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Building A Lasting Marriage

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 10, 2021 1:00 am

Building A Lasting Marriage

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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October 10, 2021 1:00 am

While the world continues to undermine marriage, Pastor Lutzer asks us, “How can we build an enduring marriage?” What keeps a couple together for decades, surviving war, immigration, deprivation, and material want? Let’s hear about the parents of Pastor Lutzer, as he tells their story of 76 years of marriage in Canada. He lists five biblical principles that kept his parents together through thick and thin.

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As an institution. Marriage is under attack from all sides. Even the courts say traditional marriage is no longer to be protected.

Many marriages fail. Even among Christians, but not all. What keeps the couple together for 76 years. Surviving war emigration deprivation and material want today you'll hear about the parents of Pastor Erwin Lutzer and why their marriage lasted so long from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Blitzer today. Pastor begins a four-part series on till death do us part keys to success in marriage. Later he'll come to tell us about his own parents remarkable story in building a lasting marriage. The Moody choir comes now to open today's service of a well were grateful to God for the many different ways that Moody Church has impact the world. Whether it's through our missionaries acquired tours, Bible studies, we want to be a transforming community. The community that God has called us to be.

Would you take your hymnal please and turn to him. Number 97 sing praise to God who reigns above and then all for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise God has given us one tongue to praise him, but wouldn't it be wonderful if we did indeed have a thousand were so glad that you have joined us today for worship in a moment I'm going to pray and invite the blessed Holy Spirit of God to meet us today in great power to open our lives to him. Let's pray and we stand for the Scripture. And we sing sing praise to God who reigns above and our father in this moment, we do want to give you praise because you do rain, grant us, Lord God, the openness to your spirit. May we hear your word may we hear your voice. We pray and that we ask that among us. You might be here in Jesus name we pray.

Amen Scripture reading today comes from Colossians chapter 3 verses 12 to 17 join me on the whole plant put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another in. If one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive, and above all these put on, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you are called in one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing songs and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the father through him and to join me. Please father we come to you today in the name of Jesus to give you praise and thanks for what you've done. You have a heart for this city and we pray that you may lay upon our hearts.

Your burden for Chicago but also beyond the Chicago and the world help us. Father God to still believe in the power of the gospel that we become a compelling witness to your strength and your grace to a world that needs a message of hope to a world needs light grant that, oh God, we ask. Thank you father for those who represent us around the world are missionaries. Thank you father for the opportunity of going to different parts of the world through media. All that is a gift. Thank you father for the opportunity of touching other lives here in this city, so help us father to catch your vision and your heart. Now we pray for all those who never trusted Christ as Savior. May they also know the warmth of the father's house and the love of the father's heart and for those who brought burdens today. We commit those burdens to you and ask, oh God, that your love and grace shall accompany us in Jesus name, amen.

Making your marriage last. My father and mother were Germans, but they were born in the Ukraine was a time when Russia welcomed Germans into the heart of the Ukraine and said that you can stay here and live here, but when World War I broke out in 1914. Russia feared that the Germans within its borders might mutiny and if they knew made in sided with Germany that would be bad.

So in order to weaken them and then affect destroy them. They made them all refugee. My father's family went to Afghanistan.

It was in Kabul that they were the city that is often on the news today. It is there that my father, who would've been 12 or 13 years old. He lost step three of his sisters and one of his brothers in just a period of months and then, as if that wasn't enough, his own mother, my grandmother died at the age of 46 of typhoid fever, no opportunity to say goodbye to the children. She was simply whisked away to the hospital and then the children were told later your mother is dead and she was buried in a mass grave as many refugees were my father said that he threw himself across the bed and cried so hard that he never thought he would stop crying. Here he is in a strange land and having all of this tragedy, but thankfully his father lived in two of his brothers so they moved back to the old Homestead in 1918, when the war was over, and from there I father came alone to Canada. My mother was born about 200 miles from my father, though they did not know each other there and in 19 been one year before the war.

