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Taking Marriage Seriously

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2022 7:00 am

Taking Marriage Seriously

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 6, 2022 7:00 am

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Happiness is the result, not the purpose. Dr. Tony Evans talks about the trouble we run into when we think of marriage as some kind of fairy tale. Once you make happiness the purpose, Satan has got you because he knows how to make you unhappy. This is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. When married life falls short of happily ever after, the results can range from disappointment to divorce.

But today, Dr. Evans explains that when that happens, more than just marriage vows get broken. Let's join him in Malachi chapter 2 as he begins. Malachi's theme is very simple, take God seriously, as opposed to taking God casually or cavalierly. He says we ought to take God seriously, because God deserves that. He begins this section in verse 10 by saying, do we not all have one Father?

Have not one God created us? He wants a subject to be introduced with the unity of God. One Father, one God. He wants the unity of God to be emphasized, and for a very real reason. He says, because you dealt treacherously against his brother so as to profane the covenant of the fathers. In other words, this unified God has been profaned.

How? Verse 11, Judah has dealt treacherously and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which he loves and has married the daughter of a foreign God. He is going to now get into the dicey subject of men who are divorcing their wives and marrying other women. And these women would bring a foreign God into the sanctuary, because they had a different belief system.

So they would leave their wives, marry somebody else who brought their theology with them. And he says, and you are profaning the sanctuary. A guy was in Chicago. He was on his way to catch a flight. He saw this pretty lady. He started talking to her. He said, Well, where are you going? She said, I'm going to New York.

He said, Well, I'm going to Florida. Why don't we fly together? The answer is, because you're going in two different directions. Singles, the reason why God says that a Christian should not marry a non-christian is because there is a spiritual conflict. There is a conflict of gods, and those gods will conflict with each other.

There will be a clash of gods. I mean, marriage is hard enough when you got the same God. When you wind up with a conflict of gods, he says, not only do you have this conflict with the unity of God, because you're asking a unified God to be in a dis-unified scenario, he says you profane the sanctuary. That is, you dirty up the house of God when you knowingly and intentionally hook up with those who do not share this one God, because they have their own God. In other words, what he says is that the marriages are a spiritual issue, not merely a human issue, not merely a social issue. The Bible says be not unequally yoked together with a non-believer.

Don't hook up with somebody who doesn't share your faith, because there's going to be a conflict of gods. What was bothering these people in Malachi is that God was not answering their prayers. He says, for example, in verse 13, this is another thing, you cover the altar with tears and weeping and groaning, because he no longer regards the offering and accepts it with favor. He says you're coming to church and you're singing, you're coming to church and you're praising, you're coming to church and you are prophesying, you're coming to church and you are giving while at the same time divorcing. He says you profane the sanctuary.

Stick with me here. You are dirtying up God's house, and I do not receive your offering. In fact, he says even more strongly in verse 12, as for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob.

Strong language. He is speaking now of illegitimate divorces. He says, may God cut that man off who illegitimately divorces his mate. God takes His covenant seriously. Remember, a covenant is a spiritually binding relationship between God and His people.

It has legal status in the spiritual realm. A covenant is a legally binding relationship in the spiritual realm that God has. In other words, He operates by the rules of His covenant. All right, let me get something straight here.

This you don't want to miss. He says she is your wife by covenant. So you're to look at it, and we use the word marriage as a covenant.

Guess what covenants are designed to do in the Bible? Let me tell you what they're not first and foremost designed to do, and that is make you happy. Most people or many people get married to be happy.

Okay, let's get this straight. Happiness is the result, not the purpose. Once you make happiness the purpose and you're no longer happy, then you want to trade that car in. Like the person who said, I was looking for the ideal, it has become an ordeal, so now I want a new deal. The purpose of God's covenant, watch this, is always to expand His kingdom in history. When He made Adam and Eve, He said He created Adam and Eve, He said male and female, He created them, and then He said, and let them rule, let them have dominion, be fruitful and multiply, spread my image across the earth, that is, spread my kingdom in history, that the purpose of the covenant is the expansion of the rule of God in history.

Most couples never get around to that purpose. They're still stuck on happy. And if you get stuck on happy, Satan has got you, because he knows how to make you unhappy.

He knows just what buttons to push to make you unhappy. Where if you start with covenant, you wind up with happy. Most people don't start with covenant, that is, that the purpose of marriage is the relational expansion of the purposes of God in history through what He calls, in verse 15, seeking a godly offspring. In other words, He doesn't want you to have children just to have look-alikes. He wants you to have children to raise up a godly seed who spring out and spread the image of God worldwide.

Happiness comes off of the purpose of covenant being fulfilled, but if you stuck it happy and never get around to covenant, happy will die, because happy is not a strong enough anchor to hold the purpose for which the covenant was established. It's a covenant, and covenants were designed to expand God's purpose in history. We have one God, one Father. Why does He emphasize one? Because He wants to emphasize the unity of the relationship. He's emphasizing unity. Different persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, but unified purpose that is covenant. The first ingredient of a covenant is that all covenants are transcendent, that is, overseen by God. Transcendent means He sits over it. He transcends it. It is overseen by God.

Now why do you need to know that? Because you're gonna see in just a few minutes, God says, let not man put asunder what God has joined together. So He says, how do you come to church for me to marry you and go to a judge for him to decree you divorced? So you brought me in on the front end, but you leave me out on the back end.

You're messing with my transcendence. The second aspect of a covenant is hierarchy or chain of command. All covenants have a chain of command, an order to them. They have an order. All covenants have an order. The Lord says in 1 Corinthians 11 3, every man is under Christ.

It says Christ is under God, every man is under Christ, a woman is under a man, then children are under parents. There's an order. You break the order, you jack up the covenant.

Once you mess with that order and start flipping and tweaking and doing all that stuff, the covenant disintegrates in its effectiveness. Thirdly, there were rules, rules, governing guidelines, things that you were responsible for. Here are the two rules. These are only two rules.

You get these two rules, you get every other rule falls under these two rules. Love and respect. It says a man is supposed to love, it says a woman is supposed to hold in high esteem, respect. He's supposed to massage her heart, she's supposed to massage his head.

Both are legitimate. The end of Ephesians 5 says, men, love your wives, wives, see to it that you reverence your husband, that is, hold him in high esteem. Because when those two things are operating under God, of course, then harmony becomes normal and not abnormal. Then there are sanctions, that is, consequences.

Dominion is experienced or dominion is not experienced. Why? Because if Satan can disunify you, he can keep God away from you. That's why little fusses become gargantuous fights. You want to know how we want to be divorced over how you cook the bacon?

How do we get to divorce from burnt bacon? Because Satan was able to create disunity, and once he creates disunity, he keeps God at bay. Because 1 Peter 3 says, when the husband and wife are in conflict, tell the husband, don't pray, God's not listening. Finally, the final, though the fifth area, is inheritance. Covenants were always meant to be multigenerational. He says, a godly offspring. It was to work itself out in the generations. The reason why, as we say when we dedicate children, the devil wants to split up families is so he can get the kids. He wants to get the kids, but in order to get the kids and have clout in getting the kids, he's got to try to mess up mom and dad.

What's the problem? Verse 15, but not one has done so who has a remnant of the spirit. He says, what's missing is the spirit. Dr. Evans will have more for us in a moment, including a look at the three essential parts of every healthy relationship. Now today's lesson is the first in Tony's message compilation, Marriage Matters. This 14 lesson series takes an in-depth look at God's blueprint for families so you can build better relationships with the most important people in your life.

Along the way, you learn how to break down communication barriers, rekindle romance, and solve problems that are so serious they become strongholds. Because this information is so important, we're making both volumes of the complete collection available as our gift in appreciation for your contribution toward Tony's ministry here on this station and around the world. As an added bonus, we'll also send you a three-booklet bundle, including the very popular Marriage Matters, for married men only and for married women only. This is a limited-time offer, so visit tonyevans.org right away to get the details and make all the arrangements. Again, that's tonyevans.org, or let one of our resource team members help you day or night at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll have our contact information for you again after part two of today's message and this. Deep green forests, snow-capped mountains, breathtaking glaciers, eagles soaring overhead, whales breaching the surface of the ocean. It's a place abounding with natural wonders, a magnificent example of what our Creator can do. Few places evidence God's creative power like the stunning wilderness of coastal Alaska. And now you can experience it with us. Join Tony Evans and other friends of the ministry, as together we discover the glory of God's spectacular creation on an unforgettable Alaskan cruise. Set sail with us to take in the splendor of God's creation, along with the wonders of His Word. We'll enjoy great teaching from Dr. Tony Evans and other gifted instructors, as well as life-changing worship and special musical performances. This spiritually uplifting cruise will give us time to relax, refresh, and refocus as we take a journey through Scripture while surrounded by the awesome creation that is Alaska.

