There have been tremendous forces acting in opposition towards the institutions of marriage and the church. Both of these two globally recognized entities are as old as the history of the people who live in the communities where they are found. I believe over the years that man as a living being has missed the key characteristic that is responsible for the continued successful operations of marriage and of the church.
When and how did marriage start? All evidence agreed upon will indicate the first union of man and woman in Eden when God brought Eve to Adam. That was a defining ceremony for all of human kind to follow. It is important that God as Creator set the pace for His creation. Humans were then to follow the pattern of coming together with the one person of the opposite sex who would become a life partner. The words “till death do us part” in the modern marriage ceremony indicate a God dependent covenant.
So, clearly, marriage was put in place by God.
But what about the Church? How was it started? The life of Jesus as recorded in the gospels hold the answer. The last night Jesus spent as a free man before His arrest is recorded as the night of the Last Supper. In a period of sombre agony and fulfilment of His purpose, the Saviour established officially a new covenant. Earlier in His life He had indicated to Peter that His church will be built upon the “rock” of Peter’s steadfast life and faithful contributions to the Kingdom. One of the last orders Jesus gave to His followers before ascending was to stay together and wait for the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came at a time we call the Day of Pentecost. The church as we know it was born.
So, clearly, the Church was put in place by Jesus who was and is God.
This is the point being delivered to readers. The survival and successful functioning of the Church and of marriage will only happen because God is their creator and sustainer. In other words, so long as man continues to try and take charge of these two institutions the result will only be more of the same: failure and sad ineffectiveness.
God put marriage as the beginning point of a man and a woman’s desire to love each other and thereby start their own family. Once that purpose or order is tampered with, only chaos can result. God only does what nobody else can do. If He started marriage, it means it is only His power that can and will keep a marriage. Our modern western societies in particular have greatly adjusted marriage in all possible ways it seems. We think it is quite “modern” to start a family before getting married. Virginity is now a greatly devalued sexual currency. Our girls and young ladies in particular are realizing after giving up their virginity that they did so prematurely. Many of them do not have a life long relationship with their first sex partner.
God intended the virgin’s sex to be the sealing of a lifelong monogamous relationship; hence, the reason blood is spilled. Sex is a mighty and powerful act that cements two people. Sex is only ten percent physical. The bride and groom were meant to be sexual novices at marriage and then grow sexually with each other throughout the rest of their married lives. But instead we have people getting married, or even unmarried, who are by their experiences sexually imbalanced. The partner who has had more sexual encounters make comparisons and insists on expectations that intimidate and stifle the freedom of the other partner to learn, grow and express opinions freely.
Additionally, we are now finding all suitable ways to accept and tolerate social unions or sexual relationships between persons of the same sex. Again, tamper with God’s patented idea and the result is disastrous for us. I agree that every person has sexual desires and grows ultimately to define his or her sexual preference. I smile at this point because it is becoming a very regular occurrence to be filling out an online form of registration and meeting an item that asks you to specify your sexual orientation: straight, gay or bi-sexual.
God does not recognize nor will He accept any sexual orientation apart from being “straight” or heterosexual.
The feelings or desire for another person of the same sex is just as the challenge a teenager or young adult faces when opportunities to masturbate or to have premarital sex come along. The understanding is supposed to be that as an individual I am to choose to control my body. Unfortunately, many of us in times past would have given in to our feelings for the immediate sex available. But even so, God has plainly said that homosexuals, lesbians and any other sexually deviant person can and will be made sexually clean by returning to Jesus and surrendering the use of their bodies to the control of the Holy Spirit. The blood of Jesus brings redemption, restoration, forgiveness, healing and a powerfully new life to all sinners who want to do the right.
Whether or not our modern philosophy agrees, one of the last things Jesus is recorded as saying in the closing chapter of the Bible is that sexually immoral people who refuse to repent and come back “straight” will be in hell for all time being “straightened out.”
Social complications such as AIDS and broken families — hurting children — are all problems that will be avoided if men and women remain faithful to one sex partner in their marriage.
Well, after all that, let’s consider how man has made dangerous changes to the Church. Jesus established His church. Man just cannot help but compete. Denominations, mega churches, days of worship, role of women and a host of other pettifogging details have been religious bombs exploding on the grounds of men’s hearts with almost deadly radioactive consequences.
Let us be clear: the role of the Church of Jesus Christ is to reach SINNERS and provide a support network for them. Why a support network you ask? Each and every Christian is a sinner on a rehabilitative journey from the sin that was inwardly (and also outwardly) destroying their lives. That is all the church is meant to do. Jesus is the answer. That is to be the message of the church. But sinners are the least it seems to feel welcome in our churches across the planet.
People who right now are feeling despondent and miserable know in their heart of hearts that God is real and they do want to find Him and serve Him; however, the people in church are often the agents of their own demise by scrutinizing, criticizing and condemning the sinner who longs for salvation. Banks serve financial needs, schools are filled with students, armies are overflowing with new recruits, hospitals have no hiatus from tending to patients, yet the one place meant for sinners often serves as a catalyst for driving them away.
The Church is not meant to glorify pastors or leaders as though they are somehow “super” and equal with God. Tele-evangelists are not Jesus Christ. People must not wait for a certain preacher or singer to say something (already in the Bible) before they believe it. Did any mega star Christian die for your sins? The person who keeps the “idolized” Christian can also keep you. Ultimately, the barriers that keep the church ineffective are all man-made.
Do you know that if across the world this day, all those who know Jesus will spend just one hour in prayer and forget about their respective denominations life on earth will change before sunset? While Christians look at all the ways to find differences and then magnify those differences, Satan is breathing many sighs of relief because he is allowed opportunities to keep more people on the road to hell. The sad thing is that most Christians are more concerned about their church building, pastor and denomination than they are concerned about the people whose lives are being wasted in sin every day.
Why do you think the gospel of Jesus is called “Good News?”
Finally, even though the majority of physical people on the planet may not go to church, amid all man’s denominationally imposed differences and competition, the Church will remain on the earth until the last day. Jesus did not set up His church to win a region-by-region popularity contest. The Holy Spirit will preserve “whosoever believeth in Him.” The only way that marriage and the Church are going to be successful is by having Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God be fully in the driver’s seat to run these institutions without man trying to control the wheel.