Rev. David Holwick G Lies Christians Believe
First Baptist Church (short sermon due to laymen testimonies)
Ledgewood, New Jersey (not preached)
February 15, 2015
[much of this material was incorporated into my March 8, 2015, sermon]
I. Valentine's Days sometimes come with storms.
A. We had a few inches last night that delayed our chili dinner.
1) Other storms are more metaphorical.
2) A local pastor asked me to pray for him this week.
His wife has been very unhappy and wanted to end their
He wanted to work it out but wasn't sure how to go about
The text he was going to preach on two days later - the
same one we read today: "Husbands, love your wives...."
B. Sometimes it is hard to be a man.
1) Relationships are difficult to establish and maintain.
2) Our goal is to find our soulmate.
a) It is an interesting concept.
b) I guess it is someone who is a clone of us, only
prettier and with more understanding.
c) Soulmates are not easy to find.
3) One guy thought the solution was flowers.
a) Yesterday I shelled out $120 for flowers, all by
b) My step-mother and mother-in-law were delighted.
c) I did not get flowers for Celeste - too dangerous:
A man from Houston, Texas ordered flowers and a
They were sent to his girlfriend with the note:
"Just wanted to say that I love you and you mean
the world to me!"
The trouble is the flower company sent a thank you
response from the girlfriend to his home - where
his wife saw it.
When she saw the note she called the company and
said it must be a mistake.
They didn't purchase any flowers and certainly not
a teddy bear.
Then she asked them to fax her the receipt, which
gave her all the sordid details.
Now the husband is suing the flower company,
1-800-Flowers, for, get this, breach of contract.
He says that the flower company promised to keep the
transaction confidential and they failed to keep
He is suing for one million dollars.
Apparently he values a florist's promise more highly
than his marital promise.
II. Society presents a strong message to us.
A. You need to get married.
1) For a successful marriage, first you have to fall in love.
a) When you gaze at them, your heart is supposed to go
b) And that feeling has to build and build and build -
or you are in big trouble.
2) Old ditty from elementary school:
"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes
[Jason] with a baby carriage."
In elementary school, you never wanted them to insert
your name in there.
B. The Bible takes a different approach.
1) Not everyone should be married.
a) Singleness is a valued option.
2) If you do get married, don't put all the emphasis on
a) Romantic love is based on fleeting feelings.
b) Christian love is based on actions; that is the kind
of foundation that can last.
3) How can we love better?
III. Affirm one another.
A. Paul commands husbands to love their wives like Jesus loves.
1) Jesus sacrificed himself for his church.
2) The goal is to bring out the best in his followers:
3) They should be a better person because they're with you.
B. Affirm the positive things in each other.
1) And squelch the negative.
2) Science proves it.
The BBC reports that psychology John Gottman has done
extensive research on the interaction of couples.
He asks couples to discuss their most contentious
issues and looks at how they communicate.
He doesn't just listen - he also measures their blood
pressure, skin conductivity, and the sentiments of
what is being said.
By doing this he has come up with a mathematical
algorithm, a formula.
After he analyzes a couple, he can predict with 90%
accuracy if they are likely to get divorced.
How to not get divorced?
Have a deep-seated positive view of your mate.
When they do something that bothers you, dismiss it
as being out of the ordinary - "She's just tired."
If you hold on to negative beliefs, and reinforce them
with bad behavior, you are headed for divorce court.
Couples with the lowest negativity thresholds do the
best - don't let the bad stuff pile up on you.
That's why the Bible wisely says, do not let the sun
go down while you are still angry. (Eph 4:25)
C. Acknowledge that relationships are not JUST positive.
1) The negatives will always be there, too.
2) I like a Hallmark card a wife gave to her husband.
The cover said, "I love you more today than yesterday."
Inside it said, "Yesterday you really got on my nerves."
IV. Be affectionate with one another.
A. Christians have often had issues with sex.
1) There is no denying this.
2) But often we are criticized more than we deserve.
3) Consider the Puritans, who get such a bad rap.
The Puritans valued marriage considered a lack of affection
to be a major sin.
The book "Worldly Saints: The Puritans as they Really Are"
gives an example:
"When a New England wife complained first to her pastor,
and then to the whole church, that her husband was
neglecting their sex life, the church proceeded to
excommunicate the man."
Interesting: a man kicked out of church for not having
sex with his wife.
That would have been a well-attended business meeting....
B. It is important to show affection.
1) Physical contact like hugs and kisses and holding hands
reinforces our bonds with each other.
2) The Bible itself says it should not be neglected.
3) But also know that genuine affection must originate in
a) Affection and sex should be just an outward way of
showing how we feel about them on the inside.
V. Marriage can be forever.
A. Popular culture loves this image.
1) Nothing is greater than being loved ... into all eternity.
2) But doesn't Jesus say death changes marriage?
a) Yes, we become like the angels, who apparently don't
b) It seems everyone in heaven is equally bound together,
stronger than any marriage on earth could be.
c) This bothers some Christians, but it shouldn't.
B. There is one thing in marriage that can be eternal.
1) Jonathan Edwards is one of America's most famous religious
2) He lived in the colonial period and was instrumental in
starting the first Great Awakening, a revival that swept
across the country.
a) That is when Evangelicals really got their start.
3) Every great man has a great woman behind him.
Jonathan's wife was 6 feet tall and stunning.
Sarah Edwards gave him 11 children.
On one occasion when Sarah was away from the house to
attend a funeral, Jonathan wrote a letter to her:
"Please come home. Things are falling apart here."
a) At the end of his life he became president of what
is now Princeton University, where he is buried.
b) One of his last acts before he died was to send this
message to Sarah:
"Give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her
that the uncommon union, which has so long subsisted
has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and
therefore will continue forever."
4) Spiritual love does last forever.
a) Do your relationships have this?
b) Its foundation is shown by God's love for us...
SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:
Sermon #19371 “Rekindle the Fire In Your Romance,” Dr. Michael T. Powers,
State Street United Methodist Church of Bowling Green, Kentucky;
February 11, 2001. <http://www.statestreetumc.org>
Sermon #64761 “Stealing Hearts,” Sarah Schra, New Hope Foursquare Church
of Salem, Oregon, August 19, 2007.
#27674 “I Love You More, In Perspective,” David Owen, New Yorker Magazine,
Article: Card Tricks.
#64638 “Famous Marriages ‘Breathe Life’ For Couples,” David Roach,
Baptist Press, http://www.baptistpress.org, November 24, 2014.
#64760 “The Mathematical Formula For Love,” Hannah Fry, BBC News,
February 8, 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31168242>
These and 35,000 others are part of the Kerux database that can be
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