GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 30
By: Dr. Robby Gallaty
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|What is God’s plan for marriage? What does a biblical marriage look like?|
Master’s Plan for Marriage
The title of the message for this series is A Marriage That Glorifies God. And this morning, we’re going to look at The Master’s Plan for Marriage. And I want to go to God’s Word over the next four weeks and I want to hear what God says is a marriage that glorifies him. Over the next four weeks, I hope you stick with us, we’re going to look at some different topics on marriage. We’re going to look at how couples should come together, or God’s design for marriage. We’re going to look at what it means to be married to an unbeliever. That may be you, “I married and my spouse is an unbeliever.” We’re going to look at what you do before you get married, when you’re single. How should I glorify God? We’re going to look at adultery. We’re going to look at divorce. And we’re going to look at what God says glorifies him.
This morning, the Master’s plan for marriage; I want us to look at what God says is the system or the practice for couples coming together so that you and I’s marriage will be strengthened. If you have your Bibles, let’s go to Mark 10. We’ll use it as a launching pad. But we’re going to launch back to Genesis 2. In Mark 10 as we are systematically walking through Mark, Jesus encounters the religious leaders, the Pharisees. They’re questioning him about marriage and, in this situation, divorce. Go to verse 6. We’ll get back to this— don’t get nervous—in two weeks.
Look at verse 6. Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Now, Jesus is quoting from Genesis 2. So, go back to Genesis 2:18. That will be the text that we will consider this morning. God just finished creating the world and here he creates man. Verse 18: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
There’s three progressions. Let me give you the first one. You see it right in the text, verse 18. We see the consolation of God or the comfort of God. And there are two different sections in this part here. Write the first one down. God notices the loneliness of Adam. He notices the loneliness of Adam. Look at verse 18: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone….’”
Now that phrase it is not good should stand out to you. It should have caught you off guard, because up to this point, before this point, God says six times up to this point he created the earth and it was good. He created the heavens and it was good. It was good. It was good. And then he goes here and God says it was what? Not good that man should be alone. What’s interesting is that God was the one who recognized Adam’s isolation. Adam didn’t go to God and say, “Hey, God, I’m lonely. Hey, God, I’m by myself.” It was God who prepared a person, if you will, for Adam.
And notice what he says in the text: I will make you a helper fit for you. This term through the years, church, has been misunderstood. A lot of people have tried to say that the helper is lesser in value, that the woman is somewhat lesser or diminishing in value. That’s not the case. In fact, the word helper is a positive term. In Exodus 18, it’s God who is the helper of Israel. He’s the one that comes alongside Israel. Guess what that word means. The word helper means a counterpart. It means someone who is a complement. It’s someone who completes what is lacking in another person. It’s the idea of equal but opposite. And that’s what God’s saying about the woman.
The woman is not lesser because she has a different role. In fact, as we’ll see next week, we are equal in value, different in function. That’s the difference between man and woman. The biblical role is an indispensible helper in ministry. It’s a partner to live life with. In fact, if you notice in 1 Corinthians 11:8, listen to what Paul says. Paul says man was not made for woman but woman was made for man and basically what Paul is saying is this: whatever was lacking in the life of a man, the woman will compliment that and, we’ll see, vice versa. Same way for the man to the woman. So God notices the loneliness of Adam.
But then we see something pretty interesting in the text. We see the labeling of the animals. We see the loneliness of Adam and the labeling of the animals. And you have to ask yourself the question, why in the world would God identify the isolation of Adam and then call him to name the animals? I mean, look at it. He names the animals, every bird of the heavens, every beast of the field, he gives them names and whatever name he gives them, God says that’s the name that’s stuck with them. That was a difficult task. I mean, you have to admit, this is the first time he sees these animals. He has to find them, he has to study them and watch them. He has to identify them and he has to name them. I mean, this is testing the creative genius of Adam, if you can imagine. I mean, dog and cat are pretty easy, right? But what about rhinoceros? Hippopotamus? I think I’ll call…oh yes, let me think. I think I’ll call this one an aardvark. Right? I mean it was difficult to do.
Now you’re probably saying why would God do that? Why would God cause him to study the animals and label them? One thing is to give them a name. But don’t miss this. I think this is why God did it. God allowed Adam to go through the world and notice that every species of animal has a mate—the male and the female. And he names them the male and the female. And Adam gets to a place in his own life when he realizes I don’t have a partner, if you will. I don’t have someone to complement me. I don’t have someone who comes alongside of me. And it creates this desire, I believe, for Adam to have someone with him. God says, you know what, Adam? I’m already ahead of you. I’m creating right now a helper for you.
We see the consolation of God. Secondly, write this down. We see the creation of Eve. We see the creation of Eve. And so Adam has this desire for someone to be with him. And God says, Adam, I’m going to create this for you out of you, which is pretty amazing. Verse 20: “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” She was created out of the rib of Adam.
Now, some liberal commentators have said that it wasn’t actually a rib, that the rib was a metaphorical idea for the side, that it was actually one of his sides. That can’t be the case. You don’t have to go to seminary to read the word God took one of his ribs, right? You can’t take one of someone sides. You have to take one of the ribs. And I think what God is saying is something pretty amazing here. He took her as equal to man. That word man or Adam is the word for man. But in the Hebrew, it’s interesting that the word for earth is adama and it shows us that God created man out of earth. He didn’t create him out of nothing, ex nili, he created him out of something. So he took the earth, created man. Then he took the man, the rib, pulled it out and created woman. So the woman was actually created from man
Now why the rib? Matthew Henry said it this way, “Woman was not made out of the head of man to top him, not out of the feet of man to be trampled upon by him, but out of the side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected and near his heart, to be beloved.” Her beauty, her appearance, her body, her personality, her mind were all examples—if you can imagine—of sinless, perfectionism. I mean, this was the perfect woman. Martin Luther talks about Adam being the perfect man. “He exceeded all the abilities and all the talents of the world,” if you can imagine. He said, “His eyesight was sharper than the eagles. His stamina and his power was greater than the lions or the bears.” That was Adam. He said, “But when you look at Eve, she was strong, fast, clear-sighted, and as brilliant as the man.” Amen, ladies? “Brilliant as the man and in addition to that, she must have had a beauty and grace that excelled him.”
Now what does Adam do when he sees this woman for the first time? Notice what he does in the text. He screams. He’s excited. These are the first words spoken, recorded by any human being to ever live on the planet. Look at what he says: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Now we don’t get the sense of this unless we go back to the Hebrew. In the Hebrew, notice what the man is saying. He’s saying she shall be called woman. The Hebrew word for woman—get this—is Isha. She shall be Isha because she’s taken from man, Ish. And what God is saying in the text is this: God reveals the intimacy of the two people by taking the word man and imbedding it around the word woman. “I will take Isha from Ish.” Are you starting to see the connection here, church? Are you starting to see the correlation between men and women? Are you starting to see the connection, the relationship between the two people?
So first of all, we see—notice in the text—the consolation of God; secondly, we see the creation of Eve. Thirdly, here we get to the heart of I, we see the covenant of marriage. We have to lay the groundwork of those two points to get to here. We see the creation of Eve and then the covenant of marriage. Adam ceases to speak. In verse 24, we see Moses talking. This is Moses’ commentary on what’s happening here. Notice what Moses says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Write the first one down. They shall leave. Leave, which brings us to the text this morning. Jesus quoted this section in Mark, in the gospel of Mark. He said the two shall become one and the father shall leave his family and hold fast to his mother. Now this is odd, you have to admit. Think of the practice of Jewish people. They did not practically participate in this custom. In fact, it was just the opposite. A woman was the one who left her family to come to the father.
See, what happened in the first century is this: if you were to propose to a woman or be betrothed or engaged, you would participate in the betrothal, you would set a bride price, and then you go back as a man to your home. And then what you would do is build or add on to the house. You didn’t live in subdivisions back there, you didn’t live in a house on the hills. You lived next to your family. Talk about getting to know your in-laws, right? You just built on to the house. And when you finished building on a room or two for your new family, then and only then would you consummate the marriage and you’d come into the covenant of marriage. The man never left his family.
