Marriage Takes Three

Wedding Ceremonies  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Marriage Ceremony based on Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Notes
Transcript

The Wedding of Clay Jordan and Michaela King

Opening Prayer

The Processional

Who gives the bride away?

Her mother and I.

The Message

Ecclesiastes 4:9-129 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. (CSB)
Michaela and Clay have chosen this passage as a keystone for their wedding ceremony. It’s a great passage, but it’s not specifically referring to marriage. It’s talking about companionship and partnership which we can have in work, in ministry, and in hobbies, but the most important and intimate partnership we can have between humans is that of marriage—a joining of one man and one woman for life. I want to apply this companionship passage to the specific case of a husband and a wife.

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.

According to multiple studies, married people who stay married generally live longer than single or divorced people. Marriage partners bring a fulfilling dynamic into the relationship. God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone, so He created a helpmeet for Adam.
O how Adam was amazed by one look at Eve. Clay, isn’t Michaela stunning to your eyes?
The Scripture says that “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.” On our own, we can get unbalanced. We overlook things. Clay, you bring things into this marriage which Michaela needs, and, likewise, Michaela, you bring things which Clay needs. Clay and Michaela, you will be much more productive together than you would be alone. You can encourage one another to keep on keeping on and to follow Christ.
Clay, some of Michaela’s healthy eating may rub off on you, and, Michaela, maybe you’ll learn how to fish and hunt.
Clay, living with Michaela will begin revealing the sinful tendencies in your life. As they rise to the surface, work through them and surrender them to Christ. Likewise, Michaela, living with Clay will bring out your failings. Confess them and submit to Jesus. Follow the Lord together and become better together. Two are better than one.

Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?

From this day on, don’t ever stop lying down together. Of course, Clay, you have your shifts at the fire station, so lying down together will be broken up at times. But be sure to make it a constant practice that in good times and bad, in the middle of joys and after arguments, lie down together and keep each other warm. That means that the couch is never an end to the argument. Michaela, you can never send Clay to the dog house. Physical love is an important part of your marriage, so keep it active and fresh, giving and receiving love from one another.

For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.

There will be times in your marriage when one of you will get distracted from Jesus, becoming enamored by the things of this world. Pray, love, and woo your mate back. Be quick to forgive because Christ has forgiven you.
Clay and Michaela, you’ve been blessed by God to find each other and to have one another. There are many single people in the world who’d like to have what you have, so don’t take your relationship for granted.

And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.

Part of your strength is each other. You’re about to begin your oneness. You’ll no longer be two but one. That is part of your strength. Sin, the devil, and worldliness—these all are possible to overcome because you will no longer be two individuals but one unit. You will overcome it together. You will press on together. You will face sickness and hardship together, and it will be bearable because you’re not two but one. You will experience joy twice as joyous because you’re one.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Marriage is much more than a human contract. It’s designed as a God-created and God-ordained covenant to love each other unendingly as you love the Lord supremely in each of your lives. Many marriages today are built on a human foundation which will crumble under certain weights, yet your marriage will stand for 50, 60, 70 years if you two will continue to follow Jesus Christ together.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. I’ve already talked about how you soon will not be two but one. You’ll be one flesh, but a marriage which is not centered on Jesus Christ is a marriage which has begun on the wrong foundation. Any marriage can be reestablished, but I’m so glad that this marriage is beginning at the right place.
In fact, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 5 that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. As the husband selflessly loves his wife, he displays Christ’s love for the Church. In fact, Jesus even gave His life on the cross to save His Church.
Every marriage should begin at the cross of Christ. Clay and Michaela, as your family grows, keep your commitment to Christ strong at the foot of the cross, and I pray that your children will be brought up to know God and to follow Him.

Taking the Vows

You two have expressed a desire to be joined in marriage. Now “I’m going to ask you to take a vow—a vow that’s made not only in the presence of your family and friends, but also in the presence of God. The Bible makes it clear that God is a witness to the wedding vows. I believe that He’s an unseen guest here today. He hears the vows you make, and He intends that they be kept so long as you both shall live.”[1]
Clay, do you take Michaela “to be your lawfully wedded wife, and do you promise before God and these witnesses, to love her, to comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her so long as you both shall live? Do you so promise?”[2] (I do.)
Michaela, do you take Clay “to be your lawfully wedded husband, and do you promise before God and these witnesses, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him so long as you both shall live? Do you so promise?” [3] (I do.)

Exchanging of the Rings

Groom

Clay, “what do you give as a token of your love for”[4] Michaela? (Best man hands ring to minister.)
Clay, for thousands of years, “the ring has been used to seal important covenants.”[5] The reigning monarch’s ring held the seal of the kingdom and was pressed into wax to represent the king’s authority on documents. In medieval times, “friends often exchanged simple bands of gold as enduring evidences of friendships and good will. Today, the ring has gained a far deeper meaning. It has become symbolic of a man’s love for a woman and of a woman’s love for a man.”[6]
Clay, “you will notice that this ring is a complete circle, without beginning or end. It’s symbolic, I trust, of the endlessness of your love for”[7] Michaela. (Minister hands bride’s ring to groom.)
Clay, “take the ring, place it on the third finger of” Michaela’s “left hand, and as you place it there repeat after me:
“With this ring… I thee wed… and all my worldly goods…I thee give… In the name of the Father…and the Son… and the Holy” Spirit… “Amen.”[8]

Bride

Michaela, “what do you give as a token of your love for”[9] Clay? (Maid of honor hands groom’s ring to minister.)
Michaela, “you’ll notice that this ring is made of the purest of metals. It won’t turn or tarnish with age. It’s symbolic, I trust, of the purity of your love for”[10] Clay. (Minister hands groom’s ring to bride.)
Michaela, “take the ring, place it on the third finger of” Clay’s “left hand, and as you place it there, repeat after me:
“With this ring… I thee wed… and all my worldly goods…I thee give… In the name of the Father…and the Son… and the Holy” Spirit… “Amen.”[11]

Prayer

The Tying

Clay and Michaela braid cords. Read “Marriage Takes Three” (below) as they braid.
Marriage takes three to be complete; It’s not enough for two to meet. They must be united in love By love’s Creator, God above.
Then their love will be firm and strong; Able to last when things go wrong, Because they’ve felt God’s love and know He’s always there, He’ll never go.
And they have both loved Him in kind With all the heart and soul and mind And in that love they’ve found the way To love each other every day.
A marriage that follows God’s plan Takes more than a woman and a man. It needs a oneness that can be Only from Christ—marriage takes three.[12]

The Pronouncement

Now, by the power vested in me as a minister of the gospel and by the state of Louisiana, I now pronounce you husband and wife. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matt. 19:6).[13]
Clay, you may kiss your wife.
I now present to you Clay and Michaela Jordan.

Recessional

[1]Paul W. Powell, The New Minister’s Manual, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, p. 7.
[2] Powell, 7.
[3] Powell, 7.
[4] Powell, 7.
[5] Powell, 7.
[6] Powell, 8.
[7] Powell, 8.
[8] Powell, 8.
[9] Powell, 8.
[10] Powell, 8.
[11] Powell, 8.
[12] Beth Stuckwisch
[13] Powell, 8.