The Pleasure of Purity

We Will Find The Pleasure Of Purity In God's Design For Marriage

Ross Sawyers
May 22, 2022    55m
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When you study the Bible, you will find that there is the pleasure of purity when you and your spouse follow God's design for marriage. God created us, man and woman, in His image, and He created a beautiful design for how we are to relate to each other in a Christian marriage. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] I've been praying for a while now for just an opportunity to be able to share a message that just really lays out God's design all in one talk. And I want to do that out of Genesis 1 and 2, and I want to do it in a way where it's not against what's wrong with the world or identifying faulty designs, faulty ideas, or sinful things that are going on in our culture, I just wanted to lay out the beauty of what God has done and just let it rest on us. And my hope in this will be that, and my prayer has been, that for those who believe this, that it'll be refreshing for you to hear it, and that it would cause your love for God to grow today and to increase because of His design and allowing us to be a part of it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:05] I also believe that with the way our culture is rolling today, that it's really easy for someone that's solid in their faith in Christ to drift and to end up buying into cultural ideas that are not God's design. And so my hope today would be as you hear afresh God's design, that if you've begun to drift as a Christian, that this might be a re-anchoring today inside of God's design. And then I also recognize in messages like this that it will disturb some people, and it will not be something that you agree with when you hear it, it will strike your ears wrong. And this is what I would ask, it's kind of odd here, there are times when I'm preaching and I'll talk about issues that are hard issues and I'll watch people get up and leave, and I know it's not because they're going to get coffee or going to the bathroom, or you've got a soccer game. And so I would just ask on a message like this, that if you disagree with something enough where it makes you angry and you want to get up and leave, what I'm hoping is, is that our church can be one of the safest places to talk about hard topics and that we could actually learn to sit across from each other and have a conversation about things of which we disagree. And that we could look at the scriptures and say, look, this is the way we understand it and why. Let's talk about how you've arrived at where you are, and we might walk away disagreeing in it. But wouldn't that just be healthy if we could have real dialogs around things about which we disagree? That our life groups this week would be so lively with conversation around the things that are stirred this morning, and so that would be my hope. So I would just ask that if you can, that you would stay for the whole message.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:04] Now, I said this in the service before this one, and some people were scrambling at the end because they actually needed to go to the bathroom and didn't feel like they could. If you needed to go to the bathroom, go, you don't have to be miserable the whole time in here. I didn't realize the impact of what that would do, so I'll just trust that you're going to the bathroom and you're coming back. I'll look the other way, I won't draw attention to you, how's that? Would that'd be fair?

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:28] And so I just hope that we can have that kind of a conversation around the kinds of things that God has invited us into in his design. And just know that anything outside of this design would be a miss of what God's very best is, and would actually take us down a path that is not helpful. I also understand today that depending on your life experience, that there is pain and wounds and hurts, and I just want you to know, I know that. And as I share these things, again, I just want to lay the message out without contrasting it to other things, I just want the goodness of God's design to rest on us. But please know, I know there are things that are painful as you hear them that might be difficult, and those would be the kinds of things we'd actually want to have a conversation about later.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:28] The other night I was listening to Jen Wilkin, who's a fantastic ladies' Bible study teacher, and she said something at the outset before she was talking, I thought, I love that, and I'm going to say the same thing. If there is not a respect for God, there will not be a respect for God's design and God's word. And she started the other night, and what I was listening to in Psalm 111:10, it says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." But she said, you know, that really struck me, it's not the love of the Lord that's the beginning of wisdom, she said, but it's the fear of the Lord, it's an awe and a reverence and a respect for him, that is the beginning of wisdom. And that's been one of my prayers as well, is that that we would have such a respect for God, that we can't do anything but respect His design, and then walk in that design and the beauty of it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:38] The other thing that I want us to wrap this around, as I've prayed on it. Comes from the title of a chapter in this book by C.J. Mahaney, called Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, and the subtitle is, What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know. It's a fantastic book, and it's a very healthy, celebratory kind of thinking from God's perspective on sex inside of the marriage relationship. And then in the last chapter, his wife Carolyn writes it, and the title of the chapter is The Pleasure of Purity. When I read that, I thought, I can't wait to do a message, that the theme is the pleasure of purity, because that's what I think about when I think about God's design. That not just sex from this particular book, but just the whole of God's design, that there's pleasure in it and its pure.