11th Sunday after Pentecost August 8, 2021
16, 624, 625, Worship Supplement 2000 #800
Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted
Editor’s Note: The following sermon was written for a wedding. Names have been removed in hopes that husbands and wives can appreciate the message prepared for them. -NP
+ In the Name of Jesus Christ +
Your love, O God, has called us here,
for all love finds its source in you,
the perfect love that casts out fear,
the love that Christ makes ever new.
O gracious God, you consecrate
all that is lovely, good, and true.
Bless those who in your presence wait
and every day their love renew.
O God of love, inspire our life,
reveal your will in all we do;
join every husband, every wife
in mutual love and love for you. Amen.
(Worship Supplement 2000 - Hymn #790)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God chosen for this joyful occasion tells us of Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. From Luke chapter 24, verses 28 and 29 we read:
“Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.”
Dear Friends in Christ, and especially to you, the bride and groom:
Can you picture it? Can you see in your mind that famous Christian painting that shows Jesus walking with two disciples on either side of Him down a beautifully wooded path? That painting is depicting Jesus walking with two disciples toward the village of Emmaus on the day of His resurrection, the very same two disciples in our text who begged Jesus to stay with them.
Today we have a similar picture before us. Before us we have the two of you—two disciples of Jesus on this the day of your wedding. We see the two of you beginning to walk down the path of life together. Tell me, are you a little nervous about what the path ahead will be like for the two of you? Do you ever wonder about what bumps along the road you may have to face together? Does the prospect of “until death do us part” seem maybe a little scary?
It won’t be all smooth sailing. There will be many times in your married life together when you will feel like the two disciples in our text. Recall that when they began their journey that they were very sad and confused. They were depressed and fearful because of recent events that had taken place in Jerusalem, namely, the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. If Jesus had not come to them and talked with them, they would have remained sad and confused. Only with Jesus was their joy and hope restored.
Sadness, confusion, trials of every sort, will come into your married life. There will be times when that picture of marriage won’t seem all that wonderful. But just as Jesus came to the two disciples when they were grieved, just as He listened to their problems, and just as He solved their problems with His Word, so He will do for you.
You never have to worry about being deserted along life’s sometimes dreary road, for the two of you belong to Jesus. He paid a high price to win you both for Himself. He gave His life for you and for all people on the cross. He shed His innocent blood for you to wash you clean of all sin. He rose and now is preparing a place in Heaven for you and all His believers. That means that you both are tremendously valuable to Him. He cares about you more than anyone. He cares about your marriage more than anyone. Your heartaches will be His heartaches. Your hardships will be His hardships. Your hurts will be is hurts. There is nothing in your marriage that you will have to face that He won’t face with you.
So, while you can’t know what the future holds for the two of you, you can be sure Jesus holds your future in the palms of his nail-pierced hands. You can know that He will never fail to walk with you and to help you for all your years together as husband and wife. You can certainly apply that comforting passage from Jeremiah 29:11 to your marriage, where the LORD promises: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
But, don’t ever think that you don’t need Jesus and His Word to be a living and daily presence in your marriage. It’s true that you are both sincere Christians. It’s also true that the two of you have the support of Christian friends and family members. But you dare not base the success of your marriage upon these things. You are still sinners, and sinful people are very prone to cause a great deal of hurt and damage to a relationship. If you rely on yourselves, you can mess things up pretty badly. More than that, we live in a culture that, with each passing year, has less and less regard for the sanctity of marriage. If you don’t keep your guard up, society’s godless and destructive ideas about marriage can creep into your relationship.
Rather, follow the example of the two disciples in our text. Be a couple that knows you truly do need Jesus to abide with you. A couple that finds your highest joy in walking with Jesus and listening to Him speak to you through His Word. A couple which keeps, not the things of this world, but the Word of God at the center of your lives. A couple which turns daily to the Word for guidance and direction. A couple which turns to Jesus for the strength to forgive and love one another. Be a couple which, like the disciples of our text, begs Jesus to abide with you—to stay with you!
And stay He will! As you begin your walk together down the pathway of wedded life, have the full confidence that the Jesus is with you. With Him by Your side, expect and look forward to many wonderful blessings! When you turn down the aisle together, don’t be in the least bit afraid to begin your walk together as husband and wife. For you know that Jesus is walking with you, and that He will abide with you!
PRAYER: Preserve the vow these two shall make,
This circle round their life,
This golden ring that none may break
Which makes them man and wife.
Your daily mercies let them share,
All threats of harm destroy;
By this their vow divide their care
And double all their joy. Amen.
(Worship Supplement 2000—Hymn 791:2)
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.