December 31, 2004

Wedding Homily, December 31, 2004

Category: Bible - OT - Genesis :: Permalink

for Tym van Braeden & Hester Barendregt,
December 31, 2004

Scripture: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; 5:1-3

Tym and Hester, marriage is interwoven into many of our best stories. There are novels and short stories and movies and songs about marriage, about the quest for marriage, about the wedding itself, about all the different experiences of married couples.

A wedding is a great ending to a story. Prince Charming rescues Sleeping Beauty and marries her and they live happily ever after. And a wedding will be the great ending to this phase of our story. In the end, King Jesus is going to take to Himself His bride, the bride for whom He gave His life, and they will live happily ever after.

But a wedding is also a great beginning to a story. Your wedding is going to lead to challenges and trials and adventures and pleasures that you couldn’t have experienced any other way. Your wedding is the start of a new story. And a wedding was at the start of the big story, the story of God and His people.

Why is marriage so central to the stories we tell and the stories that most of us live? Why are weddings so prominent in the Bible? The reason is that marriage is never simply two people coming together. From the beginning, marriage has been a symbol of something greater.

The glory of marriage is that marriage is a reflection — a created image — of the Triune God. That’s what we see here in Genesis 1. Before He creates man, God first deliberates. He says, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”

God didn’t say anything like that before He created the animals. He didn’t deliberate or hold a council before He created them. But He did deliberate before creating man.

But with whom is God deliberating here? He isn’t speaking to the angels. Man isn’t created in the image of the angels. He isn’t simply speaking majestically, the way a king might call himself “we” in some official document. God doesn’t speak that way anywhere else. Nor is He simply speaking to Himself.

Genesis 1 tells us that there is one God. But here it also hints that this one God is not merely one. He’s also three. That’s something we know more fully from the rest of Scripture. But already in this chapter, we’ve heard about the Spirit of God hovering over the waters. We’ve encountered the Word of God, by which God created the world.

And now these three persons — Father, Word, and Spirit — deliberate together before the creation of man. That didn’t happen when God created the animals. It happens when He creates man. Why? Because the Triune God is creating man to represent Him and to share in His family life and family love.

In many ways, man is like the animals. He’s created out of the dust. He eats the same kind of food. He even receives a similar blessing. But only man is created as God’s covenant partner and only man is created in God’s image and according to God’s likeness.

But what does it mean for man to be “in God’s image”? We learn some of the answers by looking at what God does here in Genesis 1. God creates and man images God by creating, by making things. God rules and man is going to image God by ruling over God’s creation.

But that isn’t all that we learn here in Genesis 1 about how man images and reflects God. God deliberates before He creates man and He’s able to deliberate because God is not only one; He’s also three. And when God creates man in His image, He makes man into a creaturely copy of Himself. Verse 27: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Individual people aren’t one and three in the way that God is. But God creates one man and then He makes a distinction. He takes a rib from the man and forms it into a woman so that now the one man becomes two people. And then He brings the man and the woman together in marriage so that the two of them become one flesh, united covenantally, united as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love and harmony and communion.

Both men and women are created in the image of God. Both men and women represent and reflect God on earth. Both share in the calling to subdue and rule the world. But the two together in marriage reflect and represent God in a way that men and women don’t as individuals.

“It is not good that man should be alone,” God says. It’s not good because it doesn’t fully image the God who is never alone, the one God who is also a community of love. And so He forms a partner for man, a partner who is different from the man.

God doesn’t create another man to help Adam. Instead, He establishes sexual differences. He creates man male and female. He creates a woman, a person who is like man in many ways but who is also gloriously unlike him.

Why? Because that bond between two very different sorts of people — equally human, equally God’s children, equally created in the image of God, but very different — that union between two different people best reflects Him in His unity and His diversity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

That’s the highest purpose and the glory of marriage, of your marriage: to reflect the unity and diversity, the union and communion, the covenantal love of the Triune God. And out of that union in love comes new life. And in that way, too, we image God.

