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Preparing for Marriage (part 1 of 8)

“That Your Joy May Be Full”

—-

As we begin our study on the subject of Christian Courtship & Marriage, let us first consider the following question: What is the purpose of the Lord’s instruction to us – that is, why does God tell us certain things?

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. – John 15:11

“So, why does God tell us things? That we will have what? Joy! How much joy? Full! Isn’t that wonderful? Well, if we are full of joy, then we’re joyful. Isn’t that right? That everyone of you… as the result of studying these wonderful principles will have more joy. And you can! No matter how much you have, you can have more – for your heart can expand and get bigger!”

 

the Gospel

 

 

“The gospel is a wonderful simplifier of life’s problems.” {Ministry of Healing, page 363}

 

 

 

“Are there any problems in the world today? [Well, of course there are!] The world is full of problems. And a lot of them are concerned with this question of marriage and the home.”

Many may argue about what the current divorce rate is (in America). The purpose of this study is not to present what a psychologist or a sociologist says The fact is that there are TOO MANY unhappy homes that exist in our society today* – and this is the problem! But, praise the Lord; God already has a solution:

The gospel is a wonderful simplifier of life’s problems. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 363

“The way to find the best answer to any problem, the way to find the best plan concerning anything in life, is to go back to God’s original creation. When we go back to Genesis the first chapter, we find the home. You know, it’s an interesting thing that when God had made this world in the six days, filled it with plant and animal life, and then made man -the last thing He did before He rested and made the Sabbath- the first thing He did in the life of man was to create the institution of the home. Everything else was preparatory to that, but when this was done everything was completed. Read the story there in Genesis one and two. And this is included in that wonderful statement in Genesis”:

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. – Genesis 1:31

“Then is the home very good? Oh yes.”

“To show that the home is a direct and deliberate creation of God, we note in the second chapter of Genesis that when Adam was created he was given dominion over all the earth. And then, as he looked upon the whole creation, God arranged for him to feel his need of a companion. And the record here, Genesis 2:21, 22, is that the Lord caused Adam to sleep, and took one of his ribs and from it made the woman. Notice the twenty-second verse”:

And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. – Genesis 2:22

“Who was it, then, that arranged that first marriage? Why, it was the Lord who made it.”

“That was the beginning of human history. Let’s come down now four thousand years later, and turn to the gospel of John, the second chapter of the gospel of John. Here we find the Lord Jesus beginning His public ministry, and He begins it where? In Cana of Galilee at a marriage ceremony. There was a divine purpose in this. Jesus had come to this world to restore man to the original perfection and He began His work by performing a miracle of love and mercy, here at this wedding feast.”

In the book Adventist Home, page 28, there is a beautiful statement:

The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy. – Adventist Home, pg. 28

“What does it take to make people happy?  It takes the presence of Christ”

All the common waters of life Christ can turn into the wine of heaven.  The home then becomes as a Eden of bliss, the family, a beautiful symbol of the family in heaven. – Ibid

“Isn’t that beautiful?  Ah, but somebody says, ‘That’s poetry.  That is just something to sing about.  But when you get down to the actual living of life it isn’t quite that pretty.’ I want to tell you something, friends, and I know what I am talking about: A Christian home can be happier than anything that can ever be written about. It can be more wonderful, more blessed, more a fountain of joy, a haven of rest, a heaven on earth, far more than anything that can be written about.”

“Somebody says “Brother Frazee, you’re dreaming.” No, I have a vision. And it is an inspired vision. It comes from the word of God. The problem is simply this, friends, that few people are allowing the Architect of the universe to plan their homes. Every building needs a blueprint. The better the architect, the better the plan. Do you agree with me? And let me tell you something, friends, if it weren’t so tragic, it would be plain laughable how people who have never had a Christian home, never been married, know so much about what they are going to do and how to do it, so much that they want no one, much less God, to direct and plan for them. I say, if it weren’t so tragic, it would be plain laughable.”

