Marriage: Maintaining the Hedges – Selected Scriptures

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
June 2, 2024

◘ Marriage: Maintaining the Hedges
Selected Scriptures


I will be continuing the series on marriage today with a very practical sermon on protecting your marriage so that it can grow and thrive and be kept safe from the constant pressures and interferences now common in American society. ◘To be blunt, there is little resemblance today to the America that existed when I was growing up in the 1960’s – 70’s. The nuclear family was still central and promoted in law, education and media. Divorce required proving justifiable fault in a court of law. School assignments were generally positive toward the family and many High Schools and colleges offered classes on family life and practical courses to teach skill sets helpful in family life. Entertainment media presented families in a positive light with a dad that was wise and involved. Examples of those include the situation comedies (sitcoms) Father Knows BestLeave it to BeaverOzzie & Harriet, The Cosby Show, etc. (If you don’t recognize any of those, they can still be found on the cable channels that show very old reruns of the last millennium). There were changes on the horizon back then, and those changes came quickly and turned even basic morality on its head.

◘    The first “no-fault” divorce law was passed in 1969 in California and signed by then Governor Ronald Regan. By 2010 there was some form of no-fault divorce in all fifty states. At the time Regan thought it would help remove some of the acrimony that was common in divorce. It was a law he later regretted since he saw that the actual result was allowing the innocent spouse in the divorce to be further victimized. Some of you here today have been the victims of these laws. You were the faithful spouse that suffered both rejection and great financial stress if not ruin, or you were a child that was bounced back and fourth between warring parents. So much for such laws reducing acrimony in the dissolution of matrimony.

◘    The vast majority of our educational systems actively attack the family in multiple ways ranging from sneering at involved parents and purposely striving to undermine their authority over their own children, to actively advocating sexual immorality and perversions, to giving deviant definitions of the family. Underlying these are ungodly feminist and Marxist philosophies which hate the Biblical teaching on the family. The approach to education favors feminine qualities and attacks masculine ones to such a degree that the majority of college students are now women with a large percentage of boys having already given up on academics in High School having already figured out that the system is set against them.

◘    Entertainment media has also gone perverse with the traditional family being a special target of attack. Not long ago I heard the phrase “ad dad” as a slang reference to the common presentation of men, especially dads, in commercials as utter buffoons. Situation comedies are no better. In movies and television immoral relationships are normal and what is presented via the internet is far worse with pornography being a multi-billion dollar business.


With that in mind, it is important to quickly review what has been pointed out in the last three sermons from the Scriptures about man, marriage and its purposes. You cannot protect marriage from ungodly and worldly influences if you do not know God’s design for marriage.

◘    1) God created man, so the purpose of man’s existence is determined by God. You do not exist for yourself. You are not autonomous. Your first priority is to figure out why God created you and then pursue fulfilling the purpose of your Creator.

◘    2) God created man in His image which gives you both an eternal, immaterial soul and personhood. You are rational, emotional and volitional. And though marred by sin, man is to reflect God’s moral attributes. Salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ enables that to happen with less distortion.

◘    3) God charged man to subdue the earth and have dominion over the animals. Man was created to be God’s regent on the earth and man will give an account to God on how well he did at that.

◘    4) The “not good” of man being alone was changed by God’s fashioning of Eve from Adam’s rib and establishing marriage. This gave man the necessary “helper suitable” to him to be able to carry out the mandates given to him by God. After this God pronounced all that He had made during the six days of active Creation as “very good.”

◘    5) God’s original design of marriage allowed Adam and Eve to be naked, completely exposed to one another physically, emotionally and mentally, without shame because there was no sin. Only a Christian marriage can begin to regain some of that because as the Holy Spirit conforms both the husband and wife into the image of Christ, both can increasingly exhibit the perfect love of Jesus which casts out all fear. In Christ there can be forgiveness, encouragement and acceptance even when admonishment and correction are needed.

◘    6) A primary purpose of marriage is to be “fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” That is an important part of the dominion mandate. The other purposes of marriage still make it legitimate even when the couple is infertile and unable to have children of their own.

◘    7) Related to procreation is the establishment of new families which are autonomous units of a man and woman united in marriage and expanded by the addition of children whether by birth or adoption. New families are essential in order to “fill the earth.”

◘    8) Marriage provides the ability for husband and wife together to do their part in fulfilling God’s mandates, and they are also God’s gift to each other for companionship. In the vanity of life, a spouse you love is one of its joys and blessings (Eccl. 9:9; Prov. 18:22; 19:14). A husband and wife should be best friends with each other in the deepest and most intimate relationship possible among humans.

◘    9) The friendship in marriage goes beyond just enjoying each other for your spouse is also to be your best ally in learning to walk with Christ in holiness. A Christian marriage is to be both a training ground in and the expression of a holy life.

◘    10) Marriage is the only proper place for physical intimacy which by God’s design is to draw the couple into a deeper relationship and unity. The discussion of this in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 indicates that there is also a spiritual union that accompanies the physical union.

◘    11) Marriage provides the means to prevent fornication and avoid adultery as stated bluntly in 1 Corinthians 7:2-3, 9. If the couple lacks self control, it is better to marry than to burn.

◘    12) Marriage provides the symbolism of God’s relationship with his people. God is described as the faithful husband in Isaiah 54:5. Ezekiel 16 describes Israel & Judah as adulterous harlots because of their spiritual infidelity. Christian marriage is to glorify Christ for it is to be reflective of His relationship to the church (Eph. 5:32).

◘    Those are God’s purposes for marriage and understanding them is the first step in protecting marriage from those things that would either distort or destroy it. (See: Marriage: Its Purposes, and God Established Marriage).  Just as with religion, it is not necessary for our adversary, the devil, to destroy the marriage to be successful in his endeavor. He only needs to shift it away from its God given purposes.

◘    Divorce is obviously contrary to God’s will for He directly states in Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce.” It is also obvious that a husband and wife who are selfish and constantly fight with each other have yielded to sin and are not honoring God in their marriage. If they have children, they will raise them to be like themselves so they will be curses upon society instead of blessings. More subtle is the couple that over the years becomes indifferent to each other. This is commonly referred to as “growing apart” and is usually presented as just a sad reality without either being at fault. The truth is that both are guilty in the failure to engage the other in the pursuit of God’s design for marriage. Fear of conflict is cowardice. Neglect and withdrawal is selfishness in defiance of God’s commands. A couple that is not growing closer to each other over the years is living contrary to God’s purpose and design for marriage. Yes, one spouse may have greater blame than the other for that, but both are responsible for the pursuit even if the other is not cooperative. More on that in future sermons.

Let’s consider some of the ways you can defend yourself and your marriage so that it can develop according to God’s design and fulfill His purposes.

The Necessity of a Hedge

In the ancient world and continuing in the present in many places, a land owner would plant a hedge around his property to serve as a fence to keep what was unwanted out and keep what was wanted in. There would be a gate through the hedge that would allow entrance or exit from the property as determined by the owner. In Job 1:10 Satan attacked Job’s character claiming that Job only feared God because God had “made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side. You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Satan continued on to claim that if that hedge of protection was removed, then Job would curse God to His face. If your familiar with this story, God did allow Satan to test Job and Job continued to behave as God said he would. He feared God, turned away from evil, maintained his integrity and never cursed God though he did cry out to God to understand what was happening and why. Perhaps Job 13:15 is the best expression of Job’s integrity and trust in God, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.”

◘    The hedge of God’s protection did allow Job to prosper, and if you want your marriage to prosper, you will need to plant and maintain a hedge of protection around it. There will be plenty of attacks against your marriage and increasingly so in a society such as ours. There will be those that will seek to dig or cut through your hedge. There will be intruders at your gate. You will have to be vigilant to keep out what is harmful and unwanted while allowing in what will be good and helpful. It is from the security of your home that you can then venture out into the world to strive to influence it.

Leave and Cleave – Genesis 2:24

The hedge is to be planted when a man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife in establishing a new family as commanded in Genesis 2:24. Both leave and cleave are important and are the first ◘ realms of protection. The word leave here (yaazav) ranges in meaning from leave as in depart and separate to abandon and reject. While the context here and in all the other directions God gives concerning our extended families preclude this from including the ideas of abandon and reject, there is a stress on the departure to separate from the parents which is emphasized by the command to cleave to the wife. ◘This command is also applied to the wife concerning her family and husband as demonstrated by the many commands dealing with the change in authority and loyalty when a woman married. For example, in Numbers 30 the father has the authority to nullify his daughter’s vows until she is married when that authority is transferred to the husband. A woman living in her father’s home is under his authority, but after marriage her submission is to her husband (1 Peter 3:1). The command to leave and cleave also applies to her.

◘    The command to cleave (davaq) carries the ideas of cling to, hold fast, stick to, join, unite. I often describe this in wedding ceremonies as glue bonding the two together into one. I then also warn that like two pieces of wood that are glued together, the effort to separate them in the future will damage them as they fracture apart because the split will not occur at the joint. In marriage there is a transfer of priority and loyalty from the parents to the spouse.

◘    Parental and family interference in a marriage can disrupt and even destroy it if the proper hedge is not planted and a gate installed and respected. I have seen the tragedy of parents who destroy the marriage of their child by improper involvement at multiple levels. Most common is the parent that does not think the spouse worthy of their child and so there is a constant undermining of the relationship in various ways. Even well meaning parents can interfere unintentionally if they are not careful. The relationship must change from that of a parent and child to that of an older adult to a younger adult in which each respects the other.

First, some practical advice to those of you who have adult, married children. Yes, I do understand that after decades of marriage yourself you have wisdom to share and you can probably identify problems they do not see. ◘ However, unless something serious is occurring that deserves a rebuke for sin and exhortation to righteousness, be extremely cautious about giving unsolicited advice. Ideally you will have developed your relationship with your son or daughter so that he or she will seek your counsel because you are wise and your love has been proven. ◘Ideally you should be developing the same with your son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Let them seek you out for advice. Ask them open ended questions that might prompt them to talk over their plans and issues and ask for your counsel. Tell stories about yourself and things the Lord has taught you without making direct application to them. The wise will take the hint into consideration and those that would resent direct advice will not be offended. In short, treat your adult children with respect in the same way you wanted to be treated when you were a young couple.

◘    Two related issues to this. First, do not use offers of personal or financial help to manipulate them to do what you want. That easily becomes selfish and intrusive. If you can’t do it to simply bless them with something that would be good for them that they would like, then don’t do it. For example, if I offer to pay the expenses for my son and his family to come here for vacation, the primary motivation must be to bless them. If I did it with the expectation that they would spend all their time here with us, that would be manipulation and in the end cause resentment. Related to this is being cautious of creating an expectation in them that you will provide the means for them to live at a higher standard than they can afford. Do not create an unhealthy dependency. Treat them with the respect of being capable adults.

◘    The second related issue is to be cautious about rescuing them from their troubles. Certainly you should be quick to offer help and assist as needed as you are able when there is a crisis of some sort, for that is what extended family should do (Prov. 17:17; 2 Cor. 12:14; 1 Tim. 5:8), and that is part of fulfilling the one another commands. However, do not push yourself upon them and be very cautious about removing the life lessons the Lord is putting them through. Whether you believe it or not, God loves and cares more about them and their marriage than anyone else including you. He will use their marriage to mold them into the mature and godly couple He wants them to be. Be diligent to pray for them and learn to trust God for them. Any help that you do give must be without manipulation.

◘    Next, some practical advice for the couple. Be diligent to leave and cleave. This begins by making the commitment to strive to become a new and independent family. Learn to stick it out and work through problems both personal and financial. That is how you mature and build your marriage. If you actually need help, then be grateful for both practical and financial help that is offered for that may be part of God’s way of either helping you to get established or gain a gracious blessing that is a joy for your benefactor to give. However, be very cautious about becoming dependent upon it. ◘Be grateful for gifts that allow you to enjoy extra blessings, but don’t fall into the trap of living higher than you can actually afford. If you start expecting others to meet your needs, you need to repent and decline the gift until you learn to be grateful again. If the help comes with strings attached that pull you in a direction you do not want to go or yoke you to something you do not believe to be wise, then politely decline the offer. Christian maturity increases as you learn to trust God to provide what is needed as you seek His kingdom and righteousness (James 1:2-4; Matt. 6:33).

For the first fourteen years of our lives in ministry, Diane and I made less than our actual expenses, yet we never borrowed and we never went in debt. We simply sought first God’s kingdom and righteousness and were grateful for the amazing ways God provided for our needs and wonderful blessings far beyond them. Some of that was from family, some through friends, some through the kindness of strangers (angels unaware?), and some through the Lord stretching what we did have beyond reasonable expectation nearly like Israel in the wilderness wandering having clothes that did not wear out. How did some gifts of hand-me-down clothes make it through our 3 sons?

◘    Maintain your hedge and be careful of what you allow through the gate. This also goes for the counsel you receive. Certainly it is wise to get godly counsel, but make sure it is godly counsel you are seeking so that you may mature in living according to God’s will. Humans have always been prone to go from counselor to counselor until they find one that affirms their emotions and thinking. That problem has only been made worse by internet access to all sorts of impressive but ungodly advice. That includes not only peers who lack the experience to be wise, but also the PhD’s who fit Paul’s description of fools in Romans 1. Wisdom resides in those that know and fear the Lord irrespective of any educational degrees. Find the older couple that exhibits the godliness that you want in your own lives and learn from them. There is a reason that Paul instructs the older women to be mentors to the younger women in loving their husbands and children. Ideally your parents and in-laws would be a source of godly counsel, but many of you do not have Christian parents much less godly ones. Even so, most parents, even non-Christian ones, love their children and may be able to give you some valuable insight into yourself and practical wisdom learned through their years of life (Job 12:12).

◘    To you husbands in particular, it is your responsibility to protect your wife and family from interference from the outside whether that is from your relatives, her relatives or another source. You and your wife have to discuss where the boundaries need to be set, then make a decision and enforce the boundaries. Leave and cleave. Reject what forces its way through your hedges. What comes in must come through your gate and you must control what you allow through it. Let’s apply this to some of the particular purposes of marriage.

A Helper Suitable

I will expand on what it means for the wife to be “a helper suitable” when I get to the roles of the husband and wife, so today I will summarize the hedge here as ◘simply reject the feminist philosophy that now dominates our culture. Wife, seek out God’s will for your life though that is now contrary to the pressures of our society that you be superhuman in fulfilling your God given natural bents as a woman while also achieving career success in what used to be the realms of men. That is the recipe for disaster on multiple levels: your mental & physical health, your emotional well being, your marriage and your social life. ◘ God has made it clear that His priority for the married woman is her home (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Tim. 5:14). The Proverbs 31 woman was active outside her home but only after the priorities of her home were met. Feminism places the priority outside the home.

◘    Feminism has also resulted in delaying marriage and having children. That delay has put many women in a race against their biological clock to have a first pregnancy which is higher risk due to their age and fewer children because their clock ran out. ◘ I will quickly add here that the traits valued by feminists are those that are more typical of men, and as women have pursued them they have also reaped the harvest of problems that had only been typical of men such as high blood pressure, heart problems, ulcers, etc.

Again, more on this when we get to the roles of the husband and wife, but for today, let me encourage you to change your priorities to match those of God and build a hedge against the influences of feminism and do not allow it through the gate.


One of the blessings in marriage is companionship for the husband and wife should be each other’s best friend in the deepest and most intimate relationship possible among humans. ◘Deep friendships require time to build and maintain, and there are a host of things can prevent that unless the couple will work hard to protect it. As mentioned earlier, couples that “grow apart” have failed because they did not actively work at the relationship. Here are a few of the more common time intrusions on marriage and some suggestions on how to keep them in check.

◘    Work schedules. A normal work week and commute (40-60 hours) will take up 25-35% of your time each week. Sleep takes up another third of your time. You have to be wise in your use of the remaining one third or so. If the work schedule is swing or graveyard hours or if both are working alternate schedules, then you will have to be even more careful and creative. While a higher income has the potential of making life a little easier, it could make it even more difficult. Ecclesiastes 5:11 succinctly warns, “When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? While work is necessary in order to provide for yourself and your family, do not let the pursuit of wealth distract you from what is actually is important. Proverbs 23:4–5 advises, 4 “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Because of your understanding, cease! 5 Do you make your eyes fly up to see it? But it is not there! Because it certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” What actually is important are your relationships with God, your spouse and your children in that order. If your work schedule is preventing you from maintaining those priorities, ◘then you need to make some changes. 1) Learn to be content (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8). 2) Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and learn to trust God to provide as you do (Matthew 6:33). 3) Make wiser use of the time you have available to in order to fulfill the proper priorities. Make practical changes in the following areas or mixture of them as needed. A) The work schedule itself. B) The job itself. C) Lower your expenses so that they can be met by a more realistic work schedule. That one might even require you move to an area with a lower cost of living relative to income. God does not judge your success by your portfolio or your estate.

◘    Children. Children are to be a blessing to your marriage, but if you allow them to become the center of your family instead of welcome members to it, that change in priority will be detrimental to your marriage and could even destroy it. Husband, you plan and implement getting your wife out of her mommy role periodically and back into her wife role. If you do not have family around to watch the kids or can’t afford a babysitter, then trade babysitting with another couple that has children of similar age. That is good for you and them. If you can’t afford going out for the evening, do something you can afford that you both enjoy even if that is as simple as taking a walk in the park or sitting on the bench there and talking with each other. Catch up on life with each other, share your hopes and dreams, talk over how each is doing as a husband or wife and as a parent. Wife, your priority after the Lord is your husband. Do not become so child focused that they become idols to you for that will surely lead you into sin and the foolishness of a woman that tears down her house with her own hands (Prov. 14:1). Husband, do not let her do that – intervene.

◘    Hobbies & Entertainment. Regulate your time by your God given priorities and not your personal desires. That means that you will need to be cautious about your hobbies and entertainment. ◘It is tragic that in the modern world with so many gadgets that can make you more time efficient in completing the necessary chores and tasks of life, there are other gadgets that will quickly steal that time plus more with activities that will hinder or prevent you from carrying out what should be your true priorities. While it is fine to have hobbies enjoy entertainment, it is not okay to allow either to result in the neglect of your spouse.

Men, it is fine to enjoy a sport and even better if your wife enjoys it along with you, but she should not be a “sports widow.” I heard a woman joke that her husband would notice her more if she shaved her head and painted it burnt orange with black lines. Ladies, your husband might like the art and crafts you do, but not if it means you neglect him in the process. And when it comes to social media, if you spend more time on it than actually communicating with your spouse, then you have crossed the line. I heard it said decades ago that one of the more effective means of birth control is late night TV. A host of other entertainments and hobbies could be added to that. ◘ Be wary of the dangers of hobbies and entertainments to misuse your time. You say that you do not do those things when your spouse is around. Good for you, but how much time do they take up which if put to better use would enable you to make the most of the time with your spouse? Maintain your hedges and be cautious about what you let in the gate.


My time is quickly coming to an end and there is much more I could talk about, and I will bring up more of these kinds of issues as this sermon series continues on in the months to come, but today I want to conclude with a final area of very high priority. A Christian marriage is to be both a training ground in and the expression of a holy life for it is to glorify Christ by being reflective of His relationship to the church.

◘    Maintaining a hedge of holiness around your family is not easy because the enemy is within the camp for we battle against the curse of sin in this world, in others, and in ourselves. The Christian is forgiven and justified but will not be sinless until glorified. Marriage is to be an ally in the struggle for sanctification for we have a partner that will help by both encouraging us toward righteousness and admonishing us when we sin. What are some practical ways to build and maintain this hedge?

◘    From the positive side, beyond being diligent to maintain your personal walk with the Lord and serving Him, pursue worshiping together, praying together and having family devotions of some sort. Worshiping together includes going to and being involved at church, but also your family devotions which could range from a formal structured format with a directed Bible study to a more casual format of sharing what you are learning in your personal devotions, what God is doing in your life and how you see His hand at work. ◘I strongly suggest that your family have at least one meal together each day in which you can at least do the latter. That can easily lead to talking about nearly any subject matter since God is at work in all things. That is a great training ground for children while also building family identity and unity. Implement some simple rules to keep that time from being interrupted such as turning off your cell phones and letting the answering machine do its job.

◘    From the preventive side, mortify sin in yourself and actively block any sinful influence. Put blocking and accountability software on all your computing devices including your smartphones as a first line of defense. You no longer have to go looking for pornography or materials that promote hedonism, materialism, worldly philosophies, false religions and rank heresy. ◘Artificial Intelligence (AI) ensures it now comes looking for you. Place your computers where the screen can be seen by anyone that walks in the room. If you are susceptible to the temptations that come with a smart phone including it wasting your time, then get rid of it and go back to a simple phone that has no internet access. If you have cable or satellite TV, use the parental blocking software for your own protection and not just children.

◘    Do not stay involved with social groups that influence you toward anything God says is evil. If you find your friends influence you toward evil instead of you influencing them toward righteousness, then reduce your time with them or even disengage with them. Find friends that will be a positive influence. Parents have to make those decisions on behalf of their children.

◘    The principles here are simple. Flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22). Abhor what is evil while clinging to what is good (Romans 12:9). Do all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). ◘Follow the instructions of Paul in Philippians 4:8 to have your mind think and meditate on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, of excellence and worthy of praise. ◘Build and maintain a hedge for your marriage and family. Install the gate and be very careful of what you allow to go through it. Do all that you can in striving to live according to God’s purposes and priorities for that is where you will find His blessings.

Sermon Notes – June 2, 2024
Marriage: Maintaining the Hedges – Selected Scriptures


America has radically changed _____________and socially in the past 60 years.

The first “no-fault” divorce law was in 1969 and by 2010 every state had them – they have ______________

The vast majority of public education actively ___________ the family

Most of the entertainment industry is ___________with the traditional family being a special target of attack


1) God created man, so the purpose of man’s existence is determined by __________

2) God created man in His image giving him both an eternal, immaterial soul and _____________

3) God charged man to the earth and have _____________ over the animals

4) God changed the “not good” of man being alone to “very good” by fashioning a “helper suitable” – ____

5) God’s original design of marriage allowed Adam and Eve to be completely ___________without shame

6) A primary purpose of marriage is to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” – have _____________

7) New ________________ families are essential in order to “fill the earth.”

8) Marriage provides companionship and is a ______________from God to man

9) Your spouse is to be your best ally in learning to walk with Christ in ____________

10) Marriage is the only _________place for physical intimacy which draws them into a deeper relationship

11) Marriage provides the means to _____________fornication and avoid adultery

12) Marriage provides the ______________of God’s relationship with His people

Pursing God’s purposes for marriage will ___________it from the devil’s efforts to pervert or destroy it

Divorce destroys marriage while selfishness, fear, cowardice, neglect and withdrawal all ___________it

The Necessity of a Hedge

A hedge serves as a fence to keep out the unwanted with its __________allowing in what is wanted

For a marriage to prosper, there needs to be a ___________of protection around it and the gate monitored

Leave and Cleave – Genesis 2:24

Leave (yaazav) in this context is to depart, ______________

The woman’s submission transfers from father to ______________

Cleave (davaq) is to cling to, hold fast, stick to, join, unite – as with two pieces of wood _________together

Parental & family ______________can disrupt & even destroy a marriage without a proper hedge & gate

Except for serious rebukes of sin & exhortations to righteousness, do not give _______________advice

Be wise & loving showing them ___________, ask open ended questions & let them ask you for advice

Do not use offers of personal or financial help to ____________or create dependency – do it to bless them

Be cautious about ____________from trouble which short circuits what the Lord is teaching them

Be ____________to leave & cleave striving to create a new independent family

Be _________for gifts of help when needed and blessings extended – do not become expecting or dependent

Be careful to get wise ______counsel – found in older couples that have proven themselves, not peers, PhD’s

Husbands, it is your responsibility to __________your wife & family from interference from outside sources

A Helper Suitable

Reject the feminist __________that now dominates our culture for it is contrary to God’s design & priorities

God’s priority for the wife is in the _____, not outside it. The Proverbs 31 woman kept her priorities in order

Feminism ________marriage & children, values the traits of men more resulting in the same medical issues


Deep friendships require _____to build & maintain, protect your marriage from unnecessary time intrusions

Work schedules – Be wise & creative to keep your ________________priorities – wealth is a fleeting goal

Learn to be ________, seek first God’s kingdom & righteousness, use time wisely, make changes as needed

Children – are to be welcome members to the family, not the center of it – that is _____________

Hobbies & Entertainment – can be fine unless they ___________your God given priorities

Be wary of the dangers of hobbies & entertainments to ___________your time – maintain the hedges & gate


The hedge of holiness around your family is not easy to keep because the enemy is _______the camp

Maintain your personal walk with the Lord, pursue worshiping & praying together and _________devotions

Have at least one meal per day together as a __________& discuss how you see God working

Mortify sin in yourself and actively ___________any sinful influence from all sources

AI ensures evil ______you – Use blocking & accountability programs on all devices: computers, phones, TV

___________from social groups & friends that influence you toward evil, get rid of device you can’t handle


Flee youthful lusts: ________what is evil, cling to what is good; Do all for the glory of God, think rightly

Build & maintain a ________for your marriage and family. Install the gate & manage it carefully

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times “hedge”is mentioned in the sermon. Talk with your parents about the hedges need in yourself and your family in order to keep worldly and evil influences out.

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How have you seen America change? Review God’s purposes for marriage. What is a hedge and why is necessary? What is the importance of the gate? What does it mean to “leave & cleave” in Genesis 2:24? In what ways can parents hinder the marriage of their adult children? When should unsolicited advice be given? How can you build a relationship with married children so that they will seek your advice? Who should you seek for marriage advice? How should you respond to offers of personal or financial help? When should you decline those offers? How is feminism detrimental to marriage? How can you keep your work schedule from hindering your marriage? How can you keep children from becoming idols in your family? How will you keep hobbies & entertainment from hindering your marriage? Why is it difficult to pursue holiness? How can you ensure its pursuit in your family? How should you respond to the following sources of influence if they promote what is evil – social, personal, gadgets? Why is it wise to use blocking & accountability software on your devices? What simple principles can you follow that will help you build and maintain a hedge of protection around yourself and your family? If you are not doing these, then when?

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