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Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:1-5
The Marriage Vow
1. Marriage is under assault:
a. Five states plus D.C. have legalized same-sex marriage.
b. 5.4 million lived together without marriage in 2005 (RayFowler.org).
c. “Unmarried couples made up 12% of U.S. couples in 2010, a 25% increase in 10 years, according to Census data out Thursday.” (“Fewer couples embrace marriage; more live together”, Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, USA Today, 6/2/11).
2. Marriage is also dishonored when we fail to keep the marriage vows we have made.
I. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW WAS BEFORE GOD AND TO YOUR SPOUSE.
A. A Vow to God: Honors and Obeys God’s Arrangement of Marriage, Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6; Heb 13:4.
1. Do not make this vow rashly, Eccl 5:2; Prov 20:25.
2. Keep the vow you make, Eccl 5:4-6. (The folly of “annulment”)
3. Fundamental issues: Accountability to God, integrity before men.
B. A Vow to Each Other: God Approves the Marriage Covenant made between a Man and Woman who have the God-given Right to Enter that Covenant, Prov 2:17; Mal 2:14 (16).
-Vow: “Do you take this woman/man whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded wife/husband?”
1. Lawful marriages: God-approved, Matt 19:6; Rom 7:2.
a. God joins man and woman together, Matt 19:6.
b. God gave marriage to provide a life partner, to populate the earth and to protect against sin, Gen 2:18; 1:28; 1 Cor 7:2.
2. Unlawful marriages exist: God-rejected, Rom 7:3; Mk 6:17-18; cf. Jno 4:16-18.
a. Such marriages (covenants) are not valid (lawful) before God – even though men (courts) approve them.
b. Unlawful marriage is adultery, Mk 10:11-12 (Matt 19:9).
1) Who you marry will affect your standing with God: Be certain it is lawful according to God’s will.
2) Take the marriage vows seriously and live by them.
II. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW CONTAINED FREELY ACCEPTED OBLIGATIONS, Rom 7:2; Eph 5:22-33.
A. Husband. Vow: “Do you promise to love and cherish her in sickness and in health, and to provide for her in prosperity and adversity…”
1. Love her as Christ loved the church, Eph 5:25-27.
a. Christ’s love: Sacrificial – to save the church, Eph 5:23, 25.
b. Husband’s love: Sacrificial – to help wife be pure (saved).
c. Husband who loves sacrificially does not give occasion for his wife to be bitter, resentful or neglectful (sin), cf. 1 Pet 3:7 (1).
2. Cherish her as your own flesh, Eph 5:28-29 (Gen 2:23-24).
a. Place great value on her.
b. Cherish her regardless of the circumstances (sickness, health).
3. Provide for her in good and hard times, 1 Tim 5:8.
4. Lead and provide as a loving head, Eph 5:23, 33.
B. Wife. Vow: “Do you promise to love and honor him in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity…”
1. Love and honor him as the church does Christ, Eph 5:22-24, 33.
a. Submit to husband: “Obey”, Titus 2:5 – Yield to his leadership.
b. Honor him: In words and actions. This validation helps secure him and make his role easier and more willing.
2. Regardless of the circumstances (sickness, health, prosperity, adversity), cf. Ruth 1:16-17.
C. Husband and Wife. Vow: “to be faithful to her/him, and forsaking all others, cleave unto her/him and to her/him alone…”
1. Faithfulness helps secure your marriage for success.
2. Infidelity and deceit of adultery is an assault on the purity of the marriage as well as the trust and honor of your spouse: it is hatred (not love) toward your own flesh! (Eph 5:29)
3. So severe is this violation of the covenant that God allows the innocent one to be released from its binding nature, Matt 19:9.
4. Protect the fidelity of your marriage! Do not put yourself into any situation where you are tempted to yield to sin.
III. YOUR MARRIAGE VOW LASTS A LIFETIME.
A. Marriage is Until Death, not “Until Love Dies/Find Someone Else”.
1. Vow: “…until death you do part?”
2. Marriage is life long, so choose wisely.
3. Marriage is life long, calling for all the attributes of Christ to be seen and practiced toward one another, Col 3:12-15.
1. Marriage is under assault by the world; its blessings and responsibilities must not be abused and neglected by Christians.
2. Strengthen your marriage by remembering and keeping your vows.
3. Thank God for marriage, and thank God for your marriage partner; Both marriage and your mate are great blessings from God, Eccl 9:9.
Do you, ____________, take this woman whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded wife? Do you promise to love and cherish her in sickness and in health, and to provide for her in prosperity and adversity, to be faithful to her, and forsaking all others, cleave unto her and to her alone until death you do part?
Do you, ____________, take this man whose hand you now hold to be your lawful and wedded husband, and pledge to do by him the part of the faithful wife? Do you promise to love and honor him in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, to be faithful to him, and forsaking all others, cleave unto him and to him alone until death you do part?