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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Wedding

For those of you wondering why the blog was rather silent this week, it was simply a matter of time - as in, not enough time! Beside working (I am a bi-vocational pastor remember) I was also preparing to officiate at the wedding of my good friends Dustin Butts and Jamie Moore.

I am happy to report that the wedding went off without a hitch! Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Butts are off on their honeymoon before returning in the very near future to Southern Seminary where Dustin will be continuing his education in pursuit of the call placed upon their lives for service in the ministry.

I have asked and received Dustin and Jamie's permission to post an audio file online of their wedding ceremony. It has been edited a little as some of the music did not record well on my DVR, but you will be able to hear most of the service. I am including here too the Order of Service.

Pray for Dustin and Jamie, and their family and friends as we rejoice with them in the formation of this new family. Pray also for those present at the service who do not know Christ. It was very important to this young couple that the gospel be presented clearly to those who need to be saved and so a gospel message was preached as part of the ceremony.

Here then is the link for the audio (available to listen to or download for free) followed by the Order of Service:

Dustin and Jamie's Wedding - July 22, 2006

The Wedding Ceremony
Officiated by Pastor Phillip M. Way
of Maranatha Community Church


Dustin Butts and Jamie Moore
July 22, 2006


* Prelude (Hymn Arrangements – Piano)
* Seating of Families (Song – Piano)
* “Praise to the Lord” (Gordon Moore, father of the bride)
* Pastor, Groom, and Groomsman Enter
* Processional (CD – “What a Beautiful God”)

*PW: “All rise”
as the father of the bride walks the bride down the isle.

* Bride enters escorted by Father (“Cannon in D” – Piano)

*PW: "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"

*Gordon answers, "Her mother and I do."
He takes Jamie’s right hand, leads her forward, and places it in Phillip's hand, who motions for Dustin to come forward and in turn places her right hand in Dustin’s hand.

Statement of Purpose

"Dearly beloved, we are assembled here in the presence of God and these witnesses to join Dustin and Jamie 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 for God’s Gracious Sanctification of the Union

"Almighty God, whose presence is the happiness of every condition and whose favor hallows every relation, be now present and favorable to these Your servants that they may be truly 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 for Christians 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!

Dustin and Jamie, 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 Dustin, 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, Jamie, 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.

Gospel Sermon

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.

And just as important as it is to think about our families, it is likewise of use to us to think about those things families stand for and believe in. One generation inevitably influences the next. Parents teach their children what to expect, what to believe, what to doubt, how to feel, and even how to get along with others in society. Often it is said that our view of God is determined to a large extent by our relationships with our fathers.

It is true. Families know what to discuss and not discuss – and are wise to forewarn visitors and guests. Politics, religion, and sports usually top the list! But of those, only one area that quickly exposes differences and varied opinions is actually of any value. Politicians will all one day leave office, willingly of not. Sports empires come and go. But religion – that one topic is of eternal importance! You see, your religion is either right or wrong. And whichever it may be for you, your eternity is at stake.

I want to take this brief moment to ask you each a question. Do you love Jesus Christ?

Many will hastily confess that they believe in God. Many will agree that Jesus is an important person in history. And there are some of you who will answer this question by thinking to yourself just now, “Of course I love Jesus.” But I want you to think about the question. Do you love Jesus?

In turning to the Word of God I take for my text this afternoon John 14:15. There Jesus says to us, “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” Also in verse 21 we read, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” To further make the clear case, 1 John 5:3 tells us “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” So the Bible equates love for God and love for Christ with obedience to the commands of Holy Scripture. To love God is to obey Him.

So in order for us to answer the question by proclaiming “I love Jesus” we must see if we meet the test of loving Jesus that He Himself gives to us. Are we today giving evidence by our lives that we love Jesus? Are our lives decorated as it were with acts of obedience to the Word of God? Or do we instead live in rebellion to His Word and apathetic disregard His commands. If so, we cannot claim to love Christ. For no matter how we feel about it, love is not a feeling! To love God is to obey Him.

No one should take it for granted that he loves Christ or is a Christian today because he has joined a church and helped swell the numbers of any specific denomination. Judge for yourself – what does your life say about the confession of your mouth? And let us be clear – we either love Christ or we do not love Him! To each one of you I say with all my heart, let the separation be made by your own conscience as to whether you love God or not. Ask yourself right now, “Am I on the Lord’s side? Am I for Christ, or for His enemies?” There is no other answer, no middle ground. No purgatory, only heaven or hell. True or false, right or wrong. No ambiguity.

