The Marriage God Wants You To Have
About the Guest
Do you think your marriage is supposed to be the most important relationship in your life? If so, then Voddie Baucham wants you to read Revelation 19 again. Understanding and living out our marriages as a picture of the coming marriage of Christ and his Bride, on the next FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey.
Voddie BauchamVoddie Baucham wears many hats. He is a husband, father, former pastor, author, professor, conference speaker, and church planter. He currently serves as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional...more
Do you think your marriage is supposed to be the most important relationship in your life?
The Marriage God Wants You To Have
Bob: In our culture today, most weddings are all about the princess—when Voddie Baucham says—they ought to be about the Prince. In fact, when Voddie sits down to meet with a couple to do wedding planning, the conversation sometimes sounds like this.
Voddie: Okay, great. You give me these 15 things, right here, that you want in your wedding. Let’s go through some of them. Number one: “What does that have to do with Christ?” All together: “Nothing.”—
Voddie: Number two: “What does that have to do with Christ?” All together: “Nothing.”—
Voddie: We go down the list. Almost everything on the list—none of it has anything to do with Christ—and then, you want me to stand up, while it all happens, and make sure that I preach the Gospel to make it all okay.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, March 6th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. The marriage that God has in mind for you may be fundamentally different than the marriage you always imagined you would have. We’ll hear a message from Voddie Baucham about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. I have to tell you, I would go all the way to Mexico to hear Voddie Baucham preach. You know? I mean, he’s just one of those kinds of preachers.
Dennis: Well, you did!
Bob: That’s exactly what we did. We were onboard the Love Like You Mean It™ marriage cruise, here about three weeks ago. Voddie Baucham was one of the speakers onboard the cruise. He gave a great message. In fact, we’re going to hear a portion of that message today—feature it for our listeners—because not everybody who listens got a chance to join us on the cruise this year.
Dennis: No, we did have two thousand folks join us on a sold-out boat. I have to tell you, Bob, one of the highlights of the time was not only hearing Voddie speak, but also getting a breakfast with nine wounded warriors who were onboard the ship—that we, along with Premier Christian Cruises®, helped scholarship to be able to attend. We had a powerful breakfast together, talking about the impact of the week and what it had meant to these couples.
It was really interesting. Those guys began to say, to a man, “We’ve got to figure out a way to make this available to more of these wounded warriors because they can benefit, spiritually, and really help them do some business with God over some of the issues they are facing after they come back from war.”
Bob: The thing about going on a cruise like this is that you get a chance to relax, and refresh, and unplug. I mean, I was fully-unplugged. I didn’t have the internet on; I didn’t have the phone on. It was just time with Mary Ann and me—other than the work we had going on onboard the cruise—and getting a chance to meet with a lot of folks. But it really is a relaxing time. It opens you up, spiritually, to hear some things you might not pay attention to, in the middle of a fast-paced life.
We are mentioning this because next year, Valentine’s week, we’ll be heading out again for our Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. We’re already 50 percent sold out for the cruise for next year. So, we wanted to come to our listeners and say, “If you’d like to join us, now is the time to sign up.” The prices for the cruise increase on March 15th.
Dr. Gary Chapman is going to join us, the author of The Five Love Languages. Crawford Loritts will be speaking, along with his wife, Karen. You and I are going to speak. Ron Deal is onboard the ship with us, talking to blended couples, Laura Story and Peter Furler from the Newsboys are going to be there. Nicole Mullen, Chris August, Building 429—it’s a great combination of music, and speaking, and some special breakout sessions. It’s just a great way to spend a week and make a memory for your marriage.
Dennis: I wrote down some reasons why I think couples need to get away and go to the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. First of all: time to talk with your spouse without being interrupted—no one interrupting. Number two: you already mentioned it—no cell phones, no email—no electronic distractions.
