Words To Live By: The Marriage Vow – 03A


The following program
is a production of Truth For The World. ♪ Day by day and with each
passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father’s wise
bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. ♪ Hello and welcome to the
program Words To Live By. In this series of programs
we are examining the home and the family. And while this topic is too
broad and vast for us to be able to cover every scenario or
potential idea for discussion, we do hope to give you God’s
instructions for the home and family and thus give
you Words To Live By. You can then take these
words and use them in your own situations
regarding the home and family. In a previous program,
Keith Mosher talked about a specific part of the
home and family: marriage. He told us that marriage
needed commitment, marriage must have the right
chronology or take place at the right time, and
marriage must have a cleaving of the husband and wife, a one hundred percent
commitment to each other. In this program, we begin to
look at the vows of marriage. We may have heard
them many times but what value should
we place on our vows? We have already seen that the
til death do us part vow should be taken literally and seriously as marriage is a
lifelong commitment. But what does it say
about someone when this and perhaps other of the
marriage vows are disregarded and lightly thrown away? What value are we really placing
on the vows when society allows for a divorce with
no reason necessary? And if these vows are important,
why are they important? What impact might these vows
have on our family, our children and on society in general? These are things that
we will be examining as we take a look
at the marriage vow. This topic will be
covered in two parts. The first program will
bring up the point that our marriage vows
have to deal with truth. How much value can be
said about our words? When we tell someone we will
do something, does it get done? If our words do not hold too
much weight in the smaller, everyday things of the world,
will they hold much weight when it comes to
our marriage vows? The world may treat the marriage
vows as a formality of marriage to be said but then ignored. But our marriage vows and
the way we do or do not live up to them may give
us a further insight as to the truthfulness
of ourselves. Join us now as we look
at the marriage vow. Open your Bibles and follow
along with Curtis Cates as he leads us in this study. My assignment is to speak
on the marriage vow. When I think about the marriage
vow, I have a tendency to think about nearly fifty years ago
come October 29, this year. We were down in Evergreen,
Alabama, where Annette was from at the church
building there, and Dad performed our
wedding, our marriage ceremony. Of course, he preached for
sixty years and I loved and appreciated him, and I appreciate very much
the integrity and the truth and honesty and the loyalty that
Dad and Mother tried to teach me down through the years. They were endeavoring to
prepare me for that day, and I remember those vows. And I remember that he said a
number of things about marriage which we have heard today and
appreciate what has been said. Then he turned to me
and he said, “Curtis, do you take the woman whose
right hand you now hold to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to be true to
her in sickness and in health, in joy and prosperity,
joy or sorrow, as long as the two
of you shall live?” I said, “I do.” And Annette responded the same
way when he turned to her. Vows are important; they are
important with Jehovah God. He expects our yea to be
yea and our nay to be nay. During the time of our Lord, the Jews had various
degrees of their vows. If they vowed by something
that was kind of mundane, the likelihood was they weren’t
going to honor those vows. If they vowed by something that
was a little more valuable, then they might stand by
those vows a little bit more. If they vowed by the gold of the
temple then they were meaning, “Hey, we are going
to carry those out.” Christ said, “Don’t
vow like that.” In other words when you say
something you let your words mean what you say. Don’t you vow anything that
you don’t intend to carry out. If it’s not true,
don’t you say it. I remember, years ago,
hearing one of our elders say, “Brother Cates, I tell you one
of the important characteristics of telling the truth.” (This was Brother Kirby.) He said, “You may not remember
what you said, specifically, but whatever you
know the truth was, if you always tell the truth
then you know what you said. You know what you answered.” So nearly fifty years
ago, I said “I do.” I will be faithful,
I will be true. In fact, one of the songs sung at our wedding was
Faithful and True. And that is one of the
characteristics, names, of our Lord; he is
called faithful and true, in the book of Revelation. He is the truth and what
the Lord says you can take to the bank. The question is, what
does our word mean? When we vow a vow to be faithful in our marriage,
what does that mean? What do our words mean? Do they have any value? If we vow before God and before
the witnesses in that audience and before the one
whom we are marrying, do our words mean anything? Are we going to be true
to what we promised? The Bible says, Paul says,
provide things honest in the sight of all
men, Romans 12:17. Paul emphasized, “Whatsoever
things are true, lovely” and so forth, “think
on these things.” That is Philippians 4:8. Revelation 21:8 says that
all liars are going to hell and have their part
in the lake of fire. And so, what do our
words mean to us? When we take our marriage
vows, are our yeas, yeas, and our nays, nays? They must be. They are to be. Honesty is the best policy,
as far as I am concerned. Honesty is the only policy, because that is what
the Bible teaches. We don’t like people
to be dishonest to us. We don’t appreciate that. We don’t appreciate
people lying to us. I have an idea you are
the same way that I am – you don’t appreciate
people lying about you. I’ve been lied about
a few times. Well, not a few times and
I don’t appreciate that. When somebody wrote awhile back,
and it went all over the world, that I had insisted when I
had gone to the Memphis School of Preaching and become
director of the school that the school would buy me a
fifteen hundred dollar chair. Well, I didn’t too
much appreciate that. I didn’t do anything about it
– I’ll let the Lord handle it. But I will tell you this, number
one, the school didn’t buy it. The congregation bought it. Number two, the school didn’t
make the decision to buy it. I didn’t buy it. I was going to use the chair I
had been using earlier upstairs. Brother E. L. Whitaker
is the one who decided for me to get the chair. Number three, the chair didn’t
cost fifteen hundred dollars. It cost two-hundred and
twenty-five dollars. Brother E. L. Whitaker
picked it out, and one of the elders approved
it and the church paid for it. Brother Whitaker
insisted I get it. The person who knew that, that the chair didn’t cost
fifteen hundred dollars that it cost two hundred
twenty-five dollars called this fellow and said, “Hey,
you lied about the chair.” He refused to talk to him. You know Benjamin
Franklin, as I recall, said if a person
doesn’t tell the truth, he is not worth very
much of anything else. So the question is,
how honest are we? When we vow, what
does that mean? Christ said, “When you say
something, you mean it. You don’t have to vow by
the gold of the temple; just say it and mean it.” Brother Turner used to say,
Brother Rex A. Turner Sr. who was from Corner,
Alabama, he used to say that if you promise
somebody you are going to be down at Bramer Ataways store
there at Corner, Alabama, (the only store in town at that
time) at 8:00 in the morning, don’t be 8:05 getting there. You be there by 8:00. So our wedding vows
have to do with truth. How much does truth mean to us? When we take our wedding vows and the person whom we are
marrying depend upon us, do we mean it? Is our marriage built
upon solid ground? Now do you expect the person
to whom you are marrying to lie to you when she takes her vows? I don’t think she
expects that out of you. What do you expect
out of your husband? So we make vows before God,
in the presence of witnesses. Now why is this important? It is important for a number
of reasons: we can go back to Genesis chapter 3 and we find that God instituted marriage,
or Genesis chapter 2. In Genesis 1:26-27,
we find that God said, “Let us make man in our image.” He potterized man, the Hebrew
says, like a potter takes clay. He potterized man. He took the clay and he
formed man, his corpse, “out of the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Man was created full grown
with a tremendous vocabulary. God spoke to him. He understood God;
God understood him. He passed the animals
by man for man to name them, Adam to name them. All of them had mates, but
Adam didn’t have a mate. I remember, one time, when we
were preaching in Lafayette, Georgia, back in the sixties,
the Goat Man came along. Did you ever hear
about the Goat Man? Anyway, he would make a trip
up from Florida through Georgia to the Carolinas and so forth and make a trip back
and so forth. He was supposed to be, he
claimed to be a preacher. Anyway, he had a bunch of goats. Some of you may be
able to identify with having a number of goats. Anyway we were heading
from Pinville, Georgia up to Lafayette,
got about halfway and we saw this big pillar of black smoke issuing
up into the sky. “Wonder what that is?” We were going over those hills,
came to this intersection, the site of an old service
station-store outfit. There was a crowd of people. There was a crowd of people, cars everywhere, and
there was a cart. I don’t know it might
have been six by ten or something like that. Goats everywhere. It was cold, cold. He had a bunch of tires out
there that were burning, and he was preaching and
when he wasn’t preaching, he was talking to the folks. Anyway, I asked him,
“How do you keep warm?” He said, “Well, I
sleep with the goats.” “What about when
it is really cold?” He said, “I just pull
up another nanny.” You know, I don’t know
whether Adam wanted to sleep with the goats. I don’t think he did. So the Goat Man was
a little bit unusual. So God anesthetized him, he
was the first anesthesiologist. Being the first surgeon,
he opened up his side. Took a rib from his side, closed
up the flesh instead thereof, sewed him up, as it were. And from the rib, he made woman. Adam said, “This is bone of
my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman
because she was taken from man.” “For this cause shall a man
leave father and mother.” That is not bad advice. Someone has said, “You
know, there needs to be at least two bridges
between them” and well that may need to be sometimes. Other times it works
