Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on November 1, 2015
Open your Bibles to Genesis 2:18-24. Today we begin a five part sermon series on Marriage. Before we unpack our text today I want to say a few opening remarks. First, I have said this before, the number one thing that I counsel people on is their marriage. Very few people want to seek my help regarding their job, their fiances, their children, their dreams. The number one issue that is brought to my attention by a number of you is your marriage. The reason I want everyone to know that is so that you would recognize that you are not alone if your marriage is struggling. Cornerstone Church should be a place that we take off the masks and live out our lives as a real Christian community. This does mean that we relish in our brokenness, it means that week in and week out we humbly confess our sins and seek the prayers, encouragement, and wisdom of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Second, I want to draw everyone’s attention to the reality that in this room there are a variety of people at different stages in their life, different experiences, and different God ordained destinies. Some of you in this room have been devastated by a broken marriage. Others of you find yourself in a marriage that is on the brink. You are one Saturday night away from everything falling apart. Perhaps that is why you are here, this is your final hope. Still others of you have experienced those “on the brink” moments, but currently are on more solid footing.
Then there are some like my daughter who long for marriage. To her marriage is the wonderful mystery that draws her like a moth to a flame. Lastly, there are some of you that God has a different destiny for you that will bring him glory, and it is one of singleness. As we take this journey together, I want us all to be mindful of that reality. I am preaching God’s Word to all of you, and make no mistake, God wants to speak to all of you. I don't care who you are, or where you are at, God desires for you to understand the wonderful depth that is marriage.
The third thing I want to say before we read our text is this. John MacArthur is known to say that soft words produce hard hearts and hard preaching produces soft hearts. Each time I step to this pulpit I have a choice to make, preach a sermon that tickles your ears, or preach a sermon that resonates in your soul. Because I love you, I choose the later. It is not my job to entertain. It is not my job to build up your ego. It is my job to sanctify through the preaching of the powerful Word of God. Some of the things that I say this month, or any month for that matter, you may not like. My guess is that one of the reasons Churches are full of broken marriages is that very few pastors are preaching the penetrating and convicting words of God regarding marriage. Instead what is preached is a lot of the flowery junk that we here at weddings.
My prayer is that this month, all of you would submit yourself to the unchanging Word of God. That you would trust it and implement God's wisdom into your marriage, and allow God to get the glory due his name through your marriage. With that said, let us read our text, pray, and then explore this wonderful gift that God has given us called marriage.
It is Not Good
In reading verse 18, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” some people believe that this verse tells us that an all-powerful, all knowing God made a mistake. They believe that this “not goodness” of Adam is an oops moment. The belief that God made a mistake is absolutely ridiculous.
In verse 18 when it says, “It is not good that the man should be alone” It is the first time in the Bible that we see something that something is “not good”. Up to this point God has declared everything good. Genesis 1:10, “it was good.” Verse 12, “It was good.” Verse 18, “It was good.” Verse 25, “It was good.” Verse 31, “It was very good.” In chapter 1 God sets up a rhythm. Why does He do this? One reason is that in Chapter 2 God will intentionally break that rhythm so as to draw attention to something magnificent that He is about to do. It is as if God lolls us to sleep and then yells, “Wake up!”
Up until this point, marriage did not exist. Animals do not marry, angles do not marry. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Marriage is an institution created by God exclusively for his image bearers, and it only lasts until death.
So the first thing that we can say about marriage is this, it is created by God for humanity. This may seem like an obvious point, but I fear that it is not. Our world today is operating as if marriage is a man-made institution. Society is currently trying to redefine it, twist it, and distort it, to suit our desires and passions as if we have authority over it. We don’t. Marriage is an intentional design and creation of God. He has exclusive rights to determine how it works and what is its purpose. Jesus himself speaks of this reality in Matthew 19 when he is tested by the Pharisees.
The question I submit to all of you is do you operate this way? Do you view marriage as God's institution? Many of you would probably say yes, but I wonder if your walk matches your talk. When you are struggling in your marriage do you do as Jesus did and go to the Word of God and seek answers? Do you read the Bible with your spouse with the intent to strengthen your marriage? Do you point your friends to the Bible when they come to you with problems? My guess is that many of you don't, but you should. If marriage is God's design then not going to God regarding marriage is playing Russian roulette.
A Longing Given by God
In between verse 18 and verse 21 we see something that may seem disconnected at first. In between God declaring that he would provide a helper fit, and forming Eve out of Adam’s rib, we see God giving Adam work to do. His work is to name the animals. As these animals passed by, Adam started to experience something. He experienced a longing for a helper. He started to experience the “not goodness” that God spoke about in verse 18, and this is something God desired Adam to experience.
As these animals passed by Adam he saw them in pairs. He saw the male and female of each species and recognized that none of them were like him. He recognized that none of them bore the mark of the image of God. None of these animals fit him, or were suited for him. You can tell that Adam was feeling the ache for a spouse by his words in verse 23 when God brings Eve to Adam and he rejoices by saying “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
This longing that God gave Adam is the same longing that all of us have. I don’t care who you are, you desire to be married. Young and old, rich or poor, all races, all nations, all belief systems, throughout all time, everyone wants to be married. In a sense, all of life revolves around this institution of marriage, and we must recognize that God wants it this way. In my opinion, marriage is one of the greatest pieces of evidence that God exists. The longing for us to commit the rest of our lives to another human being, and for them to do the same.
As I stated earlier, my daughters are coming to terms with this longing. As life parades before them they start to wonder, does God have someone for me? I as their father should cultivate this longing. Not in a worldly way, but in a biblical way. As her father I should speak to this deep desire of her heart and unpack why she feels what she feels and let her know that it is because of God’s design of her.
This soulful longing for marriage that all humanity has explains a lot. For example, this is why we find ourselves in the midst of a political debate on who can marry according to the Government. People are passionate about being able to marry who they want, when the want and how they want because God has designed us with a longing to be married, even if it means in a sinful way.
Or why do people marry wretched, wretched people? Because they God has designed them with a longing to get married and they pursue it at all costs, even if it means marrying a domestic abuser, an alcoholic, or an adulterer. Or why is divorce so devastating to those involved? Why is that no matter how hard we try to make marriage about a piece of paper, deep down in our heart we know that it is more than just a contract. Because marriage is a deeply spiritual reality that God has implemented.
God Provides a Helper Fit
So with this in mind, what does God do? Does he produce this longing so as to torment Adam forever? No, he fulfills the longing that he placed in Adam’s heart by creating a unique helper fit for him. God quenches the spiritual thirst of Adam by providing him a wife.
If someone was to ask me, do I believe in arranged marriages, I would say absolutely, arranged by God. The number one problem with marriages today is that people never ask God his opinion. Instead they let their hormones do the picking. Kids, pay attention, the biggest decision you will make in your life after your decision to follow Christ is who will you marry. It is utter foolishness to leave God out of this. If you want your marriage to be blessed by God, let him set you up.
In fact, kids and parents, you should start today to pray for your future spouse, God willing. Pray that God would pour out his grace upon them. Pray that God would keep them pure. Pray that God would captivate their heart. Pray that God would refine them through the fire of his grace. Then allow God to bring to you, on his timing, your Adam, or your Eve. Do not take matters into your own hand. Trust the Lord with one of the biggest decision of your life, and be patient.
Lastly, after God has designed, implemented, and provides, he joins. The two become one. This is what Paul calls in Ephesians 5, a profound mystery. This is what Jesus declares to be sacred, the joining of a husband and wife in marriage.
Once again, I wonder how often Christians ponder this. You are joined by God. You are not joined by the State, you are not joined by a Pastor, you are not even joined by yourselves. You are joined by the all powerful God who in Genesis 1 spoke the heavens into place.
This is one reason that so called same sex marriage is “so called.” For it does not matter what Supreme Court declares it to be, God is not in it. There is no joining of two people in sin. God plays no part in fitting together two men, or two women. Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord. Why? Because it is not according to his design and purpose for marriage. Above all, as we begin to unpack marriage we must all recognize that marriage is from God. He designs. He implements. He provides. He joins. Therefore we must trust his Word and submit to His will if we want to have any hope of our marriages flourishing for His glory and our good.
Today, what we have done is merely to lay foundation. God willing, next week we will begin to unpack the purpose of marriage. We will answer the why to marriage. This is something that few people understand, and therefore why so many marriages fall apart. But until then, I would ask that all of us to be in prayer this month for the marriages of this Church. Let us not only pursue the truth of God, but let us pursue the power of God. Let us do so now, as we close in prayer.