By John J. Blanchard
April 20, 2013
The subject of today’s sermon is defining marriage. Arguably one of the most controversial subjects today is also the oldest institution in human history, and that is the institution of marriage and family. Marriage and family are being challenged in ways never considered before. Various groups and interests are essentially trying to redefine marriage and family, and they seek to broaden the definition of what marriage is. They want to “modernize” it and bring it up to the twenty-first century. Caution is to be advised when tampering with such an old and important institution as marriage and family.
The purpose of today’s discourse is to present a serious argument for keeping traditional marriage as it has been defined in the past. We need to continue that definition in order to preserve society in the way it was used to grow this marvelous country and the Western world to this point.
There are two fundamental assaults on marriage and family today. The first I want to talk about is the breaking and/or ignoring of the matrimonial bond, specifically in regard to divorce, cohabitation, serial relationships, and premarital sex leading to out-of-wedlock births. The second thing we want to deal with today regarding the assault on marriage and family is the actual re-defining of marriage and family to make unusual and unnatural relationships mainstream and thereby acceptable.
THE FIRST ASSAULT: BREAKING THE MATRIMONIAL BOND
We are going to deal with the breaking and/or ignoring of the matrimonial bond. Current studies and statistics are alarming. According to the Center for National Health Statistics from 1990 to 2010 the percentage of U.S.births to unwed mothers rose from 28% to 40.8%. In an article in the USA Today, February 2, 2012 entitled “Singles in America” they found that only 34.5% of singles desire marriage at all, 38.6% are uncertain about it, and 27% don’t want to marry at all. Yet 55% of singles say they have had sex on the first date, and only 13.1% said they would wait until marriage before having sexual relationships. This is a sea change from our past that is not even that far distant, going back to the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Increasingly people are cohabiting or having serial relationships, even just casual encounters that involve intimate relationships. This sexual revolution, as it has been called, started about fifty years ago with the concept of free love. If you were alive back then, you remember the hippies and the movement for free love. The pill was made available for birth control, and there was easy access to abortion. That’s when Roe v. Wade was passed so that if a life was imminent, it could be snuffed out. Then sex could be engaged in and extramarital affairs without consequences, it appeared.
In less than two generations American society has changed drastically and not for the best. A fascinating book was printed last year called Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. This is the period we are talking about. It was written by Charles Murray. In that book Mr. Murray documents the decline of what he terms the founding virtues in America and the concomitant rise of divorce, out-of-wedlock births, poverty, dishonesty, higher and higher drop-out rates, and higher and higher rates of illiteracy. There is a reason why all of these things are connected, and that’s the breakdown of the family. His statistical analyses were drawn from many and various sources, and they paint a very unpleasant picture. I am going to quote the sources, so if you are interested, you can look them up if you so desire.
There is chart after chart and graph after graph showing how as the divorce rate and family break up rose, so did poverty, crime, and all these concomitant illnesses and societal plagues that we are dealing with today. Mr. Murray referred to census reports, the current population reports (CPS), the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), and the National Health Service Corps reports (NHSC) to compile his graphs and his diagrams, which were very, very sobering.
The social experiment of the 1960’s has been going on to this very time and is ending very badly. The government solution for our societal ills is simply more programs and more money. Today more and more people are finding it necessary to be on food stamps. For some it’s because of unemployment or lack of good jobs, but for many it’s because of divorce, because of these serial relationships, and because of single parent mothers and fathers who are trying to raise a family by themselves. Schools are finding that in order to keep kids attentive and alert they need to combat hunger. Schools are fulfilling functions that families used to. They are providing not only lunch like has been traditional, but breakfast and sometimes dinner.
Schools are also providing a variety of what I would term babysitting services. Not in all cases is Head Start a babysitting service, but many parents use Head Start as a babysitter. Pre-K is coming supposedly as a universal right, so to speak, across the United States. All these young children will be going off to some sort of day care where they get educated. Schools are providing more and more medical services of all sorts. Contraceptives are given out at school. In some school districts even abortions can be arranged without parental consent or even knowledge. That’s how bad it is getting. Isn’t that a lot like trying to close the barn door after the horse is out? When you are having all these problems, it is not a lack of money. It is the breakup of the family that is really the source.
We could admit error. But rather than admit where we have gone wrong and how we took the wrong fork in the road, there is just more and more of a hue and cry today that we want more choices. We want freedom of choice. Rather than go back to where we made our mistakes and start correcting things by going back to our founding virtues, these influential organizations would rather press on down the road we are on, causing more and more society ills. Before continuing down that road, we need to pause and consider our heritage.
