Marriage: A Gift from Eden

Marriage: A Gift from Eden

Scripture: Genesis 2:18
Date: 03/02/2013  Lesson: 9
"In both the Old and the New Testament, the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender an dsacred union that exists between Christ and His people." (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 151)

Keys for a Happy Marriage by Bill May

Keys for a Happy Marriage by Bill May
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Welcome to central study hour. You have joined us at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California. A very special welcome to those that are joining us to study together here in the sanctuary and those of you that have joined us - and faithfully join us - across the country and around the world every week to study God's Word together. Welcome. We are so thrilled and it is by no accident that you have found us to study with.

Before we begin our study and get into studying together, we're going to sing together and we're going to sing hymn #341 - 'to God be the glory'. This is one of my favorites. It is also a favorite of ivanna, norah, and susie in argentina, corey in australia, malcolm and josiah in florida, maisie and karl in France, dion in Georgia, bob and Paula in Idaho, marylou in Illinois, jacinth in india, worley in kuwait, wongoni in malawi, magalie and micha in mauritius, howard and diane in Mississippi, daryl, carmen, fiordalisa and arlinda in the netherlands, fabian in New York, marilyn, olman, and abel in puerto rico, willington in the Solomon islands, carlos in venezuela, and Ruth in zambia. 'To God be the glory' - we'll sing all three verses. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming study, I invite you to go to our website - 'saccentral.

org' - and click on the 'contact us' link and you can request any hymn in the hymnal and we would love to sing that with you on a coming study. This morning, for our new hymn - as you know, those of you that tune in regularly, we are going through the hymnal and we are learning all the new hymns and we're just going one by one and week by week. And this week hymn #41 is a request from no one. So I know probably none of you out there know this hymn and are going to learn it. It's very beautiful - we learned it this morning - beautiful harmonies.

It is called 'o splendor of God's glory bright' and what a privilege that we have each week, each day, each moment of our lives to sing praises to the glorious creator of this planet, of our lives, and most of all our redeemer and friend. Praise the Lord! So let's sing together hymn #41 and we'll sing all four verses - and it ends with an 'amen'. Amen. What a beautiful way to begin our study. Let's pray.

Our glorious Heavenly Father, what a privilege it is to come before you and worship you - our creator and our Savior and our lord for eternity. We thank you for The Songs in these hymnals that we can learn that draw us closer to you. For the experiences that people went through that they could write such powerful words of glory to you. And lord, as we turn our hearts to you and our minds to you and our ears to you right now, I ask a special pouring out of the Holy Spirit on each one that is listening to your words - that we will be changed from the inside out to reflect your glory and that others will be drawn to you because of the lives that we live that glorify you. Lord, we're looking forward to the day when we can - from all over this planet - join at your feet on that Sabbath day in heaven and worship you and study your word and live forever with you.

Lord, just keep us faithful to the end. I pray these things in your precious and holy name, amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor buttery. Good to see you this morning and a special welcome to our viewers online and those that are watching on tv via satellite or however they're watching and those that are listening on the radio, we want to introduce today's special offer as we begin. It's the study guide 'keys for a happy marriage' and it's offer #164 so you can call the number on your screen.

Please call 1-866-study-more - -866-study-more and ask for a copy of 'keys for a happy marriage' - free advice - can't go wrong with free advice, especially from God's Word. So whether the marriage is successful or whether it's going through some hard times or whether a person is thinking about getting married - a great study guide - a great way to understand God's ideals and some practical advice for having a happy and successful marriage. We're going right into our lesson here this morning. We're studying, of course, origins and we're on our lesson entitled 'marriage, a gift from eden' - 'marriage a gift from eden'. That's lesson #9 and we'll be taking a close look at this today.

This is a subject that's somewhat near to my heart. So that you understand what pastor I am here, I'm the family life pastor - very ideal subject - I'm also the evangelism pastor here and that's what we do here. But great study and looking forward to sharing this with you as we - as we consider a very foundational institution - something that's the bedrock of society. I was - I was actually reading this week about a man - he was an immigration officer - lived in britain. And in order to get rid of his wife, he decided he would put her on a terrorist watch list.

That's what he decided to do to get rid of his wife and she was visiting family in pakistan and, because he did this, she couldn't return to britain for three years. So you can be sure that he had some - or she had some words for him - her husband - when she got home. Strange things. I was also reading about nazi germany. They had Marched their troops into austria, they'd annexed czechoslovakia.

Then in the late 1930's - which all were signaling adolf hitler's frightening intentions - the response from the rest of europe, with regard to these movements, was startling - probably we could say startling at best. I understand that France simply quaked in its boots. Russia tried to cut a deal. The swiss and the swedes declared themselves to be neutral and the italians joined forces with germany and england's prime minister, neville chamberlain, and his political allies, staked their hopes on a policy of appeasement. Essentially, their strategy was to ignore the threat, give hitler what he wanted and hope beyond hope that the problem would just disappear and leave.

But it didn't. Hitler continued to grab power and eventually subjugated most of the people of europe to tyranny and slavery. Chamberlain, britain's prime minister, had to resign in shame and before long, britain stood alone against germany. Only the courage and faith of the british people, rallied by their determined new prime minister, winston churchill, enabled them to withstand the onslaught of the nazis and, with the help of the United States and allied forces, gradually turn the tide of the war. The crisis was resolved, but barely.

The cost was staggering - millions of men, women, and children lost their lives in the battle for freedom. Churchill called it the most preventable - preventable conflict in history. He said - quote - "never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle." He was referring, of course, to world war i. Cowardice and timidity had ruled the day. Today about seven decades later, some are suggesting that we're finding ourselves in another terrible battle, but it's of a different sort - but it also is threatening the very stability and existence of our society.

This struggle is not being fought with guns and bombs, they say, but it's a battle of ideas - a battle that - over an institution that has Weathered the past six millennia and stood calmly defined amid ever-changing times. We're talking, of course, about marriage and we're talking about the family. The family has been and is disintegrating and many are being adversely affected - among them, millions of hurting people. Husbands and wives and children for whom everything stable and predictable has pretty much been shattered. They represent the agonies of loving wives who've unreservedly, wholly committed themselves to their husbands to find out later that they've been rejected by their husbands for someone else.

They also represent the wives whose husbands have left them and are struggling to raise their children on their own. And, of course, in all this way children - children don't get left out of this. They end up growing up broken and needing healing and it's all very challenging. This is the legacy and has been the legacy of divorce and sexual promiscuity. Social experimentation has produced these victims that cry out for compassion and understanding.

The institution of marriage, we understand, is one of the creator's most marvelous and enduring gifts to mankind, of course. Both the Sabbath and marriage were given, among other things, to preserve the family. The divine plan was revealed to adam in Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, where he said, "therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." So with those 22 words, God announced the ordination of the family - long before the establishment of two other great human institutions - that being the church and that also being the government. ,000 Years of recorded history have come and gone yet every civilization in history has been built upon marriage - despite today's skeptics who claim that marriage is an outmoded and narrow-minded Christian concoction. The desire for women and men to leave and cleave has survived through tough times - through prosperity, through peace, through famine, through war, through epidemics and every other possible circumstance and condition.

It's been the bedrock of culture in asia, in africa, in europe and North America, south America, australia and perhaps even antarctica. To put it succinctly, the institution of marriage represents the very foundation of human social order. Everything of value sits upon that foundation - upon that base - institutions, governments, religious fervor, welfare of children - all depend on the stability of marriage. When it's weakened or undermined, the entire superstructure begins to become wobbly. Our memory text here this morning introduces us, actually, to marriage and to the union of the first couple - recorded couple.

The memory text is Genesis 2, verse 18, and it says, "and the lord God said, 'it is not good that man should be'" - what friends? - "'Alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'" We're going to be looking at a Bible - a couple of Bible texts here this morning. I have Genesis chapter 2, verses 19 and 20. I don't know who has that one for us this morning. Okay, we're going to get to you in just a moment and read that. Fantastic.

In the meantime we're in Genesis chapter 1, so if you have your Bibles and they're open - maybe you're already there, but we're in Genesis chapter 1 and we're looking at verse 31 - Genesis chapter 1 and verse 31. This is at the end, of course, of the creation week and every day - pretty much every day - second through the fifth day - God has looked back on everything that he's made and he's declared it to be good. He's declared it to be good. Then on the sixth day it says, "then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good." Yeah, God looked at the summation of everything and he saw that it was very good and - which is not unusual for God - to make something that is pretty good. So he declared everything to be very good.

But in the throes of the sixth day, before he declared everything to be very good, something was not quite right and we read that - we read that in our Scripture memory verse in Genesis chapter 2, verse 18, "and the Lord said, 'it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet for him.'" Or as the new king James says, "I will make him a helper comparable to him" or someone of his kind to complement him. And so before God declared something - everything - creation to be very good, there was something that was not good. And what was the not good? That man was what? Alone. That man was alone. Why wasn't it good that man was to be alone? Well, for one thing, man is created.

God created man in his own image and the very nature of God is - well, we should say that God is comprised of three persons, is he not? And we know that God is a very - must be a very social being. He - there was The Father, there is The Son and then, of course, you have the holy spirit and they - there is relationship. There is community within the Godhead. In order for man to be created in God's image, man must also be a social creature desiring relationship and companionship. And man needed an equal.

Man needed an equal for fellowship, for friendship, and for companionship - a relationship of mutual love and cooperation that was expressed and is expressed in the Godhead and the trinity. And so - he wouldn't be in complete solitude. This was God's plan for adam. This was God's plan for creation - that man should not be alone. Genesis 2:19 and 20, yes sir.

"Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air; and brought them to adam to see what he would call them. And whatever adam called each living creature, that was its name. So adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for adam there was not found a helper comparable to him." Hmm. The new king James says, but the - "for adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

" Thank you for reading that. Fabulous. So before - before God gave adam a companion, he allowed him to go through a certain process and that process was to name the animals. And its very likely that the animals were coming in pairs - they were to be fruitful and multiply, obviously, so they came in pairs - and as adam is - during this time - naming the animals - giving them each a title - names - perhaps he's noticing that this is very odd - 'every creature seems to have a partner but I don't. This is odd.

' And perhaps a desire was created in his heart and it was then that God decided that he would give adam a companion. Not that God said, 'oops, I forgot he needs a partner. Everything else I made has a partner. I need to give adam one too.' Not that God slipped up or forgot or messed up - no, no, no - he had it in his plan all along but, obviously, God allowed adam to go through this experience of desire in order to, perhaps, appreciate the gift that God was about to give him in a greater way than, perhaps, if he hadn't had the desire created in his heart, you see. God is - God is good like that.

A longing was created in adam for a companion like himself. Some today, however, it seems to be a little reversed. They would much rather not have companionship and just hang out with the animals. Perhaps we could understand that a little bit. Sometimes animals do end up treating us a little better than folk around us and so it, you know, why not hang out with the animals? They tend to like us a whole lot more.

But in the beginning it wasn't so. Adam desired comparable companionship. And as that desire was created in his heart, God did something wonderful for him, you see? God said, 'it is not good for man to be alone.' It's not good for man just to be with animals. And for a well-rounded development we need each other, you see. I wonder whether that's why, in the early church, you had a lot of - you read about a lot of time together spent amongst God's people or when you read acts chapter 2 and 3 - God's people seem to always be together.

They always seem to be hanging out together. As a matter of fact, in Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 25, the author says, don't forsake or neglect "the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching." And so the - I understand the author here is Paul - I think there's good reason to believe that he is the author - he is encouraging folks that 'listen, for whatever reason why you're neglecting, why you're forsaking coming together with God's people - whatever the reason is, don't do it. It's not going to be for your spiritual health, it will be for your denigration. It won't be good for you. And so, come together.

And in coming together you can exhort each other and encourage one another - and especially as you see the day approaching.' What day do you think he's referring to? As you see the day - the day of Jesus - coming - getting nearer. In this climate, of course, it probably was very risky - as early Christians - to be mingling together and coming together. There was - there came to be a time where there was some severe persecution on God's people. But Paul said, 'listen, irrespective of that, come together. The benefits of you coming together will far outweigh the challenges and troubles you may go through in coming together.

They will far outweigh the challenges and the trials. Mutual exhortation - encouragement that is needed as trouble, as diverse - adversity rather - and difficulty would increase, the coming to - this coming together would prove to be of great benefit for God's people. We should catch ahold of that and remember it's good - it's not good to be alone. It's good to come together. It's good to fellowship.

It's good to encourage each other in Jesus. You know, in a setting like this it's awfully hard to encourage each other. We're just sitting here and you're looking at me and it's kind of more of a formal setting and we do the same during church, but there are small group units that I'm just really thrilled to hear about small groups that are meeting across this great city and if you're not part of a small group and meeting with God's people other than on Sabbath, become a part of one. It's a fabulous - fabulous thing to be involved in. Coming together, praying together, encouraging each other - do you need encouragement? I need encouragement.

Do we need to be little exhortation - do we need a little exhortation every now and then? Sure we need a little correcting every now and - a little encouragement along the right way. The world around us has a way of buffeting us and steering us in the wrong direction and we need just to come together to encourage each other, you understand. And so, God said it's not good for man to be alone. No hermits, no solitary places, no - granted, granted there are times when it's good to just step back and say, 'whew, alright, taking a breather right here from all the people and all the stuff.' That's alright. That's good to do that.

Some may need that more than others - I understand that, but God said it is not good for us to be alone. I read something very interesting - in Matthew chapter and verse 10 - Jesus had just explained to his disciples the strictness - if I could put it that way - of the marriage relationship. He had told them that the only reason - or the only reason for divorce would be unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. And after his disciples heard that - this must have been just a little bit after this discussion because Jesus was actually talking with the pharisees and just after that the disciples and Jesus got together and the disciples said this in Matthew 19 and verse 10, "his disciples said to him, 'if such is the case'" - that is, if marriage binds a person so strictly - "'if such is the case - if such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.'" Now hang on, God said it is what? It is not good that man should be alone and when this was completed he looked back and he said - when he saw adam and eve and brought them together - 'this is very good.' But the disciples come along and Jesus is talking about the permanency of marriage and they say, 'well, hang on, if this be the case, it is not good that man should marry.' Maybe they were thinking about human nature a little bit and just reasoned, in their minds, that husbands and wives often find themselves incompatible or there's issues, but what they forgot - and sometimes we forget - is that where there may be incompatibility or where there may be attitude adjustments needed and those types of things, the solution is not a change of partner, the solution is a change of heart. That's what God has offered us - a change of heart, not a change of partners.

God has solutions for the problems that people may be experiencing in their marriages. But in any case, there are a lot of people today that are thinking that marriage is not good. There are a lot of folk who live together and they just kind of see and figure out whether they're compatible and see if maybe this is the best way to see if we'll be able to live together forever - for as long as we live - and that's - doesn't work. Where there's not only emotional attachment but physical attachment, it makes the parting of ways much more difficult. Hearts are broken and lives are shattered in the process.

I know this name sounds familiar to you - kim kardashian - I don't even know what she does, to be honest. I don't even know why they're on tv. I have no idea, but since kim kardashian's wedding of 72 days, a wave of fury about marriages - short marriages - and the lack of respect for the institution was - just riddled the news - still does. A new pew research poll has revealed that there just aren't as many marriages taking place today as there used to be and it's very evident that young people are running scared from marriage. Who's to blame? Well, for some, some have gone before and they've spoiled it for those that follow.

A generation ago husbands were controlling and overbearing and often humiliated their wives and present-day wives are restless with their lot, rancorous, disparaging toward their husbands. Is it any wonder that younger generations express apprehension, suspicion, and even repulsion toward the divine institute of marriage? If we think about the statistics, as well, I understand that about - there's about 2.5 million marriages that take place in the United States each year - that's what I understand - and I may be just off the figures there, but it's around that - 2.5 million marriages that take place in the u.s. But, sadly, 1.25 divorces. So you can say 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. The statistics in the church are not even better - it's running about the same right now.

