Changing Seasons of A Marriage (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

CHANGING SEASONS OF A MARRIAGE (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on February 3, 2018) 

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season…”

Changing Seasons of a MarriageWe all have our favorite seasons. Many of us love the Fall with its changing leaves and beautiful colors. Some of us love Winter with its cooler temperatures. I know a lady in our church who left Florida because she got tired of the warm weather! She makes it a point to remind me that a perfect forecast is when they’re calling for below freezing! Personally, I love Spring because it’s a glimpse of the resurrection that awaits us. And, what can I say about Summer! Long days, beach trips, and the yellow inferno, which some call “the Sun.” No matter how much we love one season more than another, we cannot hold on to our favorite ones or skip over those we don’t like. They all change in due time and each one is essential for the next to arrive. Without Spring, there would be no Summer and Summer prepares us for Fall, which in turn ushers in Winter. In the same way, a marriage also has different seasons. We may prefer one over the other but we cannot hold on to any or skip over the ones we don’t like. I want to briefly explain the various seasons of a marriage and how that understanding can enhance your relationship. My information is coming from two books that have helped me greatly in my pre-marital and marital counselling: “Passages of Marriage” by Minirth, Newman, and Hemfelt; “Seasons of a Marriage” by H. Norman Wright. Altogether, there are five seasons in a marriage:

  1. “Fall Season” – It is romantic love filled with captivating colors and perfect temperatures. The air is full of expectations that the colors will never fade and the temperatures will never change. Unfortunately, the leaves start falling, the temperatures start dropping, and only the barren woods and brown grass remains. Unfulfilled expectations can sometimes lead to hurt, anger, and bad choices.
  2. “Early Winter Season” – It is marked by a growing realization that love is not enough to face the dropping temperatures. Bills, mortgage, and car payments have to made. But, it’s not all bad. It can also be a time of much joy and excitement with the arrival of new members in the family! New roles and adjustments have to be made but it is fulfilling. Warning: It can also be a time when silk sheets get replaced with flannel!
  3. “Late Winter Season” – With no Punxsutawney Phil in sight, the days seem depressing and meaningless. Being locked up indoors, the defects in each other become more distinct and annoying. Cabin fever can sometimes drive people to venture out to re-discover themselves. Someone cleverly called it the “go-away-closer disease,” where the spouse wants to be closer and yet pushes the other person away. If properly handled, it can actually lead to deeper intimacy and commitment.
  4. “Spring Season” – Just when it seems that winter would last forever, the leaves start budding, the flowers start blooming, the birds start singing, the temperature starts rising, and “love is in the air.” Having weathered the harsh winter of life, people become more realistic and mature. Don’t take this as some “as good as it gets” life. Instead, it brings a far richer love and appreciation for one another.
  5. “Summer Season” – Far from being the “last years” of a marriage, these can be the “masterpiece years.” Michelangelo began his work on the Sistene Chapel at 76 and created the architectural plans for the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at 88. Having been through the hurricanes of the Fall, blizzards of the Winter, hay fever of the Spring, and other unexpecteds of life, you are well-qualified for a masterpiece marriage.

Remember: “Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall; All you got to do is call” on God and he will see you through any season of your marriage.

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Six

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 6 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

intimacy6

Today is our final message in this series called KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE. Again, I’m amazed at how much you loved these messages and passed it along to friends and family! It tells us that there is a great hunger for truth about marriage and family.

Matthew 5   27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: The passage we just read troubled me a lot growing up. As a little boy, I remember my dad preaching on it several times and each time it left me more confused and worried and afraid. Why? Because I seriously thought that by the time I was 6 or 7, I’d be blind and by the time I was 10, I’d have both my hands chopped off. I would actually wonder – I know I can use my left hand to chop off my right hand but then how about my left hand? Maybe I can use my feet or maybe get a friend to do it. What in the world is Jesus talking about when he says – 29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you…”

If there’s one sin that God takes very seriously, probably more than others, it is sexual sins. If there’s one sin that human beings do not take very seriously, it is sexual sins. We blame everything and everyone, other than ourselves. Unfortunately, the consequences are devastating and the penalty is severe.

Question: How seriously do you take sexual sins? How seriously do you take the sins of the body? Do you understand the tremendous consequences that follow sexual sins? Do you understand God’s wrath against sexual sins? Are you saved?

3 questions we’re going to answer about marriage from this passage:

QUESTION #1 – SHOULD WE PRACTICE SELF-MORTIFICATION? NO.

People throughout the history of the church have misunderstood this passage. A great example was the church father by the name of Origen from Alexandria, Egypt. First he tried to roll naked over sharp briars but when that didn’t work, he actually had himself castrated. Later on he was sorry that he had made that decision. Some circles still practice flagellations and wear cilices. Is this what Jesus was saying in this passage? The first thing to keep in mind is that self-mutilation is forbidden in the Bible. Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves…”

What exactly is Jesus saying in this passage? To answer this question, you have to understand the moral setting in the time of Jesus. Things weren’t much different than today. Most Greeks and Romans strongly condemned adultery. To say that someone was adulterous was considered a big insult. It was thought of as stealing. After all, a wife was considered to be a husband’s property. Looking at many of the ancient plays and dramas of the time, even the common public looked down upon adultery. Jewish people, especially, strongly condemned adultery. It was considered shameful.

Having said that, adultery was quite common back then. The Roman philosopher Seneca says that those who do not practice adultery stand out. Even the Jewish people had become more and more like their neighbors. They knew that the punishment for adultery was death by stoning but hardly anyone practiced it. That’s why when Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he decided to put her away quietly.

When Jesus was preaching against adultery, He knew what they were thinking. “Yeah, it’s wrong but that’s just the fact of life. Sometimes you just can’t help it. (Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge) It’s not really me but my flesh.” It’s like the little girl who got caught with cookie crumbs all over her face. Her mom said, “Did you get in the cookie jar?” To which she replied, “I was just walking by and my teeth got caught in the cookie jar.” What Jesus was saying was, “Oh so it’s not you but your eye and your hand that made you sin? Then why don’t you just pluck out your eye and chop off your hand.”

Question: Whom do you blame for your sin life? Do you blame your flesh or the world? Did the Devil make you do it? Do you take responsibility for your sin life?

QUESTION #2 – CAN SEXUAL SINS SEND US TO HELL? NO.

Twice Jesus says, “for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Even though we know that Jesus is being sarcastic, it still sounds like he’s saying, “If you don’t deal with sexual sins, you’ll go to hell.” Some people have used this passage to claim that – You can lose your salvation and go to hell if you fail to repent from adultery. Not true.

Background: God’s people throughout the ages have been distinct when it comes to how they view marriage. They looked upon it as a sacred institution given by God and should be lived and enjoyed with holiness and fear. Adultery was a mark of unbelievers. Not only did God institute strict penalty against it but also repeatedly he chastised His people to stay away from it.

Jeremiah 7   9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations’? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

Malachi 2 13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.

Proverbs 6 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away.

What Jesus was saying is “When will you realize that God hates adultery? How long are you going to keep making excuses for your sin? Don’t you know that people going to Hell act this way? When will you start taking sin seriously and repent before God?”

Listen to Paul in I Corinthians 6   9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. But just when you think you cannot be saved, listen to the next verse – 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Application: God is asking the same questions to each of us today – “When will we realize how terrible adultery is?” “Don’t you know that people going to Hell act this way?” Do you feel good about your behavior?

QUESTION #3 – ARE SEXUAL SINS WORSE THAN OTHER SINS? YES.

Background: Why are sexual sins so bad in the sight of God? God places a very high value on our bodies. Remember – Unlike the rest of the creation that God simply said, “let there be” and there it was; He actually made us in His image. Man and woman was the crown of God’s creation. Keep in mind that God is spirit who sees, hears, touches, and speaks. He made us to be just like him, to see, hear, touch, and speak, but with a bodily form. Somehow, God transferred His spiritual, eternal characteristics into a physical, tangible form. It’s mind blowing! Why? Because God wanted us to enjoy life! God could have made us just spirit but He wanted us to see and feel and touch and speak and connect in marriage. The human body is an amazing gift of God! It is God’s masterpiece and why not! After all, one day He would have to design one for His own Son!

Listen carefully – God holds the copyright and the title to every single human body. It belongs to Him. For us to misuse it is to misuse someone else’s property. Imagine if you loaned me a very expensive torque wrench and I decided to misuse and abuse it to drive a nail. What would you do? Hand it over. That’s why murder is punishable by death. Who gave you the right to end that body? That’s why abortion and euthanasia is wrong. That’s why adultery is so wrong because it defiles the body that is not yours to defile. Hence in the Old Testament it was punishable by death.

Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 6   18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Then to the Christian – 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Application: What do you think about your body? Do you know that it is someone else’s property? What do you think about the body of another person, man or woman? Do you know that it too belongs to God?

The bigger question is – What do you do? Some Christians say – Didn’t Paul say in I Corinthians 9:27 I “beat my body into submission” and in Colossians 3:5 “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire…” I remind them to read a few verses earlier in Colossians 2   20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. It’s not about gouging out your eye and chopping off your hand, it is about your eye and your hand and all of you belonging to Christ.

Application: Does your body belong to Christ? If you are saved, then you have been bought with a price. Is the Holy Spirit in control of your body? Are you saved?

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Five

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 5 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

intimacy5We are in part 5 of our miniseries KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE. Many of you ask me about how to get copies of the messages. Either you can order CD’s through the email in the bulletin or visit our website or sign up for the Clearview podcast.

Matthew 5   27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: Last week, we looked at how Potiphar’s wife, a pagan Egyptian woman, tried to seduce Joseph. Today we will look someone who was anything but pagan. In fact, he was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” As a young boy, he had courage enough to face a giant. As a young king, he had charisma enough to unite all the tribes of Israel. As the sweet psalmist of Israel, he had spiritual capability to write Psalm 23 and half the psalms in the Old Testament. But, in a moment of lust and weakness and pride, he threw away his conscience and his character and became worse than an infidel. Of course, we’re talking about King David.

Here’s a statement – when the world messes up, it’s understandable. I didn’t say it’s right, just understandable. But, when a Christian messes up, it’s unbelievable. You say – “That’s not fair.” You’re right but it’s still the fact. No wonder Jesus said in verse 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you…” Next week we’ll look at this in detail but for now the message is – “Adultery is a serious sin. Serious enough to take whatever precautions you can to save yourself from it.”

Questions: How seriously do you take the sin of adultery? How seriously do you take the sin of adultery as a Christian? Remember – it’s not just the act but also the thought. Do you realize the tremendous consequences that follow your decisions? Do you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit when you inch towards adultery? If not, you need to get saved.

This morning we’re going to look at the account of King David and Bathsheba and learn how easy it is for a Christian to fall into this sin and how awful are the consequences. But we will also learn that there is forgiveness and restoration through Christ. Again, married or single, this message is for all of us.

 I. FROM GLANCE TO GAZE

2 Samuel 11   1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. I’m sure you’ve heard a message on this before – David was playing hooky instead of leading his army in battle. As the saying goes, “An empty mind is a Devil’s workshop.” 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. Last week, I had several men come to me individually and ask me that question – “Is it the first look or the second look?” Meaning: Is it a sin to look at someone who is pretty? Altogether, there are 4 looks:

  • It is normal to look at a person of the opposite sex and think they are beautiful or handsome. That’s not a sin.
  • It is normal to look at a person of the opposite sex and even be tempted. That’s not a sin either. Jesus was tempted but without sin. Ask God to help you think differently of them.
  • It is not okay to look at a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse and be obsessed by them. That is a sin. If you are married, you should have eyes only for your spouse. If you are single, you should have eyes only for those who are single.
  • It is definitely not okay to look at a person in a way that draws them into your lust. That is definitely a sin. That’s what David tried to do next.

3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, They gave her description as if David was supposed to know her family. Who was Eliam? In 2 Samuel 23 we have a list of David’s elite fighting force – One of them killed 800 men by himself; another killed 300 men; and yet another had killed a lion inside a snow filled pit. One of them was “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.” (vs. 34) Who was Ahithophel the Gilonite? He was one of David’s advisors. How good was his advice? 2 Samuel 16:23 Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. Meaning: When Ahithophel spoke, it was as if God spoke. In other words, David knew that Bathsheba came from a very respectable family. He should have left her alone. But there was something much more important about Bathsheba – “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Meaning: She was a married woman. By the way, Uriah was also one of David’s elites. He had enough reasons to stop immediately!

