Sermon 10.7.18 Pentecost 20

Genesis 2:18-24                                                                                                                                                                        Rev. Kenneth Frey
Pentecost 20                                                                                                                                                                                               10/7/18
 
Genesis 2:18-24 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.  But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
 
What can we learn from God’s institution of marriage?
1.  In love God gave marriage for companionship
2.  Sex is for marriage and not for sex
3.  There is an order of creation that applies to the roles of men and women
 
Mae West said, “Marriage is a great institution.  But I’m not ready for an institution yet.”   Rodney Dangerfield said, “We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner apart, we take separate vacations – we’re doing everything we can to keep our marriage together.” 
Marriage has been much maligned and abused.  It has been redefined and ridiculed.  But what we can’t forget is that God instituted marriage as a blessing for mankind.  Today we have God’s institution of marriage.  What can we learn from this for our lives?
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.   Imagine the situation.  Adam is examining each creature and giving it a name.  There’s Mr. and Mrs. Giraffe.  There’s Mr. and Mrs. Gorilla.  Mr. and Mrs. Lion.  It wouldn’t take long for him to realize that something was missing.  But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  There was no Mrs. Human.  He was missing something.  There was no one by his side.  Horses are pretty but they don’t carry on much conversation. 
Adam was alone on that sixth day of creation.  There were beasts and birds in that glorious paradise called Eden.  But Adam was alone.  And God said that’s not good.  So, in order to make it good, God did two things that day.  First, he created the woman from the man’s side. 
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  It was more than just a rib, really.  It was a piece of his side – bone, muscle, flesh.  From this piece of Adam he built a woman.  That is the best translation of the word.  He built a woman. 
Just like with Adam, God did not just speak her into existence.  With all the rest of creation God spoke and it was.  But with Adam and Eve it was different.  He formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him.  Likewise with the woman, he didn’t speak her into existence, but fashioned her from the same genetic material as Adam.
And Adam recognized what a blessing this was.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  You can almost hear the excitement in his voice.  This!  This one!  This is the one for me!  Adam recognized that God had made her just for him.
The second thing God did to address man’s loneliness was institute marriage.  24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  The man leaves.  The Hebrew word means to forsake, leave or untie.  It is a word of strong intention.  It is used for untying the bonds that hold an animal and letting it go.  In this context it means that a man breaks the union with his parents, almost in the sense of divorcing himself from them.  The man can’t be both a dependent child and an independent husband.
Then he unites with his wife.  The old King James Version translated that “cleave.”  The word has a sort of “stick-to-itive-ness,” like glue.  So marriage is a man and woman leaving their former relationships and cleaving to each other.  The result is marriage, the one flesh relationship. 
We can learn from God’s institution of marriage that it is a gift of love from a gracious God.  Marriage provides companionship.  Most people need companionship.  So we should see marriage as a blessing from God, not an institution to make fun of or redefine, like many want to do today.  If you are married, treasure that blessing God has given you.  Make time every day to thank God for your spouse.  Pray for your spouse.  Pray with your spouse.  Treat your spouse as God’s special gift, because that’s what they are. 
The first thing we learn is that God gave marriage for companionship.  The second thing we learn from God’s institution of marriage is that sex is not for sex; sex is for marriage.  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  One flesh implies the sexual relationship, but is not limited to that.  It speaks to a oneness that is to embrace all aspects of your marriage.  It’s not my money and your money, but our money.  It’s not my car and your car but our cars.  It’s not my time and your time but our time.  It’s not my remote, but our remote.  Oneness means sharing things in common, including the sexual relationship.
Satan has a way of twisting and perverting God’s gifts to us.  Food and drink are gifts of God, but Satan leads us to abuse these gifts to our own harm.  Technology is a wonderful gift of God, but Satan leads people to use technology to harm and steal from others.  It’s the same way with God’s gift of sex.  Satan has so perverted our culture in regard to this that many think sex is just for sex.  They treat it like any other bodily function.  A man has to eat, right?  So the same with sex.  It doesn’t matter where, when or with whom. 
That’s clearly not what God’s Word teaches us.  Sex is not for sex.  Sex is for marriage.  The oneness comes after the leaving and the cleaving.  The oneness is not to happen outside the leaving and cleaving, but only with the leaving and the cleaving.  And so I will say very clearly right now:  If you are sexually active outside of the commitment of marriage or even giving a hint of that by living with someone when you are not married, you are sinning and you need to repent. 
It is important that we honor marriage especially since marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.  “There once was a perfect man who was searching for the perfect wife, but he just couldn’t find one.  All of the women in his world were just lousy helpers, adulterous, unfaithful, and worst of all, ugly.  Yet, instead of remaining single, he picked the most ugly women he could find who had the worst body odor and said, ‘I’m going to marry her.’  With that resolution, he cleaned her up, gave her all the riches of the world, gave her a facial, and made her the most beautiful woman in the world.  Some of you may be saying, ‘I wish that were my husband.’  Fellow Christians, that IS your husband.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate role model for a faithful husband, and we are the worst role model for an unfaithful wife.  Yet Jesus, because he died for us, and because he pledged his love for us in our baptism, promises to forgive us and stick with us, in spite of our sins.” (Joel Pankow) 
The Christ/church relationship is reflected in marriage.  And that leads to one more thing we can learn from God’s institution of marriage.  There is an order in creation that applies to the roles of men and women in marriage.  Genesis 1 presents the overview of creation and there man and woman are presented as equal recipients of God’s blessings and they share in the authority over creation.  In chapter 2 we get the details of God’s creation on the sixth day and we see that the man was formed first and the woman was formed afterward as a helper for the man. 
Ladies, God calls you a helper and that puts you in good company.  In Psalm 46 it says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  The psalmist calls God our helper, using the same word that describes the woman in Genesis 2.  God wants us to think of him as someone we can turn to in times of trouble.  Is this so bad that God calls the woman a helper?  He didn’t make a “doormat” suitable for Adam.  He didn’t make a “punching bag” suitable for Adam.  He made a helper suitable for Adam. 
Like God then, the helper role is someone the man can turn to in times of trouble.  God said she is suitable to the man.  That is she corresponds to him.  She is like him, but different from him.  In marriage a man and a woman complement each other with different gifts and abilities.  We shouldn’t see the God-given differences as a negative but as a positive and we should live out those roles to the best of your ability.
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.  Wives, help your husbands to be more Christ-like by submitting to them and respecting them.  
We live in a culture that maligns and ridicules marriage.  Let’s not give in to sinful culture.  Instead, filled with the love of the Lord Jesus who laid down his life for the church, may God give us the strength to honor marriage in our lives.