It's a tragedy. The statistics are a major turn off to young people as well. If only people knew about the amazing free advice the Bible offers that will not only cause a marriage to last but go the distance and even surpass it. The words 'it is not good that man should be alone' dictates our longing for friendships and for relationships. Perhaps there's something we need to be doing to enhance our valuable relationship that we have this week.

Only you can answer that. Well, we go on to the next day - I think we're on Monday, right? 'A companion for adam' is where we're at. A companion for adam. Genesis chapter 2 - we have a text - Matthew 19, verse 4 - someone has that for me - Matthew 19, verse 4 - just put your hand up - over there? Fantastic. We'll get to you in just a moment.

Genesis chapter 2 and verses 20 and 21, the Bible says, 'for adam there was not found a helper comparable to him' - and so what did God do? God worked a miracle and conducted an operation and verse 21 reads, "and the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place." So God took the rib from the side of adam and from that rib he made his companion. It's quite significant that he did it that way. In prophets and - patriarchs and prophets, rather, page 46 the author gives us some reasons as to why God decided to make eve from the rib - the side of adam rather than from the dust of the ground or from maybe a piece of bone from his skull or a toe bone. She says "eve was created from a rib taken from the side of adam signifying that she was not to control him as the head." I don't know if I should say anything about that but let me move on. Mercy.

There are a lot of women - a lot of women wearing the pants in the house and there are a lot of beaten down guys. I pray for you guys. Alright. So signifying "she was not to control him as the head nor to be trampled under his feet" and we pray for the women who are being trampled under the feet of men who are austere and black and white and just dictatorial - ought not be - "but to stand by his side" - I want you to notice the next words - "as his equal." She was to stand by his side as an equal. "To be loved and protected by him.

A part of man" she goes on to say "bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, she was his second self showing the close union and the affection and attachment that should exist in this relationship." Isn't that beautiful? So she was taken from his side to - so that she would know and he would know - that she was to be his equal. Now I do need to suggest that they are equal but they are different. There's an equality but there's a difference. Matthew - Matthew 19, verse 4. It says, "and he answered and said to them, 'have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female?'" Okay, so there is a difference.

God made them equal - no doubt about that - equal in value, equal in worth. There's no doubting that - no argument needed - but the Bible is very clear that he made them - by the way, Jesus was quoting from Matthew chapter 1 - not Matthew - Genesis chapter 1, excuse me, and verse 27 - "male and female created he them." I was reading, not too long ago, an article in the newspaper and the - it was talking about this war - this - not this war, but this group had identified an enemy - it was a radical - very radical feminist group and they had identified the enemy and, apparently, it was legos. Now what caused the controversy was, recently legos introduced 'lego friends' - my kids like legos and my girls like to play with lego friends. They're designed to appeal to little girls and they hit the Market - according to this particular group - the lady 'figs' or the lady figurines looked too much like women and reflected, quote "a stereotyping of preferred pastimes for girls" because, apparently, the kits - the construction kits - didn't include women - include women working on construction crews or training for the army. Oh that's certainly changing a lot today, isn't it? In the news today, women now being allowed to be on the front lines and involved in combat - hand-to-hand combat - all for political expediency.

I think it's just a foolish move, to be honest with you. You take a guy and you take a gal - you know who's going to win hands down. Men and women were created different - different functions in mind and purposes. But this group got onto lego because, apparently, the lady figurines looked too much like women and the activities they're involved in was a stereotyping - there were no women on construction crews and no women, you know, training for the army - these types of things. The leading spokesman for the group lamented and said - she said, "it just disturbs us that this is the image that lego wants girls to see.

" Huh? They don't want girls knowing what it means to be a girl? But isn't that our culturetoday? Isn't that our culture today? There's certainly an effort being made to eliminate the distinctions between the genders. There's a fellow by the name of dr. Leonard sax - he wrote a book called, 'why gender matters' and he said these particular women's groups are disconnected from reality and he explains why. He says, "their desire to promote teh idea that these gender differences" - gender differences between men and women, of course, there are differences - innate differences - "are taught by patriarchy or through what is called socialization" - the intention of some of the groups, of course, is to encourage the idea that women and men are not that different and if there is a difference it's because of patriarchy and socialization - these things that are promoting that idea - and that's - that couldn't be further from the truth. Since the 60's social engineering has been tampering with sex role definitions.

This is crucial because experts tell us that everything we do is influenced by gender assignment. They say that the first element of self identity, as a child, comes from identification - as a boy or as a girl. Any confusion at this point or in the relationship between the sexes, of course, will break down who the person is, it'll break down marriage. You break down marriage you end up breaking down the church and when you break down the church you break down community and social order. Maleness and femaleness are not some just social niceties that evolved through time, it was the inspired author of the book of beginnings and we read it - or at least had - we read where Jesus quoted it in Genesis 1:27 - "male and female created he them.

" Not one sex, but how many? Two. There are two sexes. Much has been written and said and done with regard to sex change operations. Admittedly, it's possible to alter some things by surgery, by hormones, perhaps even by silicone, but nothing can be done to change the assignment of gender that God makes at the moment of conception. Nothing can be done to change that.

That determination is carried into each cell and it will read either male or it will read female - from birth until death. However, in the last 40 years, everything understood to identify womanhood for thousands of years has been held up to ridicule and, of course, disdain. For example, not long ago the term 'housewife' became a symbol of exploitation and oppression. Today, through tv programs, the term has become synonymous with good-for-nothing gossips and mistresses. The degradation of the term 'housewife'.

Not only has there been a revolution with regard to female sex role identity, but maleness has also been turned upside down. Now what does that mean - what does it mean to be a man today? I think some men just are confused. How are men expected to perform? It wasn't long ago that men knew exactly what they were to do in the marriage relationship. They were - understood that they were expected to protect and provide for their family. And how that has changed today.

They understood that they were to protect and provide for their wife and for their children. He was a defender of his wife's honor and she felt secure in his presence. We should never abandon the concept of maleness and femaleness at this delicate stage in earth's history - not that every woman should become a mother, mind you, or even a homemaker, but those who do must be honored and respected and supported. There should be a clear delineation between the genders revealed by both - listen carefully - clothing and function. There should be a clear delineation between the sexes with regard to clothing and function.

Men should be encouraged to provide for and protect their families. Children must be valued as our most precious possession and their relationship with their mothers considered the most important association in their lives. Boys and girls should be taught that the genders are equal in worth but different from one another. And what about the rest of us? Well, as a well-known psychologist once wrote, "self-awareness begins with an understanding of our sexual identity. It must not be blurred with an avant-garde agenda of their own.

" And there's an agenda today to blur gender roles - differences between genders. Speaking of agendas, I read not too long ago that the words 'mother' and 'father' will be or have been removed from the u.s. Passport applications and replaced with gender-neutral terminology. This person - her name is brenda sprague - deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services. She says, "the words in the old form were 'mother' and 'father'.

They are now 'parent 1' and 'parent 2'. A statement on the state department - a statement on the state department website noted, "these improvements are being made to provide a gender-neutral description of a child's parents and in recognition of" - listen - "different types of families." So now parents don't have to be adam and eve, they can be adam and steve or they can be anita and eve. It's a strange day when the very fabric of society - the family - is being redefined in drastic ways. Neutralized genders, as much as possible, making only the anatomy the major differences between the sexes, blur gender roles and then take the next step: normalize same-gender unions. It's a marvelous strategy.

It just seems to me that if a person can define who they wish to marry based on their own ideas, that it becomes possible for a person to marry anyone or anything that they determine that they love. That's why I like what this individual wrote. He said, "a proper understanding of morality" - "a proper understanding of morality, especially sexual morality, is tied to a proper understanding of origins." See, if you believe that we came about here on planet earth just through chance and happenstance and processes of cells coming together out of the slime - out of the goo from the zoo then to you, then there is no basis for morality. Where do you - where is - where do we - how can we argue for the divine institution of man and woman monogamous relationship? How can you argue it? Morality - he says, "a proper understanding of morality - sexual morality - is tied to a proper understanding of origins." And he couldn't be further - he couldn't be more true. A life in keeping with God's design and instructions brings the greatest possible fulfillment, while any deviation from his design invites disaster.

