On Friday, September 5, 2014, I was given the opportunity to officiate my first wedding. Cory and Paisley are two good friends of mine and helpful members of our church. It was blessing for me to do this for them, and I see it as a wonderful privilege to have celebrated with them in this way.
Here is my summarized sermon outline for the wedding. I hope you find it beneficial to your soul, whether you are married, look to be married, or want to establish a solid doctrinal conviction concerning marriage.
Text: Genesis 2:23-25
Title: Something Old, Something True
- The Connection in Marriage (2:23)
- The Commitment in Marriage (2:24)
- The Confidence in Marriage (2:25)
Models and original images are used in everyday life. On November 22, 1995 the world was introduced to one of the most popular animated films in movie history: Toy Story. Following the movie, a documentary was created in order to chronicle the making of the movie. In one part of the documentary, the creators of Toy Story explained how they based their characters on certain models. And those models were, of course, actual toys. They focused on the toy, looked at the toy, and studied the toy as they formulated their characters. This is an example of original models. This principle is also true in how we conduct our human relationships, more specifically, our marriage relationships. There is a model for marriage that God has set as a standard. And this standard is in Genesis 2:18-25.
Moses, the leader of Israel is giving last minute reminders to people before they go into the Promised Land. Moses wants Israel to know how important healthy marriages are to their society as a whole. By Chapter 2, he does this by travelling back to the 6th day and explaining how he created the first man and woman.
Nations in history tend to rise and fall with their views on marriage. Churches today are only as strong as their marriages and families are. And this is what Moses is teaching here. He sees it as foundational to their society.
As we get to this section (vv. 18-25), Moses explains God’s provision of a wife for Adam. God vowed to give the man a helper that was suitable and fitting for him (v. 18). In verses 19-20 the animal parade passed by the man, and as Adam was naming the animals he noticed a male and female counterpart for each. But there was no counterpart for him.
vv. 21-22 God caused him to go into a deep sleep, God took the rib, God closed the flesh, God fashioned the woman, and God brought her to him. God is the initiator in this text. God is the one who provides and establishes the marriage. In the same way that a father presents his daughter, the bride, to the bridegroom, God presents the woman to Adam in the first wedding.
God is the one who ultimately provides your spouse. Adam did not provide himself with a wife, for he was asleep during the process. God brought her to him as a gift. Spouses are a gift, even if they view each other as a curse at times during hardship. He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and God is the one who has provided this “good thing” to the man. For singles who are waiting patiently, God is sovereign over your status. He will provide on His timing, or He has a purpose for you as a single person.
The Connection in Marriage (2:23)
The man 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.” (v. 23)
This is the man’s response when God brings the woman. We learn much about their relationship as a husband and wife just through his reaction. He points to her and singles her out by using the term “this.” The word an emphatic statement of joy and jubilation. When Adam named the animals, he looked around and couldn’t find any match. Then God Himself brought Adam the helper who was suitable for him and he said, “This is the one!” He knew instantly that she was the one meant for him. Beloved, look at your spouse, THIS is the one whom God has given to you. No one else. This person is the one that is a complement to everything that you are.
The term “now” can also be rendered “finally” or “at last.” In one sense, Adam is saying “Finally, she’s here now.” (Something many of us said on our wedding days).
He names her “woman” because of its close relationship to the term “man.” The name implies a sound play that shows the deepest intimacy. Their names implies a closeness that cannot be rivaled by any other relationship.
The entire statement is an expression of the man’s unique connection to his wife. This is the close relationship that must be displayed in marriage. The marriage relationship is not superseded by any other human relationship. It is the closest human relationship anyone can have on earth. No other woman must rival the affections a husband has for his wife, and no other man must rival the affections a wife has for her husband.
The Commitment in Marriage (2:24)
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (v. 24)
Sometimes in theater, a character will take a moment during the play and turn to the audience. In this moment, he or she will begin to reveal vital information for the audience. This is called an “aside.” In this verse, Moses treats this statement as an aside in Chapter 2 to explain a specific truth about marriage to Israel.
This is the result of this first marriage. What happened in Adam and Eve’s relationship sets the patter for all subsequent marriages. The result is the man leaving his parents and uniting to his wife. This is a matter of a change in priorities and obligations. His first priorities are no longer his parents, but it is now his wife. He is bound and glued to his wife with new obligation, commitment, responsibility.
They are “one flesh.” So in marriage, we must treat each other as one flesh. Paul said, “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Eph 5:29). Treat your spouse the way you want to be treated. Cherish each other because you are one.
The Confidence in Marriage (2:25)
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (v. 25)
Moses is expressing the confidence and boldness this couple had before sin entered into the world. Later, in Genesis 3:7, they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves because they were ashamed and guilty before God. Here, when the marriage is done the right way and conducted according to the will of God, then there need not be any shame in the relationship at all.
Individuals in this world act and walk confidently in their lives as if they have nothing to be ashamed of. However, all are under guilt and shame whether they feel like it or not. No one on judgment day will be able to stand confidently before a holy and perfect God because of their fallen state. So, how can one stand confidently before God? Only the cleansing blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ can remove the guilt of the individual and make them righteous, so that they can stand boldly before God knowing that their sins have been forgiven.
For the believer, forgiveness has allowed for the Spirit of God to reside within you. The Holy Spirit has given you the capacity to honor God in your marriage. And you can have a confidence before your spouse and before God because you know that you are conducting marriage the way God desires.
This standard of marriage comes from the Scriptures. The only way you can have that kind of comfort and know that you are pleasing God in your marriage is if you are following this model and following the Scriptures.
Married people will look to find models to imitate for their marriages. And there is nothing wrong with looking at those who have gone before you. It is also helpful to look at this model in Genesis 2.
But the ultimate model that you want to show in your marriage is the love that Christ has displayed to you. He did this by saving you, forgiving you and loving you. That’s the love you cling to when times get hard. You will persevere if you both model this love to one another. The love my God has for us is not conditional and it does not change or run out. He does not give up. Therefore, a marriage relationship that models this love will never fail. Those that fail have failed to model God’s love.
Other marriage relationships may fail or disappoint you. But that model will never fail. God’s enduring, faithful, and unconditional love that He has shown His people, which only came from Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, is best love you can display to your spouse.