Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Turning the Tide
Pastor Craig Kessel
Matthew 19:1-6; Genesis 2:24-25
Is marriage a dying institution in our society and becoming an outdated concept? According to research it seems as if marriage is in decline. For the first time, more than half of adults in our country are single. Pew Research recently found that 50% felt that society was just as well off if people chose not to make marriage and children a priority. When single people look at the possibility of getting married it is often met with fear and hesitation because of the effects of divorce, or they have come out of a broken families themselves. We have seen friends and family, who were once happily married, now separated or divorced. The effects of broken marriages on society are seen in the forms of crime, abuse, addiction, poverty and education. Marriage has always been considered the foundation for society, and for a civilization to succeed the family must succeed. How can we turn the tide of divorce and broken families into marriages and families that thrive and impact our society?
Three Foundational Principles of Genesis 2:24-25

Priority (v24) - “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother...”

In marriage a man and woman leave their families of origin and join together in a marriage covenant with God and each other. They relinquish the highest commitment and devotion previously given to family in order that they give that position to their spouse.
• Your spouse must be the most important human relationship in your life. Next to your relationship with God, your marriage and then your family must be the highest priorities in your life.
• Marriage and family priorities must be given time and energy. Your spouse and your children need quality time with you.
• When you and I don’t put our marriages and families first, it can create in them a legitimate jealously and resentment.

Pursuit (v24) – “...joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

For a man to be joined or to cleave to his wife means to actively pursue relationship, closeness and affection. It also means to pursue spiritual, relational and personal growth in a marriage and family with a selfless attitude to do what it takes to make their household healthy and strong. The principle of pursuit keeps a closeness and unity over a lifetime that protects the family from separation and divorce.
• Marriage and family is hard work. It requires energy, sacrifice and growth.
• The principle of pursuit and cleaving in your marriage requires us to roll up our sleeves and be committed to do whatever it takes to make our marriage and family better. The quality of your marriage is determined by how hard you work on it.
• Sometimes you need help from someone outside of your marriage (counselors, pastors, mentors, Life Group, OSL).

Purity (v25) - “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

God intended marriage to be a relationship without shame and with complete transparency – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is the condition Adam and Eve enjoyed in Genesis 2:25. They experienced the greatest closeness and intimacy a couple has ever had in human history. When a couple is able to be naked before each other in body, soul and spirit, without shame or fear, then they are in a healthy place for a strong relationship. We have a human need for openness, to share who we really are and to be received with love and acceptance.
• In any relationship, sin is the single greatest hindrance to relational closeness.
• Unrepented sin that is able to remain in our marriages and families will damage and destroy our relationships.
• When sin is prevalent, a family lives in an environment of tension, strife, disunity, depression and sadness.
• In order to have an environment for relational wholeness and transparency, purity must be upheld and embraced by both spouses.

Each person needs to
• Take responsibility for their own actions.
• Repent of their sins.
• Ask for forgiveness and pursue reconciliation.
• Respond redemptively when sinned against.

Marriage is an ideal training ground in the discipleship process, to transform you as a person that is growing to become more and more like Jesus.

Discussion questions
1) How are you working to make your marriage and family a higher priority in your life?
2) What are some things God has led you to do to improve your marriage and family relationships?
3) How have you noticed where marriage and close relationships have personally changed you in your character? 

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