Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“The ROPE of Love” Ecclesiastes 4:12b

S‑1066 08/01/2008

Texts: Ephesians 5:21-33; John 15:9-12; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Theme: “The ROPE of Love” Ecclesiastes 4:12b

Wedding of David Nour and Jody Veurink (Faith, Sioux Falls, SD

Precious son David and Gem Jody, family and friends, in the name of Him who is love Jesus Christ. Amen. On this joyful day, we stand in God’s house and in His Presence asking Him to be the honored guest and to bless you as you begin on the journey called marriage. The text I have chosen for this wonderful celebration is tested, tried and true. The author of this book knows what he is speaking about. He is speaking from personal experience. Listen to Solomon as he gives you a golden nugget that will help you throughout your married life: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:12b). Now I should inform all of you are seated in this church that this sermon is written JUST for David and Jody, but if you would like to eaves drop, you may do so.

Well, here we are. No more counting down the days. Today by the grace of God you will be joined as husband and wife in His sight. Therefore, it is fitting that He would give you His Word that will guide and guard your hearts throughout your lives.

Jody, I like to share with you a message you sent me sometime ago. “Did you talk to David last night about this? If not...how amazingly and wonderfully ironic. I was not sure if he and I needed to pick a text for our wedding or if you already had since you were writing the sermon already, but I had just told him that I thought the PERFECT (emphasis mine) verse for our wedding would be Ecc. 4:12b... ask him about that~”.

I didn’t speak with David about it, but I spoke with His heavenly Father for guidance and direction on what I should preach for my son’s wedding. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I was led to choose the same text you have chosen. So here it is again. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:12b)

I am sure you both have used a rope to tie something. Ropes have been in use since the 4th Century B.C. Ropes come in different sizes and colors, and are used for many different uses. There are a jump rope, a climbing rope, a tow rope a magic rope, and a hang man’s rope just to mention a few. Some might even say, “YOU ARE TEING THE KNOT TODAY”. But did you know that there is also a Rope of Love? This is what Solomon is saying in this text and this is what I want to speak to you about today—the ROPE of Love.

But in order to understand Solomon’s thoughts we have to go back few verses in this chapter. Notice please the movement that Solomon shares. First, “There was a man all alone” (4:7). Second, “Two are better than one” (4:9). and third, YOUR text A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Solomon has more than numbers in mind. Much, much more. First he tells us that man all alone is not a good thing. Even in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helpmate suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).

You know from your personal experience, that being alone is not fun. For this reason, Solomon goes on to say, “Two are better than one”. How right God is. Just look at your lives since you met. You are inseparable. You do things together, because two is just a lot more fun than being by yourself. God meant for us to have companionship on our journey.

And finally Solomon has more than rope-making in mind too. Especially when it comes to the companionship of marriage. Marriage is like a three-stranded cord. One cord is the husband. Another cord is the wife. A third cord is the Lord Jesus. On your own, Precious David and Gem Jody, you can be easily broken. Together, you acquire more strength. But with the Lord you become three cords woven together and are much stronger still.
How do you become a three-stranded cord? It is the working of the Holy Spirit in your lives. He is the One who guides and weaves you together with Him so that you may become this three-strand cord.

Now I need your help to make my point. (I go to the altar and get the Ropes—Pink, {Jody’s} Blue {David’s} and White Christ’s). Jody hold this rope. David hold this rope and I will have this one with me. Notice that your ropes are the same size. However the center rope that which represents Christ is longer than yours. (Will start to braid the ropes).

Take a close look at this braided rope and you will see how it is interwoven so closely. That is what will make your marriage strong. When Jesus is in the center of your home and hearts, this marriage will not unravel. This Rope will not break. No might or power in this whole world can separate it. Nothing can break it. Why not? Because Christ is the strength of this Rope of Love. He will hold you together until He calls you home. Hold on to this Rope to remind you of His unending Love.

“The Rope of Love” is the thread of Christ’s redemption work on the cross of Calvary. Christ redeems relationships, quickens the love in marriages raising it to a higher level, and provides the steadfast love (chesed) for making these vows which are always greater than any couple. Yes, Solomon is telling you that the three-strand Rope is God’s covenant to you and it will never be broken.

The Holy Spirit leads and keeps you bound to Jesus Christ, the center strand. When He is at work and you are not resisting, your marriage will remain strong. The strength of that rope will be the fruit of the Spirit. For the Word of God teaches that where there is love, there is joy. Where there is joy, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is peace, and where there is peace there is Jesus, and where there is Jesus there is unity. And this unity is the family that your and Savior will make of you two.

