Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to discover how to experience a highly successful marriage. This is the fifth edition in our series 7 Biblical Principles of a Highly Successful Marriage.

In the past few weeks we have looked at four of seven biblical principles pertaining to a highly successful marriage. They have been; #1 Compatibility, #2 Understanding that your marriage is more about your relationship with God than it is about your relationship with your spouse, #3 Holiness and #4 Selfless service.

This week I want to introduce a 5th Biblical Principle of a highly successful marriage – faithfulness. One might think that faithfulness in marriage is a no brainer, an unnecessary focal point in a series such as this one. Even the world thinks for the most part that faithfulness in marriage is important right? Maybe, but why is faithfulness something that every highly successful marriage must possess? It may be for reasons greater than you think.

Admittedly as I have said almost ad nauseam, the primary purpose of marriage as stated by God, it’s originator, is to reflect Him and represent His many characteristics. (Genesis 1:26-27) As God looks into our marital mirrors He expects to see Himself, as the world looks at our marriages they too should see an awesome likeness of who God is. A rudimentary example of this that requires no further explanation is the secondary purpose of marriage as noted by God. Then God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” Genesis 1:28. God is the creator of life and when joined in marriage a husband and wife are also capable of creating life. That example illustrates the simple truth that marriage is in fact reflective of God, but we can also see the necessity of the requirement that a marriage be only comprised of a man and a woman. Two similar yet uniquely different beings joined as one for the purpose of glorifying God and His vast capabilities. In past episodes I have made note of other unique differences possessed by both men and women that when joined in marriage and made one, more accurately reflect the totality God’s characteristics. One I have noted is the differences in our thinking. Each man a compartmentalized thinker while His wife is relational in her thoughts. Why that difference? Because God thinks both ways as illustrated in my podcast series Differences that Divide. Another example from that series would be the differing relational needs of a man and a woman. A husband is always looking carefully at his wife’s responses to ensure that he is respected by her for what he says, does, thinks, and believes. Likewise, she is also scrutinizing his responses to see that she is loved for those very same things.

If marriage is intended to mirror God’s characteristics, and it most certainly is, then one of the qualities that must be found in every marriage for it to be highly successful at reflecting Him is faithfulness. God is faithful therefore there can be no question that faithfulness is key to a marriage living up to its intended purpose. How do we know that He is faithful? Certainly most of us would say we have more than enough anecdotal evidence to support that claim. However, His word also makes His faithfulness abundantly evident.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. We can rest assured that the Lord God is faithful. As I said a moment ago, evidence of that from our own experience abounds, however so does proof from His word. Literally thousands of God’s promises recorded in the Bible have already been fulfilled, and there will never be scriptural promise that will go unfulfilled. In the 33 years that Jesus lived on the earth alone, He fulfilled not only the 48 specific messianic prophecies, but many scholars estimate that He fulfilled over 250 other prophesies, when you count the many that are not specific to, but are closely associated with the Messiah. I love that example because of the overwhelming conclusion it draws as to God’s faithfulness. Dr. Peter Stoner author of the book, Science Speaks, calculated that the probability of one man fulfilling just 8 of the 48 messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament to be 1 in a million to the 22nd power. For those not-so-good at math that is the number 1,000,000 with 22 more zeros added! For additional context, if you were to take enough silver dollars to cover the entire state of Texas 2 feet deep, and you marked a small x marked on the back of just one coin, the odds of a blindfolded person picking out the correct coin on the first try would be the same as Jesus fulfilling all 48 of the messianic prophecies, which He in fact did.

God is not simply faithful to keep His promises. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your Faithfulness. Here we read of God’s faithfulness in the sense that He will never let us down. We can count on Him to keep His word to us because of His great and unwavering love for us. This concept of God’s unending faithfulness is described further in Psalm 36:5 where we read, Your steadfast love oh Lord extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Furthermore, God’s word tells us that He is faithful to interact with us in the way that He has promised to. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it. Here the promise is that if we are willing to accept His Son’s sacrifice for our sin, God will keep us and find us blameless when Jesus returns. This verse clearly says that God is faithful and we can count on Him to look at us as righteous because of our acceptance of His free gift of salvation found in His Son, Jesus. I love what is says about this in Philippians 1:6. There we read, Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. The promise here is that God is absolutely going to finish the work of redemption that He has begun in our lives. His word says so. He is faithful, and we can count on it.