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:39] In Psalm 16:11, the psalmist writes, he says, "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." God is a God of pleasure. And all of us, at the end of the day, are pleasure seekers. We desire pleasure, the reason we desire pleasure is because that's who God is, he's a God of pleasure. And we want to seek that pleasure inside of God's plan and the joy that he offers to us. So I want us to think about that idea, the pleasure of purity, as we think about a few categories inside of God's design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:27] And I want to begin by thinking about creation, and what we see in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, where we'll hang out, at the very beginning, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Now, one thing I love about the way God laid his word out to us, is he didn't intend this to be a science book. What the Scriptures do is answer the question, who and why? Who? Science is not designed to answer that question, nor is it designed to answer the question, why? The Bible answers the question of who, and it's answered in this very first verse, "In the beginning God." In the beginning God. Who, who is the creator? God is the creator. And then we see unfolding in the pages of scriptures, why? And it's for his glory and for His honor. So we see the who and the why. There's no reason that science in the Bible have to conflict, they actually complement, because science helps us discover how things were done and what those things are and the detail of those things. And that what that ought to do is just create in us more and more of an awe of God who created for His own glory.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:46] So we see in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew, and God is the subject of the very first sentence, and he will be the central subject of the rest of the story. And the Hebrew word for God in verse one is Elohim, Elohim is a plural word. We see at the very outset God is described as the Triune God. In Colossians chapter 1, verse 16, we're told that it was "Christ who's the one that by all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him." Jesus Christ, present, [inaudible] the agent by which things were created. In verse 2 of chapter 1, it says, "The Holy Spirit is hovering over all that is in that moment." So we see at the very outset of the Scripture that God is the very center, and He's the Triune God, the Father, Son, and Spirit, all involved in the creation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:00] God created, that word created is the Hebrew word bara, and it's only used with God, he's the one that creates this way. And it carries with it the idea of the power and the freedom of an artist to call into existence that which did not exist before. God created, he called into existence with his freedom and artistry and power, that which did not exist before. God is the creator. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created all that is. He created it in such a way that the writer says to us that in six days, this is how he did it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:54] On day one, he created night and day, he created night and day, day and night. This is the form that he's setting in place before he brings life to fill it. The form, day one, day and night, night and day.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:16] On day two, we see the expanse is created, and the expanse is that which is now between the water, so it's the heavens are created so that the waters above and the waters below.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:29] On day three, the earth and vegetation. There's an order to who God is, there's a rationality to the way that he creates. On the first three days, he created the form so that there could be life to populate those forms. And he does it in that order of day and night, expands, earth and vegetation. You know, when he makes the vegetation, he makes the plants and the trees that will bear fruit after their own kind.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:06] Once he has the form in place, now he brings life to it. In day four, which, if I could ask God, could I go back and just be a part of one of the days that you created? Which day would that be for you? I think for me it would be day four. Because on day four he put the moon to govern the night, and he put the sun to govern the day, and then he put the stars to blanket the skies. I was in south Texas at the end of last week at a gathering, and one of the things in south Texas is, that there's not a lot there, but there is a dark sky. And the stars just blanketed that canopy of black, and God names every star that is there, the ones we see, the ones we don't see. They are his to enjoy, and we get to share that enjoyment with him. But on day four, he populates what he did on day one when he said, there's night and day, or day and night, he populates that with the stars, the sun, and the moon. Day one and day four go together, form, and then you fill it with life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:22] On day five, it says that he puts the fish in the waters, and he puts the birds in the sky. And when he does that, he's corresponding to day two where he had made the expense. He had separated the water so that there'd be a place for the birds and there would be a place for the fish.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:41] On day six are the land animals, the cattle, the creeping things, and the beasts all after their kind, and then humans. Day six goes with day three, where the earth was set and the vegetation was set, so now the humans could live in that which God created. Form and function, form and life, God's very orderly, it's beautiful in what He's created, what He's made. He has pleasure and what he's created, and he says it's all good, it's beautiful to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:23] A little bit ago, Lisa and I went to an aquarium, the Dallas Aquarium. We really need to have grandkids, we're just like a couple of kids, we need to have grandkids to take with us. If you want to loan us some every once in a while, maybe we'll take them with us. But here's an anteater, and it's hard to tell that it's an anteater, I didn't get the best shot of it. But his, the nose or whatever you call it, is coming off the bottom of the screen. But we were looking at it and Lisa said, how creative God is, and it just looks like a walking carpet, and he did. But can you imagine God's delight and pleasure when he made the anteater? I mean, who thinks that up? And then we saw this bird, a toucan, and the colors on the toucan, and that's just one of however many that God has made. Can you imagine him just thinking through the birds and the different shapes and colors that he made? And then here, can you guess what that is? It's a manatee, the thing is about to blow up, as the face of him is down at the bottom of the tank, it is a big manatee. There are my legs on the manatee, I just it. And, yeah, [inaudible] the reflection. And then that shark, we actually thought maybe that was a big sticker, you know it was those overhead clear glass that you're looking at the fish. But that's a shark for real because we looked at it from the top as well. But just imagine the detail, that's just four of what God created of the land animals, birds, and fish. Could you imagine the delight? And for those of you that are artists and are creative, when you are able to create something that that wasn't there before, there's just a thrill in that and a pleasure in it. And that is what God created, there's a pleasure to him, it's pure to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:25] In Psalm 33:6, it says, "By the Word of the Lord that the heavens were made." And then in verse 9, "He spoke and it was done." Imagine that power, he just spoke, and it was. He spoke and it was done. Elohim, God, bara’, he created, it's the soul work of God to create that which is not in existence and to bring it into existence. And then the psalmist would write in 111:2, "Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them." We look at God's creation and His works and we study them, and we delight in them. Oh, there's a pleasure of purity, and God said all this was good.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:18] As he unfolds his design on that sixth day, he created humanity. But we see the uniqueness of humanity because male and female, in the image of God, he created them. Verse 26 to 28, "Then God said, “[ai]Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." So God explains it on that sixth day that he uniquely created humanity to be male and female in the image of God, this is God's design, it's a beautiful design, it's his pleasure, and it's his pure design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:18] There's been debate over time as to what the image of God means. I think someone defined it well and they said it's a representation of God who is like God in some respects, but not in all respects. So we're image bearers, we're like God in some respects, but not in all respects. Meaning God is ever present, we're not like God in that way. God has all knowledge, we're not like God in that way. God has all wisdom, we're not like God in that way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:52] But I think Wayne Grudem, a theologian, does a nice job of helping us think about the ways that we are like God and the image of God. And he divides it into four categories. In the image of God, it's the morality, there is a sense of right and wrong within each of us, and in that way, we are made in the image of God. There's an esthetic part of the image of God, he says, meaning that there's something in us that likes to create, and if we're not that great at creating, at least we appreciate beauty. God has created, and everything He's made is beautiful. And in the same way, we recognize beauty. Now, what might be beautiful to you would be different to me and different to you, but that is part of being in the image of God. There's a mental aspect to being in the image of God, the ability to reason and logic. It's the reason we have philosophy and science and different disciplines because in the image of God we can reason and be logical. And then there's a relational aspect to the image of God, meaning we can relate to God, and we can relate to one another. That could be at least an idea of what the image of God is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:19] And so God made us an image of God, male and female. Now, because we're made in the image of God, this is the reason that every person is a person of dignity and value. We value every person, the person, because they're made in the image of God. This is the why behind why we value someone and dignify someone. And that dignity and value we learn later, in Psalm 139, begins in the womb. In Psalm 139, verse 13, it says, "You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb." We just found out not too long ago that my niece is pregnant, and at five and a half weeks, they were able to tell them the gender of that baby. In the womb of the mom, God has established a person made in his image, and he's weaving that person together, either male or female. "I'll give thanks to You, verse 14, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:41] Now, Jen Wilkin was talking about this song the other night, the one I was listening to, and it was interesting what she said. She said< This is not a self-esteem psalm for women's conferences. This is a psalm about God, this is about what he's done, and he's the one that's formed us, he's the one that weaves us in the womb, and he's the one that receives our thanks, and he's the one whose works are wonderful." And "My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." God is the one who creates. God is the one who makes us in His image. He's the one that makes us male or female. He's the one that weaves us in our mother's womb. And he's the one that's established how many days that we will receive. This is about God from start to finish, it's pleasurable and beautiful, what he's created.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:42] In verse 28, he says what we're to do as his unique image bearers, "God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Now, if you're in this service, a week ago, you saw live as we honored our seniors, our graduates for sending them out. And one of the things that we ask them to do is write on a card, what's a way they want to make an impact later in life? And one young man said he wanted to be fruitful and multiply. I thought it was the highlight of the day, that's a young man that understands God's design and he's ready to do his part.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:35] God has established his creation, he's uniquely made humanity in it, and he's told us what we're to do. And based in his creation, he has given us a work rest rhythm. In verse 31, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Chapter 2, verse 1, "The heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts." So all the work was done in six days, "By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." Verse 3, "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Creation, made in the image of God, male and female, a work/rest rhythm.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:38] He unfolds this throughout scripture. In Exodus 20, when he establishes his people, he tells them to work six days and rest on the Sabbath. And he bases it on the creation of six days, and then one day he rested. Now, what did he say about that seventh day? He completed his work, so he was done with his work, he rested on the seventh day, and then verse 3, he sanctified it. That word sanctified means he set it apart, it's a day that's different than the other six. Six of these days work, one of these days, set it apart to rest. Now the psalmist would later tell us that God doesn't sleep nor slumber, so what does his rest look like? Well, the word for rest here is the word cease, it's to cease from doing your normal work. So whatever is normal work on those other six days, then on the seventh day, cease from that work. And what God did is he said his work was very good, that he did, which gives us the idea that part of what we do on that seventh day is savor what it is that happened in our work the previous six days, we reflect back on the work that was done, we remember, we rejoice, and we reflect, on that seventh day of rest. We work hard for six, we rest deeply for one. We cease from that normal activity, and God gives the responsibility for that seventh day of rest to whoever is the leader of the home, they are responsible for rest for all they have the care over.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:54] This is God's design; this is s a work/rest rhythm. That's the rest part, but isn't it interesting that the work he has established in Genesis 1 and 2, where everything is in perfect harmony? Work is not a curse. Work is good. This morning when I was at the gym before coming to the 8:00, I usually time myself where I get here right on time. I shouldn't do that, but I do. And this morning I was leaving the gym, and there's a guy that works there that works really hard all the time. In all the years I've been there, this guy works hard. And so I've been thinking about this a little bit, and when I was walking in the parking lot, he was out there doing some things and I said, hey, thanks for being such a great example of hard work. And he said, you know, he said, I love to work, he said, I always have. He said I don't know why I love to work. And I said, well, you're a great example. I got in the car, and I thought, ah, you blew it. And I thought, no, I didn't, I can still go back to him. So I got in the car. I drove up next to him, I rolled the window down on the passenger side. He comes over to the car and I said, hey, I want to tell you why you love to work hard, because God designed us to work, and when you work hard, you're reflecting God, and that's God's pleasure. We best reflect God in our work when we work hard because he designed us with a purpose for work. And then he started telling me things, and it just led to a long conversation, and I thought, I've got work to do it 8:00, I need to wrap this up. I just wanted to affirm you, and that you're reflecting God in your work today. It was a great conversation, but God designed us to work. In Chapter 2 verse 15, we see that with Adam, "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it." His first work was to cultivate and take care of that which God made, which is exactly what we see in chapter 1, verse 28, that we're to care for what he's made.