************ Wedding Sermon on Mark 10:6-9 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on March 27, 2010

Wedding Message
for Arthur Dirksen & Anna van't Zelfde
(Mark 10:6-9) "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' (7) 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, (8) and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. (9) Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Arthur & Anna, their family & friends:
1. Your wedding text starts by pointing us to what is recorded in Genesis (1:27):
(Mark 10:6) "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'
This reminds us that marriage goes back to the very beginning of human history. At that time woman was God's gift to man and man was God's gift to woman. In the beginning it was God Who gave the bride away. And, it was God Himself Who performed the first wedding ceremony and pronounced the blessing.

We look at the opening chapters of Genesis and read there how God took the man He had formed and put him into the garden He had planted, to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:8,15). We don't know for how long Adam was at work in that Garden before God announced something was missing or lacking in his life. The Lord God said,
(Genesis 2:18) It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.
Who can forget the picture of God bringing all the animals and birds to the man to see if any of them would be a suitable helper and companion. But, "no suitable helper was found" (Genesis 2:20b). You all know what God did next: how He took one of Adam's ribs and from it made woman and brought her to the man (Genesis 2:21-22). Arthur, Anna, do you hear God's design for marriage. Husband and wife are to be a suitable helper and companion for each other.

2. But there is more to God's original design. Again quoting from Genesis (2:24), Jesus says,
(Mk 10:7) 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife ...
I love the way the old King James Bible put this: you leave and you cleave.

In the very beginning, God's will for marriage is that a man "leave his father and mother" (Mark 10:7). Of course, that goes for a woman too. The word for "leave" is a very strong word. It means "to leave behind, to depart from, to forsake." When a man and woman become husband and wife, all other relationships become secondary. The woman does not run to her mother every time there is a problem. The husband does not put his father's wishes before those of his wife. The primary human relationship when you become married is the relationship with your spouse: your spouse is most important, your spouse comes first.

Jesus reminds us that in the very beginning, God's will for marriage also includes union: a man is to leave his father and mother and "be united to his wife" (Mark 10:7). The word for "united" means "to glue to, to join one's self to, to stick to." Do you see the implication? You not only are joined together but you stay joined together. You don't glue something together merely to pull it apart. In marriage, then, a husband and wife are glued together and are meant to stay glued together.

3. Jesus continues with, "and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one" (Mark 10:8).

We learn in grade school that 1 + 1 = 2. But the rules and logic of mathematics do not apply to the marriage relationship. God says that if you take one woman and add one man, you still have one. In marriage 1 + 1 = 1. Or, better yet, 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. The third "1" is Jesus, of course. Because Jesus is always an unseen partner in a Christian marriage. He is the Head of the home and the Master of your married life. What I am saying is that Arthur, Anna, and Jesus are not three but one. Or, as Jesus puts it, you "are no longer two, but one" (Mark 10:8). Marriage is a bond, Arthur and Anna, which blends and binds two together in one. Again, in the words of Jesus, you are "one flesh."

What is this "one fleshness," this "two-in-oneness"? It means that every single facet, every segment, of the husband's and wife's being is affected by the marriage union. Theirs is a blending of body, soul, spirit, emotions, psychology, hopes, and dreams. Theirs is a physical, spiritual, social, emotional, and psychological union.

Husband and wife are "one flesh." The bible does not say that about any other relationship. In this life there is no other earthly relationship which is as close and as powerful as the relationship between a husband and a wife. In this life there is no other earthly relationship which has the ability to build up or tear down, to exalt or debase, to enable or hinder as does the relationship between a husband and a wife.

Yes, Arthur and Anna, you will no longer be two but one. Never again do you need to face life alone. Every thought and act can be shared with one who loves you and knows you better than any other. Sorrow, sickness, failure, success, and ambitions can now be shared and need not be kept to yourself. Whether the future holds failure or fortune, you now have each other to depend on.
The story about Sir Edmund Hillary and his historic climb of Mount Everest gives us a classic example about a partnership and friendship attitude that will build a great marriage. While becoming the first man in history to reach that mountain peak, Sir Edmund was accompanied by his trusted native guide, Tenzing Norgay. After scaling the mountain, Sir Edmund lost his footing on the way down, but Tenzing held the line taut and kept them both from falling to their deaths by digging his axe into the ice.
When questioned later, Tenzing refused any special credit for saving Sir Edmund's life. He considered it a routine part of the job and expressed his feelings simply, but eloquently, when he said, "Mountain climbers always help each other."
This wonderful philosophy should be the philosophy for all marriage partners to adopt. As a two-in-oneness they should always help each other, especially in their walk with God.

4. Jesus concludes with these words: "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9). There are three things I want you to take note of.

First, notice it is God Who has joined you. This wedding, this marriage, is no accident. We are not here today because the two of you fell into love. It isn't luck and circumstance that has brought you together. It is God Who has forged this union.

Second, God "has joined" you together. Anna, one of my memories of you is the Ring Ride. Imagine having two horses on the front of the carriage; imagine that one of the horses pulls to the left and the other to the right. You won't get anywhere, will you? What you need is a harness or a yoke to make the horses pull together. Well, that is what has done to you: He has harnessed or yoked you together. Which brings us back to the opening picture of Genesis concerning suitable helper and companion. The two of you are harnessed together, with Jesus.

Which brings us to our final point what God has joined together, no one can separate. To destroy the fellowship of marriage is to destroy something beautiful that God has made. So I say to you, bride and groom, and to every other married couple here too,
Hold on to each other. Hold together even when the light seems to have gone out, even when the magic seems to have gone, even when your future together looks dark and dull. Stay together even though it hurts.
No crew gives up the ship because of an occasional storm. And yes, Arthur and Anna, there will be storms in your marriage. When you think of it, a Christian marriage should be like a diamond. A diamond, you know, is nothing but a piece of coal that has been subjected to enormous pressure and heat. But in that pressure and heat a lump of black carbon has turned into a thing of beauty and strength. Likewise, a Christian marriage should be strengthened and beautified by the inevitable struggles and trials of this life and not destroyed.

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