Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more at harvest.org.
And while you're there, browse our library of free eBooks designed to help you grow in your faith. The word cleave means to glue or to cling. So what does that mean? It doesn't mean you're stuck together. It means you're holding on to one another. Big difference.
Recipes are comprised of the ingredients and the instructions. Most of us know from personal experience that things can go sideways in either area, right? But it's something special when everything works. Marriage is like that. When you combine two people who want to seek God, you fold in mercy, season with grace, and marinate in agape love, you've got the start of something beautiful.
Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us find God's recipe and follow the instructions. Let me take a quick poll before I begin. How many of you are single? Raise your hand up.
You're not married. Quite a few of you. Very good. By the way, just keep your hand up. You that are single. Keep your hand up.
Keep it up. Now look around. Look around. No seriously. Look around.
Yeah. Why do I say do that? Because the best place to meet the right person is in church, right?
That's why. That's good. I met my wife in church. I saw her sitting out there. It's not like I was scoping girls or something, but I saw her. I got to know her.
We've been married like 44 years. Okay. There you go. All right.
Second question. How many of you are married? Raise your hand. You're married.
Quite a few of you. All right. Okay. Now don't look around by the way. You're married.
Don't look around. Okay. Now you who are single. Be honest.
How many of you who are single wish you were married? Raise your hand. It's okay.
Don't be embarrassed. It's cool. Yeah. That's right. Okay.
How many of you who are married wish you were single again? Don't. Don't.
Do not do that. Just kidding. All right. So the title of my message is Marriage 101. Marriage 101.
We are in Ephesians chapter 5. Turn there with me if you would. Let me just say a few words to singles so you don't feel left out. As you are looking around here is what you need to look for. Look for a godly person.
Start there. And I didn't say look for a Christian because a lot of people will say there are Christians who are not Christians. You know there might be some guy who is not a believer and he will ask you out and you will say I won't go out with a guy that is not a Christian. Oh.
Are you a Christian? Oh yeah. Hallelujah. Whoa.
The way you said it sounded icky. Yeah. No. I love God.
Whatever. A guy will lie through his teeth and even some girls will. That is why I said look for someone that is godly. If you spend time with a person you will know whether they are a godly person or not.
One of the best places to go. Let's go to church. Let's go to church and worship together and have a Bible study together and see if they are into that.
Oh well I don't really want to do that. You know well ok you have a problem already. Now let me take it a step further. Look for someone who is even more godly than you. More godly than you are. So find contentment in your singleness before you go and try to find contentment as a married person.
But let me say this. There is a certain flexibility in being a single. I will give you a little homework assignment to look up later. 1 Corinthians 7. A 32 to 35 Paul talks about the mobility of a single. And he says you know an unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord's work thinking about how to please him but a married man can't do that. He has to think of how to please his wife.
That is not a criticism. When you are married you have to think about your wife. You have to think about your husband. Then when you become parents you have to think about your kids. You can't just run off and do whatever you want. But when you are single you have a mobility to maybe do things a married person could never do. So if you are in that moment of singleness in your life embrace the moment. Be the godliest version of you that you can be. Serve the Lord.
Take that free time you have and use it for His glory. And I just bet the Lord will just drop that person into your life. And you may even know them right now by the way. It is not always someone you meet. It is someone that you have known and all of a sudden the light goes on over your stupid head.
And you realize this person who is a great friend of mine and I have so much in common with and I enjoy being with so much actually could potentially be my future spouse. So start there. All right. So let's look at Ephesians now. And this is a few words to married people.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother. I am in verse 31. And be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and His church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular love his own wife as himself and see that the wife respects her husband. So we will stop right there. And this is Paul talking about what happened in the book of Genesis.
A husband and wife coming together leaving and cleaving. Just imagine for a moment what it would have been like to live in the Garden of Eden. I think sometimes we think of the Garden of Eden as a place that is not real like Camelot or Neverland or Atlantis. But the Garden of Eden was a real place in which God placed real people. And they were brought together.
It surpassed all the beautiful places on the planet today. And Adam was all alone. And he gave names to all the animals. But there was something missing. And in fact it was someone who was missing. And it was Eve. So the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. And he woke up. There was Eve. He says, this is not bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. So that is what is being talked about here. Now there is two operative words. Write these words down if you would please.