Find out more about the Urban Alternative Alaskan Cruise at tonyevans.org today. Relationships for Christians should happen on three levels. All three are critical, but relationships, first of all, the physical level. We see each other.

We like what we see, so there is the visual. Then there is the soul level. You hear people talk about, I found my soul mate.

Till you start living with him, or living with her. Soul mate simply means you like each other. You jive. I mean, the personalities groove, you know. That's the soul mate. The problem with the soul mate is that everybody's soul is messed up. See, everybody's soul is messed up. Now, it's well hidden while dating. That's called camouflage soul. You know, you often don't see the whole story. You wind up seeing stuff you never know. I didn't know she was like that. She always been like that.

She wasn't gonna let you see it before you said, I do. So if you find your soul mate, that's good. I'm glad you click and you jive, but it's not enough, because our souls have been affected by sin and circumstances. Background stuff, some stuff that we don't even realize how it's affected us.

It just comes out when we're now living with somebody else. He says, but he that has a remnant of the Spirit—now that's the third level. See, there's the physical, then there's the soulish connection, but then he says the remnant of the Spirit. The Spirit is the God piece.

That's the spiritual piece. If the spiritual piece is not intact, when the soul piece goes left and the physical piece gets old or fat or whatever, then there is nothing to grab on to. Most people are getting divorced over soul issues gone haywire, because you don't like them anymore.

You'll hear people say in a minute, I love them, I just don't like them. That means that soul thing is gone haywire. But if there is no spirit that is glued underneath, then the soul will call the shots. If there is no remnant, no remains of the Spirit, no remain of the spiritual solidification in the relationship. So the reason that they were getting divorced was because the spiritual was not intact, the teaching was not going forth to explain it as a covenant, not as a social ceremony, and the people were cut off from God while in church, while groaning and crying and wailing and singing, and they were wondering why God won't move, because the disunity of in your home is keeping from Him from showing up in your circumstances. Now God gets His feeling about divorce and He does not flinch. Verse 16, I hate divorce. Says the Lord God of Israel, and Him who covers His garment with wrong, covered a garment meant to get married, with wrong.

So take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously. Okay, let's get this straight. God has made it in an extirably clear, I hate divorce, which means if you're a Christian, you should hate it too.

You should hate it too. We live in a day when, because it's become so—see, there used to be a time when divorce had shame attached to it. It was a shameful thing to have to get a divorce. Now it's an end thing.

You know, you're trading cars, you know? You got a splinter and you want to chop off the whole leg. You know, it's the end thing.

It's normal now. God makes it clear that society's standards are not to be His. He says, I hate divorce.

I hate it. Now, it's quiet in here. Turn with me to Matthew, chapter 19, and let's take it a little deeper, because Jesus picks up this in Matthew 19, verse 3. Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him, trying to trick Him, saying, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? Let me put it another way. Can I get a no-fault divorce?

Can we get divorce for irreconcilable differences? What does He say? Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female? So He goes all the way back to Genesis. He made them male and female and said, talking about God, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. And the two shall become one flesh. And the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore God has joined together. Let no man separate.

All right, here it is. Divorces occur because the two never become one, and God is not interested in keeping the two two. See, people want to stay two and get God to help them.

God says, that's not what I'm doing. I'm taking two and making one. One doesn't mean the same, because the Father's not the Son, the Son not the Spirit. Oneness of purpose. That's oneness. He says, I'm taking the two, and when the two become one, they produce something new. When a husband and wife join together physically, a pregnancy can occur, because two becoming one creates something. Two staying two does not. The reason why divorces are carrying is because the two, he's in his corner, she's in her corner, and they're trying to get it worked out from their two corners. God says, I can't help you with that.

You can pray all day. I won't support you in that, because I am not trying to keep two two. I'm trying to make two one. If the two becomes one, now you produce something that two being two can never produce. The goal of marriage is one fleshness, that is, commonality of purpose, not sameness of being.

Men don't stop being men, and women don't stop being women, but they come together to produce something new that did not exist before. Now, the reason why you need to know that's important is because when you move to become one, you now have God invested in the relationship. As long as you stay two, you do not have God invested in relationship, no matter how much church you go to.

