Oneness in Marriage (Mark Sermon 48)
April 02, 2023 | Andy Davis
Gospel Partnership, Original Sin, Marriage and Parenting
The power of Christ in Christian marriage allows husband and wife to reject divorce categorically and to defeat it with God’s vision of oneness in marriage.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
This morning I'm going to preach on the same topic as I did last week. I'm going to be working through Matthew 19 more than Mark 10. On December 21st, 1988, a timer activated bomb exploded on PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 individuals on board and 11 individuals on the ground. Since the massive Boeing 747 airplane had reached an altitude of 31,000 feet, the explosion created what some called the largest crime scene in history. The wreck had spread over more than 1,200 square miles. Investigators painstakingly collected the fragments in order to determine the cause of the explosion. Eventually, these amazingly skilled people identified trace amounts of explosives to help confirm that this incident was not an accident, but indeed caused by an act of terrorism deliberately planned and executed with murderous intent. The stunning level of meticulous and far-reaching collection of fragments from an explosion, and the subsequent analysis of these fragments to deduce the cause and then bring to justice to criminals was unprecedented at the time and has never been equaled since.
As I was reading about this effort, my mind went to the phrase, “the largest crime scene in history.” Sometime ago I began to meditate on the theology of original sin in Adam, the effect of Adam's sin in the world and on every generation that followed. A particular passage in Ephesians 1:9-10 has come to my mind as being very significant in understanding not just sin but redemption and the work of Christ in redemption. It gave me an image years ago of sin having had the effect on the universe like a fragmentation grenade, a phrase I used years ago. It came from Ephesians 1:9-10, “God made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Think about that. God's ultimate purpose, which He will fulfill at the end of all things, is to gather, to bring together all things in heaven and on earth, to bring them all together and make them perfectly one in Christ.
This was a powerful insight in helping understand the effect that sin has had on the universe visible and invisible, how it has blown apart things that are meant to be together. What God has done with his work of redemption through the cross of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection, He will bring all things in the universe together into perfect oneness. Isn't that something to look forward to, brother and sisters? He will reverse the explosive effects of sin which ripped apart things that were meant to be together.
"What God has done with his work of redemption through the cross of Jesus Christ and through his resurrection, He will bring all things in the universe together into perfect oneness."
In light of that concept of sin as the ultimate fragmentation grenade or explosive device, I came to realize that this suffering planet Earth and actually all of human history itself is the largest crime scene in history and the Lockerbie explosion, just a subset of that larger crime scene. We see the effects of that explosion, that divisiveness of sin all over the world, everywhere we look in disunity, fragmentation, brokenness in all human relationships. But especially I want to zero in this morning on the topic of marriage and divorce. My purpose is to point with great hope to the power of Christ in marriage, to reject as we did last week, divorce categorically as Jesus does, and to defeat it with God's vision of oneness. I want to zero in on that concept of oneness in marriage today.
I. Review: Jesus on Marriage and Divorce
Let's do some review from last week on Jesus’ view of marriage and divorce. The Pharisees came to Jesus with a vicious test asking, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife, in Matthew 19:3, for any and every cause, any and every reason, whatever reason He wants?
Walking through Jesus's answer from Matthew 19, haven't you read as we said last time in Jesus' mind, that the answer for all marital issues, all marital problems is in the Bible? The Bible is sufficient, completely sufficient to define marriage, to heal it, to empower it, make it fruitful. Haven't you read that Jesus went back to God's original intention in marriage, asserting that the paradigm God set up at the beginning of human history is permanent for all of human history?
In the account you heard in Mark, Jesus begins right away with “What did Moses command you?” They went barking up the wrong tree. Moses permitted a divorce. Jesus was saying, “No, I'm talking about Moses, I’m talking about earlier than that. I'm talking about Genesis 1 and 2. What did Moses command you?” That was Jesus' mindset. The paradigm at the beginning, the creator said, is good for all time. I said last week, God made marriage originally and God makes marriages specifically, God is active in bringing a couple together. God made the ultimate, the original paradigm and lays it on all cultures, all marriage for all time. We'll never change on that.
