Saturday, August 11, 2007

Restoring the Covenant Ministry of Marriage (Part I)

For over three weeks, God has really been pressing on me about marriage and order in the Body of Christ. Like many, I have been speaking heavily about order in the church, leadership and submission. Yet, it's as if God arrested me when He began dealing with me first about the state of my own marriage, then about the state of those around me.

It is my prayer that this short series of messages on marriage would be beneficial, particularly to the women of God and especially those who operate in ministry. The Lord has shown me that order is under attack, but the root of that attack in grounded in the family. We are trying to preach biblical principles to those who follow us and worship alongside of us without exercising those same principles in our own homes.

God is calling for the restoration of the most sacred covenant between two people - the institute of marriage.

Principle 1: Marriage is a Ministry

What is ministry? Most would define ministry in terms of rendering a "service" or "religious action." The Father is seeking those who will minister unto Him (Malachi 1). He has provided means by which we are able to minister unto Him, those being praise and worship, which are rooted in mere obedience. Oftentimes, we attempt to shove our praises down God's throat, but He does not accept every offering. We must approach Him and minister unto Him according to the protocol He has supplied.

Ch 15:13 For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.

DUE ORDER is key here. God's order must be followed, which means His people must be obedient. Obedience to our Father is ministry unto our Father. Obedience is how we show forth pure praise and enter into a worship rooted in spirit and truth.

Marriage is a covenant ministry - an act of obedience, as it was created, ordained and instructed by God for His purpose to be done in the earth.

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

The Father created man in His own image, and immediately gave Him dominion in the earth. During creation, God breathed His own breath into man that He might live and have communion with the Father. As history goes, we understand that a woman was later made from and for Adam.

Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23 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.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Adam, who had the breath of God within him, proclaimed that God's new creation would be a woman, because she had been taken from him, a man. Eve's purpose was to be a "help meet" unto her husband. In other words, she was created to help him fulfill his purpose on the earth - to multiply and to conquer. This purpose is bi-dimensional: both natural and spiritual.

The command given to Adam and Eve was to multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. This is the reason a man should leave his father and mother and cling to his wife - that the earth be subdued with those who carry the breath of God.

Now, God's command and instruction had a purpose. Throughout the Word of God, He uses marriage to symbolize our relationship with the Father. Marriage is the natural covenant to symbolize the spiritual one we have to God. It is also a spiritual covenant to join us together as we should be joined unto God. Because marriage is created to exemplify the very nature of God's creation to Himself, He is pleased by marriage. It is a gift unto His creation that can be used to glorify Him and fulfill His purpose upon the earth.

Marriage is intended to please the Father! What is the key to a successful marriage? The same as successful ministry - OBEDIENCE. I'll explore that in the next message along with the roles of the husband and wife in the marriage relationship.

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