You go to church all day long, that's why the devil will have you fuss until you get here, let you look spiritual while you are here, and you pick it back up when you leave here, because he wants to keep the two two. In order for that to happen, there must be a covenantal view of the relationship, and everybody's got to get in line. The man has got to get in line under Jesus. The woman has got to get in line underneath the man.

The children have got to get in line underneath the parents. If you do not get in line, you cannot have God's involvement in the relationship. So they have a question in verse 7. Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away? Wait a minute now, if there's not supposed to be any divorce, well why did God let Moses come up with a bill of divorcement? Verse 8. Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.

All right? So let's get this straight. God says, I let Moses come up with a bill of divorcement not by—their word was command. Jesus said, no, it wasn't a command, it was a permission. God never commanded divorce, but He did permit it under certain limited circumstances in order to maintain order in society. Why did He permit it?

He said, because of the hardness of your heart. You refuse to submit to God's way, and that's why divorce exists. Divorce exists, Jesus says, because one party or both parties refuse to submit to God's alignment, God's covenant, and God's way. That's why divorce happens. Somebody or both somebody's are refusing to submit to God's way. God does give a second reason.

He gives it through Paul in 1st Corinthians, it's 7. The second reason He gives for divorce is abandonment. Abandonment can take two forms. It can take physically leaving—you walk away from the relationship, that's one—or vacating your role. He's abandoned his role as provider. Let's say a husband beats his wife, he's abandoned his role as protector. You say, so you can abandon your role. Let's say he's a drug addict, he's stealing stuff from the house and selling it for his drug habit.

He's abandoned his role. So God says through Paul, if the person leaves the premises or leaves the role, then the church can recognize that and grant a decree of divorce. But the point is, even if you have to get it, you still should hate that you got it, because God hates divorce. So you should hate it. Hate it for your offspring, hate it for your children, hate it for your life.

Some are unavoidable. You say, what do I do if I'm in this situation? I've committed adultery, caused my wife to commit adultery, caused the person who married her to commit adultery, and God's standard, and you know, what do I do? Okay, if the string can't be unraveled—because you got children in it now, you got stepchildren in it now, you got—they can't be unraveled. What you do is you confess it now that you've recognized it, and you go and sin no more. You don't keep repeating this thing over and over and over and over. You begin to operate covenantally, because God recognizes some things get so twisted that you cannot untwist them.

So what you do is you start where you are. If you are separated but you're not divorced, then the thing to do before you move forward with the divorce is to ask your partner, are you willing for us to relook at our roles and to come under the covenant of Jesus Christ, God's way? Or maybe you're divorced and nobody's remarried. Are you willing to come under God's covenantal guidelines for our relationship?

That's the best you can do. If they're not willing and you're already divorced, then you're in a situation that may not be able to be fixed. But what I'm saying is at least you take that position. If you are in a real marriage but nobody's been fulfilling their roles, then you learn what your roles are. That's why I wrote for married men only, for married women only, so that everybody will know what their role is, and you follow your role. When you follow your role, God begins to heal the wounds and restore the relationship, but only if you're under His covenantal rule. You start where you are, and you rebuild from there. But He needs to know you're serious, so that we can see God restore His church by healing His families.

That covenantal rule doesn't start with a list of do's and don'ts. It begins with a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you're not 100% sure you know what that means, drop by tonyevans.org today and follow the link that simply says Jesus. There Tony will explain it clearly and walk you through what to do next. You'll also find some free resources to get your new life started off right.

Don't wait. Drop by tonyevans.org today. Now while you're there, consider requesting a copy of the 14 lesson compilation, which includes the full-length version of today's message. The series is called Marriage Matters, and when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's teaching on this station, we'll send you both volumes of this complete set as our thank-you gift.

You can get them on CDs or instantly downloadable mp3s. And right now, we'll also include that popular three-booklet bundle, Marriage Matters for Married Men Only and for Married Women Only. This offer won't be around for long, so be sure to contact us right away. All the details are waiting for you at tonyevans.org. You can also call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222. That's 1-800-800-3222. Revival starts when God does something special inside us, but it doesn't stop there. It's contagious. Next time, Dr. Evans will explain how we can help it spread to the people who mean the most to us, our families. I hope you'll join us for that, and until then, be looking for opportunities to show kindness to others for the benefit of our culture, your community, and the glory of God. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-09 02:13:23 / 2023-06-09 02:23:37 / 10

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