David and Jody, as a family you will come to realize this in time, as parents you will go through difficult times with your children and some of your days will bring tears of sadness a as well as tears of joy. Such is the case tonight. But you need to know that this is a tough time for us parents. While we are filled with joy that our children are being joined by Christ, it is a bit hard to admit we are not so much in charge any more. Jody, I know that today your father will become second fiddle; he no longer will be the Big Kahuna, but David will. David, I know that today, Jody becomes the apple of your eye and no longer mother filling your needs. Forgive us if we grieve a bit. But know that we are overjoyed at what the Lord is doing in you both today

David and Jody, sometime back, I read a story that went like this - A group of scientists and botanists were exploring remote, natural, undisturbed areas of the Alps in search of new species of flowers. One day as they looked through binoculars, they noticed a flower of such beauty and rarity, that its value to science was immeasurable. But, it lay in a place that was difficult to get to - a deep ravine with cliffs on both sides. To get the flower, someone would have to be lowered over the cliff on a rope.

A curious young lad was watching nearby, and the scientists said, "We'll gladly pay you if you would be willing to get that flower for us.” They wanted him to be the one who would be lowered over the cliff and bring back that flower that lay below.

The boy took one long look down the steep, dizzy depths and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” A short time later he returned, rope in hand, followed by a gray-haired man. Approaching the scientists, he said, “I’ll go over that cliff and get that flower for you if this man holds the rope. He is my father.”

I'd like to ask you two a question, “Who holds your rope in your life?" More than likely, many of you have tried to climb up the cliffs and out of ravines of one kind or another in your life. You may have felt that you just couldn't hang on much longer and if someone didn’t help you out soon, you’d fall into a depth of darkness you couldn’t get out of. But remember David and Jody, as Christians you and I can be confident that we have the strongest and best One holding our rope—our heavenly Father. In the Inspired book of Hebrews, we are reassured of this and can be confident as we read these precious and ever faithful words, “I will NEVER leave you nor for sake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

A strong rope is a valuable piece of equipment for anyone trying to climb a cliff or come up out of a ravine. It helps someone reach his goal safely. Our heavenly Father has not only promised to be there holding our rope, but He also provides the lifesaving rope. It guarantees our heavenly destination. Jesus is our rope—a lifesaving ROPE.

I know that is the case with you. Pastor Sailor shared with me some of your discussion with him while you were doing the pre-marriage counseling. He normally asks the couple-to-be some questions. Here are some of your responses to this one question: Jody, why David (of all the guys out there)?  Why do you want to marry him?  She answered:  “We are at the same faith-level.  We have been friends for so long.  He would be the leader of our household.  He would see to it that our children are raised in a Christian manner.  He is thoughtful, looks out for me, takes care of me.”
David, why Jody?  “Her honesty and faithfulness.  She has the most unselfish, loving heart.  Our mutual Christian faith and how we connect at that level.  Yes, she is fun and good looking, too, but her inner beauty is even more beautiful.”

You are wise in your responses. As Pastor Sailor said: “Ah, service, not surface!”  This fine young couple is far more interested in loving each other by serving each other.  “Surface” things (looks, charm, beauty, humor etc.) are far less important.

The reason you are able to do so, is because Christ is occupying the most important place in your hearts. He is the One who binds you together in His love. He is the One who wraps you with His grace. He is the One who will forgive you your sins when hurt each other. He is the One who will strengthen your marriage as you gather in His house around Word and Sacrament.

(Here go to the back and get the main piece of wood. 17x 14x 1 with heart and in the center of the heart there is a cross and a three-strand (colored) Rope all around the heart.)

Precious David and Gem Jody, let me give you something that you can keep for years to come and will help you think of the words I am sharing with you today. I have made this for you. You see the heart that is God’s heart. In the center of that heart you will see the cross of Christ—that is displaying His love for you. And all around the heart, you see the Three-colored-rope. That is to remind you that God’s love, covenant, grace, and mercy will never be taken away from you and broken from you.

It is my prayer for you David and Jody that by power of the Holy Spirit, you will learn to have faith in your Heavenly Father like that little boy in our story. Remember, God loves you so much that He sent Jesus Christ, His one and only Son, to earth to be the ROPE for you when you fall because of trials and temptations. Every morning, give thanks that your Heavenly Father is holding your rope, Jesus Christ, and let that Rope guide and lead you through your life by remembering this acronym for the word ROPE:

R Read God’s Word.

O Obey God’s Word.

P Pray to Your Heavenly Father and to each other.

E Enjoy God’s purpose for you each day.

David and Jody may God’s richest blessings abide in your heart and home and heads as you hold on to the rope of love. Amen.

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