************ Wedding Sermon on 1 John 3:18 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on March 27, 1999

Wedding Message for Danny Koetsier & Erin
Passage: 1 John 3:16-18
Text: 1 John 3:18

Danny & Erin, their family & friends:
Topic: Love
Subtopic: Conjugal
Index: 1623
Date: 12/1986.7
Title: Show Me!

In the play, My Fair Lady, Eliza is being courted by Freddy, who writes to her daily of his love for her. Eliza's response to his notes is to cry out in frustration:
Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!...
Don't talk of stars
Burning above,
If you're in love,
Show me!
Don't talk of love lasting through time.
Make me no undying vow
Show me now!
Danny & Erin, Eliza reminds you of the truth of the verse you picked as your wedding text. We need more than words to experience a loving relationship. So, Bride & Groom, I want to tell you: your love for each other, the love you have pledged to each other, let it be shown by your actions. As your text puts it:
(1 Jn 3:18) Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

I have pointed out to almost every couple I have ever united in marriage that there are four words for love in the Greek language. A healthy marriage needs to have all four kinds of love.

The first is "eros." This is a "getting" love. Eros is usually associated with sexual love. The basic element is a desire, a will to possess seeking satisfaction. Eros exists because it sees something desirable in another. Eros flickers and fades as the winds of desire rise and wane.

The second word for love is "stergo." This is a "caring" love. This is the natural love which we have for others. As human beings we love others as part of humanity. This love recognizes that all men are closely bound together, dependent on each other, and obligated to each other because of their common humanity. This is the love that we show to a neighbor in need or that we have for the poor and hungry we try to assist.

"Philos" is a third word for love. This is a "sharing" love. This word expresses the affection we feel for those close to us. It is called out of the heart by the pleasure one takes in another. It is the love between friends or among family. It is based on common interests, common attractions, and a close sharing of many things.

The final Greek word for love is "agape." This is a "giving" love. It is a love which impels one to sacrifice for the benefit of the other person. This love seeks to give rather than to get. Agape love keeps on loving even when the other person doesn't respond; agape love keeps on loving without asking for anything in return.

Danny & Erin, it is agape love that John is speaking about in your wedding text. Agape love is a love that is more than words. Agape love is a love that is shown. It is a love in action.

The best example of agape love, of love in action, of love that gives rather than gets is Jesus Christ. John says:
(1 John 3:16) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
At the cross we see love in action. At the cross we see a love that is more far more than words. At the cross we see Jesus giving of Himself, giving of His blood, giving of His life, for the good of others.

Danny & Erin, and every married couple here, do you want your love for each other to be like Jesus' love for the church? To have this kind of love you need to have a relationship with Christ. For Christ's love to be your love you need to have a relationship with Christ.

Danny & Erin, this is nothing new for either of you. During pre-marital counseling you both told me how important Christ is to your marriage relationship. But let me tell you again: you need to keep Christ as the center of your relationship; you need to live for Him Who died for you; you need to spend time with Him every day in prayer; you need to read and study His Word in daily devotions, in family devotions, and in the company of other believers; you need to worship Him every Sunday. And, as you find yourselves being drawn closer and closer to Him, you will also find yourselves growing in His love a love which is more than words, a love which is love in action. As you find yourselves being drawn closer and closer to Him, you will find yourselves imitating His love a love which is more than words, a love which is love in action.

Danny & Erin, let me tell you what happens when you have this love, this agape love, this love in action. It is "agape" love which allows a husband and wife to clothe themselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Col 3:12). It is "agape" love which allows them to bear each other's faults and forgive each other (Col 3:13). It is "agape" love which is patient and kind; which does not envy or boast; which is not proud, rude, self-seeking, or easily angered; which keeps no record of wrongs; which does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth; which always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Cor 13:4-7).

This past week I read about a beautiful instance of agape love, of love in action:
Topic: Brotherly Love
Index: 2200-2202
Date: 3/1997.11

Oceanside, Calif: Mr. Alter's fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School made headlines when the boys in the class decided by themselves to shave their heads. They did so, without embarrassment, because one of their own, Ian O'Gorman, developed cancer and had undergone chemotherapy. His hair began to fall out. To make their friend feel at home, to make him feel one with the crowd, all his classmates agreed to shave their heads, with their parent's permission, so that upon his return, Ian would not stand out from the class. No one would know who the "cancer kid" was. The teacher, Mr. Alter, was so moved by the spirit of his class that he too shaved his head.
This is agape love, love in action. This is what happens when we are filled with the agape love of Christ, the giving love of Christ, the love in action of Christ. When we have this love we realize that life's greatest joy is to give His love away a thought that brings to mind the saying:
It isn't a song until it's sung.
It isn't a bell until it's rung.
It isn't love until it's given away!

Danny & Erin, my hope and my prayer and my confidence is that the love of Christ a love that is more than words, a love in action is your love until death do you part.
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