A Marriage Made in Heaven by Pastor Abidan Shah

A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson 

amarriagemadeinheavenIntroduction: This is the fourth message in our series on the Trinity from John 5 titled – “BATTLE OF THE GODS.” With each message we’re going deeper in our understanding of the triune god. Today we’ll focus on the order within the godhead and how that applies in our marriages. The message is called – “A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN.”

John 5   18 “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God…30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.’”

Bridge: Several years ago we were traveling to visit Nicole’s family in Georgia. We had just gotten on the highway when I saw the dreaded red and blue lights behind me. I glanced at my speedometer and I was speeding. I had many justifications – just got on the interstate and didn’t have time to adjust speed, 2 little kids in the backseat being a distraction, other people are driving just as fast or faster. I got out my license and registration and watched in the mirror as the officer made his way to me. Guess what?!! He was even younger than me, probably just out of BLET! What right does he have to give me a ticket? Is he more important than me? Listen carefully: Even though I had many justifications and even though I may have been superior to him in some ways and even though we were equal in many ways, in the order established in our society, he had authority over me. Equality and Order are not opposed to each other. They are 2 sides of the same coin. You need both to have a stable society.

Context: This balance between equality and order is prominently seen in the Trinity where all three persons of the godhead are equal in every way but they are different in order. Even though the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are equal, the Son submits to the Father and not the Father to the Son. The Holy Spirit submits to the Son and the Father and not vice versa. Someone might say – “So what?” Men and women are made in the image of God and therefore we also carry an order in our earthly relationships, especially marriage. Conflict in marriage is a consequence of confusion in order. If you want a marriage made in heaven, you need God’s divine order in your marriage.

Question: How is the order in your marriage? Husbands – do you understand your role in your marriage? Wives – do you understand your role in your marriage? God has designed you equal but distinct when it comes to order. Are you going by God’s order or by your own ideas and feelings? Are you saved? Is Christ the head of your marriage?

3 things we need to understand if we want a marriage made in heaven:

I. THE ORDER BETWEEN THE FATHER, SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

18 “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Background: The main reason the Jewish religious leaders had a problem with Jesus, other than His miracles on the Sabbath, is that He repeatedly referred to God as His Father, making Himself equal with God. He could have easily retracted His statements and apologized but He didn’t. Jesus repeatedly affirmed His equality with the Father. At the same time, He also affirmed His distinction from the Father – 19 “…Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” Wait a minute Jesus…didn’t you say you are equal with the Father? Again in verse 30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

If Jesus is equal with the father, why does He have to do the will of the Father? He is equal in essence with the Father but He is not equal in order with the Father. As the Son, He is eternally submissive to His Father’s authority. Someone might say – “It’s only when Jesus became man that He had to submit Himself to the Father. It was a temporary submission during the incarnation.” Not true. Listen to John 8:29 where Jesus said, “…I always do those things that please Him.” Later Paul says it very clearly in 1 Corinthians 11:3 “…the head of Christ is God.” Someone might say – “It’s true that Jesus was subordinate to the Father before He came and when He came but now He is just as equal with the Father and in the future He will be equal to the Father forever.” Listen to I Corinthians 15  24 “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power…28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” Yes, the Son has always, is always, and will always be subordinate to the Father.

I can also say much about how the Spirit is equal in essence with the Father and the Son but subordinate to both the Father and the Son but hopefully you get the point.

Application: Like the Son, are you submissive to God the Father? Are you willing to pray as Jesus taught us to pray to “Our Father in Heaven” – “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Are you obedient to the Father’s Word?

II. THE IMAGE OF GOD IN MEN AND WOMEN

It is important to understand the equality in essence and distinction in order of the Trinity because we human beings are made in the image of the Triune God. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”

Background: How are human beings created in the image of God? 3 possible answers:

  1. Structural: Like God we have memory, intellect, will, reason, etc.
  2. Relational: Like God we can relate with and love God and others.
  3. Functional: Like God we are to rule His creation. We are to represent Him. This is it if we read the rest of the passage from Genesis 1 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Twice the image of God is connected with having dominion over His earth. In other words, to be made like God is to rule on His behalf and to represent God over His creation. How does this work for men and women? Together we represent God’s equality in essence and distinction in order.
  4. Just like the three persons of the godhead, both men and women are equal in essence. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Paul says the same thing in Galatians 3:28 “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.” In 1 Peter 3:7 Peter calls husbands and wives, “heirs together of the grace of life…”
  5. Just like the distinction between the three persons of the godhead, both men and women are distinct in their roles. How did God create human beings? Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” That’s just Adam. How about Eve? He didn’t create her from the dust of the earth. Genesis 2   20 “… for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And 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. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. The woman was not an independent creation. She was made from man for man. Paul affirms this in I Timothy 2:13 “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” Again in 1 Corinthians 11   8 “For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”

Here’s the point: Just like the Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in essence but distinct in role, so also men and women are equal in essence but distinct in roles. Just like the Son comes eternally from the Father and the Spirit comes eternally from the Father and the Son, so also the woman derives her life, her constitution, and her nature from the man. 1 Corinthians 11:7 “For a man…is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.”

Application: Ladies – In our world of ultra-feminism, are you willing to accept the priority given to the man in creation and order? This is not some token acceptance. You represent God the Son. Men – Are you willing to accept the responsibility given to you to represent God in creation and order? This is not some prop up your feet on the coffee table and demand a drink theology. You represent God the Father.

III. THE ORDER BETWEEN THE HUSBAND AND THE WIFE

Now that we understand the order between the Trinity and how that reflects in how men and women are created in God’s image, equal and yet different, we are ready to talk about marriage – 1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

Background: This verse makes the connection between the Trinity and marriage. Father is the head of Christ. Christ is the head of man. Man is the head of the woman. Please do not misunderstand this. It does not mean that all men have authority over all women. According to the Bible, it is only in the context of marriage and church. In this message we’re just focussing on marriage. Listen to Paul in Ephesians 5   22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 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.” In many homes, there is a constant struggle over who is in charge. Lest you husbands misunderstand what it means to be in charge, listen to the rest – 25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” What happens if a husband doesn’t care to understand his wife? 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.”

Then here’s the final word to both husband and wife – Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Is there divine order in your marriage? Conflict in marriage is a consequence of confusion in order. We are living in a culture that hates submission and responsibility. Are you reflecting God’s image in your marriage? Is Christ the head of your marriage? Through the Holy Spirit you can.

Are you saved?

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.

%d bloggers like this: