Hi this is Pastor Ken and thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message.

This past weekend I had the privilege of officiating a wedding ceremony for a sweet young couple. As I spoke to them during the ceremony I reminded them of several things I had shared with them during their pre-marital counseling. I reiterated to them and their guests that though I was being given the honor of pronouncing the newlyweds to be husband and wife, it was not I who was marrying them. I directed them to the truth that is was in fact God who would be taking the two of them and making them one. Jesus said in Mathew 19:4-6 “Have you not read that in the beginning He who created them, made them male and female, and said ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.’” Then Jesus added this statement, “And so they are no longer two, but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together let not man separate.” Jesus was clear, when a man and a woman are married, though one authorized to do so speaks the words, and though a governmental entity endorses the process, it is God and God alone who is able to marry a couple together and make the two become one. Having made that point, Jesus was correct to say that what is joined together by God should not be considered something to ever be undone by any human being.

After laying that groundwork I mentioned to the couple that since it was God who was in fact marrying them, I felt that there were some things He would want them to remember as they began their lives as husband and wife.

First, I told them that I believe God would ask them to remember that it was by His own design and hand that they were made so differently one from another. That it was with great purpose and intent that He designed the two of them to think differently than each other, to need differently than one another and to react differently than the other. I mentioned that God would tell them to always keep in mind He did this for their blessing…not to distract or disappoint them. He would ask them to embrace all of the differences understanding that those differences were designed to enhance their relationship…not detract from it. Finally I reminded them that God would challenge them to see the differences as things of beauty to be cherished and not as flaws requiring change.

Genesis 1:26 and 27 speak of the fact that when God decided to create mankind with the intent that we would reflect Him He created both a man and a woman. Two similar vessels yet containing vastly different qualities and characteristics all designed to be reflective of their Creator, especially when joined together in marriage. While He created us differently than one another, each having our own unique strengths and abilities, He intends for us to see those differences as valuable in assisting us to work together for a common purpose. This becomes abundantly clear as we look at the entirety of those two simple verses. Then God said, “Let Us (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, differing in function yet always united in purpose)make man ( or mankind) in Our image, according to Our likeness; (to act and function as we act and function in total unison) Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (this will be their united purpose for which we have made them alike and yet so different from one another, to manage all that they can see, hear, taste, smell and touch) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him; (God’s purpose for creating mankind was clearly to reflect Him) male and female He created them. (God, being so much greater than we are, needed to create both a man and a woman to be capable of containing all of the characteristics necessary to be reflective of Himself)

Second, I reminded the couple that I believe that as God is joining them He would want them to be reminded that as a married couple they will now have even greater capacity to look and sound like Him. I told them that this would be made evident as they interact with each other as well as with those around them. I reminded them that God would want them to recognize that the design of marriage was intended to complete the process of creating them in His image, and I encouraged them that as they allowed God to inextricably join them one with the other their potential to be more like him became exponentially increased.

I was able to share this with them because God shares it with us in His own word. Genesis chapter two gives us greater detail about how the two verses I referenced a moment ago in Genesis 1:26 & 27 came to be. In chapter two we read that first God created Adam from the dust of the ground. That He saw and stated that Adam was not completely capable of living up to the intended purpose of reflecting God by himself. There we read that to remedy this God took bone and flesh from Adam and created Eve. As a result, Adam was able to make the declaration in Genesis 2:23 that he and Eve were a married couple. And Adam said, (upon being presented with Eve) “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” (Adam essentially said we are one flesh, a term used by God and later, Christ to refer to marriage. Adam made note of the fact that He and Eve were created married) God seemingly endorsed Adam’s understanding in the very next verse where it is recorded that God said; And for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two of them shall become one flesh.

Third, I was able to remind the couple God knows they are human, made in his likeness but not perfect in all of their ways as He is. Understanding that…the opportunity for them to look more like Him will always be right there in their marriage each day. I encouraged them that God deals with all of us with grace and mercy and so He would always want the two of them to use grace and mercy liberally with each other. Love is always increased through these characteristics…never depleted by them.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because of our relationship with Jesus we know that we know that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. As intended reflectors of God it should be no surprise that He would want us to respond to one another in the same way that He responds to us.

I closed my charge to that young couple with these thoughts.  I told them that as God married them and made them one that I could be confident that He would say to them what He had already said in His word. As they are married, they are no longer two, but one. I told them that He would encourage them to think no longer as individuals, but as part of something bigger and greater than themselves. He would remind them that He intends to be an important part of their marriage, and that if they would rely on Him for the inner strength, nothing will ever be able to separate the two of them as long as they both would live.

I was able to tell them that with joy and boldness because Jesus is actually the one who said it first. As I noted when I began today, in Mathew 19:6 it is recorded for us that when questioned about what happens when two people marry, Jesus replied, “…They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let not man separate”.

What a joy it is for me when I am given the privilege to minister to a couple in that special way! I am thankful that I am afforded that particular opportunity with regularity in my ministry as the counseling pastor here at our Crossroad Community Church. I pray for that young couple as I have for each of the many couples I have been blessed to work with and officiate weddings for, that they might have all of the blessings reserved for those who use their marriages to be good reflectors of their Creator, the One who made them one.

So now, with a greater understanding of what God wants you to be in your marriage, reflect Him in every possible way…and go be awesome!