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The Very Good of Holy Marriage

September 29, 2013

Saturday of Pentecost 18                                         Messiah Lutheran Church

28 September 2013                                                     Lincoln, NE

Wedding Sermon:  Tyler Gowan & Christine Vogler


Genesis 2:18-24


Get a good look at them.  I’m talking about Adam and Eve.  God created them.  His creatures.  Adam:  the man.  Eve:  the woman.  Adam:  the husband.  Eve:  the wife.  Gifts to each other in holy marriage.  All part of God’s very good creation.  God said so.  Remember?


Adam and Eve.  Did you notice how their lives as God’s creatures were shaped?  It has a twofold dimension.


First, as they stand and live before God there’s faith.  Trust, that is, only in Him.  Certain and sure in what He says and promises.  Relying only on Him.  Confidently being given to by Him.  TO LIVE BY FAITH IS TO LIVE AS GOD’S CREATURE.  TO LIVE BY FAITH IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HUMAN!


Second, as they stand and live before each other, there’s love.  Love that naturally flows from faith.  Love for God’s creation.  Caring for and tending to the Garden.  Taking care of all the animals, fish, and birds.  Stewards.


And then love for each other as husband and wife.  “At last!  She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”  Adam loves his wife as his own body.    He loves her more than himself.  He lives for her.  He sacrifices his needs for hers.  All his attention and care are for Eve.  Eve’s a keeper.  She’s worth living and dying for.  Talk about the headship of a husband!  No wonder God said:  “Very good!”


Take a look at Eve.  She willingly submits to the “very good” headship of her husband.  In other words, she orders her life to Adam as his wife.  She will be helper to him just as God intended.  She respects Adam as the head of the marriage and the family.  After all, everyone knows that a headless marriage is a deep trouble or dead.  So, Eve trusts Adam to be the loving head of their marriage and family.  He’s a keeper too.


This is God’s order.  It is very good.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” 


Then, sadly and disastrously, Adam and Eve decided to give their ears and their lives to another preacher.  All of a sudden they determine that being human was not up their alley.  Not their cup of tea.  Not fulfilling.  Not enabling them to reach their potential.


Lied to and deceived by Satan’s sermon “you shall be as god,” they resolutely choose to eat the forbidden fruit.  Divinity, their falsely believe, is within their grasp.  They make up their minds to flush their humanity down the toilet.


So they go all in!  They can’t resist the serpent’s enticing and tickle-the-ears sermon.  They leave behind their humanity — the life of faith toward God – and the fervent love for each other and God’s creation. They rebelliously replace the very good God and attempt to replace Him with themselves!  No more of the very good of being husband and wife for one another.  No more of the very good of taking care of the Garden.  No more of the very good of being dependent on God that defines what it means to be a human.  They are, they believe, gods – unto themselves!


That was very bad.  Downright sinful.  The wages of sin is death.  “The day you eat of it you will surely die.”  Who’s God?  Not Adam and Eve.  Not you.  Not me.


Now here today we have Tyler and Christine.  Descendants of Adam and Eve.  A son of Adam.  A daughter of Eve.  Sinners.  It is the truth.  Like father like son.  Like mother like daughter.


However, you are died for sinners.  Good Friday-ed and forgiven by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Redeemed.  Restored.  By the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!


Yes, that’s right.  Restored.  By His forgiveness.  The Lord Jesus now has good use for you His died for, baptized children.  And what’s the use He has for you?


For Tyler:  he’s to be a husband for you Christine.  To love you as Christ loved the church and gave Himself into death for her.  Not to be a little god who lives only for himself, makes impossible demands, and who could care less about you.


For Christine:  she’s to be a wife for you Tyler.  To order her life as your wife.  To respect you as the head of your family.  To give up on what the world calls a liberated lifestyle euphemistically called women’s rights.  She lives not for herself but for her husband and family.


Jesus died FOR YOU to restore to you what Adam and Eve deliberately threw away.  Remember what that is?  It’s the twofold shape of being a human.  Faith in God and fervent love for each other.  To live together as the creatures He made you to be.  To be husband and wife for each other.   To live for each other.  Not to act like little divinities and live disastrously only for yourselves.


As you live together as husband and wife in holy marriage, you will fail each other.  You will hurt each other.  Not on purpose.  Sometimes on purpose.  Usually it’s the people we love the most that we hurt the worst.  You’ll discover that there will be times when you do not want to live according to God’s good order.


Then what?  Give up?  Throw in the towel?  Call a lawyer?  No.  Learn to do what hardly anyone knows or practices any more.  I know this is daring but that’s what you get when you ask Kuhlman to preach at your wedding.  I beseech you to:


1.  Confess your sins to each other.  In other words, tell the truth.  What you did or what you failed to do.  You can dare to do that because:


2.  You will recklessly and with abandon forgive each other just as God has died to bookkeeping and has forgiven you in His Son Jesus Christ.  You will give up on keeping score and the comparison jobs in order to say:  “I forgive you honey.”  Then you can live differently, not in grudge holding, resentment or with a chip on your shoulder, but in, with and under the Lord’s FORGIVENESS.  That gives you a new start.  A redo.  New life!


Again, I beg you, let Jesus and the Word of His forgiveness get between you.  Go as often as you can to the divine service to hear the living voice of Jesus in holy absolution.  Eat and drink His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar and trust Christ’s categorical promise that you are forgiven.  Only in His forgiveness is there LIFE – the restored life of Eden’s garden: faith toward God and fervent love towards each other.  Living as a human.  As a man.  As a woman.  As a husband and as a wife.


That, my friends, is the very good of God’s creation returned for you in Jesus your Savior.


Happy Wedding Day — Tyler and Christine!  Happy living in the Lord’s very good of holy marriage.


In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.


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