We have all gathered here in order to witness the formation of a new household. This new household will be made up of two Christians, but once it is formed, it is also going to be greater than the sum of its parts. This fact will become self-evident with the arrival of children, but this larger reality that I am referring to is not actually dependent upon the arrival of children. Where there were previously two, there will now be one, but all without losing the original two. Something larger than the mere interaction of two individuals involved. It is a great mystery, Scripture says. We will still have Chase and Heather, for which we are most grateful, but we will also have an entity that we will call the Fluharts. This household will have an organic existence of its own, and will be a spiritual reality, not an abstraction. It will be a unified reality in the eyes of God.
And one of the things that Scripture requires of all such entities is that they serve the Lord. For example, near the end of his long and fruitful life, Joshua gave the children of Israel a striking set of choices:
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”
Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
Joshua, as the head of his house, was able to speak authoritatively for his house, but his household was not contained within him, or bounded by him. He was speaking on behalf of his household, but he was not individually identical with his household. His household extended out beyond him, and was an entity distinct from him. And that household was committed to serving the Lord as a household, just as the head of that household said.
Now this is a Christian wedding for all kinds of reasons. It is occurring in a Christian church. The words of the ceremony are taken from the Christian tradition. The bride and the groom are both confessing and practicing Christians. The congregation has sung two hymns of praise to the Christian God. Of course it is a Christian wedding.
But here is the central thing. This wedding is fundamentally Christian because Christ is present. In the Person of His Spirit, Christ is here with us today. This of necessity transforms everything.
Scripture teaches us that God is always good, all the time. God is always good, in every single thing He is good, and He never ceases being good. But the Bible also teaches us that we are a fallen race, and we live in a world filled with lies, which is why we always have to fight the temptation of forgetting that God is good, all the time. And the only way we can remember it properly is through Christ, through the presence of Christ, through the name of Christ.
As many of you know, yesterday the bride was in a head-on collision car wreck, in which both cars were totaled. And God is good, all the time. Apart from the presence of Christ, the pressure to respond to such things with why me? or why now? would be an overwhelming pressure. As it was, because Christ was present at the rehearsal, and at the rehearsal dinner, and at the car wreck on the way to the rehearsal dinner, the response from everyone was one of overwhelming gratitude. This kind of response is only possible when Christ is present.
We are told to give thanks for everything in Ephesians. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). But notice how we are told to do it—we can only give thanks to God for all things, remembering that He is good, all the time, when we approach Him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is His name that keeps us focused in that way. Only His name can keep us focused.
So let’s go back to Joshua’s declaration. As for him, and for his house, they will all serve the Lord. In such homes, God is good, all the time. When the blessings abound, He is good. When hard times seem unrelenting, He is good. And this is why, in a Christian wedding, we can dare to say things like “in plenty and in want,” or “in joy or in sorrow.” This is to be a Christian house, and Christ will be with you, and this why you will always be able to say, “God is good, all the time.”
How would it be possible for God to be a distant angry sky God, hurling thunderbolts at you, when His own Son is right there together with you? The storms may rage, but Christ is there in the boat with you. The wind and the waves will not continue one second past what their Master tells them.
Chase, you are not the sum total of this household, but you are to be its head. You are responsible to assume that responsibility, and to assume it gladly. That is what true masculinity is—the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility. You are responsible to speak for your household, and to live in such a way as that when you speak, such a declaration is not a string of hollow words. You are responsible to lead your household, and in such a way that every member of the household responds to you with a glad amen. That means that you must do all in the name of Christ.
Heather, you are charged to follow your husband, and to follow him gladly. Our generation has turned the word submission into something that is drudgery at best and tyrannical oppression at the worst. But for us who believe—remember, when Christ is with us—submission is our true liberty. Your husband’s submission to God and His Word, and your submission to your husband, and to God, and to His Word, is your Christian liberty. Your submission will be to you what wings are to a bird. What is natural in the order of creation, what is unnatural to our fallen world, will be supernatural and glorious so long as Christ is present.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.