John 18:37-38 is a classic dialogue. Jesus is before Pilate and Pilate asks Him if He is a King. Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" We live in a time in the world when most donít believe in an absolute truth or absolute moral code and that it is acceptable to make up our own as we go along in the world. And so we have done just that.
The Apostle John wrote for us the book of the Revelation in which he described Satan in Rev 12:9 as, "that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole worldÖ." Our Lord Jesus said that, there is absolutely no truth in the devil; that he is a liar and the father of lies in John 8:44. But, Jesus said, If we continue in His word, we
will know the truth (John 8:32). When Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us, He said this, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into
the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." (John 17:15-19). We would be protected from Satan and set apart from the world by what, class? The truth of Godís Word!
We are exploring 8 Great Lies that America and much of the world has embraced. We have already looked at two:
1. That a Woman has the right to choose to give birth or to abort her unborn child.
2. That same sex relationships are normal and good.
The Third Lie, that we will look at today, is that Cohabitation is a Viable Alternative to Marriage; that is, Itís not only okay but probably best to live together before you marry or it is just as good if not better than getting married.
There are in the United States, right now, over 8 million heterosexual couples living together. That is up over 1,500% from 1970. There are nearly 600,000 homosexual couplesí cohabitating. In 1970, it was called, shacking up.
As with Homosexuality, the media and Hollywood glorifies Cohabitation. One can scarcely watch a TV drama, or comedy, and not see the main characters involved in a Cohabitating relationship. Parenthood, Chicago Fire, NCIS, and Castle, all have some the main characters in a live in, or sex centered relationship without marriage. For several years it was
fun to watch Castle and Beckett pursing each other. But two years ago, they caught each other and the relationship has been sexual ever since. Brad and Angelina are Hollywood Icons in a live-in relationship. And while they have done some wonderful things with adoption and breast cancer awareness, they are establishing a damaging example to Americans.
What I would like to do this morning is divide this life lesson into two parts.
First, The Purpose for Marriage; Second, The Problem with Cohabitation.
I. The Purpose for Marriage - God's plan (Gen 2; Mal. 2; Eph. 5) What is the purpose for this first institution that God ordained?
A. Partnership (Gen. 2:18-23) God is a God of relationship. He is a Triune God. 3 persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) but one God; a unity of one. And He created us in His image. Gen. 2, which focuses on the creation of man, says that when man was alone it wasn't good. The image of God was not complete. Man was alone (Gen. 2:18), So He created a woman
from the man and then as a Father of the Bride gave her to man to be in permanent relationship with the man and to complete the image of God (Gen. 1:27). The intent, I believe was to also establish a unity of 3 in one- Husband, Wife, and God. There is a sense in which men and women are incomplete when they are alone. We are different not only physically but mentally and
emotionally. Those differences are balanced and bring a completeness when we are married. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Our desire for a mate is part of our spiritual DNA. Men and women were designed differently in order to complete what the other lacks; therefore, to complement each other.
B. Public- (Gen. 2:24). Leaving the Father and Mother and marrying was and is typically not a private affair. It is beginning of a relationship that is generally a proud and public acknowledgement of a new relationship. Society is informed and the couple come under the protection of the law.
C. Permanence - Gen 2:25, says that a man and woman are to cleave together, or be joined together, or to stick like glue, be welded together. This involves the pledging of oneís fidelity and intent to seek the best for the other. This covenant or vows is intended to cement the relationship until death occurs to one of the two. This permanent
partnership reflects the image of God. The Godhead is a permanent unity. Jesus said in Matt. 19, that what God has joined together, no man should divide. Two become one unit. The image of God was separated just once, when Jesus was on the cross. But never again.
D. Pleasure. (Gen, 2:24-25) One of the ways this partnership fortifies, invigorates, relaxes and pleases the participants is through sexual relations. Again God wired us and designed us this way. He wired us with nerves and hormones and a desire to experience pleasure with someone of the opposite gender. He designed us to fit together sexually to
demonstrate oneness, and enjoy each other. If you read Proverbs 5 and the Song of Solomon (read it in a new paraphrase). You will see that sex was intended to be a great way for married partners to enjoy each other pleasurably. And you donít have to hide it from anyone, or be ashamed if someone found out. Proverbs 5:15-21, "Drink water from your own cistern, And running water
from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. 0 For why should you,
my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths. Translated- Enjoy each other sexually, and know that God is watching and approves what you do because it is His gift to you.
E. Procreation- It is in the context of marriage that God designed for us to reproduce ourselves Gen.1:28, "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply." Jer. 29:5-6. Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters
to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughtersóthat you may be increased there, and not diminished." And even more, that you would re-produce children that would have a heart for God. Mal. 2:15a, "But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Psalm 27 reminds us that children are your heritage and a gift from God.
F. Purity (1 Cor. 7:1-9) - The Lord God purposed for marriage to protect us from the consequences and devastation of a society engrossed in moral chaos and sexual immorality. Two people enter a marriage with the agreement to find their companionship, fulfill their dreams, find their pleasure, and recreate themselves and take care of each other,
honoring God together for the rest of their lives. But Satan has convinced us that sex is a basic instinct of animals that we should be able to satisfy and fulfill anytime with anyone without restrictions. The lack of restrictions results in STDís, date rape, unwanted pregnancies, and disappointments when people do marry.
G. Picture of God (Eph. 5:29-32) "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."32 This is a great mystery,
but I speak concerning Christ and the church"- Coming full circle - Marriage is to image God in caring for each other. There is to be the same unity, and love for each other that is shared in the Godhead between Father Son and Holy Spirit and between Jesus and His Church. Marriage is to mirror Godís care for each of us as husbands and wives care for Him and each other. We'll
come back to that in a moment.
