Tuesday, May 10, 2016



March 22, 2015

Now, tonight I want to preach about the subject of loyalty. Now, loyalty is not a word that's used in the Bible, but the Bible does use the word faithfulness over a hundred times, and if you look up the word loyalty in a dictionary, the dictionary I used had three definitions for loyalty and they all included the word faithfulness in the definition. I looked up loyal in the dictionary. It said, number one: The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitment or obligations, is loyalty. Faithful to commitments or obligations. Number two, it said: Faithful adherence to a sovereign government, leader, cause, et cetera; and Number three: An example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like.

The reason I use the word loyal is that faithfulness has a lot of definitions. It means a few different things, whereas loyalty is a little bit more of a specific word that kind of narrows down exactly what we're talking about. I want to preach about the fact that we must be loyal to certain people in our lives and in a certain order of priority. Now, first of all, it should go without saying, go to Matthew, Chapter Ten, that the number one loyalty we should have in our lives is our loyalty to Jesus Christ. If you look up that word faithful in the Bible, and you look at the scriptures that are admonishing us to be faithful, most of them are telling us to be faithful to the Lord and be faithful to Jesus Christ, because obviously that should be our number one loyalty.

Matthew, Chapter Ten, Verse Thirty-Seven reads: "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me and he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." In this scripture we see that some of our dearest relationships - our parents, and our children - should not be closer to us than our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We can't love them more than we love Jesus Christ. Our number one loyalty is to the Lord Jesus Christ. Go to First Samuel, Chapter Two. This is one that we looked at last Sunday in a different sermon, a different context. First Samuel, Chapter number Two.

While you're turning there, I'll read to you from Mark Ten-Twenty-Nine, where the Bible reads: "And Jesus answered and said, 'verily I say unto you, there is no man that had left house or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions and in the world to come, eternal life.'" Again, God is telling us that there's a time when you have to choose God over family. You have to choose God over your friends. You have to choose God over houses or lands. You have to choose God over a spouse, over parents, over children.

Jesus Christ must hold the number one place in our lives. In all things he must have the preeminence and we should never be more loyal to anyone or anything than we are loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ. First Samuel Two-Twenty-Nine, this is where Eli is being rebuked and it says in Verse Twenty-Nine: "Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honors thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel, my people." This is a case of someone putting their children above the Lord and being more loyal to children than the Lord. Another example of this that would be a positive example, is First Kings Fifteen. Flip over there. First Kings, Chapter Fifteen.

Now should be loyal to our parents? Absolutely. The Bible teaches, for example, in the Ten Commandments: "Honor they father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord they God giveth thee." Then Ephesians Six in the New Testament says, "Honor they father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest live long on the earth." Proverbs Twenty-Three-Twenty-Two tells us: "Hearken under thy father that begat thee and despise not thy mother when she is old." Should we be loyal to our parents in the sense that we love them, honor them and when they get old, take care of them? Absolutely. He says, "Look, don't despise your mother when she's old. Honor your father and mother."

First Timothy Five teaches that, I'll read it for you, you don't have to turn there, but Verse Three: "Honor widows that are widows indeed, but if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home and to requite their parents, for that is good and acceptable before God." What's the Bible saying? Your mother is a widow and she's old and needs to be taken care of, it is your job as the child or the nephew to take care of your destitute mother because we should not forsake our parents and have no loyalty to them. No, we should have loyalty to our parents. The Bible teaches that. It says in First Timothy Five-Sixteen: "If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them and let not the church be charged that it may relieve them that are widows indeed."

God teaches that we should honor our parents and when the Bible uses the word honor it has to do with providing for their needs and it's talking about financially. That's what the word honor often means in the Bible. Just if you study the English word honor and the origins of it, for example, the old English word, if you go back to old English, like a thousand years ago, the word was [árweorðung 00:05:34] and it meant, not only honor in the sense of giving someone respect, but it also meant that you were actually paying tribute to a king in a financial way. Because old English was spoken by the sea-faring people around England and so forth, and so a lot of them were conquered by the Vikings and so forth, and they had to pay [árweorðung 00:05:56] or they had to pay honor to these kings.