I want to read a couple of pages from Mr. Murray’s work, Coming Apart. I am going to start with page 134. I highly recommend this book for anybody who finds this subject interesting and important, because I really think it is in the national interest to understand what our problems are. On the subject of marriage, he looks at the historical influences of marriage on the United States when our society was first forming and when it was first coming together and what a powerful influence marriage and family was.
I am reading on page 134 under the section of marriage. “The founders took for granted that marriage was the bedrock institution of society. One of the few explicit discussions during the Revolutionary era is found in James Wilson’s Lectures on Law: ‘Whether we consult the soundest deductions of reason, or resort to the best information conveyed to us by history [Mr. Wilson says], or listen to the undoubted intelligence communicated in holy writ, we shall find, that to the institution of marriage the true origin of society must be traced…..To that institution, more than to any other, have mankind been indebted for the share of peace and harmony which has been distributed among them. “Prima societas in ipso conjugio est,” [“The first bond of society is marriage”] says Cicero in his book of offices; a work which does honor to the human understanding and the human heart.’”
It was common knowledge that the family and the institution of marriage was important as a bedrock of society at the founding of the United States.
Continuing on page 136 Mr. Murray writes: “American exceptionalism with regard to marriage went beyond simple fidelity, however. Marriage in the United States was seen as a different kind of union than marriage in Europe. Part of the difference consisted of America’s rejection of arranged marriages. But the ramifications went further than that. Men courted, but the women accepted or rejected, and the knowledge that a little girl would eventually have the responsibility for evaluating prospective mates affected her upbringing. ‘If democratic nations leave a woman at liberty to choose her husband,’ [Alexis] DeTocqueville wrote, ‘…they take care to give her mind sufficient knowledge, and her will sufficient strength, to make so important a choice. As in America paternal discipline is very relaxed and the conjugal tie very strict, a young woman does not contract the latter without considerable circumspection and apprehension. Precocious marriages are rare. Thus American women do not marry until their understandings are exercised and ripened; whereas in other countries most women generally only begin to exercise and to ripen their understandings after marriage.’”
In the United States we were different. We knew that going into marriage was so important we taught our young people, especially women, how to examine the prospects for a mate to make sure the marriage would be successful.
Mr. Murray continues: “American marriages were different from European ones (or so both Americans and foreign observers seemed to agree) in the solemnity of the marital bond. Americans ‘consider marriage as a covenant which is often onerous, but every condition of which the parties are strictly bound to fulfill, because they knew all those conditions beforehand, and were perfectly free not to have contracted them.’”
In other words, they knew that a marriage covenant was going to be difficult. There were going to be times in life in sickness and in health and in poverty and wealth. You would have to go through those rocky times together, so they took the bonds of marriage very, very seriously.
Continuing Mr. Murray writes: “To Tocqueville, the effects on American culture were profound, and it had largely to do with the role that American marriage gave to America’s women. Near the End of Democracy in America [his book], he summarized his position with a remarkable passage. ‘If I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply—to the superiority of their women.’
“Francis Grund [another writer of a little later time] presented a similar analysis, and then summarized the effects of strong marriages on American life: ‘I consider the domestic virtue of the Americans as the principle source of all their other qualities. It acts as a promoter of industry, as a stimulus to enterprise, and as the most powerful restrainer of public vice. It reduces life to its simplest elements, and makes happiness less dependent on precarious circumstances; it ensures the proper education of children, and acts, by the force of example, on the morals of the rising generation; in short, it does more for the preservation of peace and good order, than all the laws enacted for that purpose; and is a better guarantee for the permanency of the American government, than any written instrument, the Constitution itself not excepted.’”
Mr. Murray writes: “The American concept of marriage demanded a lot of both parties, but it was seen as the fundamental institution of civil society in a free nation.”
We would do well to pay attention to those founding values that made our country great. The constancy of marriage, the sanctity of the marital bond, the commitment that two people make to provide for each other, to care for one another, and if they are blessed with offspring, to provide for them education, housing and the necessities of life is the bedrock of society. No government program, as it was just alluded to, can replace that. No amount of money can replace a solid family.
The social experiment of the 1960’s has indeed gone off the rail. I would like to conclude part one by saying the breaking and ignoring of matrimonial bonds is a social experiment that in the last fifty years as proven to be a disaster. We cannot afford it socially, economically, or morally.
THE SECOND ASSAULT: RE-DEFINING MARRIAGE
The second assault on marriage and family is that of re-defining marriage and family to make unusual or unnatural relationships mainstream. It will only compound the problem. This step takes the social experiment a quantum leap further down the wrong path. Firstly, before fully embarking on this path we need to best consider the perils and the consequences of continuing down this road. Secondly, we need to make sure when we re-define marriage that we are ready to embrace those perils and deal with those consequences, which could mean a very, very dire future for our country.
The traditional definitions of marriage are changing at this very moment. I took the liberty of looking up the definition of marriage in various dictionaries going back to 1964. The Funk and Wagnall’s 1964 Edition defined marriage this way: The state of being married; a legal contract entered into by a man and a woman to live together as husband and wife; wedlock.
Nearly a decade later things had moved just a little bit, and the Webster’s Dictionary defined marriage in 1973 in this way: The state of being married; the mutual relation between husband and wife; wedlock; the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.
Jumping forward to 2011 The New American Heritage Dictionary defined marriage in this way: The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife and in some jurisdictions two persons of the same sex usually entailing legal obligations to the other. The second definition: A similar union between more than two people, a polygamist marriage. The third definition: A union between persons that is recognized by custom or religious tradition as marriage.
We can see that it keeps getting broader and broader. Some would say, modernized, more suited to the times. We could summarize this modern definition of family in this way: What is being pushed is to accept family literally as any group of persons cohabiting in whatever way they choose and for whatever length of time they desire. Marriage can be summarized in this way: A covenant between any two persons or perhaps more without regard to gender or sexual orientation.
MARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE
The ultimate issue to consider when we talk about marriage and family is God’s view of it. Re-defining marriage ultimately does something we don’t intend, but we need to say it directly. It re-defines sin. God is the one who keeps the right to define sin. He keeps the right to define what is the ultimate right and wrong. He deems what the values are that need to be forgiven when we break them and what are the values that we need to hold if we want to “become more righteous.”
I would like to go back to the Ten Commandments. Let’s turn to Exodus chapter 20 for our first Scripture. Anybody who holds the Bible in high esteem and believes Jesus Christ is our Savior and this is the word of God believes breaking the Ten Commandments is sin. That’s why we needed Christ’s blood and repentance.
Let’s go to Exodus chapter 20, verse 12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
Honor your father and your mother. In these strange and unusual relationships that are forming today, who are father and mother? It gets very complicated. When you have unusual unions that don’t last long and multiple siblings from different fathers, sometimes you don’t know who the father is without extensive medical testing. Then you try to track them down. What a silly way to support children.
It also gets complicated when you have these multiple partners that come and go when it comes to matters of illness, support, or who owns what when people separate. It even gets more complicated when artificial insemination is included. I am not necessarily talking about people who are heterosexually married and want to have children. I am talking about the strange and unusual unions where people of the same sex want to have a child! They have to go through modern conundrums, so to speak, with technology coming to their aid in order to do something that is totally unnatural in order to have children. We need to go back to see where the institution of marriage started.
WHERE MARRIAGE STARTED
Go back to Genesis chapter 2. It is a set of Scriptures that is read at most Christian marriages. Genesis 2, beginning in verse 21: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam 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.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
At this point it is time for some of God’s definitions of what it means to be married. We are going to go through a few of these words that were used here and define them. The word for “joined” is dabaq (#1692, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) in the ancient Hebrew which means to impinge or cling to or adhere to. The word “wife” is ishshah (#802, Strong’s, 1995). Another term for it is nashiym, which means a woman. The word flesh is basar (#1320, Strong’s, 1995). It means flesh, or by extension the body, the person. It comes from the word basar (#1319, Strong’s, 1995) which is very closely related and spelled the same: to be fresh, rosy, and figuratively cheerful, one pudenda meaning the two sexual organs coming together to make one, one flesh. It also means to announce glad news or good news.
MARRIAGE IS THE GOSPEL
In other places in the Bible the word basar is translated messenger, to preach, to publish good tidings. If you think that sounds like the gospel, you would be correct. Just as woman was taken from man’s flesh and is to rejoin a man’s flesh in marriage, there is a mystery involved here that is getting enacted every time people get married. It is the good news of the gospel! You may not have realized that, but the glad tidings that the man and a woman can become one flesh is simply God showing us on earth that marriage is sanctified because Jesus Christ is forming from humanity a bride. With that bride they are going to have many children. Many people will be opened up to the family of God. Does Scripture back this up? Of course it does. We don’t even have time to read all the Scriptures.
Let’s go to John chapter 3 where it talks about John the Baptist. He knew when Christ came on the scene what Christ was. He says here in John chapter 3, verse 29: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.”
John was saying, I see the bridegroom when I see Jesus Christ. I am His friend, and I rejoice for my friend.
Paul says here in II Corinthians chapter 11, beginning in verse 1: “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband [speaking of the Church], that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!”
That is exactly what is happening today. These people who are pushing for this modern definition of marriage and family don’t realize they are changing the gospel, but they are. If we put up with it, it is to our shame! If we let it happen without commenting about the word of God, it is to our shame! There are even ministers out there who are proponents of same-sex marriages and easier and easier divorces and separations. It is a travesty that they hold God’s word in their hands and preach from it, and then allow such things or even encourage such things when we have Scriptures like this. That is accepting another gospel, because the good news is simply that Jesus Christ is marrying a bride and in that way is going to save this whole world for a beautiful Millennium and on into the future from there.
Christ is forming a beautiful bride, and the world waits without realizing. That is what the Scriptures say. Turn to Revelation 19. We are going to the very back of your Bible. It is the very last book of the Bible. Revelation 19, beginning in verse 6 John says this: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine line, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’”
The true sayings of God is that there is a bride that is getting formed among humanity and has been for 2,000 years. That bride is what Jesus Christ is going to come to and marry when He returns. Between the two of them, they have a great work to help this whole world learn how to live each family as a family and bring peace to the family of man! That’s how incredibly important this is. Ephesians calls this a great mystery.
We are going to turn now to Ephesians chapter 5. This is also a set of Scriptures often read at marriages. Ephesians chapter 5, and I want to start in verse 22: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself as a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.”
This is going back to Genesis. He is quoting Genesis chapter 2.
Continuing in verse 31 of Ephesians 5: “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
We are talking about the bond between two people as emulating and a type of what Christ is to His bride and what the bride is to Him. That’s why we come together at marriage and become one flesh.
Some are mistakenly saying the purpose of marriage is to have children. That’s not the purpose of marriage. That is a blessing that comes from it, but it is often used to sidetrack the whole argument. For example, if you don’t have children, are you not legally married? This starts to cloud the issue, so that other ways of counting marriage come into play. That’s not what this is saying at all. As a matter of fact, chapter 6 goes on to talk about children and the relationship between the parents and the children and the children to the parents. That’s where it quotes Exodus chapter 20:12.
RESULTS OF THE BREAKDOWN OF FAMILY
It tells us in Ephesians 6, verse 2: “‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Fathers, I am here to tell you if you abandon your children and leave them with a single mother or if you don’t marry—which is the responsible thing you should do when you have children—and you leave those children to fend for themselves, don’t be surprised if they are moved to wrath against you later on in life. There may be hard feelings for the sufferings they had to endure because you abandoned them. The point is, marriage is the bond that is sacred. Children are the blessing that comes from it. It is not the purpose of marriage. It is a blessing that comes along with marriage if God so blesses.
These are big things, and we need to think about them before we negate the word of God, change the meaning of the gospel, and re-define sin. God does not take to that very lightly, so I caution people who are pushing for these modern changes and who are pushing to make things acceptable that in the past were not. You had best consider the consequences of the last social experiment we embarked on—the breaking of the marital bonds and the ignoring of them.
When we also ignore what a family is or try to change the definition of it, we are changing the definition of sin and giving ourselves a false sense of security. Because if we tell ourselves it is no longer a sin to engage in whatever we want, we are also saying we don’t need to repent for our actions. In God’s eyes you can say what you want, but you still have to repent when you sin because He defines sin. We cannot take that right from God and do it ourselves. There is nothing but trouble when we do. I want to read a few Scriptures along that line, so we get an idea of some of the consequences for doing these things.
Turn to Romans chapter 1. I am starting in verse 18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…”
When we try to change the definition of sin or the definition of marriage, we are engaging in suppressing the truth.
Verse 19: “…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”
Our founding fathers understood it. They wrote about it hundreds of years ago, so we are the ones who are leaving this understanding if we embark on such a path.
Continuing in verse 21 of Romans 1: “… because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
In God’s eyes there are no intellectual arguments that can go against the word of God. There are no intellectual arguments that stand up against God’s definition of marriage. We can try to twist and turn and manipulate the definitions all we want, but God knows what He meant by marriage. God knows what He meant when the two shall become one flesh.
Let’s repeat that in verse 22: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
People indeed are starting to act like animals in some ways. I don’t want to get into all the details because it is ridiculous!
Continuing in verse 24: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…”
God even removes whatever understanding we have if we continue to force this issue, and the consequences are dire. If we don’t stop right now, the flood gates will be opened to all kinds of terrible things and their consequences.
