Rev. D. K. Schroeder
John 15, 9-13
July 7, 2007
TEXT: [Jesus said to his disciples] “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 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.”
It’s been 14 years ago this month that my phone rang in my home in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, where I was serving as a pastor. I was informed that there was a young girl from Lincoln who had been involved in a near-drowning incident, and was at one of the local hospitals.
I then went to a local motel, where I met three very anxious and worried people. That was when I met Mike, Darlene, and Adam Harris. They had flown in from Lincoln to be with their daughter Allison who was lying comatose in a bed in the hospital.
The outlook wasn’t good. She had been too long without oxygen. If she survived this ordeal, she would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. She had the best medical care available anywhere. But modern medicine does have its limitations, and basically the doctors had been doing all that they could.
As I recount the hours and days I spent with Allison and her family at her bedside, we talked to her and stimulated her; and we prayed. We prayed that God would work a miracle. St. Paul’s congregation in Maryborough became our support network, and they prayed as well. Allison’s entire future was laid before the throne of our Almighty God, and we prayed that his will would be done in her healing and recovery.
It’s a long story; but to make it short, the evidence of God’s love and healing touch is evident here today as it is my distinct honor and privilege to be able to officiate at Allison’s and Monty’s wedding.
The Christian faith is a faith which is permeated with miracles. The virgin birth of Jesus—it’s a miracle. Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead—it’s a miracle. Plus we have records of the miracles Jesus performed himself. His very first miracle was at a wedding in Cana, where he changed the water into wine. Then there were his healing miracles—he made the blind man see, he cured the leper, he made the lame man walk, and he even brought the dead back to life.
A miracle by its very definition is something that goes contrary to the laws of nature or the natural order of things. In this day and age, people don’t like to accept things that their reason and intellect won’t allow, so they relegate the miracles of God to the realm of myth and folklore.
But the miracle in Allison’s life is no myth. When the medical professionals had done what they could, God took over and worked a miracle. This is evidence that God still can and does work miracles in the lives of his children.
I have chosen as your wedding text today a portion of John’s gospel where Jesus is speaking about love. He has openly shown you his love in your lives, and he will continue to do so as he blesses your married life together.
The Christian views love in a unique way. It isn’t based upon romance, or feelings, or upon other flimsy criteria. Rather, it is based upon the love of Jesus. Husbands and wives are to love each other in the same way that Jesus has loved us. This is a sacrificial love, which involves putting someone else ahead of one’s self. And it is a love which can never wane or cease.
Sin is a problem in this world, and it will affect you and your marriage. You might not realize it now, and you might not think it will be a problem; but it will, trust me. Sin is the cause of 50% of the marriages in this country which end in divorce, and that isn’t God’s plan for husbands and wives at all.
However if your faith is firmly placed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you will receive forgiveness for your sins, just as if they never happened at all. Jesus’ love for you took him all the way to the cross on Calvary, where he paid for your sins and the sins of the whole world in full. He loved you so much that he gave his life for you.
Therefore, a love which is Christ-like will be forgiving and accepting. You are to forgive each other like Christ forgave you, and love each other all the more. If you keep this perspective intact, you will indeed have a strong marriage.
You have chosen to be married in a Christian wedding, which means that you want God’s blessing on your life together. In order to do that, look to the Bible which will tell you what God’s will is for your life. Jesus asks you to do what he commands out of love for him, and he is to be your first and most important love.
God has worked a miracle in your lives. You are able to get married today because God worked a healing miracle. You are able to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour because God the Holy Spirit worked the miracle of faith in your hearts. Our God is indeed a God of miracles.
Therefore, always keep your priorities straight. Strive with his help to make your home a Christian home. Keep Jesus as your central focus. He promises that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Just keep asking for his strength and blessing in your life together.
Dear Lord Jesus, as you blessed the marriage feast at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, we ask you now to bless us all as we are assembled here today. We thank you for the many blessings you have shown to each of us in our lives, and we praise you as the Lord and Saviour of our lives.
We ask your continued blessing upon Allison and Monty, that they may be your faithful servants, always mindful of your rightful place in their lives.
As we prepare to partake of this meal, we thank you for the daily nourishment you provide us from your bountiful, gracious, and loving hand.
We pray this in your name, dear Jesus; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.