Marriage, a step in faith

Today is another victory for the Lord because a large part of what I will say comes from the bridegroom. Marriage is simply a natural step in his testimony of following the Lord. I believe that it is the same with Louise.

Why am I excited about this marriage? It is a proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. As you listen to this message, you will realise that Christ is the driving force behind this marriage. In revival, it is not solely about the couple but rather Christ, our Lord and His salvation.

The great grandfather of James Hudson Taylor was responsible for the salvation of hundreds of thousands of Chinese. He married during the time of the revival of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield. He had been a great party man who played his violin and people danced. He married Betty Johnson. On the day of his marriage everything was ready for the ceremony, but James Taylor was nowhere to be seen. (If we allow God to be king in our lives, He will take His rightful position and become king.) James Taylor was in his shed preparing corn for his wife to bake bread for them. It was a few hours before the wedding. A text kept coming into his head. I and my house, we serve the Lord. In his shed he was deeply convicted of his sin, he sank to his knees and cried out to God. How blessed it is to be convicted of your sins – it is a blessing above blessings. He fell onto his knees, cried out to God that he could not bear his sins anymore, then the peace of God flooded his soul and he experienced the forgiveness of his sins. An inexplicable joy flooded his soul. He realised with a shock that the sun was high in the sky and his wedding should have started, so he hurried there. If we allow God to be centre of our lives, He will take His rightful position.

The couple got married but there was a big surprise in store for his wife. The man had been a drinker and dancer and party-man. Not long after the wedding, his new wife realised that this man was different, he had changed completely. James Taylor now took his Bible and read it before they went to sleep, but his wife went on with what she wanted to do. He continued to read the Bible every evening, but she stubbornly refused to listen. One night he took her to the room, knelt before her and asked, ‘How long do you want to refuse God?’ Then they went to bed and that night, it happened to Betty as well. (This is the biggest thing that can happen in a person’s life.) God’s spirit visited her that night and revealed her sins to her. She knelt and prayed for God’s forgiveness of her sins. From that day onwards, the couple was a driving force in spreading the gospel.

You can ask God, ‘Where do you get the guts from to enter my marriage? It is my marriage!’ In revival it is all about God and Him alone. This was the amazing thing Betty said, that even though James spoke about conviction of sin, his face beamed with joy whenever he spoke about it. He could not explain the joy and peace he received through forgiveness of sin. Nothing compares to the joy that results from the forgiveness of sins.

Jan-Gideon testifies how God was the centre of his life as everything developed. He is getting married today because he is obeying God.

This is what Jan-Gideon shared with me: For years I lived a double life. I lived one life before the people in the church; another life with my friends; another life when I was with my parents; another life when I was alone.

Life can become very complicated if you are not honest. You have to be very careful what you say when you are in the different groups. He realised on a specific day that he was not getting the best of these different lives, but the worst.

He said: I am not a victorious Christian. I am not really the son I should be. I don’t enjoy being with my friends. When I am alone, I am not happy either. So, I live with the worst of all 4 lives. I knelt and to my shame, I challenged God, ‘God, I give you 6 weeks to tell me the truth – what should I be?’

(This is the gracious, humble God we serve. God did not become angry and ask, ‘Who do you think you are?’) God in His grace came down to his level. God said, ‘Jan-Gideon, here is where you are losing me and we are going separate ways.’ His chief obstacles were a few secret, pet sins - not even big things. He had tried for years to get rid of them. When he finally dealt with them, God spoke to him increasingly and showed him the walk of faith.

Jan-Gideon gave me many texts. This is the main text:

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, , 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3,4 (KJV)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God… (ESV)

Vessel is a Greek word skeuos which can be translated in various ways. It can mean different things: firstly a jar - the sour wine and hyssop that was stored in a jar that was given to Jesus to drink; or your body But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

There is another place where skeuos means wife/husband.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

The husband should honour the wife as the weaker vessel because she will inherit heaven with her husband. She is not a slave or an animal. Show honour to the wife as the weaker vessel so that your prayers will not be hindered. Why are your prayers often hindered, husband? As a man, be very careful how you behave towards your wife. This may be the reason why your prayers are not answered. This is God’s image of what a marriage should be. God does not use love, desire or passion, but because of the influence of Hollywood, when we decide who we should marry it is all about passion and desire. If we marry according to God’s will, it is all about God and doing His will. Hasn’t our idea of marriage not been influenced by the world? We see how the world does it and not God.