Now it makes sense that those two definitions would kind of merge together in the word honor, because if you're honoring a king, what do you honor him with? You honor him with gold and gifts, and so forth. When the Bible says to honor your father and mother, it's often tied in with taking care of them financially when they're old. Like, for example, the Bible said that Jesus was disputing with the Pharisees in Matthew Fifteen and he told them, "Hey, the scripture says honor they father and mother, but your tradition is saying any man that says corban, that is to say it is a gift, concerning whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, and it says you don't suffer him to do ought for his mother and father, you're making the word of God of no effect when it says honor they father and mother."

Honor thy father and mother isn't just saying honor them like respect them or treat them well. It does mean that also, but it also contains the meaning of paying for their needs when they become old and need that if they don't have any money. That used to be the retirement plan by the way, before social security was instituted in the 1930s, parents were taken care of by their children when they were old. Children and grandchildren would chip in and take care of their parents. That's what the Bible commands, and I could do a whole sermon where I go over that, but there's a lot of scripture about honoring your parents, loving your parents, taking care of them, not despising them when they're old, not forsaking them. Loyalty to your parents is important, but loyalty to Jesus Christ has to trump loyalty to parents. That's your number one loyalty.

Look if you would at this story of a guy who understood that. First Kings Fifteen-Eleven. This is King Asa and the Bible says: "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord as did David his father." We don't have to wonder whether what he did was right here or not. God comes right out and tells us Asa did what was right, and he's going to explain to us the right thing that he did. Verse Twelve: "He took away the Sodomites out of the land." That's always a good place to start. "He took away the Sodomites out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah, his mother, even her." Look at those two words - even her. "He removed from being queen because she had made an idol in a grove and Asa destroyed her idol and burnt it by the brook Kidron, but the high places were not removed. Nevertheless, Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days."

The Bible is saying that it was right of King Asa to take his mother out of the position of being queen because she had made this idol and was teaching false religion, and he even destroyed her idol and burnt it and destroyed it. The Bible is showing us a great example here of a guy who understood. Look, we love our parents, we should honor our father and mother, we should respect them, but there comes a point where if we have to choose between honoring the Lord and honoring our parents, our loyalty is to Christ first and foremost. That has to be our main loyalty. Now, not only does the Bible teach that we should be loyal to Christ; it teaches that we should be loyal to our parents. It also talks about the fact that we should be loyal to our friends.

Turn if you would to Proverbs Twenty-Seven. Proverbs Twenty-Seven, and while you're turning there I'll read you an example from Second Timothy, Chapter One, of a guy who was loyal to his friends. This is a guy by the name of Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus was a friend of the Apostle, Paul, and he was loyal to him. It says in verse Fifteen: "This thou ..." Wait for me there in Proverbs, I'll be there in a moment. "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia, be turned away from me." These were people that were disloyal to Paul. They were not faithful to him. In his hour of need, they weren't there for him. It says, "All they are in Asia be turned away from me, of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy onto the house of Onesiphorous, for he oft refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain."

What's he saying? He lost a lot of friends by going to prison. He'd gone to prison and a lot of his friends were ashamed of his chain. That kind of reminds me of another situation, but anyway, friends and loved ones and family don't want to be associated with him because they're ashamed of his chain, but Onesiphorous was faithful to him. He was a loyal friend, and he says, "He oft refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain, but when he was in Rome he sought me out very diligently and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day and in how many things he ministered unto me in Ephesus, thou knowest very well." Look down at your Bible there, Proverbs Twenty-Seven, Verse Ten: "Thine own friend and thy father's friend, forsake not. Neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity, for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off."

Flip back to Chapter Eighteen. The Bible's saying be loyal to your friends and you're going to be able to rely on them in times of need, sometimes even more than your own family, if you have good friends to rely on. Be loyal to them because if you're going to expect loyalty or want to have friends that are there for you in your time of need, you need to be there for them in their time of need. That's why the Bible says in Chapter Eighteen, Verse Twenty-Four, "A man who have friends must show himself friendly and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Sometimes our friends can even be closer to us than our own family. It's important to be loyal to them and to be there for them in their time of need.