This is a road that most of us go over only once. And therefore, any planning that is done for it in advance needs to be done by someone who knows the road. And you and I do not know the road in advance, only God does. He has promised to guide those who want His guidance. The problem is, as I say, that so few are seeking divine guidance.”

Now, let us take a look at one statistic, as presented by Heaven’s standards:

There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bears the sanction of God,less than 1 percent

and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, pg. 504

 

*** Again, this percentage is an inspired statistic (there are no arguments here)!

 

“We started out with a verse where Jesus says that He has told us these things in order that we may be what? Joyful. Happy. But of course, if we don’t listen, then we won’t be happy. And there isn’t one marriage in a hundred that results happily.”

“Then I ask you friends – let’s face reality right here at the beginning of this first class of this series – if the plan that I give you in this class in the Christian home, preparing for marriage, is like what most people are following, will it bring you happiness? Not according to this. Because there isn’t one marriage in a hundred that results happily. Let’s turn that thing around. If I give you the right plan, the divine plan, God’s plan, then if you look around you, what percent of people will you find following the plan that I am presenting to you? If I am giving you the right plan what percentage of the people will you find following this? Less than one percent.”

“Now, why do I present that to you? So that when we study these things that we are going to study, you won’t expect to hear something that is ordinarily done. I will just be honest with you, friends. You are going to hear some things in this class and you are going to say, “Whoever heard of such a thing?” Well, a lot of people never have heard. That is the problem. That is why there are so few happy homes. But I know that the things we are going to study in this class will make happy homes, I have no question about that. In the first place, I know it because it is from the word of God and the testimonies of His Spirit. In the second place, I have been working with people on these principles… and I have seen them work out in human lives. And friends, I know by personal experience, by the observation of the experience of others, as well as by the Word of the living God, that these principles work when people accept them.”

“If you try to take the principles we are going to study in this class, and mix them with what is ordinarily done today, you will have a mixture that will have just enough of reform in it to make you look ridiculous to a lot of people, and not enough to get the happy results that are the aim of God in it.”

In the book Messages to Young People we have a clear statement of what is happening today:

Courtship, as carried on in this age, is a scheme of deception and hypocrisy, with which the enemy of souls has far more to do than the Lord. – Messages to Young People, pg. 450

“Who is running most of the courtships today? The devil. And if this was true when it was written in 1886, I don’t think I will need to spend much time proving that it must be even more so now, for the batting average on happy homes is less today than it has ever been. The divorce courts statistics show that.”

So, what is his purpose in doing so?

Satan is busily engaged in influencing those who are wholly unsuited to each other to unite their interests. He exults in this work, for by it he can produce more misery and hopeless woe to the human family than by exercising his skill in any other direction. – Messages to Young People, pg. 455

“Why does the devil spend so much time on the courtship and marriage question? Because he knows that’s the way he can make more people more unhappy than any other way.”

 

bright side

 

“But I would like to look at the other side of that coin. Then if you and I will spend some time on God’s instructions on this, we can get at the plan and the way to make many people happier than anything else we can do to help them.”

 

 

 

To Those Who May Already Be Married:

As is his custom, right about now the devil is whispering into the ears of some of you (who may already be married) and saying, “That is your problem. You are married to the wrong person.” Although these particular lessons are not to counsel you during the moments after you have taken your solemn vows, the Lord will not leave you helpless/hopeless (although you may be “ill-mated”, you must make the most of it; see Adventist Home, pgs. 84 – 85, 351 – 352)!

“As we go into these classes on preparing for marriage, how to lay the foundations of a Christian home, remember, if you are already married, your purpose in [going through] these classes should be twofold. First, so that you can be wise counselors to your own children, and to others, and help them to do the thing right when it is time for them to engage in courtship and marriage.”

Second, and this is even more important, (And don’t miss this, everyone of you, married couples!) remember, if you didn’t learn how to spell in the first grade, you had better learn in the second grade. Is that right? And if there is some word you missed in the second grade, you surely don’t want to misspell that word all the rest of your life just because you managed to get out of the second grade into the third grade without learning to spell that word. Am I correct? No matter how old you are it isn’t too late to learn to spell… My point is, my dear friends, if your courtship wasn’t carried on in harmony with the word of God and the testimonies of His Spirit, it is true, it is too late now to go back and do it over again, but it is not too late to learn how you should have done it.”

“Let me tell you, God is looking for people who are willing to go back and learn how things ought to be done. And merely because God, in His mercy, took you where you were and had pity on you and has given you a Christian home when you didn’t know these principles, I say merely because He took pity on you, don’t be presumptuous because of that. Don’t say, ‘Oh well, we didn’t do so bad, and we didn’t follow all these rules and principles.’”

“Listen, God has mercy on people who don’t know anything about the Sabbath and break the seventh-day every week. Doesn’t He, if they don’t know any better? But listen, when they come to the light, what does God want them to do? Walk in that light, repent of their past transgressions, and keep the Sabbath holy. So, these principles that we are going to study in how to get ready to build a successful Christian home, are just as important for people who are married already to study, to learn and understand, as for people that aren’t married yet for the reasons that I have given.”

 

heart in Bible

 

“Turn, please, to the book of Proverbs, and we will want to notice a couple of texts here, just across the page from each other – Proverbs 19:14, Proverbs 18:22. The last part of the fourteenth verse in Proverbs 19″:

… A prudent wife is from the Lord. – Proverbs 19:14

Where does a man get a good wife?  From the Lord.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD. – Proverbs 18:22

As Ministry of Healing puts this, “Whoso findeth such a wife” (that is the right kind)

In each of these verses notice that the right wife, the good wife, comes from whom? From the Lord.

“All right, now I want to ask you a question or two on that, as you look at the text. If a prudent wife, a good wife, the right wife is from the Lord, who does she belong to? Wouldn’t she have to belong to the Lord if the Lord gave her away? Wouldn’t she? Could the Lord give a wife to a man if the wife was not in the hands of the Lord to give away? Then, if a girl wishes to have a Christian home, who should she give herself to? The Lord. That is right. You see, girls [women], you can’t manage this. The Lord will have to manage this. The Lord is the only One who knows the one that you can best be happy with.”

“Somebody says, “Well, I already know.” No, I don’t know whether you do or not. You may change your mind six weeks from now. But if you will put yourself in the Lord’s hands fully, completely, then you will be, as it were, ready for the Lord to give you away when He gets ready. You know, there is hardly any girl who does that. Most girls today are out hunting a husband. That is treacherous business, friends. The girl who hunts a husband quite often gets one worthy of her quest.”

 

prayer

 

A true Christian girl who understands these principles [that we are going to study] is not hunting for a husband…

 

 

 

“Oh, somebody says, “Brother Frazee, what are you talking about?” Well, I have already warned you that we are going to study things in this class that are clear out of fashion, and out of custom. But remember, the way things are going today how many marriages result happily? Less than one percent. So don’t be surprised if we throw most of what is happening in the garbage can, where it belongs.”

“No. We are dealing with a way of courtship and marriage in this class which is fundamentally different from what you see going on in the world today, and even in religious circles – fundamentally different. We are going to get our principles straight from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, inspired sources. We are going to build, step by step, a ladder of success. But every step must be laid solid.”

OUR FIRST PRINCIPLE that we want to get clear here is that it is God that is running this business for those that let Him.”

 

“I have addressed a question to the young women, now I want to address a question

TO THE YOUNG MENPraying Hands With Bible

 

My dear young friend, if you want a happy home, a Christian home, a successful home, where will you go to find your wife? Where will you go, according to these verses?”

to the Lord!

