May 20, 2017

Matthew 7:24-27

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

For those who have had the opportunity to observe the bud and blossom of Drew and Taylor’s relationship, you have, no doubt, delighted to see their relationship open into a full double-bloom; their initial cautious but hopeful interest has steadily progressed to a place of mutual adoration. The beauty of such youthful love is attractive; it makes us smile. Perhaps, like me, you could see it early on; maybe even a bit before they fully comprehended what God was doing. For the last year, no one who saw these two together for five minutes had any doubt. And so, here we are—from their first “how do you do,” to the powerful “I do.” From falling in love to staying in love forever.

We’re all very happy to be here to witness this grand ceremony of the wedding of these two; something we can’t say of every wedding. There are times when all I can think is “Oh my, this isn’t going to end well.” People marry for a variety of reasons, not all of them good. However, we’ve gathered here today to witness what we believe to be a marriage that is full of promise; a marriage for all the right reasons; a marriage that makes us rejoice with expectation and to well up with tears of joy. The reason I’m so confident and thrilled about this wedding and marriage is that I already know what kind of foundation this new house is being built on. Moreover, I know the Builder. Beautiful wedding ceremonies take a lot of planning and labor, but great marriages require much more planning and labor. And so, we should think of today as your ground-breaking ceremony, and then the real work begins.

Drew and Taylor, we know that you’ve been loved, taught, nurtured and prepared for this day by parents, family, pastors, teachers and friends. They have all invested in you with the hope of seeing you firmly established. “To whom much is give, much is required.” Taylor, Drew prayed for you before he knew your name. Drew, Taylor prayed for you before she knew your name. All along God was answering those prayers and preparing you for each other and, at the right time, and in the place of His choosing, you were introduced to one another, not knowing what else He had in mind for you. Nevertheless, every step of the way He was directing your steps. Now if He did, in fact, lead you to one another as a part of His master plan, then that means He has much more planned for you in the future.

A little less than a year ago I sent this quotation from Martin Luther in a text to Drew: “The first love is drunken. When the intoxication wears off, then comes the real marriage love. Union of the flesh does nothing. There must also be union of manners and mind.” The two of you have a home to build, but you cannot build it alone. Psalm 127:1 declares: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” God’s Word must be the foundation―the standard―the authority in your marriage―and if it is, then the two of you may expect God’s richest covenant blessing on your family. You don’t have to look far to see many teetering or fallen houses. Storms always come—some are small, some are hurricanes. Some pass quickly and others linger. In other words, this home you’re setting out to build will certainly be tested, and so it must be done right; it must be built according to God’s master plan.

This new home will be your hub of operation to accomplish the mission you’ve been given. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, and so your marriage must have this as its highest goal. Your house is to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a communion of love. Your table and your bed will be centers of this communion, places where you will serve and be served. You will be instructed, nourished, and renewed. The mission of marriage is to exercise dominion to the glory of God. In other words, to expand His glory to fill the earth. This will first be seen in the relationship between husband and wife; in how you love, sacrifice, serve and respect one another. And the mission will then be extended as the two of you seek to fill the earth with godly children. God has called the husband to this great mission, and He has given him a wife to come under that mission. Together they will fulfill His dominion mandate. In other words, like Abraham, God intends for your family to belong to Him and to become a blessing to the world.

Now you are both to remember—that is, you are to never forget that your marriage is way bigger than you. A lot of preparation and effort has gone into this wedding, but the wedding is the easy part. The ceremony and reception only last for a few minutes. You will soon change into your regular clothes and start to live. The marriage is for the rest of your life; it’s the hard part; it’s the part that matters the most.

You are now being publicly united in covenant before a watching world. Everyone wants to know if you really mean what you say. Everyone wants to see if it really works. However, we’re not nearly so concerned with why you think you want to get married as we are with what you intend to do about it from here on out. You’re making a solemn promise. You’re taking an oath of loyalty to one another and to God, and you do so before all these witnesses. The wedding is about the beginning of a marriage. A marriage is about a lifelong commitment, and the nurturing of that commitment in the face of a hostile world. You stand here today as representatives of Christ and His Church: a husband who gives―who sacrifices for his wife to make her eternally lovely; a wife who joyfully comes under the mission of the household. Together you subdue the earth. You are setting out today to change the world to the glory of God!

Drew, you’re about to assume the full responsibility of a new household. You will be responsible for your wife, your children, your property, and everything else that falls under the domain of this house-hold. God requires of you that you represent Jesus Christ as the head, or as the husbandman of this household. You must already know that you are a blessed man. According to the Bible, a man who is married is one who has “obtained favor from the Lord” (Pr. 18:22). Our Lord’s favor is seen upon you this day and every day to follow… an excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4). While she is to be an excellent wife, you are to promote this excellence; providing the environment for excellence, nourishing her, guiding her, cherishing her, loving her as you would your own life—for you are one flesh. This is part of the blessed labor of marriage and it can’t be done unless you follow your Lord Jesus Christ. You must build this house on the solid foundation of God’s Word.

As the Apostle Paul writes in the epistle to the Ephesians, you are to love your wife as Christ loved the Church, and that love was manifested in the giving up of Himself for her… the sacrifice of Himself; this is your example. Your sacrifice, the giving of yourself will provide for her holiness—you, now, will be a chief instrument in her growth unto Christ-likeness. Your faithfulness here—in this labor of marriage—will be seen in her. She will radiate your sacrificial love, your Christ-like love, and even though she is very lovely now, she will become increasingly lovely. She is the one, according to the Song of Solomon, who will make your heart beat faster with a single glance of her eyes (4:9), but your labor for her will increase her beauty. We can all see that you are blessed of God—may you live every day accordingly—serving our Lord, loving your wife and reflecting Christ’s love for His Church.

Taylor, what a joy it has been to get to know you over these past few months. I know your family is proud of you and that you are a blessing to them. In a moment, your name will change to Alders, and in that very moment something mystical and powerful will happen, a new covenant household will be established. You will be a Christian wife. While Drew is to provide for you to be an excellent wife, to be his crown…you are to be an excellent wife. The Bible is clear; our Lord’s provision is abundant. Now, you are to be faithful in this as you too build this house on the Rock. There are no low views of women here. Drew is blessed—he has obtained favor from the Lord, with you as his wife. Now this blessedness needs to be seen; so, for the honor of Christ and the strengthening of His Church, labor to be that excellent wife. You have been placed by God to be Drew’s helper—life-long companions in this communion of love. As God intended, you are no longer to be two, but one flesh. May you work to build this house accordingly. You are to honor him as your covenant-head. In other words, respect your husband and thereby honor the Word of God.

 Now may you both bear the name of our Lord honorably in this covenant of marriage as you set out to build this house on the Rock. Amen!