Summary: A marriage relationship involves working, walking, warming, withstanding and worshipping.

James and Lydia Ramseyer Wedding

July 12, 2014

11:00 a.m.

Over the years I’ve reinforced three expectations for our daughters whenever they would talk about getting married.

#1. Only marry a sold-out Christ-follower. Check.

#2. Absolutely no outdoor weddings. Check.

#3. I want to be your daddy, not the pastor who does your wedding. Two out of three isn’t bad.

Actually, I’m honored that you asked me to bring the message. And I’m glad that Lon is doing all the “official” elements so I can just focus on the joy of watching God do His work here.

A couple months ago Beth and I drove out to Quantico with Lydia to spend some time with James. We toured his base, went to the Marine Museum and then he took us out for some fantastic steaks where we talked about the wedding. I asked him a question about what he was expecting for the message. James told me that he went to a wedding where the pastor preached a 45-minute Christ-centered sermon. I assumed that he didn’t want theirs that long so I said, “So, you don’t want anything real preachy or long, right?” He quickly replied, “Actually, I do want it Christ-centered, preachy and long!”

I’ll aim for two out of three because I don’t think the rest of us can handle long today…

Becca just read from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is a journal that describes the journey King Solomon took in his search for significance and meaning in life. He experimented with everything he could think of in the hopes of finding fulfillment. Most of what he dove into like pleasure, partying, and the pursuit of possessions left him feeling flat and unsatisfied. He described it as chasing after the wind. Everything was empty until he reflected on relationships in chapter 4…

We see five foundations for marriage in these verses. Not surprisingly to those who know me, they all begin with the same letter – “W” – for wedding: working, walking, warming, withstanding, and worshipping.

1. Working. Verse 9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” A marriage won’t make it without a lot of work but there’s a reward when both work together.

Marriage is often described as “getting hitched.” That makes me think of two animals yoked together and hitched to a heavy wagon. Did you know that one Belgian draft horse is able to pull 8,000 pounds? However, if two horses are trained to work together in a harness they can pull 32,000 pounds! Two together can accomplish four times as much when they work as one! That’s the power of synergy. A good relationship has a good return on its labor.

James and Lydia, your marriage will take work but you will find fruit as you toil together.

God has brought you together not just for your own enjoyment but also to work for His glory, and for the good of others.

2. Walking. Listen to verse 10: “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Solomon next describes this committed companionship as walking together. There were a lot of risks traveling by foot in Palestine.

This is a great illustration because marriage is like a trip or a journey. When a bride and groom are joined to each other in marriage they covenant to travel life’s road together.

James and Lydia, as you walk together there will be potholes and loose gravel and confusing paths. You may falter and you may fall but you have each other to hold the weaker one up at those times.

Marriage involves working and it involves walking. There’s a third benefit…

3. Warming. The nights back then were very cold so the couple after working and walking would need some warming. We see this in verse 11: “Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

See your spouse as your companion, as one who completes you, and who you are to live in communion with. When you do, God will bring warmth to you.

After describing the roles in marriage, the Apostle Paul gives a one-verse summary of each of your responsibilities in Ephesians 5:33: “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

James, your word is love. Love Lydia with all that you have, loving her like you love yourself, and even more. Help her to know that she is secure in your love.

Lydia, your word is respect. Honor James and look up to him. Respect him and celebrate his significance.

When each of you fulfill your roles, and put each other’s interests before your own, God will bring warmth to your relationship.

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