For the most part, Godís plan and purposes for marriage was given before sin came into the world. Since then we have all inherited the sin nature that is basically selfish and self-focused and seeks to fulfill its desires and appetites apart from the will and plan of God. Today that translates into divorce or avoiding Godís plan of marriage altogether.
Last year in America, a little over 2 million heterosexual couples married and a little over 1 million couples divorced. Simply put, for every two marriages there is one divorce. Being married doesnít guarantee that there will not be problems. There will always be problems because even in a match made in heaven, there are still two sinners with unique personalities united
together. We can narrow those problems by seeking Godís will, Godís way, in Godís power, by Godís word.
II. The Problem with Cohabitation. Remember when Jesus our Lord, went into Samaria and meet the woman at the well (John 4). She was the product of 5 failed marriages, and was living with a man. Cohabitation is not new. With the sexual revolution that began in the late 60ís and 70ís many, many have opted to be sexual with whoever and whenever they can
and many have opted to live together without marrying. Again the census bureau tells us that there are over 8 million cohabitating couples in America. Many try to justify this by saying things like:
1. We donít need a piece of paper to be committed to each other.
2. We donít want to make the same mistakes and get divorced like our parents.
3. We need to see if we are compatible before we get married.
4. We can work out the bugs before we get married.
5. The children will be better off.
And more, but I want to tell you the truth so you can tell your children and grandchildren and you can research on line what I am telling you. Many studies have been done by the University of Chicago and others and here are the facts. Letís consider some of the false information:
A. Living Together Before Marriage Increases Your Chances of Having a Happy Marriage Later."
You "test drive a car" before you buy it, so why not do the same with your lifelong relationships. Another one that is heard often is "you try on a pair of shoes to see if they fit before you buy them, why not your spouse." Someone has said, when you test drive a car you don't pack your personal luggage in the trunk or when you try on a pair of new
shoes you don't want everyone else's foot odor and fungus already in them. You can throw away shoes without hurting anyone, but you can't throw away a person without hurting them and possibly others. The great paradox is that research indicates just the opposite of this conventional 'wisdom'. Numerous studies have shown that couples who have lived together before marriage are
more likely to disagree on things like recreation, household chores and finances and are more likely to seek counseling than couples who do not cohabit. The probability of a first marriage breaking up after 5 years is 29%, but the probability of a first marriage breaking up after a couple has lived together before being married is 50%. After 10 years it is 33% for people who
did not cohabitate first and 66% for those who did. There is a greater chance of emotional pain by living together first.
B. It's All-Right Because We're Really In Love!" The truth is most who cohabitate are in lust, and following feelings and hormones that make you feel close and good, but that isnít love. Someone wrote, "He held me close, a chill ran down my spine, I thought it was love but it was just his popsicle melting" Love is observed. It is seeking the best for
the object of your affection which is never less than your all. True love would never seek the spiritual downfall of another (Rom. 13:10). The scripture says that love is patient and kind; it does not seek to please itself, nor does it delight in evil, but is always hopeful (1Cor. 13). Therefore, true love is patient in waiting for the proper time for sex and is willing to
make a commitment to the other person. It is kind to future spouses by not pre-harming marital intimacy. True love would be unselfish in placing God's will and the needs of others above self. It would not delight in the evil of disobedience, nor would it force another to disobey God. You must be able to observe love emanating from someone in selfless care for you and you must
desire to care for that person before you ever begin a physical relationship. A relationship built on the emotional and physical feelings you have and not on love observed is dangerous to your future. Do you understand this?
C. We can be committed without being married. Maybe, but truth is, people who live together are far less likely to share finances, and time and more likely to lead separate lives and are more inclined to "cheat sexually," than those who are married. The Truth is, not being married leaves an exit strategy open. The Truth also is that people who cohabit
are more likely to experience physical abuse, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Women are more likely to be the primary financer of the relationship, providing 70% of the income.
That ring and piece of paper means you are far more likely to be faithful and to try to solve problems than you would without it. And the truth is that most couple who cohabitate will break the relationship within 1-5 years.
D. If the relationship fails we can avoid the trauma of a divorce. But that is also not true. Whenever you bond with someone sexually and then end that relationship, you will leave damaged, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sex is more than a pleasurable orgasm, more than an animal instinct, it is the uniting of your souls as much as your bodies.
And when the union is broken by divorce or breaking-up, your life will feel broken.
Cohabitation is a bad decision. Hebrews 13:4 reminds us. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Godís favor and blessing is on how people who marry enjoy each other in bed, but sooner or later there will be consequences for ignoring Godís word and "Living in Sin." Paul told us in Gal.
6:7-8, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
Listen again to Godís Counsel given through the Apostle Paul, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also
the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack
of self-control. 6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Cor. 7:1-9)
Single-ness can be a calling or a choice that would enable Christ-Followers to serve God and people, but that isnít for most people.
God gave us marriage not just to satisfy the appetite for sex, but to bless us and complete us as long as we live this side of heaven. Your children and grandchildren need to know that they will never regret doing things Godís way, but they will regret it if they believe they can find happiness apart from Godís way. Cohabitation is a lie designed to
ruin your life and keep you from enjoying Godís wonderful gift.
Like any sin, it is forgivable and while you might not escape the consequences, you can find peace and have a new beginning by recommitting your life to trusting and obeying God and His Word, or becoming a Christ-Follower today. Letís pray.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman