This past Saturday we had a beautiful wedding service at NDC. The young couple was a couple from our church, the young lady had grown up in our church and spent her whole life here with us and the young man came to us about 12 years ago when he started working in the area. It was a lovely ceremony and a very enjoyable time of fellowship on the church green following the wedding. Their wedding was a time of great joy and celebration, and the Lord cooperated by giving us a relatively comfortable day for the outside reception. I believe that marriage truly is a gift from God and a God-honoring marriage is one of the best things that we can experience in our lives. We see in the book of Genesis that it was God who instituted the estate of marriage when we read, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, for she was taking out of man”. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh,” (Gen.2:22-24 NIV).
A God-honoring marriage is way more than something that is done for convenience or recognition by the state. Marriage is also not about any kind of cultural ideas that may distort what a genuine marriage is. It is the union of one man and one woman in a covenant relationship for the development of mutual and shared love and the procreation and continuation of the human race. In the passage before us God gave three basic instructions regarding the institution of marriage:1) the man leaves his family of origin to develop and create a new family from which to continue the blessings of his union with his wife and develop a new life together 2) the couple is joined together by taking responsibility for each other’s welfare and by loving their mate above all others 3) the two become one flesh in intimacy and commitment to the sexual union that is reserved for marriage. When God talks about the husband-and-wife being one flesh he is speaking about a spiritual as well as a physical union. Having a shared spiritual commitment – a commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – is without question the best foundation to build a marriage upon. When a couple builds on the Lord Jesus Christ the first desire continues to be to grow closer to their Savior, who gave His life for them. But as each spouse grows closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, they also grow closer to one another.
In Ephesians 5 Paul uses the marriage example as a picture of how the church is to function. We read his words, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, for which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word”, (Eph. 5:22-26 NIV). Paul goes on in the passage to give further instruction as to how husbands are to love and honor their wives. In fact, there are twice as many verses dealing with the husband’s responsibility in the marriage relationship as there is for the wife. Of course, the challenge for us as husbands is to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. At one point I believed I might love my wife too much, but then I realized I could never possibly love my wife as much as the Lord Jesus Christ loves the church. As couples, it is critically important that we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to empower us to submit to one another and to love one another. In truth, Paul begins this whole section when he writes in verse 21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. (NIV). This is a great starting point in a Christian marriage to have mutual submission and loving care for one another.
Our prayer for Matt and Rachelle G is that God may richly bless their marriage with many years of happiness, rich blessings into their lives and family, and especially the felt presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as their firm foundation. One of the great needs in our community and the world today are Christian marriages that reflect God’s priorities and order. May God be glorified in and through their love for one another and their love and service for the Lord Jesus Christ. May their continued love story bear abundant fruit for the kingdom of God.
All for God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo