Let Marriage Be Held in Honor Among All

Let Marriage Be Held in Honor Among All

This is an excerpt from the Sunday sermon on May 28, 2023 by Pastor Lonnie Atwood.

One of the most basic foundations of society is marriage. It’s a bedrock of the created order that God established when He formed the earth- marriage- as God defines it, between a man and a woman. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. When biblical marriage is attacked, so is the family, and so is the created order. This is a pillar that a good and rightly ordered society stands on. It’s the world where children are raised and taught. It’s the primary relationship where love is shown, where future men and women are grown and nurtured, where the biblical mandate to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” happens. Marriage underpins any well-ordered and good society, but there is also a spiritual element here. Marriage is meant by God to be a living representation of Christ’s relationship to His church.

To represent marriage in a way that God has not intended it, is not only a sure way to destroy a society, it is also a great dishonor to the person and work of Jesus Christ. So, to be clear, culture does not get to define what marriage is. Only God does that. If a society chooses to depart from God’s design, they have created something that is not marriage. It’s a perversion of it, and a gross misrepresentation of the beauty of Christ’s love for His people- the ultimate Bridegroom and His delight for His bride.

So, when the church is told here, to “Let marriage be held in honor above all,” can you see why that is so important? Yes, it has monumental importance for the world  we live in, but marriage also speaks to our salvation. Godly marriage speaks well of our  godly Savior and His bride. No Christian, and no church, can obey this command by rejoicing in a marriage between anything other than one man and one woman. We must, as a people, honor marriage by affirming God’s design, and rejoicing in the work of our Savior for those He loves.

But we are also to honor marriage, practically, in our own homes, and by the way we conduct ourselves in purity with one another in the church. This starts with husbands loving your wives as Christ loved the church. Men are to lead in their homes, and in their marriages, with sacrificial love. They nurture their wives, and care for her like a garden. The man tends to his wife with the love of Christ and the word of Christ, and she bears fruit- physically with children, and spiritually in godliness. This is the standard that is to be upheld in the church, and all of God’s people are to rejoice in that because, again, that says something about Jesus, and His relationship with us. Adultery, and sexual immorality say something anti-Gospel. A husband who lusts after a woman who is not his wife is living out an anti-Gospel. The same for a wife who gives herself to another man. Jesus Christ deals with us in all purity and devotion. Husbands and wives must do the same.

We live in a very impure world, right? We must be very careful about what we set our eyes, and hearts, on. You must understand that sexual immorality covers a wide range is sexual sin. Adultery deals with those who are married. Christ doesn’t step out on His bride. He is united with us. We do not step out on our spouse either, to break the unity we have with one another. But the term “sexual immorality” includes fornication- two people who shack up, maybe they claim to love one another, but give themselves to each other sexually. This can also include lust, pornography, and any other sexual deviation that occurs outside the confines of the marriage bed. We are called to purity, nothing less, and to celebrate & honor marriage done well. WHY? Because a marriage done well will speak well of the Gospel that we all love…We honor godly marriage because godly marriage honors Christ. 

Young people are apprehensive of marriage, for a variety of reasons. They’ve probably seen a lot of marriages done poorly. They worry that it will restrict their individuality and might not suit their lifestyle. I was listening to the radio this week, and the thought came into my mind, “there aren’t any songs about marriage love,” which shows what the world values. It values the, “I just showed up at the club, saw you for the first time, and want to have sex with you,” love. It values dating and freedom, and the “I could have another you in a minute” love. But God, when He chose to put a symbol on earth of His true and eternal love- the kind of love where the God-man went and gave His life, so a people could be happy, forever, love- He chose to represent that in a marriage between one man and one woman. This is what Paul speaks of in Ephesians 5, when he says that marriage mysteriously represents the Gospel. We have to demonstrate this love, in our marriages, to the young people around us, to draw them, not just to have good marriages, but to draw them to the beauty of Christ.

Can we see why, then,  that we’re told here- “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” It is because those things are an affront to the salvation that He has so graciously worked for us.

As Christ’s church today, people who confess Him as Savior- people who confess that we belong to Him alone as His bride- a few questions are in order.

If you are married, is your marriage reflecting the Gospel? Are you committed to one another? Are you faithful sexually? Are you faithful in the roles God has given you that point to the Goodness of your Savior? Husbands, are you loving your wives sacrificially? Are you leading her in godliness? Wives, do you respect your husbands, and are you faithfully helping Him in His calling to lead well? Is there any repentance that needs to happen, so that your marriage can be more honorable? Most certainly if your marriage bed has been defiled.

For the unmarried…Do you aspire to be married? If so, pray for a marriage worthy of honor. Pray for a godly spouse, a spouse as defined by God’s Word, not as defined by the false prophets on the radio. Read about godly marriage in good books. Read about godly marriage from the ones you see around you. And as you prepare for marriage, purify yourself sexually. Prepare yourself for your future spouse, who must also be a Christ- loving person, like yourself…If there is repentance needed, whether in thought, eyes, or in actions, do that now, and begin living out that repentance today.

Marriage is a pillar of good society, but it is also the physical representation, on earth, of Christ and His Church. We must take this with all seriousness. Honor marriage, and work to have a more honorable marriage. Start this today as led by God’s Word.