Red, White, and Marriage Blues

February 18th, 2018

David Sorn



Learn three lies and three truths that will change the way you think about marriage!



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TRANSCRIPT


INTRODUCTION

Morning.  My name is David Sorn.  I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.  Morning to you.

Well, you don’t have to be a professional researcher to know that marriage is hard work.

Many of the stats regarding the topic of marriage aren’t all that encouraging.

Even the number of people just getting married is drastically changing

As recently as the year 2000, married 25- to 34-year-olds outnumbered their never-married peers by a margin of 55% to 34%, according to the US Census Bureau.

By 2015 those numbers had almost reversed, with never-marrieds outnumbering marrieds by 53% to 40%.

Many young Americans are becoming wary of marriage.

Is it possible that one of the reasons we’re having such a difficult time with marriage in society…is because we’re not viewing it in light of eternity? 

Last week, we introduced the concept of “The Rope” for our 3-week series.

(Pick up 100-ft. rope from stage)

Imagine that this rope is a timeline of your existence.  

You see this red part, covered in red tape…right here??

This red part represents your time on earth. 

You’ve got a few short years here on earth

But the rest of this rope…represents the rest of your existence. 

It represents eternity somewhere else.

Which the Bible says will be in 1 of 2 places: heaven or hell

You can see, it goes on forever and ever.

And if this is true, and our time here on earth is incredibly short, how should we view our relationships in light of eternity?

What about the people we date?

What about marriage…in light of eternity?

How should we look at it differently? 

That’s what we’re going to look at today  

(put down rope)

                             

 

LIES OF THE RED TAPE #1: GET IT ALL WHILE YOU CAN

What I want to do is show you 6 things.

3 lies and 3 truths.

3 lies we fall for when we live as if the red tape is all there is

And 3 truths we can live in when we remember the white rope

Let’s take a look at the first lie

I encourage you to take notes in the bulletin or within our app today…just tap on today’s message

LIES OF THE RED TAPE

#1:  Enjoy it all while you can 

Unless you’re Amish and parked your horse and buggy outside (which by the way, you would have loved last week when we had horses here), Unless you’re Amish, you know that our culture is “all about this lie.”

Pleasure is king.

Especially when it comes to relationships.

If you’re single right now…I want you to listen carefully to this section.

Because this is the loudest this particular lie has been, since probably the late 1960’s.

Thanks (or really, no thanks) to the smartphone, we’re witnessing what many are calling the “Dating Apocalypse”

There are an endless number of apps out there, and for your benefit, I won’t mention them, where you can simply find a hook-up for the night, and both parties are fine with that.

This is the constant pressure that our single people face from the culture today.

And here’s the weird tension that, especially, American millennials face:

You can see it perfectly described in Kevin, who’s a 24-year old that the Wall Street Journal interviewed:

Kevin says, “I am not done being stupid yet. I still want to go out and (I’m taming this down) be with a million girls." 

But then he says, “But after that…I want to get married”.

This is a problem that’s a little bit unique to America.

In some western European countries, marriage is almost done for as an institution.

But in America, we’re still romantics, and so our young people live with this lie that they need to “Enjoy it all while they can,” and THEN…well of course they’re going to get married…because we still love the idea of happily ever after”

But it’s very difficult for people to transition from a “swipe right lifestyle” to a lifestyle that says: “I’m faithful to you for the rest of my life” 

Maybe what young people are saying, like Kevin in that article, sounds crazy to you..

BUT in their defense…if you are under the belief that life is about the red tape (YOLO)…then, I can totally see how you might want to live life this way.

I get it.  

You’re searching for pleasure.

And you’re searching for romance and love

It actually makes decent sense.

BUT…if the timeline of your life is much, MUCH more than just the red tape, then this is a foolish pursuit

If you are indeed going to die someday and meet God…then we ought to think about living our lives as accountable to Him

If there is a God, who is infinitely wiser than us, then we ought to live by his principles, not ours

If we are going to live forever, then we ought to be focused on seeking pleasure first and foremost in the white part, and not JUST the red part of the rope

This is a verse that many of you have seen before, but see it with fresh eyes:

(Matthew 6:19-20) – NIV  - Leave up for a minute

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

It says, you can “Store up for yourself, treasures in heaven!”

