Friday, October 16, 2015

Blessed Beyond The Curse - The Wedding Sermon

Blessed Beyond The Curse

This is the message that I gave at my niece's wedding.  So if you slept through it or weren't able to make it or weren't invited you are welcome to read it.  It would help to imagine it being flawlessly delivered in a commanding tone by one of the world's greatest orators.  Or me.  That would work too.  Enjoy.

 

Blessed Beyond The Curse


Genesis 1

 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.


For five days God created all that we know in a very purposeful and specific way.  Each step built upon the step before and prepared the way for the step that followed.  Everything was done in an orderly fashion and within certain rules and laws.  We know these things to be the laws of physics and the ways that the universe is ordered.

On the six day God culminated His work by doing something very different.  To this point He had commanded things into existence.  On the sixth day God came down to earth and formed man with His own hands.  God breathed life into man with His own breath.  Man had a special place and purpose and had been formed in a very different way from everything else.

On the seventh day God rested from His work.

On the eighth day God came to see how things were going.  He found Adam sitting on the couch eating chips and watching SportsCenter.  God sat with Him for a while so He could catch the results of the angels game.  The two of them had a really good time hanging out together.  After some time God looked around at the mess, He noticed that Adams hair was all going in different directions, and it didn’t seem likely that Adam was going to get motivated to accomplish very much.  God decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  I think that perhaps God thought it would be really awesome for Adam to have the opportunity to experience the joy of being a dad as well.  So God changed the channel to CSPAN and Adam fell into a sound sleep.

While Adam slept God took a rib from his side.  God didn’t take a part of Adam’s head because Adam didn’t need someone to boss him around or to do all of his thinking for him.  And God didn’t take part of Adam’s foot because Adam didn’t need someone to walk on or take for granted.  God took a rib from his side because Adam needed a perfectly matched companion to partner with in life.  When Adam awoke and saw what God had made Adam said “Whoa Man!!” and the name stuck.  But the woman preferred “Eve” so she was named Eve.

Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with God and with each other.  They lived in the Garden of Eden where life was perfect and all was good.  They had a place and a part in all that took place and they wanted for nothing.  The world was in perfect order and operated according to the laws that God had given it.  To the man God had given a specific law regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Man was not to eat of that tree or he would die.  The law was given very clearly for man’s own good, as God’s laws and rules always are.

Also in the Garden of Eden was the serpent – the old enemy of God.  The serpent was obviously not a major threat or God wouldn’t have allowed him to be there.  The serpent didn’t have any power or authority because those things only come from God and God hadn’t given him any.  What the serpent did have was a silver tongue full of his native language of lies.  The serpent began talking with Eve and worked on winning her over.  Adam became involved in these conversations as well.  Soon the conversation came around to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam explained the law that God had given him concerning the fruit of this tree.  The serpent told Adam and Eve that they would surely not die, that God just didn’t want them to be like God.  They bought into the serpent’s lie about God and they ate of the forbidden fruit.  They didn’t believe in God’s heart and good intentions and they broke faith with God.  Their willful act of disobedience was sin against God and that came with devastating consequences.

When God caught up with Adam and Eve he laid out these consequences to them and explained to them the ways that they were now cursed.  These curses are very familiar to us as the struggles that we all know in life.  Among the curses is a rather odd statement.  God told Eve that she would be cursed with a desire for her husband.  This is the same husband she was the perfect match for in the previous page in the bible after being created from a rib from his side.  Now she was cursed with her desire for him?  She was cursed with the desire for the man that Adam had been before he sinned.  Now she was cursed with living with a self-centered sinner, and so was he.  In the midst of all of the curses and heartbreak is a rather cryptic statement in cursing the serpent.  God promised that He would bring a solution to humankind.

Many years later a virgin in a village in the north of Palestine became with child by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The child born of miraculous birth was the only begotten Son of God.  He was begotten, not created.  He was fully God and had now become fully human.  In the life and teachings of Jesus we learn a great deal about who God truly is.  God was revealed to us in a way we can relate to through Jesus and the power of God flowed through Him, underscoring the message.  Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life.  Then, like all men, Jesus was faced with the harsh reality of death.  Unlike all other men, Jesus had a choice.  Jesus chose to go to the cross, paying the price that the law of creation required of those who sin against God.  Jesus paid the price for us and died.

Death had a very serious problem on it’s hands when Jesus entered into it.  Death had no claim on Him.  Jesus had never done anything wrong – He had not sinned.  The fact that Jesus was the author and source of life caused a bit of trouble for death as well so I’m sure death was relieved when, on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead.  God established a new covenant in Jesus - a new agreement.  Anyone who chooses to believe in Him and place their faith in Him would not perish but would have eternal life.  God places those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior in Christ Jesus and in His resurrected life in heaven that will continue forever.

The Apostle Paul wrote a great deal of what we now have as the New Testament in the Bible and he explained a lot of the impact that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus had made on creation.   Among the things that Paul said is an interesting statement in his second letter to the Corinthians.  Paul said “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”.

Now maybe there’s just something wrong with me, or maybe the preacher didn’t hold me under water long enough when I was baptized, but I really haven’t seen this very much.  I’m pretty much the same guy.  I’m the same person I have always been and the same weaknesses and issues I had before are the same things I wake up with every day.  I haven’t been miracled out of my problems, I have no superpowers, I’m not wealthy and I don’t have a tan.  We know that the Bible is true, so what was Paul talking about if we don’t seem to change when we accept Jesus as our savior?

Maybe it would help to look at the covenant of marriage that God gave us.  It was His idea not only to help us in this life but to help us understand better the relationship that He desires with us.  When a couple meets and they get to know each other as they learn to believe in one another and have faith in one another they take the step of becoming engaged.  This is like a person committing their life to Jesus, asking Him to forgive their sin and to become their savior.  Then it is good and customary to get water baptized.  This is something that Jesus Himself did.  It is a public ceremony expressing your faith and it symbolized turning from an old life to set out on a new one.  This is much like a marriage ceremony.

Just like in our life with God if we then go out into life and devote ourselves fully and completely to doing everything right, if we tackle every bad habit and always do everything perfectly, if we commit ourselves body, soul and spirit to doing the very best we can then the scriptures are very clear about what result we can expect.  We are absolutely guaranteed to struggle and fail, to struggle and fail, to fail and to struggle.  The very best that we can possibly hope for in marriage is to be a curse to one another.

So now that I have painted such a sunny picture of life with God and married life, what’s the solution?  Let me put it this way:  what do you suppose would happen if a husband and wife walked out of a wedding and went their completely separate ways?  What if they didn’t live together, help each other, talk to each other, text or email one another or ever see each other.  What if the full extent of their relationship was a brief visit of an hour or so during the holidays each year?  They would still technically and legally be married, but they would gain absolutely no benefit from the relationship.  They would have no companionship, fellowship, or partnership from the marriage.

The curses back in the Garden of Eden were all because man was no longer going to be in fellowship with God.  The solution to the curse is to take advantage of being reconciled with God through Jesus and to fellowship with God.  Just like in marriage, the more time you spend together and the more life you experience together and the more you communicate, the stronger your relationship grows.

It’s interesting how much people become more and more like each other as they are in close relationship with each other.  If you spend time with God you will become more like Him.  This means that what you have to share with your spouse and with others in your life won’t be the self-centered curses of sin but the sweetness of who God is.  Your life and marriage will flow with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

This is the life and marriage that I want for you so that is why I shared these things with you.  I also know that it is God’s desire to bless your marriage and your life together.

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