Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sermon for 6/28/14--Wedding of Nick McConachie and Courtney Volkman




Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

It is from our Lord that we learn the true nature of marriage. Christ gave Himself, poured Himself out in suffering and dying for the sins of humanity on the cross. He is not meant to be merely an example of self-giving. After all, we can’t emulate Him. We are sinners. We can’t pay the price of our own sin. So we do not look on our Lord’s self-giving as a model to follow. Rather, devoid of any power of our own, we ask for His Holy Spirit to do that in us which we are unable to do. As Scripture says, “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” As the apostle Paul says, it is “Christ in you.” Being “Christ in you” to each other can make your marriage first and foremost a place of forgiveness.

Here’s an example: a man had made a fool of himself at a party. The next day he felt remorse for his actions and begged his wife to forgive him. “I do, honey,” she promised. But over the next few months, whenever something came up that displeased the wife, she would bring up the party incident. “I thought you forgave me for that,” the husband said. “Darling,” she replied, “I did forgive you—I just don’t want you to forget that I forgave you.” God’s forgiveness is not like that. When He forgives, He forgets. He does not keep a record of our sins, for His Son Jesus has taken them away. Therefore, you and I are called to “forgive and forget” daily. Humanly speaking, we may remember what happened, but God calls us to forgive and not keep on holding against the other person the wrong that happened.

The best of marriages requires constant forgiveness. Each day you walk as a man and woman forgiven by God, not because we’re doing a pretty good job in being a faithful, but because Christ has absorbed our sinful selfishness into Himself by His death on the cross. So forgiveness is the key to your new relationship of marriage. We are all imperfect; we are sinful human beings. In the intimacy of marriage, selfishness will get in the way. But because you love each other, because you are committing to each other for a lifetime, granting forgiveness to each other will keep your marriage strong.

As Scripture says, “Love one another as [Christ] has loved you.” That includes daily forgiveness. This is not an easy forgiveness, nor a plan to overlook sin. His holy calling to both of you is to be a “little Christ” to each other in thought, in word, and in action. When you sin against each other—and you will—don’t just express regret. Apologize, and then ask for forgiveness. And then speak that forgiveness to each other. When that happens regularly, the Holy Spirit will cause your love to grow, a self-denying love from Christ within you, a love that lasts for as long as you both shall live. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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