Thursday, March 08, 2007
Malachi 2:10-16 You Must choose The Holiness Of God Or Harmony With The World
Marriages and Divorces Australia 1994 found that about 43% of all marriages are likely to end in divorce; 85 within the first 5 years of marriage, 19% within the first ten years of marraige32 % within 20 years and 39% within 30 years. Remarriages following divorce have the highest risk of divorce.
756,000 people are in de facto relationships representing 9% of all couples., and most of these are aged between 20-34 years.
Only 57 percent of children grow up with both biological parents. Instead of marriage, couples are living together. Yet cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples.
Co-author of the study, David Popenoe, said, "Cohabitation is here to stay. I don't think it's good news, especially for children. As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation—which is what's happening—you have an increase in family instability." According to Popenoe, the result of that instability is that "the United States has the weakest families in the Western world."
Internet Porn Statistics Pornographic Website's 4.2 million (12% of total website's) Pornographic Pages 372 million Daily Pornographic Search Engine Requests 68 million (25% of total search engine requests) Daily Pornographics Emails 2.5 billion (8% of total emails) Avg. Daily Pornographic Emails/User 4.5 per internet user Monthly Pornographic downloads (Peer-to-peer) 1.5 billion (35% of all downloads) Daily Gnutella "child pornography" requests 116 thousand Website's offering illegal child pornography 100 thousand Sexual solicitations of youth made in chat rooms 89% Youths who received sexual solicitation 20% Worldwide visitors to pornographic web sites 72 million annually
Average age of first Internet exposure to pornography 11 years old
Largest Consumer of Internet Pornography 12-17 age group
15-17 year olds having multiple hardcore exposures 80%
8-16 year olds having viewed porn online 90% (most while doing homework)
7-17 year olds who would freely give out home address 29%
7-17 year olds who would freely give out email addresses 14%
Children's characters linked to thousands of porn links 26 (including Pokeman and Action Man)
Adult Internet Porn Statistics Men admitting to accessing porn at work 20% US adults who regularly visit internet porn sites 40 million Promise Keepers men who viewed porn in the last week 53% Christians who say porn is a major problem in the home 47% Adults admitting to internet sexual addiction 10% Breakdown of male/female visitors to porn sites 72% male - 28% female
Women & Pornography 13% of Women admit to accessing porn at work. 70% of women keep their cyber activities secret. 17% of all women struggle with pornography addiction. Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs. Women favor chat rooms 2X's more than men. 1 out of 3 visitors to adult website's are women. 9.4 million women access adult website's each month.
1. You Must Choose Solo Lordship and Not Synthetic Christianity
Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has acted treacherously, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the Lord’s sanctuary, which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 To the man who does this, may the Lord cut off any descendants from the tents of Jacob, even if they present an offering to the Lord of Hosts.
If you are going to stand firm in the face of all the crazy ideas that are circulating today, if you are going to persevere over the long haul, then you need to be established in the truth. To be established in the truth, to grow in the truth, and to live out the truth. And that is difficult in a world which wants to deny that there is any such thing as absolute truth. From the middle of the 19th Century a wave of relativism has been sweeping the Western world, proclaiming that there are no absolutes, that there is nothing that is always right or always wrong. Relativism gave us permission to live any way we wanted to live as long as it didn't do damage to anyone else. In effect it cancelled the general agreement in our society that this is a moral universe, and erased the name of God from the classroom blackboard. More than that, it kicked open the door to a whole generation of people who did not know about sin, and who expressed alternative forms of behaviour with no shame. We seem to have ignored the famous words of the essayist G.K. Chesterton, who said - "Before you remove the fences, find out why they were put there in the first place. More recently, relativism has given rise to pluralism, which basically says that everyone is entitled to his or her truth conclusions. Now everyone's opinion could be thought of as true and equally valid, no matter how contradictory they are. In this age of tolerance, the one thing that is intolerable is for any person to stand up and say what he or she believed about truth, and that they are firmly convinced of that truth.
