Before You Say “I Do” by Rick Burdette
Love Like You Mean It – Before You Say “I Do”
Genesis 2:18-25 (pg. 2) February 7, 2016
God has some very strange arithmetic…You must become empty to be filled…you must become the least to be great…you must die to live.
And when it comes to marriage…one plus one equals one.
I never got past Algebra 2 in High School, and I often joke that I went to Bible College because I didn’t have to do math… “because God adds and multiplies so I don’t have to.”
But one plus one equaling one is impossible…even I know that!
And yet that is exactly what Genesis 2:24 is describing…“A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
One man…one woman…one flesh.
How does God do the impossible? Because Jesus says He does…In Luke 18:27 we read, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.”
Emptiness being filled to overflowing…Servants becoming great leaders…dead people being resurrected to new life.
And one man and one woman becoming one flesh…God specializes in the impossible.
This month the messages center around the theme “LOVE LIKE YOU MEAN IT.” We’ll deal with the difference between love and lust, what it really means to submit and surrender, and finally finding a love that lasts.
So today we start with what we should know from God’s Word before we say “I Do.” First:
I. MARRIAGE IS GOD’S IDEA
Can you be happy being single…or single again…Absolutely…In fact the Apostle Paul tells about the “gift of singleness” in his first letter to the Corinthians.
He’s writing to new believers who live in a very sexually promiscuous culture, some have been involved in adulterous relationships, immoral ones before marriage and homosexual ones…1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “That’s what some of you were, but you’ve been washed, sanctified and justified in Jesus’ name, and by the Spirit of our God.”
It’s a society that says “Gratify yourselves sexually any way you want…it’s all good.”
And Paul’s point is…“No…God has a plan…Husbands fulfill your wife’s needs…Wives fulfill your husband’s needs.”
Satan will use this to destroy you and your relationship if you let him. Don’t let him.
But Paul also shares a very honest truth…He’s single…or as most believe “single again.”
1 CORINTHIANS 7:32-35 (p. 275)
So in a society that has made sex it’s god he says…“If you’re able to focus only on God…His kingdom is more vital than “the affairs of this world.”
It’s healthy to pray for a godly man or woman to be your mate…but it’s even more important that you’re right with God before you do so.
One plus one equaling one can only truly happen if the man and woman involved in the equation trust the One who can unite them.
True fulfillment in a marriage doesn’t happen because your mate meets all your wants and needs…it happens because both partners put God first and then try to love each other unselfishly.
The key is 1 Corinthians 7:31 “For this world in its present form is passing away.”
God created us, male and female in His image…Each of God’s creation had the perfect partner…Except Adam…Adam named each of the animals, but when he looked around for his partner…no suitable one was formed.
“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh…Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of man, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22)
When the woman is brought to Adam, what did he call her…Beautiful, Honey, Baby? No! He called her “Eve” which means “mother of all.”
Not wife… “Mother” gives us an idea of God’s plan to be “fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth” doesn’t it? By the way, this was the easiest command Adam ever received.
[“God let me get this straight…you want me to make love to this perfect woman in the most perfect garden ever…a lot? OK!]
The family is God’s creation…and His plan…Children are His gift…eternal souls that never existed before…and will never go out of existence. This is the foundation of all creation…no wonder Satan attacked it viciously…and still does…no wonder he attacks life at conception…the evil one knows its value!
Men and women are created in the image of God…we are created to have a relationship with our Creator that flows into our oneness with our mate. It lets us understand our primary purpose…and it makes us distinctly different from all other of God’s earthly creations.
For this cause a man leaves his mother and father’s home…and begins His own family. He and his wife are united and they shall become one flesh.
Intimacy…because of God given desires…children…Husband and wife…united at it’s conception…and it’s continued journey…the family… “who can doubt the divine authority of marriage.” One plus one equals one.
This is one of the most important truths we should know before we say “I Do.”
We were made by God and for God – and until we understand that, life will never make sense.
II. NO CHILD IS AN ACCIDENT
Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life got it right when he wrote:
You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.”
God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair, and every other feature. He custom-made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality. The Bible says, “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!”
Long before we were conceived by our parents we were conceived in the mind of God.
While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children…Many children are unplanned by their parents…maybe even unwanted…But they are not unplanned or unwanted by God! God’s purpose took into account human error, even sin. God never does something accidentally, and He never makes mistakes.
Isaiah 44:2 says “I am your creator. You were in my care even before you were born.”
Before we say “I do” we must understand we were created by God and for God.
Please know just because you have no children or cannot have children doesn’t mean your marriage cannot be used for God’s purposes or filled with joy…but children are the gift of God for many of us…and it is absolutely essential we realize “They are eternal souls…created by God…trusted into our care…and our influence as moms and dads, nanas and papaws will either give them an eternal foundation or a worldly one.
It was God’s plan from the beginning…and it still is.
[I’m not sure Kari and I strategically planned the birth of any of our four children. We planned when we didn’t want children. We wanted children…and our 1st was born over 2 years after we said “I Do.” And our 4th was born 11 years after…9 months to the day we returned from our 10th anniversary trip to Gatlinburg (I wanted to go sight seeing). We always laugh about this because we ministered at a little church in Willisburg called Antioch…Randall Barnett’s dad, O’Rear Barnett was one of the elders there and he was an amazing man, but frugal too. He said, “You’re not gonna have any more kids are you?” And I said, “O’Rear, I’m not sure we planned any of the three”…so when Karissa was born in March of 1992 during a snow storm…The first thing I did was call O’Rear and tell him and Ruby…and ask for a raise (lol).]
God had a plan for my beautiful daughter Karissa, and Ricky, Tyler and Cyndi. We might not have known His timing, but He did!!!
I love this poem by Russell Kelfer:
You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb.
You’re just what He wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.
No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you’d grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!
When a man leaves his father and mother’s family…And he is united to his wife in one flesh…This is God’s plan for all of creation.
The family is His foundation.
Let me end with this final thought:
III. SIN CAUSES SHAME…INNOCENCE CREATES INTIMACY
Verse 25 “The man and his wife were naked and felt no shame.”
That verse is essential to understand before we say, “I do.” Sin separates us…causes us to hide and cover up…Innocence creates “oneness”…free from guilt and shame.
We “ALL” sin…husbands, wives…and we have a choice…hide from God like Adam and Eve…create an atmosphere of blame: “the woman did it,” “the snake caused me to do it.” Maybe even blame God: “You gave her to me.”
Before you say “I do” make a commitment to be naked before God…and forgiving towards each other…so you can be one.
Remember God made us for a relationship with Him…and He made us male and female, in His image for a relationship with our mate.
Sin and selfishness disrupts both when we hide and cover up.
[Adam and Eve had something very special…a relationship with God where they walked with Him in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening…a bond of openness because there was no sin…no sin…no shame…sin changed all that…it always does.
I’ve never sat with a couple in counseling before they say “I do” and have them say… “Oh, by the way…in a couple years we’re gonna divorce…We’re going to let the alcohol, pornography, pride and unfaithfulness destroy the innocence we have right now…OK.”
But I’ve talked with hundreds that I’ve married and others have married that have ended up “covering their hurts and sin, and hiding from God and each other to the degree that that’s exactly what happens.”
Before we say I do and for our marriage afterward, I’ll end by saying…“God created us for a purpose…and when we forget that purpose…our relationship with Him and our family will not be the same.]