FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Jesus What A Friend For Sinners
Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my victory wins.
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Food For Thought!
A good marriage is where both people feel like they're getting the better end of the deal.
Through marriage, ‘the mystery of the gospel is unveiled….’ The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once…. Whether we are a husband or a wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage. – Tim Keller
Confession of Sin:
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we confess that we daily sin against you and our neighbors in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Confession of Faith: Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. 28. Wherein consists Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Sermon Text: Mark 10:1-12
1 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
1. Two views of marriage
2. The definition of marriage
3. The power for marriage
Marriage. Where do we begin? In order to get some perspective it's worth highlighting two views of marriage: one ancient and one modern. In ancient cultures the purpose of marriage was to secure social and economic status and security through the establishment and growth of the family. In other words, you didn't marry for love or companionship. That idea comes in much later. However, in modern culture the purpose of marriage is the satisfaction of the individual. It has become a means to personal fulfillment. As Tara Parker-Pope wrote in her NY Times article, The Happy Marriage is the 'Me Marriage', "The best marriages are those that bring satisfaction to the individual may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first? Not anymore. For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself. But in modern relationships, people are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who make their lives more interesting."
Different than either ancient or modern views of marriage, in this passageJesus gives us a renewed vision for marriage that opens up to us the mystery of the gospel. In response to the testy question of the Pharisees about the lawfulness of divorce (v. 2), Jesus takes us back to scripture, to the very beginning, to God's original design and intention for marriage. He quotes from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24.
In doing so he gives us his definition for marriage and it has three essential ingredients. First, we see the foundation for marriage (v. 6; Gen. 1:27). Jesus teaches us that God created all people in his image and therefore they have inherent dignity, value and worth. Marriage in no way changes this! Furthermore, Jesus teaches that God created human beings male and female. Therefore, Jesus is telling us that God created men and women equal but different and for relationship with one another.
Jesus builds on this foundation by tethering Genesis 1:27 with Genesis 2:24and the first marriage. In doing so, Jesus teaches us that marriage is a comprehensive union between one man and one woman. The idea of a comprehensive union comes from the phrase "'and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh" (v. 8). The word "flesh" here refers not to muscle tissue but to the whole person. It's not that you lose your individuality in marriage. Rather Jesus is saying that this union is so profound and comprehensive, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially that we can speak of the two as one. Therefore, if you are willing to share your resources but not your heart; if you are willing to share your body but not your future that's not really a marriage according to Jesus and the scriptures. Biblical marriage is the comprehensive union between one man and one woman.
Therefore, because marriage is a comprehensive union, in which you share your entire life with another person, it requires a structure, a bond to hold it together. Marriage is not only a comprehensive union. It is also a permanent exclusive bond based on promises of future love. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife' (v. 7,9; Gen. 2:24). The word translated "hold fast" is sometimes translated "cleave to" or "cling to". It is a word that means to unite yourself to someone through a covenant, a binding promise of future action (re: Mal. 2:14). There are two necessary implications of this bond. It must be exclusive. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother" (v. 7). This doesn't mean you are to disown or dishonor your parents. The point is your marriage must take precedence over all other relationships, even your own family. Not only is marriage exclusive, it is also permanent. "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (v. 9). The Pharisees and seemingly the disciples too (v. 10-12), viewed marriage as a business transaction that could be revoked. While Jesus and the rest of scripture are realistic about the breakdown of marriage, Jesus doesn't begin with a concession. As one writer put it, "You do not learn to fly an airplane by following the instructions for making a crash landing" (Edwards, p. 301). Instead in marriage you are making a promise "to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances." (Keller, p. 87)
Jesus' vision for marriage is totally different than the ancient or the modern view of marriage. It is far more profound, deep and demanding, which is why Paul in Ephesians 5:31 calls it a "great mystery." What does Paul mean by this? In a word, he is saying that marriage explains the gospel and the gospel explains marriage. Or to put it yet another way, biblical marriage is gospel reenactment. So Paul writes "husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph. 5:25). Here Paul calls all husbands to love their wives the way Jesus loves the church...by suffering and dying for her in order to make her beautiful (Eph. 5:26-27). In the same way Paul calls wives to submit to their husbands (v. 5:22). I realize that is so unpopular to draw attention to, let alone quote. So why do it? Because it only has meaning in light of the submission of Jesus who gave up all his rights, all his interests and looked to ours instead.[B]ut [he] emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:7-8)For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom formany. (Mk. 10:45) Therefore all our ideas about submission and sacrifice must be reshaped and renewed by the gospel, by Jesus' submission and self-sacrifice. (re: Mk. 8:34)
You see the power for marriage is found in the gospel alone! Jesus gave up his glory to take on human nature. He willingly went to the cross and paid the penalty for our sins. He did all of this in order to bring us into a permanent, exclusive, and comprehensive union with himself, by grace alone through faith alone! In the words of the Father in Luke 15, the gospel is Jesus saying to you, "you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours." Do you know Jesus as your husband who gave himself...for you?
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What aspect of Jesus' definition for marriage stood out most and why?
- How does the gospel transform our view of marriage and even our experience of marriage?
- Whether you are married or single what do you see in a biblical view of marriage that leads you to worship and delight in Jesus?
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
This week I came across this book review in the New York Times. The author of the book, Rebecca Traister, discusses the recent development that the median age for a woman’s first marriage has risen to 27. Up until quite recently the median age fluctuated between 20-22. Here is a brief excerpt from the final paragraph of the review:
“In 2009,” Traister writes, “the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50 percent.” The systems and traditions of the country, however, aren’t built to celebrate or even accommodate this growing cohort of unmarried women, and so “All the Single Ladies” is arriving just in time. This is an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone — not just the single ladies — who wants to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States.
Songs for this week:
Let Us Love And Sing And Wonder
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Be Thou My Vision
Dear Refuge Of My Weary Soul
Until next time,
Jesus What A Friend For Sinners
Jesus! What a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.