Summary: How are husbands to love their wive? The way Christ loves His Church. How does God love His people? The way Hosea loved Gomer.

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Renewing Your Marriage

Behold the Harvest!

Men, listen up!

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday! If you have a sweetheart, I’m giving you a 72-hour warning to get your act together!

Our theme for this year of Bible Methodism is to “Behold the Harvest” with an emphasis on the family. This quarter, we are emphasizing the importance of a strong marriage. So, when I was planning my preaching calendar, it just seemed natural to give this message on Valentine Sunday.

So have you heard about Valentine? [P]

In the year 269 A.D., the Roman empire was having difficulty in dealing the stubborn group of people called the Vandals. So Emperor Claudius did his best to recruit men for his army to go and fight and defend the fatherland!

Enticing offers were made…there was always the desire innate within men for greatness – especially on the battlefield! Rome was a proud land that deserved defending and any red-blooded man should be running to defend her!

But Claudius was not getting the response he hoped for. There were a lot of men who were becoming domesticated. They were getting married and learning very quickly that life with the wife was far preferable to sleeping on the ground to wake up and bleed to death in some distant and forgotten battlefield.

So Claudius thought he would simply remove that obstacle from these poor men who didn’t have enough good sense to go to battle – he would simply ban any more new marriages! We don’t need men on the home front – we need them on the battlefront!

But there was yet another wrench in the gears: Valentine. Valentine knew that God had instituted marriage and the family, and that a nation must be stronger within than it is without. So Valentine partook of what we would call civil disobedience. He didn’t make a fuss…he didn’t put up a fight…he just performed marriages as usual….well almost – he performed them secretly.

He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.

One night, he did hear footsteps. He hurried the couple he was marrying to escape, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

Valentine tried to stay cheerful while imprisoned, awaiting his execution. But wouldn’t you know it – he sure had a lot of visitors! And they always seemed to come in pairs! And they were always a man and a woman! And they always left as one!

Yes he did! He was in jail for performing marriages – but he didn’t see any reason why that should stop him – and even in jail for his belief in marriage, he continued to marry young couples!

But the plot gets even thicker!…

You see, the jailer had one very attractive daughter. And she loved to come to the jail to help her father. She would help out with various duties around the jail, probably delivering the rations, and what not…but there was one particularly intriguing man who was no ordinary criminal…The jailer’s daughter would often visit Valentine in his cell, and they sat and talked for hours.

She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies. On the day, Valentine was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, "Love from your Valentine." That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D.

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