Two operative words that must constantly be in play for a marriage to be vibrant and successful. And those words are leave and cleave. Leave and cleave. Verse 5, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave into his wife. The word cleave means to glue or to cling. So it is leave and cleave.
So what does that mean? It means that first you leave father and mother. A son is still a son to his mom and dad. A daughter is still a daughter. But when she marries a man a new home is started. A new family has begun. And her primary responsibility is to her husband.
His primary responsibility is to the wife. So it is leave but it is also cleave. Now don't think of cleave as separating something. It is something coming together. Because the word cleave means to adhere to or to stick or to be attached by some strong tie. It doesn't mean you are stuck together. It means you are holding on to one another.
Big difference. See if I am climbing up the side of a rock I am holding on. Why? Because I want to live. That's why. So in marriage it is not, gee we are stuck together. Whatever.
You know someone said in a question that I read in the back room, should we stay together for the kids? Now you would expect me to say no. I will tell you my answer. Absolutely. But I have a better reason.
Stay together because God told you to stay together. Number one. That's the reason. Number two. Yeah. Kids is a good reason.
And number three. Your emotions will catch up with your commitment and time. Because in marriage you feel a lot of love at first. And then it ebbs and it flows and it ebbs and it flows and it changes and you change and they change and life changes. But you are honoring that commitment. And then the love comes back emotionally stronger than it has ever been. You don't feel it a day here or a day there. Whatever. The point is you keep that commitment throughout your life.
So, yes, just stay together. Pastor Greg Laurie will augment the council we're receiving in this message with a panel discussion on the issue of marriage in just a moment. Practical insight is just ahead. We really enjoy hearing when Pastor Greg's teaching and preaching touches lives. Pastor Greg, I came across your YouTube channel this past Friday. I spent most of the weekend listening to your messages. I'm now listening to your podcast and I can't tell you how great it is to have found you. I love your messages and they are helping me daily with my understanding of Christ and the Bible. I would say I've been a Christian for most of my life, but I've found it hard to let go of the world and my selfish desires. At 51 years of age, I'm finally understanding what it means to have a relationship with Christ. I'm married, I have two children who just graduated from high school, and I also desire for my wife and kids to dial into your messages because they need it too.
Thank you so much for all you're doing. It's a blessing to know that listeners are hearing these messages and God is using his word to touch individuals and families. How have Pastor Greg's studies impacted your life?
Would you let them know? Drop an email to Greg at Harvest dot org. That's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well recently Pastor Greg invited some friends up on stage with him to address questions from the congregation, practical questions about marriage and the family. A discussion begun by Pastor Jason Powell. Okay, there's a question that is really serious and it deals with affair. I probably have at least 30 people that have text in with an unfaithful spouse. And this one says, can a marriage of 25 years survive an affair? Another of the same says, my spouse is continually cheating on me.
What should I do? Another one, my husband is constantly texting other girls and deleting them and lying about it. I think he's having an affair. Another one, I just caught my husband having an affair over and over and over again and so I am over and over and over again and so what's the advice that you give to them? How do you affair proof your marriage? It's not easy.
I think of a picture I saw years ago of a fire that hit a neighborhood and every home was burned to the ground except one. And so they went and interviewed this guy and said, well why didn't your home burn down? He says, because I went beyond code.
When they said you put in this, I put in a you know a double insulation and I put in double glass and I did this other thing and he went beyond what was required. When you're constantly feeding your marriage, working on your marriage, loving your spouse, that's the best thing you can do. The best way to not go backwards is to go forward. Okay but if there's a breakdown in communication and if you get into porn, porn is like pouring gas on a fire. Okay. You say, well I have the strong sexual desire.
It's because you're looking at pornography. Don't feed lust. Starve lust. Okay. And the place to fulfill your sexual drive that is given to you by God is in your marriage.
The Bible says drink water from your own well. So that's what you need to do. And keep it interesting.
Keep it vibrant. You know you're married. Enjoy each other. Read the book of the Song of Solomon for Pete's sake. I mean that's what it's about. It's in the safety of marriage that God will bless.
