Don’t spurn Christ, rather obey His commandments

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Wedding of Jean-Pierre Geldenhuys & Laura Asnicar

Albu van Eeden
I feel privileged to have a part in this wedding. This is a typical KwaSizabantu wedding. In this recipe there is a bit of Afrikaans, English and Italian. It is our prayer that this ‘cake’ will bring glory to the Lord and be a blessing. Something very important is the presence of the Triune God. Without Him is it will be a flop. This brings me joy because I see and know the extent to which God is the ‘foundation, the building and roof’ of this wedding.

I will refer to the notes I received from the bridegroom, Jean Pierre. He referenced a few verses. While Jean-Pierre shared this with me, God’s fire burned in my bosom, I had to fight tears. His thoughts reflected my own heart at the time that I got married.

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Mark 12:29

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37,38

Jean-Pierre’s notes: The thoughts that keep coming back to me are the first 2 commandments. How do we obey His commands? Do we obey His commands? And how do we know to do this? Do we know God so that we can obey? If we do not know Him, we cannot obey Him. Have we sought God so that we may know His commands? Can we obey His commands and bear fruit in and out of season?

37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. Mark 15:37

Jean-Pierre’s notes: This word breaks my heart. Once I sought God, I dwelt on what Christ did for us, (even though I cannot fully comprehend what His death and resurrection imply; it is just too great and too unfathomable,) I then sought him earnestly as one who would die if I did not find Him.

(Albu van Eeden: I received a short summary of Laura’s testimony. It is amazing how similar the two are: ‘Once I found Him, then I understood why I loved him, because He first loved us.’)

Jean-Pierre’s notes: During the Easter conference, the thought I had on my heart was this: How can we not tell every man we find what happened on the cross for their and my sake?

This marriage is all about God because He has spoken to these two young people. They got to know Him. He makes it a success. No wonder that Jean-Pierre has a passion that this precious treasure that he has found and what Laura has found, must be shared on a day like today. This stirs my soul. It awakens a cry in my heart - Jean-Pierre and Laura, may your marriage stir the souls of people and awaken a hunger in their hearts when they look at you in the years to come. Jean-Pierre closed with this quote:

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go into hell unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

I wanted to combine what Jean-Pierre had on his heart with a message for the couple. I would like to combine proclamation of the gospel with some guidelines for their marriage. A portion of Scripture came to me from the Old Testament.

Before I go to this example from the Old Testament, let me quote Rev Stegen, the founder of this mission:

If a woman is married to a man in whose life God is first, she will have a better husband than she would have had if she had been first in his life. The wife in whose life God comes first will be a better wife than any other wife. Rev E Stegen

The story I want to refer to is found in 2 Samuel 10. At the time of David, the bordering nations were the Ammonites. The king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun took over. David pitied him because he had lost his father and he sent gifts to comfort and express his sympathy to Hanun. His advisors, however, said, ‘Do you really think David has sent these people to build friendships only? No, they are spies who want to take your land.’ They shamed this delegation by shaving their hair and beards half way and their clothes torn at the back in the centre and sent them back to David.

How is it possible for this couple to marry in this pure way? It is possible because they heard God’s voice, they got to know God. God sent His Son 2000 years ago to die on the cross for our sins and what did we do? We did what Hanun did to the men of David. We mocked Christ and shamed Him by shaving his beard and cutting up His clothes. We ignore Him. His death means nothing to us. We do not obey Him. We are busy with the pleasures of the world and we will have nothing to do with His Son who came into the world. We brought shame on Christ. We embarrassed Him, humiliated Him and looked down on Him. We lived dirty, sinful lives. We marry a woman because the girl falls pregnant, and we are forced to marry. Some men may brag about how many girls they have robbed of their virginity. We live in a dark world, full of sin. But this couple, accepted the messenger from God, His only Son, as their Lord and Saviour. They received forgiveness from him and consequently they heard His voice when He told them to marry. What a stark contrast to the dirty world out there. Rather they accepted the messenger from God; they did not despise it. They heard from Him whether they should marry, to whom they should marry, when they should marry, how they should marry. Friends, this wedding today is an example of people who accept the messenger, as the Son of God, together with his message and are following in His footsteps.

