A powerful wedding drama combined with a message on just how incredibly amazing God's love is for you!
IT’S A MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP
Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
It’s powerful to see God’s love on display isn’t it?
Maybe it seems odd to think of Jesus in a marriage ceremony…to think of Jesus as being a “husband” to the believer…
But it’s not odd in the Bible.
In fact, the idea of the believer being in a marriage relationship is one of the more common descriptions of our relationship with God.
The Bible describes your relationship with God with a number of metaphors.
Sometimes it says that God is the king, and you are his subjects
Sometimes it says that God is the shepherd, and you are his sheep
Othertimes it says that God is the father, and you are his children.
But it also says that God, or more specifically, Jesus, is the bridegroom (or, we would say, the groom), and you are the bride.
And each of those metaphors tells us something about God.
They’re all important.
The king metaphor tells us that he’s powerful and in charge.
The shepherd metaphor tells us that He’s loving and that He looks out for us.
But the marriage metaphor tells us that our relationship with God is intensely personal.
You can’t fully understand how God feels about you unless you also include the marriage metaphor.
If God is just the King, I could just “know of him”…just like most people back in the day never actually met the king.
But God wants you to see that it’s not just knowledge. It’s experiential
I don’t just know about my wife. I know her.
That’s what God wants from you.
He wants you to know Him.
He wants you to have a relationship with Him.
The Bible speaks of this marriage metaphor all over the place.
Jesus himself, calls himself the bridegroom
(Matthew 9:14-15) – NIV
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
Jesus also uses a parable of him being the bridegroom in Matthew 25, which we covered in our Kingdom series in December
The bride and bridegroom language for Jesus and the church is really common in the Book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) as well.
It’s a concept that is even common in the Old Testament
Look at the words of the prophet Isaiah
(Isaiah 54:5-6) – NIV
For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.
But what’s so important about all this? Why is God so intent on this particular metaphor?
He uses it because marriage communicates his deep and everlasting love for you in a way that almost nothing else can.
In this Real Love series, we’ve been exploring the topic of what “Real Love” really is.
And today, I think you’ll see that God’s deep and real love for you is so amazing.
I want to show you, through the metaphor of marriage, that He:
1) Delights over you
2) His love for you is unconditional
3) He’ll do anything for you.
And all of those can be seen in a good marriage
HE DELIGHTS IN YOU
Did you know that God delights in you?
It’s easy to feel like God is mad at you or disappointed in you, but the Bible says that He delights in His people…His followers
(Zephaniah 3:17) – NIV
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
But it’s hard to sometimes believe that Jesus is a groom that would rejoice over you.
I want to read you something from Joni Eareckson Tada.
She is a famous Christian speaker and writer who was paralyzed in a diving accident as a teenager.
Let me read you what she wrote about her own wedding day:
She says, “I felt awkward as my girlfriends strained to shift my paralyzed body into a cumbersome wedding gown.
No amount of corseting and binding my body gave me a perfect shape. The dress just didn't fit well.
Then, as I was wheeling into the church, I glanced down and noticed that I'd accidentally run over the hem of my dress, leaving a greasy tire mark.
My paralyzed hands couldn't hold the bouquet of daisies that lay off-center on my lap.
And my chair, though decorated for the wedding, was still a big, clunky gray machine with belts, gears, and ball bearings.
I certainly didn't feel like the picture-perfect bride in a bridal magazine.
I inched my chair closer to the last pew to catch a glimpse of my almost husband Ken in front.
There he was, standing tall and stately in his formal attire.
I saw him looking for me, craning his neck to look up the aisle.
My face flushed, and I suddenly couldn't wait to be with him.
I had seen my beloved.
The love in Ken's face had washed away all my feelings of unworthiness.
I was his pure and perfect bride.
She concludes, “How easy it is for us to think that we're utterly unlovely; especially to someone as lovely as Christ.
