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Marriage: A Covenant, Not a Contract (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 10, 2022 4:00 am

Marriage: A Covenant, Not a Contract (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 10, 2022 4:00 am

A bodyguard on duty doesn’t wander aimlessly or stare blankly into space. He’s on high alert—even during routine activities. Learn why you need to be equally vigilant when it comes to protecting your marriage, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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When the president's bodyguard is on duty looking to find them wandering aimlessly or staring off into space. He's on high alert, constantly scanning for signs of danger even during routine activities today on Truth for Life. Alastair beg explains why we need to be equally vigilant when it comes to protecting our marriage.

Matthew chapter 19 in verse one when Jesus had finished saying these things. He left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan large crowds followed him, and he healed them there some Pharisees came to him to testing. The asked is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason Avenue read. He replied that at the beginning the Creator may then male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one.

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate wind and the asked did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away.

Jesus replied, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard but it was not this way from the beginning I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. The disciples said to him, if this is the situation between a husband and wife is better not to marry.

Jesus replied not everyone can accept this word but only those to whom it is been given for summer eunuchs because they were born that way, others were made that way by men and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven, the one who can accept this should accept it on that so I like to do is address with you for a moment or two.

Subject which we covered in various ways in our church, but which I tend to say fairly little about not have any sense of purpose is just so happened that way. I want to address with you tonight. The issue of marriage I want to set it up by giving you a couple of quotes. This is from Norman Wright, who describes a situation that had come to him in the course of his ministry. He describes these circumstances as a man had unfolded them to him. During this time, I knew woman came to work in our office. We struck up an acquaintance and began to talk each day over coffee in time.

She began to share the problems in her own marriage and we found that we were both in a position of drifting away from our spouses. We actually found that we communicated better together than with our own spouses. We look for reasons to be together.

We shared similar interests and hobbies.

I have no ulterior motives.

No sinister plans, but I enjoyed our time together as friends we saw each other every day for a few moments and once a week we went to lunch in time, I began to compare Elaine with my wife. I saw so many positives in Elaine, the more I compared the more defects I saw in my wife. Then one day it hit me.

I was in love with another woman. Me know I'm a married man with three children.

I'm chairman of our church board. This happens to others why me, why did I let myself get into this mess. I felt confused. My work suffered. My relationship suffered tried to stop my involvement some weeks I didn't see Elaine that much.

Other weeks I saw her every day.

I had to last week. It happened I'm so torn up right now what do I do second quote Karen wave goodbye and close the Gary's door making a mental note to call the genie servicemen is only a matter of time before that noisy vibrating door refused to work. It's all she walked through the laundry room, ignoring the carefully prepared stacks of white and colored clothing coffee first and then she climbed the mountain although she'd been up since six was the first moment she had to herself, her pack lunches were so good that despite the fact that the twins were high school seniors and could fend for themselves. They've grown to expect and enjoy the Allen had also grown dependent upon her insurance and dry-cleaning necessary for another four day business trip had been in place on time. The routine was well grooved. After all these years of practice in the early days she was driving to the airport, often with the twins still in their pajamas. The three of them would be back in place. Friday evening, awaiting the return of the conquering hero and hoping that he had enough energy left to talk and listen and buy them ice cream after dinner and walked to the park and push them on the swings these days. He left the car in park and fly and on Fridays he would sometimes drive directly to the golf club. If you manage to catch the early flight. Although Karen felt he needed the space. Those nine holes created.

She still secretly wished it was a little more like old times. It was a good provider miss the school conferences and 70 had developed one of those dreadful potbelly's like many of our friends, husbands. It seemed a while since her heart had raced her breath become short. But there was, she told herself. A lot to be said for good old faithfulness, imagination, and never been Ellen's strong suit and predictability was better than nothing. It would be fun. She thought just once to then catching herself. She reentered her coffee in the microwave. If only there was a way to microwave their marriage.

Alan seldom ordered his flight until the last minute he'd almost made a game of it. Who's on last he was on the phone as usual. We can wrap things up nicely to a club and I'm sure we can play 18 holes before it's dark as he spoke he smiled at his traveling companion who is draining the last of her first Evie in the morning when his boss told him that it hired a woman as the marketing director for his territory. He thought nothing of it. Initially her responsibilities have been fulfilled from the home office.

Most of what she did was carried on by phone and their involvement in projects was minimal since the turn of the year that it changed. It begun to travel together at least twice a month. She was 11 years his junior, and he felt a sense of brotherly protection for, especially when he saw the stairs she attracted from other men. He couldn't remember exactly when it happened. Perhaps when they were jammed together at the back of an overcrowded 727 en route to San Antonio. He wasn't sure whether he was deliberately pressing his knee against hers as they juggle the lunch on those loosely hinged tables which had long since ceased to provide a solid base of operations. He could not deny the sensation, unsure whether he was imagining a slight responding pressure from her long tan legs, but by now he was looking forward to these trips to having someone to talk to a person who had a life beyond laundry and lunches and homemaking he'd begun to compare and contrast Karen with his colleague and although he had not fallen off the cliff. He was man enough to realize just how close he was getting to the average and with every inch is anticipation mounted out if we are ever going to be realistic in preventing and our own experience that tragedy and heartache and carnage of marital failure. It is imperative that we recognize something that is absolutely fundamental, namely, that when marriages disintegrate.

