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Marriage: The Best Part of Life

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(Section 1 of 2)

Author: Apostle Kelvin Franklin

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1. Introduction

a. The Importance of Marriage

     Marriage is very important to God. It was his first established institution. Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding feast: ST JOHN 2:1-8. If we understand the marriage, then we can understand christianity and the kingdom of God. Look at the relationship between the marriage and the church in the following scripture:

EPHESIANS 5:
     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.

     I believe the natural concept of marriage was given first so that we could later understand the spiritual concept of the church and christianity. God seems to always give us a natural example first. He then takes this example and relates it to a spiritual concept. This makes it easier for us to understand spiritual things. Examine this CONCEPT in the following scripture.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:
     45. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
     46. HOWBEIT THAT WAS NOT FIRST WHICH IS SPIRITUAL, BUT THAT WHICH IS NATURAL; AND AFTERWARD THAT WHICH IS SPIRITUAL.
     47. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
     48. AS IS THE EARTHY, SUCH ARE THEY ALSO THAT ARE EARTHY: AND AS IS THE HEAVENLY, SUCH ARE THEY ALSO THAT ARE HEAVENLY.

     Notice that in this scripture God shows that the natural comes first. The spiritual is then given after the natural.

     Also, taking a further look at marriage, God points out that at the end of time, before he comes back, men shall be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until Jesus comes.

ST MATTHEW 24: 
     34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
     35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
     36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
     37. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
     38. For as in the days that were before the flood they were EATING and DRINKING, MARRYING AND GIVING IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOE ENTERED INTO THE ARK.
     39. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE.

     Notice the conditions that God says would exist right before he returns. These scriptures portray that the act of getting married would not be taken seriously by men. The emphasis and importance that God places on the marriage will be ignored by man. Men will see marriage as a haphazard venture.

     If we are not careful, we will let our christian marriages fall into this same condition. Satan's divorce trap will greatly diminish our chances of raising up the godly seed that God talks about in MALACHI 2:14-15.

MALACHI 2:
     14. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the WIFE of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the WIFE of thy covenant.
     15. And did not he make ONE? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore ONE? THAT HE MIGHT SEEK A GODLY SEED. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the WIFE of his youth.

    We need to make sure that we do not drift into the ways of the world.

b. Holding Onto The Best Part

ST LUKE 11:
     38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
     39. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
     40. But Martha was cumbered about much SERVING, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
     41. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
     42. But one thing is needful: and Mary HATH CHOSEN THAT GOOD PART, which shall not be taken away from her.

     In this passage of scripture we can see how Martha was entrenched in her worries about daily chores. On the other hand, Mary decided to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his words of comfort and life. Jesus answered Martha's complaint by shewing her that Mary had chosen the best part.

     Many times we fill our time with work, chores, friends, children and the many other things that this world has to offer. In doing so, we often neglect the two most important things that life has to offer:

     1. Our relationship with Jesus.

     2. Our relationship with our Spouse.

     There is nothing in life that can compare with the joy of a fulfilling relationship with Jesus and our Spouse. You can try to replace it with money, children, relatives, and all that this world has to offer. However, I'm mighty afraid that you will find that it doesn't equal out.

     You may ask why. Think about this. God created Man and Woman at the same time. They were linked together from creation.

GENESIS 1:
     26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
     27. So God created man in his own image, in the IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM; MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM.
     28. And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
GENESIS 2:
     4. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
     5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and THERE WAS NOT A MAN TO TILL THE GROUND.
     6. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
     7. And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

     See, woman was created as an integral part of man. God removed a rib from the side of man and created woman. When he removed the rib, I believe God also removed the tender, gentle characteristics of his that was originally placed in man and placed them in the woman. Remember, man was made in the image of God in the beginning.

GENESIS 2:
     20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam THERE WAS NOT FOUND AN HELP MEET FOR HIM.
     21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: AND HE TOOK ONE OF HIS RIBS, AND CLOSED UP THE FLESH INSTEAD THEREOF;
     22. AND THE RIB, WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD TAKEN FROM MAN, MADE HE A WOMAN, and brought her unto the man.
     23. And Adam said, THIS IS NOW BONE OF MY BONES, AND FLESH OF MY FLESH: she shall be called Woman, BECAUSE SHE WAS TAKEN OUT OF MAN.
     24. Therefore shall a man LEAVE his father and his mother, and shall CLEAVE unto his wife: and they shall be ONE FLESH.

     When Adam said this was bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, he was speaking from reality. I image that if Eve stubbed her toe in the back part of the garden, Adam felt it physically in his body even though he may not have been present. Remember, this was actually his flesh and his bones. This is how close we should view our relationship with our spouse. When a man and woman are joined together, they become one flesh. This is one part of the equation for man to be complete.

     The second part of the equation is that God created man to have fellowship with him. When he sinned, he died spiritually. He lost contact with God.

GENESIS 2:
     22. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
     24. So he DROVE out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:
     21. FOR SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
     22. FOR AS IN ADAM ALL DIE, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

     When we accept Jesus we are born again of God's Spirit and we can again enjoy fellowship with God.

ST JOHN 3:
     3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
     4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
     5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
     6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
     7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.
     14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
     15. That WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
     16. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
ST JOHNS 14:
     16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
     17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
     18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
     19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
     20. AT THAT DAY YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YE IN ME, AND I IN YOU.
     21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, AND I WILL LOVE HIM, AND WILL MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM.

     This is the second and most critical part of the equation for man to be complete.

     When God is an integral part of a bible based marriage, the man and the woman are totally complete and satisfied.

     LET'S BEGIN BY ESTABLISHING THIS POINT: THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MARRIAGE IS THE TIME SPENT COMMUNICATING, SHARING AND BUILDING A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE TOGETHER.

