D.

The minister, by the way, in our church is free, because our salary is already paid. Sometime people will give me a little gift, or something. I appreciate that, but the wedding is free as far as our services go and we want it to stay that way.

With such a large investment, we ought to check it out very carefully. You need to be careful who you get married to. Marriage is wonderful when it works. Well worth the investment of time and effort. It is the ground of happiness. Notice that in the word "wedding", the "we" comes before the "I". Never place yourself or your personal needs before the needs of your wife or your husband. This is selfishness.

R.E. Phillips the famous marriage counselor said, "I have done thousands of hours of marriage counseling and yet, I have never seen two unselfish people get a divorce. And I have never had anyone rush into my office and say: 'I want out of this marriage, My spouse has been too good and too nice to me'."

Song of Solomon 3:11 (NIV)- "Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at King Solomon wearing the crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced."

A wedding is a happy thing, isn't it? I've never seen a bad wedding. They're always happy. Everybody looks so nice. And we marry to get happiness! Right?? Wrong! We don't marry to get happiness. Never get married to find happiness. We get married so that we may be better fitted to BRING happiness into the world. We marry to assist each other in the goal of bringing happiness to somebody else. The most selfish and hateful life of all is that of two beings who unite in order to enjoy their mutual existence, and not to help somebody else. "What a noble goal when a man dedicates his life to serving God and bringing joy into the world, and he unites with a woman in order to enhance that purpose." - Leo Tolstoy

Malachi 2:14- "You ask 'why?' It is because 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."

If you still have the wife of your youth, you've go a treasure. You keep her. Invest time and energy in the relationship. Never let each other down. Be faithful to each other.

Verse 15. "Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth." Verse 16. "'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel,"

So invest some time in each other's lives. As long as you have the wife of your youth, keep that going. SPEND TIME TOGETHER!

One mother told of hearing her pre-school son talking to another 4- year-old boy on the front steps. "Where is your daddy?" he asked. "I've never seen him."

"Oh, he doesn't live here, he just sleeps here."

We are a sort of a nation of nomads. The typical U.S. home changes owners every 12 years and what little time we do spend at home is not quality time. We don't stay in a house very long. And the average marriage isn't any longer than that. Maybe it has to do with the wheels under our feet. We don't have roots anymore like we used to have. We don't spend time at home like we used to. You've read that the number of accidents in the home is increasing, and they are. Perhaps it is because people aren't spending enough time there to know their way around the place, and we bump into things. We have all seen what we thought was an ideal family. I would suggest that you get to know a GREAT FAMILY: Yours!

TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the success of your home. Ring Lardner said, "The family that you come from is not as important as the family you that are having right now." He's right! It doesn't matter about your history. What matters is today: what are you doing with your life right now: in your home, your children, your wife, your husband. The truth is, I can't do anything about the home which I was born into. In my case, it was a good one. We need to ask: now that I'm the dad, it's on my shoulders to make a good home.

So the atmosphere of your home is determined largely by you. More than anything else, it will be my words that spell the difference between a happy home and a home of the survival of the fittest. What kind of words echo off the walls of your house and sink into the souls of those impressionable folks under your roof? Are they kind words? Are they gentle words? I hope we never have unjust words like, "You'll never amount to anything. You keep that up and you're going to be a bum." Do you say that to your children? "With a report card like that you have just proved to me that you don't have any brains." Do you say that to your children? They are going to live up to what you say to them. We need to compliment our children. Don't ever say to your child, "Here, give me the wrench! I know how to use it." Train them. Have faith in them.

God chose an individual for a certain characteristic. Gen 18:19 (NIV). "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just" That's how you influence your family, by you doing what is right in the first place. You set the example for your children. They're going to follow and they're going to become what you are. That's how you do it, not by carrying a big stick, but by being a right person, by living the Christian life in your home.

Ephesians 4:29: "Don't let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." So we need to be building each other up, complimenting each other, constructive marriages, homes that are happy because we're not there criticizing, and bad-mouthing each other all the time.

There's a magazine called, Marriage & Divorce. Would you subscribe to that? Well, there is such a magazine, and it says in the March 1980 issue "Right now in the United States 1 out of 3 marriages ends in divorce. However, in a marriage where both people are married in a church, the divorce rate is 1 out of 50." If you just married in a building, and it goes on. It says, "In a marriage where the couple is married in a church, they attend church every week, and they pray and read the Bible together, the divorce rate is 1 out of 1,105." That's pretty good, isn't it? So you keep coming to church. You be a person of prayer. You be a person who reads and studies the Bible and you're going to have much more of a chance of having a happy home. That's the difference that Jesus Christ makes in a marriage.

