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How to support marriages

October 3, 2011

Having just preached a sermon on what is to be created male and female, I have been convinced that one of the churches main functions has to be to support marriage. Why?

Can I suggest that marriage is a visual and imcarnational demonstration of the gospel. It is one of the few evangelistic strategies espoused by scripture. As churches we spend much time, energy and money on a great variety of evangelistic tools but spend little time, energy and money supporting marriages. Is this because we haven’t understood marriage. From Genesis 1 we can see that marriage is more than a human idea, intention or institution. In marriage we reflect the image of God as the theologian Karl Barth drew to our attention. Genesis 2 goes further and shows us that in marriage we demonstrate the nature and character of  God to help (the same word used in Psalm 121 of God) and to redeem  (to leave and cleave). The New Testament completes the picture when the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 shows that the marriage relationship is a visual enactment of the gospel. Marriage is when each member makes a commitment to love one another unconditionally and that means being prepared to die for that person, to show the love Christ has for each of us. At the heart of marriage is sacrifice.As a visual demonstration surely that is why there are such strict rules about the leaders of the church and their marriage relationships.

So how should we support marriages?

  • Support weddings – take marriage preparation seriously, take responsibility over the ceremony to ensure it a demonstration of the gospel and make it a community celebration (family, church and local)
  • Support leaders – recognise they have a greater responsibility in making their marriages show the gospel. Give them time for their marriage. Allow paid leaders two days off a week. Send them on conferences together. Pray for their marriages.
  • Support the married – teach on marriage including romance and sex, put in the church calendar marriage refresher or MOT sessions, babysit, don’t fill up evenings and weekends with church stuff, allow the married to serve and worship together. Help them live out their marriage in community being a blessing to the church.
  • Support the single – teach that singleness isn’t second best. Singleness is also a demonstration of the gospel (1 Cor 7:32-35) as it can show Jesus is more important than any human relationship. Teach that physical sexual expressions and acts are confined to a marriage relationship but this does not mean denying we are sexual beings. (for more on this read Rob Bell’s ‘Sex God’. Do all you can to help singles feel part of the church family and help them express their sexuality in this environment and in serving humanity.
  • Support the divorced – divorce is NOT the unforgivable sin. How we support the divorced can also demonstrate the mercy, forgiveness and healing power of the gospel in community. Lead them to repentance and forgiveness and out of guilt and shame. And remember Jesus demonstrating that in relationships we all fail, fall short or slip up (John 8:7)

If we do this then we are supporting visual demonstrations of the gospel that reaches every area of our community and perhaps that is why I like this animation about evangelism so much. Enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk8ERxqCZqQ

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One Comment
  1. Tope permalink

    I love this because it touches all aspect of the church. God bless you sir

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