That's why the Bible warns against all forms of harmful sexual behavior including premarital sex, extramarital sex - or adultery, prostitution, polygamy, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, homosexuality and pornography. God has best intentions for each one of us. He loves us. And if we stick with his divine plan we can't go wrong - can't go wrong and, on top of that, not only will there be personal satisfaction, but we'll also - there'll also be stability in the church and stability in society at large. We know where this thing is going, sadly.

God has warned us things will go from bad to worse, but in our local homes, where we find ourselves, we can do the very best we can, by God's grace, to preserve the marriage unit and encourage - encourage a high standard of morality. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 23 - when God brought eve to adam - because that's what the Bible says - she came from adam and then God brought her to adam. That speaks volumes. Genesis 2, verse 23, "and adam said" - this was his response when he saw - when he saw her - "'this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called'" 'whoa man!' - He was impressed. No, that's not what he said - "'she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.

'" Adam's response was pure poetry. He recognized, in her, the desired companion and welcomed her as his bride. The Hebrew word, 'ishah' - woman - is formed of the word 'ish', which means man. The english word 'woman', which in anglo-saxon it means 'wife-man' is also related to the word man as in many other languages. There's a direct connection between man and woman - special - equals but different.

Well, we need to talk about the ideal of marriage. Let's keep moving. I'm going to get hung up on some things here. They were flying from home after an idyllic honeymoon in malaysia, but after one week of married life, one couple's romance came to a dramatic end and here's what happened. After the bridegroom decided his wife simply spent too long in the bathroom so his solution was simple: leave malaysia, get on the plane without her.

True story - it was in the local newspaper not too - newspapers, rather - not too long ago. How long she reMained in that airport bathroom was very unclear, but when she emerged she discovered that her husband had left the building - he'd gone without a trace. Now it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you want your marriage to last the distance you just don't do things like that. Well, let's look at several texts together. We're looking at Mark chapter 10, verses 7-9.

I also have someone reading Peter chapter 3, verses 1 and - who has that for us here this morning? Right here. Fantastic. We'll get to you injust a moment. Mark chapter 10 and verses through 9. Jesus is speaking and he says, "for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." What ingredients can we find there for a successful marriage? We have, first of all, privacy and intimacy that should be confirmed in a marriage. 'A man shall leave his father and mother.' It's never good for newlyweds to be living with their folks if they can help it - especially with interfering in-laws. You know, if in-laws interfere too much, you know they can become outlaws, right? For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother. This speaks to privacy of the marriage relationship and also intimacy. 'And they two shall be' - what? - 'One flesh'.

So this speaks to unity of purpose - unity of love - mutual love and respect, you see. And then, of course, 'what God has joined together let no man separate' - it speaks to a lifetime commitment. A lot of folk are going into marriage today thinking that if it doesn't go well they have an out, rather than going into the marriage saying, 'hey, I'd better do this carefully with a lot of prayer and consideration because this thing is for life. I need to make that best and right decision.' Some folk just kind of get desperate and they make a wrong decision and they find themselves stuck with someone they wish they never were - would have to be with and they terminate the relationship. There's children involved - it becomes a disaster.

It becomes a mess. Now granted, people change - I understand that - people change even in the marriage relationship - but here are some principles that we're reading about that will - that will enhance the marriage relationship. Ephesians chapter 5, verses -25, "wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her." So, more ingredients - mutual love and mutual respect. Man, if those things were employed in relationships today - oh man, marriages would just be going off the charts. As a matter of fact, I read this - it was posted on Facebook and I wanted to share this with you today. It's taken from the little book 'my life today' page 278 - listen to this with regard to love and respect and the influence that has, in a marriage relationship, on the children. Listen to this: "the best way" - not the only way but the 'best way to educate children to respect their father and their mother is to give them the opportunity of seeing The Father offer kindly attentions to the mother and the mother rendering respect and reverence to The Father.

