Andrew Bro and Amanda Burr Wedding Message - Hebrews 13:4
Andrew and Amanda, what a privilege to be here with you today and to celebrate this special occasion with your family and friends. Today you are making a covenant before God to be united in marriage. This is a sacred union that God blesses and supports with the giving of His Spirit and by giving innumerable graces for its success and flourishing.
The covenant that you are making is a binding relationship that is meant to last a lifetime. The marriage covenant represents Jesus Christ’s relationship with the church, His bride. The marriage covenant will require, by the grace of God, your faithfulness, your perseverance, and your sacrificial love.
In 1666 during the great fire of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral was badly damaged. King Charles II commissioned the renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild it. Reconstruction began nine years later in 1675. One day Wren was walking among the workers and he asked one of the stone cutters, “What are you working on?” The stone cutter replied harshly, “I’m cutting stone – what does it look like I am doing?” Wren shook his head and moved on.
As he continued surveying the job site he spoke to another stone cutter. He asked, “What are you working on?” This stone cutter said, “I’m working with you to build the greatest cathedral on earth.” Wren thanked the man for his response and for the work that he was dedicated to doing with him.
When it comes to speaking about marriage many people are like that first stone cutter. They work on their own marriage and hope to make something out of it if they can, but they fail to see that marriage is something grand and special.
Marriage, however, is a reflection of Christ’s relationship to His bride – the church. As the institution of marriage goes in a culture, so goes the culture. When the marriages are healthy, the family and the culture is healthy. People who realize the importance of this covenant will work hard by the grace of God and say, “I’m working with the LORD and my spouse to build a sacred institution which is ordained by God for the well-being of mankind and for the glory of God.”
In Hebrews 13:4 there is an exhortation for every person, every couple, every church, every society in every generation is to honor marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all…”.
Let me make four points today. First, we are exhorted to ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all…”.
The word ‘let’ means to allow marriage to be held in honor. Marriage is to be sanctioned and permitted to flourish. Every available means for a marriages success should be pursued by every individual, every community, every congregation, and every human institution among men.
Nobody is to prevent or forbid marriage from being honored in any way. We are all to greatly esteem this covenant that you are entering into today. Every human institution is to do everything in its power to honor marriage and to see that your marriage flourishes as God has designed. Every community is to promote the health of marriages.
No one is to say or to do anything that would undermine this covenant. No one has the right or the authority to frustrate a marriage, sabotage a marriage, or undermine a marriage covenant.
The covenant that you are prayerfully and thoughtfully entering into today should be supported, encouraged, assisted, celebrated and helped through any means available.
We are to Let marriage be held in honor among all!
Secondly, we are told to ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all...’.
Andrew and Amanda, do you know what the word ‘marriage’ means?
It means ‘to take, to grasp, to take by the hand, and to take into’. It carries the sense of acquiring something by choice and through careful selection.
Scripture gives a wonderful expression of this in Genesis 2:20-25. We read,
The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
After Adam named all of the animals he found that there was no helper fit for him. There was no one for him to choose, to take by the hand, and to cleave too.
Therefore, God caused Adam to sleep. He took one of his ribs and He created a woman for Adam. We are told that God brought her to the man.
Can’t you picture God bringing this beautiful woman to Adam by the hand to introduce her to him.
In that moment we are told that Adam says, “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Eve was fashioned by God from the rib taken from Adam’s side. Consider this in light of what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:28, “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…”
Just as Adam cherished his own body and nourished it before he was introduced to Eve he would now do the same for Eve. Andrew and Amanda, you are no longer your own but you will belong to each other. Cherish your spouse as you have cherished your own body up until this day.
God took Eve’s hand and placed it into Adam’s hand and they were joined together in marriage. We are told, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Andrew today you are leaving your father and mother and you are holding fast to Amanda as your wife.
Amanda, today you are stepping away from your family and you are going to cling to Andrew who will now be your husband.
You both are being united together into this marriage after much prayerful deliberation. You have searched the scriptures and have been guided by them in this decision. You both have confessed your sinfulness and your need for Jesus Christ to save you. You two are coming together as equally yoked believers who love God and who seek to do His will. Because of this God’s blessing and grace will rest upon this marriage.
Thirdly, we are told in Hebrews 13:4, ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all…”.
To honor marriage means that this covenant is to be ‘highly respected’ and ‘greatly esteemed’. It is to be ‘regarded with great respect and admiration’ and you are ‘to put a great value upon this marriage covenant that your entering into’.
To honor something can mean ‘to fulfill an obligation and to keep an agreement’. The covenant that you are making to each other today is a high and lofty vow. You are covenanting with each other ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part, according to God's holy law, in the presence of God you are making this vow.”
We honor marriage because God honors marriage. We see this in Ephesians 5 when we read, “...Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
Because the LORD honors the covenant of marriage He will never withhold any grace for the benefit of this marriage. In fact, God gives Himself for the success of this marriage and He will seal this union with the giving of His Holy Spirit.
Finally, we told to, ‘Let marriage be held in honor among all…”.
In Genesis 2, before Adam and Eve’s sin, we were told that they were not ashamed and they honored the covenant of marriage that God had established. After the fall, however, marriage has often been dishonored and held up to public shame and ridicule.
Mankind’s fall into sin, like the fire that destroyed the Cathedral in London, has caused great damage to the institution of marriage. However, Christ has come to fix what sin has damaged and destroyed. Christ is the chief builder and architect of this work. Christ has come to restore our relationships with God and in our families. Therefore, we are to follow His designs for marriage. With His help we are to build our marriages as He has instructed us in His Word.
Therefore, we are not like the first stone-cutter who said, “I’m cutting stone – what does it look like I am doing?”
That man worked around others but not with others. He worked on a product and not on a grand project. He says ‘I’m cutting stone’ as if he were the only one working on that project. Andrew and Amanda, pray that the LORD would help you to see and acknowledge all that He is doing in your marriage. Pray that the LORD would help you to see and acknowledge what your spouse is doing to honor you and this marriage. Amanda, you are Andrews helpmate. Andrew, you are Amanda’s loving husband who is willing to lay down your life for her.
Hebrews 3:4reminds us that marriage is to be held in honor among all. God honors marriage. You are to honor marriage. Finally, your family and friends who have gathered here today on this special occasion also honor marriage. Therefore, you can say with the second stone cutter, “I’m working with you to build the greatest marriage on earth to the glory of God.”
God, “I’m working with you to build the greatest marriage on earth to the glory of God.”
To your spouse you can say, “I’m working with you to build the greatest marriage on earth to the glory of God.”
To your family and friends you can both say, “We are working together to build the greatest marriages on earth to the glory of God.”
As witnesses to this covenant we will hold your marriage in the highest regard. As witness this we will affirm that the covenant that you are making to each other today before God is a holy institution. We will pray for you, encourage you, support you and walk with you in a way that conforms to the instruction of the Scriptures and in a way that appropriately displays the honor of this divine institution.
Andrew and Amanda, I pray that God’s blessing will be upon you in a special way from this day forward. May His Holy Spirit and His grace produce in this marriage a household filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. May He be glorified and may this union bring honor and glory to His name. Amen.