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My Wedding Sermon for August and Tim
There is an old, traditional marriage ceremony that begins something like this: "Marriage is an honorable estate and should not be entered into lightly or unadvisedly, but soberly and reverently."
Now, I can certainly say 'Amen!' to those words. Yet, if you were to read the entire set of those vows, I think you would agree with me that they are too severe. There is too much of the Old Covenant, of The Law, in them and not enough of the New Covenant, not enough Grace and Truth. There is too much Moses and not enough Jesus.
For, while it is true that you two are about to make a very big commitment before God and these witnesses - what the bible calls "great and precious promises", and while God will most certainly require you to keep what you promise today, I have very good news for you: What God requires He provides; what God commands of us, He performs in us.
For instance, you remember Elijah, that great prophet of God. During the time of a terrible famine, the Lord said to him, "Go to Sidon, for I have commanded a widow there to feed you."(1Kg 17:9) Yet, when Elijah arrived in Sidon, he came upon the widow as she was out gathering some sticks for a fire. He asked her for a drink of water and she was kind enough to go get him one. As she was on her way, he called out to her, "And also please bring me a piece of bread."
She stopped and looked at him and assured him very solemnly that she could not, because she had nothing in her house but "a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug". In fact, she was just gathering some sticks so she could bake what was left, then she and her son would die!
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid" "For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, 'The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" (1Ki 17:14)
Do you see what I mean? First the Lord told Elijah that He had commanded the widow to provide for him, but then the Lord told the widow He would provide for her that she might provide for Elijah.
One more example: Several hundred years later, Jesus preached the Word to a large crowd of people. When He finished, His disciples said to him, "This is a desolate place and the hour is late, send them away to the nearby villages so they can buy themselves something to eat." (Mk 6:35-36) Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat." One of them said, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" (Joh 6:9)
Well, we know how Jesus answered that question, don't we? He told the disciples to have the crowd sit down. He then blessed that little lunch and kept giving it to the disciples to give to the people until they all had their fill; until there were a dozen basketfuls left over.
In both examples, God had required something that was too big for those of whom He required it. Alone, without His help, what they had to offer was woefully inadequate to meet the need. In both examples, God Himself met the need by blessing the tiny bit they did have so that it was more than enough.
Believe me when I say the Lord will bless you two, as well. Yes, He will certainly hold you to what you are promising today. But He will also bless you and help you fulfill your vows. He will be what He has promised to be: "A very present help in time of trouble." (Ps 46:1)
It is written: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13), and, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Phil 2:13)
Yet, here is your part: "The just shall live by faith" (Heb 10:38). Therefore, do not panic when hard times come along. Do not give in or give up when you feel overwhelmed; when you feel too much is expected of you or is asked of you. Remember, God supplies to you what he requires of you and, what He commands you to do, He will perform through you, in you.
Don't you remember? One of the prophetic names of Jesus is 'Emmanuel', which means 'God with us'. He has promised, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Heb 13:5) And, "I am with you always, even to the end" (Mt 28:20).
August, today you are promising to be a wonderful wife to Tim: Loving, thoughtful, faithful, and kind. God will hold you to that promise, but He will also help you to fulfill that promise.
Tim, today you are promising to be a wonderful husband to August: Loving, thoughtful, faithful, and kind. God will hold you to that promise, but He will also help you to fulfill that promise.
Just as He promised his disciples that, if they would follow Him, He would "make them" fishers of men (Mk 1:17), so He will make each of you just what the other wants and needs in a loving spouse. Look to Him in good times and in bad. Call upon Him; trust in Him; wait for Him. He will make your marriage, and your life together, loving, joyful, and very blessed.
© Matthew Schilling October 2006
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