There are a lot of other scriptures on friendship, but go if you would to Ephesians, chapter Five, where we started tonight, Ephesians, chapter Five. While you're turning there, I'll read to you from Third John, Verse Fourteen: "But I trust I shall shortly see thee and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name." You know, the Apostles took great ... They held great importance in the friendships that they had, because you'll notice at the end of their epistles, like he says, hey, "greet the friends by name." Paul even went to the great length of listing what seems like every friend he's ever had at the end of Romans. Romans, Chapter Sixteen, he just lists friend after friend after ... Say hi to this person, this person, just shout out after shout out, friend after friend, in Romans Sixteen. He just goes on and on, but you know what? It shows that he valued his friends.

Often at the beginning of his epistles, he'll say something like, "You know what? I've been praying for you by name. God is my witness that I have been making mention of you in my prayers night and day." That's a pretty bold statement, to say I'm praying for you by name every day, because it's in scripture, so it must be true, that he was really doing it. Paul was somebody who loved and took care of his friends and was loyal to his friends and therefore he had a good friend, Onesiphorous. Luke was a good friend, too, other people that were loyal friends. It's important to be loyal to Christ. We should be loyal to our parents, we should be loyal to our friends, but let me say this: Our number one loyalty outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, should be to our spouse.

This is a conflict that people often come into in their lives and people often come to me and ask me, I've been asked this many times, where people bring me a situation, a stripe in their family problems, and when you're a pastor, people come to you and talk to you about this kind of stuff because they want to get some kind of advice from the Bible. A lot of people have asked me about situations, and I always tell people the same thing, and I'm going to show you why I believe that from the Bible is that your number one loyalty is to your spouse, outside of Jesus. Because more important than your relationship with your parents is your relationship with your spouse. Brothers and sisters are not as important as your spouse. Friends are not as important as your spouse. That I believe is your number one loyalty outside of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Now look what the Bible says and tell me if I'm wrong. Look at Ephesians Five, verse Twenty-Eight. "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourish it then cherisheth it. Even as the Lord the church, for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife and they too shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church, nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband." What do we see in this passage?

We should love our wife as our own body and we should consider our wife bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. You say, "Well, yeah, but this is family." No. Your wife is your family. Your husband is your family. That is bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. Who's your closest relative? Your wife, and it's not because you're from Kentucky. I'm saying, now that you're married it's your closest relative, okay? I'm not saying that you're inbreeding. I'm saying that when you marry your spouse, you're supposed to leave father and mother and cleave unto your wife and be one flesh with her. That is the great mystery. That is the great relationship in our lives. Now, let me show you a scripture that's one that most people have never even read, let alone has it ever been preached hardly at all.

Go to Numbers, Chapter Thirty. It's an interesting chapter. Numbers, Chapter Thirty. I don't remember ever having heard a sermon on this. Maybe I preached on ... I'm pretty sure I preached on this once before in a sermon somewhere, but I'm not even sure. It's kind of one of those obscure chapters in an obscure book that people don't really think about, but there's an important lesson in this chapter. Because I think Ephesians Five makes it pretty clear where your loyalty is when it says you leave your father and mother and you cleave to your wife. Okay? There's a leaving and cleaving. That's a good way to remember it. Leave and cleave. There's a leaving and cleaving that needs to take place in our lives where we leave our father and mother and cleave unto our wife and that becomes our new family, our new loyalty right there.

Look at Numbers Thirty and let's look at it from the woman's perspective. The Bible says in Verse One: "And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying 'This is the thing which the Lord has commanded." We're going to read the whole chapter. Listen to this chapter. "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth." That's just a great verse right there in and of itself. That's if a man vows a vow unto the Lord, he must stick with it, he must keep the vow, he must do the thing that's gone out of his lips. That's Numbers Thirty, Verse Two, but for the rest of the chapter, he's going to talk about women.

First he says, okay here it is for a man. Real simple. You make a vow, you keep it, period. Okay, now we're going to spend the whole rest of the chapter talking about women making a vow. It says in Verse Three: "If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father's house in her youth ..." This is a young lady that's still at home, still living with her parents, and she makes a vow. It says in Verse Four: "And her father hear her vow, and her bond were with she had bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her," meaning he doesn't say anything. He hears her make the vow and he doesn't say anything. "Then all her vows shall stand and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.

