Friday, November 9, 2007

“The ART of Love” John 15:12-14, Wedding of Lucas Tibbets and Bobbie Krueger (Pierce, NE)

S-1002 9/21/2007

Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Romans 12:9-14; John 15:12-14

Theme: “The ART of Love” John 15:12-14

Wedding of Lucas Tibbets and Bobbie Krueger (Pierce, NE)

Lucas and Bobbie, family and friends Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

We have gathered on this joyful day, in the presence of God and these witnesses, to join in holy matrimony this man and this woman. The text I have chosen for your wedding homily is from the Gospel of St. John. Listen again as I read it: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:12-14).

Family and friends, please be aware that this sermon for Lucas and Bobbie alone, but if you want to eves drop on this message, you may do so.

1. The World’s View of Love.

Love is a word that is used so often. Yet, it has been used and misused more than any other word in the English language; and it has been bankrupt because love has many meanings. It has been devalued, degraded and destroyed of its true meaning. Many people use it without even thinking about it or its use. Some say, I love Pizza. I love my coffee. I love my dog. I love the Corn Huskers.

But lets be honest, would you love the pizza if it was spoiled? Would you love your coffee if it was cold or too strong? Would love your dog if he tore your apartment and destroyed your precious belongings? Would you love the Corn Huskers if they were a losing team?

As the world views love, it becomes apparent that love is conditional. You love me, I love you back. You hate me, I will hate you. You hurt me; watch out, because I am getting even with you.

Lucas and Bobbie, do you remember the first time you came to see me to begin our pre-marriage counseling session? I had you fill out some papers. One of the questions I asked was, “why do you want to get married?” Lucas you said, “I fell in love with my best friend and the person I want to share the rest of my life with.” (I think you had a little help from my son David). And you Bobbie said, “I feel I’ve found the perfect man to spend the rest of my life with. I want someone to share all of my moments with.” And I said that is good, but not good enough. First, because there is no one perfect, even if you think that Lucas is (I you know he isn’t), and second, there is more to marriage than just feelings.

II. Definitions of Love

C. S. Lewis wrote a book about love. In this book The Four Loves he teaches us that there are four different types of love.

  • 1. “Storge” love of parent
  • 2. “Agape” God’s unconditional love towards man
  • 3. “Philew” love of man to man, brotherly love
  • 4. “Eros” love of man to woman, erotic/passionate love

Now I am not here to promote the book of C. S. Lewis, even though it is a good book. Neither am I here to expound on all of these different kinds of love, but I am here to share with you the ART of Love, not from human’s perspective, but from God’s perspective.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 lays out for us the true meaning of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” 1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Did you hear what Paul said? Love doesn’t seek its own, but rather thinks of the other person first. As you come into the marriage, you will by the grace of God learn the ART of love in that you no longer think of ME, but of WE. Because from now on, you will be one in the sight of God. One in unity. One in marriage. One in purpose and one in mission.

But I will tell you it is not easy to be united as one. For the sinful flesh always desires what’s in it for me. The old man in us, always thinks of self first. The old nature always desires to please self rather than the other person.

Your marriage is by grace connected to Christ’s cross. The real hard work of marriage was done when our Lord Jesus Christ offered up His life for you both. There you received forgiveness for all your sin. Even the sins you will commit against one another in marriage. Yet, as married and forgiven sinners, you see the masterpiece of forgiveness painted on Calvary’s cross. There is no greater portrait of true love than Jesus offering His life for you.

Lucas and Bobbie, I want you to think of the ART of love in this manner. I will use ART as an acronym:

A is for absolution. In order for your love to flow towards each other, you will need two good forgivers in your home. You see, you will hurt each other. You will disappoint each other. Someday you will say, “What possessed me to marry him/her? At you will be mean to one another, and when that happens you ask the Savior to help you forgive your spouse as the Savior Himself has forgiven you. Absolution becomes the glue that holds this marriage together.

R is for romance. After today, don’t stop being the courtship with one another. Keep the Romance alive. Set a time to go out on a date. Do something special for one another. Something unexpected that demonstrates that you are thinking of the other always. When the Romance is going strong, the flames of LOVE will never die down. Schedule on your calendar a time for this romance. Study together the book that Solomon wrote The Song of Songs and that will keep you on fire for one another. And the,

T is for the Tree of the Cross. Remember this well Lucas and Bobbie: where the cross is center, the apple does not fall far from this tree, and it is a delicious fruit of the spirit kind of love. When the cross is the hallmark of all you do, you will be able to be kind and patient and loving to the other. When the cross is the center, you will not seek your own will by His will and fulfill His commandments in your lives. The cross of Christ will be to you the guidelines of love and the lifelines of love.

With the Help of the Holy Spirit connected to a Church that teaches the Word of God and that is Christ focused and Cross-centered, you will be the best friends and lovers for the rest of your days. You will learn that love has no boundaries just as God’s Boundless love has no limits. You will fight for this marriage when disappointments, discouragement, disillusionment and dissatisfaction set in. And by the grace of God you will learn the meaning of Paul’s teaching on God’s Four Dimensional Love (Eph. 3) Length: Height: Breadth: and Depth.

Daily walk the extra mile with the help of Your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Learn from Him the meaning of love—a love that took Him to the cross to die for your sins. Love that fulfilled what He taught, “Grater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for His friends. You are His friends; He laid down His life for you so that you will be happy and blessed all the days of your married lives.

Remember these tid-bits of wisdom as you think about the ART of love.

  • * God is LOVE. It is not that He should be; could be; ought to be, will be; He IS LOVE.
  • * A goof friend of mine said, “Love is giving!”
  • * “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.”
  • * * Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross. For there you truly come to know, and see the love of God not merely in words, but also in action.
  • * * There is an Arabic proverb that says, “The house that you love is not far from you.” In other word, when we love someone, their house is never far. How true that is in our love to our Awesome God, whose house of worship is never far from our hearts and heads.
  • * So you ask what is love? Love is that pulse that moves your heart to acknowledge your sins and need for a Savior. Love is working at forgiving those who hurt you and harmed you. Love is giving without expecting something in return. Love is that instrument that causes you to do things that may appear foolish or crazy.
  • * And when you asked God about love, this is how He paints the love scene, “For God so loved the world, “ME” so that He gave His one and Only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) And this picture slowly unfolds before our very own eyes, as we see the Son of God, our Savior, Lord and King, allow Himself to be beaten, bruised and bloodied for us. He further opens His arm and allows others to nail it to a wooden beam, and then He opens the other arm, and allows this one to be nailed to the same beam. And with His outstretched and extended arms says, “I LOVE YOU MY CHILD.” Indeed, God is love and His love is made manifest in His will to the Father, in His Work on the cross, and in His Word–The Bible–our love letter.

What a privilege today to speak to you about the Good News of infinite love through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Author of the ART of love. May this ART hold your picture of marriage till the ends of your lives. Amen.

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