How can we know? What is the test? Can we be sure that we truly love God and have not been deceived? Again, the Bible gives us our answer. The first command that we must obey if we really love Christ is also the first word of the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the “good news” that Jesus Christ has come to seek and save that which was lost. The gospel is necessary because it tells us what God has done to free us from our sin and its consequences. He is a perfectly holy God and we are each born sinners, lost and doomed. We are by nature sinners and we deserve nothing less than God’s full wrath for our sin. Our sin separates us from Him. And our sin will indeed doom us to the torments of hell forever if we rely upon ourselves to pay the price for our wickedness.

Because we are all sinners the first word of the gospel, the first command we must obey if we love Christ, is the first word He preached when He began His ministry. He said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John the Baptizer preached the same message. The Apostle Peter at Pentecost preached the same message. The Apostle Paul preached the same message. This then is the first word, the first command of the gospel. Repent.

To repent means to reject our sin. It is literally a change of mind. We realize that we are wicked and sinful as we turn away from our sin instead of chasing after and loving our sin. We repent. Have you repented? Remember, if you love Jesus then you must obey Him and His first command and His last command in the Bible is that we repent of our sin.

The second command that we must obey if we are to love Christ is the command that immediately follows repent – it is believe! When Paul and Silas were in jail for preaching the gospel and the Lord sent an earthquake to open the cell doors, the jailor thinking all the prisoners had escaped cried out “What must I do to be saved?” The immediate answer is also a gospel command, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” As we repent and turn away from our sin we must also turn in faith to Christ. We must trust Him to save us. We must believe Jesus. To love Him is to take Him at His Word and do what He says, and He tells us that we must have faith, we must trust Him.

The next command we will examine gives us no room for error. It is the command that just as God is holy so we too must be holy! We must be fleeing sin and embracing righteousness. We must hate sin. To claim to love Christ and at the same time to be engulfed in unholiness is a great contradiction. We are commanded in Ephesians 5 to be imitators of God by walking in love. How can we do this if we are unholy? Unholiness and love do not co-exist. Love is never unholy!

Again, to be very clear, even though you may have attended church or listened to preachers before, you may not know God’s plan for pardoning sinners. You may claim to love Christ without ever thinking that this means you must obey Him! And the first command that we obey to evidence our love for Him is the command that we refer to as the gospel – the command to repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ. Do you know the plan of salvation? Hear it and live by it. You have offended God; God must punish sin; how can God have mercy on you, a sinner? Only this way: Jesus Christ came from heaven and He suffered in the place of all who trust Him; He suffered what they ought to have suffered, so that God is just and yet at the same time able to forgive the very worst sinners through His dear Son.

Your debts, if you be a believer in Him, Christ has paid on your behalf when you were not able. If you will but come and rest upon Jesus, rest upon Him fully and only, God cannot punish you for your sins, for He punished Jesus for them on the cross, and it would not be just of Him to punish Christ and then to punish you, too.

My dear hearer, whoever you may be, whatever you have done in your life, how ever you have lived, if you will repent and trust Christ you will be saved from all your sin and guilt in a single moment and your whole past will be blotted out, forgotten by God and paid in full by Christ. There will not remain with God a single charge against you unanswered because “Jesus paid it all.” If you believe today, He has taken your guilt and left you justified and clean before God.

Another way to look at this is to see that if you believe something then you will act on it. If you believe that you love Christ then you will act like you love Christ! Imagine - anyone can say, “I believe my house in on fire,” but if he wanders calmly down the hall and goes to bed and falls asleep, it surely does not look like he really believed his house was on fire. If a man’s house is on fire, he will try to escape!

Many of you may say, “I do love Christ,” and you will cry at our sermons and feel passionately the conviction of sin, but then you will go home and remain unchanged. Your confession to love that is not followed by obedience will be revealed when your facade melts in the heat of trials and temptations. For you sin and sin often, and then go to church and worship, then you go and sin and go and worship again. You feel the power of the gospel and yet revile it with your way of life. You have been telling lies to God all these years by saying, “I love You,” while you still have not obeyed His voice.

Some of you know this is true. You know that while you have the appearance of being a Christian you are not. You know your life has not changed and you have no power over the evil desires of you heart. You give every evidence of being dead in sin instead of alive to God and yet you do not feel alarmed by this state of affairs! You know the truth. You know and know and know. And you feel and feel and feel again, yet your sins, your self-righteousness, your carelessness, and your wicked willfulness cause you to say, “I love God,” while you never really do. You lie to God with your very life. Your faith is dead or it would produce the fruit of good works and obedience. Dead faith cannot save you.

