Sermon: What Makes a Marriage Christian
Scripture: Matthew 5:27-30
In this week’s lessons, we see that marriage is established by God, and serves to illustrate the relationship of Christ with His Church.
Theme: Christ and the Church
The final and conclusive proof of all that I have been saying is in the truth that when God created us male and female and established the state of marriage, he did so for a definite purpose. What was it? It was to provide the best illustration in life of how God joins a man or woman to Jesus Christ and how He joins them to Him forever. But someone says, “Didn’t God create marriage in order for there to be children? Isn’t it for reproduction?” No, it is not. Oh, I know that is one sideline, but it is secondary. If it were not, a marriage without children would be incomplete, a failure. That is not true.
Well, then, why did he establish it? He established it as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church, Paul says in Ephesians 5 that a wife is to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord.” He says that a husband is to love his wife “even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Paul then concludes by saying of marriage, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (v. 32). In other words, God established marriage so that a Christian husband and a Christian wife could act out in their own relationship the relationship that Christ has to you and me and thereby point men to Him as the supreme lover, bridegroom, husband, protector, and provider of His Church.
Let me portray it this way. Here is a young woman who for the best part of her life has gone more or less her own way, amusing herself as she chooses, making her own friends. Then she meets a man who has no relationship to her whatsoever but who somehow warms her heart and moves her to respond to him in love. In time, he asks her to marry him, and she agrees. The time comes when she stands before the minister to say, “I take thee to be my wedded husband, and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful wife in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.” And her husband pledges the same things to her. He says in effect, “For your dear sake I am willing to work and labor; and even if it means impoverishing myself or enduring poor health, I will do it. And what is more, I will be faithful to you and love you while life lasts.”
Do you see how it is also true spiritually? Here is a person, you or I, going on in life much in the way that we want to go, amusing ourselves as we choose and making the friends that please us. But in time we are courted by Christ. He warms our heart by His love, and we come to love Him. The moment comes in which we say in effect, “I take thee, Jesus, to be my Lord and Savior, and I do promise to be thy loving and faithful wife in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; for this age and for eternity. And he promises the same thing to us—forever.
To marry as God intends men and women to marry is to illustrate on this earth the most sublime of relationships—the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who believe on Him, His Church, and the relationship of the Church to Jesus, to the one who loved us and who gave Himself for us. Do you see it? If you do, then you are well on your way to a blessed and happy marriage. For you may have the spiritual motivation and overall orientation to make it possible.
What is the primary reason God established marriage?
Describe how the marriage ceremony is an illustration of what happens spiritually.
Reflection: How does the connection of a marriage between a man and a woman and the spiritual relationship between Christ and His Church impact how you view your own marriage and how you view your relationship with your local church?