Vincent & Christine
- Declaration. Our help is the name of the LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth.
- Sing: How great thou art
- Scripture reading
- Our Father
- Marriage ceremony
- Sing (with bride and groom still kneeling): Benediction
- Signing of register
Scripture Reading: John 15: 1- 17
Text verse: John 15: 4
Theme: Stay in Christ – for a good marriage
|13/05/06||Benoni (Vincent & Christine)|
John 15: 1 – 17
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Liewe Christine & Vincent
1. “Trou is nie perde koop nie”. So het die ou mense gesê, en so gaan die spreekwoord vandag nog. For our English guests, that is a figure of speech that translates to: “To marry is not the same as buying a horse”!
1.1. This figure of speech comes from the time when horses were cheap! You bought them in a bundle at an auction. In that bundle there were horses fit for ploughing, pulling a horse-cart, to ride on, to use to teach children to ride, to breed with, etc. If there were two or so that you couldn’t use, you slipped them into the next bundle you were auctioning off! And if was very bad, you shot it, and sold it as feed to the zoo.
1.2. Now, I’m sure you can see why marriage and horses can’t be compared! You can’t sell your husband or wife at an auction, and still less – you can’t shoot him or her! Yes, you are going to make some vows to the other – and those are binding for the rest of your lives.
1.3. But, if you look at society today, who could easily think that marriage and the buying of horses are comparable. Marriage partners are getting rid of each other like nothing – and you sometimes even hear of some shooting the other! More than half the marriages that are entered to in SA today, will end in the divorce court. And, the thing is, no one enters into marriage with the intention of getting divorced! No, we all start out with the best of intentions and expectations. So you, also. But are you also going to exit a divorce court in the future? Heartbroken and sad? Devastated? Case number so and so between so and so done? Is there something you can do to prevent you from falling victim to this bad statistic?
2. I do believe that there is something you can do, and are indeed already doing! You are starting your marriage in an ecclesiastical ceremony – in the church. You are not just moving in with each other, you are not getting married in a court of law. The reason for that is well known – you are both Christians.
2.1. So, what is Christianity about? For the world out there, it sometimes has, at the best, something to do with holidays and gifts – like Christmas and Easter. But, as Christians, we know that it is about a lot more! We read something about the essence of Christianity in John 15: 13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.
2.1.1. That is Jesus speaking! We know this about Christ: Together with the Father and Holy Spirit He is eternal God. He lived in heaven, served by angels. He had everything He needed or wanted. Indeed, He doesn’t need you or me! But what did He do? He became human. And He was ridiculed, mocked, betrayed by one of those nearest to Him - Judas. He was flogged, spitted on, falsely accused, wrongfully convicted, and hanged on a cross – like a murderer, a criminal. And even before He came down from heavens, He knew this was going to happen – because He is, in His own words, our friend! Your friend, Vincent & Christine!
2.1.2. But, He didn’t only die! He also arose from the grave. He conquered death – so that His friends can have a new life – with Him! Yes, He died for our sins, but now His friends – the true believers – have eternal life with Him.
2.1.3. So – at the start of your married life, you already have an enormous advantage – it isn’t the old Vincent & Christine getting married, it is the new Vincent & Christine! You are reflecting something of your best ever Friend in your lives, and in your marriage because you are rooted in Him.
2.2. This friendship with Christ you must treasure above all. Life isn’t for sissies, they say. Yes, all kinds of things happen. Life is busy. Children need to be tended. Pressure at work. Even some quarrels between you. And it is so easy to forget our best Friend! We forget in these kinds of situations to make time for Him. We all know what happens if we don’t make time for our friends – the friendships wither, and die. The friendship is terminated. So – tend this friendship with Christ, and you are not going to be part of the statistics.
3. In verses 1 – 3 we learn something else about tending this friendship with Christ: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
3.1. The picture Jesus draws is easy to understand. Jesus Himself is the Vine, the main branch of the grape plant. His Father is the Farmer that tends to the vine. He wants real friends for His Son, that are rooted in Him. So: the Father is looking after the friends of Jesus. He does two things to ensure healthy branches on the Vine:
3.1.1. The first is that He “takes away” every branch that doesn’t bear fruit. But, if you read the KJV, you will see a footnote that says this could also be translated with “lifts up” (αἴρω). This is the better translation. Everybody that knows something about vineyards will know that a good farmer constantly walks through the vineyard, looking for branches that fell from the carriers onto the ground. If it is left there, it will rot, die and never bear any fruit. So, the Father picks them up, put them back on the carrier. So that it will thrive again.
22.214.171.124. This is something that is bound to happen in the lives of friends of Jesus. They get down times in their lives. You are still “in Christ”, but you are not performing like you could or should. It is in these times that the Father lifts us up, picks us up again. This He does through different means, but one of His methods is through our marriage partners. That is why we make a vow “for better or for worse”. Every time you lift the other when he or she is down, you are the instrument in the hand of the Father to help the other to bear fruit – the fruit of the Spirit, like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control”. As marriage partners – develop a fine tuned understanding of each other – and remind each other that you are anchored in Christ, and the Father will lift you to new heights.