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:24] Creation, made in the image of God, male and female, work/rest, rhythm, all the foundational ways we're to live life are set from the get-go. And then marriage, at the end of chapter 2, is set in God's design. Verse 18, "Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [p]suitable for him.” Earlier in chapter 2, he had formed the man out of the dust, and he breathed life into him. But it was him, and then all the rest of God's creation. And when we arrive at verse 18, the Lord said, Look, it's not good for the man to be alone, he's by himself, there's not another part of his creation that is suitable for him, and he said, I'm going to make him a helper suitable for him. The word helper here is the Hebrew word ezer, and when you see that word used throughout the Old Testament, the majority of the time it's used where God is our helper. It's a strong word, and it's what God does, he says, I'm going to make you a helper. It also has a military idea to it, kind of a warrior mentality of being helped that way when it's used in other places. So God says, I'm going to make you a helper, and this will be one who supplies strength where you lack. So God designed this in such a way that that for Adam, the first man, there would be a woman for him that would be a strength where he lacked. That she would be suitable for him, that word suitable means a fit for him, a fit companion for him. It's a beautiful design that God is laying out.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:42] Linda Dillow has written a book called Creative Counterpart, and I try to read things on occasion that are for women so that I can understand more how women relate to women and how they think about some of these things. And Linda Dillow's been a big help to me over the years, she's really fantastic in the things she writes. But in this Creative Counterpart book, she describes the helper that is in Genesis 2:18, as being the creative counterpart to her husband. And I just want to read a little bit about what she says about this idea of being a helper, "God's plan for marital happiness involves a spiritual head and a creative counterpart. Instead of competing with each other and complaining to each other, God's man and God's woman complete each other. A creative counterpart is a helpmate, a compliment to her husband. She not only allows her husband to be the leader but also encourages him to take the leadership by reverencing him and by being submissive to him. She's chosen to be submissive because God has commanded it, and because she's convinced that only completion will result in a vital and fulfilling marriage. The role of helpmate indicates not a status of inferiority, but a functional difference. The wife is in submission to her husband in the same way that Christ is in submission to the Father. Yet, Christ and the Father are equal and one. There cannot be two leaders, the purpose is functional teamwork that allows two people to complement each other, not compete with each other in life. Women sometimes say, don't say submission so loudly. I hope to show you that submission is not a dirty word but is your hope of becoming all that God intended and all that you desire. Christ is subject to God, he's equal to God, he's very God, but he's subject to the Father. Jesus, creator of heaven and earth submitted Himself to God and took His place in the chain of authority. It's no shame or dishonor for a wife to be under authority if the Lord Jesus was. Each marriage partner has a blessed, unique responsibility, a purpose in life that the other cannot possibly fulfill and cannot happily exist without." And then she says this, "The passage on submission, which is in Ephesians 5, sounds as if our husbands got together and wrote it, doesn't it? They didn't, God did. Please know that God does not say your husband has earned the right to be your head or has deserved it. He says that he, God, decided this was the best plan, and therefore asks you to honor the plan. God had many plans available to him, and He chose this one. Believe it or not, it's to your advantage, it's God's design." There's pleasure in the purity of God's design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:55] He goes on to describe how he forms the woman, He puts the man in a deep sleep, and then he takes a rib out of him, and he forms and fashions the woman. Now, there's a little phrase in verse 22 that until a few years ago I had not picked up on, and it says this, it's the last part of verse 22, that the Lord got, He brought her to the man. He fashioned her, and then he brought her to the man, and then there was pure elation from him and his response to God bringing her to him. This is what happens on a wedding day when the bride is brought to her husband, there's pure elation on that day. And that's what God does here, he brings her to the man. "The man said, “At last this is bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called ‘woman,’" She's a part of me, and "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." So a man should leave his father and mother, he's setting this up for how this should flow from now on.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:12] And the man is to be joined to his wife, that word joined is like a glue, there's to be an unbreakable bond between the husband and the wife, and they shall become one flesh. That when that bond is formed, when the marriage is consummated, they become one flesh. There is a oneness that God establishes between a man and a woman in marriage. "And the man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed." Isn't that an intriguing verse to put in there? Well, why would he put that there? I think it has to do with trust, a man and a woman are not any more vulnerable than when they're naked before each other. And when he set up his design in the marriage relationship, it's a relationship that is an unbreakable bond, a oneness, a sacredness, and a trust between the two. Later, God would call this a covenant, a covenant that's not to be broken.