Haven't you read that in the beginning the creator made them male and female, God spoke through biology and He spoke also through scripture. The nature of things, the reality, the significance of gender will never go away. Jesus is not confused about it. We shouldn't be confused either. One man, one woman, covenant union for life, that's marriage. He said for this reason, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh” [Genesis 2:24]. God said it. It doesn't matter that Moses wrote it ultimately. What matters is God said this is the paradigm He gave us. A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, “cleave” in the KJV very famously, like they're glued together, a picture of oneness. The two will become one flesh, the adding of the word “flesh” clearly implying that the sexual union that is unique to the marriage relationship, the one flesh union through which children are procreated.
But then Jesus doubles down, He circles back on that saying, so they are no longer two but one in case you missed it, he adds that extra phrase; they are no longer two but one. That is the foundational truth. The two become one is the reason why divorce is wrong. Then his final legal binding pronouncement, therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. That's the ruling by the judge of all the earth. John 5, “all judgment has been entrusted to the Son.” He is the judge of all human beings and this is his verdict on this matter. This is his command, his prohibition. Let man not separate. So no, it is not lawful. No, it is not right for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason.
Then in Matthew 19, the question, why then did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away? Jesus replied that Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard, but it was not this way from the beginning. He walks through the Moses statement and law concerning divorce. Then the clear prohibition [Matthew 19:9], “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, “porneia”, and marries another woman commits adultery.” In Mark 10:11-12, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her and if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
So not dealing with the exception clause, which I dealt with last week, in general, divorce is forbidden. I ended last week with an illustration from that photographer turned family minister, Reb Bradley. You remember how he had photographed their wedding and some of you maybe weren't here last week, but this photographer had photographed a wedding, but later in his ministry he saw this man who said, "I think you photographed our wedding." "Yeah, I remember. How's it going?" The man said, "I think we're going to get a divorce." Then there was this awkward pause; but it's important, you need to know when to do an awkward pause. Crickets. "You can't," he said, "I beg your pardon." "You heard me? You can't. I was there as a photographer, but I was also there as a witness and I heard what you said and this is the very thing you promised you wouldn't do and I'm holding you to it." He said, "What do you want me to do?" "Work it out." I didn't tell you the rest of the story. He met with the couple and they did work it out and they didn't get a divorce, a happy ending. Now this is my effort to help you all work it out. That's what this sermon is. It's like, okay pastor, we can't get a divorce, so help us, help us to work it out. That's what we're going to do. There are a lot of approaches I could take on this sermon today. I've already walked through what I did last week. This is meant to be helpful to marriages.
First of all, I'm very aware that not everyone I'm talking to is married right now. I'm aware that some were married. You're either divorced in the past or are a widow/widower. I understand that. Others of you will be married in the future, but you're not married now. Others of you, I am very aware, have the gift of singleness, but I am coming from the basic concept of us as a local church we should care about each other. We should care about others who are not in the exact condition we're in. We should care about their situations. I would hope that every member of this church and indeed every visitor would care about the health of the marriages in this church and marriage in general, so I'm going forward in that conception.
What I'm going to do, I decided I'm going to stay in my lane here on this because I could go anywhere. There are hundreds of sermons I could preach on marriage, lot of different passages I could go to, but I want to stick to Matthew 19 and Mark 10, and stick to two issues. Above all, above all, oneness. That's going to be my answer, that we would understand it. What is attacking oneness? Jesus said hardness of heart. I'm going to start with hardness of heart to try to understand it and how it creates divorce and then go from that to a discussion of oneness. Then I'm going to speak toward a more perfect oneness that can happen, toward more perfect oneness in marriage.
II. The Problem: Hardness of Heart
Let's start with the problem. The problem is hardness of heart. Jesus said, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.” What does this mean? “Hardness of heart”, biblically, the phrase refers to resistance or rebellion against the Word of God, a resistance to a rebellion against the Word of God. That's hardness of heart. The first time we see the phrase famously is with the condition of Pharaoh. You remember at the time of the Exodus [Exodus 5], God commanded Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” That's hardness of heart right there.
