The topic this morning is titled “Marriage and Family Life”. Please do not think I am an expert on the subject, it feels more like when topics were being selected, I was just late to the party and got the one that no one else wanted…. BUT this topic is vitally important and just because I don’t feel expertly qualified does not mean that it should not be preached on, so here we go…
The qualifications I have are that I am MARRIED to my beautiful wife Jeanette of 25+ years, and I have a FAMILY, consisting of two great kids, Josh and Abby who are 22 and 19 respectively, who I pray for continually as they start their journey of adulthood. By no means am I claiming that I have all the answers and by no means am I saying that you should hold my marriage and family up on a pedestal. I am a selfish sinner who gets it wrong a lot, but I am redeemed by the blood of the lamb, have the Holy Spirit living inside of me pointing me to Jesus and God is completing a work in me which is ongoing.
As we continue to look at our statement of faith as a church, we started by exploring the statement of “The Divinely inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God”, then looked at “God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, followed by “The realities of Heaven and Hell”. We then continued with “The responsibilities and purposes of the church as the Bride of Christ” and the past two Sundays Lawrence shared on “The coming of Jesus as He calls the Christians to be with Him in Heaven”.
This morning we continue on this journey as we explore what the Bible tells us about MARRIAGE and FAMILY LIFE. The Bible has been given to us as a manual for living life and if we declare ourselves to be Christians and believe in the infallible Word of God, the Bible, incapable of being wrong, then we need to submit to the fact that what is written in the Bible is how God has intended for us to live our life bringing honour to Him.
Gracious and loving Father,
As we gather here today, we come before You with hearts full of gratitude for the gift of family and the sacred bond of marriage that You've bestowed upon us. You are the ultimate architect of relationships, the author of love, and the cornerstone of our lives.
In this moment, we seek Your presence to guide our thoughts and words as we delve into the intricate tapestry of marriage and family life. Grant us wisdom to understand, patience to embrace the complexities, and grace to navigate the joys and challenges woven into these relationships.
Opening our hearts to the timeless truths found within Your Word. Help us to glean not only knowledge but also the practical wisdom needed to nurture and cherish our families, creating havens of love, respect, and unity.
We invite Your Spirit to move among us, inspiring us to be better spouses, parents, children, and siblings—reflecting Your unconditional love and grace in every interaction. May our time together today be a source of encouragement, edification, and empowerment as we seek to honour You in our marriages and family lives.
We offer this time to You, trusting in Your guidance and grace. In Your precious and holy name, AMEN.
The Foundation of Marriage: Genesis
Genesis, the foundational book of the Bible, lays the groundwork for understanding marriage. God designed marriage right from the beginning.
In Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
“Not good” is a jarring statement considering everything that has come before, God spoke the universe into existence, created day and night, land and sea and all living things and declared it to be good. Clearly the situation has not yet arrived at “very good”. The term “helper” does not imply that someone is weaker or stronger than the other. “I will make a helper suitable for him” a wife is not her husband’s clone but compliments him.
I thought I knew what happened next, and if you are anything like me, the next thing that happened is Adam was put into a deep sleep and God created Eve. BUT that would be wrong, Genesis 2:19 continues:
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
Genesis continues to lay out God’s ultimate and perfect plan, where God creates a helper for Adam who is created in the image of God as well.
Here we witness the divine design for the union between a man and a woman—where a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and the two become one flesh. This profound statement emphasises the inseparable bond of marriage, reflective of God's intention for unity, companionship and purpose.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
It has always been God’s intention for a man and a woman to be united as one. But as written in Judges 17:6 “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”, Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;”
Because of our sinful nature we think we know better. At Medway we believe that marriage is between a man and woman ordained by God. Now this is a hot topic in today’s political climate, but I will try and explain why we as a church believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Some may ask, “Why should we care if two same sex couples want to get married, it doesn’t harm anyone?”
Well firstly, it goes against God and his commands for us and if we choose to ignore these commands, it has eternal consequences. Secondly, marriage was created by God for a purpose, the purpose was to create life which is physiologically impossible to do in a same sex marriage.
The idea that same sex marriage is private, is a myth, as we find ourselves as a church having to defend our position more and more. This is because it has been framed in human-rights language. This has become a big problem for the church. The world says “You can practise your religion, same sex marriage has nothing to do with you practising your religion.” But because of the type of language being used in the LGBTQ++ community, it is inconceivable that the church is going to be unharmed by this. Because it has been wrapped in language that now makes it seem a human right rather than what God intended it to be. Something that God instituted in the beginning, is twisted by Satan and now it is a human-rights issue and not a God issue.
Why do governments care….. Why do they get involved in marriages? I mean they are not interested in who your friends are? The reason governments need to know who is married is because marriage brings with it the possibility of children and governments need to know who is responsible for this new life otherwise it becomes the responsibility of the state.
There is a spiritual battle going on that is attacking the very fabric of God’s design shrouding it in concepts that causes the Church to compromise the Word of God, which is the truth. It is Satan’s game plan to destroy and corrupt what God has meant for our good. Nothing pleases Satan more than to destroy marriages and corrupt the Word of God so that people no longer honour God, but start to honour themselves. We as Bible believing Christians need to be on the lookout for false doctrine and false teachers because all it takes is a little change here and there that will lead to a road of destruction.
As a church we need to recognise that the language that we have already adopted from the world around marriage has made it confusing for young evangelicals. The worldly idea that we have adopted about marriage is that it is an individual matter between two people as they write their own vows and dictate their own terms for the marriage.
That is not what marriage is in a Christian context nor what God intended. Marriage is instituted by God for a purpose, ……… and if we look back at the first marriage, Adam and Eve were in a perfect relationship with God, enjoying His company, His provision and in perfect harmony. Praise the Lord that our sins have been dealt with by the Blood of Lamb and as true believers our relationship has been restored because of Jesus paying the price, for you and for me.
What God builds, Satan breaks.
Here is the shocker, I’m an idiot at times and think of myself and the result of this is that Jeanette and I have loud vocal conversations to try and get our points across. Any of you married couples ever had a “fight”? …. No …. Liars….
If you are married at some point you have had a fight. Sometimes we think our spouse is the enemy but we need to realise that while we do have an enemy, our spouse is not the enemy. We need to understand that as Christians in a marriage there is the husband, the wife, the Lord and…….. the enemy of the Lord, husband and wife.
What we need to understand is that there are two realms, a SEEN realm and a UNSEEN Realm. The UNSEEN realm is where the supernatural occurs, this is the place of spiritual warfare, angelic, demonic and other divine beings. What God is doing in both realms is the same thing, He is the Father seeking to build a family.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
What it is saying is that God is building a family here in the SEEN realm. This is the same language used in the Old Testament where God says He is going to build a people for His own possession and He says I will be your God and you will be my people. God speaks like a father, architecting a family.
The New Testament has a lot of family language: God the Father, Jesus the Son, we are called to treat older men as fathers, older women like mothers, younger women as sisters and younger men as brothers, it has this family language. In addition the Bible says that to become a Christian is to be adopted into a family.
Just as there are humans in the SEEN realm, there are divine beings in the UNSEEN realm. God sees both realms and it is his intention to have a family. From time to time the curtain is lifted and some humans are given the opportunity to see the UNSEEN realm, such as Daniel, Isaiah and the apostle John to name a few.
The UNSEEN realm is real and just like the curtain is lifted for some to write about the UNSEEN realm, we need to be aware that there is a battle going on for each of our marriages and families, something I do not fully grasp, but because I cannot explain it does not make it less real.
That is why here at Medway we pray for protection over our families and marriages because God’s family is under attack not only in the SEEN realm but also in the UNSEEN realm.
Delving into Ephesians, we encounter the powerful analogy between Christ's love for the church and the sacrificial love required in marriage. Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” We are given an instruction in marriage, before the roles are defined, to submit to each other…….
To submit to each other, what does that mean? You need to place the needs of the other above yours.
Ephesians emphasises this sacrificial aspect—a love that mirrors Christ's selfless sacrifice for the church. Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her. It's a call to selflessness, putting the needs of your spouse before your own.
Ephesians 5 complements this sacrificial love by highlighting the mutual respect and partnership within marriage. Wives are called to respect and submit to their husbands, forming a harmonious balance that mirrors Christ's relationship with the church—a relationship based on love, respect, and mutual submission.
Matthew 6:33 echoes this sentiment, urging us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. When God is at the centre of our marriages and families, everything else falls into place. Aligning our lives with His purposes becomes the compass guiding our relationships.
Many of us this morning are at different stages when it comes to family. Some of us don’t have a husband or a wife or you may be married but do not have kids or you are married and you have kids and the road is either long or short ahead. I’m at the stage where the road is short. My kids are starting their own paths to a career and God willing one day a family of their own. I thought living life with small kids was difficult, I mean we read all the literature out there, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING, BABYWISE l, BABYWISE ll, WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE IN FIRST YEAR, and so on, but at some stage it kind of stopped around the ages 3 and 4 years of age. Where is the book that explains, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THEY BECOME TEENAGERS, START DRIVING AND MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS?
I presume they have all been destroyed by previous parents because each individual is different and a method that works for one, does not work for the other, even if they are raised in the same family. As the Christmas school holidays are rapidly approaching and some here this morning are wondering how they are going to survive the 5 weeks without school, I want you to enjoy your children, so I thought I could share wisdom.
Let’s start with what the Bible says about kids, Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.”, some translations say blessing. In the book of Proverbs we read ways in which we can find the centre of your family. Remember even if you are not a parent, you were parented and as part of this family at Medway you are included in many of the kid’s lives that rush out before having to listen to the old people talk. Proverbs 1:2-7 can be read with parents in mind.