Continue in verse 29 of Romans 1: “…being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
We are being told here that all of the sins of society get worse when the family breaks down and we try to change the definition of marriage and family to accept unnatural behavior as we are told right here.
Leviticus 18 clearly speaks out here. Leviticus 18 clearly makes it black and white, and once again it tells us right from wrong. Leviticus 18, verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.”
We need to consider where we are headed, because we are headed down a worse and worse path where more and more things will become acceptable that God finds abhorrent. Before we go any further, we need to confirm that the marriage vows are serious covenants between a man and a woman and what a family really is. Jesus Christ clearly outlines it in the gospel of Mark. Turn there to Mark chapter 10. We could go to many Scriptures on the subject of divorce, but I just want to read this one here.
Mark chapter 10, beginning in verse 1 where it is speaking of Christ: “Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ testing Him. And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God “made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,” so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’ In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’”
Thereby she would be breaking another one of the Ten Commandments. God reserves the right to define what adultery is.
It is clearly spoken throughout the word of God what He deems sin and what He deems a marriage that is bonded together in the covenant that two become one flesh. It requires a male and a female and a covenant between them till death do they part.
The gospel is good news for all who admit their error, their sin, and repent. That means people who are divorced, people who are separated, and people who have had children out of wedlock or fathered children out of wedlock. God says, My mercy and My forgiveness are for all people and for all sins if we willingly admit our sins and then repent.
FIX OUR FAMILIES AND ASK GOD TO FORGIVE
But if we refuse to, or even worse, we re-define sin so that we make something that is sinful okay, we are in deep trouble with God! We need to get back to the place where we want to repent for what we have done wrong and for the mistakes we have made. Then God will bless us and reward us. Fix as much as we can with our lives. With whatever is left in our lives, let’s undo the damage where we can. Where we can’t, let’s ask God for forgiveness. He is so willing to forgive and to heal.
Turn to Psalm 103. It all starts with forgiveness between people, and then God is willing to forgive. I want to start reading in Psalm 103, verse 1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
It takes remembering what is right and wrong. It takes remembering God’s mercy and His word and then abiding by it. If we willingly do that, He forgives and heals. He will help broken hearts heal. He will help diseases be healed. He will help wounded children’s emotions and their little psyches—their little minds. He will heal them, so that they can grow up to be solid citizens if we show them the path and change ourselves. The good news is for everybody if we willingly listen and change.
Turn to Isaiah 52. We are going to read a couple Scriptures in Isaiah now about the good news. Isaiah 52, verse 7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
That’s what we are trying to do here for people. Bring them good news about the way we can fix our relationships and the way we can turn around the ship of state and go in the right direction. Please God so that we can once again receive the blessings that He wants so much to give us individually, as families, and as a nation.
Turn to Isaiah chapter 61, beginning in verse 1 where there is a prophecy of Jesus Christ: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor [that was the gospel that Jesus Christ brought]; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
God wants us happy. He wants us to live joyful lives. He wants us to replace the mourning and the sadness that we have in our society today with gladness, with healing, and with joy, but we have to willingly use our free will to go back to God’s ways. We need to show Him that we care, that we are sorry for what we have done as individuals, as families, and as a nation, and that we want to repent.
Turn to the gospel of John chapter 10. Christ says here what He wants to do and what He wants to have for us. John chapter 10, verse 10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Satan comes among mankind as a thief, and he tempts us to do all these things that are sinful. He tries to tell us, don’t worry about it. Everything is going to be okay. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy life. But he is robbing us of the real joys of life. He is robbing us of the real joy of having a wife, a husband, or a family—if God blesses you with children—and the real joy of a sound society in which crime diminishes, in which more people are well educated, and where children are well fed by their parents and not by the school system. That’s what God wants for us. He wants us to have life and to have it more abundantly.
CHOOSE THE BIBLICAL WAY
The last Scripture I want to use today is in Deuteronomy, so we will close with Deuteronomy chapter 30. This is going back to the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 30, beginning in verse 15: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments…”
This is Moses passing on God’s wisdom to the people.
Continuing in verse 15: “…His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them”
God says, choose life. Follow His ways, for He wants to bless us if we do so.
Re-defining marriage and family and re-defining sin turn us away from God. Shouldn’t we rather choose life, repair our past mistakes as best we can, ask forgiveness from God, and help reverse the disastrous course that we are on to stop the terrible consequences from becoming worse? Social engineering the way we are following it is following the lie. It is following Satan down the path that will certainly lead to destruction. Jesus Christ is showing us how to avoid those consequences. He says to us, choose life!