Sentence Sermons - Hebrews 13:4

Let Marriage Be Held in Honor

The next message in this series of “sentence sermons,” is found in Hebrews 13:4 – “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”  There could hardly be a more needful message in our society today, where marriage is often regarded as an unnecessary formality, and fornication and adultery are not only tolerated but also embraced.

The term “honor” indicates that marriage is a precious and valuable institution.  Peter used a variation of this same term (translated as “precious”) to describe the great value of the proven faith of Christians (1Pet. 1:7), the blood of Christ (1Pet. 1:19), and the Lord Himself (1Pet. 2:4).  Therefore, marriage is in a category of the most valuable things that man can know, and it should be honored accordingly.

Yet marriage is often dishonored.  Light-hearted joking aside, some speak disparagingly of marriage, characterizing it as a stifling and unnecessary burden on both the husband and the wife.  Marriage is constantly portrayed through popular media in this way, and the fruit of this message is being borne throughout our nation.

As a result of the philosophical dishonoring of marriage, marriage is dishonored in more tangible ways, such as fornication and adultery.  Fornication is a broad term that covers all types of illicit sexual activity.  Adultery is a more specific category of fornication that refers to sexual activity between a married person with someone other than his or her own spouse.  In either case, those who engage in such sins dishonor marriage and will be judged by God.

The reason that adultery dishonors marriage is quite obvious.  Adultery is a violation of the marriage covenant between a husband and his wife that has been made by God (Mal. 2:14; Matt. 19:3-6).  Breaking this covenant is a soul-damning transgression, for one who does so has broken his or her vow to God or has caused someone else to do so.  Thus, the Scripture says, “Let the marriage bed be undefiled,” for adultery is a desecration of a holy covenant.

There is another reason that all fornication, including adultery, dishonors marriage.  Marriage, as defined by God, is the only arrangement in which two persons can lawfully engage in sexual relations (Prov. 5:15-23; 1Cor. 7:1-9).  All other sexual activity is fornication and is a violation of God’s law (1Cor. 6:9, 13, 18-20; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; 1Thess. 4:3).  There is no difference in the sexual acts whether the people involved are married or not, but only marriage can make those acts holy.  Therefore, those who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage defy and dishonor God’s holy design for such relations.  By fornicating, they have destroyed the order and structure that God intended for marriage, the family, and the home.  They have not committed premarital sex, but rather unmarital sex, for their deeds have been completely uninfluenced by God’s holy design for marriage.

Sadly, the desecration of marriage in our modern world seems unbridled.  Fornication and adultery are rampant, and many men and women live together with no intention of being married.  In recent times, there has even been a strong effort to redefine marriage through civil law to include homosexuals.  The devastating results of all these things are that the rate of divorce in the United States hovers around 50 percent, the rate of unwed pregnancies is alarmingly high,the slaughter of unborn babies is a widespread and legal practice, and a generation is being raised with no concept of the traditional nuclear family.

The bottom line is that our nation is suffering immeasurably because of the failure to heed this simple message, “Let marriage be held in honor among all.”  If and when we return to this wisdom from God, many of our problems will be solved.

Next Sentence Sermon: Hebrews 13:5-6 – Be Free From the Love of Money

Stacey E. Durham


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