“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and instruction, to help them understand the insights of the wise. To teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them to do what is right, just and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning of these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
So wisdom comes from the Lord. He is the centre of all knowledge. Examine your family, the family you grew up in, the marriage you are in or as you look at marriage and a family. Who/What is the centre of the family? Where is the priority?
Is it education and grades or 1st team sport?
Is it money or what kind of job you have?
Are these priorities a sin? No, but it is if you make them the centre of your family. Maybe your priority is fear, you worry about being a good spouse, you worry about the kids and you want to protect them from this evil world, seemingly all good points. But this means that you may become overly involved and at school we have nicknames for parents who have this amount of control, some are called “helicopter” parents, a term you may have heard before, but the parent we fear the most as teachers are the “bulldozer” parents, the ones that clear the path for little Jimmy to make sure that his life is without any complication or difficulty. Cute when they are toddlers, not so cute when they are teenagers and mom and dad are engaging with friends because Jimmy wasn’t invited to a birthday party or Jimmy couldn’t finish the assignment last night because he went to see Bryan Adams and by the way please excuse tomorrow’s homework as well as he will go to bed early tonight to catch up his sleep.
You are not the one in control, you are not the sovereign that rules the details, God is and you need to trust Him.
The centre of the family should be God, He is the one who knows everything, He knew you while you were being knit together in your mother’s womb, He knows the number of hairs on your head, He is the one who is the creator of all things, He is the one who is truly in control. Seek first the kingdom of God and these things will be given to you. With God being the centre of your life, marriage, family the bible tells us comes wisdom.
The Bible further emphasises the sanctity of family in Exodus 20, where God proclaims, "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you." This commandment highlights the significance of faithful respect and obedience, laying the groundwork for harmonious family relationships.
Family life extends beyond the couple to the children. In Proverbs 22:6, we find a timeless proverb that emphasises the importance of nurturing and guiding children: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." This verse highlights the profound impact of early childhood education on shaping the character and values of future generations. We are encouraged to instil faith and values in children from a young age. This guidance serves as a foundation for their lives, shaping their character and faith.
Despite the beauty of marriage and family life, challenges do arise. Ecclesiastes 4:12 illustrates the strength found in unity, emphasising that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. When God is at the centre of a marriage, it forms a resilient bond capable of withstanding trials, providing strength and support. So it is important to invite the Lord into your marriages and families. We are called to lay our burdens on Him, lean on Him for strength and anchor our lives to the rock, which is Christ. Why do I at times try and journey through this world not including Jesus into situations thinking I can do it alone. My prayer should be “Jesus take the wheel”, more of You Lord and less of me.
If you had to rank in order the most important things for your family, what would the ranking look like? Now that list in our family has changed over the years as we have entered different stages. When they were small, protection was fairly high up the list and now that they are driving and riding a motorbike, that has resurfaced near the top.
But I can reassure you that the number one spot has always been the same from the beginning and is still today. In everything we have done, and we have failed to get it right at times, is to do everything possible here on earth to point our children to Christ. It has been a desire from the beginning to have children that will follow and serve Jesus as their saviour.
This journey is still ongoing and maybe you are finding yourself in a situation where either a parent, grandparent, spouse or child has not made Jesus Lord of their life. Take it to the Lord in prayer, live a life that has God at the centre. These decisions will have an eternal impact.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians encourages us to practise forgiveness and grace within our relationships. Communication, forgiveness, and grace are essential components of a thriving marriage and family life. These virtues pave the way for understanding, healing, and the restoration of relationships. The good news is that God has not left us on our own. He sent Jesus to die for our sins, so that the punishment was laid on Him. We know that it is finished, because on the third day Jesus rose from the dead and is in heaven to return once more to collect his children. While we wait for this Glorious Day He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us to change and become more like Christ, to convict us of our sin and to open our eyes to the truths written in the Word of God, the Bible.
In conclusion, marriage and family life are divine gifts designed by God Himself. They embody the beauty of companionship, sacrificial love, mutual respect, and the priority of God. By aligning our lives with biblical principles and emulating the examples set by Christ, we can nurture thriving marriages and families that reflect God's love and grace.
This journey isn't about achieving perfection—it's about growth, commitment, and reliance on God's grace at every step. As we continue to explore and apply these biblical truths, may our marriages and families flourish, becoming testimonies of God's redemptive love in our lives.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray that you will strengthen the bonds of our families, that we may grow closer in love and understanding. Help us to communicate openly and honestly with each other, to resolve conflicts peacefully, and to forgive one another's trespasses.
We pray that you will guide us as parents, that we may raise our children with love, wisdom, and discipline. Help us to teach them your ways, to instill in them your values, and to prepare them for the challenges that life will bring.
Protect our marriages from the evil one, put a hedge of protection around them. Through your Holy Spirit transform our marriages that they may bring glory and honour to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.