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Summary: I believe it’s time we re-think the purpose of the wedding ceremony and the marriage covenant.

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TEXT: Malachi 2:13, 14

TITLE: CELEBRATING THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE

(Valentines Day, 99)

Let me begin by saying that my intention today is not to make anybody feel bad who may not want to participate in the recommitment ceremony.

In addition, I don’t want to make anybody here today feel bad who may be divorced and not remarried. I also don’t want anybody who is divorced and remarried to feel bad either.

What I do want to do is celebrate the sacredness of the marriage covenant.

Divorce is not an acceptable way of handling marital problems. But through Christ we may know the forgiving grace of God. If you are divorced, the past may be truly put behind you in Christ and you may set out on the road ahead with a sense of forgiveness and grace. Do not beat yourself for what is gone, nor plaster over any wounds you still bear. Day by day, offer yourself to Him for what your are, infinitely precious, and receive His healing grace. Although God hates divorce for what it does to people and society, He loves divorced persons. You are not condemned to be forever looked upon as a failure in God’s eyes. Christ died that you might not be viewed that way. Instead, God sees you as His son, His daughter, in whom potential for growing and loving is limited only by your capacity to receive.

The termination of your marriage was a tragedy. But even out of that tragedy the sovereign God can bring blessing, if you will allow Him to do so.

If you have been divorced and are remarried put the past behind you and celebrate the sacredness of the marriage covenant with everybody else.

Marriage Is Forever

I believe it’s time we re-think the purpose of the wedding ceremony and the marriage covenant. So much effort is given today to all of the trimmings and trappings of the celebration. But more thought needs to be given to how we can help couples build a marriage that outlasts the wedding cake that they save in the freezer.

The world waits and looks—longing to see the hope that a truly Christian marriage brings. A marriage filled with the love and peace of Christ that goes the distance.

In Malachi 2 God calls marriage a covenant. A pledge and promise to not only stay married, but also care for one another, regardless of what happens.

I heard about a man who divorced his second wife because she had muscular dystrophy. He doesn’t want to face the responsibility of taking care of her.

That’s not a marriage covenant, that’s a marriage of convenience.

In marriage, as in no other human relationship, the truths of faithfulness, commitment, and selfless love are lived out.

A marriage is not a contract. Covenant and contract are not synonymous terms. A contract is an agreement between two parties in which they agree to provide stated services, often for a stated length of time. But they do not give themselves unconditionally. In the biblical sense, a covenant is unconditional self-giving, for that is what God has done. He has given Himself to us.

Today marriage contracts are becoming popular. “I will provide certain services and accept certain obligations, but do not ask me for myself.” Such people refuse to commit themselves. They reserve the right to themselves for themselves.

There are no genuine relationships without commitment. And that is why marriages based on contracts are doomed from the beginning. Apart from that trust which grows out of the total commitment of ourselves to one another, we are not going to open ourselves to each other in ways that make a lasting relationship possible. And thus, we are never going to find ourselves.

One of the factors in the present situation is our nearly total misconception of love. It is perhaps too easy to blame the entertainment industry for this problem; but they are at least the most visible contributors. For us in America, love is a “squish” feeling in the pit of the stomach. You know the story: “Some enchanted Evening” she or he walks in the room, and boom, it hits us and we’re IN LOVE. Love is thought to be an attraction. So in all earnestness, we go before the Parsons Brown of the world and pledge our undying LOVE to each other. However, curlers and a mudpack are very hard on squishy feelings, as are a two-day growth of beard and a shirt which stands up in the corner by itself. Even harder are the discoveries that he has the most incredible habits or that her idiosyncrasies you used to think were cute are maddening after a month of total exposure to them. What to do? “Well, we don’t love each other any more so it is all over.

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