And yes God can bless sex. But okay coming back just for a moment. I want you guys to jump in but on an affair let me make a distinction between two. One question. If there has been unfaithfulness can no marriage survive it?
The answer is yes. Adultery is not just cause for divorce. It's also cause for forgiveness. You can forgive.
You should try to forgive. But if he is a serial adulterer, let me change, adapt that. If she is a serial adulteress, two way street.
If they are doing it over and over okay come on. This is such a violation of the vows. And actually Jesus himself, I am never the guy to say get divorced. But there are exceptions to that rule. And Jesus said if there is unfaithfulness you have grounds for divorce. So yes you can forgive them but you do have grounds. And if there is serial adultery going on well you know that person has sabotaged the marriage and you can forgive them but there could come a point where you would just say I am sorry.
This is completely broken down. So that does happen. But you know the main thing, the best way to affair proof your marriage is constantly be strengthening your marriage and doing things that keep your marriage strong and vibrant. And then avoid influences like porn and stuff and flirty. Don't be texting girls. Stop.
You know. You have got to be very careful with that. My wife has all my passwords to everything. She will look at my text and she will go, we are doing what tomorrow? She will check my calendar. She will look at my emails.
That's fine by me. I don't have anything to hide. So if you have something to hide from your spouse there is a problem right there.
Amen. I would even say so say the adultery happens like this person who has been married for 25 years. Yes God can restore that marriage. Now it takes forgiveness on the part of the person who was the victim. And forgiveness is a choice.
It is something that you have to do every day. Because the enemy will come and try to bring that up years down the line. But you have to choose to forgive in that moment. The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of God.
Now what does that mean? Take our thoughts captive. You stop that thought right then and there. Give it over to God and do the obedient thing which is forgive. Choose to forgive.
And this is a process. And you are going to have to get through this. And then the other person, don't rush the other person to hurry up and get over this particular thing. You are the one who has made the offense. You need to be as gracious, as loving as possible.
You need to give all access to this person. And you not only just talk about repentance but you better show some fruits of repentance and get some accountability. Get some men if you are a man. Get some men in there that are holding you accountable.
If you are a woman get some women that are holding you accountable. But you can get through this. You can get through this.
We have seen many marriages at this particular church restored. So I think we have time for maybe one more question. One more question. And it is kind of a funny one.
And we are going to let the girls answer this. That's right. It says happy wife, happy life.
Is that true? What makes a happy marriage? Tell us girls. I think that really the happiness is not what you are trying to gain. But just like the Bible tells us that if we lose our lives is when we will find it. In the same way in marriage if we give of ourselves to our spouses that is when we are able to find that happiness. It is about serving each other. You know you enter into a marriage and sometimes we are disillusioned thinking that marriage is about satisfying our needs. But really we are here to honor God. And so as we walk in obedience to the Lord and we seek to serve our spouse it automatically we are blessed by it. We are benefited by it because that is where we find that satisfaction and that fulfillment. And so a happy wife is a wife who denies herself.
Beautiful. I think that a lot of the questions, some of the questions we have heard tonight and some of the things we talk about when we talk about marriage are focusing on the negatives. You know the divorce, the affairs, the hardship of being selfless and all of those things. But the question was happy wife, happy life.
Let me tell you there is no greater. God knew what he was doing when he brought Eve to Adam. He knew that it was not good to be alone. I think there is a great fear and hesitancy on the part of young people to make a commitment to marriage because we see so much and hear so much of the destruction and the devastation of divorce. There if it is true 50% are divorced. There is 50% who are married and are happily married and are doing the right things and are enjoying the blessing of being married. And Greg mentioned a few of the stats.
I wrote a few down. 75% of the data of individuals who were married are happy and healthier than the ones who are not. And also the fact that 23% of the marriages that are unhappy today, stats have shown that they will wait five years. In five years they will be happy. Don't rush to divorce.
Just be patient. I think we live in such an instant culture. We want instant gratification. We want everything perfect. We come into marriage with unrealistic expectations. We don't realize it's like planting a garden.
