************ Wedding Sermon on 1 Peter 4:8 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on March 20, 2010

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply,love covers over a multitude of sins.
Wedding Sermon for Peter & Whitney de Jong

Peter & Whitney, their family & friends:

In 1 Peter 4, the Apostle has lots of advice for Christians. For Christians. For those who have repented of their sins and believe in Jesus. For those who have confessed Christ before men. For those who put Christ first in their life. For those who attend church and spend time each day in Bible reading and prayer.

Why do I emphasize this? Just to remind you, Peter & Whitney, that the wedding text you selected speaks to you as Christians. It speaks to you as a Christian home and as a Christian marriage.

So, what is the apostle's advice to you as Christians? He tells you not to live "for evil human desires ... debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry" (1 Peter 4:2,3). Rather, you are to live "for the will of God" (1 Peter 4:2). He tells you to "be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7). He tells you to "offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1 Peter 4:9). He tells you to use your spiritual gifts to serve the church (1 Peter 4:10-11).

All of this is important, isn't it? After all, you are being watched. Unbelievers watch to see if you are walking the talk, living out the faith; your actions may keep them from Jesus or, by grace, attract them to Jesus. New believers are watching you; your actions may cause them to stumble and fall or, by grace, encourage them in the faith. Fellow church members are watching you as part of the communion of saints. So, it is important to follow the things the Apostle Peter tells you.

But do you know what is even more important, most important? Listen to what Peter says in your wedding text: "Above all, love each other" (1 Peter 4:8). Love is more important than anything else. Love is most important. Love is the badge of the believer, the mark of the Christian, in this world (John 13:34-35). So, on this your wedding day, I urge you above all to "love each other" (1 Peter 4:8).

Now, the Apostle Peter had a choice of four different Greek words for love. He could have used the Greek word "eros" which is a getting love usually associated with sex. He could have used the Greek word "stergo" which is the caring love we have for others. He could have used the Greek word "philos" which is the sharing love found among friends. But Peter used none of these. Rather, he used the Greek word "agape" which is a giving love.

Today is your wedding day. But do you know what else today is? My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary today 34 wonderful years. Yes, there has been eros and stergo and philos; but, especially, there has been agape. For, agape is what binds us together and keeps us together. "Above all, love each other" (1 Peter 4:8). Peter & Whitney, let your marriage be filled with eros, stergo, and philos; but, especially, above all, let your marriage be filled with agape.

Did you know, "agape" is the word the Bible uses to describe the love of God and of Christ? Think of this love. Right now, we are in the season the Christian Church knows as Lent. We are looking forward to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. During this time of the year we celebrate the love of God and of Christ a love which sent Jesus to the earth in the flesh, a love which sent Jesus to Jerusalem where He knew He was hated and would be betrayed, a love which sent Jesus to the cross, a love which made Jesus suffer and die for our sins, a love which made Jesus suffer the curse of God, a love which made Jesus totally humble Himself. Do you see this love of Jesus a love which gave and gave and gave and continues to give today?

Well, Peter & Whitney, you are to have this love this giving love for one another. Your love for one another is to be like Christ's love for the church you are to sacrifice for the good of the other.

But there is more. The Apostle Peter not only calls you to "love each other" but to "love each other deeply" (1 Peter 4:8). Fervently. With eagerness. With intensity. With all of your heart and soul and mind and strength. The Greek word for "deeply" is the same word used to describe an athlete straining to win. Think of the recent Winter Olympics. Do you think that those who won gold or silver or bronze tried half-heartedly? Of course not! They gave it their all. They took chances. They were reckless. They pursued their medal with abandon. That is the way your love is supposed to be.

Finally, I want you to notice what agape love does. The Apostle Peter writes that "love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). I don't know if you realized this, but your wedding text is actually based on Proverbs 10:12. Listen to what is said by the wisdom literature literature that tells us how to live before God and with man:
(Prov 10:12) Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

Have you ever noticed how some people always stir up turmoil. Trouble follows in their wake like water fills a stream. More than once I have thought to myself, how is this possible, what do they do, that keeps everything and everyone upset? I have noticed some things over the years. These people use things like envy, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder (2 Corinthians 12:20). In other words, what Proverbs call hatred or acts of hatred. There is to be no place or time for such things in your home and marriage.

Instead, you are to "love each other deeply." Why? Because "love cover over all wrongs" (Proverbs 10:12). "Because love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).

Married people end up hurting each other over the years. There are fights and quarrels, disagreements and arguments. Tempers are lost and words are said. But what does love do? Love covers over these sins. Love puts up a "no fishing sign" over the sins and mistakes of the past.

"Love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). We see a beautiful illustration of this in Genesis 9. Noah got drunk and shamefully uncovered himself. His son, Ham, saw his father's shame and told others about this; he stirred up dissension. In contrast, what did Ham's two brothers do? They covered their father and his shame; their love covered over wrong and a multitude of sin.

"Love each other deeply" (1 Peter 4:8). Ultimately, Peter & Whitney, you have to be willing to do for one another what God, in Christ, does for you. What does God's love do for those who believe in Jesus? It covers over their sins and their iniquities. It covers them and hides them and removes them and forgives them so that it is as if they have never happened. What does your love do for one another? It covers over your fights and quarrels and treats them as if they never existed.

Let me end by saying again, bride and groom, the words of your wedding text: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).
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