Autumn and Rance, I know that you've prepared hard for this wedding. But I want you to consider what Adam had to go through before his marriage to Eve. God gave him the job of naming all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. That's a lot of naming. Then, as if that was not enough, Adam had to undergo a major surgical procedure. God actually removed a rib from his side, to make the woman, Eve.
But after dealing with thousands of animals, and then major surgery, do you think at the end of the day, Adam complained? Of course not. Of all the days of his life, I am certain that Adam counted this one day as the best day of all. His wife, his perfect match, the completion of his life, had come.
Although many people today dismiss the story of Adam and Eve as just a silly myth, we do not. We hold to the historical reality of Adam and Eve. We believe the Word of God that says that they are very real people, and that the events of their lives deeply affect us.
One way they affect us is in marriage. The institution of marriage by God in the Garden of Eden is being replayed and reenacted here today. We have come together to celebrate this coming together, as you two are becoming one.
This marriage is no less real than the marriage of our first father and mother, Adam and Eve. Many people today dismiss marriage as a failed institution - just a silly myth. They say that a man and woman cannot really live faithfully till death. Divorce, separation, cheating are inevitable, they say.
But we say, No. We hold to the reality of marriage. We believe the Word of God that says that marriage is a very real institution of God, with His blessing.
Can we be sure, in particular, that this marriage is real? Today, of course, no one will say no. But what about days when there are doubts and failings? What about days when you do not feel like two joined as one? What about when you fail, or fall? If you are sinners (and you are) then those days will come. And satan will tempt you to wonder, "Is this marriage real? Perhaps it has failed. Perhaps we are no longer one. Perhaps it was never real in the first place." Such doubts disturb the harmony that satan hates.
At times of doubt, cast your hearts upon God. He is the One who blesses marriages, from Eden, through all centuries, and even here today.
Rance, God has created this woman for you, as surely as He created Eve for Adam. Here is your wife, your match, the completion of your life. Bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh - although not created from your rib. But she is created to be one with you: mind, heart, body, and soul.
Autumn, here is the man for whom you were created, the one God chose for you. Out of millions of eligible men, here is the one to whom God has led you. As eve was brought by God to Adam, so you are brought to Rance, to be one with him as long as you both shall live.
This is God's gift: Two made one. This oneness is not from your hard work, although surely you have worked hard at your relationship, and will continue to work. But this oneness is not of human origin - it is from God's own gracious hand. He creates, and He gives every good gift.
Furthermore, God does not abandon His gifts. On days when marriage is not so bright and joyful as this day, it does not mean God has left you. He is always with you, and will always give you all that you need for a peaceful and loving union.
Of course, no man or woman lives up to the gifts of God. No man or woman lives up to the pure wedded love of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2. They were perfectly sinless. All other married couples since the Garden struggle, and fall far short of perfection.
So I must tell you that you do not deserve the gift of marriage. You do not deserve your spouse. Your sinful nature, inherited from Adam, will try to tear apart this beautiful union. You cannot make your marriage as pure and loving as Adam and Eve in the Garden.
But God can, and He does, and He already has. Your marriage, even now, is as pure as Adam and Eve in Paradise. Your wedded love is as spotless as the whitest Lamb. There is a whitest Lamb, who was there at the first marriage in Eden. But it was not one of the animals that Adam named. No, the whitest Lamb was standing nearby, the LORD who blessed and consecrated that marriage. For the whitest Lamb is the Second Adam, the Great Bridegroom Jesus Christ. His holy love covers you. His sacrificial grace purifies you. He Himself has cleansed you with holy water, in the washing with water thorugh the Word. Now you are spotless, without stain or wrinkle or any blemish in God's eyes. You are as holy in His sight as Adam and Eve at their marriage. You are as holy, by God's grace, as Christ Jesus Himself.
You are holy because all your sins are washed away. All the shortcomings that would ruin or tear apart this marriage are already forgiven by God. The Blood of Christ has cleansed your marriage. Because of the Cross and the Empty Tomb, you are a new creation - not formed from the dust of the earth, nor from the rib of a man, but formed by the flesh of the Son of God, hung upon the Cross. The same God who said, "Let us make Man in our image," also said, "Let Autumn and Rance be a new creation."
So I can declare with all confidence and authority, that this marriage is absolutely pleasing in God's eyes. It is real, it is established by God, and created by His hand. Let no one disturb this sacred creation of God.
Therefore, the Peace of God be with this marriage, to join your hearts and minds together as one in your Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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