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SERMON NOTES

Welcome to this special Marriage Sunday service! Our church is excited about the opportunity to celebrate and honor marriages today. We would like to come alongside you, whether you’re single, dating, or married, and share with you what God says in Scripture about this important topic and how we can experience the joy and fulfillment that comes by following His plan. If you’re a visitor, we’re glad you’ve come to our church and we welcome you into our community! We look forward to getting to know you better and we want you to know we’re committed to equipping and supporting you. Together we can learn God’s perspective on marriage and the biblical principles we can apply in all our relationships. This Marriage Sunday Next Step Bulletin Guide includes a sermon-notes page, small-group or individual study questions, six daily devotionals, and a tear-off Connection Card that will help you connect to our church and take the next step in your spiritual growth. Love. Honor. Cherish. … In sickness and in health. … For richer or for poorer. … The vows taken in holy matrimony are not for the weak and selfish! To fulfill them as Christ would have us do takes time, effort, and a commitment to Him, but He offers His grace and helpful guidance along the journey. Our prayer is that this Marriage Sunday service will provide the inspiration, encouragement, and help you need to not just survive, but to thrive in your marriage and relationships. So let’s get started ...

Copyright © 2012 by Outreach, Inc., Vista, CA 92081. All rights reserved. Written by Heather Schnese. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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SERMON NOTES    

Welcome to this special Marriage Sunday service! Our church is excited about the opportunity to celebrate and honor marriages today. We would like to come alongside you, whether you’re single, dating, or married, and share with you what God says in Scripture about this important topic and how we can experience the joy and fulfillment that comes by following His plan.

  

If you’re a visitor, we’re glad you’ve come to our church and we welcome you into our community! We look forward to getting to know you better and we want you to know we’re committed to equipping and supporting you. Together we can learn God’s perspective on marriage and the biblical principles we can apply in all our relationships.

  

This Marriage Sunday Next Step Bulletin Guide includes a sermon-notes page, small-group or individual study questions, six daily devotionals, and a tear-off Connection Card that will help you connect to our church and take the next step in your spiritual growth.

  

Love. Honor. Cherish. … In sickness and in health. … For richer or for poorer. … The vows taken in holy matrimony are not for the weak and selfish! To fulfill them as Christ would have us do takes time, effort, and a commitment to Him, but He offers His grace and helpful guidance along the journey. Our prayer is that this Marriage Sunday service will provide the inspiration, encouragement, and help you need to not just survive, but to thrive in your marriage and relationships. So let’s get started ...

         Copyright © 2012 by Outreach, Inc., Vista, CA 92081. All rights reserved. Written by Heather Schnese. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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SMALL-GROUP OR INDIVIDUAL STUDY QUESTIONS Read the following Scripture passages about the first marriage, as well as what God’s love means for all of our relationships. Then, answer and discuss the study questions. Pray that God will use this time to help you become a better spouse or friend.

Read Genesis 2:15–25. Adam and Eve can be considered the first married couple. According to the creation story in Genesis, why did God make Eve?

Why is your spouse a suitable helper for you? List his or her qualities that seem to complement yours. If you are not married, what qualities in a spouse do you think would complement yours?

What does verse 24 tell us about God’s desire for man and woman? What does it mean to be “one flesh”?

List the ways in which you feel you and your spouse have become “one flesh.” How are your lives and hearts intertwined? If possible, please discuss this with your spouse.

Read 1 John 4:7–21. What does this passage tell us about God? How does it say that God showed His love?

Have you accepted God’s love? And if so, in what ways do you recognize or feel Him living in you?

What does this passage command us to do? Why are we able to love others?

In what ways do you reflect God’s love to your spouse and/or those around you? Can you think of different or additional ways you can reflect His love to those in your life?

What fears do you have that may prevent you from loving your spouse or others? In what ways can God’s perfect love drive out your fears?

In what ways are you operating more like two individuals instead of one team? How can you better operate as one?

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NEXT STEP GUIDE

MARRIAGE SUNDAY

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SMALL-GROUP OR INDIVIDUAL STUDY QUESTIONS Read the following Scripture passages about the first marriage, as well as what God’s love means for all of our relationships. Then, answer and discuss the study questions. Pray that God will use this time to help you become a better spouse or friend.

Read Genesis 2:15–25. Adam and Eve can be considered the first married couple. According to the creation story in Genesis, why did God make Eve?

Why is your spouse a suitable helper for you? List his or her qualities that seem to complement yours. If you are not married, what qualities in a spouse do you think would complement yours?

What does verse 24 tell us about God’s desire for man and woman? What does it mean to be “one flesh”?

List the ways in which you feel you and your spouse have become “one flesh.” How are your lives and hearts intertwined? If possible, please discuss this with your spouse.

Read 1 John 4:7–21. What does this passage tell us about God? How does it say that God showed His love?

Have you accepted God’s love? And if so, in what ways do you recognize or feel Him living in you?

What does this passage command us to do? Why are we able to love others?

In what ways do you reflect God’s love to your spouse and/or those around you? Can you think of different or additional ways you can reflect His love to those in your life?

What fears do you have that may prevent you from loving your spouse or others? In what ways can God’s perfect love drive out your fears?

In what ways are you operating more like two individuals instead of one team? How can you better operate as one?

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NEXT STEP GUIDE

MARRIAGE SUNDAY

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CONNECTION CARD

DAILY DEVOTIONALS Monday A Defining Marriage

Read Genesis 2:18–25. We all long for a best friend, lover, and partner who will stay with us—no matter what! King Solomon captured these feelings when he wrote the book Song of Solomon. He said, “This is my beloved, this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16). Today, his words are frequently used in weddings. Maybe it’s because we can easily identify with the desire for romance and the need to have a faithful soul mate. Unfortunately, today many marriages end in divorce, and this happens because marriage is often defined by the world’s standards. So, how does God define marriage? First, God intends marriage to last a lifetime, to be an everlasting covenant. In Ephesians 5:22–26, Paul likens the love and commitment between Christ and His church to the love and commitment between a husband and wife. And second, in marriage God makes two become one (Genesis 2:23–24) so that they live together in love, united in spirit and purpose.

Ask God to help you define your marriage by His standards so that it will last a lifetime!

Tuesday An Inseparable Union

Read 1 John 2:15–17. So many things can threaten separation between a husband and a wife or division between friends—bad habits, addictions, and sometimes simple selfishness. Do any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone. Paul writes, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). And, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 he tells us that God is faithful and will help us to overcome temptation to sin. Marriages and relationships defined by this world’s standards may be broken up with sin and temptation, but those defined by God and empowered by His Spirit can be inseparable. God tells us that He brings two people together and nothing of this world should separate them (Matthew 19:6).

I Would Like More Information About:

Wednesday A Reflecting Love

            

Read I John 4:9–11, 19. You’ve likely heard the statement that you must love yourself before you can authentically love another. It’s true! Dislike yourself and you’re apt to dislike others. As Christians, loving ourselves means loving the person God made us to be. You may be married, engaged, or waiting to meet the right person, but accepting God’s love for you is critical to loving others. God’s love for us is hard to deny! He sent His only Son to die on the cross for us so that we would be saved (John 3:16). We’re told that God lovingly created and knew us even when we were in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13–16), and His compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:22). Only because He loves us first are we able to love others (1 John 4:19). And “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). God wants you to know His love and reflect that same love in your relationships.

Commit to reading and personalizing Romans 8:31–39 for the next seven days!

Share a Prayer Request: ____________________________________________

Thursday A Selfless Love

____________________________________________

Read Song of Solomon 8:6–7. It says of love, “It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” Unfortunately, many of us have felt love quenched, and sometimes we’ve even done the quenching! Often, this quenching stems from selfishness. Selfishness can be a relationship killer because it sucks the life out of a relationship. It is not reciprocal but only thinks and acts with one thing in mind: What’s in it for me?

____________________________________________

One way to keep the love in relationships burning is to think of others first, instead of yourself. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3–4).

Share a Praise:

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ________________________________

 My prayer request is confidential.

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Read 1 Peter 4:8–10 and commit to using your gifts to display two or three selfless acts in the next few days!

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Define what sin, bad habits, or temptations are threatening the important relationships in your life, and ask God for His delivering power and grace to resist and overcome them!

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NEXT STEP GUIDE

Becoming a Christian Getting Baptized Becoming a Church Member Spiritual Growth Small Groups Children’s Ministry Youth Ministry Women’s Ministry Evangelism/Outreach Ministry Places I Can Serve Baby/Child Dedication Other _____________________________ Please Have a Staff Member Contact Me.

________________________________

MARRIAGE SUNDAY

7


CONNECTION CARD

DAILY DEVOTIONALS Monday A Defining Marriage

Read Genesis 2:18–25. We all long for a best friend, lover, and partner who will stay with us—no matter what! King Solomon captured these feelings when he wrote the book Song of Solomon. He said, “This is my beloved, this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16). Today, his words are frequently used in weddings. Maybe it’s because we can easily identify with the desire for romance and the need to have a faithful soul mate. Unfortunately, today many marriages end in divorce, and this happens because marriage is often defined by the world’s standards. So, how does God define marriage? First, God intends marriage to last a lifetime, to be an everlasting covenant. In Ephesians 5:22–26, Paul likens the love and commitment between Christ and His church to the love and commitment between a husband and wife. And second, in marriage God makes two become one (Genesis 2:23–24) so that they live together in love, united in spirit and purpose.

Ask God to help you define your marriage by His standards so that it will last a lifetime!

Tuesday An Inseparable Union

Read 1 John 2:15–17. So many things can threaten separation between a husband and a wife or division between friends—bad habits, addictions, and sometimes simple selfishness. Do any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone. Paul writes, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). And, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 he tells us that God is faithful and will help us to overcome temptation to sin. Marriages and relationships defined by this world’s standards may be broken up with sin and temptation, but those defined by God and empowered by His Spirit can be inseparable. God tells us that He brings two people together and nothing of this world should separate them (Matthew 19:6).

I Would Like More Information About:

Wednesday A Reflecting Love

            

Read I John 4:9–11, 19. You’ve likely heard the statement that you must love yourself before you can authentically love another. It’s true! Dislike yourself and you’re apt to dislike others. As Christians, loving ourselves means loving the person God made us to be. You may be married, engaged, or waiting to meet the right person, but accepting God’s love for you is critical to loving others. God’s love for us is hard to deny! He sent His only Son to die on the cross for us so that we would be saved (John 3:16). We’re told that God lovingly created and knew us even when we were in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13–16), and His compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:22). Only because He loves us first are we able to love others (1 John 4:19). And “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). God wants you to know His love and reflect that same love in your relationships.

Commit to reading and personalizing Romans 8:31–39 for the next seven days!

Share a Prayer Request: ____________________________________________

Thursday A Selfless Love

____________________________________________

Read Song of Solomon 8:6–7. It says of love, “It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” Unfortunately, many of us have felt love quenched, and sometimes we’ve even done the quenching! Often, this quenching stems from selfishness. Selfishness can be a relationship killer because it sucks the life out of a relationship. It is not reciprocal but only thinks and acts with one thing in mind: What’s in it for me?

____________________________________________

One way to keep the love in relationships burning is to think of others first, instead of yourself. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3–4).

Share a Praise:

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ________________________________

 My prayer request is confidential.

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Read 1 Peter 4:8–10 and commit to using your gifts to display two or three selfless acts in the next few days!

____________________________________________ ____________________________________________

Define what sin, bad habits, or temptations are threatening the important relationships in your life, and ask God for His delivering power and grace to resist and overcome them!

6

NEXT STEP GUIDE

Becoming a Christian Getting Baptized Becoming a Church Member Spiritual Growth Small Groups Children’s Ministry Youth Ministry Women’s Ministry Evangelism/Outreach Ministry Places I Can Serve Baby/Child Dedication Other _____________________________ Please Have a Staff Member Contact Me.

________________________________

MARRIAGE SUNDAY

7


CONNECTION CARD Please Print

Date: ________________________________ Name: ______________________________ Address: _____________________________ City, State Zip:_________________________ Phone: (

) ______ - __________

E-mail: _______________________________  Please update my info.

Please indicate:  Regular attender  Visitor  Out-of-town visitor

Please circle your current age group and school grades of any children Adults: 18–23 24–29 30–39 40–49 50–69 70+

DAILY DEVOTIONALS

Friday A Forgiving Love

Read Matthew 18:21–22. Forgiving someone close to you can be incredibly difficult. A hurtful word or action can remain squarely between you and a friend or you and your spouse. Forgiving doesn’t mean condoning, but it does mean releasing the power that hurtful words or actions have over you and the struggling relationship. First, remember that Jesus forgave even while He was being crucified (Luke 23:33–34). Second, remember that no one is blameless in life: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). As God has forgiven you, you ought to forgive your spouse or friend: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Note the phrase “bear with each other.” It speaks of the long-suffering aspect of love, the “in spite of” kind of love in a relationship empowered by God.

Read and memorize Ephesians 4:32. Is there someone you need to forgive or ask forgiveness of?

Saturday A Kind Love

Children: 0–3 yrs. 4–5 yrs. K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 College

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1–8. As marriages and friendships grow over the course of months and years, our inclination to express love in unique and romantic ways can wane. Another key to keeping your love burning, as King Solomon talks about in Song of Solomon 8:6–7, is kindness—and kindness that’s shown on days other than anniversaries, birthdays, or holidays.

 Male  Female  Single  Married  Single Parent  Widowed

God sets an example for us. His kindness is described as great (2 Chronicles 1:8), unfailing (2 Samuel 22:51), and everlasting (Isaiah 54:8), even when we may not deserve it (Psalm 106:7). We also know that kindness is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

I made a decision today to:

Everyone likes to be told and shown that they’re loved—even on unimportant days and even if they don’t necessarily deserve it. Remember that, “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

 Receive Christ as my Savior.  Recommit my life to Christ.

Thank God for the kindness He has shown you when you haven’t deserved it, and ask Him to help you show that same kindness to your spouse!


Marriage Sunday Bulletin Guide