 

 

“You would readily agree with me that you would hardly expect to go to the dance hall hunting for her, if you had asked the Lord to give you a wife. You agree with me on that point, don’t you? There is a lot of other places that you wouldn’t go. The devil has many variations of the dance hall today. In some places, people are afraid of the dance hall, unless there are wheels on the shoes of the people that dance. If there are wheels, then it is all right. So there are many variations of these things.”

“But now back to our basic point. Who is in the business of guiding people together to establish a successful Christian home? Who is in that business? The Lord is.”

We also found somebody else that is in the business of guiding people together. Who was that we read about? satan

“He is busily engaged. Now, notice the difference. We read there in Messages to Young People that the devil is in the business of guiding people together that don’t fit together. They are not well matched. They don’t make each other happy. They make each other miserable. I wonder how the devil is so successful at getting ninety-nine out of one hundred marriages on his plan?”

“You know if the devil were to walk up to a young man and say, “If you will just follow me, I will succeed in making you miserable the rest of your life,” if the devil would do that, he wouldn’t fool people, would he? And if the devil were to walk up to a girl and say, “Now, listen, if you will just let me, I will so arrange things that you will get married to a man that you will never be able to be fully happy with,” would she listen? No.”

 

deception

“Do you see there must be a deception about this thing?

There must be an enchantment, a bewitching influence

This is exactly what happens in conventional courtship.

In conventional courtship people fall in love.”

 

“Somebody says, “Sure, that is what is happening all the time, people are falling in love.” Indeed it is happening all the time. But I want to tell you something, friends, YOU CAN NEVER FALL UP, CAN YOU?”

“Oh, somebody says, “I think it is wonderful to fall in love.”  But many a person who falls in love, a few years later, perhaps even a few months, would give so much to get hold of a rope that would drag them up and out of what they fell into. That’s right. The love we are studying about, people don’t fall into it at all. They climb the steps.”

Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. – The Adventist Home, pg. 49

Here it speaks of steps toward a marriage alliance. The great purpose of these classes – to study these steps. There are a series of steps which guide the Christian in his advancement toward a successful, happy home.

“Now this says, “let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by” these different things. What does that expression, “every step,” indicate as far as the number of steps? There is more than one. You see that, don’t you? And indeed there are to be a number of steps. I want to study with you what some of those steps are. But each step is to be characterized by, what is the first word? Modesty. The second? Simplicity. And the third? Sincerity. And the fourth? An earnest purpose to please and honor God.”

“Modesty: every step toward marriage is to be characterized by modesty.  That is one of the reasons that I spoke to the young women that they are not to be on the counter out there, to attract attention.  They are not for sale.  The Christian girl is not for sale – not at all.  She’s modest, she’s reserved, she has to be sought, she is not out hunting.”

“I want to ask you something, friends, don’t you think that it would save a lot of heartaches and broken hearts, oh, I know that it would take some of the exciting romance out of life, but don’t you think that it would prevent a lot of broken hearts if every step toward a marriage alliance was characterized by simplicity and sincerity? The way it is carried on in the world, a young woman doesn’t know for sure when a young man is dating her, whether he has any serious purpose or not. In fact, we hear the expression every now and then about some couple, “Looks like they’re getting serious.”

“I tell you… the time to get serious is before the first date. That’s right. We’re going to study it right out of the books. And if this sounds impossible, impractical, unworkable, don’t forget the statistics. Ninety-nine out of a hundred marriages today result in what? Unhappiness. We’re studying a plan that will give true success every time. I know it, no question about it.”

But we will never arrive at that goal by the scheming, deceptive hypocrisy so characteristic of conventional courtships.

ladder

 

 

Every step … [is to] be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. – Adventist Home, pg. 49

 

 

 

“Then, a Christian young man (Watch this point!), before he ever has his first date with any young woman, is seeking the counsel of whom? Of God. Tell me, if he is seeking the counsel of God, will he allow himself to even consider a date with a young woman that he wouldn’t consider marrying? I leave that question with you to think about. It would save a lot of heartaches. The same with a Christian girl. Will a Christian girl accept a date from a young man that she wouldn’t even think of marrying? Why should she? What is the purpose of the date?”