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:36] This is God's design, that oneness that he talks about from a sexual side to celebrate, there is a pleasure in the purity of the way God designed sex within marriage. In the Bible, in the Song of Songs, eight chapters in about the middle of our Bibles. All of a sudden there's this book of the Bible that is celebrating an erotic, sexual, satisfying, pleasurable relationship between a husband and a wife, that God's design to be enjoyed inside the marriage relationship. The pleasure of purity inside that relationship, both husband and wife enjoying each other romantically, sexually, relationally, that's God's design, it's a beautiful design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:41] Well, Jesus would go on to anchor himself in Genesis 2, these last few verses to solidify the idea of marriage between a man and a woman in Matthew 19 verses 4 and following. The Apostle Paul would do the same thing in Ephesians chapter 5, and it's an amazing chapter of Scripture in chapter 5, because we actually see the unfolding of why God designed marriage the way He did. See, God has purpose in everything that He does from the very beginning, and while we may not always understand his purposes, there are purposes behind what he does. And when he established marriage in this first part of his creation, he had an intention for it that Paul writes in Ephesians 5, it's a mind-blowing thought that in marriage it actually represents Jesus Christ and the church. And he lays out what that looks like in Ephesians 5:22 and following, it says, "Wives be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord." This carries on that idea of being the helper, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church." God is a rational and orderly God, and God is the head of Christ, Paul writes, and Christ is the head of humanity, he writes, and the husband is the head of the wife. The husband is not the head of every woman, the husband is the head of his wife, and then the parents together are the authority over their children. This is God's order in his design. "But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." Because wives get the privilege of representing the bride of Christ, the church, in the marriage relationship. And as the church, what do we do? We gladly, voluntarily, and joyfully yield to and submit to Christ our head as the church, and the wife represents the church in the marriage relationship.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:55] Now, I can't remember a wedding that I've done where I don't look at the man right in the eye after I talk about this part, and say, your job's harder. Because verse 25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." Your job as the husband is to represent Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ gladly gave his life up for the church. He sacrificed, served, and looked for the best interests of the church, so that we could thrive. I've yet to meet a wife that will not gladly yield to and follow a husband that's willing to lay his life down, sacrifice, and serve her. That's a beautiful picture of Christ in the church. That's God's design, that we would represent him. Verse 32 said, "This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church." This is a mystery, and now it's being unfolded, now we know this is why God set this up this way, and "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." The pleasure of purity to represent Christ and the church in the marriage relationship.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:42] Well, what if you're single? How does this work? What if I'm single and alone and I don't have a helper fit for me yet, or maybe that won't be God's design? Well, Paul addresses that in First Corinthians chapter 7 and notes that Jesus is single, and Paul is single. In First Corinthians 7, he advocates for marriage, he said that it's a good thing. But then he goes on to say, actually, if you could restrain from it, that's even better, in verse 35. And the reason it's better is because you can have undistracted devotion to the Lord. And I think one of the greatest gifts I've seen over time is people who are single, who've made the most of their singleness with their undistracted devotion and following the Lord.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:41] You may say, well that doesn't take care of the aloneness. God has designed the Christian community, to be the richest community so that that aloneness is taken care of. It's on us as a church to have the best community for someone that's single so that there's a richness in that Christian community to take care of the aloneness. This is God's design, it's a pure design and there's pleasure in it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:21] Now the problem is when we get outside of that design, and we look for all kinds of ways to talk about who the creator is and the way it happened. We try to have new designs on everything that God created himself. We look for pleasure in ways that we see, again and again, don't bring joy and don't bring pleasure. We're in a broken world, so it's nice to lay out the design, but what do I do about that? Because the reality is most of our world is not living in this design. Well God, in his pursuing and wooing of us, in his love for us, even when we don't respect him, he still pursues us. And God took the full brunt of his displeasure over the impurity of our sin, God placed all of that on Christ on the cross so that we might be able to reenter the design. He made a way for us to get back inside the design when we get outside of it, and the way he made it possible is through Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:01] In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." Jesus was gladly and willingly following the will of his Father to provide a way, because there's a thief that's trying to steal and rob and kill us. But he gave us a way back into the joy and the pleasure, and Jesus said, the abundant life. There's an abundant life that he's invited us into, and the way that we respond to that, Paul writes it in Acts chapter 3, verse 19, and the way we respond is to "Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." So there is a way for refreshment to come, it's the way of repentance, it's the way of a godly sorrow over our sin. Our brokenness and our desire to create our own design, rather than walking in the beauty and pleasure of God's design. He's made a way for us, it's the way of repentance.

