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Keeping Wedlock Vows: I Corinthians 7:10-11: By Bro. Newman Kanchefu

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Text: 1 Corinthians 7:10-


1.     Want to thank the organising committee for considering me for this subject.

2.     2 Peter 1:12-13, “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body.”

3.     Want also to thank you for choosing to be part of this lesson.

A.       We are not here to pass judgement on anyone but to be agents of the love of our Lord.

B.       We are therefore going to be open enough that we all can learn, but respectful enough because marriage is sacred.

4.       There are certain subjects that are embarrassing both to the one teaching it and the hearers.

5.       Our lesson topic is – Keeping Marriage Vows.

6.       A woman once shared her view of marriage:"It's as though I'm scanning a desert with a pair of binoculars. Everywhere I look I see bodies strewn about in various stages of death and dying -- divorce, isolation, abusive and decayed relationships, all types of devastation. After viewing this I ask myself, why would I want to begin that journey?" (www.everystudent.com).

7.       The oldest traditional wedding vows can be traced back to the middle ages (www. Allheartweddings.com).

A.       They could both promise each other to 'love and cherish' or alternatively:

B.       The groom promises to 'love, cherish and worship' while the bride to 'love, cherish and obey.'


I. What is vow?

1.       To pledge or resolve solemnly to do, make, give, observe, etc.: The promise is binding, and so differs from a simple resolution which is a present purpose to do or omit certain things in the future (web).

2.       In other words a vow is simply a promise.

3.       A vow is fulfilled by doing what has been promised, even without a positive intention of fulfilling the vow (web).

4.       A vow is a sacred promise a covenant.

A.       In the O. T. times this included a ceremony of passing between parts of an animal cut into two. (Matthew Muchingami) 

B.       One who violated the treaty would be similarly cut asunder (Gen 15.17-19)

5.       Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony.

A.       Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops (web).

B.        In earlier times and in most cultures the consent of the partners has not had the importance now attached to it, at least in Western societies and in those they have influenced (web).

6.       Therefore marriage vows were given in order to guarantee things like:

A.       Faithfulness

B.       Commitment in partnership

C.       Commitment for life

D.       Expression of feelings

7.       In the Bible one of the most important things revealed is the spiritual dimension attached to marriage which these vows seek to uphold.

A.       Malachi 2:13-17, “Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not [the Lord] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. "I hate divorce,"(EM) says the Lord God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. You have wearied the Lord with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?" (NIV)

B.       Hebrews 13:4, ‘Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”. (NIV)

C.       1 Corinthians 6:18-19, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (NIV)

8.       What frightens me is that there is now very little stigma to divorce, even among believers.

9.       “Marriage is a covenant involving our deepest selves -- our sexuality, fertility, generativity, talent, inadequacy and death. It is our link to past (parents) and future (children). Its very nature is intolerant of superficiality. Until the larger questions of destiny, nature and purpose are grasped coherently and communally, marriage will continue to be the victim of a formerly Christian culture that has lost its identity and therefore is incapable of maintaining its institutions”. - Donna Schaper Christian Century June 20-27, 1979, p. 669.


II. Keeping Wedlock Vows call for Commitment

1.       Commitment in marriage is inherent in the most fundamental definition of marriage, found in the Bible:

A.        “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

B.        Jesus said, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:6)

C.       The description of marriage in Genesis 2 goes on to say, “The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” This implies that commitment is required in a relationship in which a man and woman desire a sense of union and freedom to be themselves.

2.       Many married couples make the opposite mistake.

A.       They expect the single action of making a marriage vow to automatically result in a close union and intimacy.

B.     Commitment goes far beyond the initial vow, translating dedication into action.

3.     Facing the positive and negative aspects of commitment:

A.     The positive aspect of commitment is what you do to nurture your relationship with your spouse:

B.     The negative aspect is what you avoid doing to prevent distance from developing in the relationship

4.     Commitment to marriage implies that a person accept the problems brought into the marriage by their spouse as mutual problems.

5.     Commitment calls us to find our role in coping with every problem that arises in marriage, whether the problem is generated within our spouse or ourselves.

A.     There is a human tendency to develop a private logic, or set of beliefs, that we are comfortable with.

B.     We avoid seeking the real truth, which can be uncomfortable.

6.     I think it means that if a marriage is to be lasting and satisfying, consistent with God’s design, we must periodically evaluate the nature of our commitment, as expressed through:

A.     Our actions (Prov. 14:1) and

B.     Our behavior patterns.


III. Threats to commitment in marriage

1.     How many relationships are founded on selfishness, physical attraction and infatuation?

2.     How many marriages are entered into with serious misconceptions about the other person's character, beliefs, and values?

3.      Certainly many Christian marriages start badly because of these things.

4.     The prevalence of women in the workplace, including married women, has brought more temptation to infidelity to both men and women.

A.     Work often brings men and women into close working relationships and friendships (sometimes this happens or even in the church) that exclude their spouses.

B.     This makes fertile ground for infatuations and relationships that result in adultery.

5.     However much the above factors may predispose our society to an epidemic of divorces, such an epidemic can still be prevented if one key element is present. What element could this be? True commitment!

6.     You made a commitment - a vow - without conditions.

A.     Malachi 2:14-16 (MSG), “Do you know why? Simple. Because GOD was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. GOD, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse. "I hate divorce," says the GOD of Israel. GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat.”

B.     Read also: Matthew 5:32 and Luke 16:18

7.       Let us talk a bit about sexuality at this point.

A.       Brother Kyle Butt in his video (Sex) describes it as very, “powerful”.

B.       Sex is powerful meaning  - it has a lot of power for good or evil.

C.       Powerful things need to be regulated – its only good within its boundaries like fire.

D.       We are living in a world where every minute we experience the corrupting and cheapening of sexual impulses that God has created to draw husband and wife together.

E.        Sex bonds two unlike anything else – for life.

F.        “The majority of men under age 60 think about sex at least once a day, compared with only a quarter of women. And that's not all. Men fantasize about sex nearly twice as often as women do, and their fantasies are much more varied. They also think more about casual sex than women do. But thinking is not the same as doing”. - (www. Emedicinehealth.com)

8.     Where are the men of character and integrity today? Where are those who will give their word and stand by it, even to their own hurt?

9.     Devote yourself to pleasing God in your role in marriage.

10.   In your heart can you answer the following questions?

A.     Are You Having Problems?

B.     Are you wavering in commitment?

C.     Are you thinking that your marriage may have been a big mistake?

D.     Are you becoming friendly with a member of the opposite sex?

E.      Perhaps even attracted and a little infatuated?

F.     Have you "had it" with the way your spouse treats you?

G.    Or are you dying inside from loneliness, lack of love, affection, acceptance, respect, or understanding?

H.    Are you finding your mate to now be totally unattractive?

I.      Is your mate not meeting your basic needs and making no effort to do so?

11.   What sort of commitment should you make to your marriage?

A.     You will not seek to escape from your marriage;

B.     You will not look for another and you will run from any temptation towards infidelity. You will be very careful about any interactions with the opposite sex that could possibly lead you into temptation or provoke the jealousy of your spouse;

C.     You will work at your marriage to make it as good as you can, for your children, for your wife and lastly for yourself.

D.    You will not give up on your marriage, knowing God can change both you and your spouse. 

E.     If you do not feel love, you nevertheless, by conscious decision, will decide to love, whatever you may feel. Your actions and words will be loving. 

F.     You will confess past wrongs and work to make amends and to restore any broken parts of your marriage relationship. 




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