“Oh,” somebody says, “That is the way to have a good time.” That brings me to one of the biggest questions that I want to ask… What is this whole matter of the relationship between men and women for? Is it for fun or is it for the sacred institution of marriage? Which is it for?”

“Ah,” somebody says, “Both.” Oh, no, not both, friends, not both, because they lead in different directions. If the purpose of association of young people in their teens and twenty or at any other age, is merely for fun, then the world is madly pursuing it’s goal today and giving us a frightening exhibition of what that philosophy leads to. I submit to you, my dear friends, the purpose of the ties and attractions between man and woman are not primary for fun at all. They are not for fun. They are for something very sacred, very holy.”

“Let’s go to the nineteenth chapter of Matthew. The pharisees had come asking Jesus some questions about divorce and marriage. He took them back to the beginning”:

… Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. – Matthew 19:4 – 6

“What does twain mean? Two. All right. Then God takes two people, one man and one woman, and joins them in marriage. How many? How many were they? Two. How many are they now? One.”

“Then Jesus goes on to say that anything apart from that is a breaking of the seventh commandment. In the seventh commandment, the law of God declares“:

Thou shalt not commit adultery. – Exodus 20:14

“Adultery is the bringing in of any third party into this relationship. Now, somebody says, “Oh, that is talking about married people.” I want to tell you, friends, the seventh commandment is just as much for single people as it is for married people. Until a young man has demonstrated full obedience to the seventh commandment, single, he is not ready to be married. And so with a young woman.”

“Let’s face it, the wedding day has come. The bride and the groom stand there before the minister and the question is put to that young man. “Will you, John Jones take this woman, Mary Smith to be your wedded wife? To live with her after God’s ordinance in the holiest state of matrimony? Will you love her, honor her, cherish her, and forsaking all others keep you only unto her as long as you both shall live?” There’s many a young man, if he were real honest, would have to say something like this – of course this has never happened. I just say it would have to happen, if we were dealing with realities, instead of forms and ceremonies – that young man would have to say to the minister: “Preacher, what is this you’re asking me? You’re asking me to promise that I am never to look at another girl again? Never to make love to another girl? That I’m supposed to keep this one as long as we both shall live and keep myself only unto her – my eyes, my hands, my thoughts, my heart, my body, all just for her and her alone? Preacher isn’t that asking a lot?”

Holding Hands at their Wedding

The preacher would have to say if he stuck with the Word of God, “Yes, it is asking a lot. It is asking everything.”

“Then, the young man, if he were really honest, would have to conclude the dialogue by saying: “Preacher, to tell you the truth, I don’t know whether or not I could promise that, and keep it. I’ve never tried. Since I was a teenager and all the way through, I’ve run with whoever I have felt like, if I could get them. I have put my hands where I pleased, if the other party permitted it. I’ve run first with this one, and that one, and sometimes with several at once, and now you’re asking me to leave all that and keep myself only unto this girl? I don’t know preacher, whether or not I can do it.”

“That would be really honest, wouldn’t it? As I say, that never happened. But oh, my dear friends, if you really want a happy home, a successful home, a Christ home, you will have to start keeping the seventh commandment when you are a child. You’ll have to start guarding your affections and controlling your affections and passions and not letting your thoughts run after this one and that one, and this one and that one, and this one and that one, and your body follow suit. Oh, no, don’t do it.”

Do you see, friends, that there is quite a bit to this preparation for marriage? May we prayerfully continue to seek the Lord’s guidance; that the desires of our heart and the decisions that we make will be in accordance to His will.

-Continue on to the next study-

_______
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.

2 Comments

  1. Sis. K

    This was very informative. Can’t wait for parts 2-8.

  2. Bro. M

    Amen