It is not usually as a result of a bizarre event like the arrival of SCUD missile that is come from some unexpected source code of the blue and head is like a ton of lead that's possible, but in most cases, what one discovers and dealing with it now.

Over these years in pastoral ministry is that we discover that when the ceiling caves in on a marriage is an account of the fact that there is been a slow leak somewhere in the attic that is gone undetected for long periods of time and it is for this reason that vigilance of the most careful sort is absolutely imperative in the most routine things of life and the way in which we approach the issues of marriage and anticipating it is young, engaged couples in living the early days of it is young married couples and weathering the middle years, and then seeing it through to the end.

In the later laps of life. It is absolutely imperative that we don't face it with some kind of superficial optimism or some dreadful pessimism, but rather with the realism. Realism which actually includes a healthy dose of skepticism in order that we can cultivated in the way that God intends knowing the time that I have tonight. I want this to dip into the subject with you and I want you to notice. First of all, what is not a new thing to you but it is simply this, that marriage is God's idea that in the beginning God determined that it should be this way. Marriage is of divine origin.

This needs to be stated in our day when there is such rampant confusion which surrounds it. We have to let our young people especially know that marriage is not an institution which a man dreamed up. If it were something that man has simply dreamt. And of course it could be revamped at will and can be set aside in a moment, and therefore, as so many people think today we could be rid of this encumbrance, which is just a hangover from our past, but an actual fight. When we turn to the Bible, we discovered that when we submit ourselves to the truth of God's word. When we realize the origin of marriage, then we can begin to grant to grips with what it means to fulfill its purposes over the years I've done.

I don't know hundreds of marriage ceremonies and I always do them the same way I do.

The way Derek primed them and I just said that sounds nice. And so I copied it and quite honestly so I don't do his sermons or anything.

I've long since forgotten them. Although I would be very glad to. And you would be blessed by them, but I use the framework that he established and then my preamble to the marriage ceremony. I always remind the congregation we are gathered here in the presence of God before this congregation to join together this man and this woman in marriage. That marriage is especially unique relationship appointed by God. It is set apart in Scripture is honorable in all, conveys the wonderful spiritual union in Christ and his church is therefore not demanded one lightly or carelessly, thoughtfully, with reverence for God with due consideration of the purposes for which it was established by which our 31 the lifelong health and comfort, and companionship which husband and wife are to give to each other to the well-being of family life so that children who are a gift from the Lord might be trained to love and obey God, and three for the welfare of human society which can be strong and healthy only where the marriage bond is held in honor know it is right bank here in Genesis chapter 2 that we discover the origins all that and if you have your Bible before you, you might just want to look at Genesis chapter 2, I want to affirm again. The primary importance of the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

Certainly in the whole doctrine of redemption hinges on the veracity of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, all of of the goal of salvation as in item 1 die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The Lord Jesus himself was really clear in quoting these chapters and having made Adam. God says in verse 18 is not good for the man to be alone I will make a helper suitable for him. God made Eve as a human complement and partner for Adam and from the very beginning of the Bible.

It is absolutely clear that man was for men and women were formed to be social beings and to be sexual being and on account of that as Jesus says here in Matthew 19 God's blueprint for marriage calls for an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman as the enter into a covenant for life covenant for life and the word covenant needs to be understood and needs to be understood as being vastly different from simply a contract.

A contract which may be set aside by certain caveats, or even at the whim of either party. We don't have time this evening to enter into this whole discovery of covenant, but if an example at your leisure. If you're so inclined you can read in Genesis 15 as God establishes a covenant with Abraham and the solemnity of all that is taking place is pictured by death and by darkness and indeed the covenant was to be entered in upon on the pain of death.

Should that covenant be broken and so what we find when we think in terms of God's origin for marriage is if you like a covenant of companionship and it is our God ordained covenant.

I quote marriage involves a covenantal agreement to meet all of your spouse's needs for companionship on every level, sexual, social, spiritual, intellectual, someone to meet all of your spouse's needs for companionship for the rest of your life. It is therefore a final act. Christians, unlike non-Christians today who entered into trial marriage is annual renewable marriage contracts and the like need not live daily under the threat of divorce.

The binding nature of the divine covenant assures them that divorce is not an option. Now that is a wonderful difference that Christians possess the covenant is a life commitment and so it is that in marriage a man and woman are joined together in a way that cannot compare with any other human relationship. It is absolutely unique. It is not a tenuous arrangement, and may not be forsaken at will and is a binding commitment that involves legalities physicality is emotion and the spiritual dimension, I loved ones, despite the fact that I'm covering very familiar territory tonight.

Despite the fact that the Bible speaks with great clarity on this matter. Many Christians are living confused minds. Recent surveys reveal that as many as two thirds of those interviewed in the Christian population saw divorce as quotes a reasonable solution to a problem.

Marriage while we are not to be surprised by that kind of perspective amongst non-Christians is absolutely tragic to realize the extent to which the external framework of our culture has bled into the heart and soul of the Christian church and the soul is losing its labor.

Two thirds of those interviewed were prepared to regarded as an easy out. Now, in contrast to that kind of thinking the way to live in marriage. The way to be successful through difficulties in marriage is to sample clearly in our own minds.

In the very beginning that when we enter into this divorce is not an option. When not entering into a deal whereby unless if things just don't go according to plan.

We can always slip out in the way that you would down those mountain roads in the Carolinas and every so often you come and I remember seeing it for the first time I didn't what they where at first when you come around a bend in through one of those tunnels and you start down the road and all of a sudden there are these things going up on your right hand side almost perpendicular remembrance of the first is one way would bulldoze that thing up like that came around another bend and downhill as I realized how fast I was going and saw the second one is at now I know you lose your brakes.

You go up there. The Bible gives to us ways in which to deal with runaway life's but does not provide the option of divorce except in a couple of express instances which will never come this evening. You see, and we need to teach this, especially to young people like I wrote a whole chapter in the book under the heading before we say I do and I wrote it as if I was talking to my own kids because my heart is so exercise for our teenagers being overwhelmed by rubbish on mixing gated nonsense supplemented by all claims of confusion in magazines and songs and everything else and being offered as an alternative, just a form of moralism. Just say no that's moralism what our teenagers need is the transforming power of a new affection as a result of the divine influence of the spirit of God and then as a result of the spirit of God, thinking of the things of God and making them real. They then have a submission to the word of God for the spirit of God always calms to underpin and underscore and unearth the truths of God's word and we need to be saying to them again and again that our submission to the design of God in relationship to marriage in particular as to be total and wholehearted irrespective of whether we can see the pragmatic benefits that are not one man one woman forever. That's the plan when we become captive to the word of God, then we discover true freedom. The freedom of a lifelong commitment. The freedom of marrying a believer in the Lord. The freedom of the husband's joy, including his wife first. The freedom of the wife's fulfillment in becoming husband oriented in all she does. The freedom that comes from the security of having rejected divorce as an option for this reason, it's far better not to follow than to make those are not fulfilled.

One other one of the funnest times for me is in meeting with couples and asking them about the vows they plan to use in their wedding sermon because in Scotland it was familiar for me simply to be doing the same thing all the time and I never come across the set of novelty factor that is part and parcel and creativity fighter that is part and parcel of life here. It's not a bad thing is just a different thing. And so it is that I always asked the question, are you planning on using the traditional vows or are you going to write some of your own.

And every so often you come across this some real beauties you know and it is a very delicate dialogue because so often that is the girl who has in the late hours of the evening in her college dorm put together all of these wonderful statements of our love and affection for betrothed and she just can't wait to memorize them or read them or disburse them on every listening year, not least of all her fianc with every got to hear them before it happened would be sorely embarrassed to say the least.

But in most cases they do not fulfill what is necessary in the vows because they're all expressive of feelings and the vows are not about feelings. The valves are about acts will pay successful marriage requires watchful protection, lifelong commitment, listing the Truth for Life with Alister Bragg.

I often mention the letters and emails that come to us from people all around the world who write to us and tell us how grateful they are that all balusters teaching is available free on our website and through our mobile app, but the thanks we received doesn't belong to us free access to Alister's teaching library is made possible by the monthly giving of our true partners. So today I want to ask you to join this essential team.

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Visit Truth for partner or call us at 888-588-7884 when you sign up as a true partner today. Will send you a welcome kit that includes the encouraging devotional written by Alister called Truth for Life 365 daily devotions. Each daily reading includes a Scripture passage, followed by insights from Alister to great way to start or end your day in God's word. We also invite true partners to request two books each month. Books we select carefully and offer to you as our way of saying thanks for your partnership are current featured book is Alister's lasting love.

It's the perfect supplement to this series, we too are one. In fact, Alister mentioned the chapter from the book today titled before we say I do.

While most of the book is about protecting your marriage from failure this one chapter asks the hard questions that will help you make wise premarital decisions based on a realistic understanding of marriage.

God didn't design the marriage covenant to be broken, but too often separation becomes the first option with couples experience hard times in the book, lasting love, Alister outlines potential pitfalls and marriage how to avoid them how to repair the learn how to build a relationship that lasts a lifetime request lasting love.

When you sign up to be a true partner or you can request it with a one time donation to Truth for Life at Truth for above Lapine. We hope you enjoy your weekend and are able to worship together with your local church. Monday will discover how we can find true freedom by becoming To the word of God, the Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life.

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