Making Marriage Successful, Compilation // Dave Scharf // Time of Grace // Grace Talks

This week I want to
talk about marriage. For the singles among us, there’s still a lot that we can learn on this topic. And for those of
us who are married, it’s always good to
have the reminder. Like pianos,
marriages need tuning. And the way that God
does that tune-up work is that he reminds us of
everything that he has to say to us in his Word. Whenever I have the
privilege of doing, like, a marriage
seminar or workshop, afterwards my wife says
I’m a better husband
for a good three days. We all need that reminder. Well, today I just
want to talk about the blessing of marriage. God instituted marriage all the
way back in the Garden of Eden. He created Adam and then
he made this declaration. He said, “It is not good
for the man to be alone. I will make a helper
suitable for him.” I always think it’s interesting
when you’re reading the Bible, to just stop at any point in the story and say,
“Now if I were God, how
would I finish this?” And for me, when I
read this account and I see he says it’s not
good for the man to be alone. I’ll make a helper
suitable for him, I would think the
next line would read, “So he made Eve.” But it doesn’t. Instead, God has Adam go
and name all these animals. Why in the world
would he do that? Well, as Adam is naming all the animals,
he’s naming the buck and he’s naming the doe and the male this
and the female that, he comes to a realization. “There’s no one for me. There’s no suitable helper.” In a way Adam says,
“Where’s my hen?” right? And so what was God
doing with that? He was leading Adam to
realize that he had a need. So that when he was
given that gift of Eve, he would be all the
more appreciative. God does that for
us too, doesn’t he? He doesn’t always give us what we need immediately. Sometimes he lets
us wait so that when we do receive that
gift, we appreciate it all the more. And so maybe if you’re single and are still looking right now, perhaps that’s what
God is doing for you. So God created Adam and he formed him from the dust
of the ground like a potter. And he breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life. But then he made
Eve differently. He took a rib from Adam
and he made Eve out of it. Why? Couldn’t he have just s
aid, “Let there be Eve.” And there was Eve? Yeah. Couldn’t he have formed Eve
out of the dust of the ground and breathed into her n
ostrils the breath of life? Well, yeah. But God was teaching
Adam and Eve something. He was saying,
“You know what? You are part of each other
and you belong together.” He was saying,
“Adam, you now need Eve. And Eve, you need Adam.” He was creating a
God-pleasing dependency. It’s how God made us as people. All people need people. And God can fulfill that
need in many different ways. He can fulfill it with friends
and family and co-workers. But the greatest way
that he fulfills that need is by blessing us with a spouse. So then, God creates Adam and Eve and he
presents Eve to Adam. And it’s great. The Bible records
Adam’s response. He says, “This is now bone of
my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for
she was taken out of man.” In Hebrew, it’s an interjection. A colloquial, “Wow!” Adam was thrilled with the
gift that God had given him. And you know God still does
the same for us today. No, guys, he didn’t
whisper in you ear, “Hey, she’s the one. You
should really go ask her.” But he blesses your
God-pleasing decision as men and women to get married. And then he is the one
that joins husbands
and wives together. You see what that means? That means that you can, you can wake up every
morning, look at the
person lying next to you. And you can say what Adam did. You might not say, “This
is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh.” But you can still say, “Wow! What a gift from God.” Isn’t that amazing? That God not only took care of you for eternity
by sending his Son to give his life for
you on the cross. But he also takes care
of us for right now. By giving us the
gift of spouses. Thank God for your spouse today
if you’re blessed with one. And tell them that you’re
thankful that God gave you them as a gift. Let’s pray. Dear Lord, You started marriage
in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Continue to bless
people with spouses. Teach us to cherish
your gift of marriage as well as the spouse
you have blessed us with. In your name we pray. Amen. Yesterday we saw how God brought Adam and Eve together
as husband and wife. Immediately following
that account, the next verse in the Bible gives us three
ingredients for marriage. Principles that will set a firm
foundation under a marriage. The verse goes like this, “For this reason, a man
will leave his father and mother and be
united to his wife. And the two will
become one flesh.” And I just want to walk
through that passage and pull out those
three ingredients. So the first thing
the passage says is that a man will leave
his father and mother. In other words, husband and