There are people who use marriage as a lucky charm. I live in immorality. I live a filthy life. I sleep with my girl. I live a cursed life - an immoral life is cursed by God. We spend time together, we touch one another, develop passion and lust for one another and then in the end we decide that we should marry. We think that marriage will remove all the filth and curses from our lives. You have never confessed your sin of immorality. You have never made restitution with others. To receive God’s blessing – we should confess our sins, repent and make restitution. People think that because I have married, all the filth and immorality automatically disappears because I am marrying now. We think marriage is like the lucky charm that brings good luck. I bring children into the world and think that things will go well. I think that Christians should accept me because I now have got married - but you have never repented, never confessed your sin, never apologised.

Friends, marriage should be an act of faith in God’s eyes. It is something I do under the guidance of God. Is this not what happened to Jan-Gideon? He walked in faith. He did not entertain ideas of marriage, but he waited for God to tell him that it was time for him to marry.

We often view marriage the way the world does. We consider God a spoil sport. We think he takes all the pleasure out of a relationship – the kissing, touching etc. God says not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. People marry in the wrong way, and they do not realise that they harm the image of marriage. Nowadays, Hollywood has convinced us that love is the central thing for marriage. As long as you love each, get married. As long as you have a feeling of liking and tenderness for someone, that is love and enough.

The response to this text, the Elberfelder translation commentary of the Bible says: The wife must contribute to the husband’s usefulness and not emphasise his weakness.

Remember Louise, contribute to the usefulness of Jan-Gideon in God’s kingdom. The two of you should be able to serve God better than if you would alone. God should remain the centre of the marriage. Do not allow carnality and lust into your marriage. The marriage bed should be sanctified. John Wesley said: What can be more dishonourable for a rational soul who can think logically to be enslaved by … brutal appetites. This was said at a time when there was no porn. Jan-Gideon and Louise be careful, porn has brought brutal appetites into the marriage bed.

God’s word wants marriage to be a sign of hope. God would not let us marry if there was no hope for us and our children. Movies these days offer no hope. God would not let us marry if there was no hope for us. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrew 13:4 (KJV) Keep romantic books out of your lives if you want your marriage to be blessed.

God spoke to Jan-Gideon in faith but then attacks from Satan came to make him anxious. This is not a sign that you are outside of God’s will. If you are in God’s will, Satan will try to make you anxious. As God led the people out of Egypt, they were anxious; as Nehemiah tried to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they were anxious. When he was anxious God spoke to him. (Consider the verse 10 Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10) For these two people, marriage is a step of faith. Do not consider marriage if your relationship with God is not right.

Jan-Gideon continues: I did not plan this marriage, it was God who guided me. A fierce attack from the devil followed where he tried to confuse me and make me worry and when I cried out to God, He gave me this verse: 10 Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 I thought of Peter walking on the water and the disciples who were in a storm, Jesus said to them ‘Peace be still.’ There was peace.

Then the Lord gave him peace. God gave Jan-Gideon the verse of Isaiah 25:1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Then he could say with Thomas, You are my Lord and my God. John 20:28 You are the Christ the son of the living God. Matthew 16:6

The Lord planned this marriage long ago. His grace brought them together and He will carry them forward. Jan-Gideon asks: Do we know God for who He really is? His ways are far higher than ours.

Marriage is not for a person who has not learned, in the smallest things to hear God’s voice, day by day. You have taken this step in faith, Jan-Gideon and Louise. May God bless you and may you help one another to serve God better than if you had served Him on your own. That you do not become obstacles and make your service to the Lord more difficult.


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