NOVEMBER 30, 2013 – 1:00 P.M.
LUTHER MEMORIAL CHAPEL, SHOREWOOD, WI
THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD
LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ; Benjamin and Paige – by God’s giving a new house (household) begins here today!  What a wondrous gift!  It’s not something you can manufacture!  It’s not something you can build with your own resources.  It’s something you step into – His estate of marriage – His gift - of shared and creative living – of shared and creative loving.


Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain.  The LORD is Yahweh – the one true God!  Unless (He) builds the house those who build it labor in vain.  How does He build His house with His Bride – His Church?  Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…  The Son of God - left His Father to cleave to us!  John the Baptist – was sounding the right note for the marriage of the heavenly Bridegroom.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  It sounds sacrificial!  It sounds bloody!   It is!  It is also beautiful - because His blood cleanses us from all sin!


We might call John – the best man at the nuptials of Christ with His Bride.  His voice will sound forth once again this Advent season – crying in the wilderness of this world!  The son of priestly Zechariah and his aged wife there was none greater born of woman – so Jesus said (Luke 7:28).  In denying that he was the Messiah John once described himself as the friend of the bridegroom who rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice (John 3:29).  The miracle of the ages had occurred – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  God prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry with the voice and the baptism of His forerunner John!  This friend of the bridegroom – this voice - this best man who wore liturgical garb of camel’s hair and leather trumpeted the deepest love the world has ever known  – Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!


That’s how the Bridegroom gives His intimate love to sinners.  That’s how the Lord builds His house with His Bride?  Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.  That is how He brought you into His household Paige – in His cleansing, forgiving, covering of you with Himself in your baptism.  That is how He has brought you into His household Benjamin – by the washing of water with the word.  So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  With breathtaking, sacrificial love Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  Benjamin and Paige – you continue to be loved like that by your heavenly bridegroom!  Benjamin you are now to love Paige like that as your bride!  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves His wife loves Himself.    As Christians are one body in Christ – so husbands and wives are one flesh.  The love of Christ is to be over and under and around and in the unity that He gives today.

DIEKMANN/ULLEDALEN WEDDING SERMON
NOVEMBER 30, 2013 – 1:00 P.M.
LUTHER MEMORIAL CHAPEL, SHOREWOOD, WI
THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD
LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ; Benjamin and Paige – by God’s giving a new house (household) begins here today!  What a wondrous gift!  It’s not something you can manufacture!  It’s not something you can build with your own resources.  It’s something you step into – His estate of marriage – His gift - of shared and creative living – of shared and creative loving.


Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain.  The LORD is Yahweh – the one true God!  Unless (He) builds the house those who build it labor in vain.  How does He build His house with His Bride – His Church?  Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…  The Son of God - left His Father to cleave to us!  John the Baptist – was sounding the right note for the marriage of the heavenly Bridegroom.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  It sounds sacrificial!  It sounds bloody!   It is!  It is also beautiful - because His blood cleanses us from all sin!


We might call John – the best man at the nuptials of Christ with His Bride.  His voice will sound forth once again this Advent season – crying in the wilderness of this world!  The son of priestly Zechariah and his aged wife there was none greater born of woman – so Jesus said (Luke 7:28).  In denying that he was the Messiah John once described himself as the friend of the bridegroom who rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice (John 3:29).  The miracle of the ages had occurred – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  God prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry with the voice and the baptism of His forerunner John!  This friend of the bridegroom – this voice - this best man who wore liturgical garb of camel’s hair and leather trumpeted the deepest love the world has ever known  – Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!


That’s how the Bridegroom gives His intimate love to sinners.  That’s how the Lord builds His house with His Bride?  Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.  That is how He brought you into His household Paige – in His cleansing, forgiving, covering of you with Himself in your baptism.  That is how He has brought you into His household Benjamin – by the washing of water with the word.  So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  With breathtaking, sacrificial love Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  Benjamin and Paige – you continue to be loved like that by your heavenly bridegroom!  Benjamin you are now to love Paige like that as your bride!  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves His wife loves Himself.    As Christians are one body in Christ – so husbands and wives are one flesh.  The love of Christ is to be over and under and around and in the unity that He gives today.


The first sign Jesus did was at the wedding of Cana – so much fine and blessed wedding wine!  But here was a sign from the Father and the Holy Spirit for John the Baptist.  He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘the one on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.  That’s why this best man was so clear in his proclamation.  John baptized Jesus with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  John protested but then obeyed to fulfill all righteousness.  God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us and John points to results of that blessed exchange right at the beginning!   He calls the Messiah – the Good Shepherd - “lamb” - signifying His passion.  Right at the beginning the best man points to His cross.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!


The Passover Lamb (Ex. 12) – the Lambs of daily offering (Ex 29) – the burnt offering without defect (Lev. 1) all the lambs point to this Lamb led to the slaughter (Is. 53:7).  He takes away – bears off – not just sins – but the totality of the disease – sin!  Here the voice of the best man sets the standard for preachers who enter the office that you are preparing to enter Ben.