Third: time to take a walk. You know, really, it’s pretty romantic to take a walk around the deck of the boat at night, with the lights off, and the waters of the ocean—spectacular—just to lean against the railing and look at the beauty of God’s creation and be there with your spouse.
Fourth: the schedule. You decide what you go to. You can sleep in, or you can get up and go to devos. There are all kinds of transformational seminars for men and women, split-session. There’s devos in the morning, main sessions in the evening, you even have a sneak peek at a great movie. There are late-night snacks. Did you hit the taco bar, Bob, at 10:30 at night?
Bob: It was 11:30—it was 11:30 that we hit one up—and got some nachos and an unbelievable taco.
Dennis: You know, those are the things you did when you dated; and you need to do those things. Plus, there are bonuses—around music, around ballroom dancing, comedians onboard—
Bob: And you get to hear messages like we’re going to hear today. We’re going to hear a portion of a message from Voddie Baucham, who spoke on Wednesday morning, this year, on the cruise. He took us to Revelation 19 and the marriage. There’s actually a wedding ceremony that takes place in Revelation 19, and he pulled back and gave us a big picture on marriage. We thought you ought to hear some of what he shared with the audience on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in joining us in 2014, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link you see there, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY for more information. Don’t forget the prices go up on March 15th. If you sign up now—if you sign up between now and March 15th for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise—in addition to the cruise, we’ll send you a certificate to attend a Weekend to Remember®marriage getaway. You can pass that on to somebody else you know; or you can have a Weekend to Remember and then a week to remember, onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
Here’s Voddie Baucham with an excerpt from his message on the kind of marriage God wants for you.
Voddie: Today, what I want to do is—I want to look at a picture of the marriage that God wants you to have—and I want to give you a perspective on that—and then, some implications of that. In order to do that, open your Bibles with me to two places. Put your finger in Revelation 19, all the way at the end of the Bible, Revelation 19—and then, go ahead and look at Ephesians, Chapter 5.
Here is the one thing that I want to say to you today: “The marriage that God wants you to have is not the one you’re in right now.” [Audience chatter, scattered applause] Some of y’all are clapping for the wrong reasons. [Laughter] “Hallelujah! That’s the word I needed, Jesus!” You wait until I’m finished—you hear me? No one may leave right now, okay? “I was on the cruise. I heard him say it!”
No. It’s not the one you have right now. If you want to understand what I mean, look at Ephesians, Chapter 5, and let’s look first at verse 32, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.” The most complete teaching on marriage that we find in all of Scripture is found right here, in Ephesians, Chapter 5. In verse 32, as he comes to this conclusion and makes his summation, he says, “This mystery is great, and I’m telling you that it refers to Christ and the Church.” That’s significant! So, whatever it is that Paul just taught us about marriage, it points to a reality that is greater than the relationship you have with your spouse.
Think about it this way: Your marriage is the picture—it’s not the reality—it’s the picture. There is something that your marriage represents that is far greater than anything that you and your spouse can or will ever experience in the here and the now. This is merely a foretaste, which means that we must never pour a sense of ultimacy into our marriage relationships, in the here and now. It’s wrong. It’s wrong.
So open with me to Revelation, Chapter 19; and as we look at this ultimate marriage, that we all anticipate, it will shed some light on what we are to expect from our marriages, in the here and the now—what we’re not to expect from our marriages, in the here and the now—and how to balance the two.
Revelation, Chapter 19. In Revelation 17, we’ve seen the great prostitute dealt with. In Revelation 18, Babylon the Great has fallen. God is dealing with sin and immorality; and He’s vindicating His people, and the martyrs, and so on, and so forth. Now, in Revelation, Chapter 19, we are coming to the end of this picture. The book of Revelation is all about—just, really, a couple of things. It is all about God vindicating His righteousness by pouring out His wrath against sin. And it is all about God vindicating His grace through the salvation of His people, in the midst of all this, at the end of the age. Those are the two streams that run through Revelation. We see this picture again, and again, and again.