As I have taken the time to speak clearly to you, if you claim to love Christ but do not obey Him, then you are dead in sin. God will not need any witnesses against you before you are cast into the Lake of Fire. You have incriminated yourself well enough. Before it is too late flee this self-condemnation!

While you have remained unsaved, you have seen others saved, you know others who claim to love Christ and who live like it! The worst of men and women have found the grace that has had no effect or power on you. You know you are not saved. You may not have ever been accused of murder or the like, nothing so bold and evil. But you are still unconverted! You are still saying to Christ, “I love You,” and yet you are still not obeying His Word. You are without God. What a dangerous thing to live life content without God! You are lost!

But remember, I have good news for you. For although for many years you may have made false professions before God there is yet room in the gospel for you. If the Lord will break your heart you will be willing to love the Lord Jesus. If He moves upon your heart in grace you will be willing to rest by faith in the completed works of Christ alone.

As we are here surrounded by the theme of love, let me ask one last time, do you love Jesus Christ? Does your life prove that you love Him? If you are not sure, please make it a point to find me after this ceremony, find Pastor Steve, or Gordon, the father of the bride, or any of the members of this wedding party. For while we celebrate this wedding today we remember that there is nothing greater than for a sinner to come to Christ. The Bible tells us that marriage itself is a picture of the gospel, and this marriage today will be even more blessed if you will confess your love for Christ here for the first time. In fact, Dustin and Jamie have asked that I preach this message for this very reason. Nothing would please them more than for you this 22nd day of July to proclaim, “By the grace of God I will not be a pretender any longer; I will give myself up to those dear hands that bled for me, and that dear heart that was pierced for me, and I will this day submit to Jesus’ way.”


Vows

Dustin, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Do you promise from this day forward to provide for her spiritual leadership? Do you promise to perform unto her all the obligations and responsibilities of a Christian husband? Do you pledge yourself to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only for her so long as you both shall live?

Dustin: I do

Jamie, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Do you promise from this day forward to follow him as your spiritual leader? Do you promise to perform unto him all the obligations and responsibilities of a Christian wife? Do you pledge to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him so long as you both shall live?

Jamie: I do

Dustin, please repeat after me:

"I, Dustin, take you, Jamie, to be my lawfully wedded wife, and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful husband in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live."

Jamie, please repeat after me:

"I, Jamie, take you, Dustin, to be my lawfully wedded husband, and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live."

Rings

As a sign and symbol of your love and commitment to each other you have selected a ring of gold. The ring does not make you married, it reveals you to be married. It tells the world that you belong to each other. It represents these very vows you have taken today.

Dustin, if you would place the ring on Jamie’s finger and while holding it there, repeat after me:

“With this ring, I thee wed – in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Jamie, if you would place the ring on Dustin’s finger and while holding it there, repeat after me:

“With this ring, I thee wed – in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”


Prayer for God’s Assistance

"Most merciful and gracious God, bestow upon these your servants the seal of Your approval and Your fatherly benediction, granting unto them grace to fulfill with pure and steadfast affection the vow and covenant between them made. Guide them together in the way of righteousness and peace, that loving and serving You with one heart and mind all the days of their life they may be abundantly enriched with the token of Your everlasting favor in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."


The Declaration and Kiss

“By the authority committed unto me by Jesus Christ as a minister of His church and by the authority of the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

* Song: “Thy Mercy” – Katherine Adams – Piano Accompaniment

*“Dustin and Jamie would like to begin their marriage by dedicating it to the Lord in prayer and would invite you to pray for them silently.”

Presentation

It is my great joy and privilege to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Butts. Whom therefore God has this day joined together, let no man ever put asunder

*Recessional

Dismissal

“Dustin and Jamie would like to thank you for joining them in celebrating this joyous occasion and would like to invite you to join them for their reception. The wedding party and their extended families including cousins need to remain in the sanctuary in order for pictures to proceed in a timely manner. All others may proceed through the doors directly behind me to the parlor where we will be joining you shortly.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Travis said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Mr. Way. I was very encouraged to be a part of such a beautiful wedding.

Travis Mitchell

4:54 PM  
Blogger blake white said...

Philip,

I never got a chance to tell you, but I really appreciated your sermon at the wedding. I pray that the Lord used to quicken and encourage the hearts of those present. Thanks!

12:10 AM  

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