Now, we believe we won’t be jealous of each other in heaven, but that God will indeed reward us in certain ways for our faithfulness.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of having joy for a billion years vs. 70 years

Live with eternity in mind.

(Show Red, White, & Marriage Blues slide)

By the way, let me also say this to those of you that are single…regarding having what your heart wants now…versus eternity

If you are planning on getting married someday, I believe the two most important decisions in a person’s life are:

#1: Will you follow Jesus?

#2:  Will you marry someone who follows Jesus?

Having counseled many Christians who’ve decided to marry unbelievers, I can not emphasize to you enough just how important this is.   

There are few things more painful than having a spouse who doesn’t care about the thing you care about most.

I preach this to my twins…and they’re 5.

I say, “who are you going to marry when you grow up?”

And they say, “Someone who loves Jesus!”

Think of the irony of lie #1:  It says to a person, “Listen, I know the person you’re falling in love with doesn’t follow Jesus, but what matters most is that you find LOVE!”  

But it’s a LIE of the red tape!

But think of it in terms of the rope.

You want to marry someone that you’re going to see for forever.

Not someone you’ll be with for 40 years, and then after that, you’ll be separated for all of eternity. 

See your relationships in light of eternity 

 

 

LIES OF THE RED TAPE #2: YOU MUST HAVE A SOULMATE

Let’s take a look at the second lie

LIES OF THE RED TAPE

#1:  Enjoy it all while you can 

#2:  You must have a perfect match/soulmate

Really, this is a crafty, two-part statement J

Firstly, you don’t need to find or marry anyone to feel complete.

Read 1 Corinthians 7 in the Bible where Paul talks about how he wishes more people were single like he was…so they could focus more on changing the world for Christ.

No one’s saying you need to be with another person to be happy.

You can find your joy in Christ.

And secondly, the idea of a soulmate (or a perfect match) is not Scriptural…at least in the way that many Americans interpret the word “soulmate” 

Listen, even if you’re just in middle school or high school…listen to this…this is going to be so important to your life.

Did God plan who you are going to be with?

Yes, I believe God has a plan 

Is God going to give you the perfect person for you to marry?

Yes, but not in the way you might be thinking.

He’s not going to give you someone who checks all 97 of your “must-have boxes”

He’s going to give you a sinner…

Who’s going to help reveal to you your selfishness…and your stubbornness…and your anger…

And who’s going to give you opportunities to learn sacrificial love, and selflessness…

That’s who He’s going to give you J

And it’s perfect for you! J

And yet, that is not how most single people dream about their future spouse.

“God, give me a sinner!”

Or, even how married people think about their spouse

Timothy Keller, who’s written some great stuff on marriage, puts it this way:

"We are looking (in a spouse) for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.  But a marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low—or no—maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner." – Timothy Keller

I recently read a story about a guy who was at a stage of life where he was trying to find someone to date with the intention of marriage.

His friend was observing him as he was searching on an online matching site.

He discovered the profile of a woman who was beautiful, witty, had a good job, and they had many similar interests.

But then he said, “Nah, and moved on”

And so his friend said, “What are you doing?”

And he said, “She’s not a Red Sox fan”

And I think that about sums up our thoughts on relationships in 2018

There are so many options out there, so if the one we’re with, doesn’t fit everything we want just perfectly and seems to be taking a lot of work, we just assume…there’s gotta be a closer match out there!

And this is a problem for people seeking marriage…and a problem for people IN marriage

I remember reading a while ago about a woman celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary…

Someone asked her what her secret was to a long and happy marriage.

She said, “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband's faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook,'

A guest then asked the woman what some of the faults she had chosen to overlook were.

The woman replied, 'To tell you the truth, my dear, I never did get around to listing them…

“But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, Lucky for him that's one of the ten!' "

(Show Red, White, & Marriage Blues slide)

Take the long view or marriage…and the Biblical view…not the Instagram view..not the Hollywood view

If you’re going to be with someone for fifty years, you’re going to fall in and out of love a few times.

Seasons come and go.

But remember, as we say to you ALL THE TIME, “Marriage keeps love alive.  It’s not Love that keeps marriage alive”

When you’re committed to someone for the long-haul, you survive the seasons together.  