But he loves us with the bright eyes of a Bridegroom's love and cannot wait for the day we are united with him forever.”
The Bible, in fact, uses this same language about God’s love for you:
(Isaiah 62:5) – NIV
As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
That’s God’s love for you!
He’s craning his neck looking to see you coming!
He’s so excited to see you!
You may feel completely unworthy of Him, but the truth is, He can’t wait to spend more time with you!
And He doesn’t just delight in you, He offers you unconditional love.
The rest of the world puts all sorts of conditions on love.
If you, as my friend, betray me in this way, it’s over.
If you do this in our marriage, it’s over.
Not so with God.
When you walk down the aisle with God, and you start a relationship with Him.
That’s part of the reason he uses the marriage metaphor.
It’s a binding relationship
Once we’re in it, we’re in it.
We are His.
And nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
Let me tell you about yet another example of the marriage metaphor in the Bible.
About 800 or so years before Jesus, there was a prophet named Hosea.
A man who heard clearly from God, and God told him some challenging things
For instance, look at what God says to Hosea:
(Hosea 1:2) – NIV
2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
During the time of Hosea, God’s people were incredibly unfaithful to him.
They ignored him, and they lived for their own wealth, success, and pleasures.
They even worshipped other false gods.
And God, using the marriage metaphor once again, says to them: This is what it’s like:
We’re married to each other…but you continue to cheat on me.
Over and over and over again.
Just like we do today:
We give God lip service, but our real God is money
Or…We say we believe in God, but we’re really controlled by our anger…or our emotions.
And yet…God stays.
He never leaves us.
He never stops loving us.
His love…real love…is unconditional.
HE’LL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU
But it’s even more.
If you read on in Hosea…
He indeed does marry the adulterous woman, and at first, she stays with him.
They even have 3 kids together.
But then…his wife is unfaithful…again.
And she leaves him…into the arms of another man.
Even worse…life has gotten so bad for her…that apparently…she’s now a street walking prostitute…and she’s for sale.
It’s gotten so bad…she’s owned by some pimp, and is for sale….like a slave.
And this is what God then says to Hosea:
(Hosea 3:1-2) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.” 2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine.
This is God’s love for you!
I want you to think about this picture!
Because Hosea’s wife…is you.
That’s the metaphor!
You’ve sinned so much…done so much wrong in God’s eyes.
And if we’re completely honest, there are times in our lives where we feel so broken…so messy…so worthless…that it feels like no one wants us.
No one besides your sin.
No one besides your addiction, your drink, your anxiety, your depression.
And they bid for your life.
And as you stand there, a slave to your sin, on the auction block…you hear the voices call out…
Who’s going to get control of your messed up life?
And your addiction cries out from the crowd: $50!
And your depression cries out $100!
You’re a mess! No one wants you!
And your anger ups the ante: $200!
You feel worthless! Who even wants you?!
And resentment yells $250!
And alcohol yells back $300!
And just when it feels like your life is going to spiral into a pit of darkness, you hear from the back: “$1,000”
And you look up…and it’s Jesus.
He wants you!
That’s what the Bible is saying here.
That’s what we wanted to show you with this wedding today…
Even when it seems like no one wants you, and the whole world thinks you’re a mess…Jesus wants you.
That even when there is nothing lovable about us…
Even if we were a prostitute walking the streets, who’s now up for sale…that God would buy you back.
And I submit to you this morning, that THAT is the main story of Christianity.
That God loves you so much, that he would buy you back.
You were, of course, originally his.
He created you at your birth. He gave you life.
But we fall away from Him as time goes on.
We stray and we wander.
And we sin. A lot.
And the Bible says that sin separates us from God.
Who is holy.
Our sin makes us guilty…and deserving of justice…of punishment.
We stand to be condemned when life is over.
What we deserve is not eternal paradise, but for our sin, we deserve eternal punishment. Hell.
But God loves you… He loves you.
And he wants to buy you back from your sin.
So He sent His son Jesus (this is what Christianity is all about), to die on the cross, to take your place.
To die on the cross and take your punishment for you.
Look at how Paul describes this in Ephesians, while using the marriage metaphor:
(Ephesians 5:25) – NIV
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
He gave himself up for the church (his wife!), because he loved her!
But you must understand something about God’s love:
It is indeed an OFFER.
It’s a choice.
Love is always a choice!
Love can never be forced upon someone.
And God will not force himself upon someone and make them choose Him.
Many people in this world do not want to choose God.
They’d rather not believe and surrender their lives to Him.
But, you’ve got to know, that if you choose that, it will lead to separation from God, which will lead to Hell.
Jesus is the ONLY one that can pay for your sins.
He’s the only one who can remedy your situation.
When you’re standing on the block of slavery about to be condemned, he’s the only one who can save you.
And what a salvation it is!
He doesn’t just save you…He will love you, delight in you, and He will cherish you like no other.
His love is amazing, it’s unparalleled, it’s unconditional.
But if you want it, you have to choose it.
And that’s what I’m offering you today:
I’m offering you a chance to say, “I want to give my life to Jesus”
If this is who Jesus is…if He died for me…if he loves me like this…then I want to follow Him.
This is how you are forgiven…and made right with God
(Romans 10:9) - NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
And for some of you in this room, I think today is the day that you make that decision.
Because it is a decision…to believe or not.
In fact, it is the most important decision you will ever make.
It’s a decision that will determine your eternal destiny.
And let me ask you a straight-up question: Have you ever made this decision?
Have you ever told God, “I believe you died for me, I want to follow you…give you my life?”
In fact, let me ask you this: “Would you say, that you’re in a relationship with Jesus, yet?”
Not just…that you believe He exists, but in a relationship with Him…where you get to experience His love like we showed today.
Because if you’re not…and you want to be forgiven and start that relationship…today is your day…
Actually, I want you to just think about it for a moment.
Let’s just have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes.
I want you to just take 15 seconds or so, and think about this.
Have you given your life to Jesus yet?
Do you need to make this decision today to become a follower of His?
So take 15 seconds or so, and think about it. Is this for you? Do you need to do this?
If you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ and believe that He died for you…
If you want to be in a relationship with God and start getting to know His love for you…
I want to give you the opportunity to tell him that.
So if you want to do this …in just a moment, I’m actually going to ask you to quietly stand up where you are.
NO ONE is looking at you…no one (don’t even think about that!). This is about you and God.
This is just a way for you to symbolically say, “I believe. I’m putting my faith in Jesus. From this moment onward, to the best of my ability, I will be a follower of JESUS.
Maybe you are here today and have believed God exists, but you don’t have a relationship with him. You’ve never made this commitment. This is a time for you to do so.
So wherever you are, all across this room right now.. If you’d like to become a follower of Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are.
If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s real. That means…it’s TIME. If you feel it in your pulse…in your heart…that’s God. Accept His forgiveness. Start a new life with Him. It’s amazing!
If you’re standing up, would you pray this prayer with me?
It’s not a magic prayer…but just a prayer to tell God where you’re at… the Bible says, we 1) believe in our hearts and 2) confess with our mouths.
So I want you to say it out loud with me. Repeat after me
IN fact, there are a lot of other believers already in the room, and this is what we believe.
So, let’s all say it together with these new believers.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
(you can keep your eyes closed)
If you are standing, I need you to do one more thing for me.
It will only take 2 minutes, but it’s 2 of the most important minutes of your life.
In just a second, I’m going to pray, and right as I begin praying, I need you quietly sneak out of your row, and go to the back of the room
Our follow-up team is back there by the blue rectangle to give you some extremely important resources to get started on the most important journey in your life.
So head back there…it’ll only take 2 minutes…and you’ll be able to sneak back to your seat during the music.
Let me pray as we get back into worship.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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