I believe it’s reiterated seven times in Revelation—this picture of God bringing ultimate justice. This is the moment where everything in human history, that’s wrong, is made right. What happens, in the midst of that moment, where there is this great exaltation and worship? At that moment, what do we see? “For the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” There it is. At that moment of highest exaltation, God says: “Here’s the marriage I want you to have. This is the marriage that your earthly marriage only reflected. This is the moment when all marriages make sense, and only now.” What are the implications of this? Several—let me give you a few.
One of the implications of this says we do not pour a sense of ultimacy into our own marriages. One of the implications of this is we do not look at our marriage to our spouse, in the here and the now, as the ultimate reality which we pursue. I don’t look at my spouse and what I can receive from my spouse as the ultimate reality which I pursue. In fact, I look at my spouse, as a spiritual being, created in the image of God. My greatest desire is that my spouse will be on the right side of this equation, at the end of the age. That’s my greatest desire. Here’s why: “What do we, as believers, anxiously anticipate?” We anxiously anticipate the consummation of the marriage that we have to the Lamb; right? Jesus says in John, Chapter 14, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will return again and I will take you unto Myself;” right?
Now, that’s marriage language. That’s the Bridegroom—at the betrothal—the groom is making the place ready for his bride. That’s what he does. Jesus is using betrothal language in John, Chapter 14. Now, John, Chapter 14, is right before He is crucified, and then resurrected, and then ascends to the right hand of His Father. It’s in His Father’s house where there are many mansions. He’s preparing a place for His bride, there in His Father’s house. Now, the bridegroom then returns for his bride, the marriage takes place, and then there is the consummation of the marriage. In the human sense, sexual intercourse is the consummation of the marriage. So, what we are waiting for, spiritually, is for Christ to return, to redeem us, to take us unto Himself, and, spiritually, for us to finally be married and to have the consummation of this marriage relationship with Christ.
What’s the only thing, on earth, that is a picture of that which we wait for?—the sexual union between a man and his wife. That’s it. That’s it. I’ve said it before—I’ll say it again—I’m convinced that we don’t think enough of sex. Men, I did not say “I’m convinced that we don’t think about sex enough.” I said, “We don’t think enough of sex.” We don’t hold it in high enough esteem because we do not understand the transcendent spiritual reality that that part of our relationship represents. We don’t get it! It will completely and utterly transform the way we view—not only that aspect of our marriage—but our marriage as a whole—if we got this reality because, ultimately, my marriage to my wife is merely a reflection of the greater reality that is to come.
There’s a second thing here. Not only is there this vindication—but as we’ve said before, there is this exaltation. But the exaltation is not the exaltation of my marriage, in the here and now—the exaltation is the exaltation of Christ. Listen, as a pastor, this is something that I deal with frequently. This is an area of pastoral ministry that is extremely difficult because there are implications here, now.
We’re all sort of beyond this, and I’m sorry if what I’m about to say bothers you; but there is much that we do, in terms of weddings, that points to completely wrong-thinking about marriage. You say, “It’s all about Christ;” but the ceremony that you have designed has very little to do with Him. You are sitting in front of me, out of obligation, because you feel like—in the midst of this pagan, royal, ethnic, media-monstrosity—that you have to pay homage to the God, whom you say it’s all about. And our weddings usually reflect that theological reality—it is not about the exaltation of Christ. It’s not!
And for many of us, our marriages are not about the exaltation of Christ. So, the things that we say are wrong with our wedding—you sit couples down and you talk about the things that are wrong with their marriage. It’s usually not those things that don’t reflect the sense of ultimacy and where we’re going—that don’t reflect this Christ, to whom we are going to be wed—and His dealing with sin, and our hatred of sin, and our desire for His exaltation—and these things being in our way because they exalt sin and not Christ. It’s usually not that. It’s usually: “This is what I want and I’m not getting it. Therefore, this thing is broken.”