Question: What do you do when the Holy Spirit tells you to stop? Do you keep gazing? 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Do you take the way of escape that God sends your way? Do you pray “Lead us not into temptation?”

II. FROM ENTITLEMENT TO MURDER

4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her…”

Background: What began as a harmless glance became a lustful gaze and turned into a disgraceful sin. “Go bring her to me.” How did David justify this? Here are my 3 guesses:

  • Maybe he thought he was doing her a favor. After all, she is married to Uriah the Hittite. Hittites were people from the North in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). There were also some who had transplanted to the South in Canaan from the time of Abraham. What David had forgotten was that Uriah was not a Hittite name. It was a Hebrew name that meant – “Yahweh is my Light.” Uriah was a convert. In his fit of lust, David did not care.
  • Maybe he thought no one would ever know. All the fighting men are in battle. I can cover it up. Nobody will ever know. By the way, David did an excellent job of hiding it. The punishment for adultery is death by stoning but for that you need at least 2 witnesses. Partly because he was the king but also because no one knew what was happening.
  • Maybe he thought he was entitled to her. After all, he was David the shepherd King, the man who defeated the Philistines. At least, I am way better than Saul. I have done so much for these people. I deserve whatever I want.

What happened next? Bathsheba got pregnant and sent word to David “I am with child.” Instead of repenting before God David went into damage control mode. First, he told his commander Joab to send Uriah home for some R and R. Uriah refused to go home because his men were camped out in the fields. 13 “Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk.” Let me say something here – there is a reason why David was not leading his army. He was addicted to the bottle. He seems to be getting wasted. It’s my guess but I believe that David was drunk when he went after Bathsheba. Alcohol dulls your senses. It lowers your fear and insecurities and you do things that you will normally never do in your right mind. Here’s a formula worth remembering – ALCOHOL + OPPORTUNITY = ADULTERY

Finally, he gave order to Joab to put Uriah on the frontline and in the thick of the battle pull back. Just as planned, Uriah died. Listen to verse 26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

Application: Do you justify your sins? Do you think you owe it to yourself to indulge in sin? How far will you go to cover up your tracks?

III. FROM DISCIPLINE TO RESTORATION 

27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. David was thinking that it was all over and that everything was forgotten. Listen to the last line of that verse – “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” The Bible is unlike any religious book. It never sugarcoats the lives of its heroes. As Alan Redpath would say – “The Bible never flatters its heroes.”

2 Samuel 12:1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. Nathan gave David a parable of 2 men – one rich and one poor. The rich had many flocks and herd and the poor had one ewe lamb. It was like a daughter to him. One day the rich man had a visitor. Instead of getting an animal from his own flock, he took the poor man’s only lamb. What do you think David? At this point David responded with anger. Listen to verse 5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Talk about a “Freudian projection.” In psychology, projection means, “you hate something in someone because secretly you know it is in you and you hate it.” God explained it 3000 years before Freud.

Listen to Nathan’s famous line to David in verse 7 “…You are the man! God said – “I made you king of Israel and gave you everything you have but it wasn’t enough.” Here’s the judgment – 10 “…the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me…11 “…Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ ” Just as God said, it happened. For one murder, David lost 4 sons: 1. Son of Bathsheba (12:18); 2. Amnon – killed by his brother Absalom (13:28); 3. Absalom was killed in battle (18:14); 4. Adonijah – killed by Solomon (I Kin 2:24-25).

Here’s an old principle – Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” In other words, “what goes around, comes around.”

What is David’s response? 13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Psa. 51 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness…Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12             Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.

What is God’s answer? “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Although the child died, Bathsheba had another child and she called his name Solomon.

Invitation: The only solution to sin is to fall into the hands of God, fall into the hands of Jesus. Do you need to repent today? Are you saved?

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Four

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 4 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

intimacy4Today we are in part 4 of our miniseries KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE.

Matthew 5 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: So far we laid out the foundations of marriage. Now we are ready to look at adultery. By the way, the word adultery does not come from the English word “adult.” It actually comes from the Latin word “adulterare,” which means to alter or corrupt. It is a combination of “ad” (towards) and “alter” (other). Adultery means going towards the other person. Sometimes “adulterare” also means “to pollute.” Hence, adultery is the pollution or corruption of marriage. With that in mind, listen to verse 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ As you know, this is the 7th of the 10 Commandments that God gave to his people. It comes right after murder and right before stealing. God took the sin of adultery very seriously. How seriously? Listen to Deuteronomy 22:22 “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.” God considered adultery such an evil that it had to be destroyed in order to protect His people.

Now someone may say – “That’s just the Old Testament, the law. The New Testament is all grace under Jesus.” What did Jesus say? Listen to verse 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Meaning: In God’s sight, it’s not just the act but even the thought of adultery is just as bad. As I said before, let me say it again – Trusting Jesus as your Savior does not absolve, exempt, or release you from obeying God’s commandments. In fact, Jesus makes it even harder.

Question: What do you think about the sin of adultery? Is it a big deal to you? Keep in mind – we’re not just talking about the act but also the thought of adultery. By Jesus’s standards, are you innocent or are you guilty of this sin? Without the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit none of us can stand before God’s standards. You cannot have the Holy Spirit unless you are saved. Are you saved?

This morning we’re going to look at the account of Potiphar’s wife and Joseph and try to understand how adultery is subtle and how you can take steps to safeguard your marriage. Married or single, this message is important for all of us.

I. THE SUBTLETY OF ADULTERY 

Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there.

Background: You know the account of Joseph’s life. His brothers were jealous of him and instead of killing him, they sold him to the Midianites/Ishmaelites who brought him to the slave market in Egypt, where an officer of Pharaoh, an Egyptian named Potiphar, bought him. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Potiphar bought him. Unlike his brothers who worked in the field, he was probably just a frail lad. Maybe, Potiphar saw his tear stained face. Maybe, he saw his innocence and his helplessness. Maybe even Potiphar’s wife was with him and she saw the far off look in his eyes and she felt sorry for this poor Semitic boy and wanted to help him. What’s next? 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. Joseph was a hard-working, honest young man, who had God’s hand on him. Maybe that’s why Potiphar moved him into his house. How much did he trust him? Listen to verse 6 “…he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Joseph was successful but success always comes with a cost. Any time you begin to rise in influence, power, and blessing, watch out. As long as you were on the ground, you were not a target. Now that you are standing up, you’ve become a target.

