For the last several weeks I have been preaching a series called “Naked Marriage” during Sunday worship. The goal of this series is to help people see that marriage is one of the most precious and valuable relationships that we have here on this earth. The goal was to help people have the tools to make their marriage stronger because we believe a stronger marriage, creates a stronger family, which creates a stronger church. After all, it is the family that God created first and then the church. So the church is nothing more than a big family that is made up of smaller families, and the strength of the church is dependant on the strength of the family. With that said, our goal in this series is to show that marriage has to be held to the highest regard in our life. Marriage is a covenant, and if it is going to prosper, then certain things that have to take place within the confines of marriage. So let me give a recap of what this series has looked like up to this point
Week 1 Naked and Unashamed
In week one we talked about the creation of the first marriage. How that in Genesis two we see that God created Adam and then took a rib from him and created Eve. She was unique from all other creation. Many times we think that she was made inferior to Adam, but the truth is the word “help-mate” in the Hebrew means one that helps complete one’s purpose. In other words, Eve was Adams other half or his partner and only together could they fulfill the purpose of God. Adam says as much when he states that she is “bone of my bone and flesh to my flesh.”
What we learned is that God created marriage and it was God that set the standard for what marriage is. Marriage is a partnership whereby together, the two can complete the purpose that God has for our lives. In marriage, each person has a part to play to ensure that God’s purpose is being fulfilled and that the marriage is growing spiritually, emotionally, and physically. There must be respect, submission, compassion, and understanding if marriage is going to grow the way that God intended. When these things are within a marriage, the marriage becomes blessed, and love springs forth within the covenant, which is between husband, wife, and God. Each person has a part to play within the covenant relationship.
Week 2 Your Body is not Your
Another important aspect of marriage is sex. In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul deals with sexuality within the Christian community. There was lots of confusion over the issue in the church and they write Paul to enquire of what is right. Some in the church were saying that once you get saved sex is off the table, and some of these seemed to be married people. Others were saying God, does not care about sex and so you can do anything you want because it is not a spiritual issue but a physical one. Paul quickly shares with them that sex can only be holy in the confines of marriage. Anything outside of marriage is sinful, and as Paul states, with will cause you to “burn.” Paul shares that for us not to give in to sexual lust it is better to get married.
What we learned is that within the confines of marriage sex is not only important, but it is necessary to keep us out of temptation. We learned that sex should never be selfish, but it should be an act of giving to please the other. Paul goes as far as to tell us that our body does not belong to us, but it belongs to our spouse. This is something that is foreign to today’s culture where selfishness is the rule of the day. Paul says that sex should not be withheld except when both agreed to have a time of fasting and praying. Even then Paul warns that this should be for a short season due to temptation. Other than that we see that the Bible is silent on sex once the marriage door is closed. There is nothing wrong with sexual pleasure as long as it is done in the covenant of marriage.
Week 3 Naked Trust
In week three the Hebrew writers tell us that marriage must be honorable. The word is honorable in the Greek means respect and trust. There is nothing more vital in a relationship than trust. Many would say that love is the most important thing in marriage, but the truth is that there are people that love one another but are not together because the trust was broken. A relationship cannot move forward without trust.
We learn that trust is developed through truth and when couples lie to one another, even about the smallest of things, it erodes trust. Trust comes through transparency. We will never have true trust until we become vulnerable to one another. Intimacy is birthed out of transparency. We learned that confidence comes through times of testing. Anyone can be trusted when everything is good, but it is the times of hardship that confidence is earned. Trust takes time. We have to realize that trust does not come over night but it takes time for us to fully learn to trust one another. The important thing is that we are trustworthy and that trust is growing within the relationship.
Week 4 Oh No We’re Naked
In the final week, we are going to look at what happens when problems come within the relationship. How do we overcome hard times and even mistakes within marriage? Is there hope when something terrible happens, or when someone is unfaithful? Can trust be earned back, can we learn to forgive?
Other than our relationship with Jesus there is no relationship more important than our marriage. If we do not work to build stronger marriages, we will never truly succeed in life. Marriage is vital to our welfare, and we have to do all that we can to make them better and in doing so, it will not only strengthen our home, but it will strengthen our church.