It is by beholding love in their parents that children are led to obey the fifth commandment." Wow. I'm not suggesting and she's not suggesting here that, you know, that childhood rebellion and all these types of things - problems in the home stem from lack of respect and love in the marriage relationship, but one of the best ways to garner respect from children is to express love - mutual love and respect. Okay, 1 Peter chapter 3 and 1 - verses 1-7. Right down here. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." Thank you very much. Thank you very much. So here you have - the focus here is respect and then there's another word, it's called honor.

Honor. 'Husbands, likewise dwell with women with understanding' - you know that men are the only ones in the marriage relationship that are called upon to understand their spouse? Women have got men figured out - we're pretty simple creatures, but men, we are still trying to figure this thing out. So men, understand your wives 'giving honor to her as a weaker vessel.' Not that she's - she lacks - it's not talking about her physical strength, but it's talking about the fact that she is a little more fragile than the man. Well, I don't know if that's the right way to say it but - I'm going to dig myself into a hole here, I can sense this coming. This just is speaking to the fact that a woman is more of an emotional creature than a man.

Okay. Enough said. Alright. Romans chapter 12, verse 10 says, "be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." So without a doubt, the concept of honor is the single most important principle for building a healthy relationship. It's important for husbands and wives to apply it to each other - children to apply it to their parents, parents to their children, etc.

It works with friends in friend-to-friend relationships as well. The results of allowing honor to reign can be dramatic and can be life changing. During biblical times, the word 'honor' carried with it a literal meaning that has been lost in translation over time. For a Greek living in Christ's day, something of honor brought to mind something that was heavy or weighty - for example, gold - because they valued it. It was heavy.

It was weighty. It was valuable and so they considered - they thought of gold when they heard the word honor. Dishonor actually meant 'mist'. Why? Because the lightest most insignificant thing Greeks could think of was steam rising from a pot of boiling water or a clouding of a mirror on a cold winter's day. Honor.

Dishonor. When we honor something in particular, we're saying, in effect, who they are and what they are carries weight and that they're extremely valuable in our sight. It's easy to say that you love somebody but when you've got a hundred things that you put ahead of your wife, work and fishing and golf and numerous church projects, they're really saying more - that these things are more important than your wife. What does honor look like? In their book 'love is a decision' by gary smalley and John trent, they talk about the 'ahh principle'. The 'ahh principle'.

When we talk of the fear of the Lord we're talking about being awe inspired. In fact, the fear of the Lord is being so awed that you drop your jaw, inhale a gasp and catching your breath in an audible 'ahh'. Someone said it's a gasp of reverence mixed with wonder - that's what 'awe' is. In short, they say, "honor is a reflex of the heart toward one who is deeply treasured. It is the conviction that you are in the presence of somebody so valuable it's 'ahh' inspiring.

It's important to realize too how life-changing attitude - this life-changing attitude really is - it's a decision that we make with regard to people. We decide the things that we value, you understand. Honoring those around us, it would be helpful to keep in mind dishonoring acts as well - that they kill healthy relationships. Here are some of them as we seek to close up: ignoring or degrading another person's opinion, belief, or advice, burying oneself into the tv or paper when another person is trying to communicate with you, creating jokes about another person's weak areas or shortcomings, make regular verbal attacks on loved ones, criticizing harshly, being judgmental, delivering uncaring lectures, treating in-laws or other relatives as unimportant in one's planning and communication, ignoring or simply not expressing appreciation for kind deeds done for us, distasteful habits that are practiced in front of the family even after we've been asked to stop, over-committing ourselves to other projects or people so that everything outside the home seems more important to those inside the home. Power struggles that leave one person feeling like he or she is a child or being harshly dominated, an unwillingness to admit that we are wrong or to ask forgiveness.

So to receive your free offer 'keys to a happy marriage' - offer #164, please call -866-study-more - -866-study-more. God has given us some wonderful tools that we can thrive and have a happy marriage. I pray and trust that you'll have a - you'll apply these principles and that your marriage will go from great - from good, rather - to great. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week.

Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at 'amazingfacts.org'. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including Amazing Facts presents.

One location. So many possibilities. 'Amazingfacts.org'.

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