Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Christian Marriage
Dear friend,

May the boundless grace of God be received and experienced by all today, on this beautiful day of the Lord in the year 2016. It is a gorgeous morning here in Minnesota, the trees are full clothed with leaves, the fruit is growing on the trees and the fields are bringing forth their harvest from the seed that has been planted into the ground. It is difficult not to shout with the Psalmist David who in the 118th Psalm after by faith seeing the Promise of Christ burst forth with these words: "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Today we are continuing our sermons series through the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians, having preached through chapter four previously. The next chapter continues with God's teaching concerning how the structure of our lives is to be lived now that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus through God's doing. Previous to this (Chapter 4) we have been instructed as to how we are to live within the body of Christ (the church) and today we come to the portion that teaches us how to live in our personal and home relationships..

We have already had two foundational scriptures read for us, one from Genesis 2:18-25 from which the record of God's establishing of the marriage covenant as a creation covenant for all mankind and from 1 Corinthians 13 in which the characteristics of love are described.

The mystery of the relationship of a man and a woman coming from separate families and therefore, different lives, and being united together in marriage is profound. Our Creator from the beginning has joined man and woman in the marriage covenant and throughout the ages it has been understood as being likened unto the relationship that we as the church have with God Himself, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32

Marriage is a relationship that is founded upon unconditional love, which is designed after the grace that God has extended to us in that He has sought us and bought us for Himself. And in the experience of the marriage relationship we learn that serving yields a far greater harvest than the expectancy of being served and waited upon.

God has instituted marriage between a man and a women and He desires that it continue until death brings separation. We realize that due to our fallen nature that sin has and will continue to bring separations and divorces in marriages. And for those situations we wish to have understanding, compassion and support.........

Now let us take a look at the how God desires that we would live in our personal relationships and family relationships.

1. We are to walk in the love that Christ has for us and which indwells us through the Holy Spirit.

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

2. We are to walk/live in the light of love and not in the darkness of sin.

8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

3. We are to walk/live in wisdom, seeking to live how God wants us to live, being filled by His Spirit.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

4. We all, male and female, first live under the provision protection and security that we enjoy in our union with Christ.

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

5.. Wives are to walk/live in the provision, protection, and security of the sacrificial love leadership of their husbands, as the church does under the sacrificial love leadership of Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

6. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and as they love our own bodies.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

7. Husbands and wives are to leave their parents, cleave to one another and to become one flesh.

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband

Years ago I heard a man teaching on what it takes to have a happy and successful marriage and he summed it all up in just a few words: "Make your wife the queen and you will be the king!"

Here is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who lived during WW II.

€œMarriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God's holy ordinance, through which He wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to His glory, and calls into His kingdom. In your love, you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal - it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.€

The basis or foundation of reality (truth) is the Word of God in Jesus Christ.

So therefore God ordained marriage is founded and grounded upon the truth of His Word in the community of His Spirit which empowers and inspires us to walk in the light of His truth in His love.
In our second scripture reading today, we heard love's characteristics described; Let us hear them again...

1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud

5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Love will last forever,

God's love serves for the true benefit of the other, self love serves for one's own benefit.

God's love is humble before the other, self love seeks to control othe other.

God's love flows from His Word, self love flows from self interest.

In God's love the Spirit rules in that power, honor and dominion are subject to His Word, self love uses power and inflence to bring the other under their control.

As Christians who have been brought under the guidance, inspiration and control of His Spirit, we recognize and admit that we are all a work in progress in knowing, experiencing and demonstrating the love of God towards others. In the marriage relationship, we may safely make the following statement:

The fruit of richness and joy in marriage is directly related to how much sacrifice is made for the sake of the other, and therefore for the happiness of the spiritual, mental, and physical oneness in the union of husband and wife.

In closing, may we consider the following account....

Robertson McQuilikin, president made the decision to leave his calling as president of Columbia International Bible College, to care to his wife when she contracted Alzheimer's. As he struggled with stepping down, he sought for direction from the Lord, through the question that went like this. "Lord, are you putting me on the bench?" He knew that someone else could be a president, but no one else could be his wife's husband. But should he step down or not?

One day he went for a walk with his wife, as they were walking holding hands, an inebriated man approached him, and after he walked by he looked back at the couple and said: "I likes that, yes that's good, that's good, I likes that." He did not think much of it but later as he lay in bed during the night it came to him to ask of the Lord. "Lord, was that you talking to me through that inebriated man?" He heard the response of the Lord: "Yes, that was me.....'

Later he was asked this question by a student? Wasn't it hard to leave your calling? He replied: "It was the easiest decision I ever made, as it was made 44 years ago when I vowed before God and the congregation present that I would stay with my wife til death separates us."

After hearing this story, a Christian radio talk, Dennis Rainey, show host called his wife and told her about the McQuilikin story, and especially how Mr McQuilikin had laid aside his wants and dreams on behalf of his wife to care for her. At hearing this his wife became silent, she started crying and in tears asked her husband: "Would you do that for me?" Dennis Rainey, kind of taken aback, assured her that he would.

The fruit of richness and joy in marriage is directly related to how much sacrifice is made for the sake of the other, and therefore for the happiness of the spiritual, mental, and physical oneness in the union of husband and wife.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though He was rich became poor, who took on the form of a servant and suffered the death of the cross for us, and who came not to be served but to serve be upon you and in you today and always. In His Name, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 26 Jun 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns