Today is a beautiful day, indeed a glorious day.
God has sanctioned this covenant, it is a union made in His name. Your promises to one another are bound up in His expectations and promises to each of concerning marriage.
Since His word is your rule of faith and practice, I want to briefly exhort you in three things.
You were created to complete one another to build a community that proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ.
First, you were created to complete one another
Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (ESV)
Genesis 2:20–23 “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
The union of Adam and Eve is a template for our marriages. Jason was created by God as an unfinished man. He can’t fulfill his calling without help.
Ellie, you are that help. You were made to fill up what he lacks.
Jason, Ellie was made to complete you and by joining with you in marriage, she becomes whole herself by completing you.
Always look to her as your chief source of wisdom, confidence, assistance and comfort. Don’t try to go it alone. Let her profoundness delight and fulfill you.
Marriage is not unique. Thousands upon thousands are being joined together just today.
But what is absolutely unique. The miracle of marriage, is that of all the women in all the history of mankind, one woman was made to be the flesh of your flesh and the bone of your bone – Ellie.
Love her as you would love your own self.
You, Ellie, are the answer to a profound problem; it was not good that Jason was alone. It displeased God. So, He made you to fulfill Him. Let that be your calling and your glory. He can’t survive without your help. He is not a whole man without you.
Remember this. No matter what comes, no matter what disappointments befall you, no matter how providence may shake you and what sin might come between you.
Remember, that of every man and woman who ever lived on the earth, the two of you, together, complete one another.
Secondly, you aren’t getting married for comfort, but to labor in love, to build for the Lord.
Malachi 2:15 “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless.”
God did not design marriage for your comfort. He designed marriage for His glory. He designed marriage to shape and mold you; to sanctify you. And through you to shape and mold this world.
You are not getting married for your good only, but for the good of others.
Hear the Christian calling of 2nd Corinthians 5:17–21 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God brought you two together to build a home on the foundation of this ministry. To remake two individuals into a body politic with a distinct culture at its center.
Ambassadors of Christ. God brought you together to lay down your lives; to sacrifice for one another and support one another during the difficult task of building a ministry of fruitfulness.
Whether you can bear your own children or not, fruitfulness is the point of Christian marriage.
So whether it’s through the hospitality of your home, charitable service or merely your example of extending the ministry of reconciliation toward one another as you let love cover what needs covering – Marriage is a union of labor, of sacrifice and love that requires you to be remade as you lay down your lives to make together, to nurture and minister the love and reconciliation of Christ to the world.
You have to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Putting off the old self and putting on the new, every day, forever.
This marriage is not about you. It’s about God’s greater plans to spread His kingdom throughout the world by making mature Disciples of Christ. It begins with these vows in which you promise to disciple one another in selfless service, love, grace and mercy demonstrating to one another a living faith.
It begins here. But this is the foundation to a home you are building together to glorify God.
Jason and Ellie. Labor in the fields of the Lord and with your love, bear fruit.
Lastly, together you are a Gospel presentation to a watching world.
Ephesians 5:31–32 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
When we turn to Ephesians we see what the real example of marriage is. God created marriage to teach us about Christ and the Christian life.
This is a great mystery. Marriage is a mystery. Anyone married for any length of time can admit this.
But God didn’t look into creation to find a handy metaphor for Jesus and the church – and O’ look – marriage. Marriage was created to be a metaphor.
And the metaphor is about Jesus and the Church. Husbands are called to love their wives like Christ loves His bride – the church.
Wait, the husband asks, I’m supposed to die for her sins?
No. But for whose benefit to Christ come into the world? His own? Or for ours – the church. Did Christ suffer? Did Jesus live sacrificially? Did He provide the church with what it wanted or what it needed? There is a major difference between the two.
Man washes His wife with the word of God just as God washes the believer with the water of baptism.
Jesus sanctified His bride with His love. He loved her in such a way that the bride of Christ was made more beautiful.
The wife is beautified by the love of her husband.
And what is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Well. That is a high calling. Who is sufficient for such things? What man can live up to this standard? None. That’s why we need Jesus.
God is love and Jesus is God. So the husband sees His calling and goes to the one who provides all the things he isn’t.
Paul said “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
So, the Husband humbles Himself and learns to cry out to God, to walk by the Spirit, to repent, to die to Himself for the sake of His wife.
And as he does so he preaches the Gospel to his bride – to their children – to their neighbors and friends – to the watching world.
He submits to His God and shows His wife how to submit.
And as he does this, the wife gives herself fully and competely to Him. This is frightening.
Her husband fails and she has to show Him compassion, walk with Him through it– respect the unrespectable.
She lives sacrificially and selflessly to support Him in His calling. Jesus said He did not come to do His will but the will of the one who sent Him.
Just so, wives submit to the will of their husband.
All of this requires her to cry out to God, to walk by the Spirit, to repent, to die to herself.
And as she does so she preaches the Gospel to her groom – to their children – to their neighbors and friends – to the watching world.
Marriage is not for the comfort of our flesh. Not for the sake of our desires.
Marriage conforms us to the image of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When people look at you, as husband and wife, they are seeing a picture of Jesus and the church. You are proclaiming something. Make it the truth. Make it rich, humble, joy-filled and loving.
Let love cover a multitude of sins. Let the word of God establish you.
Marriage is a mystery. Two individuals become one while remaining individuals.
This is a mystery about Jesus and the Church. What is the nature of that mystery?
Selflessness, meekness, gratefulness, joy, peace, unity, dependence, humility, service and faith.
God made each of you as individuals, to knit together. Two seeds planted in His field, to die and rise and die and rise, entwined as a single plant that bears fruit for His glory. What are those fruits?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
And so, (1 Timothy 1:17) “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”