Her father, my grandfather came to Chicago and lived here for a whole year and he wrote back and said that the buildings in Chicago are so great that God must've built for them. His intention was to bring the rest of the family. But then World War I broke out in 1914 by the way, I've often thought that my grandma grandfather I should say who walk the streets. I often wondered if the thought never crossed his mind and I'm sure it didn't that someday he would have a grandson who would be a pastor in the city of Chicago, but he was able to catch the last available boat back to Europe before the war began after that there were no passenger boats only boats that were filled with soldiers and war matériel. And so my father got back, excuse me, my grandfather, I should say, he got back and he was with the family and they went to the Ukraine. Now you have to understand all the things I'm skipping I'm skipping the boxcars without any toilet facilities. I'm skipping the deaths along the way but in the Ukraine. My mother lost several of her siblings in the most heartbreaking was a six-year-old.

My mother was seven at the time is six-year-old sister, with whom she had become so close in this little one died but was not able to be married for over a week because remember, 1918.

Not only do you have all of these tragedies, but that was also the time of the Russian Revolution 17 and 18 and therefore there was so much shooting outside the family could not go outdoors to bury their own child. She came back after the war was over and that she and her sister age 21 and 22 came to Canada and they started a new life.

My mother came to Canada with a desire to know how to be born again. She had been baptized a Lutheran but she knew that she was not born again and she wondered how she could be and she began to attend the little church where there was preaching in German, the same church that my father happened to be attending and that they saw each other. She heard him pray you knew that he must be a godly man he had accepted Christ already in the Ukraine and that's when he asked if he could walk her home. She lived about a half-mile. She worked for a farmer, a half-mile from the church and on the way. This is their first date students. This is not the way it's to happen. He asked whether or not she would marry him. She said she'd have to think about it, but within three weeks they were married and last summer my father was 104 at the time he's had his birthday since he's 105. My mother will be 99 in a couple of months. Last summer they celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary. Now if you ask them what it's like to be that old will tell you this. Okay, they have no peer.

All right, peer pressure in honor of their 76th anniversary. They made the national news in Canada and what were going to see at this time is the news as it was across Canada on my parents from a sprint to a marathon. Now the enduring love story ever. Regina couple celebrating a marriage that lasted longer than most people are alive are rough needs are just a few years himself getting their secrets on decades of wedded bliss. So I'm going to help you 98 and 104 years old. Wanda and Gustav lutes are no thing or two about relationships. After all, they've been in London for quite a while now, and shall have no contrary To know each other hand, is she since 1930. Happy couple of been making music together. After immigrating to Canada separately from your down one another and settled down this week they celebrated their 76th anniversary of the current tenants Gustav and while this relationship seems to have lasted forever. It all began in a flash.

You see, Gustav proposed on one of their very first dates.

Wanda said she needed some time expectance of correction only three days later she had an answer in three weeks. After that they were married. Starting a love story that would stretch more than 70 years when they begin they didn't have much over the years they came to have what they wanted.

Most five children, 16 grandchildren 36 great-grandchildren and ultimately each other had the good life and that's fine. If so, today, age has taken its toll on the couple their daughter now cares for them in their home in six months ago Gustav began to retreat back into himself. He doesn't say much anymore, but today he said this about his wife, who I am. Well, their bodies if we can then their hair grown gray. Wanda says their love is only grown stronger, confirming her answer to an unexpected proposal was the best decision she ever meant Ross needs Regina yes the question how could my parents lived together 76 is not only tolerate one another but love one another and go through all that they have done.

Let me share with you some of their principles. But before I do I need to tell you that in marriage couples have certain stages that they go through the first is that they marry a dream. I actually think that marriage is going to bring happiness and then after you know after that.

Then there is the period of disillusionment you know getting married is something like getting a phone call in the middle of the night. First of all you get a ring and then you wake up.

So let and then after that that process of discovery, and I think that's where my parents began is the process of discovering one another knowing one another. Learning from one another and living together for 76 I like to do is to give you five principles and by the way if there were a text one text I used today it would be the words of Joshua.

