Special Sabbath School Offering for
Let God’s great love for you be seen in your gifts!
Sabbath, September 5, 2015
“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honourable’; it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 25, 26.
Origin of marriage
1. What did Adam exclaim when he saw the person who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh? In God’s plan, what do a man and his wife become?
Genesis 2:22-24 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And 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. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
“God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided ‘an help meet for him’–a helper corresponding to him–one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. ‘For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.’ ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one.’ ” –The Adventist Home, p. 25.
2. Besides being given the mission to be fruitful and multiply, what else did the holy couple receive in the beginning? According to God’s law, how long does the marriage union last?
Genesis 1:27, 28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And 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.
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
“The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities.” –The Ministry of Healing, pp. 356, 357.
“The marriage union is taken as a symbol of the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church. He says, ‘I will betroth thee unto Me forever;’ and again, ‘I am married unto you;‘ and Paul employs the same figure in the New Testament when he declares, ‘I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” –Signs of the Times, August 19, 1889.
The problem of divorce
3. What attack against marriage began a century ago and is spreading rapidly in modern society? What lesson of the Saviour should we take to heart so as to be protected from this painful plague?
Matthew 5:31, 32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Malachi 2:16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
Matthew 19:6, last part Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
“When the Pharisees afterward questioned Him concerning the lawfulness of divorce, Jesus pointed His hearers back to the marriage institution as ordained at creation. ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts,’ He said, Moses ‘suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.’ He referred them to the blessed days of Eden when God pronounced all things ‘very good.’… Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock,… He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man….
“Wrong sentiments in regard to marriage had found a place in the minds of the teachers of Israel. They were making of none effect the sacred institution of marriage. Man was becoming so hard hearted that he would for the most trivial excuse separate from his wife, or, if he chose, he would separate her from the children and send her away…. Christ came to correct these evils.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 340, 341.
4. In opposition to God’s holy ideal, what things destroy marriage and morality? What commandment was given to protect this holy institution and moral purity?
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
“Immorality abounds everywhere. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. Never did vice lift its deformed head with such boldness as now. The people seem to be benumbed, and the lovers of virtue and true goodness are nearly discouraged by its boldness, strength, and prevalence. The iniquity which abounds is not merely confined to the unbeliever and the scoffer. Would that this were the case, but it is not. Many men and women who profess the religion of Christ are guilty. Even some who profess to be looking for His appearing are no more prepared for that event than Satan himself. They are not cleansing themselves from all pollution. They have so long served their lust that it is natural for their thoughts to be impure and their imaginations corrupt…. Every Christian will have to learn to restrain his passions and be controlled by principle. Unless he does this, he is unworthy of the Christian name.” –The Adventist Home, p. 328.
5. Does temptation to unfaithfulness and uncleanness always come from the outside? What other commandment and teachings close the door to temptation?
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.
Matthew 5:27-30 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
“Not all who profess to keep the commandments of God possess their bodies in sanctification and honor…. They profess to be standing upon the elevated platform of eternal truth, keeping all of God’s commandments; therefore, if they indulge in sin, if they commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of the classes I have named, who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them. In a peculiar sense do those who profess to keep God’s law dishonor Him and reproach the truth by transgressing its precepts.” –Counsels on Health, p. 567.
“ ‘Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ The first work for those who would reform, is to purify the imagination…. When tempted to yield to a corrupt imagination, then flee to the throne of grace and pray for strength from Heaven. In the strength of God the imagination can be restricted to dwell upon things which are pure and heavenly.” –An Appeal to Mothers, p. 29.
6. What do the Scriptures say about those who engage in impure practices of any and every kind?
1 Corinthians 6:9, 15, 16 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…. 15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
“Fornication and adultery are estimated by many professing Christians as sins which God winketh at. These sins are practiced to a great extent. They do not acknowledge the claims of God’s law upon them. They … are … declaring that the law of God is abolished, and consequently has no claims upon them. In accordance with this free state of things, sin does not appear so exceedingly sinful; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. We may expect to find men among those who thus teach, who will deceive, and lie, and give loose rein to lustful passions. But men and women who acknowledge the ten commandments binding, should carry out in their lives, the principles of all ten of the precepts given in awful grandeur from Sinai.” –A Solemn Appeal, p. 141.
“All fornicators will be outside the City of God.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 431.
“Israel’s sin at Beth-peor brought the judgments of God upon the nation, and though the same sins may not now be punished as speedily, they will as surely meet retribution. ‘If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.’ 1 Corinthians 3:17.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 461.
Preventing sinful tendencies
7. What counsel will be heeded by all who wish to have happiness and maintain integrity in their moral conduct? When carefully followed, what deep spiritual principle will protect everyone from the prevailing moral sins?
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
1 Thessalonians 4:4, 5 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
“Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above. You should have an eye single to the glory of God. The heart should have only pure, sanctified affection, worthy of the followers of Jesus Christ, exalted in its nature, and more heavenly than earthly. Anything different from this is debasing, degrading in courtship; and marriage cannot be holy and honorable in the sight of a pure and holy God, unless it is after the exalted Scriptural principle.” –The Adventist Home, p. 55.
“The windows of impulse, of feeling must be opened up toward heaven, and the dust of selfishness and earthliness must be expelled. The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 107.
For additional study
“In the marriage vows they
“I come again to Christians. If all who profess to obey the law of God were free from iniquity, my soul would be delivered; but they are not. Even some who profess to keep all the commandments of God are guilty of the sin of adultery. What can I say to arouse their benumbed sensibilities? Moral principle, strictly carried out, becomes the only safeguard of the soul.” –Counsels on Health, pp. 621, 622.
“The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean…. The noble powers of the mind have been given to us by the Lord, that we may employ them in contemplating heavenly things. God has made abundant provision that the soul may make continual progression in the divine life.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 107.
- What do you see as the causes of so many crises in marriage?
- What can prevent such pain and unhappiness?
- What did Jesus use victoriously to resist every temptation?