wife are going to leave behind, or refocus, all those other
relationships in their lives. So for husbands, your priority
structure is changed. Same with wives. It now goes, God and then spouse and then children and then everyone else, including friends and
family, even parents. So for husbands, when you your friends want to go
out on a Friday night, it’s not just automatically going to be that you go
out on a Friday night. You have a new
priority structure. And of course,
wives are so often wanting their husbands
to have that time with friends. So, very often, they
will have no problem with
you going out with them. Very quickly,
husbands, you’ll learn which “Sure” means yes
and which “Sure” means
you better stay home. And for wives, it means that since your priority
structure is changed, your mother can no longer be the main marriage counselor,
or marriage counselor
for your marriage. First of all, think
how awkward that is for your husband if your mother knows all
of the dirty laundry. And secondly, since your
husband is now number two, second only to God in your life, you owe it to him to try
to work out those issues
together as a couple. And of course, if you can’t, there
are marriage counselors and there are pastors
that you can talk to. So, the first key is that husband and wife
will leave behind or refocus all those other
relationships in their lives. The second one is this. The passage says, “A
man will leave behind
his father and mother and be united to his wife.” So, both the man and
the woman will commit to each other by
joining as a unit. Well, when does that happen? Well, that happens
on your wedding day. When you make that promise in
front of God and everyone else that you are going to
remain husband and wife
for the rest of your lives. Now, anyone who’s been
married for more than a day will be able to
answer this question. When you are united as a unit on your wedding day, do you
have marriage figured out? No. And that’s why the third
key is so important. Both the man and the woman, it says, will leave his father
and mother, be united to it says, will leave his father
and mother, be united to
his wife, and the two
will become one flesh. his wife, and the two
will become one flesh. So, both the husband
and the wife will commit to becoming one flesh. To a lifetime of
growing in unity which often involves
unselfish compromise. So, did you catch the
essence of marriage in
those three ingredients? So, did you catch the
essence of marriage in
those three ingredients?
Maybe you’ll catch it if I say
them all quickly, all in a row. Maybe you’ll catch it if I say
them all quickly, all in a row. So, both the man and the
woman commit to each other by leaving behind,
or refocusing, all those relationships
in their lives. Both the man and the
woman commit to each other
by joining as a unit. And both the man
and the woman commit to a lifetime of
growing in unity. Did you catch it? It’s love – no, it’s commitment. The essence of
marriage is commitment. And there are a ton
of keys to commitment. I mean, it takes hard work. It takes priority
It takes love. It takes respect. It takes growth in God’s Word. But the most important
key to commitment is seeing how totally
committed God is to you as husband and wife. Jesus never gave up
on your salvation. But he loved you all
the way to a cross. And he still loves you today. He always loves,
he always forgives, he always says, “I’m
not giving up on you.” Now that’s commitment. Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, You committed
to winning our salvation and now guiding
us home to Heaven. Use your total
commitment to inspire us. To commit to one another. As husbands and wives. Amen. We’re talking about
marriage this week. Now, when a couple
wants to get married, and you ask them why
do they want to get married? What does every couple say? Hopefully, anyway. They say, “Because
we love each other.” And that’s a great reason. But we have to understand what we mean by the word love. Or what the Bible
means by the word love. We’re not talking about
the teenage girl who might come home
and say that she’s in love with a boy because he’s so
cute and he’s so nice to her. No, love is more than that. So, what’s your
definition of love? How would you describe it? I can say that I love tacos and I can say
that I love my wife. But those two things
are not the same, right? They’re close, but no. They’re not even
close to the same. You know what the
word means just by the context of
how I’m using it. Well, Jesus tells
us this in John 13. He says, “Love one another
as I have loved you. So you must love one another.” So what does Jesus
mean by the word love? In English, we
just have one word. In Greek, there are
actually four words. And our English word
kind of captures fragments of all of them without really grasping one fully. So, the first word
I’ll talk about is the
Greek word, “storge.” This is the love of dependency. This is the love that
children have for their parents. This is the love that
children have for their parents.
