Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
- Mark 1:14-15

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Glory of God in Marriage - Paul Washer

I was blessed to celebrate my 10th year wedding anniversary yesterday with my wife.  I want to share the best sermon that I have heard on marriage.  The .mp3 and .pdf links are at the end and I have included some of the highlights of the sermon as well as a few words of my own in italics.

"If you were my top employee and half the income of my company was because of you and yet you were also my son-in-law and you mistreated my daughter there wouldn’t be a place on the face of the earth that you could hide."

"Although your ministry might mean more to you than his daughter, your ministry does not mean more to him than his daughter."

"Any fool can make a church grow and a lot of churches are growing nowadays with a lot of fools guiding the wheel. Any fool can be eloquent. The spirituality of a man can be determined by so many things and most of them are not wise. You want to know the spirituality of a man? Look at his wife."

"You do not have to violate one aspect the will of God in order to fulfill another aspect of that same will. If in God’s good providence he has given you a wife and that is his will, then his will is perfect and you do not have to neglect that wife in order to carry out your vocation. And if you do you are either not understanding God or you are not really working for his kingdom, you are working to build your own, working to build your own."

"God has called, from heaven, God has called me to lay down my life, to die for this daughter that he has appointed, that he has ordained. 'But where is the escape hatch? Where is the exit?' There is none."

"I disagree with most books written on marriage today. I disagree with most of this. Because they are wrong. And why are they wrong? They say the goal of marriage is to achieve this thing where you are  walking into marital bliss. It is not the goal of marriage. It is to conform you to the image of Christ. That is the goal of marriage."

The goal of marriage is not your happiness.  The goal of marriage is to conform you to Christ.

We must not be surprised when we experience adversity instead of happiness in our marriage.  We also don't need to think that we married the wrong person.  There are many "marriage experts" that tell us that the goal of marriage is happiness, and this can cause us to think that something is wrong when adversity comes.  God uses this adversity to conform us to Christ and to teach us to love unconditionally.  This is a tremendous truth that has made a huge difference in my marriage.

"In the sovereignty of God he has given you a woman with divinely orchestrated weaknesses."

"There can’t be unconditional love in a place where someone meets all the conditions."

"He wants to teach you unconditional love. He wants to teach you mercy and he wants to teach you grace. And that is why in his good providence for you, he has given you a wife that is not perfectly compatible, a wife that you must at times struggle with, that you must bear with, that you must be patient with and vice versa. I mean you are not exactly the perfect catch either."

"If this woman gives herself unto you and treats you as her head and you do not live up to that role, you abuse that role, you use it for your advantage or for your ministry, be terrified..."

"This is a woman that may be the source of your judgment depending on the way you obey Christ."

"This care that you are to have of her does not depend on her response to you. That is one of the greatest problems that happens in marriage today. Everyone is waiting...one person is waiting for the other person to be worthy of the treatment they are commanded to give them."

On making decisions: 

"Now I haven’t lorded it over her. I haven’t treated her as some insignificant part of my life or an extension just of me. What I have done is this. I have counseled with her. I have asked for her help. I have asked for her thoughts. But if push comes to shove and a decision has to be made, yes, I must make that decision. But rare has it ever been that case.  

Usually when there is not unity and there is not a deadline we don’t do it. We don’t do it. I am talking about an extreme, extreme situation. And then what if we do make that decision, she submits to it even though she doesn’t agree with it and I am right and she sees later on that I am right. Should I glory over her? No."

"You see, we forget. We think that it is just submit to me as though I were Christ. But at the same time we are supposed to act like Christ. And how does Christ lord over his Church? With thunderbolts and lightnings and demands? No. Most of the time he spends wooing his Church, doesn’t he? Loving her, wooing her, patient with her, kind with her."

"You will usually treat your assistant pastor or some person you work with at the pastor with more dignity and kindness than you will the people closest to you. We take so much for granted. Would you treat your best friends as you would treat that wife?"

"In the same way this work of sanctification that the Lord is doing in his church, you are to be doing in the life of your wife, saving her. You are to be an instrument in her conformity to Christ."

"How to have a better wife? I’ll tell you, become more Christ like."

"I come home. You know, there is no food. I am tired. I mean, you know, what have you been doing all day?”  I know none of you have ever done anything like that. And if she turns around and gives it to me up one end and down the other the battle is on. But if she turns around and she says, 'Paul, I am so sorry. I am sorry...Ian is just sick and I just...let me...let me take care of this one thing and I’ll have it ready.'

When she does that I go, “Excuse me.” I go outside and right by my shed I have this oak two by four. And I stay out there for about an hour. If you have ever heard screams coming from the north, it’s me. And I beat myself and I sit there and it is just what the Bible says. With her kindness, her Christ likeness, she has heaped hot coals on my head."

"He says, 'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.' Brother, Jesus doesn’t command you. He gave himself for the Church. He doesn’t command you to do it. He gave himself for the Church and he is enough."

"You know, if God calls me to be a janitor in Brooklyn and I go to Nigeria and plant 300 churches I am out of the will of God."

"And guess what? There is a lot of glory in laying down your life for a church because other people will admire how big your church is, how beautiful it is and everything else. But there is very little glory because it is very...very rarely is it publicized when a man lays down his life for his wife. Usually the only one who knows it—many times she wont’ even know it—the only one who will know it is God. And that is enough. Lay
down your life for your wife."

"A wonderful passage in James. Ask the Lord for wisdom because he gives wisdom without rebuke, without reproach. You say, 'What does that have to do with marriage?' Well, here is what James is talking about .You need wisdom. You go to God."

"You are to be working in your wife’s sanctification praying for her, teaching the Bible to her, together learning the Word. There is so much your wife can teach you. I didn’t even understand Proverbs 31 until my wife taught it to me."

"Well, if you go to the parable of the talents you will see some thing quite different. The Lord has given you this woman that one day you might give her back. Say, 'Look, Lord. You gave me one talent. I present to you 10.'”

Here are the links to listen to or read the whole thing:

Also, if you haven't yet, go check out the movie Courageous.  It is very, very good.  A couple of other movies I am interested in checking out are Standing Firm and October Baby.  If you have seen them, feel free to leave an opinion.