In fact, the woman left her family, and I’ll prove it to you. Remember in the Old Testament, Rebekah, Isaac and Rebekah? She left her family to come live with his. You remember Tamar. She left her family to come be a part of the man’s family. In fact, in Deuteronomy, it actually says the law prescribed that the woman, if the man died, had to remain with the man’s family even if her husband died, in Deuteronomy 25. I’ll give you another example. Remember Jacob? Jacob’s sons all got married, but they still lived under the influence of Jacob
So the question is what is Moses saying here? Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife? This is what he’s saying. He’s not talking about physical directive. He’s talking about a spiritual directive. Come in close. He’s saying when a man and woman are married, the man must spiritually leave behind his family’s influence over him and his first priority is his wife. Did you get that? His wife.
Now, in here lies the problem. Most marriages, as you’ll see, some new couples—men and women—are so connected to their mama and daddy that they never leave and cleave. They’re so connected to their parents that they never cut off ties; and their allegiance is not to their spouse. The allegiance is to mom and dad. R. Kent Hughes says it this way, “So many marriages fail today at precisely this point. Husbands and wives fail to leave their parents. Their first loyalties are not established. The creation norm in this account is ignored and marriage is perverted. Any man or woman [listen] who believes that their first loyalty belongs to their parents, believes a perversion.” See that’s the first problem that we see today, that men and women are not leaving their parents.
So the first thing is you need to leave. But notice this. You need to cleave. You need to leave and then cleave. Look at what the text says. You need to hold fast to your wife. Now, that’s a weak translation, I have to admit. A better translation in the Hebrew is he shall leave his parents and stick to his wife. I like that better. It’s the idea of coming together.
Now, this is not individuality here. Someone said, “Well, I understand that the two shall become one, but which one shall they become? It’s not what he’s talking about here. He’s not talking about one being swallowed up in the other. This is what he’s saying. The two people shall inter-penetrate another’s life that they become one functioning unit, if you will.
We might be tempted to think of oneness as purchasing paint at Ace Hardware. Have you ever gone to Ace Hardware and purchased paint before? Anybody? See what happens with paint is this—if you’re like my wife—we’ve got to look at all the colors, right, because we just don’t want to leave anyone out. So we look at all the swatches and then when we find the swatch, we bring it over to the counter and they take colors or maybe three colors, they mix the colors together and the colors now lose their distinctiveness, if you will. They lose their identity and it becomes all mixed together, and it becomes something new.
That’s not what Moses is talking about. That’s not what God is saying. When the two shall become one, it’s not like mixing two2 different paints together to become one. It’s like taking two distinct pieces of yarn or thread, if you will—yarn, that’s a southern term—two distinct pieces of thread if you will, and you take the two colors and you interconnect them or weave them together to create this beautiful woven spread. They are there, distinctive yet one, to create this amazing picture. They’re joined but distinctive. That’s the idea.
You want to know the greatest picture of marriage? God said you don’t need to go to seminary to figure out marriage. You don’t need to have a Bible degree to figure out marriage. In fact, I’ve given you a visual picture of marriage and the connection between the two becoming one. You want to know what the perfect visual example of that is? A child. Have you ever thought about this? A child is a perfect picture of the two becoming one.
Now, when Rig was first born, what happened was something pretty amazing. Kandi came in to the hospital, or when Rig came back in to the hospital and right away to the room, she started to say he looks just like who? Looks just like me. I mean, he’s got my eyes, he’s got my nose, he’s got my mouth. Wow. And then my family was there and my family was saying what? No, Kandi, I don’t see it. I think he looks just like Robby. And we went back and forth. And Kandi, as he grew up, he looks like me, and Kandi’s family would say he looks like me, and my family would say he looks like Robby. And, finally, recently Kandi conceded and said, “Robby, Rig looks like you and not only that, he acts just like you.” I can’t get mad at Rig. I apologize to the nursery workers every time I see them because he’s me, right, as a kid. I apologize.
But then Ryder was born and we went through the whole process again, right? Kandi even brought the baby pictures when she was a baby out and her mom was saying he looks just like her and my parents were saying he looks just like Rig, which is a code word for he looks just like me and so we went back and forth. And I finally conceded to her recently and I said, “Kandi, Ryder does look more like you.” You know what I realized is that every time the girl’s parents will always think the baby looks like who? Her—always. Did you ever think about this? And the guy’s parents always think the baby looks like him.
But a perfect visual illustration of marriage, of the two becoming one is the child, right. Just like you can’t take the child and rip the child apart, in the same manner, you can’t take the marriage once it’s covenanted together before God and rip the marriage apart. Amen?
Now here’s the obvious. I have to state it, just a side note. Monogamous, heterosexual marriage was always viewed as the norm since the time of creation. Did you catch that? God always set up that a man would be married to a woman. When same-sex advocates attack the nucleus of the marriage by saying it’s okay for a man to marry a man or a woman or woman, they are going against the very ordinance that God had set up back in the creation of the world. In fact, if you don’t believe this, you’ll see that when someone is struggling with this, they’re struggling with an identity crisis. It’s found in Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 20:13, Deuteronomy 22:5, Romans 1 for those of you who have time to read that.
For God, marriage is always between a man and a woman. I don’t care if you think you were born this way. I don’t care if you think it feels good. I don’t care if you have these attractions to another person. For the Lord, a marriage is always between a man and a woman. That’s the standard that God set up and God will not bless any other marriage. Amen? He will not. Amen.
Notice the last line of the text. And the man—I mean, it’s pretty simple; you don’t need a rocket scientist degree to figure this out—the man and his wife, both were naked and were unashamed. I want to add two interesting last points to this text, because I think it’s important to say this.
Notice the relationship between the man and the woman. First of all, they were unashamed before God. Write that down. Leave, cleave, unashamed before God. Yes, they were physically naked, that is important to understand. But not only were they physically naked, they were spiritually naked before God. They were open before God. There was nothing to hide before God. They were fully exposed and they were shameless. They had nothing to hide before the Lord.
Dr. Donald Barnhouse was preaching one time and when he had finished preaching at this event, they asked him to go talk to the ladies’ dormitory at the college. He went into the dormitory and he preached for just a few moments and he noticed that one of the girls at the meeting was pretty irate. Her face was beet red and she walked up to him after and he said, “M’am, can I help you?” and she said to him, she said, “I used to believe all that stuff but I don’t believe the Bible anymore. Dr. Barnhouse said, “What class are you in?” She said, “I’m a freshman.” He said, “Tell me about your family. How were you raised? How were you raised?” and she said, “I was raised in church. Family brought me to church all our lives. I was raised, went to Sunday School, my family are good Christians.” He said, “Well, what happened?” and she said, “I just turned away from God.” He said, “Do you have a Bible?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you read it?” She said, “Well I used to.” He said, “When did you stop reading your Bible.” She said, “Around Thanksgiving.”
Dr. Barnhouse looked her in the eyes and said, “Let me ask you a question. What were you doing in your life around the 10th of November?” At that moment, her eyes began to well up with tears and she went on to admit that it was about that time, she got caught up in an idolatrous relationship. She got caught up in an immoral relationship with a man and she got caught up in sin. And she admitted that she could not listen to God through his Word because every time she read the Word of God, it convicted her, and she couldn’t stand before the Lord.
You know, John Wesley said it this way, “The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from [what?] the Bible” See, God confronts our sinfulness through his Word. I’ve said it this way. If you’re not running from sin, you’re running from him. Let me say that again. If you’re not running from sin, you’re running from him. See, God is showing us in this text that our vertical relationship is dependent or our vertical relationship to God affects our horizontal relationship with our spouse. So when people come to me for marriage counseling, my first question is this: how is your relationship with the Lord? Because if your relationship with the Lord is not right, then I guarantee it will affect your relationship with your spouse.
And think of what happens next. Adam and Eve eat the fruit, they realize they have sinned against who? God. And then what do they do? They cover themselves up, because they realize they’re not exposed before the Lord anymore. They have to hide and they’re ashamed of their nakedness.
We see first of all, unashamed before God. But, secondly, we see that back then they were unashamed before each other. Look at it. And the man and his wife were both naked and they were not ashamed. In addition to being unashamed before God, the couple was open with one another. Remember when you used to date your wife. You know, when you first started dating your wife, you wanted to make a good impression on her, right, guys? I mean, guys, on your first date with her, you took a bath—I was in college too, right—you shave, you fix your hair, you put on a nice outfit. Ladies, you go to the mall and you buy that brand new dress or that brand new outfit for this date. And you come together and everything starts to click, right?
And then all of sudden you start to hit it off and a couple of weeks down the road you realize she’s going to find out that I’m not who I’m portraying myself to be. She’s going to realize that I’m not as cool as she may think that I am, right? And what you start to realize is there comes a place when you have to be open with your spouse. You have to tell her about your life.
I remember when I was dating Kandi. Kandi and I lived an hour and a half away from each other and so what happened was I only got to see her on the weekends. And what happened is we just talked all through the week. We talked on the phone for hours and hours. We’d share things about our life. And it was pretty surface level in the beginning, if you can imagine. But I knew in the back of my mind that one day, I would have to tell her that this seminary student who was traveling and preaching God’s Word had a less than perfect past. Imagine that. And I’m going to tell this girl, who I think in the eyes of me, is an angel. That I’m going to tell her that I’m not who you think I am because my past is pretty horrible. What’s amazing about Kandi is this: when I shared my testimony with her, she shared hers with me, and she accepted me for who I was. We began to date and God began to bring us closer together.
Let me ask you about your own life. You used to hang out together. You would talk into the night with one another. You would share everything that was on your heart. You would comfort one another. You longed to spend to time with her. She was your best friend. But then you get married and then it turns, right? It changes. I mean think about it. You stop telling her things anymore, or she stops telling you things anymore. You don’t really look forward to spending time with her anymore. In fact, you don’t share things on your heart. You’re not open with her. Why is that? You know why? Because I think we stop dating our spouses when we get married. See, when you get married, you shouldn’t stop dating your spouse. In fact, you should start dating your spouse again.
When was the last time you shared with your spouse how much you appreciated them? When was the last time you shared how much you loved them, how much you cared for them, how much they mean to you? You see, one of the things that keep us from an intimate relationship with your spouse is sin. See, when sin is allowed to come into the marriage, it not only severs our relationship with God, it severs our relationship with one another.
Let me ask you, dear brother or sister, do you have sin in your marriage? Is there sin in your life? Are you hiding something? See, that’s what was the problem with Adam and Eve. They were hiding something. I remember when I met Kandi I was open with her. In fact, Kandi has been my closest friend. She’s been my confidant. She’s been my ministry partner. She’s been my rock. She encourages me when everyone’s against me in the past when things have happened. Kandi has been there for me and it’s because we’ve been open with one another. Even from the beginning we’ve been open with one another. In fact, Kandi knows me so well that I can’t even share stories with her without her know it. In fact, when we go on trips together, the game we play is I try to think of something about my life that she doesn’t know. And it always ends like this, “Baby, let me tell you the story about this.” She says, “Robby, I already know that story. You couldn’t got to Space Camp because you didn’t make the honor roll. I already know that story.” And the reason is we know each other so well, we’ve been so open with one another that we know each other so well. And see, that didn’t just happen overnight. It’s a process of as we grew closer to the Lord, we put God first in our marriage and God brought us closer together.
Kay Arthur has a great book. It’s called Marriage Without Regrets. I commend it to you if you’ve never read it before. It’s great for people thinking about getting married. It’s great for couples who are married. And she says something pretty interesting. She said, “Marriage is like a triangle. God’s at the top, the husband’s here and the wife is here and when you start out, you’re kind of far from one another and from God. But as you grow closer to the Lord, the triangle gets smaller. As you grow closer to God, you grow closer to one another.” And, see, that’s how life works. If you put Christ first as a believer in your marriage, not only will you grow closer to Christ, you’ll grow closer to one another.
You know, I know in a group this size, there are some who are saying today, “Robby, I’m ready to call it quits.” I would be amiss to think that everybody’s marriage in here is perfect today. I would love to think that but I know that’s not the case. I believe there are some in here this morning that are saying, “I’m ready to throw in the towel.” Or maybe you’re saying, “I’ve already thrown in the towel.” God can still work. God can still bring you back together if you put him first.