So, if you ask my youngest So, if you ask my youngest children why they
love mom and dad. What are they going to say? They are going to say,
“Oh, because they play with us. They are going to say,
“Oh, because they play with us.
And they give us food. And they give us food. And, sometimes,
they give us candy. And they read books to us. And they pray with us and
they tuck us in at night.” And those are all
wonderful things. But understand that if you did
those things for my children, they would have this
type of love for you. That love of dependency. Now, is that a good kind of love for husbands and wives
to have for each other? Absolutely. It’s wonderful to see how God, how husband and wife complement
one another in a marriage. And appreciate what your spouse brings to the relationship
that maybe you don’t. The second type of
love is “philos”. This is where we get
the word “Philadelphia”. The city of brotherly love. “Philos” is the love on
the basis of similarity. So, this is the friendship love. This is why you like people. You’re friends with people you
have things in common with. I’ll sometimes ask people if
they are still best friends with the person they were best
friends with in kindergarten. And most often the answer is no. Why? Is it because that
person’s a bad person? No. It’s just that you grew in
different directions and now you’re friends with people that you have things
in common with. Now, is this a good love to have
between husband and wife? Absolutely. What a blessing it is
when you actually like
your spouse, right? And a third type
of love is “eros”. “Eros” is where we get
the word erotic from. This is the sexual love in a relationship between
husband and wife. This is a love that
wants to be completed. So, I may be dating
myself a little bit here. But if you remember
the movie, “Jerry McGuire”, Tom Cruise, he says,
“You complete me.” That’s really what this
love is getting after. Now, is this a love that you want husbands and
wives to have for each other? Again, absolutely. What a blessing it is when you
are attracted to your spouse. But then there’s that
fourth kind of love. “Agape” love. It’s different than
all the others. It’s different than
all the others.
This love is This love is the love that seeks
the ultimate good of the object. It is the love that
is totally determined in the heart of the
one doing the loving. Without any thought of the lovable characteristics
of the object. the lovable characteristics
of the object.
In other words, In other words, this is the only love
where you can say, “I love you because I love you.” And so, even if your spouse
is acting unloveable, this love says, “I’m still going
to do what’s best for you.” So, do you see the difference between agape love and the other three
types of loves? I mean, the other three types of
love, they’re all dependent on the object of the love. So, “storge”. I love you because I’m
dependent in some way. That you provide
something for me. Um, “philos”. I love you because, well,
we have things in common. Or “eros”. I love you because
I’m attracted to you. But “agape” is the only one that
says, “I love you simply because I love you.” So, which type of love
do you think Jesus said he wants us to have
for one another when he says, “Love one another
as I have loved you. So you must love one another.” It’s that fourth kind of love. It’s “agape” love. The other three ebb and
flow and you know that. Even in a marriage relationship. But Jesus says, “I always
want you to love each other the way I’ve loved you.” Jesus loved you all the way to a cross. Even when we didn’t
deserve that. Let’s pray for that love now. Dear Jesus, You love us,
not because we are lovable but because you chose
to love us anyway. Help husbands and wives love each other the
way you love us. Amen. Love is more than a feeling. Listen to how the
Bible describes love using words that are
probably very familiar to you if you’ve ever been to
a wedding in a church. From 1 Corinthians 13. Do you see what I mean? Love is more than a feeling. In fact, the Apostle Paul, the
way he describes it, he would say the question is
not so much, “What is love” but “What does love do?” Love is as much an action too. And now since God’s love is what provides us with
the motivation and inspiration to love one another. Understanding God’s love is key. So what I want to do is
I just want to walk through three beautiful
passages that describe God’s love for us to see what’s involved with this
special “agape”, selfless love. So, the first passage
is from John 3:16,. You know it well. So what’s involved
with this love? What does this love do? This love gives. And it doesn’t
give its leftovers. It gives its most
prized possession. God loved you so much
that he gave his Son. Why? Because he was seeking
your ultimate good. He was seeking your salvation. This kind of love never
asks the question, “What about me?” It only ever asks the question, “What do they need right now?” And so what can you
give to your spouse today? The next passage I
want to talk about is from John as well. John 15 where Jesus says, And obviously he’s talking
about his love for us. So what’s involved
with this love? It has no boundaries. And it is willing to
endure pain, even. Jesus was willing
to go all the way to the point of death
on a cross for us. This love is substitutionary. It’s willing to take
someone else’s pain
so they don’t have to. Now, I think this one is kind of funny because when I think about this, I think I’d be willing to die
for my wife, right? And all of the
husbands out there, I believe you when you say
that you would be willing to step in front of a
bullet for your wife. You would be willing to
give your life for her. I absolutely believe that. But the thing is, God doesn’t
ask most of us to do that. Instead, he gives us a whole bunch of little ways that we can show
this kind of love, or this aspect of that love. Let me just give
you an illustration. So, let’s say that
I want to meet with you as a couple. And I set up a
meeting with your wife and we make the appointment for, we’ll say 6:00. Okay? And then she’s going to
communicate that to you. Well, she accidentally tells you
that the meeting is at 6:30. So on the night of the meeting, she and I are sitting in
the office having small talk for half an hour and
you show up at 6:30. And I say to you,
“Well, why are you late? We had a meeting at 6.” What would you say? Now, you could substitutionally take her pain
by just simply saying, “Oh, I’m sorry,
pastor. I was late.” But what would you say? Oh, you would throw
her under a bus in a
heartbeat, wouldn’t you? You would say, “Well,
she told me 6:30!” God gives us so many little ways to live for the ones we
claim to be willing to die for. And the third passage
I want to look at is from Romans 5. Did you catch that? Not while we were
good Christians. Not while we were good people. Not even while we were
showing steady improvement. No, while we were still
sinners, Christ died for us. This love is totally undeserved
and unconditional. It doesn’t depend on how lovable the person is. This love is willing to
love even if the person
doesn’t deserve it. And so I’ll leave
you with this today. In any relationship, I want you to know that
you have the ability to stop the downward spiral. See, what happens is this. Somebody behaves badly
or says something hurtful. And then what does
the other person do? They stoop to that level and they say something
hurtful in response. And then this person
feels vindicated. And then they continue
the downward spiral. But you have the
ability to stop that. What happens when bitterness meets grace and forgiveness? Well, it’s really hard to
be mad at someone who is trying to
love you, right? What do you want to
do for the person who is bending over backwards to do what’s best for
you and to love you? Well, you’re going to
want to respond in kind. And the spiral can go
up instead of down. What do you want to
do for someone who’s bending over backwards trying
to do what’s best for you? You’re going to want to do
the same back to them. And what kind of
marriage will that be if you can perfectly do that? Well, that will be a
marriage made in heaven. Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, Bless
our relationships with the love that you show us. Help our love to be giving, unconditional and undeserved. In your name I pray. Amen. Agree or disagree? Forgiveness is the most
important aspect of marriage. Well, I suppose you
could disagree with that by saying that “agape” love is. Love is something we’re
talking a lot about today because it’s Valentines Day. But, to be fair, forgiveness
is a big part of that selfless, “agape” love. Since you know that sin is going to take
place in your marriage because every marriage is made up to two sinners. I’m not sure how a
marriage could survive
without true forgiveness. The truth is, many don’t. Well, what does God
say about marriage? There was a time in Jesus’
ministry when Peter excitedly came up to him
and asked him a question, “Lord, how many times
shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?” Now when you’re
asking a question and you want the
person to give a response, you need to pause so that they can
actually answer it. Peter was not interested
in Jesus’ answer because he just wanted