What happens next? 6 “…Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph…” Typically, Potiphar’s wife is portrayed as a loose, immoral, and manipulative woman. In my opinion, I don’t think it began that way. That phrase – “And it came to pass after these things” – means that it was not immediately that she went after him but over time something developed. Initially, she probably felt sorry for him – poor kid trying to make a living, far away from home, has nobody. She saw watched how hard he worked and how honest he was and her heart went out to him. Maybe, she must have talked to him about his life back home. Maybe, she must have talked to him about her life and marriage. Day in and day out, she was alone with him and one day “she said, ‘Lie with me.’”

Peter Rutter in his book “Sex in the Forbidden Zone” notes that when two people work together in a setting where there is trust and understanding, they begin to develop a sense of closeness, comfort, and even completeness in each other’s presence. Sex is the ultimate form of intimacy. That’s why in time this growth in intimacy can actually lead to sexual desire. In other words, when you work in a close setting with someone, in time it can lead to something more.

Illustration: Unfortunately, I heard about adultery at a very early age. It was in the late 70s when the hippie movement was going on. Some young people got saved and we’re going from place to place preaching the gospel. When they came to our city, we set them up in a big guesthouse and the families in the church took turns providing lunch and dinner for them. It was awesome. One day I had to take some food to the guesthouse and as I was walking by one of the rooms, something caught my eye that did not look normal even at the age of 6-7. There were several guys in that room but I noticed that one of the ladies from the church was in the room, sitting on the lap of one of those young men. I knew who she was. She was one of my friend’s moms, an active family in the church. Later on it all came out and it was bad. It hurt the family, the church family, the young men, and even the testimony of the church before the community.

Adultery is subtle. There are predators and serial cheaters out there but many times that is not the case. Adultery is the result of working in close context over an extended period of time with someone other than your spouse. As a married person, no one should occupy the place of closeness that belongs to your spouse. As a single person, beware if anyone married is putting you in a place that should be occupied only by his/her spouse. That’s why a married man can never be best friends with a single woman and a married woman cannot be best friends with a single guy.

Application: Who are you close to who is not your spouse? Has the Holy Spirit brought someone to your mind? Are you talking to this person about things that you should only be talking to your spouse about? Are you the target? Are you the tool of the enemy?

II. THE CONVICTION AGAINST ADULTERY 

Gen. 39:8   But he refused and said to his master’s wife,

Background: Joseph did not have to fumble and stammer about why he could not indulge in adultery. He had already worked out his reasons. Meaning: He knew this day was coming and he was prepared. Listen to the 3 reasons that he gave:

  1. It is breaking my master’s trust.

“Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness,

Joseph knew that Potiphar had been good to him and he could not do this to him. We’re living in an age when people do not have a sense of honor and loyalty. They don’t stop to consider what their momentary decision would do to their family.

Illustration: One afternoon there was a knock on our door. It was one of the ladies from the church. She was crying. I’ll never forget the look of emotional pain and betrayal in her eyes. I called my mom and dad and they sat and talked with her. Again, later on it came out that she had caught her husband cheating on her. It was very sad. Again, it affected that family, the church, and the testimony before the world. I’ll never forget the look of pain and shock and betrayal in our eyes.

  1. It is a sin.

“…How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin…”

Joseph did not call it an affair or a mistake or a one-night stand. He called it sin. We’re living in an age when people call sin by every other name but what it is.

  1. It is against God.

“…How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Joseph was more concerned about the law of God than the law of the land. He knew that one day he would have to stand before the “judge of all the earth.” Listen to Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Question: What convictions do you have in your life? Do you have to wait to decide where you stand on a temptation? Have you set up some safeguard in your marriage? “I’ve never cheated on my wife/husband” Have you thought about it in your mind? Job said in Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” What covenant have you made with your eyes?

III. THE ESCAPE FROM ADULTERY 

Genesis 39 10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. 11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.

Joseph did not stop to pray and discuss and reason. He ran. There is a time to talk and then there is a time to run. For a Christian it is time to run from sin and to the Holy Spirit.

Does that mean that everything works out perfectly? Probably not. Joseph had to go to prison. But listen to verse 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Application: What do you believe about adultery? Do you have biblical convictions? Do you have the Holy Spirit? Do you know Christ as your Savior

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Three

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 3

intimacy3This morning we are in part 3 of our miniseries from the Sermon on the Mount titled “KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE.” I told Nicole last week – “I’m amazed how well this series is being received.” To which she remarked – “People are hungering for the truth about marriage. The messages are meeting a deep need.” As we walk through this message, ask yourself 2 questions: How is your marriage? Are you saved?

Matthew 5 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: “You have heard…‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Before we can talk about the dangers of adultery and the consequences of adultery, we need to talk about the delight in marriage and the contentment in marriage. In other words, before we can look at “what happens when marriage doesn’t work,” we need to look at “what it takes for marriage to work.” This morning we’re going to talk about something that is absolutely essential for a happy marriage. It is a 3-letter word that has been misused by the world, abused by the enemy, and refused to be discussed by the church – It is SEX. This is the point in the service when all the young people look up and all the older people get nervous. Take a deep breath and relax. You’ll be all right. We desperately need to hear about sex from the church for several reasons:

  1. Christian marriages are suffering because of it. I wish I could stand here and tell you, “If you get saved, then you will have an awesome, fulfilling, and problem free marriage.” Unfortunately, in many Christian marriages, the husband resents his wife and the wife barely tolerates her husband. In many Christian marriages, the husband and wives are nothing but roommates, actually roommates that don’t get along. In many Christian marriages, there is a sharp dichotomy between spiritual life and marital life. What happens to the children in these “Christian homes?” They receive mixed messages – “Christianity is great if you want to go to heaven and not go to hell but it does absolutely nothing for life here on earth. How come Susie’s mom and dad love each other and they don’t even go to church and my mom and dad love the church but they hate each other?” And the children know that dad is getting his satisfaction through late-night TV and mom is getting her satisfaction reading Fifty Shades of Grey because there is none in the bedroom. Even if it isn’t that bad, kids know that dad and mom are living two separate and miserable lives. They grow up despising the institution of marriage. When we say marriage is between a man and woman for life, they say marriage is for two people who love each other and it doesn’t matter if it’s man and a man or a woman and a woman. In many homes we are teaching our children to be successful in education and sports and career but we are setting them up for a catastrophic failure in marriage.
  2. Our culture is actively distorting it. Since the church and the Christians have made sex a taboo, the world says, “We’ll handle that subject for you. Come to us and we’ll teach you all you need to know about sex. After all, Grandma is in church and you can’t talk like that around her. Here’s a great book on sex without any boundaries. Here’s even a book written by a so-called Christian theologian on sex (except that the theologian is biblically way off). If that’s not enough, try porn, risqué music videos, raunchy movies and novels, soap operas, and smut magazines. We’ll even educate your children and your youth for you. You go on and talk about spiritual things – getting saved, bible study, going on missions, and defending your faith. Sex is our department.” Have you ever wondered why the new generation finds the church irrelevant? Because we are not answering the questions they are asking. Have you ever wondered why many children when they leave their homes and go off to college, they lose their way? Because they’re finding answers to questions, albeit false, we never answered for them.

What is the answer? Some people think that for marriage to work you have to communicate. Communication is important but that’s not all there is to marriage. Others think that you need to spend time together. Spending time together is vital but if we are truthful, in many marriages, couples fight the whole time they’re together. Still others think that you need to pray together as a couple. Prayer is very important but again that’s a means to an end, not the end. People have a lot of other opinions about what it takes for marriage to work – make more money, take a vacation, get a better job, etc. Unfortunately, as Arnold Glasow once said, “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.” Here’s the answer – For a marriage to work and be happy, sex has to take a central priority in that marriage. This morning for the next few minutes we will look from the Word of God how sex is central to marriage.

1. SEX IS A BEAUTIFUL GIFT FROM GOD.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. This is the first wedding sermon given by God. Even though Adam did not have a father and a mother, God was looking towards all future marriages to come. He gave 3 commands to them – Leave, Cleave, and Interweave

  • Leave: It does not mean abandon your parents but start your own life together.
  • Cleave: Accept your spouse as God’s gift specifically designed for you. To reject your spouse in any way is to reject God.
  • Interweave: “and they shall become one flesh,” which means the merging of body and soul. In other words, “Have sex!”

Did Adam and Eve carry out God’s instructions? Listen to the next verse – 25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Meaning: Adam and Eve enjoyed awesome sex without any fear or shame. God had implanted the sex chip into their system and was it working! I know that at this point most men are saying – “Preach it! Because my wife’s chip seems to be missing!” That is the common complaint by many men that their wives never initiate sex and they feel like a pervert. Now what I am about to share with you men is generally true.

  1. Women, on an average, have less testosterone and other sex hormones than men and hence have a lower sex drive. This does not mean that she doesn’t want sex or won’t enjoy it once she’s having it. It simply means that she is not actively looking for it.
  2. Because of lower sex drive, women are easily pulled towards other distractions like children, work, bills, and house. According to a research, 8 out of 10 wives wish they could change that.
  3. For a woman, it takes sometime to build up the feeling but, for a man, it is instantaneous. If you remember last weekend, men are task oriented and women are more feelings oriented. Men can switch from one task to another but women are still caught up into the feelings from the previous tasks. Someone said, “Women are like crockpots and men are like microwaves.”
  4. Women, on an average, are not aroused by sight like men are. You might think you are a stud but that has very little to do with it. Thank goodness! What is she aroused by? How you treat her. What arouses her is when you take time to show her love throughout the day – hugs, text, calls, resolve issues, and help with her daily responsibilities (remember the energy factor). When you show love to your wife, it speaks volumes to your kids because it tells them that you two are in love.
  5. Every month she is reminded of her reproductive potential (if you know what I mean). This makes life uncomfortable and inconvenient for her. Because of this she has to deal with irritability, depression, anxiety, hostility, headaches, backaches, and other painful bodily functions. It’s hard to feel very sexy when you have to deal with all that. Thankfully most of the time it is only 3-4 of these symptoms.
  6. Men – If only you are being satisfied, then the motivation is very low for the wife. Imagine competing in a race in which you never get to cross the finish line. How motivated would you be to compete in that race? Not much. By the way, men – please clean up! Take a shower, brush your teeth, and put on some deodorant.
  7. Women go through various stages with regards to sex. Initially, the sex drive is high. Then, because of work and responsibilities, there is stress and lack of energy. This brings down the sex drive. That’s why men say things like – “She’s changed from what she used to be.” But when the responsibilities lessen and women understand and voice what they want, the drive increases. There are more stages where there are bodily changes but with proper knowledge, every stage can bring sexual satisfaction.

Listen to Proverbs 5 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?

Application: How do you see sex in your marriage? Ladies – Do you accept it as God’s gift? Men – do you “dwell with your wives with understanding?”

2. SEX IS THE DEEPEST KNOWLEDGE OF ONE ANOTHER.

Genesis 4 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…17 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch…25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth… Also in the New Testament in Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son…”

Isn’t it amazing that the Bible repeatedly uses the word “know” for sex! What is Sex? It is the merging together of mind, body, and emotions of a man and a woman that leads to a passionate explosive climax leaving both of them in a wave of innocent relaxation. It is a time when the man and the woman are completely vulnerable and open to each other. It is a time when a man and a woman know each other at a level that is intimate, deep, and sacred. It is a time when all boundaries and inhibitions are crossed. In other words, the ultimate way for a man to know a woman and a woman to know a man is to have sex with that person. It is deep, life altering, and permanent. This is why premarital and extramarital sex is wrong. You are getting to know a person on a deep level who belongs to someone else. Ladies – Sex for your husband is much more than just a physical need. He is doing it for knowledge. Now what I am about to share with you is generally true.

  1. Men are lonely and often feel isolated. Most men feel inadequate and impostors. As Thoreau said in Walden, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Ladies – Having sex gives him the knowledge that you are with him and that you accept him. It gives him the strength and the confidence to face the world.
  2. It’s not enough to have sex out of duty. Men also want to feel that you want them. If you don’t really get engaged, the man feels that he is not good enough to excite you, which translates that something is wrong with him.
  3. Men are creatures of sight. If you remember when Adam saw Eve for the first time, he broke out into a song! All day long men are being bombarded by a thousand sexually charged images. Everyone from the movies, fashion industry, and advertisers exploit men from this angle. What does a set of tires have to do with a woman! Then the way some women dress makes matters even worse. I was somewhere recently and a woman walked in dressed kind of seductive. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to her. So I turned the other way but the whole time she was in the room, I was aware of her presence. Men – you know what I am talking about. When the man comes home and desires his wife, he is saying, “I only want to know you.” But if the wife says “I am tired” or “I have a headache,” now what’s he supposed to do? No wonder many men suffer with stress, depression, and anger issues.
  4. Ladies – keep yourself pretty outside and inside. I hope I don’t have to remind you about deodorants and mouthwash. But let me briefly say something about the inside. I know that this is a difficult message for some of you:
  • Some of you have grown up with parents who made you feel that sex was dirty.
  • Some of you had a wrong message or experience in life and Satan has turned your mind against sex. He did the same thing with Adam and Eve.
  • Some of you have endured the pain of sexual abuse growing up and sex is the last thing that you care about.

While a wrong teaching or wrong message growing up can be overcome, sexual abuse is more difficult. I want to recommend some resources.

  1. “On the Threshold of Hope: Opening the Door to Hope and Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.” – Diane Langberg
  2. “The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” – Dan Allender
  3. “A Healing Marriage: Biblical Help for Overcoming Childhood Sexual Abuse.” – Brad and Cheryl Tuggle

On the Threshold of HopeThe Wounded HeartA Healing MarriageYou are living in bondage and your spouse is also forced to live in bondage with you. Satan has a hold on you but God wants to set you free so you can enjoy your marriage.

Listen to 1 Corinthians 7   3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Ladies and Men – How is your sex life? Is it once in a while? Are you regularly and passionately loving each other? Are you getting to know each other on a deep level? Nothing will give security to your children more than that. Are you saved?

………………………………………

Here are some resources on Marriage and Sex from me and Nicole:

Listen to the podcast by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo at oneextraordinaymarriage.com.

7 days of sex challenge

7 Days of Sex Challenge by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo – Great jump start to your marital intimacy! Also check out their podcast at oneextraordinaymarriage.com

Stripped Down

Stripped Down: 13 Keys to Unlocking Intimacy in Marriage by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo

Staying Close

“Staying Close” by Dennis & Barbara Rainey- a wonderful resource for couples who want to have a vibrant marriage.

The Act of Marriage

The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly Lahaye is a a classic!

For men only

“For Men Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn- Men, have you ever wondered if you would ever understand your wife? Here is a book that is a wonderful resource to begin the process.

The Joy of Sex

The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort – A very practical book for married couples.

Solomon on Sex

“Solomon on Sex” by Joseph C. Dillow- a wonderful book explaining the Song of Solomon.

How to speak your spouse's language

“How to Speak your Spouse’s Language” by H. Norman Wright- how to effectively communicate with your spouse.

Marriage- From Surviving to Thriving

“Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving” by Charles Swindoll- wisdom for couples that want to strengthen their marriage.

 

for-women-only

“For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn- Understand the inner workings of a man’s mind.

Every Woman's Marriage

“Every Woman’s Marriage” by Shannon & Greg Ethridge- Ignite the passion in your marriage once again.

Becoming the woman of his dreams

“Becoming the Woman of His Dreams” by Sharon Jaynes- Do you want to be the woman of your husband’s dreams? This is the book for you!

7 things he'll never tell you

“7 Things He’ll Never Tell You but You Need to Know” by Dr. Kevin Leman- Help for all women who have ever wondered what was going through her husband’s mind.

Red Hot Monogomy

“Red Hot Monogamy” by Bill & Pam Farrell- Want to put the sizzle back into your sex life? Here’s a wonderful start!

For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage Part Two

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 2 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

intimacy2This morning we are in part two of our miniseries from the Beatitudes titled “KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE.”

Matthew 5 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Overall Background: “You have heard…‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Before we can unpack this passage, we need to lay down some foundations regarding marriage. Last weekend we laid down the first layer of foundation that, at its core, marriage teaches us about God. Through marriage we understand God’s image, through marriage we receive God’s gift for companionship, and through marriage we encounter the great mystery of the relationship between Christ and the church. But all of that is marriage as it relates to God, just the first layer of the foundation.

This morning we will look at the second layer of the foundation, which is marriage as it relates between a man and a woman – two individuals created in the image of God, basically the same in many ways and yet polar opposites in others. Who is superior? The man is infinitely superior to the woman in being a man and the woman is infinitely superior to the man in being a woman. They’re both wonderful but different.

Would you agree with that statement – “Men and Women are different”? In 1992 a book came out titled “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray. Nobody could have predicted that this book would become a best seller. It went on to sell over 9.5 million copies! Why? Because it attempted to answer one of the greatest questions of all times – how to understand my husband or my wife? That is a tough question! Illustration: Once upon a time a man was walking along the beach and came across a bottle in the sand. He pulled out the cork and out came a genie in a cloud of smoke. This is just a story. To thank the man the genie offered him one free wish. “Well,” said the man, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I’m afraid to fly and just thinking about going by ship makes me queasy. Would you mind building a road to Hawaii?” The genie said, “Man, that’s a lot of work. I’ll have to build pilings going down to the ocean floor and bring in tons of material and concrete. And the distance is over 2000 miles. Do you have another wish instead?” The man thought for a second and then said, “I’ve been trying to understand my wife. What makes her laugh and cry and what makes her mad? Do you think you help me figure out my wife and how she thinks?” The genie said, “Would you like the highway to be two lanes or four?”

We joke about it but in many homes it’s not a laughing matter. Those very differences that at first seemed so attractive, cool, and cute become in time so annoying, frustrating, and “so not worth it.” Nobody gets up one morning and decides – “I think I’m gonna cheat on my spouse.” It’s the consequence of months and years of failing to understand the opposite sex, appreciating the differences, and working through the problems. Let me ask you some questions: How do you see your spouse? Do you understand and appreciate the differences? Or do you see your spouse as a strange creature? Do you see your spouse as God’s gift specifically designed for you? Do you see your spouse as your enemy? Are you saved? You need Him in your marriage.

This morning we will try to understand how men and women are different. But first, let me make it clear that what I am sharing is generally true. There are men out there who can sew and knit and there are women out there who can kick my tail.

  1. Different Physically

Men are generally stronger than women. On an average, men are 10% bigger than women with 20% more body mass. Men have 90% greater upper body strength and 65% greater lower body strength. On an average, a man is stronger than 99.9% of women. Why did God make man this way? Listen to Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” Adam’s job was to provide for Eve and protect her. Hence, men build muscle easily, bruise less easily, and have thicker skin and thicker skull. They have broader shoulders and stronger bones. They are able to throw things farther. They are built for physical confrontation. That’s why men love aggressive sports and movies. Ladies – no matter how much you try to change him and put him in a tutu, that’s not how God has wired him.

