Yesterday I preached at Bethel Church. In the afternoon I drove over to visit my parents. In the evening I told stories at Northeastern Baptist in Kalamazoo driving back through the night listening to a scary podcast. I arrived home and was greeting by fresh cookies so it was a good day. Just before midnight I crawled into bed and slept soundly through the night without moving.
At Bethel Baptist I am doing a series on the effects of the fall of man described in Genesis 3. The series is called Life is Hard. Yesterday’s message was “What to Do When Marriage is Hard.” Here is the heart of the message: If marriage is God’s idea and it is good, why do so many find it hard? The answer is this: Marriage is hard because the sin-curse on the world had affected all of us and everything. The world is broken. Creation is broken. People are broken. All of us.
Is there any good news? Yes, indeed… there is good news. The Bible calls is The Gospel—a term that means good news. God has sent his Son Jesus into the world to die for sin and for sinners to reverse the effects of the fall and one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth and no more curse. The New Heavens and the New Earth will be populated by the forgiven—those who have received God’s mercy. So here is the good news regarding marriage:
God has made a way for us to bring him glory in any and every marriage circumstance. There are examples in scripture of people who are single who give glory to God and live honorably in every circumstance… married, single again, divorced, separated, married to an unbeliever, sinners married to sinners—every marital situation you can imagine—there is a way for them to live in a way that brings glory to God.
God Can Grow Beautiful Things In The Dark Soil of Suffering
Devote your marital condition to the Lord and purpose to flourish by seeing the intent of God. When you trust God and Obey him in your struggle, when you do not sin or despair when others hurt you, when you turn to God and see the hand of God and trust the hand of God in the struggle of your marital situation, he will grow beautiful things in that dark soil. Don’t sin when you are sinned against. Don’t despair when things don’t go they way you expected. Lay the Gospel over your marital hardships. When bad things are happening to you, God is always doing something good. Seek holiness first and happiness will always follow. Pursue God and enjoy pleasures forevermore.
Pursue God. Obey God. Trust God. Do your best to use your marital situation, whatever it is to bring honor and glory to God…
Casting Down Idols of the Heart.
When we marry we are tempted to look to our spouse for what only God can do. We tend to give to our spouse what belongs to God alone. This is idolatry. We can make money and idol or things. We can turn people into idols, relationships, even good ones like marriage into God substitutes—idols of the heart. God wants us to look to him and point to him above every other thing so he will see to it that our marriage cannot meet our deepest needs so we will not make an idol of our relationships and miss the beautify and glory and ratification of God.
You can watch the message here. I would love to hear your feedback on the message.