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Marriage part 2: Values

Text: Eph 5.1-33

1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


We are discussing marriage as a reflection of a real & spiritual relationship

God designed marriage to be that reflection

And it works best when we apply what we can know of the real

Last week we looked at the nature of marriage: It is a commitment

However, under the wrong conditions commitment is a burden not a privilege

The wrong condition is married to someone ‘incompatible’

– Irreconcilable differences

Commitment in such a situation can be extremely difficult

* ‘Not sharing values/morals’ a top 5 cause for divorce

For some demographics, greater than Infidelity

Men and women are dramatically ‘incompatible’.

This is a ‘feature’ not a ‘bug’ of God’s design

Hard to believe, I know

This makes marriage hard, ok… impossible

How can two walk together except they be agreed (Amo 3.3)

Sharing life with someone who really shares no common interests: Hard!

Perhaps solution is for both to be identical

(However, a marriage of two identical people is worse

Two left feet, two right hands, two left hemispheres…)

The problem with marriage built on shared experiences, ‘compatibility’ 

(shared likes/dislikes)

For instance: Liking the same musician (vs enjoying artistic expression)

No room for personal growth if you partner with a duplicate of self

Marriage affords us an intimate second-perspective into life (T. Keller)

By knowing our spouse intimately, able to see the world thru eyes

How they would respond, react

This affords us opportunity to react, respond differently

This is a gift, not a curse

Where does that leave us?

Bound in commitment to a person that, in the ideal conditions, is wildly different

This can’t work long term except we find common ground

TRUE: Two can’t walk together except they be agreed

Obviously, most serious minded Christians (as yourselves) don’t think that:
Food, movies, and vacation spots are sufficient 

But what is?  (Obviously, the title of the sermon is a huge spoiler.)


By “Values” I don’t mean:

Interests, Tastes, Opinions

– Not even strong opinions (aka convictions)


In marriage, we spend far too much time worrying about facts.







– ALSO, goals, objectives, and desires are not your values

[this will work in later, explaining that we can ‘shoot’ for success, 

but if we have designed for failure, we are most likely to fail]

What we should be focusing on is values

Our marriage, our job, our friendships will only be successful 

if they are aligned with our values

Values are even more significant than facts.

Modern man has been told by ‘Science’ that facts are objective, values subjective

The result of this has been (predicted by Christians) that now even facts subjective

What is a ‘male’, a ‘female’???

The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum. 

— C. S. Lewis

– Values are more significant than facts, because:

1) Facts don’t speak, guide, direct

1Cor 13: Knowledge on its own is nothing, technically, emptiness

2) At same time, nearly impossible to state a fact without implying value

– The stove is hot. Don’t touch it; Cook an egg on it; etc.

3) Facts are physical, values are spiritual

Facts are subjective to natural order, values (Christian) rooted in eternity

We will look at this a little deeper later

4) God speaks in values; he molds the facts to his will.

Calls things that are not as though they were

However, if those values are inferior, then ‘success’ is actually failure

If you design a car to crash then success is failure

* It is far more unsettling and telling to succeed at failure, than to fail at success.

What do I mean by this?

When we build for success but fail, that is disappointing, 

but can review design (value system) try to figure out where the problem is.

But when we build for failure, adopt and habituate incorrect values, 

and we then succeed at living up to them, that is condemnation.

The first is a values problem, the second is an execution problem.

Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish. — C. S. Lewis

What are values (Christian)?

Values are deeply held beliefs that inform and guard our attitudes and actions.