But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth, not any of her vows nor of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand and the Lord shall forgive her because her father disallowed her." Now, let's just explain this real quick. What this is saying is that if a girl who's living with her parents at home swears to do something, makes a vow that she's going to do this or not do this, and her father hears her make that vow, and doesn't say anything about it, then that vow stands. But, if she makes that vow and her dad says, "No, you're not going to do that. No, that vow is not legitimate. No, I do not approve of you vowing that," then that vow just went out the window and means nothing. Why? Because it's not her job to control her own destiny. Her father is an authority figure in her life, and she can't just say, "Well, I'm going to go do this," or "I'm not going to go do ..." No. You're not. He can shut that down.

Now when it says "in the day that he hears of it," that means that if a young lady makes a vow unto the Lord, and it's not in the presence of her father, and then he hears about it two weeks later, he can disannul it the first time he hears about it. When he hears about it, even if it's six months later, oh he hears about it, that's null and void because I said so. But if he hears about it six months later and he holds his peace at that time and the whole day goes by and the next day, well then that vow stands because he didn't say anything. But if he didn't hear about it ... It's when he hears about it. Does everybody understand? Let's keep reading.

It says in Verse Six: "And if she had at all a husband when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips wherewith she bound her soul and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it, then her vow shall stand and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand, but if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it ..." Again, notice it's when he hears about it. "Then he shall make her vow which she vowed and that which she uttered with her lips wherewith she bound her soul of none effect and the Lord shall forgive her. But every vow of a widow and of her that is divorced wherewith they have bound their soul shall stand against her, and if she vowed in her husband's house or bound her soul by a bond with an oath and her husband heard it and held his peace at her and disallowed her not, then all her vows shall stand.

And every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand, but if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day that he heard them, then whatsoever proceedeth out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the bond of her soul shall not stand. Her husband hath made them void and the Lord shall forgive her. Every vow and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it or her husband may make it void. But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows." What is he saying? Silence is agreement. "Or all of her bonds which are upon her, he confirmeth them because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall anyways make them void after that he hath heard them, then he shall bear her inequity."

That verse is important, too, Verse Fifteen. Let's stop and understand it. "But if he shall anyways make them void after that he hath heard them, then he shall bear her inequity." What does that mean? That means that if he later on hears about a vow and he hold his peace when he hears it or if he immediately hears about a vow and just doesn't say anything, and then a few weeks later he's like, "You know what? I changed my mind. That vow's not going to stand." Then at point, the vow does not stand, but he's the one now who's broken the vow and he gets punished by God. The curse is on him for breaking a vow. Now, I don't know about you, but doesn't this chapter seem repetitive? Now, there's always a reason when God is repetitive. He's not just being repetitive because he just wants to make the Bible a certain length and he's just trying to fill space and needed more chapters.

If God repeats something, it means that it's important and if God repeats something in a bunch of slightly different ways, and saying it a little differently over and over again, a little different here, a little ... It's because he doesn't want to be misunderstood, so he's going over it from a bunch of different angles, just making it really clear to make sure that we understand. If it gets a whole chapter, it must be important. That tells me that it's pretty important to God whether we keep our vows. If you make a vow, you better keep it. There's a whole chapter just demanding that you keep the vows. He says, if you're a father and you have a daughter living at home or if you're a husband that has a wife, you have the power to either establish or disannul your wife's vows in the day that you hear them. That's when you're supposed to disannul them if you have a problem with them. If you do, it's all forgiven. You're not in sin, she's not in sin. The vow is as if it had never happened.

But, if he does it later, if he waits a few weeks or months and says, "I changed my mind," now he's the one who gets punished, but the wife or daughter is still supposed to obey the father or husband. "Well, no. I vowed that. You didn't disannul it in time." Well, no. He's disannulling it, but he bears the sin. He bears the burden for that. That's what Verse Fifteen is teaching. Then it closes things up in Verse Sixteen by saying: "These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter being yet in her youth in her father's house." Now, what we see in this passage is there possible phases of life. We see first of all, the daughter who is living at home in her father's house in her youth. That's one phase. Who's the authority in that situation? The father.

Then we see her as a married wife. Who's the authority in that situation? Her husband. Then we see a 3rd possible scenario that's brought out of a woman whose husband has died or divorced her. In that case, the Bible says, no one is going to either establish or disannul her vows. If she makes a vow, it just stands because at that point she's on her own. Now, the Bible does talk about a girl going back and living in her father's house and being supported by her parents if her husband dies or divorces her, but at that point, it's not the same structure of disannulling or establishing vows. That's what the Bible says in Numbers, Chapter Thirty. You say, "Well, why does that matter?"

