Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Fall and Redemption: A Wedding Sermon - Part 2

Continued from yesterday's post:

Despite the complexity of our lives and our bodies, we are, in many ways, simple creatures. We often understand concepts and principles more clearly and vividly when they are illustrated by a picture or a story. We are often unmoved by cold facts, but stories resonate with us and inspire us in ways we don’t always understand. Knowing this, God has given us many illustrations of his nature and character. He displays his eternal power and divine nature through majestic mountain vistas and vast seas. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). He gave us the story of Joseph and the Exodus in the Old Testament to illustrate his providence and patience and his plan to redeem from slavery a special people for himself.
In a similar way, God has designed marriage to illustrate something greater than it seems on the surface. In the Old Testament, God describes his relationship with Israel as a marriage, and he emphasized his faithfulness even if his people were not faithful! God even commanded Hosea to marry an unfaithful wife to vividly illustrate the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel.
Thankfully, in the New Testament, the marriage metaphor has been radically altered. Instead of God’s bride being represented as an unfaithful wife, the bride of Christ is different. Christ has redeemed his people, and his bride has been washed clean, given new desires, and given white to wear on the wedding day. God is preparing for Jesus a bride that will never be unfaithful! Revelation 19:9 declares, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Stay tuned for the charge to the bride and groom.

~ Todd

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Fall and Redemption: A Wedding Sermon - Part 1

I had the awesome privilege of officiating the wedding ceremony of Stephen Lawrence and Amber Osborne a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share the short sermon I preached:

The Fall and Redemption: The Charge to the Bride and Groom

In the beginning, when God rested from his work and stepped back to admire his creation, he was very pleased. Genesis 1:31 tells us that “God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” The crowning achievement of God’s magnificent design, the pinnacle of the first six days of creation, was the human being. The psalmist writes, “What is man that you take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than God, and you crown him with glory and majesty” (Psalm 8:4-5). God made Adam and Eve to represent himself to the earth. They were given differences, yet they were designed for perfect and permanent unity. They were given different roles, yet their goals and instructions were the same. Their job was to have dominion over the world, and to fill the world with worshipers of God.

God designed Adam and Eve for permanent unity and dominion over the earth, yet Satan devised a plan to divide and conquer. God’s creation was very good; yet God left room for a great tragedy. Adam and Eve, the second in command over all the earth, failed to rule over creation. Instead, they chose to doubt the truth of God’s word and believe a lie. God had entrusted them with the garden, to manage and keep it, yet they betrayed God. The very design for unity that God had created for their joy and benefit had become corrupted. Eve led Adam (without a fight) into sin, twisting and distorting God’s design and resulting in blame-shifting and curses from God.

Yet God had prepared for this tragedy. From the very beginning, before the first word of creation was spoken, God had a plan to demonstrate his character to the universe. Even as he pronounced curses upon Adam and Eve and the serpent, he provided a glimpse into an incredible plan to redeem his creation. In Genesis 3:15, God promises to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” One day a baby boy would be born of a virgin, and he would grow into the One who would crush the serpent and all he represents. This is the birth of hope, the promise of redemption. In the very curses God pronounced as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, he began to introduce a Hero, a Savior.

I'll probably post the rest in two additional parts.

~ Todd