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:25] For the person who has entered into the design, entered into life in Christ, we may find ourselves drifting, repentance is the way back. It's not a starting as if I don't have the relationship, it's repenting of living wrongly in the relationship with Jesus. But repentance is the way into the design. You can look at the beauty of what Jesus did to restore everything that's broken about Genesis 1 and 2. We talked about creation, and every time a person says yes to Jesus, that person becomes a new creation in their heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:22] At the end of Revelation, the writer says that Jesus is coming back, and he'll make all things new. So we're pointed towards a new creation and a new Earth, Genesis 1 and 2, when you read that in your Bible, if you read Revelation 21 and 22, it's a new creation and a new heavens, it's restoring Genesis 1 and 2. So everything I've talked about today, the pleasure and the purity of what God's design is, one day we'll be back inside the perfect purity of it. Jesus will make all things new, in the meantime, he makes our hearts new and we're moving towards that newness, the image of God, our ideas of beauty, our thinking capacities, our relationships, all those aspects of what it is to be in the image of God that are broken. One of my seminary professors said, years ago, that the reality is, that we're subhuman once we've entered into sin. We actually become human again when the image of God is restored within us through Christ. So that image of God, it's made right in Christ, we can think clearly again, we can see what real beauty is and appreciate it, we can relate well because we're moving in a relationship out of Christ and the image of God, Jesus takes care of that. Jesus finished the work for us on the cross. He said, It's finished, it's done, the work is done, he did the work for us, and then he rested.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:12] And Jesus said, Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I'll give you rest, our rest today is found in Jesus. And now whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men. We're his workmanship, he's working on us while we work, Jesus is the substance for that. And then in marriage, we're called the bride of Christ. So every person that is a new creation in Christ is a part of the bride of Christ, it's a permanent, secure, unbreakable, sacred, relationship of oneness in him. And he invites us all, who are in Christ, in his new creation, to the marriage supper of the LAMB, where we will feast forever with the one who's our groom and our King.

Ross Sawyers: [00:51:22] That's God's pure design, he's inviting us all into it, and that's where the greatest pleasure will come. What does that do to your heart today? Does it stir it with gratitude? Does it affirm how you already think, and you're saying, I can't believe that God has let me be a part of this? Does it cause more gratitude and more love for him? Are there parts of that, that when you hear it, you're thinking, yeah, I don't know, with where I'm walking, I don't think that really jives? Is God kind of bringing you back to re-anchor into his design, this is his idea, or are you seething and you're just hoping this will hurry and end because you don't want to hear one more thing about it? Gosh, I hope you'd be willing to have a conversation about it, that we'd have this good dialog. I hope this week that our life groups are just filled with lively dialog, that again, we'll be the safest place to have the hardest conversations. That even among Christians, when you don't see something the same, that you can get in there and say, you know what, I hear this, I don't know how that works. I've chosen today to not give you a lot of practical thoughts underneath the big ideas. But what is this even look like day to day? Those would be great conversations this week. I just wanted us to see in one time, God's big design, and the pleasure and the purity of that design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:53:13] Father, thank you for your goodness towards us, that you would lay out for us, your purposes. And Father, I pray that where each of us are today, that you'd meet us. And God, I pray where we just see this, that you would cause our hearts to erupt with joy. I pray, God, where we've drifted, will you draw us back? Father, for someone that doesn't know Christ, I pray that as they listen to your design, they just hear that and think, gosh, that's got to be better than what I'm in right now, because this sure doesn't seem to be producing a joy and a pleasure. I pray, Father, where this is disagreement, will you help us, God, to know how to have real conversations with each other? And I pray, God, we'd just have a respect, and a love, and a value for you, and a gratitude, that in your grace, you would just pour on us your pursuit and your love and your drawing in to be a part of what you're doing. I pray we'll walk in freedom today and enjoy the pleasure that you bring in your presence. I thank You. I pray these things in Jesus' name.

Ross Sawyers: [00:54:29] If we can, let's be quiet just for a moment and whatever this stirs in you today, let this be a time to solidify that. Whether it's gratitude or whether it's. hey, you know what, I want to talk about this particular thing with someone. Or, you know what, I totally disagree with this, and I'd love to have a conversation about that. Whatever it would be, get settled now on what you'll do with it, and then we'll look forward to what that is. But let's just be quiet for a moment.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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