Well, it matters because we should keep our vows and of course one of the biggest vows we make in our life is when we vow to our spouse when we get married. That's a vow that we're taking, but not only that, and that's why, by the way, that's why we should be married publicly, to make sure that everybody hears that vow and then you say, "If anybody has any reason why these two should not be joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace." Now, I'm not teaching some strange doctrine that after people get married, dad can come in later and disannul, because here's the thing. When you get married, it's the husband who's the new authority. If he disannuls it, that's called divorcing your wife, that's wrong. The Bible says, God hateth ... Listen to me, "The Lord God of Israel hateth putting away." He hates divorce, that's what Malachi, Chapter Two teaches, so don't get mixed up on that.

Why am I teaching this is this sermon about where our loyalties should lie? What I'm showing you is that after the woman gets married, her father ceases to become the authority in her life. Does everybody see that? Her father ceases to be the authority in her life. The husband is now the authority in her life, not the father and not only that, but even after the husband's dead, he doesn't have the same authority that he had before. That should just make it clear to you that the husband replaces the father as the authority figure in her life. Is there any doubt about that? It's a clear, it's an important teaching. You say, "Why is that important?" Because of the fact that one of the greatest causes of marital strife in the world today is meddling in-laws.

If you look at a list of top ten marriage problems, probably even top five marriage problems, you know what's always going to be on that list? In-laws. When you get a list of just, hey, just name the big five. Talk to a pastor who deals with people or talk to just a statistician or just talk to any kind of a family counselor or maybe a judge that deals in divorces or something, or a lawyer that deals with divorces. Anybody will tell you that is one of the top marriage problems, because what are the marriage problems that you're going to hear about? A big one is money. That's why it's so important what I preached this morning about covetousness in regard to marriage, because money can be a big issue in a marriage, financial problems.

What's another big issue that people have? Basically in-laws is right up there toward the top. That's a major ... Another thing that's always maybe a problem, in the bedroom. That's another thing that's high up on the list with people. What else? Somebody help me out. Adultery, obviously, is a big one, adultery, whether it's total adultery or just flirtation, flirting with adultery or whatever, right? What else? Somebody help me out. I don't have the list in front of me. Drug abuse, alcohol, obviously those are things that can be damaging to a marriage, but if you look at a list, the in-laws are pretty high on the list for a reason. Money, in-laws, adultery, these are the type of things that destroy marriages.

Now, why are in-laws such a big issue? Look, as a pastor, I can just tell you, people come to me with marriage problems all the time, and it's not usually people in our church. Sometimes it is, obviously. There are people that have issues, but because my sermons are online, basically people from all over the country and all over the world will sometimes contact me with marriage problems or just trying to get advice and what do I do? Usually I try to, if I can, because I sympathize with people in their situation, I try to direct them to a sermon or something that I've preached that could help, or try to direct them to a scripture or something, but I hear as a pastor ... When you're a pastor, people tell you stuff. People just come to you and tell you all kinds of stuff.

You hear about problem after problem after problem regarding in-laws. It's a major problem that people have, and I'm constantly telling people the same advice. You need to put your spouse before your in-laws and your family. You know what? Fathers of women need to be told that they're not the boss anymore and they need to bug off and let the husband rule that home. That is what the Bible teaches and you know what was one of the most wicked things that is a tradition in our western culture that you hear about all the time is this kind of a talk that a dad will have with this daughter, where he basically says to her, "Now listen, honey, you know you can always come home to us, don't you?" You know what I'm talking about. "You know that if it doesn't work out, or if there's problems, you just come ... You always have a place here, honey, to come and bad-mouth your husband and to come talk crap about your husband. Just come and see us. The door's always open, and you can always move back in with us, honey."

That is wicked and disgusting and you know what? I will never say that to any of my daughters. You know what I'm going to say to my daughters? I'm going to say, "Look, this is your husband. I'm going to hand you off to him in that wedding, and you belong to him now and you are to obey him and your loyalty is to him, not me." That is biblical. That is the truth, and look, no man can serve two masters. You can't sit there and have these two competing authorities and parents who don't want to let go of their kids. Now look, it's great to love your kids but there comes a time when you have to cut the apron strings and when your son needs to leave and cleave, and when your daughter needs to be handed off to the husband. You know what?

