- Sermon Notes
MARRIAGE SHAPED BY GRACE
February 14, 2021 (PM)
If you were to scan the entire human vocabulary for the most powerful word in marriage, what word would you choose?
Grace – You need it. You can’t live without it, but you can’t purchase it and you can’t earn it.
In a fallen world, populated by selfish, lost, fearful, rebellious people, it’s the one thing that everyone needs.
And you can only give it to someone else when you have first been given it yourself, because you can’t give away that which you don’t have.
God’s grace is a powerful force. It reaches you where you are and takes you where God wants you to be. It has the power to do something that nothing else can do: transform your marriage at the core of who you are as a human being.
My story – Sherri & I married 39 years in May…
I wanted to please God; anger never became an issue in our marriage.
• We chose to run to the cross in the midst of difficult times or conflict, to give grace, not run away looking to blame each other or someone else.
• Resulted in significantly less conflict in our home.
Make the choice husband and wife –
• Wives, listen to this message as “for” you, not your husband.
• Husbands, listen to this message as “for” you, not your wife.
• Both – Choose to please God in your marriage!
I chose to please God with that potential for anger in my relationship with Sherri. Otherwise, there may have been all kinds of conflict.
• I believe there are thousands of couples who get married every year with unrealistic expectations.
• Maybe its our culture of dating – we don’t want to mess it up so we just overlook… Sets us up for all kinds of disappointments.
Galatians 5:17; For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing what-ever you want.
• Do we take seriously, as we move into marriage, what the Bible says about us and our world?
• Somehow we think we have enough love to cut through those problems we see all around us –
ILLUSTRATION – Premarital counseling
• Sounds beautiful, but it’s an unbiblical view of the world we live in.
• Don’t start the relationship by closing your eyes to what is true about every relationship – not wanting to hear or see or examine for fear it will mess up what’s happening in dating.
1 Corinthians 14:20; Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.
Good news always follows accepting bad news. If you don’t accept the bad news God says about our sinful nature – about the world we live in – you’ll miss God’s grace in marriage.
Good news in marriage is rooted in accepting the bad news about who we really are within our sinful nature.
• If you act like there’s no bad news…when you do that you are saying to one another – there’s one thing our marriage doesn’t need – – a Savior.
Psalm 112:6-7; For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear bad news; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
If you tell yourself, we got this, you don’t seek His help – some of you are suffering from not seeking His help – and you are still surprised – not recognizing the sinful nature comes with the package – thinking you have to fix it or the marriage is no good.
Some of you are still shocked – With the things you are facing you are still surprised about what you are going through.
• Compounded by – we tend to use the Bible in error on the topic of marriage.
• Notice it’s not arranged by topic – that’s intentional – a grand redemptive story – with God’s notes to us.
If all you do to understand your marriage biblically is go to marriage passages you will miss all the building blocks about human relationships in life.
• Basically, every passage tells me something about myself, God, life in a fallen world, life of sin, about the glorious operation of grace, something about the elements of life and how to live, throughout the Bible.
1 John 2:15-17; Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.
I care that our marriages reflect the gospel to those around us – there are people who need to understand this message so you will find a fresh way that God and His son helps you in your marriage.
Bible allows us to function with God’s preparation. You are not sovereign over your world. You didn’t know what was going to happen to you last year.
• Yet the Bible tells us things that help us be prepared for what we don’t know is coming.
Matthew 24:44; For this reason you must be ready as well; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
3 things – you have to embrace in your marriage.
1. Marriage is located in a broken world – not functioning the way God intended.
Romans 8:22; For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
When do you groan?…when weary, in pain, when you can’t control your circumstances…your marriage doesn’t take place in a predictable world where everything is comfortable and going the way we would like it to go.
Our broken world presses in on our marriages, it intrudes every week.
• A virtual boss makes a decision and you have no job – you come home as a husband…
• Or maybe it’s physical sickness for you – years – surgeries – unknown future – pain – hard to focus on your spouse – hard to have unity and community when you just don’t literally feel like it…
• Maybe it’s the shocking and sad rebellion of one of your children – now looks at you and says I can’t wait to get out of this house, you can’t make me do anything…
Why is God so honest about the condition of this world – because God loves you – He wants you to be prepared.
• Your marriage is located in this moment.