out alright. Man shall leave father and
mother and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. So God instituted marriage. Therefore God has the
right to govern marriage. He instituted it. It is the oldest of God’s
three institutions: the home, the church and the nation. So since God instituted it, He has the right
to govern the home. There are laws, there are
eternal laws regarding the home. We read that law
in Genesis 2:24, “For this cause shall a
man leave father and mother and cleave unto his
wife,” didn’t say wives, “and they shall become
one flesh.” One. Let me say a
little bit about oneness. It used to be in this
country that people kind of looked out for each other. I remember when I was born,
people were pretty neighborly. They’d spend time together. If you had a need, someone
would come over and help you. If you were sick, they would
be right there helping you. And so kind of like what
President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your
country can do for you but ask what you can
do for your country.” Society, early, was not built
on selfishness, it was built on neighborliness,
helping each other, striving together and so forth. But I’ll tell you what, to a great extent this
nation has departed from the principles
of the Bible. People used to talk a lot
about the Golden Rule. I don’t know when I have heard
the major new networks talk about the Golden Rule. Can you remember how long
since you heard that? What is emphasized nowadays
is individual liberty. “I want what’s coming to me.” A lot of times I hear lawyers
get on the television set and they say, “Make sure
you get your check.” And everybody wants their check. President Kennedy said, “Don’t
ask what people can do for you, your country, ask what you
can do for your country.” My, that has changed, hasn’t it? Tremendous amount of
emphasis on individual rights. “I want mine. I want what’s coming to me.” Selfishness. Now, please notice that God said for this cause shall a man
leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife and
they two shall be one flesh. Togetherness, sharing,
mutual burden bearing, helping one another,
making sure that the needs of each one is met by the other. But I’ll tell you what
– this emphasis today on individual rights
has destroyed a lot of our marriages. I am here to tell you. You don’t have, and you
don’t see in a lot of people, the loyalty to your mate
that you used to see. The Bible teaches that if we
love somebody we want to seek after their good first, make sure that their needs
are met, and so forth. My friends, a lot of
times that has been lost in a very selfish
society of persons. So, when we, everybody, demands
their “rights,” and the nation, as far as citizenry is built on
selfishness, then it endangers. One of the great presidents,
as I recall, years ago, stated that our country
is in great peril, when our nation will come to
realize that they can vote for themselves the country doing
much for them, and demanding that the country help them. And the country will no
longer be the country that it used to be. The Bible’s principles
teach hard work. “If a man will not work,
neither shall he eat.” Now, if I want to build my
marriage, then I am going to need to think about my
partner, I am going to need to think about my mate. I am going to need to think
about my wife and her needs. And we’ve heard that today. Curtis Cates has pointed out
the connection between the truth of our words and
the marriage vows. In Ephesians chapter 4 and
verse 25, the Bible states, “Wherefore putting away
lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we
are members one of another.” Now if we are to put away lying
from us in our everyday lives, would not that also
mean that we are to be true to our wedding vows? If we speak words such as “until
death do us part” to someone, what does that say about
us if we are not willing to fulfill those words? As Curtis Cates pointed out,
the quote from Benjamin Franklin that “a man who does not speak
the truth is not worth much of anything else.” If we are not people of truth, then no one will hold
very much value to us. The same might be said of
our spouse, if we do not try to uphold the vows
of our wedding. Even though we are studying
the physical family, we want to make sure
that you are a part of God’s spiritual
family, the church. If you’ve not been adopted
as one of God’s children by being born again,
then you need to do so. Believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God. Believe that He died for
your sins to pay the penalty for your rebellion
against God’s laws. Repent, or turn your life
around, to follow Jesus. Confess your belief in Jesus
as the Son of God before men. And then be baptized, immersed,
in water for the forgiveness of your sins that they
might be washed away. You will then be cleansed,
rather, of your sin and be allowed back into
the presence of God, into His family, the church. First Timothy chapter
3 and verse 15 states, “But if I tarry long, that thou
mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house
of God, which is the church of the living God, the
pillar and ground of truth.” The household of God, the family
of God, is the church of God. Then live faithfully unto death and God will give
you a crown of life. Join us on our next program
as we continue to look at God’s plan for the home and for the family here
on Words To Live By.

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