Out of the union and fellowship of Father, Son, and Spirit came the creation of Adam, whom the Bible calls “God’s son,” man who is created male and female in God’s image. And out of union and fellowship between man and wife come children, in their father’s image.

Tym and Hester, God has blessed you richly. Individually, you were created to represent God and to rule over His creation. But it is not good for the man to be alone and God has given you each other. Together, you will reflect Him in ways you cannot alone.

But that also gives you a calling. You know that not every marriage is a happy one. Not every marriage accurately represents and reflects the love and fellowship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You know that from experience and you can trace that story back to the beginning.

Adam and Eve didn’t have a happy marriage. Adam didn’t protect his wife when the dragon came and tempted her. Instead of crushing the dragon’s head, he allowed him to deceive his wife. And then, when he saw that his wife ate the forbidden fruit and didn’t die immediately, Adam ate it himself. Adam was self-centred. He grabbed for glory for himself.

And that is the story of the human race. That’s who we are by nature. In Adam, we’re self-centred people. Our relationships are characterized by selfishness, by grabbing for our own glory. We use other people — husbands and wives and children — for ourselves. Sin defiles the image of God; it robs us of God’s likeness. In Adam, it is impossible to image God correctly.

But Tym and Hester, you aren’t in Adam any longer. You’ve been baptized into Jesus Christ. You’ve taken off the old man and you’ve put on the new man, who is being renewed according to the image of God the creator. In Jesus Christ, you are new creatures, recreated and being renewed so that more and more you do reflect and represent God. Christ has restored you and is restoring you to the image of God.

And that has everything to do with today, with your wedding, and with your marriage ahead. God calls you to reflect Him in the way that you interact with each other. What is the Triune God like? We know Him best when we look at Jesus Christ, who did not regard His equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.

Precisely because He was God, He poured Himself out, having become a man for that very purpose. He humbled Himself. He obeyed to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

That’s what our God is like. He’s the God who doesn’t look out for His own interests alone but who seeks the interests of others. He’s the God who regards others as more important than Himself. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are bound together in an eternal communion of love, a communion characterized by eternal self-giving, self-sacrifice, and service to each other.

And that’s the relationship that you are called to reflect together.

Tym, it’s going to be tempting to live as if you’re still single. You want certain things. You have certain goals. When you’re single, you manage your time and your money for yourself. But in a few minutes, you won’t be single anymore. You’ll be Hester’s husband and God calls you to love her with a love like Christ’s love, a self-sacrificing, self-giving love.

Sometimes that love will take the form of service, setting aside your priorities to glorify and beautify your wife. That love will take the form of protection as you lay down your life for her sake. That love will also take the form of headship and leadership as you lay down self-interest and take responsibility for her and for your family, even when it might be easier to let her make the tough decisions and bear the consequences alone.

Hester, you’ll be Tym’s wife, called to orient yourself toward him, called to submit to Him as the church submits to Christ and as Christ submits to the Father. God calls you to help Tym in his goals and his pursuits. And he’s going to need help — the particular sort of help that only you can give.

Sometimes that help is going to take the form of correction. He’s going to need your wisdom. Sometimes that help is going to involve humbling yourself to serve him when you’d rather not. But always that help is going to involve self-sacrifice, putting him ahead of your own inclinations and your own interests.

Every happy wedding points forward to the happy ending of our story, the wedding feast when Jesus Christ takes the church as His bride and no more sin interrupts our union with each other and with Him.

But every happy wedding is also the beginning of a story, as it was at the beginning with Adam and Eve. It’s a story that you are going to tell together, a story that you will live out every day of your lives.

You can tell that story one of two ways. You can tell it as the story of Adam, the story of self-seeking. But that story has an unhappy ending because it leads to death. Or you can tell the story as the story of Christ, the story of love, the story of self-sacrifice, the story that leads through humility and death to glory.

In Christ, you’ve been set free from sin, set free from the story of Adam, so that you can live in love. So live in Christ together. Trust Him and follow in His footsteps. And your story will reflect the glory and the love of the Triune God, who created you and who is renewing you in His image, according to His likeness.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:57 pm | Discuss (0)

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