In the film version of Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger, Jack Ryan stands nearly alone as an individual who believes that there is right and there is wrong and that right is worth going to the stake for. The landscape of the story is littered with powerful people who have compromised themselves in terms of a pluralistic and pragmatic approach to both life and government. The tension between the hero Jack Ryan and the rest of the characters in this story of political intrigue comes to a boiling point in one striking scene. Ritter, the epitome of a man without absolutes, gets in Ryan's face and shouts, "Jack, you're a boy scout!" As Ryan turns and walks away Ritter yells after him, "Grey! The world is grey, Jack!" We live in Ritter's world, where to almost everyone everything is grey. It is a world that has become so confused in its maze of relativism and pluralism that almost anything goes.
In the midst of this confusing fog we hear the word of God calling down the ages to be committed to the truth, echoing the words of Jesus, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through me." Faithful Christians down through the ages have had to stand against the pressure of society and often had to leave homes, families, villages and their work to flee to other parts of the world where they could live in safety. They refused to compromise, and would choose to die than give in to the pressure of the age.
2. You Must Choose Between The Holiness of God, And Harmony With The World
14 Yet you ask, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.
John Piper sums it up well when he says: “If the choice of a marriage partner still lies before you, settle it in your mind right now never to marry anyone that does not love the Lord Jesus with all his or her heart.” Teenagers, you are not too young to make that decision right now. My counsel is that you don’t even go out with someone who does not share your faith. “Missionary dating” very seldom works because when emotions get involved and romance is in the air, the non-Christian is usually the one with more influence.
It’s tragic that one of Israel’s greatest kings, the one who was chosen to dedicate the Temple, got into huge trouble because he never really made this decision in his heart. Actually, when we look at his life, we learn that because he was not fully sold out to God he ended up selling out to pagan women who led him to worship false gods. It started in 1 Kings 3:3 where we read, “ Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” In 1 Kings 10, Solomon deliberately disobeyed God by accumulating chariots and horses, the modern day equivalent to weapons of mass destruction. Pride then entered his heart and he thought he was impervious to temptation. Little did he know that his spiritual slide was picking up speed.
1 Kings 11 reports on the spiritual carnage that resulted from Solomon following his feelings instead of his faith. Listen to verses 2-4: “They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. [This literally means that “he ran after” unbelieving women]. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” A case could be made that because he heart was divided, the kingdom was divided when he died.
2 Corinthians 6, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. What fellowship has the temple of God with the temple of idols?" That is a very strong statement, and it is not intended to be offensive to people outside the family; it is simply a fact. When you get two such temples together, they are incompatible and the result is distress to both members of the relationship not merely the Christian. This prohibition is a provision of love. The statement in 2 Corinthians, "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers," is drawn from a law taken right out of the Israelites' national life. The law of Moses prohibited them from linking together any two animals that had unequal gaits, such as a donkey and an ox, or an ox and a camel. It was a humane provision because the unequal gait would cause the yoke to chafe them both. A number of years ago I was speaking to a group of college students on this subject and I made reference to that 2 Corinthians 6 passage, giving them the background to it. One student at the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "Is it all right to date a camel if you don't marry one?" But do you see what Paul is saying? God is trying to preserve both individuals in the relationship. The wife will see that her husband's allegiance is to the Lord and that if he follows his Lord through the years ahead, they will get farther and farther apart. This causes her distress because in the very area where she wants to share the most, at the deepest, spiritual, most intimate level of her life, she cannot, for he is going in another direction. Let me be quick to add two points:
• IT IS POSSIBLE FOR UNBELIEVING SPOUSES TO COME TO CHRIST. I have seen this happen and so have you. If you’re married right now to someone who does not confess faith in Christ, pray fervently and practice the principles taught in 1 Peter 3:1-6. Listen to a portion of this from the Message: “Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
• IF YOU’RE MARRIED TO A NON-CHRISTIAN, DON’T TRY TO GET OUT OF THE RELATIONSHIP. Paul addressed this to the church at Corinth, arguing in 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 that the unbelieving spouse is sanctified through the faith of the believer and therefore the believer must stay committed to his or her spouse. Keep praying and providing the environment for God to go to work.