to show his generosity. He immediately shouted out, “Up to seven times?” As though that was
a great number. You see in that day
and age there was a misconception about, number one, how God forgives. And then by extension, how we should forgive. The misconception was this: Some of the rabbis taught that God was willing
to forgive a sin to an individual up to
three times the same sin. And so, by extension, if you want to be a
very generous forgiver,
forgive like God, you’d be willing to
forgive three times. Well, Peter wanted to one-up that, or four-up
that and he said, “Well, I’d be willing to
forgive up to seven times.” Jesus needed to correct Peter’s understanding
and our understanding
of a couple of things. Number one, how God forgives. And then number two,
how we are to forgive. And so Jesus tells this parable. It’s an earthly story with
a heavenly meaning. He tells Peter about this king who wanted to settle accounts. And so, he calls a servant in. And this is just an incredible, it’s almost an
unbelievable story. He calls a servant in who
owes him 10,000 talents. To put that in perspective,
that’s the equivalent of billions of dollars. This would never happen. And so the king demands that
the servant pay this money back. But the servant’s not
able to pay, obviously. And so he falls on
his knees and he begs. He says, “Please have
patience with me and I’ll
pay back everything.” Which could never happen. Again, put it in perspective. Let’s say you owe $5 billion. And the interest rate is 6% and you have a job that
makes $50,000 a year. How long is it going to take
you to pay that debt back? You would never
be able to, right? You’d just go further
and further in debt. And so the king knows this and he does the most,
again, unbelievable thing. He forgives the debt. And he lets him go. Can you imagine the relief of that servant who just had that
incredible debt forgiven? Just to give you a microscopic
view of that relief, what if I said to you today that your mortgage is
completely paid for? Right? The relief
you would feel. So then the servant who
had that debt forgiven, he goes out and finds
a fellow servant who owes him about 100 denari, which is about
three months’ wages. Now please don’t misunderstand. Three month’s wages is a lot. That’s not a small
amount, right? If you lost three months wages,
would that be a big deal? Absolutely. However, the point is, it’s nothing compared
to the billions of dollars that he had been forgiven. So he demands the
debt from the servant and the servant falls
on his knees before him and begs, “Please
have patience with me and I will pay back everything.” Does that sound familiar? It should. That’s what the
servant did before the king. But this time the
servant refused. And he had the man thrown
in jail until he could pay
back everything that he owed. Are you outraged? So was the king. He called that servant back in and he threw him in
jail until he could pay
back everything he owed. Which meant that
was for eternity. Do you see the point
of the parable? We are that first servant who owed the king
an unpayable debt. And what did the king do? He forgave it. Everyone of us can
relate to Barabbas. Do you remember Barabbas? He was the criminal that was convicted of murder
and standing in jail awaiting for crucifixion with Jesus and the
other two criminals. His conviction was for murder
and a host of other crimes. Not unlike our list. Well, there he is,
sitting in his jail cell, and he hears the
footsteps of the soldier walking down the hall. And he hears the sound of
the key in the cell door lock and he hears the door open. And the guard says to him
the same thing God says to each one of us. You’re free to go. Jesus is dying in your place. That’s what Jesus did
for you and for me. That’s how much
he’s forgiven us. And so now what
do you want to do in your relationships,
in your marriage? Well, one word. Forgive. If your spouse tried
to sin against you as much as they could
for the rest of your life – please don’t do
that, by the way – they could never sin
against you as much as the debt that we owed to God that he has already forgiven us. So forgive each other because Jesus has forgiven you. And then actually act
like that at home. One of the most powerful
things in the world is when a spouse forgives and then acts as though they
don’t remember that sin anymore. It’s a way for you
to love your spouse. It’s a way for you to show your spouse
how God acts. Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, Thank you for forgiving
me so enormously. Help me forgive my
spouse and others in my
life that completely. In your precious name I pray. Amen

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