Finally, there’s this picture of consummation. Vindication—dealing with sin and the way we’re living—exaltation of Christ—and His ultimacy and His worship. Then, there’s consummation. Look with me, down there, if you will, beginning at verse 6: “Then, I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters, and like the sound of many peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah, for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him glory.’”
Why? “For the marriage of the Lamb has come.” “For the marriage of the Lamb”—He didn’t stop there. What’s the significance of the marriage of the Lamb?—consummation. “And His bride has made herself ready. It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
What does this mean? Not only that God has judged sin; but it also means that God has brought you, who belong to Him, perfect righteousness. That’s what we yearn for—perfect righteousness—for God to form in me holiness, for God to use my marriage as a sanctifying tool to make me more like Christ. It means that being miserable in your marriage does not necessarily mean that your marriage is broken and that it’s over. In fact, it may mean the exact opposite because there are some things, that only misery can grow in you. Amen? [Audience response]
“Well, what if the misery never goes away? What if I stay married to this person, and it stays miserable?” There is a day coming when your misery will be no more. You say to me, “Wait a minute, wait a minute—you’re saying to me that I wait for Christ to make all things right?” Yes. Yes I am. “But that’s—no, I don’t want to do that.” Of course you don’t. Nor did the martyrs, who were vindicated on this same day, by the way, want to be martyred. But they laid down their lives for the cause of Christ because He was their hope. Is Christ your hope? Is Christ enough?
Here’s the other problem I have with you bailing on this thing. “I’m in a marriage right now and I’m miserable...” Why? “...because this person is not making me happy.” Now, this person was never designed to make me happy. This person wasn’t created to make me happy. That is supposed to come from Christ. “But this person doesn’t make me happy.” So, what are you going to do? “I’m going to leave this person, in hopes of finding another person who actually does make me happy.” Well, if they don’t, you’re in the same misery you were before. If they do, you’re an idolater.” How’s that working for you?
Does this mean that we’re hopeless?— absolutely not. Why? Remember, your marriage, in the here and now, is a picture and reflection of the marriage that God wants for you—that is yet to come. You don’t get there by looking to your spouse. This doesn’t happen—this doesn’t work—by looking to your spouse. This only works by looking to our Redeemer because He is, indeed, our only hope.
Bob: I hate to jump in right here. A great message from Voddie Baucham, onboard the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, earlier this year—in fact, just a few weeks ago. If you’d like to hear the entire message, it’s available on audio CD. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, for more information on how you can get the CD of the entire message.
Dennis: Yes. I’d just like to invite you—Barbara and I are going to be there—we’d love to have you join us for the 2014 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. It’s going to be right over Valentine’s Day, Bob. I think it’s going to be really a great trip!
Bob: If you’d like to join us, now is the time to sign up because about 50 percent of the ship is already sold-out. We have lots of folks who are calling already, who want to join us next year. Dr. Gary Chapman is going to be speaking; Crawford and Karen Loritts, Ron Deal, Dennis and I will be speaking. Nicole C. Mullen, and Chris August, and Laura Story, and Peter Furler, and Building 429 are all going to be performing, onboard, as well.
The price for the cruise goes up in about a week-and-a-half, so get in touch with us before March 15th if you want the best offer available. And if you sign up now, we’ll also include a certificate for you to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, absolutely free. You can pass that on to somebody else; or you can use it and have both the Weekend to Remember and the full-week, onboard the cruise, with us, next Valentine’s week.
And again, I keep thinking if you have a special event happening—a special marriage anniversary—maybe, your 10th, or 15th, or 20th, or 25th, or 30th—whatever it is, why don’t you celebrate, onboard the cruise with us, in 2014? Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to hear a portion of a message that the women heard, onboard the Love Like You Mean It cruise, from Priscilla Shirer.
Dennis: And if this doesn’t light your fire, your wood’s wet.
Bob: Hope you can join us back for that tomorrow.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. See you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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