3. You Must Choose Between Integrity And Iniquity
15 Didn’t the one God make us with a remnant of His life-breath? And what does the One seek? A godly • offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
The phrase, "him who covers his garment with wrong" is an interesting symbol. In the marriage ceremony (and this is true to this day in the Near East), husbands covered their partner with a long cloak, their outer garment, as a symbol of putting their wives under their protection. He says you are, in effect, covering your partner with a bespattered garment, a filthy garment, a garment covered with wrong. That is, not only are you unfaithful to the wife that you have, and are untrustworthy in the present relationship that you are involved in, but any new relationship takes on that same unfaithful spirit. You are not really committed to making it go. Your attitude is, "Let's try it for awhile; if it doesn't work, we'll do something else." That is like covering your partner with a garment of hardness, or a garment of violence. The point is, that what you have done before in throwing away a marriage you may likely do again. The problem isn’t that of the former spouse, the problem is set in their own heart.
This passage is interesting when seen in parallel with Jesus' words about divorce. Jesus was asked, "Why did Moses allow divorce?" He responded, "Because of the hardness of your heart." But that was not God's original intention. A divorce is an admission that at least one person in the relationship has a hard heart and will be unresponsive.
The first principle is that we should look at our wives as the wife of our youth. My wife is the wife of my youth, and my companion. That term really does not need definition. You can almost intuitively sense what is conveyed by the phrase. Malachi is saying I should treat my wife as I treated her in the days when we were young. You married her then because she was attractive, youthful, energetic.
The second principle in maintaining your relationship with your wife is to "treat her as your companion." A companion is "one that you are joined to", your friend.
A third principle is a covenant relationship. She is your wife by covenant, and it is a covenant which God has witnessed. Proverbs 2:16 actually describes marriage as the covenant of God.
It will rescue you from a forbidden woman, from a stranger with her flattering talk, 17 who abandons the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
KJV 16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; 17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
When you took your wife as your partner, you actually made a covenant with her and with society. But more than that, it was a covenant with God himself, that you would live together for life, "For better or for worse. You cannot say, "Well, she's a lot worse than I took her for!" She is your wife by covenant.
A Fourth Principle: godly offspring.
"Did he not make one, although He had the remnant? And why one? He was seeking a godly offspring."
He is referring to creation, going back to the time when God brought the man and the woman together. God created only one. He did not create four wives, only one. "Did He not make one (for Adam), although he had the remnant of the Spirit?" He could have made any number of wives for Adam, but he did not; he made one. "And why one? He was seeking a godly offspring." If you go back to the creation story, God shows Adam his need in a very graphic way. Adam first recognizes that he is alone, and then God brings out all of the animals, and Adam names all of them in relation to himself. God was trying to demonstrate that there was no animal that could meet his needs. There were beasts that could bear his burdens, there were beasts that could provide food; but no beast or bird could be a helper to correspond to him, who would be his supporter and encourager and partner in life. He could find no individual like that in the animal world. So God created woman from Adam's side and brought her to him. And the man's response was, "This is what I've been looking for!" She becomes his helpmate, his helper who corresponds to him. The point is, God did not bring Eve to Adam and say, "Adam, try her out for a year and if you don't like her you can trade her in on a blonde model next year." No, he made one, just one, no alternates, no other models--just one. And he said, "Adam, this is your partner." Why? In order that there might be a godly offspring. God's intention is that one man and one woman be together for life, and the result of that relationship be children that love God.
4. You Must Choose Between Longevity And Lust
You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant. "So take heed to your spirit." 2x
Faithfulness to your wife is not merely an external thing. There are many men who are externally faithful to their wives, but internally unfaithful, internally uncommitted. They are living together, outwardly showing love, but inwardly unfaithful, thinking of other relationships, cultivating relationships with other women in their minds. So Malachi says, "Take heed to your spirit," which is the basis for any solid relationship with your wife. Your own thought life, what goes on in the inner man, is where it all begins.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Matthew 23 :25-28 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and
purify your hearts, you double-minded.
2Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Henry Ford “The secret of a happy marriage.. stick to one model.
What do you do if you have failed?
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:5 Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and • walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Know that your sins are all under the blood. They have been paid for once for all at the cross.
3. Cleansing 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Fix your mind pon the Saviour
Col 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
4. Communion Daily: Read the Word of God
Psalm 119:9-11 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.