Sermon: Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage: Entering Into Marriage: Genesis 2:24-25

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 2:24-25

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24–25, ESV)

New Testament Reading: John 15:1-16

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:1–17, ESV)


Brothers and sisters, in this third sermon in this series within a series on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage I would like to focus in upon the subject of entering into marriage – how should a person prepare to enter into the marriage relationship? We have already devoted two sermons to answering the question, what is marriage? In the weeks to come we will address the marriage relationship itself as we ask, how can we have a healthy and successful marriage? And finally we will address the difficult and rather unpleasant subject of divorce and remarriage. Truly, the word of God is a light to our feet in all these matters, and so to the word of God we must go. Today, I wish to offer some brief remarks concerning entering into marriage. My objective is to help those who hope to marry in the future to prepare well for marriage beginning even now. 

I realize that by introducing this sermon in the way that I have it is possible that some will assume that this sermon will have nothing at all for them. 

To those who are young it might seem as if entering into marriage is a long, long way off. To the young I would say, little brother, little sister, time moves very quickly. Your wedding day might be here before you know it. You had better start preparing for it now. So listen up! 

Those who are married now might be thinking, how can a sermon on the subject of entering marriage possibly be for me given that I have already entered into it? Let me ask you two questions: One, do you have children, or do you plan to have children? If so, please understand that their wedding day might be here before you know it. One of your responsibilities as a parent is to prepare your children for marriage, whether or not it be the Lord’s will for them. This is something that we must always remember, parents: our objective is not to hold on to our children forever, but to raise them so that we might release them to establish households of their own. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”, the scriptures say. May the Lord use this brief sermon to help parents help their children to prepare will for marriage. Two, if you are married now would you be willing to consider that perhaps in some ways you entered into your marriage ill prepared? I do not want you to be discoursed by this. Instead my desire is that, having recognized what was lacking in the preparation, you would now work to remedy the weaknesses. May the Lord be pleased to use this sermon on entering marriage even to those who are married now. 

And still there are others who are single now and do not plan to marry, or who are married now but do not have children in the home. To you I would say, rejoice that these truths are being taught within or community, and pray for those who are to wed in the future, that they would prepare for marriage and enter into this holy union well and to the glory of our covenant making and covenant keeping God. Also, I trust and pray that plenty of principles will put forth in this sermon that you will be able to pick up and make your own, though they may not apply to you in the same way that they will apply to the one who is preparing for, or helping their children to prepare for, marriage in the future.

Well, enough of me trying to convince everyone to listen to this sermon. Let’s get on with it. How should a person prepare for marriage? What should a Christian think and do now so that he or she might enter into the marriage relationship (if it be God’s will for them to marry) well equipped and ready to thrive in it to the glory of God?

Pursue Holiness And Maturity In Christ Jesus In The Whole of Life

Pursue holiness and maturity in Christ in all that you think, say and do.

Pursue holiness and maturity in Christ in all that you think.

Pursue knowledge.

Pursue wisdom.

Cultivate purity of thought.

Pursue holiness and maturity in Christ in all that you say.

Have you learned to control your tongue?

Have you learned how to communicate?

Have you learned how to work through conflict without sinning?

Pursue holiness and maturity in Christ in all that you do. 

Have you learned the way of Christ, which is to die to self and to live for others?

Do you keep God’s law? Do you love God with all your heart, soul mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself? Or do you selfishly love yourself, and live for your own pleasure?

These things can and should be cultivated, not after the wedding day, but well before it. Maturity in Christ should be developed today. 

Let me speak very directly now to the teenagers and preteens. amongst us. I know that some of you are thinking about marriage already. I’m no fool. I know that some of you, perhaps the girls in particular, have thought about marriage. And what I am saying to you is that you need to start preparing for it now. No, I’m not talking about finding a spouse. I’m not talking about planning the wedding day, or anything like that. I’m talking about you preparing yourself – you working on you, so that when the day (if the Lord wills) you are ready to be a good and godly husband, or a good and godly wife. 

How can you prepare? 

Do you know Christ?

Is God your first love?

Do you know God’s word? Do you have it in your heart? Do you read it for yourself? Do you pay attention when it is read to you and preached? Do you work to put it into practice. Mature and godly husbands and wives know God’s word and they seek to obey it in the whole of life.

Do you pray? 

Do you know how to love others? If you do not know how to love others now, why do you think you will be able to love your husband or wife after your are married? And what does it mean to love others? It involves you dying to yourself, and doing good for someone else. 

I’ll tell you what it looks like for a young man or young woman to be well prepared for marriage. When I see a young person notice a pile of dishes in the sink and begin to wash them with a good attitude and without being ask, that is a sign of maturity. That is an indicator this one has learned the joy serving others instead of the misery of living for oneself.

When I see a young man speak kindly to his siblings even if they have been rude to him…

When I see a young woman who is able to work through conflict…

The problems that arise within marriage relationships are not produced by the marriage, but by the sinfulness of those who are wed. The marriage relationship is simply the realm or the context in which the sinfulness of the husband’s heart and the wife’s heart are manifest. 

The problem is not the marriage, but the people who are wed. 

Imagine a truly godly and mature Christian man and a godly and mature Christian woman.  Now imagine that these two are married. And now try to imagine their marriage being bad. Can you do it?

It is difficult for me to imagine two godly and mature people having a terrible marriage. 

I can imagine a difficult marriage if one is godly and mature, and the other not.

I can imagine a marriage being very difficult if both husband and wife are ungodly and immature. 

But it is very difficult for me to imagine a marriage being anything less than good – even great –  if indeed the husband and wife have both cultivated personal holiness and have a mature walk with Christ. Will their marriage be perfect? No, for even the “godly” among us are not perfect. Will there be room for growth in this marriage? Yes! The godly and mature husband and wife will continually deepen in their understanding of God, of themselves, of one another and of the marriage relationship. But if they are godly and mature – if they love God supremely, if they have learned to walk humbly before him, if they know what it is to die to self and to live for the good of others, if they have self-control in thought word and deed, then it is difficult to imagine their marriage relationship being anything other than good and ever improving. 

Do you want a good marriage? Cultivate personal holiness and maturity in Christ Jesus.  

Heart transformation is needed. Sanctification is needed. Maturity in Christ is needed. All of this should be sought and cultivated well in advance of the wedding day. Sadly, many do not realize how weak, immature and self-centered they are util the marriage relationship is used by God to reveal it! Thanks be to God that he uses the marriage relationship to sanctify his people. We should rejoice in this. But wouldn’t it be better to prepare for marriage by walking in humble submission to God and his word, pursuing holiness and maturity in Christ prior to  marriage, so that we might enter into the union well equipped. Do your future spouse a favor and pursue holiness in the whole of life even now.  

Know What You Are Looking For In A Future Spouse

How should a person prepare for marriage?

Secondly, it is important for you to know what you are looking for in a future spouse.

Make a list. Prioritize that list. 

Tall, dark and handsome should not be at the top of that list. Thankfully those three things were not at the top of Lindsay’s, for I certainly wouldn’t have made the cut. 

Yes, it is somewhat important that we be attracted to the person we will someday marry. A bride and groom should be attracted to one another physically and emotionally.  

But I would suggest to you that other things besides physical appearance and even compatibility, so called, should be higher on our list.

Consider that many marriages throughout the world today are arranged marriages. And consider that most marriages throughout history were arranged marriages. The dating thing that we do in our culture is really quite unusual when compared to the rest of the world and to historical practices. And those arranged marriages work. Now, I am not advocating that we adopt the practice of arranged marriages. I will admit that the practice is more appealing than ever before now that my daughters are approaching adult hood. 

The point I am making is that marriages can be very, very healthy even if the issue of physical or emotional attraction is not at the very top of the list driving the relationship. In fact, think of how shallow and vain a relationship will be if physical and emotional attraction is the thing driving it.

It is far better to have other things – things of substance – at the top of your list and to allow the issue of attraction attraction and compatibly to round it out.   

For the Christian the thing that must be at the very top of the list is the question, are they in Christ? Are they united to Christ by faith?

This is not just the opinion or preference of your parents and your pastor, but is the very word of God. 

Do not be unequally yoked.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14–18, ESV).

They must be in the Lord. 

“A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39, ESV).

They must be truly in the Lord. 

“Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20, ESV).

Some come to faith after marriage and thus find themselves a believer married to a non-believer. In such instances the Christian should remain, “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16, ESV). But here we are talking about entering into marriage. 

For the Christian, that the future spouse be a Christian – and truly a Christian –  must be at the top of the list. From there you should be looking for someone who is mature in Christ – someone who is sound in doctrine and faithful in his or her way of life. 

Be patient. 

If they must also be tall, dark and handsome, then good luck. I am not saying that such creatures do not exist, only that you should take great care in forming your list. Have the right things at the top, and the right things on the bottom, and be willing to abandon the non-essential things as you go along.

Know what you are looking for in a future spouse.

Approach Dating Relationships And Engagement In A Godly Way

Thirdly, and lastly, may I encourage you to approach dating relationships and engagement in godly way? Another way to say this is that a Christian should approach dating relationships and engagement in a way that is consistent with our faith in general, and our view of marriage in particular.

Pre-adults, respect your parents. They have experiences and wisdom that you don’t have. 

Courtship or dating? Engagement or betrothal? I don’t care what you call it! Engage these things in a godly way. 


Sexual purity

Emotional purity

Recognize that you are developing relational habits in your dating relationships. 

Date/court with a view towards marriage. 


Engaged people are not married people. 

Maintain sexual purity 

No cohabitation

Engaged people should be preparing, not only for the wedding, but especially for the marriage. 


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that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
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