Matthew 19:4-6 Making A Good Marriage Partner At the beginning of this series, I made two important statements. 1. You can only change yourself. 2. The same things that make for a good Christian, make for a good marriage partner. Throughout this series, I have tied to emphasize the practical, to give you examples of things you might do to make your marriage more successful. However, it cannot be overlooked that marriage is a spiritual union created by God. In practical terms, that means that improving a marriage is a spiritual battle as much, if not more, than it is just a matter of starting to do the right things. Repeated, I have hammered a powerful truth to building a good marriage; namely, that the same things that make for being good Christians make for being good marriage partners. By the way, the opposite is also true. The things that make bad marriage partners make for bad Christians. There is no separating who you are with your mate from who you are before God. So this morning, let’s look at some of the things God wants to do in our lives which, if implemented, will make our marriages successful too. I. Good marriage partners, and good Christians, must learn how to be humble. A. The Bible makes much of humility. 1. Bible verses Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Pr 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. Isa 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: Mt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Mt 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Jas 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. B. Why? Because to learn anything about Christ, or marriage, or wisdom, or anything else, the Christian must be see himself as the one who needs to be dealt with. 1. There is no doubt that your mate is needing to change. a. If you were to tell me what they have done, you have more than enough examples to convince me. b. However, you will never fix your marriage by attempting to change your mate. c. YOUR MATE IS GOING TO HAVE TO SEE THE NEED TO CHANGE HIMSELF OR HERSELF. d. In order for that to happen, they are going to have to take a good dose of humility. 2. However, YOU are the one who is listening right now. a. And if I listen to your mate, your mate is going to have more than enough examples of your problems as well. b. Just like you want to fix your mate, your mate wants to fix you. c. Just like you cannot fix your mate, neither can your mate fix you. d. You must start the process. You must fix yourself—rather, you must let Christ fix you. C. You need to trust that if God is able to get your attention, He will be able to get your mates. 1. But even if God never does get your mate’s attention, what is that to you? 2. You are responsible for your own life, for your part in your marriage, and for how you respond to God. 3. You must make yourself the best person you can be. D. What is it going to take for you to change yourself, even when you know your mate needs changing? HUMILITY. II. Good marriage partners, and good Christians, must learn how to be changed. A. Bible verses: 2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eze 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: Ga 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Isa 43:18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: B. The need to change: Perhaps you think I am repeating myself because I mentioned change several times in the last thought. 1. To a degree, I am. 2. Humility and change are a couple. 3. You will not change without humility, and humility is of little value unless you let God use it to change you. C. The Bible makes it clear that we have need of change. 1. God calls us deceitful, lustful, evil, wicked, spiritual dead, hard, cold, abominable, profane, crooked, separated from Him, and sinful—just to list a few. 2. In addition, the Bible notes that we lie, steal, kill, hate, envy, blaspheme, fornicate, and gossip. 3. Whether you and I actually do all of these things or not, we all have that nature within us. D. Sadly, the worst of our behavior typically comes out with the person to whom we are married. 1. If there is anyone, outside of God, who knows that we need to change, it is our family! 2. You and I must effect a change, not only of our actions but of our very nature. E. Not only does the Bible tell us that we need a change, the Bible makes it clear that we need to BE changed. 1. This is not a change that we can do for ourselves, not a change in our nature. a. AA has helped many people change their actions over the years, but they recognize their short coming. b. They tell those who come to them that no matter whether the program helps them or not, they will always be an alcoholic. c. Why? Because actions are the most they can change. d. They cannot change the nature of a person. 2. Compare that to what God can do. 1Cor 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. a. If you are tired of being jealous, petty, unforgiving, hard, controlling, nagging, abusive—generally being an unlovable person, you need to let God change you. b. Can God do it? (1) He did it for me. (2) And He has done it for millions, if not billions, of others. 3. If you are a Christian, you already know something of God’s changing power. You just need to turn more of your life over to Him for renovation. a. If you are not a Christian, then you can find out first hand of God’s changing power today. b. To experience that power, you must be born again. (1) To be saved, you need to believe what the Bible says about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you. (2) The Bible tells us that Jesus is the sinless Son of God, born in the flesh to teach us of God and to pay sin’s price for us. (3) Jesus died a substitutionary death for you, was buried to prove His death and to put separation between the old life and the new, and rose on the third day as the Victor over sin and death. c. If you will trust Christ as your Savior, you can begin the life of change that will make you a better Christian and a better marriage partner. III. Good marriage partners and good Christians, need to learn how to love with a selfless love. A. Let’s read the chapter. 1. \\#1Cor 13:1-3\\ Look at the superiority of love. 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. a. What have you got that is better than that? b. Are you holding your marriage together with fear? force? fighting? c. Are you tired of living with insults? injury? intimidation? d. Have you found jealousy, bitterness, or anger to be better environments for your home? e. Or are you in an emotionless union now? f. God says that nothing is better than love! 2. \\#1Cor 13:4-7\\ Look at what love does. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. a. In these verses, love shows its strength by showing us what it does. b. Every one of these characteristics describes love as a putting itself last and another first. c. We must understand that love is an action! Love does good, kind, helpful things. (1) To be a good Christian and a good marriage partner, we must quit waiting on the feeling of love and start doing the actions of love! (2) Help your mate. (3) Strengthen your mate. (4) Encourage your mate. (5) Create an environment of comfort, hope, and laughter for your mate. (6) These are the things that love does! 3. \\#1Cor 13:8\\ Look at love’s endurance. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. a. Every marriage partner must decide everyday to water the plant of love or to neglect it. b. Some are letting an eternal plant whither. c. That is not God’s design, and if it is not your purposeful intention, you need to make some changes. IV. Good marriage partners, and good Christians, need to learn how to lose with a winning spirit. 1. There is a place for an uncompromising, tenacious spirit, but it is not within the bonds of matrimony. a. Too many marriage partners are focused on winning the battle while they lose the war. b. Marriage is not a tally sheet of the arguments you have won. c. It is a tally sheet of the years of harmony and love you have lived together. d. Marriage should never be one against the other. It should be us together against all challengers. 2. There is a word that is needed within the home that some who hold to Christ have a great difficulty with - compromise. a. Christian, if you lose your home, you loose everything! (1) You lose your home. (2) You lose your children—at best, you will have to share them with another household. (3) You lose your income and savings—that is what alimony does. (4) You lose your ministry. (5) You lose your testimony. (6) You lose your dreams, the spouse of your youth, the love of your life. b. Friend, don’t throw all of that away for the pride of winning a few foolish arguments. (1) Who cares which side of the bed you sleep on? (2) Who cares whether you spend $30 too much at the grocery store? (3) Who cares if the toilet paper loops over to the front or the back? (4) So you get the gas for the lawnmower… (5) So you take the kids for a few hours once or twice a week… (6) So you remember to have the oil changed… (7) So nobody will eat the crust but you… (8) In the scope of lifetime of happy, blissful, married years, what do those kinds of things really matter? 3. You say, "Preacher, we don’t fuss about such trivial things. Our arguments are over important things?" a. If they are, if the issues you are feuding over are really important and you can’t resolve them, then go get some help. b. Go to the pastor—if you would be embarrassed to talk to your pastor, go borrow another church’s pastor— or seek out a Christian marriage counselor, but don’t let the acid of conflict destroy your marriage. 4. Generally, in the end, if you are going to be a good Christian and a good marriage partner, you are going to have to take on of three positions in an argument. a. You are going to have to let most things go. They just aren’t important. b. You are going to have to compromise on some things. Compromise is what you do with the really important things. c. Along the way, you will get exactly what you on a few things. If you flat out win too many things, you are most likely putting your marriage in jeopardy. V. Good marriage partners, and good Christians, need to learn how to forgive with a forgetful heart. 1. Forgiveness is the essence of Christianity, both receiving it and giving it. 2. A person who does not learn to forgive is neither a good marriage partner or a good Christian. 3. There is no one who has not needed to be forgiven; therefore, there is no one who does not need to be forgiven. 4. For some, the best thing you could do for your marriage is to forgive and forget somethings of the past and simply move on. a. Life is full of drawn lines. b. When I was a kid, I actually had a kid dare me to cross a line he drew in the ground. c. That is the kind of line that most of us draw—a line or challenge. d. The kind of line that we need to draw is the line of forgiveness. (1) There needs to be a line in time in which we will not cross over to remember the things done against us. (2) That line is the line of forgiveness. Eyes are on the stock market again. Some people are wondering if it is 2008 all over again. If you have investments in stocks, mutual funds, or some other derivative of the stock market, I understand why. But the most important investment is not the one where you put your money, it is the one where you put your heart. You and I can’t control the stock market, but we can control what we do in our marriage. Let’s be good marriage partners, and good Christians. Let’s be what God wants us to be so that our marriage can be that little slice of heaven on earth.
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