Later in Exodus 7:13-14, “so Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them just as the Lord had said.” So hardness of heart means I'm not listening to what God is saying. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh's heart is unyielding”, so it's an unyieldedness to God. You're not yielding to God. Pharaoh refuses to let the people go, so hardness of heart is rebellion against God. Sadly, tragically, it was later clearly displayed in the people of Israel themselves again and again and again this hardness of heart toward God. So much so that David writing centuries later in Psalm 95:7-10 said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Mariba, as you did that day at Masa in the desert where your father's tested and tried me though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation and I said, they are a people whose hearts go astray and they have not known my ways.”
That's hardness of heart, going astray from God, not knowing his ways. A hard heart then is one that is stubborn toward God. It's not soft, it's not yielded, it's not obedient. I believe biblically a synonym for a hard heart in the case of Israel was “stiff neck”. Again and again you see that that statement, they are a “stiff neck” people. [Exodus 32:9]. The Lord said it to Moses, and they are a stiff neck people. I think it's a synonym, it's just a different image for the same thing. It means to be rebellious, not soft, not yielded to God. You're fighting him, pushing back. The author of the Hebrews picks up on Psalm 95 and applies it to all Christians for all time. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” It's a fundamental command to all people apart from marriage on any topic. If you hear God speak to you from his Word, don't harden your hearts as they did in the rebellion. It comes from Romans 8:7, “the mind of the flesh is hostile to God.” It does not submit to God's law. Indeed, it cannot. That is a hostility toward God that does not submit to God and to his law. The hardness aspect implies that God wants softness when it comes to his Word, a yieldedness, compliance, obedience.
Divorce comes about when people harden their hearts toward God above all. They will not obey his rules. They break rules within the marriage, such as adultery. They'll break God's law within the marriage and destroy it, or in their relationships with each other and divorce comes as a result. But beyond that vertical nature of hardness of heart, there's a hardness of a heart that happens horizontally within the marriage, the couple. A hard heart horizontally is one that's not moved with compassion or love toward the circumstances of another. We are supposed to love our neighbor as ourself. Martin Luther said, "Your nearest neighbor is your wife.” Hardness of heart 95% of the time in the Bible is vertical, but there are sometimes that it's used horizontally as in Zechariah 7:9-12, “this is what the Lord Almighty says, administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other. But they refuse to pay attention stubbornly, they turn their backs and stop their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit.” So even those verses, though there's a horizontal aspect, it's really vertical, but it plays out horizontally. They are oppressing or closing up their hearts toward the needs of others, as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember the priest sees the man bleeding by the side of the road and just walks on by. The Levite, sees the man bleeding by the side of the road and just walks on by. They have hard hearts.
"Divorce comes about when people harden their hearts toward God above all."
Now, Christian marriage is based on love, a genuine affection that the two have for each other; an attraction of the two hearts together. They're drawn in tenderness and affection toward one another. That means they have compassion toward one another and a commitment toward the issues of each other's lives. Rejoicing when your spouse rejoices, mourning when your spouse mourns; what happens to your spouse happens to you. You share everything. Your hearts are bound together. But when hardness of heart comes in, the couple is no longer sensitive toward the feelings of the other.
Divorces can often display a tragic, a terrifying viciousness between two people who used to love each other, and God likens divorce to violence. He actually likens it directly to violence. It's a form of violence. Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel. “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 with the wife of your youth.” It's a violent thing to say to someone that you used to love, "I don't love you anymore. I don't want to live my life with you anymore." It rips that person apart. You can imagine the cleaving, the gluing together. There's no way to get those two pieces of wood that are glued together, apart cleanly. It doesn't come apart cleanly. It's incredibly damaging.
To combat divorce, we have to start with this topic of hardness of heart. How do we solve that? Is that not the question of all of redemptive history? How do we solve this problem of hardness of heart? There is one and only one answer. And that is Jesus Christ, his saving work on the cross and the empty tomb. It is sufficient. It is sufficient. I would just say to you couples and indeed to everyone who hears me? Begin with letting your heart be convicted of your own sin. Be broken about your own sin. In Luke 18:13, the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” How can you say that to God in truth and then be hard in your heart toward your spouse?
Start there and then think of the demeanor that Jesus zeroes in on it, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. What kind of demeanor is seen in a saved person? What does it look like to be saved? He says, “blessed are the spiritual beggars, poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Someone who knows they have nothing to offer for their own souls, “blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” There's a grieving over our sins, blessed are the meek. There's a basic humility to someone that is being saved by the spirit through faith in Christ. They are meek toward others for they'll inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for a righteousness.” They don't have and they still know they don't have it. We want perfect righteousness. We're hungry and thirsty for it, “for they will be filled.” “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” You walk through those beatitudes. Do you not see the power that has to solve whatever problem you're having with your spouse? Then let your heart be soft toward Christ. We're in Holy Week this week. Picture him screaming in agony while He's being flagellated by the Romans. Omnipotent God in the flesh could have stopped that flagellation, but He was laying down his life for us sinners. By his stripes, we are healed and you need to say, my sin did that to Jesus. Look at him suffering there on the cross. Look at him. See him with eyes of faith before your eyes. Christ Jesus was portrayed as crucified. See him bleeding, crying out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Why? Because He's our substitute, He's the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Zechariah 12:10, “They will look on me, the one they appease and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for me as one grieves for a firstborn son.” You're grieving for Jesus's suffering on your behalf.
Then understand the good news of the gospel is not just justification by faith alone as the thief on the cross, but it's also a transformation of your basic nature, your core nature by the grace of God as described in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and I'll give you a heart of flesh and I'll put my spirit in you and I'll move you. Follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” That's salvation. That's the remedy to the hardness of heart. God takes out that heart of stone and gives you a living heart that can respond to his laws and his rules, and you see them as beautiful and delightful and the Spirit moves you to do them.
Then repent of the specific sins that are damaging your marriage. Start with pride, just a thought. Start with pride. “God, show me how I have been prideful toward my spouse.” Go from that quickly to sinful anger. They're linked. Almost all anger in marriage is based on pride. Go to lust. How have you violated your marital commitments in that area? Selfishness, coldness, worldliness, arguments, complaining, thanklessness, all manner of sins that damage the marriage bond. Repent of them, name them and then let God do a deep work in you to soften your own heart first and then save your marriage next.
III. The Solution: Oneness
Now let's talk about the solution, oneness. The foundation of Jesus's conception of marriage and his prohibition against divorce is oneness. The two will become one flesh, so they're no longer two but one. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” How can we understand the mystery, this mystery of oneness? It is a much deeper, broader, more significant topic than we ever could have imagined; this oneness. The whole goal, as I've said of God's work in redemption [Ephesians 1], the mystery of his will. He made known to us the mystery of his will. So now we know it. We understand what God's doing in the universe. According to his good pleasure, He's pleased to do this. It brings God pleasure to do this, which He purposed in Christ, not apart from Christ; it couldn't be done apart from Christ but in Christ only. To be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment. It's not happened yet. We can see just by current events we're not there yet, but when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ, that's his purpose. Oneness.
The ultimate picture pattern of oneness is God himself, the Trinity. We're going into the glowing core of Christian theology. The deepest mystery of our faith, the doctrine of the Trinity. The Doctrine of the Trinity means that we believe there is one God and only one God who has eternally existed as three distinct persons, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is one in essence and three in person. So three truths. Number one, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons. Each of those persons is fully God and there is only one God. That's the doctrine of the Trinity, but it's mysterious. The mystery is the oneness, not the three. The threeness is not mysterious. Cultures all over the world are polytheistic. It's not hard for us to imagine three gods or a pantheon of God's. Mystery is Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” There is one God and only one God. Then Jesus elucidates. It was in the incarnation that then we started to expand and could more fully understand the doctrine of the Trinity because of Jesus' claims about himself. He said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, but I'm not the father.” Or as prayer in John 17, which is vital to my whole presentation to you right now, John 17:11, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me so that they may be one as we are one.” Again later in that same prayer, John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one father just as you are in me and I am in you.”
So bringing it to marriage, all unity in a Christian marriage is based on the unity of the Trinity. It's a picture of the unity of the Trinity, separate persons, but one as the Father and the Son are one. But what does that mean? Different centers of personality of being, but a shared essence. I want to commend to you Philippians 2:1-11, as the best kind of descriptive passages to explain how I conceive the oneness of the Father and the Son and the Spirit. We don't have time to walk through it. I just want to commend to you Philippians 2:1-11, but especially starting at Philippians 2:2 where he's commending this for the Philippian church.