If my ... I just want to tell this to my three little daughters right now that are way too young to be even thinking about any of this, I just want to say to my three daughters right now, "Don't ever come crying to me about your husband, because I'm going to tell you to turn around and go submit yourself to your husband and go obey him and submit to him and I don't want to hear about it." That's true. That's right. You know what? A lot of marriages would be helped, a lot of marriages would be saved if that were the mentality. If the wives would ... It's like a cliché of the wife goes crying to mommy and crying to daddy. No, she needs to suck it up and learn how to submit and make that marriage work and obey her husband. That's what the Bible says.

You say, "Well, oh, but what's this submit and obey? What if he's a jerk? What if he's this?" Why'd you marry a jerk? You know what? My daughters aren't going to marry a jerk because I'm going to kick his backside if he's a jerk - before the wedding. I'm not going to kick his butt after the wedding because you know what? It's none of my business after the wedding. Because she's not mine anymore, she's his now. That's what the Bible teaches. Any butt kicking needs to happen before the wedding, all right? That's the way it works, because you can't sit there ... Look, if some guy wants to be around my daughter that I don't want around my daughter, he's not going to be around my daughter, because I'm going to be stronger than him or I'll get a bigger stick.

The bottom line is, you know what? After the wedding, people need to realize it's over. You're done. You had your chance to raise your child, and to bring them up in the nurtured admonition of the Lord and to teach them and to guide them and now you are passing that baton off to hopefully a godly man, hopefully a worthy man and you have to ... You're trusting him now with your daughter. Now it's up to him and I'm just telling you that if you have adult children who come to you bad-mouthing their husband and, "Oh, come on over, sweetie, stay at our house for a few days. You need some space." No, you need a swift kick in the pants is what you need, and I'm talking to you, Dad. I'm talking to everybody involved. Everybody involved needs a kick in the pants. Well, the women shouldn't be in pants, so that proves I was talking about the dad.

Bottom line is that meddling in-laws are destroying marriages today. It's the truth. It's fact, because they provide that Plan B also, that we talked about this morning that shouldn't exist. There shouldn't be a Plan B for a man or a woman going into it. They should go into it as do or die, literally. When in-laws get involved and they can cause strife and friction, but not only ... That's kind of an extreme example. When the wife is going home and crying to mom, and by the way, there was one woman who did that in the Bible that I can think of. I can only think of one. Does anybody remember who it was? It's a pretty bad story. It's a really bad story in the Bible. Does anybody remember? The woman who went home crying to Solomon? What's that? Yeah, that's true she did go home to dad, too.

That wasn't the one I was thinking of. Zipporah, okay. I was thinking of that woman in Judges Nineteen that went home to dad. That didn't turn out so well, but anyway ... But I'm saying that as in-laws, and I know our church is really young so we don't really have a lot of people in our church that have adult children. We do have some, but most of the people in our church are too young to have adult children. But you know, it's better to learn this now than to learn it when you're already all emotional about it and you've already made dumb decisions. It's better to learn this when your child is small and when your child is maybe a teenager or a little kid, that you're not going to meddle in your children's marriage, and that you're going to let the husband be the boss in that home.

You're not going to step in, "Well, he shouldn't be doing that, and he needs to do this, and you need to tell him this," and blah blah, just usurping that authority. What does the Bible teach in Numbers Thirty? Who's the boss after she gets married? Is Dad still the boss? Is he still disannulling sweetie-pie's vows? No. It's done. That's her husband's job now to make those decisions and he doesn't have that right any longer. Not only that extreme example of the girl going home to Mama and crying to Daddy and, "Oh, he treats me so bad." Not only that, but also there are just other situations that are less obvious, where there's a badmouthing of your spouse going on by your family. This could go both male or female. This could be a husband who gets around his family and they talk bad about his wife to him.

Let me tell you something. If my family would ever say anything bad about my wife to me, I would immediately defend her and immediately take her side every time. I will side with my wife against you, and I will side with my wife against family. I will not side with my wife against Jesus. That's the one that has our supreme loyalty, but I would side with my wife against anybody else. I'm not going to throw my wife under the bus to make family happy, and the same way goes for her. She should not tolerate people badmouthing me unto her. "Well, your husband, blah, blah, blah." There are a lot of people who badmouth me and her. I'm not saying in our family. I'm saying just in general, and my wife and I, if we're going to be loyal to each other, we should defend each other and stand up for each other.

If you have to choose who you're going to burn and if you have to choose which relationship is going to be harmed, you should always harm the relationship other than your spouse. If you have to say goodbye to a friend because of the fact that it's coming between you and your spouse, you need to say goodbye to that friend if so need be. If you need to stay away from your family for awhile, stay away from relatives for awhile, brothers and sisters, parents, because of a conflict that it's causing between you and your spouse, you need to preserve your marriage. I'm telling you, marriages today are an uphill battle in our country, because of the fact that our culture has destroyed the institution of marriage.

It's hard for marriages to work anymore. That's why you see so much divorce and even amongst marriages, you see a lot of unhappiness and strife and drama, because it's just hard to have a godly marriage these days. It's important that you do everything you can to make that job of having a good marriage a little easier, not making it harder. When you allow extended family to create ... You say, "Why are you talking about this?" Because tons of people have issues with this all the time and I hear about it all the time. Those that are young married, newly married, need this advice of saying, you know what? The most important relationship is between you and your spouse. If you have to ... If you need some space from somebody, it needs to be from your parents, from your brothers and sisters, from friends.

I would switch churches in a heartbeat before I'd switch spouses. I mean, think about it. I would switch churches. I'm not saying go to a bad church, but I would switch to another Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, I'd switch to another church that's a Bible preaching church if it would improve my relationship with my wife, and if there was a problem somehow with that church, because I'm telling you. Amongst my human relationships, I believe that my number 1 relationship is with my wife. I'm going to put her first, amongst human ... Not before the Lord, but before human relationships like church friends, or even a church in general. I'm not saying I would ever get out of church, because that would be coming between me and the Lord.

I'd never get out of church, but I would even switch churches. I would even separate from family, separate from friends, before I ever separated from my spouse or before I ever allowed that to destroy my marriage. Just remember this, maybe it's not something you're going through right now, but just remember, as you go through this long life, married decades, spending all these years together, that when family is badmouthing your spouse, you stick up for your spouse. When family is coming between you and your spouse, you stick with your spouse, you cleave to your ... You leave them and you cleave to your spouse. That's what the Bible says, and when you have a situation where there's strife and friction, the people that need to be backed off from are extended family or friendships, not your spouse. That should be the number one most important relationship in your life.

On the flip-side, don't be that person who tries to come between a husband and his wife. That's a wicked place to be. God hates those who sow discord among brethren. How much more would God hate it if someone were to step in and create marital strife and create a conflict where there was none between husband and wife. This sermon's about loyalty. We should be loyal to the Lord. We should be loyal to our parents. We should be loyal to our friends. We should be loyal and faithful to brothers and sisters and family and people, but where does our loyalty lie when it comes to a conflict? Well, it should always be the Lord first and then secondly, stick with your spouse, and then thirdly after that is everybody else, and sometimes all you can do is keep the Lord happy and your spouse happy.

If you can do those two things, you've done a lot and you just call it good. If you can keep some other people happy, great. Honestly, those are the two big ones in that order. It's epidemic, the marriage problems that are caused by people not minding their own business and getting involved in other people's issues and not respecting the boundaries of marriage, and respecting that bond as being the supreme bond outside of a relationship with the Lord. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for being faithful to us. We know that you're always faithful and loyal to us. You'll never leave us nor forsake us.

Lord, help us to show you the same courtesy and also Lord, the wife or the husband that has been given to us, Lord, help us to be loyal and faithful and true and to keep that vow and to realize, hey, that's the most important relationship, not friends, not extended family. We love our parents, we love our children, but it's our spouse that should take number one place, Lord. Help us to be loyal to our friends. Help us be loyal to everyone Lord, as much as possible, but help us never to get these priorities out of whack, start choosing friends over you, Lord, or choosing family over you, or choosing to side with our parents against our spouse, or whatever, Lord. Help that to never take place. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



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