Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sermon -- For the wedding of Paul Scarbrough & Kaitlyn Hamlin

August 18, 2012
PSALM 127:1-2

In the name + of Jesus.

     The Lord is the one who built the heavens and the earth and all that is in it.  He also created man and woman.  After creating each, he brought them together as husband and wife.  In doing this, the Lord established marriage.  Through marriage, the Lord blesses a man and a woman to fulfill their sexual desires with one another exclusively.  The husband and the wife get to cherish and support one another.  They find their highest earthly delight in one another.  Marriage also provides a stable place for children to come into the world and to be raised and loved and disciplined by their parents.  The Lord had established marriage in a perfect world, and it was built to bring stability and blessing to each home the Lord would be pleased to establish through it.
     We do not live in a perfect world any longer, however.  You are sinners.  You have proved it to each other, and you will continue to prove it to each other.  In fact, you will sin against each other more than anyone else, because you will deal with each other more than anyone else.  Satan will use sin and temptation to try to destroy your house and your marriage, just as he destroyed the relationship of Adam and Eve with the Lord when they sinned against him.  All creation fell under God’s curse.  Adam and Eve could not fix that.  God had to fix it, and he did through Jesus Christ. 
     Jesus Christ purchased and won you from all sin – both the sins that you commit against others and the sin that dwells in your heart.  Jesus, the Bridegroom, betrothed to himself his Bride, the Church.  To make the Church his own, Jesus had to pay the bride-price.  The cost was his life, gladly given to redeem you from all of your sin.  By his life, Jesus has satisfied his Father with holy obedience to the Commandments.  By his death, Jesus has stilled his Father’s anger.  Jesus took your curse and endured your punishment.  The curse has been lifted.  The debt has been paid.  Your sins are forgiven.
     Jesus has brought you into God’s family through your holy baptism.  Since you belong to Christ, you not only bear his name, “Christian,” you also receive his benefits.  You are children of God, saints in his kingdom, and heirs of eternal life.  The Lord has established his house.  He has made you members in it.  Unless the Lord had done this, your whole life would be in vain.  But now, you are God’s children.  You are part of the Church, the Bride of Christ – with all the benefits that come with it.
     Today, you are establishing your own house through marriage.  The Lord intends marriage to reflect the love between Jesus Christ, the Groom and his Bride, the Church.  This is how the Lord shall establish your house, making it a place of joy and harmony.  Only the Lord can provide such grace and blessing, as King Solomon reminds you, Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm127:1) 
     Paul, hear the word of the Lord: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:25)  Our Lord has sacrificed his very life so that the Church could be saved.  And our Risen Savior continues to comfort, encourage, care for, and feed his Church.  All that Jesus does is for the benefit of the Church because he loves her.  The Lord shall surely establish your house well as you love and serve Kaitlyn for her good.
     Kaitlyn, hear the word of the Lord: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:22-23)  The Church submits to Christ for one simple reason – she receives good things from him.  By submitting to Christ, the Church receives blessings, salvation, and all the benefits Christ has to give.  Kaitlyn, by submitting to Paul, you are not making yourself his slave.  Paul wouldn’t want that, anyway.  But you get to receive the blessing of his care, protection, and devotion.  The Lord shall surely establish your house when you submit to Paul in this way, as you love and serve Paul for the good he brings to you.
     Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm127:1)  What God joins together, let no one separate.  And when the Lord Jesus is your foundation, not even Satan can destroy it.  That is not to say he will not attack.  But just as the Lord has forgiven you for all of your sin, so you also get to forgive one another, encourage one another, and comfort one another.  This is the love that will continue to build up your house.  For, love is not seen in what you get from one another.  Love is revealed in how you give to one another, in how you serve one another, and in how you are merciful to each other – just as Jesus Christ is to you.
     As long as the Lord builds your home, as long as the Lord remains the foundation of your life, and as long as you are clinging to his word and receiving his sacraments, your house will stand.  For, Satan cannot overthrow Christ.  His kingdom stands forever.  His house is always secure.  And you are members of that household and citizens of his kingdom.  Therefore, rejoice.  You bear his name.  You receive his benefits.  He will continue to love you as your Redeemer, and he will surely establish your house.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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