"All unity in a Christian marriage is based on the unity of the Trinity."
I want you to think about the Trinity in this sense, having the same mind, having the same love, being one in spirit, one in mind. It's one translation of Philippians 2:2. The Father, the Son and the Spirit have the same mind. There's a factual kind of scientific aspect to the oneness that they think the same way about every topic. They understand everything the same way. They have the same facts and agree that those are the facts. There is not the slightest shadow of a shade of disagreement between the Father, Son and the Spirit about any topic, ever. They're of one mind with each other and they have the same love. It's not just an intellectual, but there's an affection side like a magnet attracted. That's what love is. Their hearts are attracted to the same things or repulsed from the same things to the same degree. They love each other with the same love. There's no unrequited love within the Trinity. They love the same things. They love righteousness, they hate wickedness. They love the people of God. They love the plans that they have, they have that same affection, the same love, and they are of the same spirit and most translate that in sense of the same purpose or direction or plan. They know what they're about, they're going in the same direction. They agree. They agreed before the foundation of the world about redemptive history. They agreed about every aspect of redemptive history, Father, Son, and Spirit. That is the unity that Christian couples should strive for.
You may ask, is that even possible here on earth? No, not perfectly, but it is the goal. That's what we're striving for in Christian unity. Unity here is in a local church that's Philippians, but in marriage it also applies. How do you do that? He goes negative to say what is it that damages the unity of the Christian fellowship? Now we're going to go over into marriage? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interests of others.” Can I just say, husbands and wives, if you did that, you wouldn't have any problems. But like, "Pastor, that's hard." You're going right at your pride at that point. Pride is the greatest enemy to harmonious marriage. So don't do anything out of selfish ambition or vain glory vaunting yourself. But in humility, consider your spouse better than you. Consider them at a higher level than you. In that sense, you're going to honor them ahead of yourself and consider your spouse's needs like you consider your own. Husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. So that's similar. The idea is we're I'm going to consider your needs the way I consider my own. Then he gives us this beautiful example of Christ as the ultimate picture of humility. Have this mind in you which is also in Christ Jesus. Let me pause and say, Corinthians tells us we have the mind of Christ. In conversion you've been given through the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ, use it. Think like Jesus, “who being in very nature, did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped but made himself nothing. Taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.” Spouses that have that kind of servant attitude will have rich, full unity in marriage.
Paul, commonly urged this of Christians; he does it again and again. Philippians 4:2 is an interesting case study. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of one mind with each other or agree with each other in the Lord.” Then he asks maybe a pastor, one of the elder there, Sysagist or loyal yokefellow, “help these women”. Help them what? Help them agree. I picture the three of them in a room and they're not coming out till they all agree. Is that even feasible? Doesn't matter whether it's feasible, Paul's saying, “Do it. Get in the room, two ladies and agree with each other, and pastor help him.”
It's almost like Reb Bradley and the couple. We're not coming out till we agree. That's amazing. Think alike [First Corinthians 1:10]. He does that with the Corinthian church. “I appeal to you brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” That's to the faction-ridden divided church of Corinth. A married couple can do this. A married couple can be of one mind together and to agree with each other.
Again, Second Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers, goodbye. Aim for perfection. Listen to my appeal. Be of one mind, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.” That's sounds like you could say that to a married couple. Think of the beautiful example of the early churchman. Now think of it in terms of a Christian marriage, a Christian family, [Acts 4:32], “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” How beautiful is that? Or again, Romans 15:5-6, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, that's a beautiful marriage.