How about women? Because women, on an average, are smaller than men, they have less blood flowing through their system than men. On an average, women have about 0.875 gallons of blood while men have 1.5 gallons. Also, the erythrocyte density (Red Blood Corpuscles) is about 20% less than men. What happens when there is a drop in the temperature? The women’s body is so designed that blood flow to the skin and extremities shuts off and is directed to the vital organs in order to maintain their core temperature at 37 degrees. (If temperature falls below 35 degrees, it can cause hypothermia.) Why all this? God has placed this protective mechanism in women so they can protect their unborn children and family. That’s why a woman’s core body temperature on average is 0.4 degrees higher than a man’s body temperature but their hands and feet are freezing cold! On an average, it is 2.8° lower than man’s hand temperature.

For e.g. During the winter Nicole will often tell me – “it’s cold!” Then she’ll stick her hand on my face – “Feel this!” And in bed – she’ll stick her feet on me! It’s like a block of ice!

For e.g. Even at church – women are cold and the men are hot. Why? Because we are built that way! Ladies – “Yall can put on a jacket but what’s the alternative for men? Sit in their underwears!” Why do I flail my hands and vary my tone? To keep the men awake!

What else? Women have a softer skin than men. They have a thin layer of subcutaneous fat (under the skin) that keeps their skin feeling softer and smoother. Any wonder, a baby cries and dad picks him up and he/she cries even more. Then, mom picks him up and he/she stops crying and looks at the dad! What the baby is saying is she feels more comforting! But, because of this thin layer of celluloid it’s easier for women to gain weight and harder to lose weight. Men – be understanding.

What else? Men have a lot of energy but women are built for the long run. Why? Men have to finish their task in daylight but women have to take care of their children and family all day and all night. Men – be understanding and don’t say your wife is lazy.

Knowing all these physical differences, how should be we behave towards each other? Listen to 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” Meaning: Ladies – you are called the weaker vessel. That does not mean “lesser.” Let your husband be the man that God has designed Him to be. Husbands – knowing that women are weaker than us, be understanding towards your wife and honor her. What if you don’t? God will not listen to your prayers.

Application: Men – are you treating your wife with understanding? Are you treating her with honor? Women – are you trying to make your husband something he is not? Do you respect him?

  1. Different Psychologically
Men and women brain 2013 study

Men and Women Brain Study 2013 (Credit: Ragini Verma, PhD, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

A human brain has a right hemisphere and a left hemisphere. Right brain – imagination, intuition, feelings, non-verbal communication, etc. Left Brain – Logic, analysis, linear mathematics, sequencing, facts, etc. Men primarily use the left side of their brain while women use both. People have tried to dismiss that for some time but in 2013 researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published a major study using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging which confirmed that there is big difference in the way men use their brain and women use their brain. In studying about 1000 brain scans they noticed that there is greater neural connectivity from front to back within one hemisphere in males that facilitates connectivity between perception and coordinated action. On the other hand, the wiring in females goes between the left and right hemispheres, which facilitates communication between the analytical and intuition.

This is what it means – because of how men are wired, they are task oriented, avoid their feelings, and focus on the facts and because of how women are wired, they are better at intuition, remembering things, sharing their feelings, and emotionally involved. This is why – Men cannot multitask but women can. Nicole has to constantly tell me to stop and look at her. Women have better intuition than men. So many times she has told me “I don’t know what it is but there’s something not right about this person.” How? They are picking up information from the left and the right brain.

What else? On an average, men are more practical and women are more sentimental. In order to protect and provide for the family, men had to be more in touch with facts. In order to nurture and comfort the children, women had to be more in touch with their feelings. Hence, men are more pragmatic and women are more romantic. Nicole often tells me – “You used to be so romantic back we were dating. What happened?” “I had a goal to marry you. Mission accomplished.” Men – we need to show romance even though we have our wives now. Ladies – please be patient with the men. They’ll try harder. Listen to Colossians 3   18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Every week Nicole and I take time to go on a date. I’m very busy and so is she but this is our way of meeting each other’s needs. She listens to my facts and I try my best to be romantic.

Let me make a quick point here – there’s an application here for the church. This is why the Bible always has male leadership in the Temple and in the church. Because when it comes to spiritual truth men are better at following facts. “Thus says the Lord.” That’s it. Women, on the other hand, are willing to say – “Do what makes you happy.” “God understands your heart.” By the way, there is a difference between male heretics and female heretics. Male heretics – there is no God or Jesus is not God’s Son or the Bible has mistakes. Female heretics – “there are many ways to God” or “we should not judge anyone.” But what would happen if the church was nothing but men? We would kill each other! It’s women who create opportunities to fellowship.

  1. Equal Spiritually

Even though men and women are different physically and psychologically and even though we have different roles in the home and the church, we have the same equal standing before God. Both men and women are sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is the Savior for all. When we receive Him into our lives, we become one in Christ.

Listen to Galatians 3 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Are you saved? Is Christ at the center of your home and your marriage? Today you can invite Him and He will bring wisdom and grace and patience and compassion and all the things that you need.

Keeping Intimacy in Marriage

KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE – 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

keepingintimacyinmarriageAs you know very well we are in our series on the Sermon on the Mount. Many of y’all have shared with me that you didn’t realize how much was packed into this simple message by Jesus. No wonder, one time pastor of Westminster Chapel G. Campbell Morgan called it “The Manifesto of the King.” This morning we begin a new miniseries from Matthew 5 titled – “KEEPING INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE.”

Matt. 5:27   “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

Overall Background: What we just read is the 2nd of the 6 Antitheses that Jesus gave in His sermon. The first one, as you remember, was, “You have heard that it was said…‘You shall not murder…But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause…” Now the second one – “You have heard that it was said…‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. It’s amazing to me that right after raising the bar on murder, Jesus turns His attention towards adultery! I would’ve expected Jesus to raise the bar on pride or greed or faithlessness or prayerlessness. Instead, he raises the bar on marriage.

