HOM-4 - Dating, Engagement, & Marriage
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GODLY HOMES IN AN UNGODLY WORLD
The Holy Spirit records "Do not be unequally yoked together with
unbelievers." 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Welcome to our study of the "Home” as God would have it.
In this series of lessons, we're looking at what God has to say
concerning the Christian home, marriage, and how to have a better home
The Scripture says in Psalm 127:1-3, "Unless the Lord builds the
home, they labor in vain who build it." And so, establishing a godly home is
paramount to the success of every person in the home.
Today's lesson deals with a very serious subject: dating,
engagement, and what God has to say about the marriage covenant.
How should a Christian feel about dating? What does God say about
the engagement period and what guidelines are given and what do we
need to know about the marriage covenant for it to be successful?
When we think about the subject of the Christian and dating, there
are several things that are very important relative to this subject. In our last
lesson or in one of our lessons, we dealt with preparation for marriage and
this more deals with the idea of dating and how Christians should behave
and what principles ought to govern that situation.
When we talk about dating, let's realize first and foremost that a
Christian ought to look for a mate who is going to help them successfully
seek first the kingdom of God. Choosing a Christian mate is a premier
decision in putting God's church first in one's life. Think of the words of
Matthew 6:33 Jesus said "Seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." If the aim of
every child of God is to seek first the kingdom, then in dating, in choosing a
mate, in who we marry, the kingdom has to be first.
Even in those decisions Paul said in Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to
live is Christ, and to die that's gain." If living is for Christ, if the kingdom's
first, if as Jesus said in Luke 9:23 we're to ‘deny self, take up our cross and
follow Jesus every day,’ then who I date, who I hang around with, who I
marry, the kingdom has to dictate those decisions in every Christians life.
And so, make it a premier fact; make it a top decision to put the kingdom
first in every facet of one's life.
Then as we think about the idea of dating engagement and the
marriage covenant, let's realize that if one of the main purposes of
marriage is to help one another get to heaven. Husband-and-wife, marrying
a non-Christian makes that purpose and dating a non-Christian complicates
that purpose greatly. Genesis 2:18, ‘God saw all that it was not good for
man to be alone thus He made a helper comparable to him.’ We have the
introduction of the home, marriage, and the family.
If God made woman and man to be a helper for one another, friend,
how can you date, or for that matter engage to or marry someone who's not
a Christian and still be that helpmate that God designed. Can you date a
non-Christian, can you be engaged to a non-Christian, can you marry a
non-Christian, and that person really be the helper in every way that God
intended them to be?
If one person's a child of the devil and one person is a Christian,
there's going to be some struggles there along the way. One gospel
preacher has rightly put it this way: he said, "If you date or marry a
non-Christian, you're going to have trouble with your father-in-law." If
they're a child of the devil and you marry them and their interests are not
God and Christ and putting the kingdom first, there are going to be
problems along the way.
And so, please realize that it complicates matters greatly when you
date, when you're engaged to, and ultimately when you marry somebody
who is not a child of God.
As we think about dating and engagement, let's realize that, under
the Old Testament, God's people were actually forbidden to marry those
who were strangers or foreigners to the covenant of God. For example,
listen to the words of Deuteronomy 7:3-4. The Scripture says God speaking
to Israel, "Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your
daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn
your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; for the anger of the
Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly."
We understand that, although under the old covenant and although
speaking to Israel about not intermarrying with the heathen nations,
remaining true to God and the covenant that God gave at Mount Sinai,
there's a basic principle to be learned there. God doesn't want His people,
who have bowed themselves to His covenant, who are a part of His
kingdom, to get caught up and mixed up with people who don't have the
same values, morals, and who don't trust in God and the Bible as they do.
And so, the very basic principle is: under the Old Testament, God
condemned it. And friend, if we're to seek first the kingdom of God and
marrying or dating or being engaged to someone who's not a member of
that church is only going to pull you away, may actually weaken you rather
than strengthen you, why would you date someone who doesn't have the
same faith or principle that you do as a child of God?
When we think about this idea of dating, engagement, and the
marriage covenant, as we think about that priority: seeking first the
kingdom, let's use an Old Testament example. Someone may say we know
I've got a faith that can withstand that, I can date a non-Christian, I can be
engaged, I could even marry a non-Christian, and I might be able to win
them to the Lord. My faith is strong enough that, rather than drag me down,
I can bring them up. Friend, there's no doubt that you may actually win
them to the Lord, but that's not the type of evangelism we
encourage-because there's just as much chance that they could pull you
away from the Lord.
Let me give you a Bible example: Solomon was a great man of God,
ended up building the temple, did great things on behalf of God, in fact he
was given wisdom from on high from God himself. And yet, in 1 Kings
11:1-12, you will find that Solomon had married many wives, ungodly wives
of the foreigners God had commanded them not to marry, and those
ungodly wives and their false religions led Solomon away from God. Great
man of God, did great things, had a great faith, had wisdom from on high,
and yet was pulled away, was lured away by his false wives, by his ungodly
wives and their false religions. And so, let's not say to ourselves, "this might
be a form of evangelism or I've got a faith strong enough to hold." That's
not the attitude the Christian needs.
Why would you want to enter into a relationship where you're going to
have to maybe drag or pull the other person to the point where they need to
be as far spiritual matters are concerned? Here's what the Bible says: 2
Corinthians 6:14, the Scripture says this, "Do not be unequally yoked
together with unbelievers." Now this may be dealing with a variety of
different scenarios where one could be unequally yoked together. It could
be business relationship, could be friendships, but friend, the bond of
marriage could surely be an application of that as well. "Don't be unequally
yoked, or bound together, with an unbeliever." Well, what's unequal yoke?
Let's say you got, the picture here is of two oxen, two mules, maybe two
animals, that are working in the field and you've got a yoke and one animal
hooked to each side and maybe some kind of wagon or farm equipment
hooked to the back. And if these animals are not equally yoked, that is
one's a lot stronger than the other, one's going to end up doing all the work.
The other one's not going to do as much and it's going to be very difficult
on that one person.
What's the idea spiritually? Don't enter into relationships, business
ventures, and surely enter into marriage, with someone who is not equally
yoked together in the sense that they're a member of the one church, they
believe in the Bible as the word of God, they believe in God's plan of
salvation, they have a desire to raise godly children, their morals and
values are the same as yours.
Now think about this: although the apostle Paul mentions as a right
himself having the privilege and the power to marry a believing wife. He
mentions though that that wife is to be a believing wife, and so Paul
mentions he had that right. 1 Corinthians 7, the widow is to only remarry in
the Lord Christian someone who is a candidate to remarry to marry. And
so, from the language you see in the Bible, one thing is for sure: you ought
to marry a Christian. Not just a Christian but a faithful Christian who will
help you. Listen very carefully, if you ultimately marry the person you date,
then friend you ought to date a Christian who is going to help you get to
heaven and be the godly person that you desire to be.
Now, let's think about it statistically for a second. A study has been
done of young people, people who enter into marriage, some were
Christian non-Christian marriages and some were both Christians. I want
you to listen to the statistics that occurred in each of these scenarios. Of 79
people, 79 couples who were in a mixed marriage between a Christian and
a non-Christian, here's what happens statistically. Of those 79, 57 left the
Lord's church, 22 remain faithful Christians, fourteen, only 14, converted
their mate and, of those 79, 25 ended up getting divorced. Now contrast
that with another group who married Christians, both were Christians. Of 64
total who both Christians married faithful Christians, only five left the
church. 59 remain faithful Christians and only 2 were divorced. Do you see
how much greater one's chances are if both spouses believe? They ought
to be seeking first the kingdom. Not being self-serving, but serving the
other person and trying to glorify and help one another get to heaven in
You know as we think about the idea of dating, especially. What
exactly is dating? Dating is a sense of getting to know a person, may
consist of social activities done by two people with the aim, and it does
have an aim, with the aim of looking at the other person's suitability as a
mate in a relationship for a husband or a wife.
And so, when we talk about dating, it isn't just all fun and games.
There is the sense of the social activity, but I need to be thinking about is
this person someone who will help me get to heaven. Are they a suitable
mate that I can help in life and that will help me? When we bring children
into a relationship, will they indeed help our children? You know, some
basic guidelines that revolve around dating and parents- I hope you'll listen
real carefully- as it relates to dating is: Parents, you are in charge of dating.
They are in your house. They are still a minor. You are still their parent.
Ephesians 6:1-4 the Bible says children are to obey their parents in the
Lord. Just because a boy or girl may have some attraction to an individual
and wants to date them, does not mean that is a given. Parents, you're in
charge of who they date at this point. You have the say-so in who they
date. You can say no, you're not allowed to date that person for these
reasons. You're allowed to make decisions on when they date. I believe too
many times, young people start dating way too early, way before they're
ready to begin thinking about that seriously.
Parents, you're in charge of the curfews and the boundaries that
relate to dating: when will you be back, when will you leave, who will take
you, what will you do. Those are all questions that you absolutely have the
right to ask. You are not violating anybody's privacy. You are not
overstepping a boundary. You are not taking away anybody's individuality if
you set guidelines, if you stick to those guidelines, and if you determine ‘the
who and the when and the how’ of dating for your children.
Parents, as it relates to us being in charge, you need to explain the
purpose of dating to your child. Dating is not just so you can go out and
have fun and there's more to it than just that. Children need be taught that,
in dating someone, in dating someone of the opposite sex, you're
beginning to think about, "do I want to spend my life with this person?"
Genesis 2:18, will this person be a good helpmate for me in life? You need
to do your research: how does this person act, are they responsible, how
do they dress, and what type of people are they associating with (First
Corinthians 15:33 says evil companions corrupt good morals), is this
person respectful to you? As a parent: Do they respect your son or
daughter? Are they responsible enough that you're going to send one of
your most valuable possessions, your children, out with them? Do they
dress modestly? Do they have good Christian values? Are they hanging
around with type of friends that you would want your child hanging around
You definitely need to sit down and get to know the person before
you just send your child out with them. There may be things that you're not
aware of until you do get to know them, either good or bad things there.
And then, we want to mention some rules for young people as it relates to
the actual dating process.
First, as a young person who's dating, we encourage you as Solomon
the writer of Ecclesiastes said, "Remember your Creator in the days of your
youth." Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 and Ecclesiastes 12:1. One day you will have
to answer for your conduct. You need to realize that, when you're dating,
God is indeed watching at all times. God knows and sees all, whether it's at
the movies, whether it's at the table when you're eating out, or whether it's
in the car when there's no one there but you and the other person. God
knows and sees all and you need to be encouraged to, even during this
time when there may be emotions that run high, when there may be
attractions, ‘don't forget your Creator in the days of your youth.’ Remember
Him and always strive to do those things which will please Him.
And then, we encourage this as a rule for dating: don't use the same
standard that the world does in dating. 1 John 2:15-17 the Bible says, "Do
not love the world or the things are in the world. For all that is in the world -
lust of flesh, lust the eyes, the pride of life - it's not of the Father it's of the
evil one. And the world and all that is in it is passing away, but he who does
the will of God the Father shall endure."
Christians need to know that there is a difference between inner
beauty and outer beauty. Do you remember Proverbs 31:10? The Scripture
says, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears
the Lord, she shall be praised." Only, listen carefully, don't date somebody
who you wouldn't seriously consider as a spouse or that you're not even
thinking about as a spouse. Don't let the world's standards be your
standard for what you do during the dating process: the way you dress, the
way you act, the way you talk. The world is in opposition to the principles of
God. Let God's standards be the rules that govern you.
Another rule for dating: if parents are in charge, young people, you
must realize your parents are indeed in charge. Even if you're a young
adult, they're still, your spirit, your parent and you should respect them.
Children are to obey their parents in the Lord. If you're under their roof,
whatever they are that, whatever rules they set, are it. They get to put the
rules in place. Your responsibility is to follow those rules and to abide by
them. You may say, well that's not what I think's fair. In all honesty, they're
your parent, you're in their home, and you don't get to set the rules, your
parents do. They get to decide the who of whom you date. They, you
decide when you date. They get to decide where you go and what time you
got to come home. Your responsibility, as a young person, is to respect and
obey your parents and to recognize the wisdom they've got in setting these
Then as a young person who would be dating, Paul's
encouragement, Peter's encouragement, "Flee fornication" is such an
important rule for dating. 1 Timothy 6 and 1 Peter 2:21 the Scripture says,
"Flee fornication and abstain from fleshly lust, which wars against the soul."
As a young person, there are indeed emotions, there are feelings, there are
attractions, there are desires, there's no doubt about that, but where is the
proper place for that? Marriage is honorable, the bed undefiled;
whoremongers and adulterers, God will judge." Hebrews 13:4.
And so, what kind of advice can we give based on that? Don't put
yourself in a compromising situation. There's no need for a child of God, for
a Christian who's trying to put the kingdom first, to be in a situation alone
where something could happen, where things could get elevated, where
emotions could run wild, and because of that, you make decisions that
weren't based off of fact or truth or God's word, but rather off of emotion.
Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation; don't let the lust of the flesh
be what guides you in these situations.
Then we also mention as a guideline for dating that a young person
must prove themselves responsible and treat others with respect to be
granted permission to date. Are you responsible enough to date? Do you
make good decisions? Are you able to be given the keys to the car and
expected to come back? Realizing that you're responsible enough to do
that, would someone's father or mother want to send their child out with
you knowing that they'll be safe, that things will be handled rightly, that you
will treat them with respect, that you will act and talk in such a way that will
show your respect for that person?
You see my friend we are created in the image of God Genesis
1:26-28. As a creation of God, we ought to respect not only ourselves but
others as well and show that respect indeed by our actions. Then as we
think about dating, engagement, and the marriage covenant, let's realize
that the marriage covenant is such a serious covenant. God says in
Malachi 2:14-16 that, when He speaks of divorce inside the marriage
covenant, He speaks of it as a violent action. Proverbs 2:17 speaks of the
adulterous woman as one who forsakes the companion of her youth and
forgets the covenant of her God. What we want to express is the
seriousness of dating, of engagement and marriage. This is not a flippant
Why are there so many divorces today? Why are there so many
broken homes? Why are there so many young people who thought
everything was going to be grand and glorious and it would just be so
smooth in marriage and come to find out it was very difficult maybe even
ended in divorce?
One reason may be we didn't take dating, the engagement period,
and marriage, as seriously as we ought to. Is it wonderful to date a
Christian? You bet it is! Is it great to be engaged to, and looking forward to,
and being married to, a child of God? Oh, it absolutely ought to be!
As Genesis 2:24 says, "For this reason, man shall leave his father
and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall be one flesh." How
wonderful and joyous that relationship ought to be. Friend, you must enter
into it with a sense of seriousness.
When you start dating, start to look for somebody who will be a good
helper for you in this life.
As you're engaged to someone, if there are red flags, if there are
problems, don't proceed with the marriage at least until you've worked them
And friend, above all, and I hope you'll listen real carefully, don't date,
get engaged to, or marry someone, who is going to pull you down
spiritually, who is not a child of God, and who won't actually help you get to
Our hope and our aim in giving these lessons is that each one of us
can strive to be the helper we ought to, to help one another truly get to
Study Questions for: “Godly Homes: Lesson 4”
1. According to Matthew 6:33, what should we seek above all else?
2. What must we deny according to Luke 9:23?
3. In 1 Kings 11:1-12, what led Solomon away from God?
4. What does 2 Corinthians 6:14 tell us about unbelievers?
5. What does Ephesians 6:1-4 tell children to do?
6. According to 1 Corinthians 15:33, what kind of company should we
7. According to Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 and Ecclesiastes 12:1, who should we
remember in our youth? Why?
8. According to 1 John 2:15-17, should we love the things of this would?
Why or why not?
9. What is deceitful and passing according to Proverbs 31:10?
10. According to 1 Peter 2:21, what should we flee and abstain from? Why?