Jan 14, 2014
neil

Why our church is looking at marriage, divorce and singleness

This Sunday at City Church we started a nine week series entitled Marriage, Divorce & Singleness.  I  gave the following 5 reasons for  making this our focus at the start of the new year.

1. Understanding for a world in confusion.  In our times no-one seems really sure as to what marriage actually is. We need God’s word to shed light on this topic with some urgency and in doing so we will find that God’s word constantly challenges the values and wisdom of our culture.

2. Preparation for the future. We need help to make wise choices and decisions about marriage.  Whether we are in a marriage or thinking one day about marriage we need to understand God’s purpose for marriage. What should we be working towards to fulfil God’s ‘mission for marriage.’

3. Healing for the past. For some of us the very thought that we will be tackling subjects that are the cause of much personal unhappiness is a reason to be concerned. Maybe you have been a victim of divorce. For some of us it will be hard to be caused to reflect on an unhappy singleness (through all this talk of marriage!) after having worked so hard to learn to accept it. Well, the series is not here to dredge up hurts of the past and this series is certainly no witch-hunt designed to highlight past sins that have been repented of, but we do want to bring to God our past and seek understanding and a gospel perspective that allows us to move on with renewed joy in our hearts that the gospel is bigger than our past.

4. Wisdom for living well today. We need practical wisdom and advice on getting it right. We will be thinking through how we should live whilst maybe wanting to be married and waiting to be married and yet being single, how to know whether and when to marry. In what ways we should invest in and strengthen our marriages if we are married. What to do if we are struggling in marriage and how to resolve difficulties. Whether and in what situations we might even end a marriage.

But I want to say right at the start that it would be a big mistake to think that the reason we’re looking at this topic is to focus only on human relationships.  Our real goal in this series is that we might all say by the end of it we know our God better and that we have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the gospel.

5. Insight into the gospel.  We need to understand how the themes of marriage, divorce and singleness point us to the very character and purposes of God in Christ Jesus. The truth is, whether we’ve ever thought about it or not that marriage, as a gift of God is given to teach us about our future.

The Bible might begin with a wedding between a man and a woman but it ends with a wedding between Christ and his bride, the church. Whatever our views on marriage for this life, we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that if we believe the Bible then one day, perhaps very soon, we will all be married.

In Revelation 19 we read these words

Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was give her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

The Christian life IS marriage preparation. Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the new creation is one of perfect union, intimacy and blessing that the only way we can get close to it in this life is to understand God’s gift of marriage.

In the next post we will look at why marriage is in crisis in our culture and how the real and radical redefinition marriage took place not in this past year but 40 years ago.

3 Comments

  • I love the comment that the Christian life is training for marriage! My own book “One Flesh” sub titled “what Jesus teaches about love, marriage, relationships and a lot more” is freely available in e-book form and PDF formats at this link:

    http://www.glorytoglory.co.uk/default.aspx?ID=116

    May be a useful resource for those trying to understand what God teaches through the one-flesh ordinance

  • [...] in a look at the question ‘What is marriage?’ We began by recongising that there are at least 5 reasons why we need to look at this issue afresh. In the last post we considered the consequences that have [...]

  • Marriage begins with sex, not a state sanctioned wedding ceremony.

    Divorce does not point us to the “very character and purpose of God.”

    A “mission for marriage” is not biblical but is becoming ever more popular in a Sodom and Gomorrha cultutre.

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