But today, what about the office of husband - that you now enter?   And what about the office of wife that He gives to you Paige?  God’s gift of marriage brackets the Bible.  From the beautiful, naked love of Adam and Eve before the fall into sin and shame - to the marriage feast of the Lamb in Revelation (19:7-9).  Male and female He created them to be united!  When Adam had no one to love - a bone became his bride.  The rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made (built) into a woman and brought her to the man.  Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.”  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall be come one flesh.


So hold fast to one another in the beautiful gift God gives you today!  The threats against this as all of God’s good gifts are very great both around you and in you!  The threats from the outside include a culture in astounding decay that surely has God’s gift of marriage between man and woman as one of its targets.  That you recognize the threats is shown by the very bulletin cover that you chose for your wedding.  This is how we know what love is that Christ laid down His life for us!  The blood that drops from the Lamb’s wounds cleanses us from all sin and heals all wounds! 

 

Great threats against God’s gift of marriage also come from the inside.  Two sinners who become one flesh in marriage surely do wound one another.  You will disagree!  There will be times when you are disappointed in one another – perhaps deeply!  There may be times when you see the other as more of a burden than a blessing.  You may well deliver verbal blows that wound one another - even unintentionally!  It is so much easier to keep talking than to be still and really listen and understand another.  Yes, today you marry a real sinner – just like you! 


The Psalm verse our Lutheran Confessions use more than any other is helpful here.  It is Psalm 19:12!  “Who can discern his errors?  Declare me innocent of hidden faults.”  Sometimes my bride sees more clearly my errors and faults than I do.  But she doesn’t see the half of it – nor do I.  The reverse view of husband to wife is the same.  Our comfort and our confidence is that Jesus sees the whole mess and yet takes us as His Bride.  With such love He forgives and releases and makes us new again and again and again – presenting us to Himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  This mystery is profound, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church.


The pre-incarnate Word who said it is not good that the man should be alone extolled His gift of marriage also as the Word made flesh.  He was on His way up to Jerusalem to do what your bulletin cover pictures.  On His way he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)


In the one flesh relationship of marriage, it is not good for the two of you to be alone with your own sin.  That is why Jesus would not be turned back from the cross!  The blood that drops from the Lamb’s wounds cleanses you from all sin.  It is the blood by which He says – “With this I thee wed.”  It is the blood that colors your baptismal waters for you were baptized into His death.  It is the blood the living Christ gives you at His table for the forgiveness of sins.  It is the blood that all heaven includes in praise to the risen and ascended LORD – worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seal for you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God (Rev. 5:9).  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing – Yes – he is so worthy - even on your wedding day.


Benjamin and Paige – by God’s giving a new house (your household) begins here today!  What a wondrous estate you step into – God’s gift of marriage – God’s gift of creative living and loving in marriage.  Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain. 

 

As your new household begins to be built together in Him give ear to yet another word from the best man – John the Baptist.  He said, “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.  Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.” 


Your families and your friends rejoice greatly with you today – in chief part because you receive a spouse who rejoices greatly at the heavenly bridegroom’s voice.  What John said of Jesus is true of each of you in regard to your Lord in your life together.  “He must increase, but (you) must decrease.”  The hard work of daily drowning the old man that the New Man may arise - takes on an added dimension for you today.  You are to consider your spouse more important than yourself and put their interests before your own.  Benjamin – Paige must increase and you must decrease as you love her like Christ loved the Church – laying down your life for her.  Paige – Benjamin must increase and you must decrease as you order your life subject to him – in line with him – your God-given head.  You have different roles – different stations – but you have the same Lord.  He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly.  He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away.  In Him you are freed from the need to contend for your sinful throne in the new household he gives you today.  Your building on Him is never in vain.


As Jesus stood in the crowd gathered around John the Baptist He did not stand out.  John’s message of love pinpointed the Savior of the world – come to forgive – Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  By the revelation of the Holy Spirit John told the people where God was present for them. 


John’s message was early added to the church’s liturgy to help direct hearts and minds to where God continues to be present for you.  It is sung to the risen Christ as he comes to serve his Bride at his Table – to fill the hungry with good things.  “O Christ, thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.”  The Agnus Dei directs praise to Him who is present to give Himself to you – still in outwardly unremarkable and humble ways.  As His Bride eats his body and drinks His blood He intimately unites with her.  In faith she receives all that He is and all that has.

 

Benjamin and Paige, we rejoice with you as you rejoice in His voice and in the union He gives you today!  You cannot trust Him too much!  You cannot receive too much of His love!   You cannot love each other too deeply in Him!  The Lord bless you from Zion!  May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!  May you see your children’s children!  Peace be upon you! 


This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a