PW: “All Rise” As the father of the bride walks her down the aisle
PW: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
Father of the Bride: “Her mother and I do.”
Statement of Purpose
“Dearly beloved, we are assembled here in the presence of God and these witnesses to join Anthony and Kimberly in the covenant of holy marriage, which is instituted of God, regulated by His commandments, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and is to be held in honor among all men. Let us therefore reverently remember that God has established and sanctified marriage for His glory and for the welfare and the happiness of mankind. Our Savior has declared that “a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” , and by His apostles He has instructed those who enter into this covenant to cherish a mutual esteem and love ; to bear each other’s infirmities and weaknesses ; to comfort each other in sickness, trouble and sorrow ; and in honesty and industry to provide for each other and for their household in temporal things ; to pray for and encourage each other in the things which pertain to God , and to live together as the heirs of the grace of life .”
Prayer of Consecration for This Union
Let us pray: “Almighty God, whose presence is the happiness of every condition and whose favor hallows every relation, be now present and favorable to these Your children that they may be joined in the honorable estate of marriage in the covenant of their God. As You have brought them together by Your Providence, sanctify them by Your Spirit, giving them a new frame of heart fit for their new estate, and enrich them with all grace whereby they may enjoy the comforts, undergo the cares, endure the trials, and perform the duties of life together as is fitting under Your heavenly guidance and protection – through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.” “You may be seated.”
Charge to the Couple
The first, the greatest, and the most sacred institution known to man is that of the home. In the sovereignty and wisdom of God it was the home, not the state or the school or even the church that was first created and divinely intended to become the cornerstone of all life on earth. You have expressed the desire to become one by entering together into this blessed covenant with the understanding that God has brought you together and that you are to build a home under God and for God. You are expressing to us that you fully believe it is the will of God that you be married. So you are here today to take your vows, not simply before me, or before these guests, but primarily before God and each other. The Bible teaches that marriage is to be a permanent relationship of one man and one woman dissolved naturally only by death. That is why the Bible tells us that what God is joining together today, no man can tear apart!
Anthony and Kimberly, I remind you today that you are not entering into a social experiment or a living arrangement that might be terminated at will. This is a spiritual exercise that cannot be accomplished without submission to Jesus Christ and mutual submission to each other.
Part of that mutual submission and care is loving one another. We know that the Scriptures make it clear that love is not merely an emotion that comes and goes. Neither is it a circumstance you fall into or out of. Love is a decision. It is an act of the will wherein you decide to relate to each other based on a foundation that is truly spiritual, for true and unconditional love is a fruit of the Spirit.
When we speak about the love of God for His children, we are reminded from Romans 8:38-39 that it is impossible for you to be separated from the love of God shown in Christ Jesus. There is no change, no fluctuation, no gap in His love for you. And so now it is to be your daily goal to prevent any gap in your love for each other. To do this, you Anthony, must follow the Scriptural mandate to love your wife in the same way that Christ loves His Church and has given Himself for Her. This love then is a love of self-sacrifice. You are to lovingly lead and sacrificially give yourself for your family in any way possible.
And you, Kimberly, must also work to obey the expectations of Scripture. You must submit willingly to the leadership of your husband. To do this in no way means that you are to lower yourself or become less of a person. To submit willingly is to do all that you can to fulfill God’s role for you as a helpmate as you honor your husband.
In order for you both to meet the expectations of Scripture, you must know and willingly fulfill your God given roles within this relationship. The role of the husband as the leader and the role of the wife as a submissive helpmate has been designed by God for your own good and His eternal glory. And you must remember that we are not here today proclaiming that “the man is the head of the home” for the Bible tells us that it is Jesus Christ who is the Head of your family and as you are joining yourselves to one another here in our presence today, you are also joining yourselves to Him in this new relationship. Ecclesiastes chapter 4 tells us that “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” It takes two to get married but it takes three for a marriage truly made in heaven! For you and God together make three.
The marriage covenant you are entering into today is also not a 50-50 business contract. It is both of you giving 100% of yourself to the one you love more than any other but God. And your marriage here today presents us with a picture of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. When God first ordained marriage, He designed it to serve as a witness of His grace. He knows we are born into this world as sinners. And even before time began, His love stretched out through eternity and found us in need of a Savior. He decided before we were even born to send His Son to die the death for sin we deserved and give us freely the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with Him in heaven. We must only repent of our sin and believe in the Lord Jesus to enter into a New Covenant relationship with Him and be made a child of God.
And it is because you understand that God has created marriage in order to present us with a picture of the saving work of Christ upon the cross that you have asked me, as a minister of Jesus Christ, to preach a gospel message to those gathered here today.
A Picture of Grace – Ephesians 2:8-9
As we gather today for this most blessed occasion we are reminded of the goodness of belonging to a family. Even as we are here to witness the covenant that signifies the beginning of a new family, we have fond memories of past family gatherings, reunions, weddings, and holidays; times when we were able to visit with relatives and share the company of those who have lived longer and learned more than we have. At times like these, it is important to remember what “family” means. The family has been called the basic unit of our society. A husband and wife, perhaps with children, born to them or adopted by a choice of their love, all of who belong to a larger group, all related by blood or by marriage.
One of the greatest passages of Scripture regarding marriage and family is found in Ephesians 5 and 6. There we read, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Today as we witness and participate in Anthony and Kimberly’s entrance into this marriage covenant with each other and with God, we must understand that a husband who is obedient to Scripture will love his wife just as Christ loves the Church and has given Himself for her. A wife who is obedient to the Scripture will faithfully submit to the leadership of her husband just as the Church, when obedient to her Lord, serves and humbly submits to Christ. And here we are reminded from the words of Scripture that our marriages visibly demonstrate the greatest truth of all time for in this relationship we see before us pictured Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, coming to be born a man, in order to seek and save that which was lost. Marriage reminds us that we have been desired, sought, pursued, and won by One who gave Himself to redeem us.
How is it that Christ woos and wins His bride? What means does He use in order to transfer us from living under the sway of the prince of the power of the air into the kingdom of His everlasting light? How does Jesus save sinners?