3.1.2. The second thing the Father does to ensure healthy branches on the vine is to “prune every branch that bears fruit, that it may bear more fruit”. We know that an unkempt fruit tree grows wild, with much foliage and many branches, but not much fruit. This speaks about the unsuspected problems in life. Everything looks like it is going well. And “crash” goes something. That “crash” is the Father pruning some piece of you – so that you won’t be growing wildly – mostly away from Him, anymore, but in a controlled way, more to His liking. We may feel that He is unjust, but in Rom 8: 28 the Father assures us: “… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Yes, we are made for God’s purposes, not our own. And the more wildly we grow (that is: for our own purposes), the more severe is the pruning by the Father’s hand. You will be pruned to bear more fruit for the Father.
126.96.36.199. One of the privileges of having a marriage partner is that you can prevent the other from growing wildly. You can warn the other, but you can also console each other in these times – reminding the other that God is active in your lives – and He should be worshipped for that very reason. Yes, you can stand together; help each other to keep perspective. For it is in times like these that we can easily see the pruning as “bad luck” or even as punishment from God. But as friends of Jesus you can tell the other: “See the hand of the Lord in this. What is He telling me/you/us by this pruning?
4. Vincent & Christine, the Bible calls marriage a “covenant of friendship”. Comrades walking through life as friends of Jesus. He made us His friends through His death and resurrection. So that we can live this life. Together as marriage partners through the love of God. That is the foundation of your marriage. Nurture this foundation of love, by lifting each other when the other is down, encouraging each other when the Lord is doing some pruning in your lives. That way you will bear much fruit for the Lord – together. So that your marriage will reflect something of the love that Christ has for His church. That is Jesus’ command: “Love each other”.
5. Marriage is not the same as buying horses. Trou is nie perdekoop nie! Thank the Lord for that. Rather, it is a lifelong covenant entered into, a covenant to – together – be friends of Jesus. Vincent & Christine, if you go into your marriage in this frame of mind, you wouldn’t want to get rid of each other, or even shoot each other! But you will be so interdependent on each other, that you wouldn’t be two anymore, but one. You will bring the best in each other to light and together glorify God.
Sing: Our Father
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted by God, signifying unto us the mystical union that exists between Christ and his church: Christ adorned and beautified this institution with his presence and first miracle that he did in Kana of Galilee, and is commended by Saint Paul to be honorable among all: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined.
If anyone can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else, forever hereafter hold his peace.
And also speaking unto the persons who are to be married, the minister shall say:
Vincent & Christine, I require and charge you both, as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, you now confess it. For be you well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s Word allows, their marriage is not lawful.
Is it your will that this marriage shall now be entered into? What is the answer of you both? (Yes)
Do you, Vincent declare that there is no impediment, in your knowledge, that prohibits you, legally or otherwise, to be married to Christine Bothma here present?
What is your answer? (Yes)
Do you, Christine Bothma declare that there is no impediment, in your knowledge, that prohibits you, legally or otherwise, to be married to Vincent Heylen, here present?
What is your answer? (Yes)
Bride and groom
Vincent & Christine, is it your wish to be joined in holy matrimony, and live together as husband and wife, in the way the Holy Scripture command?
What is the answer of you both? (Yes)
May the Lord, that led you to this decision, strengthen you in your intentions, and may your marriage be lived in the name of the Lord that created heaven and earth. Amen.
You may now present the rings to each other, and then give the other the right hand.
Vincent, repeat after me:
I, Vincent Heylen, take you Christine Bothma, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. And, forsaking all others, I will remain faithful to you, as long as we both shall live; and this is my solemn vow.
Christine, repeat after me:
I, Christine Bothma take you, Vincent Heylen, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish and to obey till death us do part, according to God's holy law; and this is my solemn vow.
Then shall the Minister join their right hands together, and say:
Those whom God hath joined together let no one put asunder.
Then shall the Minister speak unto the company:
Forasmuch as Vincent Heylen and Christine Bothma have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving rings, and by joining hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Vincent, you may kiss your bride.
Vincent & Christine, I now ask you to kneel, so that we can pray with you and for you. Let’s pray.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life: send Your blessing upon these, your servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in Your name; that they, living faithfully together, may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant made between them (of which the rings given and received is a token and pledge), and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to Thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Almighty God, Creator of mankind, who only art the wellspring of life: bestow upon these Your servants, if it be Your will, the gift and heritage of children; and grant that they may see their children brought up in faith and fear for You, to the honor and glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Vincent and Christine, please look up and see the blessing of the Lord on your marriage.
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favor look upon you and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.
Let’s sing, as a benediction to Vincent and Christine
Dearest guests, Vincent and Christine will now sign the marriage register. We ask you to stay seated as witnesses to the signing of the register. I also ask the persons who will sign the register with them as witnesses, to come to the front. After the signing of the register, we ask you to move outside, and await them. After that, they will be gone for a short while to have some photographs taken. In the meanwhile they invite to have something to drink. They will join you shortly. Thank you.