• He wants to do things for us, but only in brokenness in this area, can He get us there – not with pride, defensive-ness, with an attitude of please fix my spouse.
How is our fallen world encroaching your marriage?
Our culture puts the wrong heroes in front of us – invest in our stuff instead of our marriage.
• Is this fallen world pulling you away from your spouse?
Romans 12:2; And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
2. Bible says you are a sinner married to a sinner.
Haven’t we been redeemed? – yes, but the presence of sin still lives inside of us.
• Wives, your husbands will lose his way…he is not yet fully formed in the image of God.
• Husbands – you are married to a less then perfect woman – she’ll have a bad day, say the wrong things, because she is not fully formed into the image of God.
The longer you are married the more in tune you both are with your failures, your sin, temptations and when that happens you will either do – rejecting condemning self righteous things – or you will be prepared with a much more appropriate response.
God’s Model for Grace – husbands and wives – when your eyes see or your ears hear the sin and failure of your spouse, its never an accident, never an interruption, never a hassle.
• It’s always God’s grace, God loves this person and He put you in a marriage of faith so you can be His tool to one another to help rescue that person with grace.
• Being married is signing on to be an instrument of God’s grace to your spouse who is not yet a graduate of grace.
Hebrews 4:16; Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.
John 1:16; For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
My Concern when talking about grace – what husbands and wives often hear; just let it go, be permissive.
• Grace never calls wrong right – if it did there wouldn’t be a need for grace. God does not compromise his redeeming law – grace never calls wrong right – grace is a way of dealing with wrong.
You want to transform your moment of conflict or disappointment – think, what is God revealing, what is He trying to do?
Ephesians 4:32; Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
James 4:6; But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
• Some of you get immediately mad when God is showing you weakness, failure & sin through your spouse.
• “You never acted that way when we were dating; I never thought my husband would ever say that to me”.
• Why not, we are all sinners!
• Take seriously what the Bible says about grace in our marriages – because we are still broken.
• God’s tool in marriage is to help accomplish this. So either you get mad and condemn or you get on board with God’s plan – be His tool.
• You will not avoid in marriage the discovery of sin, weakness and failure.
What does this mean – There’s a deep longing for paradise. That, however, is an eternal destination – marriage is a preparation for the paradise to come.
• Marriage is where all of your unpreparedness is exposed – our neediness.
• It’s never an accident or hassle – it’s a plan, always opportunities for grace. God has put that person in your life so He can expose to you their sinful needs so you can be His tool of grace & rescue in your marriage.
Colossians 4:6; Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Wives, how many times last week when you saw the weakness & sinful nature of your man did you say; this is not a hassle, this is a calling?
Husbands – how many times in the last month when the weaknesses of your spouse were brought to your attention, did you say, this is my calling – or did you say or think something unloving or critical?
4 things that will happen if you don’t take seriously what the Bible says about the continuing presence of sin and our need for grace.
1. You will turn moments of ministry into moments of anger. That moment God is doing a good thing by revealing a bad thing so it can be a good & redemptive thing. You will not see his intention and lash out inappropriately.
2. You will personalize what is not personal. You will make it about you. Don’t personalize something God used to bring grace and redemption. Little things just become a war…
3. Don’t be adversarial in your response – striking back – the beautiful presence of God’s grace, rescuing grace, revealing grace is completely missed.
4. Don’t settle for quick solutions that don’t get to the heart of the matter. “Forget it, I don’t want to talk about it” or silence – None of that leads to change. Deepens distance and hurt.
And finally, a third thing you must carry into your marriage:
3. You are blessed with a redeemer who is powerful, faithful and willing.
Ephesians 3:20; Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us
Wives embrace the fact that you don’t have the power to change your husband.
• If one human being had the power to change another human being, then Jesus didn’t have to come.
• Your redeemer in you, present with you, has that power. He never asked you to be the change agent – He asked you to be a tool in His hands to help Him change your husband.
Husbands, no ability to change your wives…but God does – He willingly unleashes His power on us by His grace. He is willing and faithful.
Our daily lives are about those little moments when sin is revealed. How are you dealing with them?
• How much is God’s grace being revealed by the way you respond to one another?
• Is it Ministry or is it about hurt, anger, disappointment and a desire for it to be better?
Some of you have allowed the disappointment of sin to hammer your marriage.
Can we do better? Ask God to help you surrender your plan and run to the abundant grace He has for each of you.