I’ve been married for 13 years.

There have been some amazing seasons…and some harder seasons.

That’s marriage!

Remember the Biblical view…not the culture’s view.

Two sinners living together closely in marriage, is not always going to continually result in endless seasons of sweetness, romance, and love

And so the next time you feel yourself thinking:

“I can’t believe they’ve got faults x, y, and z…”

“I bet I’d be a better match with _____”

Look up to God, and say, “I trust you”

“I trust you that you chose THIS person to be my spouse…for a reason

“And I am committed to be with and love THIS person” 

Trust God with the long view in mind

I read this from John Piper and I thought it was really good:

“Oh, what joy lies ahead for those who do not break their covenant even when their hearts are broken.” – John Piper

Trust the long view…that even if times are hard now, that if you work through them, God has great joy in store for you…in the next season

 

 

LIES OF THE RED TAPE #3: THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE IS TO MAKE YOU HAPPY

Let’s take a look at the third lie

LIES OF THE RED TAPE

#1:  Enjoy it all while you can 

#2:  You must have a perfect match/soulmate

#3: The purpose of marriage is to make you happy

This third lie is closely related to number two.

If you’ve been married for any length of time now, you’ve probably left the “honeymoon stage”

Researchers say that the honeymoon stage of wedded bliss lasts anywhere form 6 months to 2 years

In fact, one study says that the for more than 2/3 of married couples, the very same little quirks that were often endearing in the honeymoon stage, have become major annoyances by the 3-year mark.

Marriage is hard work…and it’s often incredibly frustrating.

But for many of us, the reason we’re so frustrated by our marriage, is because we don’t understand the purpose of marriage.

If I think the purpose of a car is to fly, I’m going to be highly disappointed with my car  

And likewise, when you have the purpose of marriage wrong, it can be quite frustrating.

I would say many Americans would say that the purpose of marriage…the reason they got married…was…to be happier!

Marriage is meant…to make me happy.

Now, I believe marriage can and often does make you happy.

But it’s not its purpose

And this is where the third lie is connected to lie #2.

When our spouse isn’t checking all the boxes that we’ve decided “the spouse we deserve” ought to be checking, we feel like “checking out” of our marriage.

WHY?!?

Because, we’ve reasoned, the very PURPOSE of our marriage isn’t being fulfilled!

Americans say to each other all the time, “If you’re not happy in your marriage, then you need to do what’s right for you…and you need to leave”

But that’s not the purpose of marriage!

It’s a lie of the red tape!          

 

 

TRUTH OF THE WHITE ROPE #1: YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP IS WITH GOD

So let’s start taking a look at some truths…and what marriage is supposed to be about…in light of Scripture, and in light of eternity

Let’s take a look at the first truth

TRUTHS OF THE WHITE ROPE

#1: Your most important relationship is with God   

One of the reasons we get so frustrated with marriage is because we’ve idolized it.

It’s become our God.

We’re asking our spouse to fulfill us in ways that only God can

We put our marriage relationship on a pedestal higher than our relationship with God

And the Bible tells us, that that’s not where it belongs.

I’ve now officiated about 20 weddings…where I often read the Scripture passage, but let me read you THREE verses from the Bible (about marriage)…that I’ve never…EVER…read at a wedding ceremony J

Verse #1:

(1 Corinthians 7:29) – NIV

29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 

That verse would “kill” at a wedding.

In context, the Apostle Paul is using a bit of hyperbole here, but he’s making a point…that LIFE IS SHORT…and your relationship with God and what you do for Him is even more important than your marriage.

Verse #2…that I’ve never read at a wedding (this is Jesus talking):

(Luke 14:26) – NIV

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

In the wedding ceremony, we could follow this up with, “Do you wife, promise to hate your husband?” J

“No problem!”

Again, Jesus is exaggerating to make a point…and the POINT IS:  Your relationship with Him IS more important!          

That you oughta love Him so much that it looks like you almost “hate” your spouse in comparison

Verse #3…that I’ve never read at a wedding (this is from Jesus)

(Matthew 22:30) – NIV

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

(Show Red, White, & Marriage Blues slide)

One of the reasons your relationship with God is more important than your marriage is because marriage won’t look the same in heaven.

