Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sermon -- Wedding of Patrick Lawrie and Mary Jo Weindorf (December 24, 2014)

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12
TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE.

In the name + of Jesus.

     The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)  Even the Lord God did not desire to be alone; for he created mankind whom he desired to bless and on whom he could shower his love.  As the Lord created the world, he assessed his creation at each step of the way.  With each step, we read: “And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25)  It was good that people would have these created things which they could enjoy and use. 
     But after God had created Adam, God declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)  Two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)  It would be good for the man to have a wife to whom he could be united, whom he could love and bless and protect and serve.  So God created a woman for the man.  And two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)  It would be good for the woman to be united to the man whom she could love and bless and serve.
     God joins the two of you together because marriage is good.  And marriage is good because two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)  God gives you to each other to love each other.  That love means that you are always seeking the good of the other.  Patrick, you are made the head of the household.  Therefore, all you do is to be for the good of your house and for the benefit of your bride.  Mary Jo, you are submitting yourself to Patrick so that you can receive good things from him.  You get to support and encourage him as he loves and serves you.  If one hurts, the other is there to comfort.  If one falls, the other is there to help him or her up.  Two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)  Our Lord tells you to love your neighbor as yourself, and there is no closer neighbor you will ever have than the one to whom you are united in marriage.  God sees this, and he says that it is good.  Two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
     Patrick and Mary Jo, even though the Lord joins you together today, you will from time to time find yourself at odds rather than feeling united.  You will try to maintain your independence, exert your will, and have your way.  We all have a sinful nature, and it is recognized best in our selfish desires.  It rears its ugly head when you see your spouse as the one who keeps you from getting what you want.  It turns your spouse into someone you use instead of someone you serve.  You can dig in your heels, and you may even win your share of arguments, but it is at the cost of your unity.  Your own sinful desires would have you engage in a tug-of-war and rip things apart.
     We are on the threshold of Christmas this morning, keeping us mindful that our Lord was also pleased to establish one other union.  It is not good for mankind to be alone, cut off from God because of his sin and selfishness.  It is not good for people to devote themselves to themselves at the expense of others and in defiance of God’s commandments.  It is not good for people to fail to love even of their loved ones.  It is not good.  It results in angry and bitter people.  It results in strained relationships and broken homes.  And finally, it results in God’s eternal punishment.

     You know that it is not good to be under this curse.  The Lord also thinks that it is not good.  Therefore, the Lord was pleased to unite himself with you by becoming man.  Jesus did this because he was seeking your highest good; for, that is what love does.  Jesus was born to unite himself to you not only by becoming flesh, but especially by becoming sin for you.  Jesus was pleased to take up the guilt of your selfishness and self-indulgence.  For this, he was cut off, banished, and forsaken by his Father.  He endured a cursed death; that is the wages of sin.  Jesus does not bear a grudge against you for your sins.  Rather, he bore your punishment in order to release you from all your guilt. 
     Just as Jesus has united himself to you by becoming flesh, so he unites you to himself through your baptism.  He has drowned your sinful nature and has raised you up a new creation.  The love Jesus has for you, you now get to show to one another.  You get to seek each other’s good as Jesus has done for you.  You get to forgive one another as Jesus has forgiven you.  In this way, the Lord does not send you in your marriage on your own.  The Lord is the one who ties all things together.  The Lord is the binding agent of your life in his kingdom and in your life together.  So, as the Lord joins the two of you together, he is the third strand in your marriage, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) 
    On this Christmas Eve day, the Lord was pleased to unite himself to mankind, to be our Immanuel, and to dwell with us so that we will dwell in his kingdom forever.  Today, the Lord unites you as husband and wife.  Today, the Lord is pleased to dwell in your home and to bless you through his gift of marriage.  The Lord will be pleased to continue to bless you throughout your life as you serve one another as husband and wife.  And you will please one another by growing in your unity and by serving and supporting each other at all times.  Two are better than one, and today the two become one.  God sees it, and it is good.
All Scripture references are NKJV.


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

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