Okay, you need to be faithful. You can't have a happy home if you are out there being unfaithful to your wife. Or if you are out there running around on your husband. There's no way you're going to have a happy home if you're at home doing some self abuse or doing some big problems to yourself. BE FAITHFUL AND PURE. A young teenager and his grandfather were talking. The young man said, "Boy!, Grandad, your generation didn't have all these social diseases. What did you wear to have safe sex?"

The wise old gentleman replied, "A wedding ring." I wear a spiritual wedding band around my heart. I don't wear a wedding ring. Even though our church does not recommend that any of us wear a wedding ring, we certainly encourage what that wedding band represents. Many of our members do opt to wear simple wedding bands. That band represents Loyalty to each other at all times in words and actions. After you are married keep yourself pure. A wise monkey will not monkey with another monkey's monkey.

Proverbs 5:15-21 (NIV). This calls wives, "cisterns". "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths."

Hebrews 13:4 (NIV): "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

This includes those men or women who may look at immoral magazines or filthy videos or just about as bad... these day time soap operas on TV.

Purity during marriage often depends on purity before marriage. But now I'm talking about young people. You young people, don't do it before marriage. Don't make love before marriage. Let me just say this: If in the circle of your acquaintances you find yourself in company with a young man or a young woman of low moral standards, get out of it immediately. Flee like Lot did from Sodom and don't be like Lot's wife, who lingered around among a bunch of fireworks.

Ann Landers asked her readers this question: Has your sex life gone downhill since marriage?

One reader, a man age 52, from Newark, New Jersey wrote back: "Your question - has sex gone downhill since marriage? - is an insult to those of us who waited until marriage to have it. You ought to tell your readers that if they don't eat the icing off the cake before supper they are likely to enjoy the dessert a lot better."

Getting married is easy. Anybody can do that. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime should rank among the fine arts of life. - Roberta Flack

The Christian is supposed to love his neighbor, and since his wife is his nearest neighbor, she should be his deepest love. - Martin Luther (1483 1546)

We need to stop picking at each other. Far too many wives drive from the back seat and far too many husbands cook from the dining room table. Think of all the squabbles Adam and Eve could have had in the course of their nine hundred year marriage. Eve could have said, "You ate the apple." Then Adam could have retorted, "Well, you gave it to me." "Well, you ate it!" "Why did you give it to me?" They could have gone on and on about that.

A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers. They forgive each other of your wrongs. To keep your home happy be careful what you say. Whenever you are wrong admit it. Whenever you are right, be quiet about it. I think some marriages would work better if one of the partners were deaf. We should leave unsaid much of the criticisms that come to our mind.

Colossians 3:12,13 (NIV): "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

I think we need to keep our love cup filled up. Sometimes I keep a cup of water down here in the pulpit in case I feel like I'm going to get a tickle in my throat, I can a drink out of it. We need to keep our love cups filled up. Yesterday I was coming out of the hospital from visiting a church member. I noticed a big expensive car in the doctor's parking space. I noticed that the car must have had a flat tire. Apparently, the owner had mounted the small doughnut-like spare on his big automobile. The trouble was that tiny spare on the front of that big expensive car was itself half flat: just barely above the ground. The reserve was half gone. His spare was half gone!

In this busy age too many marriages are like an automobile almost out of gasoline. We are running on fumes. We burn our joint candle at both ends and come home exhausted from our daily work. Our love gets thin. Tempers flare up. We thunder at each other. Yelling and screaming at children is not the way to make the home a howling success.

Colossians 4:6 (NIV): "Let your conversation be always full of grace..." We need to say something kind to each other every day. Make room for another opinion. Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham was asked if she and her husband always agreed on everything. "My goodness, NO!" she said. "If we did, there would be no need for one of us!" Ask Jesus to help you manage your conflict.

HELP EACH OTHER. The wife is the help meet but I think the husband also needs to help the wife when she needs it. Cleaning your house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalks while it's still snowing. Sometimes it takes both the father and the mother to get the job done. Some of the kindest words your spouse will ever hear are these: "What could I do today to lighten your load a little bit?"

Ephesians 5:25-31 makes a statement; this is all about husbands and wives. It says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

I want you to have a happy marriage. Now, some marriages don't work. But if you try, if both of you try, I believe your marriage will work.

Marriage, the home, the family are just as vital as is the Sabbath. Both the Sabbath and the home came from the hand of our loving Creator. Both came to us all the way from that perfect land called Eden. Holy Matrimony and the holy Sabbath. In this modern age both are in serious jeopardy.

Let's do all we can to bolster our homes. They are very important. The home is the future of our nation and our church. Let's read our Bibles, let's pray together, let's go to church and sit together, let's be together in every way that we can, and let's invite Jesus into our hearts and into our homes and ask Jesus to make our home a happy oasis in the midst of a very sick world.

Opening Hymn   230
Scripture Reading: Psalm 128
Closing Hymn-   652  Love at Home.

970920 gettys #101

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