While it looks like we will certainly know, recognize, and probably enjoy each other’s company in heaven…marriage isn’t going to be the same in heaven

Because we will have God!

If you are looking first and foremost to find your joy in your earthly marriage, you will be disappointed.

Your spouse can’t do what God can do!

But amazingly, when you put Jesus FIRST, your earthly relationships end up going better as well.  They really do.

When you focus just on the red, you get the blues.

When you’re living for the white, marriage works right.   

One of the things I’ve noticed as a pastor is that marriage problems are rarely really marriage problems at the core anyway  

We argue, we fight, we can’t get along…because we’re sinful people who aren’t looking for our worth and satisfaction in Christ

But when you find it in Christ and you grow in Christ, you find that it’s that much easier to love your spouse

When you’re living for the white, marriage works right.   

 

 

TRUTH OF THE WHITE ROPE #2: MARRIAGE IS A REFLECTION OF YOUR MARRIAGE TO GOD

Let’s take a look at the second truth

TRUTHS OF THE WHITE ROPE

#1: Your most important relationship is with God  

#2: Marriage is a reflection of your marriage to God

This is clear in Scripture.  Let me give you an example:

(Ephesians 5:25) – NIV

  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Often, when the marriage relationship is described in the bible…it’s described as a reflection of our relationship with Christ  

The main story of the New Testament is our marriage with Jesus…the covenant He makes with us…and it’s often described in bride and groom language.

Earthly marriage is just meant to be a reflection of that heavenly marriage

Why do we covenant together that for richer or poorer, and in sickness and in health, that we will never separate till death do us part??

Because that’s what our marriage relationship with Jesus looks like

That he will never leave us or forsake us

In this culture…where no one seems to stay together anymore, can you imagine the witness we would have, if Christians never got divorced.

Can you imagine how many of our neighbors and coworkers would say, “What’s your secret?”

And we could say, “It’s Jesus…and his love for me.  That He never leaves me despite all of my junk, and so I’m never going to leave them despite all of their junk”

Wow!  What a witness!

 

 

TRUTH OF THE WHITE ROPE #3: AND THEREFORE, THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE IS TO GLORIFY GOD

And that leads us to the third truth

TRUTHS OF THE WHITE ROPE

#1: Your most important relationship is with God  

#2: Your earthly marriage is a reflection of your marriage to God 

#3: And therefore, the purpose of marriage is to glorify God

That is the purpose of marriage.

Not to just find someone who can increase your pleasure, joy, and happiness.

That you can find someone who can love and serve God with you

You can do more together for God!

You have someone to pray with!

You have someone to encourage you in Christ…and help you grow…which…glorifies God!

You have someone to change the world with!

That’s the purpose. 

And if you make the purpose of your marriage to glorify God…you’ll actually, grow closer together.

How many of you have been a missions trip with us to Haiti or Rwanda?

One of the fascinating things about a missions trip is you go to a developing country and live in subpar conditions with a bunch of people you don’t really know…or even have a lot in common with…

And yet, by the end of the week, everybody’s your best friend, and there’s this amazing bond between you all!

You know what that is?

You were focused on the mission…on glorifying God…and in doing so…that brought you together!

That’s what God will do for your marriage IF you make HIM the focus…and not your happiness

So The Rope…eternity ought to change our perspective on relationships

If you’re single…Trust in the big picture.

If you get married…marry someone who loves Jesus…marry someone you can see forever

The best advice I can give you (this is true even if you’re in high school), don’t even go out on a date with someone unless you know they’re running after Jesus as hard as you are

And if you’re married, see your marriage in terms of The Rope

I encourage you to even sit down with your spouse this week (maybe even tonight)…and ask yourselves:  “Are we living for the red tape or the white rope?”

What can we change?

If you start living for the whole rope…you’ll see God’s fruit in your life

If you live with eternity always on the mind, you won’t get so tripped up by silly arguments about tiny earthly things

If you live with eternity always on the mind, you won’t get so sidetracked by trying to find the most happiness and joy you can find…during the red tape part of life.

Live your life for Him…It’s good.

Let me pray


Copyright: David Sorn

Renovation Church in Blaine, MN



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