2. The Episcopal Marriage Service

     (As printed in The Star Book For Ministers, Edward T. Hiscox, Judson Press)

     Dearly beloved: We are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy matrimony; which is commended of St. Paul to be honorable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate, these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

     And, also, speaking unto the persons who are to be married, he shall say:

     I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God's word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.

     If no impediment shall be alleged, the minister shall say to the man:

     M ___________________, Wilt thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

     The man shall answer, I will.

     Then shall the minister say to the woman:

     N __________________, Wilt thou have this Man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him and serve him, love, honor, and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?

     The woman shall answer, I will.

     Then shall the minister say,

     Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?

     Then shall they give their Troth to each other in this manner: The minister, receiving the woman at her father's or friend's hands, shall cause the man with his right hand to take the woman by her right hand, and say after him as follows:

     I M___________________, take thee, N__________________, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

     Then shall they loose their hands; and the woman, with her right hand taking the man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the minister:

     I N___________________, take thee, M____________________, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

     Then shall they again loose their hands; and the man shall give unto the woman a ring. And the minister taking the ring shall deliver it unto the man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand. And the man holding the ring there, and taught by the minister, shall say:

     As a pledge and in token of the vows between us made, with this ring I thee wed: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

     Then, the man leaving the ring upon the fourth finger of the woman's left hand, the minister shall say:

     Let Us Pray,

     Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all man kind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; send Thy blessing upon these Thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in Thy name; that they, living faithfully together, may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant between them made (whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge), and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to Thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     Then shall the minister join their right hands together, and say,

     Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

     Then shall the minister speak unto the company:

     Forasmuch as M.________________________ and N. _______________________ have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands; I pronounce that they are Man and Wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

     And the minister shall add this blessing, the candidates kneeling, and the minister putting his hands upon their heads:

     God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve and keep you: The Lord mercifully with His favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting. Amen.

3. Analyzing the Marriage Vows

     Let's analyze how God's word applies to what we are committing ourselves to do in saying these wedding vows:

a. God is our Witness

[FROM VOWS] in the sight of God

 

MALACHI 2:
     14. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
     15. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
     16. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment (translated: cover his wife with violence,) saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to you spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

     Notice in verse 14 that God says that he is a witness of activities that take place in a marriage. He is there from the beginning. In the end of verse 14, he says that it is a covenant. When we enter a marriage, we are entering a covenant relationship that God is watching over.

b. God Ordained and Instituted the Marriage

[FROM VOWS] holy matrimony; which is commended of St. Paul to be honorable among all men: and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God.

 

GENESIS 2:
     21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
     22. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
     23. And Adam said, This is now BONE OF MY BONES, AND FLESH OF MY FLESH: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
     24. THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE: AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH.
ST MATTHEW 19:
     3. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (DIVORCE) his wife for every cause?
     4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that he which MADE THEM AT THE BEGINNING made them MALE and FEMALE,
     5. And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
     6. Wherefore they are no more twain, BUT ONE FLESH. WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER.
     7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to PUT HER AWAY?
     8. And he said unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO.
     9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall PUT AWAY his wife, EXCEPT IT BE FOR FORNICATION, and shall marry another, COMMITTETH ADULTERY: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
HEBREWS 13:
     4. MARRIAGE IS HONOURABLE IN ALL, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

     In this selection of scriptures we can see how God established the wedding covenant at the beginning of his creation: GENESIS 2:24. This point is further clarified in the book of ST MATTHEW.

     God says that he marriage is honourable.

c. Marriage Must be Entered in Truth

[FROM VOWS] If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined in matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God's word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.

 

II CORINTHIANS 5:
     9. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
     10. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
HEBREWS 9:
     27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.

     In these scriptures, we can see that we will all appear before the judgement seat of God. Everything that we do in this life should be in keeping with God's word. He is going to judge us in accordance with his words. When we enter a wedding covenant, we should ensure that we are doing it in the manner that God has set forth in the scriptures. The old testament gave many rules for the formation of rightful relationships. The new testament adds many principles that should be observed in these relationship. Your job is to fill yourself with as much knowledge and wisdom as possible. Then you are to use that information to make the wisest decisions that you can as you are guided by the Holy Ghost.

d. We are to Separate from our Relatives

[FROM VOWS] Who then giveth this woman to be married to this man?

 

GENESIS 2:
     24. THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE: AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH.
ST MATTHEW 19:
     4. And he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
     5. And said, FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE: AND THEY TWAIN SHALL BE ONE FLESH?
     6. WHEREFORE THEY ARE NO MORE TWAIN, BUT ONE FLESH. WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NO MANY PUT ASUNDER.
ST MARK 10:
     6. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
     7. FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE;
     8. AND THEY TWAIN SHALL BE ONE FLESH: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
EPHESIANS 5:
     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.

     This principle is so important that it is stated 4 times in the scriptures. Notice the steps involve leaving the father and mother and cleaving to the wife. God established this cause. In the old testament, when a bridegroom found a prospective bride, he had to negotiate a price for her. In other words he had to pay the father for the loss of his daughter. One example of this is in the story of Jacob and Rachel: GENESIS 29:15-35.

     It is quite clear in this passage of scriptures, that spouses need to leave their dependence on their relatives and depend totally on each other. Until we grasp the understanding that our mate takes precedence over everyone else in this world except the Lord, we will continually have trouble in our marriages. Do you remember the story of Abraham or Ruth? Abraham had to leave all his relatives and go to a far country that God would show him.

GENESIS 12:
     1. Now the Lord has said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, AND FROM THY KINDRED, AND FROM THY FATHER'S HOUSE, unto a land that I will shew thee:
     2. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

     We should become ONE in everything in our marriage: finances, ideas, goals, ambitions, drives, etc.

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