I had the joy of officiating a wedding this past weekend. Other than a couple errors, one slip the tongue, and a slight flip in the order of the service, I think it went pretty well. Here is the wedding sermon, excluding the personal notes:
To fully understand love we need to move beyond ourselves and our own experience and listen to Creator of love, our Creator, and to His Word. 1 John says, “love comes from God“, “God is love“, and that “we love because God first loved us.” And that is the first thing we must understand about love, that God is the source of love. Love is not just an ideal or an abstract concept. It is a person. It is personal. And, if we are to grow in love we must grow in God. In addressing the issue of marriage Jesus said, “What God as joined together, let no one separate.” Note that he said “What God has joined together…” I charge you to view love as a spiritual reality. Your marriage is not just a commitment before one another and before these witnesses, which it is, but a union blessed by your heavenly Father. As you seek to love one another, seek to love God. As you grow closer to one another, grow closer to God. As you plan out your days, your months, your years together, make that spiritual aspect of your marriage a priority.
The second thing we must learn about love is this: Love is self-giving. Again, 1 John says “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” This is applied directly to the marriage, specifically to the husband actually, in Ephesians when it says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Think about that. You are to love each other the same way that Christ loved us – He gave Himself fully for our good. Though we, in our rebellion, turned away from God. God, in His love, pursued us. God, in the Person of the Son, came to earth and willingly, out of love, took the penalty of our rebellion by dying in our place in order that we, in through faith, might be brought back to God, without shame, and have eternal life with God. That is the simple and enduring message of the gospel and it is a wonderful story of love, not a shallow kind of love, but a potent, pursuing, passionate, give-anything-for-the-other-person’s-good kind of love. And that, God says, is what love is. And that, He says, is what love is supposed to look like in a marriage relationship. Husband, this is a charge particularly to you. Love your wife in a self-giving way, looking out for her good even when it hurts you. Yes, whenever you can, find something that works for both of you. But, on certain occasions you are going to be called to lay down you life for Natalie, I hope not literally, but nevertheless in a real a sacrificial, whatever-it-takes, whatever-the-cost kind of way.
Finally, my charge to you is to remember that love is demonstrated in our actions. Again, in 1 John it says, “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” When you say, “I love you,” be sure to back it up with actions.
Love is a gracious gift from God. It is passionate, patient, endearing, intimate, and considerate. And with God’s blessing it will be a source of joy in your life for the rest of your lives.