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Grace Community International
Rev. John S. Mahon  |  Houston, Texas
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The Sanctity of Marriage - Part Two of Three (updated 02.27.15)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Posted by: Grace Community International | more..
Dear Prayer Warriors,
This is the second of a three-part series on The Sanctity of Marriage. It coordinates with my recent seminar lectures at Big Sky Fellowship Church in Helena, MT.
It picks up where part one left off. You may want to re-read part one for continuity’s sake.

In the marriage covenant, the fact that one or both of the couple violating the marriage covenant is a family member or close friend, is not a mitigating factor. There exists no sliding scale of obedience or sin based on our relationship with the individual.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals…will inherit the kingdom of God.”

I understand that it is hard to maintain standards the closer they hit to home. I experienced this early in my career as a college minister. I was on staff at three major state universities over a period of 15 years. I was employed by a large multi-national parachurch organization. This organization was committed to making disciples and had a very clear profile of what could be called a disciple. As the years progressed, I noticed some items of the profile being muted or dropped. I saw a corresponding process taking place in some families of senior executives in this para-church organization. As some adult children and wives began either questioning or laying aside these standards, the leaders, in turn, began adjusting the standards of the organization. Rather than facing the reality of their long-held convictions being rejected by their family, they began to question the standards--so as to maintain the façade of a mature family holding to the scriptural convictions of the organization. They changed both standards and their view of the Holy Scripture as the final authority because of the relationship. I have seen this in the church as well -–scriptural standards for a deacon or elder being reduced, based on the behavior of a longtime friend, family member or large donor. Sometimes the churches, pastor or prominent member’s conviction on homosexuality is mitigated by a family member or convictions concerning fornication and adultery are mitigated by the fact that it has finally struck home – a child, an extended family member, the children of close friends, pastors and deacons, or large financial supporters. Whatever the circumstances, suddenly, convictions are shaped by relationships rather than the holy, eternal, inerrant, written Word of God.

Many times I am asked about the passage of Holy Scripture where Jesus Christ states in Matthew 10:35-37 "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” One area this speaks to is church discipline. Often when a Christian father, mother, pastor or friend begins to apply the scriptural standards of marriage and morality to a sinner in his own family, other members of his family and church will view him or her as the problem and the sinner as the victim. How the world is turned upside down--but thanks be to God that our beloved Savior gave us the above warning to prepare, to comfort and to encourage us--for the temptation is great to walk away from the Word of God, for the sake of friends and peace in the family. There is nothing, however, new in this temptation. In the very beginning of man’s worship with God, there existed the temptation to compromise for the sake of family. The Holy Scriptures are full of examples of those who both did and did not compromise for the sake of family. We see an example of failure in this area in the great priest and prophet Eli –
1 Samuel 2:29&3:13 'Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me…?' “…I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.”
This reaction is contrasted to that of Job -
Job 2:9-10 “Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Unfortunately, among Christian families and in the church today, many would see Job as being harsh and unkind to his wife. They would see Eli as being a gracious and understanding father, who did not choose his ministry above his sons. What about you--when push comes to shove, do you love children, family, friends and large donors in your church above God? Are you prepared that your fiercest critics and even enemies will be members of your own home and church because of your decision to call sin, sin--because of your decision to follow scriptural injunctions concerning discipline for the sins of fornication, adultery and homosexuality? (As a side note, one of the reasons the church comes across as so hard and insensitive in the area of homosexual sin is that it knowingly looks the other way concerning heterosexual sins, while coming down hard on homosexual sins. The Holy Scripture does not do this, it treats both sins equally. When Christian families and church boards make this distinction, they come across as callous and hypocritical.) Taking a stand on sexual sin, on living together apart from marriage, on promiscuity, takes real courage. We live in a day when the standard of love, grace and mercy is not the call to repentance but, instead, the enabling and condoning sinful actions.

Cheapening and Enabling
By cheapening, I mean those actions which make our children and church members respond “why bother,” when their sacrifices of obedience go unnoticed and unrewarded and those who disobey go undisciplined and, in fact, receive an inordinate amount of attention. This tendency can be as benign as family gatherings, where the mother continually bemoans the absence of a prodigal or selfish child at the expense of those who made the effort and sacrifice to attend. The unstated thought is “why bother, if all she is going to do is talk about those who did not come?”. It can also be as active a situation as the prodigal child living in immorality yet afforded the same rights and privileges as those children making a sacrifice to obey God.
By enabling, I mean those actions which make it easier for those in sin to continue in sin. Again, this is played out when a child is living in immorality and, yet, treated just the same as the children and church members who sacrifice to obey God. The adulterous man or woman who has seduced the family member, living with them in sin and, then, included in all church and family activities, as if they were living according to the Word of God. Church and family members begin to enable their sin when they not only ignore the spiritual consequences but actively mute the natural consequences of the sin. To maintain a relationship with a wayward child or church member by making it possible for them to live in rebellion against God, is not the high ground. If the individual will only have a good relationship with the family or church, if they can flaunt their disobedience to God, then that is their decision, they have chosen “unless we can sin and disrespect you we will not fellowship”. The Christian family and church’s responsibility is to uphold the standard of God. By God’s grace they sinner will repent, but it is not the churches or Christian families responsibility to enable their sin but rather to bring them to repentance.

The church and family need to remember that more is caught than taught. Younger brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews are all watching. Is the lesson they learn, “you say it is better to get married before you live together, before you have sex, but when it comes right down to it, it really will not make any difference in the family or in the church?” When we cheapen the sacrifice of obedient family and church members, when we enable the sin of family and church members, we cannot be surprised when our children, nephews, nieces, even wives and husbands follow suit. This example can be seen in the reaction to King David. His preoccupation with his rebellious son and his cheapening of the sacrifice of his loyal sons, daughters and soldiers almost cost him his kingdom. He listened to his friend on this and I trust you will listen to this exhortation as well. 2 Samuel 19:4-8
4 The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, "O my son Absalom , O Absalom , my son, my son!"
5 Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, "Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines,
6 by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased.
7 "Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the LORD, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now."
8 So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the people, saying, "Behold, the king is sitting in the gate," then all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled, each to his tent.

Do not become preoccupied with appeasing and pleasing those who have shown indifference to you, your values, your God and the Holy Word of God, by enabling their activities--then show disdain for those who have sacrificed to obey God, by cheapening their sacrifice of obedience. Do not enable disobedience and ignore obedience. Ask yourself –“When it comes to the sanctity of marriage, do my actions and words, and those of the church, teach the next generation that fornication and adultery are a heinous sin and that marriage is to be held in honor, or does it teach them ‘why bother, there are no real consequences, we will be treated the same either way’?”

By His mercy,
II Corinthians 4:1
Rev. John S. Mahon - Director: Grace Community International

Category:  Oct. 2014 - Home

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