Back to the Basics

Matthew 19 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,

In the 1960 NFL Championship game, Coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers were only a few yards from winning, but after Bart Starr threw to Jim Taylor, Philly’s Chuck Bednarik tackled him and the clocked ticked down handing Lombardi’s team a 17-10 loss.  This loss haunted the Green Bay team all the way through the off season.  So when the team returned for the 1961 season and they assembled before Coach Lombardi he apparently walked to the front of the room, took several seconds to look at each player in silence, held out the pigskin in front of them, and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

The story goes that he then took his team out and showed them the field, pointing out the sidelines, and the end zones, and then he reminded the players that the football is to go across the end zone line.  And at each subsequent practise he would go through the fundamentals as if they had never heard them before.  The Green Bay Packers, under Coach Lombardi, would never lose a playoff game again, and would win five NFL championships including the first two Super Bowls ever played.  Lombardi got back to the basics.

There are many tough issues facing the church today.  When our family hosts Bible studies at our house I feel for the young people in particular when I hear the pressure they are under.  What once were norms in society that fit far more closely to Biblical principals have increasingly been challenged.  One of those areas is teaching on marriage.  What is marriage?  It is not surprising to me that the world has struggled with this question, but I am somewhat surprised that the church has struggled so mightily.  When I teach on this subject, I take on a bit of Lombardi’s technique – I Get back to the Basics.

When I teach on the topic of marriage I start with Matthew 19:3-12. In this passage the Pharisees actually approach Jesus on the topic of divorce rather than marriage.  They asked him: “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”  (vs 3b).  Rather than answering them directly, he goes back to the beginning, to the Genesis creation account.  “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (vss 4-6)

I don’t want to minimize the difficulty of many questions that face the church today, but I do want to encourage the church to question whether their struggles are coming from the “Word” or from the “World”?  Are you re-evaluating your beliefs because God revealed a new truth from His Word, or because the World has been placing pressure on you to change?  Remember Paul’s admonition:  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12: 2a. When you are feeling confused and overwhelmed, get back to the basics – get back to the Word of God.

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