How different to Hanun. David compassionately sent people to comfort Hanan after his father’s death. But the evil that was in his heart, he thought he saw in David’s heart. This is the mind of the carnal man.

This is my message to Jean-Pierre and Laura: If you want a successful marriage, walk in the Spirit and do not become carnal. The carnal man only thinks of himself, as Hanun did. Then each one is only concerned about his own gains and losses. In everything the carnal man does, there is an agenda for why he does it.

Look at the difference in the attitude of David. He loved the Lord. He was innocent. He truly felt sorry for Hanun. They did not expect this from David because they were enemies of Israel. If we walk in the Spirit, the world will not understand us. Do not be surprised when you try to do good, and it is misinterpreted to become something evil. Hanun was a proud man, a new king who was full of himself and he acted carnally. How many children do that? They do not see the parents’ love; they do not see the good the parents are trying to do for them because they are proud like Hanun was? They have the attitude that when they were born, the ultimate had arrived. They twist the good the parents do for them and make out that it is something evil and aggressive. But one will never fathom the heart of a godly man and woman, a godly father and mother. Their brains do not work according to human psychology. They are unselfish. They do not want the best for themselves but for their children. They have different holy desires, different dreams and ideals for their children. That is why the children do not understand their parents.

Jean-Pierre wanted this day to be an opportunity for the gospel to be preached.

Have you seen the love of God’s love underlying everything He did when He sent His Son? Have you sent the messenger back embarrassed and humiliated? What kind of life are you living? Is He your breath, your life, your everything or are you chasing your own ideals and enjoying the pleasures of this world? I wonder what Hanun will do when he reaches eternity and realises the good that David had intended for him? There are people who will reach eternity and get the biggest surprise of their lives. Children will reach eternity and get the biggest surprise of their lives. They have made up their minds that their parents do not love them, that their parents do not understand them. They turn their backs on their parents and stick a dagger into their parents’ hearts and twist the dagger around to hurt as much as possible.

David was not disturbed by this; he did not immediately strike back. Remember this Jean-Pierre and Laura - do not be quick to strike back. If someone misunderstands you when you mean something good and they read something evil into that, do not be quick to react. That is how the carnal man reacts. David remained silent. He said the men should go to another town. What did Hanun do? He realised that he had angered David, and he gathered his army. David had not prepared for war because he walked in the Spirit. Blessed is the couple who walks in the Spirit. David had not treated Hanun in the way he did to benefit from it, he only wanted to comfort him.

This is the reason why many marriages end up on the rocks. The most common reason for more than 50% of marriages ending on the rocks? Personality clashes. Not adultery. Not assault. Personality clashes – they walk and live carnally and do not walk in the Spirit.

David did not respond to the evil action of Hanun. It is not just a matter of thinking no evil that will be a blessing, but it is also having the attitude of David - to try and do good to others. How many opportunities have we missed to do good to others? You think you do not do evil, but you also do not do good.

There is a great blessing in marriage – two are better/stronger than one. If one does not see an opportunity to do good to others, the other one may see it. If a couple work and live together harmoniously, one of them can encourage the other one in opportunities to do good. If we do it unselfishly, not wanting credit for ourselves, it builds the marriage, brings the couple closer and brings a bigger blessing on the marriage.

When David was attacked by Hanun, David did not say, ‘He’s a young man, just ignore it. It’s not so serious.’ Friends, if we do not accept the Son of God and His salvation, God is not going to say, ‘Oh shame, s/he had such a difficult life, I’ll just close hell for him/her.’ No, David got his soldiers to respond. That is the reality of eternity. How many have accepted the Messenger from heaven, the representative, His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? He cried on the cross and said, ‘It is finished.’ Have you made use of the salvation that He made possible for us? If you haven’t, you can still receive it today?

Jean-Pierre and Laura, do you want your marriage to be successful? Walk in the Spirit. Have the attitude of David. Do good to one another. Let each one respect the other as higher than himself. Do not be quick to answer. Pray before you answer and speak. Life will continue. Responsibilities will come. You will be pushed into corners due to circumstances or work obligations. Walk in the Spirit. Be slow to respond and do not forget to be good to one another. Do not forget to do something special for one another, so that it will be a testimony to everyone.

How I rejoiced when I received this message for this wedding. It is made by God. May He remain the centre of your marriage.

Rocket

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