God is faithful to us, and therefore, as a part of the covenant with us that our marriages are a representation of, God requires our faithfulness to Him. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us that, Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. In other words, the requirement on us as to our part in the Creator/created relationship is to be found to be faithful in all things. Jesus was explaining the importance God places on faithfulness one day and told a story about a businessman who went away on a trip and entrusted money to three of his employees for them to invest in his absence. When the businessman returned two of the employees had doubled his money. To those the employer said “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. (Matthew 25:21 & 23) Jesus then made the point that the third employee had been afraid and had hidden the portion of money he was supposed to invest. When his employer asked for his return on investment from that employee, he was told that only the principle amount originally entrusted to him remained. Jesus called that employee wicked and unfaithful. Faithfulness matters to God. He is faithful to us and He intends and expects that we will be faithful to Him in return.

As I said earlier, our marriages are to reflect God and His character. God is faithful, and we are to be as well. We must be faithful to Him, and quite frankly He desires and expects that our faithfulness will be evident within our marriages too. In fact, according to His own word, God looks to see if we are being faithful to our spouse…to discern if we are being faithful to Him. What should our faithfulness to our spouse look like? Faithfulness is demonstrated in many ways. A few weeks ago I spoke of another of the principles of a highly successful marriage, Holiness. I described God’s holiness as being consistent and trustworthy. Faithfulness in our marriage is illustrated in much the same ways. It is being consistent. Our spouse needs to know that they can count on us to act the same way when we are out of their presence as we do when they are with us. God’s word speaks to this in Matthew 5:37 it says that we should let our ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and our ‘No,’ [be] ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. In other words, people, (our spouse especially) should be able to count on the answers we give to remain the same – no matter who from, or under what circumstances the questions arise.

Faithfulness is being true to the person who is counting on us. Faithfulness in marriage is more than being consistent, and it is also more than being sexually faithful. Those are critical components of faithfulness no doubt, but it is far more than just those things. It is an unwillingness to say or do anything that might call our allegiance to our spouse into question. One of the agreements my wife and I made before we married, was to never allow ourselves to be put into a situation where we would feel the need to explain it to the other should they show up unexpectedly. That means we won’t be found anywhere, participate in anything, or even be caught saying anything that might reasonably lead to questions of our faithfulness from the other. As I said a few moments ago, God takes the level of our faithfulness to our spouse very seriously…because it is reveals our faithfulness to Him. Generally speaking, I quote scripture in my podcasts from the New King James Version, but the meaning of this particular scripture is actually captured extremely well in the paraphrase The Message, so I will read it to you from there. Malachi 2:10-17 say, 10 Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along? Why do we desecrate the covenant of our ancestors that binds us together? 11-12 Judah has cheated on God—a sickening violation of trust in Israel and Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the holiness of God by falling in love and running off with foreign women, women who worship alien gods. God’s curse on those who do this! Drive them out of house and home! They’re no longer fit to be part of the community no matter how many offerings they bring to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. 13-15 And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse. 16 “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat. 17 You make God tired with all your talk. “How do we tire him out?” you ask. By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.”

Faithfulness is so important to God because true faithfulness is a selfless act. Real faithfulness is motivated by a greater desire to do what someone else needs or wants, than to do what you might choose if you had only yourself to consider. Jesus talked about the necessity of that level of faithfulness to Him if we are going to have a correct relationship with Him. In Luke 9:23 He said “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Faithfulness is selfless because it requires us to deny ourselves and follow the one we are being faithful to. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus said, He who loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Here Jesus is dramatically illustrating the high level of faithfulness required to be in relationship with Him…because He is that faithful to us. So as we just read in Malachi, God looks to see if we will have that same selfless faithfulness toward our spouse. The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit then penned these commands to help us illustrate our faithfulness to our spouse and to God. In Ephesians 5:22 & 25 Paul wrote, Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. As God watches us to see if we will prefer and submit to our spouse like He commanded us to, He is actually interested in finding out if we are willing to prefer and submit to Him. Faithfulness is the 5th in our list of Biblical Principles for a Highly Successful Marriage.

So now, being faithful to the God who has always faithful to you by being a faithful husband or wife…Go Be Awesome!