This is very important to understand: While our culture is doing all it can to degrade, downgrade, and devalue marriage, God has always tried to uphold, exalt, and honor marriage. Ever since the beginning of time human beings have tried to tear down this God-given institution of marriage. By the way, the assault has never been so intense as it is at this point in history. What is needed is a biblical, Christ centered, Holy Spirit enlightened, God honoring, world denying, Devil defying view of Marriage.

Question: What do you think about marriage? What image comes to your mind when the word “marriage” is spoken or written? Do you look at it positively or negatively? Does it bring up good emotions or bad emotions? How is your marriage right now? Where do you get your understanding of marriage? Hollywood? Washington? Media? Friends? Family? Community? If it is coming from anywhere other than the word of God, your understanding is warped/distorted/skewed. To make a marriage what it was intended to be, you need not just 2 people but 3 – man, woman, and God. To have that third person in your life, you have to come through Jesus Christ. Are you saved?

What we’re doing this morning is laying out the foundation for this series. Without the proper foundation, you will be unable to understand why Jesus raised the bar on marriage. 3 things about marriage:

I. MARRIAGE REFLECTS GOD’S IMAGE.

Genesis 1   26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Background: Before God ordained the church or any human institution He established marriage. Why did he establish marriage? Was it simply for our benefit? To enjoy each other; to have companionship; to have children; to fill the earth. Yes, He did it for those reasons but the primary reason was much more. It was to give us a glimpse of Himself.

Listen again to verse 26“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” Did you notice how God repeatedly refers to himself in the plural? Some people have tried to argue that it is an old Hebraic construction or some Royal “Us.” Not true. If that were the case, we would see it every time that God referred to himself. Instead, when God is getting ready to give us a glimpse of Himself, He refers to Himself as “Us” and “Our.” What does that tell us about God? It tells us that God is more than one person.

But, just when you think God is multiple gods, listen again to verse 27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him.” Did you notice that it doesn’t say – “so God created man in their own image; in the image of God they created them. Why not? Because even though God is more than one person, he is still one in being and essence. He is still one God. It’s a mystery. We can’t really understand it but we can illustrate it. How? Ice, water, and vapor? No. Shamrock? No.

God’s illustration of Himself is the Marriage. First, God made 2 similar but distinct human beings. Listen once again to verse 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Think about it – a man and a woman are fundamentally the same but we’re also different – emotionally, physically, and physiologically. In our culture, we are relentlessly trying to neutralize these factors by psychologically brainwashing our perceptions and physically mutilating our bodies. We’re not progressing but regressing! It is not a sign of being advanced but a sign of becoming a savage or barbaric. But in God’s creation it is man and woman, same in essence but distinct in person.

That’s only part of the illustration. Listen to Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” When a man joins to a woman in marriage they are together reflecting the likeness of God. God is more than one person and yet one being and essence.

Question: Why is same-sex marriage such an abomination to God? Why does Paul refer to homosexuality as the last step on the way down? Because it fundamentally misrepresents the image of God.

For e.g. Does it bother you when people misrepresent or misunderstand you? So also it bothers God when we misrepresent Him! It makes him angry! He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they misrepresented him.

Here’s a question – why didn’t God just come out and say, “I am Trinity – There’s father, here’s Son, and over there is the Holy Spirit. We’re three in persons but one in essence”? Why go through all this trouble with marriage? Because its like a newborn baby crying for food. What do you do? Either the mom nurse’s the baby or feeds a bottle of milk. Why don’t we just give him a baked potato with extra butter and sour cream and a nice juicy steak? That would hold him/her for a while! Because the baby is not ready for it. So also, God in His divine wisdom and plan knew that too much information would have overwhelmed us. So He revealed Himself in bite size. Just like marriage it takes times to understand and grow into the knowledge of that Oneness of God.

II. MARRIAGE IS GOD’S GIFT FOR COMPANIONSHIP.

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Background: Up to this point God kept saying “It was good” but now “It is not good.” Since He made us in his image, in his likeness, He knows how we function. God is Trinity. There is companionship in the Godhead between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God knew that Adam needed fellowship as well. Of course, God fellowshipped with Adam but Adam needed someone on his level. Hence, God decided to make a helper comparable to Adam. Listen to verse 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. Meaning: None of those animals made the cut. Adam realized that he could not connect with any of them emotionally or physically. God knew that but He wanted Adam to get it.

Genesis 2 21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.” Adam did not know what was happening. He was asleep and thank goodness for that! If it was up to us, who knows what we would’ve come up with! 22 Then the rib (it just means a portion from his side and not necessarily a rib) which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman…” The actual word is “fashioned.” It means that the woman was built for a unique purpose. “…and He brought her to the man.”

The big question is how would Adam receive this woman. She is made from him. She is like him but she is different. Listen to Adam’s response: 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Not only is Adam approving this new being, He is also demonstrating a powerful principle for all Adams to come. Eve had done nothing so far to gain Adam’s acceptance but he chose to accept her as God’s perfect gift for him.

Question: How do you accept your spouse? Husbands – do you accept your wives as God’s perfect gift for you? Wives – do you accept your husbands as God’s perfect gift for you? Do you base your acceptance on their performance? Do you base your acceptance on their past? As an act of your will, you must receive your spouse as God’s perfect gift for you. It is easier said than done. Only by the grace of God you can do that.

III. MARRIAGE FULFILLS A GREAT MYSTERY.

Ephesians 5 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Background: This is one of the most profound passages in the entire Bible. Marriage is described as a great mystery. It is compared to the relationship of Christ and the church. Just as husband is the head of the wife so also Christ is the head of the church. Just as the church is subject to Christ so also the wife should be to her own husbands.

Listen carefully – Marriage is a physical demonstration of a spiritual reality. The way I lead my life should reflect the way Christ leads the church. The way my wife submits to me is how the church should submit to Christ. Our model for marriage is not parents, grandparents, some romantic movie, some romance novel, or even our personal fantasy. Our model for marriage is Christ’s relationship to the church.

Application: What are you basing your marriage on?

This might be a tough message for some of you. You’ve been through divorce, separation, and a difficult marital situation. This message is not meant to add more guilt and pain to you. This is to remind you that the only marriage that comes to perfection is the one of Christ to His church. Even here, the only partner who is truly faithful to His part is Christ and not the church. Many times we are unfaithful, unwilling to submit, and downright ungrateful but He still loves us.

Application: No matter where you are ask God for His grace in your marriage. Are you saved?

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