He's talking to a church there, but it could be done in a Christian marriage. You're praising Jesus together for his death and his resurrection. That's a picture of what oneness in marriage can look like. I think that's what the Lord meant, what our Lord meant when He said so they are no longer two but one. Sounds good. Why is it so hard? I'm going through this on Wednesday nights. Those of you that are with us on Wednesday nights know exactly where I'm at, I'm at Roman 7. That's why it's hard. Listen to this Roman 7:15-17, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do. I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” Let me pause. You may be saying, “I just can't do it. We just can't do it.” As it is, Paul says, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. Because of indwelling sin we can't do this, it seems. Later in that same chapter, “I find this law at work when I want to do good evil is right there with me. For in my inner being, I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” It's like there's this law in my flesh that makes it hard for me to be a good husband. I want to be loving. I want to be kind. I want to listen. I want to be humble. I want to think that my wife has better ideas than I do. I'm sure she wants all the same thing too. Knowing, I mean, that she would think that I have good ideas too. But you know what happens? As soon as something comes up, we immediately bump into our prideful sin nature and it rises up. It's hard. Everything in the Christian life is made hard by this. But I would say perhaps, especially marriage. You may say this sounds kind of hopeless. You're giving us this beautiful pure picture, but it just cannot be. Paul says, “What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Let me tell you something. If you're a Christian, you have been rescued. If you're a Christian, you are being rescued. If you're a Christian, someday you will be finally rescued from this body of sin and death. In heaven, we will all be in Christ perfectly one as the Father and the Son. Ponder that, think about that. That's where we're heading. We're heading to a world of perfect unity. Why is that? Because Jesus prayed for it, and Jesus isn't just anybody. He prayed for it. I'll say it again, John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them, and you in me. May they be brought to complete perfect unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” In heaven, we will be as one, as the Father and Son are one. We're going to agree about everything. And you wives are saying right now, "Finally, he'll see it the right way." It's going to happen, ladies. It's going to happen. He's finally going to see it the right way and so will you. Perfect oneness. You know what that means? You Christian couples, you're heading toward a world of super marriage in heaven without actually having a one flesh union. One flesh union won't be needed anymore, you will not be married. We'd be like the angels in heaven, but you'll have a superior unity in Christ than you ever had here on earth.
That's something to look forward to, isn't it? Why? Because Jesus prayed for it. It says in First John 5, “This is the confidence we have. If we ask anything according to God's will, He hears us. And we know that if He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we ask of him.” That's true of Jesus. Does Jesus ask according to the will of God? Friends, that's an easy theology question. Do you think that Jesus asks God for things that God wants to give Jesus? Yes. Jesus bats a thousand on his prayer request. That means everything He prays for in John 17, He's going to get. This is Jesus interceding at the right hand of God that will end up as one, as the Father and Son are one and we will.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective [James 5:16]. Is Jesus a righteous man? Oh, perfectly righteous. Does He pray according to the will of the Father? Yes, He does. He's going to get it. So we're going to be one. His prayer in John 17 is us being brought to complete unity to let the onlooking world see it and want to come to Christ. The more that husbands and wives in this world can work out a beautiful unity, a heavenly unity, the better it'll be for their children who watch them, their friends who know them, the church who knows them, the better it is for everybody. So that we can be one in Christ.
IV. Moving Toward Oneness in Marriage
How to move toward oneness? Draw close to Christ. John 15, “I am the vine you are the branches.” If you remain in Jesus, if his words remain in you, you saturate yourself in his word. Ask whatever you wish. Pray together. You have an issue that's dividing you, could be finances, could be parenting, could be where to go on vacation, could be in-law issues, it could be whether to buy that house or not. It could be job related issues. All kinds of manners of things big and small. Draw together, pray together. Let his word abide in you, dwell in you richly. Search the scriptures to see what God's Word says about that topic. And let the Lord draw you together and not let the issue divide you.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind [Romans 12:2], then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Let that be the pattern. Ask God for wisdom. And if you're struggling in your marriage, I would just commend James 4:8-10, “Come near to God and He'll come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts you double minded; grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” Hold hands together, confess your sins to each other. Freely give forgiveness to each other because you've been forgiven 10,000 talents. And then communicate, listen to each other. Talk about the issue, work it through. Ask God for wisdom. Search the scriptures and walk together in oneness.
There's like three or four other pages of stuff, but we don't have time. We're going to turn now to a time of the Lord's Supper. This is a beautiful picture of our heavenly unity that we're going to have. I'm going to close the sermon time and pray.
Father, we thank you for the truths you've given us today for oneness in marriage, concerning hardness of heart and oneness. I pray that you take these lessons and press them on deeply into our hearts. And now as we turn to celebration of the Lord's Supper, be with us in the center of this time. In Jesus name, Amen.