And the first year you see a little green leaf sprout and you think oh my garden is growing. Wait 10 years. Wait 15 years. Wait 25 years. Wait 40 years. And that little sprout is going to bear fruit.
It's going to be a beautiful tree. You're going to be happier, healthier. As a matter of fact the statistics are you'll be more financially stable and retire wealthier. Stay married. And young people if you're single don't think you're going to find the perfect person. You're going to find another person who is flawed like you.
But you have this opportunity. God brings people into our lives in order that we might grow. And in the struggle, in the quarrels that we've had, we've come around, we've learned to forgive, we've learned to love more deeply. Our life is, I mean at 44 years our marriage is deeper and richer and more beautiful.
We thought we had a good marriage at five years, at 15 years. Let me just tell you stay the course. God is good. His word is true.
Don't be afraid to make the commitment and enjoy your marriage and expect God to bless you in your marriage. Wow. Beautiful.
Fantastic. Kathy Laurie along with Pastor Greg Laurie, Pastor Jason Powell, and Pastor Elijah Braggs and his wife Sarah. A roundtable discussion today on A New Beginning is a part of Pastor Greg's presentation called Marriage 101. Well Pastor Greg, let me ask you what do we do in those times when the bottom just absolutely falls out of our lives? And we wonder if maybe God wasn't paying attention.
If He was paying attention, how would He let that happen? Help us think through those moments of crisis. Right.
Well let's pull the camera back and get the big picture. Our life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. God created us to walk with Him and to know Him. And God is also preparing us for heaven because heaven is a prepared place for prepared people.
Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you. So God's end game, if you will, is to make you more like Jesus. You know we often quote Romans 8 28 in times of crisis, but we forget there's a verse that follows. So Romans 8 28 says, for we know that all things work together for good of those that love God and are the called according to His purpose.
But then verse 29 says, for whom He called He also did foreknow to be conformed into the image of His own dear Son. So sometimes when we isolate Romans 8 28, we come to the conclusion of, oh well this is a bad thing. God will make it into a good thing.
That's not what the promise says. It says He'll cause all things to work together for good. But what is the ultimate good?
The removal of our problem, no. The ultimate good is to be more like Jesus. So God has either done what is happening in your life, or He has allowed it for His purposes. So that is the moment we must learn to trust Him. And speaking of trusting Him, here's a family who has trusted God through great difficulty, not only losing many family members in a short period of time, but losing the real matriarch of their family, their mother, and the wife of Tony Evans. I'm talking about Lois Evans, and I'm talking about the Evans family. Tony is the dad, and we have Crystal, Priscilla, Anthony, and Jonathan.
All of them walking with the Lord. That's a real tribute to not only Tony, but especially to Lois. And the title of this book is Divine Disruption. What's really unique about this book, Dave, is the whole family chimed in and participated and contributed to it. And this is a book that brings hope and encouragement. It's subtitled Holding onto Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now who has a broken heart. It makes no sense what has happened to you. And you're wondering, as Dave mentioned earlier, is God paying attention?
The answer is yes, he is. Because as I've often said, the word oops is not in God's vocabulary. God's at work in your life. But let me share this book with you, which will offer you a biblical perspective and honest words of encouragement. I say honest because the Evans family is candid as they discuss what it's like to lose someone as important as their mother, and Tony speaking of losing his wife. But really, do we really lose someone when we know where they are? They all know that she's in heaven.
They know they'll see her again. And that is the hope of the Christian. Let me send you this book, Divine Disruption, for your gift of any size. And whatever you send will be used to help us continue to bring the gospel to people that need to hear it and to bring words of hope to those who are feeling hopeless.
Yeah, that's right. It's such an important resource for those who are facing these kinds of emotional challenges right now. Get this book for yourself or give it to someone you know who could use this biblical encouragement.
Again, it's called Divine Disruption. And we'll send a copy your way to say thank you for your donation to help us continue these daily studies here on A New Beginning. We're completely listener supported, and we so much appreciate those who partner with us. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg brings us the conclusion of his message, Marriage 101. We'll gain more practical insight on keeping our marriages harmonious so they can go the distance. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-04 10:49:39 / 2023-06-04 10:59:36 / 10