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord, that would be there text. First of all, they had a mutual commitment and still do a mutual commitment to the covenant when they got married and divorced was not an option.

Difficulties notwithstanding, because they understood that that covenant that promise that they made to superseded their own happiness superseded their own circumstances and they were indeed in a time till death do them part. You know there many people today who live together without a covenant they say will were going to be married anyway. Well first of all let me say that 22% of all those who live together only 22% end up getting married only 22% and if you live that way when you do get married, you will bring more baggage into your relationship than most pullman freight cars are able to handle. That's not the way to go will you say, but you know marriage is just a piece of paper yet is a piece of paper couple of years ago my wife and I bought a house. We had an attorney. They had an attorney. Now you know where honorable people. We keep our word. We bought the house from honorable people. Why did we sign anything. Let's just shake on the deal right now we must've signed 15 different papers why you know what were saying if you leave this and you go down the street tomorrow and find a house that you like better half lock you're committed to this house. That's what marriage says you're committed on till death do you part, even if someone else along the way may be more attractive. You know that 10 years ago a man by the name of Robertson, the quilt and when his wife and he was president of Columbia Bible College when his wife got to Alzheimer's disease.

He resigned the presidency to take care of her people say why aren't there other ways you could do. Yeah, he said this is not a difficult decision. It is clear to me there's not a struggle of obligation because he said I committed myself to this woman and an oncologist said to him, the reason that is so surprising is because most women stand by their man, but most men don't stand by their wives in circumstances like this, but a bow is about and it should be a delight to fulfillment. The Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes. If you bow about to the Lord, fill it, because God does not have pleasure in fools.

Secondly, the Bible says or I should say my parents live by this principle and mutual commitment to character and mutual commitment to character because you see the covenant itself means nothing means nothing if you are are a person who is on trustworthy. Many of you are listening to me today are divorced and the reason that you are divorced is the person entered into a covenant, but he or she, or maybe you didn't keep the covenant. A covenant itself means nothing. Listen to me carefully. Covenant does not bring about character characters supports the covenant.

Sometimes young women get married in thinking that the covenant is going to change somebody they say all you know he's struggling with alcoholism, but after we get married.

He promised to give it all really. Or he'll say you know I've been promiscuous before, but surely now I'm going to live righteously. The average young woman who gets married thinks of three things on her wedding day the aisle walking down the aisle she thinks of the altar and then of course she thinks of him, but actually it's I'll alter him my going too fast for some of Jeremy very carefully.

If he drinks before you get married. I expect him to drink twice as much after you marry him all right. The covenant will not change anyone. It has to be based on character and my parents were totally committed to character to faithfulness and to integrity. People often ask as well. Did you ever hear them argue and the answer is yes, they had their arguments but never once did I ever hear anyone of them raise his or her voice. Secondly, never did they call one another names and thirdly they never made statements like will you know you always do this or you always do that. They had their disagreements. They even had their arguments but they had their time of forgiveness and then they moved on to see one of the purposes of marriage is to develop character to develop humility to know how selfish we are because we are all more selfish than we realize, and nothing brings it out more than marriage. May I speak candidly. The Pope would've never claimed in the fallibility of he'd been married all right so my parents were committed to character, honesty, truthfulness, determination that was a part of their makeup. Third, they had mutual goals that they agreed on. They never wrote them out, they wouldn't have been that kind of people, but they knew what they wanted. Particularly for us children. Now I have to say that on the negative side by negative, I don't mean none negative and a wrong sense, but in order to keep us from sin. Let me put it that way because my parents wanted to teach us to hate San. And when your child. It's hard to hate sin when you know right well you love it, but my parents they had. For example, certain ideas of separation. For example, no alcohol. They never drank they warned us about drink and I say this hesitantly but I say it for the glory of God. But among their 16 grandchildren. One of them is in heaven, so that would make 17 but among their 16 grandchildren and we hope it will be true of their great-grandchildren, their children, their grandchildren, we hope it's true of the great-grandchildren who have yet to grow up that none struggle with anything that has to do with alcoholism. It's simply not a part of their lives. I thank God for that upbringing boat was probably more strict than we would think it should be. We weren't allowed to see any movies at all. You never walked into the theater, you say well you know that really is strict.