Guiding principles

They transcend our tastes, opinions, and even ‘convictions’

These are not ideas or ideologies that we learned in college or pickup from friends

They can be, over time, but it takes a long time

Values are like ruts in the road

You can force yourself to drive outside of them, but when you relax, back in

The are like voice accent and intonation

* They are what is referred to with the well-worn saying:

You can take the boy out of the country, but you cannot take the country…

— John Jennings Watts, Second Junior Annual of the 

Detroit College of Medicine, 1914 (Citing a Dr. Snyder)

These inculcated values are what are referred to in Pro 22.6

Pro 22.6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

– This proverb is building off of the metaphor of children as arrows

However it is very commonly misunderstood metaphor

The point isn’t so much of how you aim them, but how you build them

Badly designed arrows do not fly straight

Preaching, lecturing, hectoring on the right way isn’t of great value

if their fundamental design is flawed

But when designed one way (better or worse) it is painful to fly diff.

Think of values like your bone structure, your skeleton

And morality, ethics, willpower, etc as your muscles

Doesn’t do good to be a bodybuilder if all your bones are broken.

The psychological pain many people suffer is because they exert morally

Without the ‘bone structure’ — value system — to support it

Before Paul lays out the specific practical framework of marriage, (submission, sacrifice)

He lays the much broader, more fundamental groundwork of Chr. values

Because, without shared values Submission & Sacrifice do not make sense

They seem anything but terrible burdens.

To be successful in marriage (as Christians) — and in life — 

We must inhabit and be possessed by the values he lays out:

Marriage does not require special values

That would be subjective.

Let’s look at them.


1) Walk in love not in lust – v.1-7

As much as anything: Lust = fact, Love = value

Lust: Tangible, Immediate. 

Desiring something that results in a benefit to yourself

Love: Transcendental, Sacrificing

Pursuing a good that is not good for you.

Even proper lusts pull us away from our values and towards the facts

Our culture promotes lust not love.

Consumerism, Pornography, Entertainment

2) Walk in light not in deceit v.8-17

Delusion, fantasy, unreality, shame, sneakiness

Light = transparency, honesty, exemplary 

Our culture is more deceitful than perhaps ever before

Not only does it engage in deceit

It is deceit: It purports to be honest and raw, but it is cowardly

Social media, crouched behind you monitor lobbing truth bombs

Our culture is a massive facade

3) Walk in joy not in revelings v.18-21

Those things which bring lasting fulfillment, not momentary satisfaction

4) Walk in Christ not in self v1-21

There is no greater value than to walk in Christ

A marriage that follows the design of God cannot ‘add’ Christ in on Sundays

It needs to be the result of two people who live and walk in Christ whole lives

This is said so often in Church that it is practically cliche

So, what does it mean exactly to walk in Christ?

It means to look to Christ for:

1) identity = who

2) value = what

3) meaning = why

4) affirmation = whom (do I serve, what does he think of me)

– When we look to ourselves we stand on the razor’s edge of:

1) Imposter syndrome, or,

2) Narcissism

– When we look to our spouse we are 

1) clinging to the slipper face of idolatry (looking for them to be god)

2) at the edge of the precipice of eventual disillusionment (they can’t)


* Marry within your value system!

Success in marriage (and in life) is encapsulated in the NT wisdom

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

1 Cor 7.39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. [walk in Christ]

“Hide yourself in God, so when a man wants to find you he will have to go there first.”  ― Shannon L. Alder (LDS author & influencer)

But the only true value is Christ: “only in the Lord”

Christ is our value, that is what makes the gospel objective, not subjective

For religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value of any of them is that they bear the image of the king.

— G. K. Chesterton

That is why this value system is not subjective, rather it subjects all the facts to it

Perhaps some of us are in a quandary: We acknowledge that we don’t have the values

Weren’t raised to have them

Our bone structure is broken, dislocated, and has healed in wrong positions

What can we do? NOTHING

The more effort, force you exert the more you hurt yourself

The solution for a crooked arrow is not to pull back harder on the bow.

You must let Christ break you

It will feel like he hates you, that he is trying to hurt you

But he has to break apart all the poorly set bones that have grown crooked

So that he can set them, pour the oil of H.S. on them, and bind them

Only then can you exert yourself morally without only hurting yourself

Only then can your success be real success – succeed at succeeding.

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