Yes, it is strict but you know as children we did not develop essential appetite. We have enough struggles within our own minds with sensuality and lustful issues, and children today, I'm afraid.

With all of the media with MTV and with movies they develop essential appetite that needs to constantly be fed until they discover that they have a monster within them and so these rules even though they seem to be strict. I think were good and I thank God for strict parents. On the positive side that is by a positive and I don't mean that. Again, I should never use the word negative there because I think that those were good things, but on the other side what they trying to do is to teach us the value of work knife to tell you that is the last born.

That lesson blew past me. It really did my older brothers. They had to.

My sisters had to to quote the words of the one of my sisters are younger brother, our youngest brother got away with blue murder that business of working. Never something that I found impressive, but that's what they were committed to the covenant to character to goals number four commitment to God, which I'm sure I should've listed as number one.

The Bible says love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul and with all thy mind and I my parents in their own plain way demonstrated that we did not leave for school in the morning. We did not leave the house in the morning, but that we all spend time reading a passage of Scripture.

I mean one person would read a passage of Scripture and then we would all get on our knees and we all had to pray. Sometimes as children we only pray the Lord's prayer together. Sometimes we prayed individually.

The day never began. Without prayer from the reading. The German Bible and then praying on our knees. That was very important as we as children grew up. So we knew that God was just a part of of everything my parents demonstrated it in their lives.

It was in the early 50s that we had a hailstorm and in those days.

My father did not have hail insurance.

If you've ever been on the farm and you been in hail you know that the window panes in the house can break very easily, so we took pillows and held them against the window pane so that when the hail hit and break the pain and it became very clear that in about 15 or 20 minutes the entire crop was gone. Farm wasn't paid for.

There was a lot of debt. My parents were poor, making the best they could with what they had and I remember sorry if I lose it here. They gathered us together and they asked us to get on her needs to give thanks to God for his goodness for the fact that we had clothes and a roof over our head and we knew that God was number one in their lives. They really believe that serving God was all that there was I don't want to give the impression that my parents were perfect. I'll tell you this very candidly. My father for a long period of time suffered with what we later learned were anxiety attacks and he always thought that he was dying. Now some of this is because of his background, which contain some abuse that I will not go into and also the responsibility of taking care of his family and so we always thought that dad was dying. In fact, one time he called us all together. He brought my brother in from the field and all five of us were there to say goodbye to us said that he would meet us in heaven told us to take care of mother and that we shouldn't fight among ourselves. I do know I said that I mean the losers would fight among themselves.

I was about 10 years old and were all crying. I would say to people who have anxiety attacks. My father's left him when he was about 55 or 60 and he's lived to 105 so be patient.

You might get over yours too. All right, under service to God. My parents were very generous. I didn't learn this until my sister told me, who fills out their income tax. Now I don't think they feel any out because they don't get enough they just get the pension but I was astounded at how they give they were giving more than 50% of their pension income to missionaries to the poor to the church and I tell you, more than 50%. They used what they needed to eat to buy close if they thought they needed him and the rest they gave away you know what when they die were not good. I have anything to fight over. Let me tell you that all right and I think that's a good idea don't you know, clapping their by the way you know those of you whom God has blessed financially you should ask yourself this question how much do I need you to be very generous with that amount.

How much do you need how much do you want to pass on to your children, what would be rational and then think of creative ways to get the rest away. And if you need some ideas will be up here after the service. Give it give it to the kingdom, give it to the kingdom. Make it a transforming experience to be able to say, not that I leave it all to the children who are going to argue over read and fight over it and squander it.

But to say what can I give to God that will last for ever. So number four they were committed to God for love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their mind.

Fifth, they had the understanding a basic understanding for the need of personal conversion. I told you that my mother was baptized Lutheran when she came from from the Ukraine but wasn't born again and began to seek how can she understand the gospel. She attended this little church where the gospel was preached they were having special meetings and about the third night she went forward and was so radically transformed. She said it was as if the holy of holies had just come upon her.

She found finally what she looked for and their prayers for us, always were about many things, but I remember them clearly praying over and over again almost every day. In those devotion times they would pray that when they would get to heaven that all five of their children would be there and we were prayed for by name while at their 70th anniversary.

I said to mother. I said mother. Do you know the names of all of your great grandchildren.

I think there were 31 great-grandchildren. At the time. There are some more now because I didn't know who all these kids belong to. I said do you know all of your 31 great-grandchildren and she just wave your hand like this and she said she said of course she said I have a prayerless and I mention every one of them to our heavenly father every day. I say this to you in sincerity.

I believe that one of the reasons God has kept my parents alive for as long as they have is because he knows their children, particularly the last one needs their prayers to the very end to the very end, grandparents, and I'm one on the grandfather, but we need to do is to intercede for our grandchildren the temptations in the world is so horrid out there. May we remember them in prayer regularly you say will you been personally converted by the way my parents struggled with the issue of the assurance of salvation because they were brought up in a teaching that wasn't quite as comfortable as some of our sometimes is they struggled with the notion as to whether or not someone could fall away from the faith and they believe that one could therefore they were preoccupied with themselves and with us to make sure that every one of their children accepted Jesus Christ personally, look at my life and I'm 14 years old him on the farm.

I haven't had much chance to do a lot of things but I guess out of like to have done if I lived in the city or somewhere and I find within me this great sense of conviction of sin, and I just can hardly function because all that I can think about is MI born again at night it would pray as a child to say except Jesus as my Savior over and over again but it didn't take. It was as if it just wasn't there and I was expecting this special experience. Send and it wasn't happening and there I am, and they sensed it and they said you know we think it's time that you accepted Christ as Savior. I was about 14 and I remember saying to them I said, you know, I've tried to, but it doesn't seem to work for me and they said, look, you have to receive Christ by faith he died for you he died for sinners. You need to receive him by faith.

Even if you don't feel differently so they took us into the living room. They took me into the living room. I was home alone with them.

At that time and we knelt at a chair and I receive Christ as my Savior. There and immediately even the next day I knew that I had been again.

I had come to know God by the way last summer I made a rather sentimental journey I went back to the old farmhouse went into the living room and knelt at the very place where I had received Christ as Savior 50 years ago to thank God for saving my soul. So my question to you is are you born again by faith. You receive Christ as your Savior and you know it because it's real in your heart.

Join me as we pray our father, I want to pray today for all the couples that are here for the ones that are going through terrible experiences for the ones who do not have happy homes. I pray for the divorced people, help them to realize that God is the God of the second chance that there is forgiveness and there is hope and there is cleansing. I pray for those who are not yet married.

I pray that you might keep them from unwise decision and I pray father that in your grace that those who have not received Christ as Savior may do it. Even now say I've not been born again I receive him as my Savior personally right now by faith going to pause for a moment you talk to God right now and say to him whatever you need to say father.

I'm sure that this message means different things to different people.

To some it means that they need to be born again to others, it means that they need to have a long talk with her spouse.

For some it means that they have to clean up their past by faith they need help.

For some it is a word of caution, whatever it is father make a transforming and made this message ringing in their ears this afternoon tomorrow and all next week and into the future. In Jesus name we pray. Amen on today's Moody Church. Our pastor Erwin Lutzer spoke about building a lasting marriage. The first of four parts in a series on till death do us part next time. Join us to find out why those bows mean something you may know someone who could benefit from this life-changing series of messages till death do us part can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Churches ministry, call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moody that's moody Join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin Lutzer in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of the moody nature

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