Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 01 Nov 2015
(also the engagement of dr Francois Louw and Catherine Langeveld)
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
Usually engagement is a time of joy and happiness. What does it mean to get engaged? In the Bible it’s to be betrothed, “a deed with a promise of marriage”. According to the law it is a contract between a man and a woman to get married in the future.
The greatest engagement ever between two parties is between Jesus Christ and you. He says, “I will betroth you to Me forever”. There cannot be engagement if the one party says yes and the other no – both have to agree. God proposes to you, that He wants to be engaged to you. And this engagement is forever, it has no end. How can you say no to that proposal? In fact, if you don’t agree to that engagement, it will be to your damnation in hell forever. And God says that He wants to get engaged to you now. Do you have the ring of Jesus on your finger?
In 2005 in Campinas, Brazil, a group of friends who were drunk went to pick up a girlfriend. The mother of the girl was a Christian, but the daughter thought her mother too extreme. Her friends were worldly friends. The mother was very concerned for her daughter. When these friends came along, she went with her daughter to the car, holding her hand, right to the time her daughter entered the car. And she said to her daughter, “go with God and may He protect you”. Maybe it was because the daughter was ashamed that her mother spoke like that in front of her friends, for she responded, “the car is full; if He wants to come along, He will have to go in the boot”. As the car drove off, the mother stood with a broken heart seeing her daughter not going God’s way. A few hours later the young people were involved in a fatal car accident, and everyone died. The car could not be recognized what type of car it was, but the trunk was completely intact, just as the girl said that if God wants to come along He must be in the boot. Furthermore, inside the trunk was a tray of eggs and not one was broken.
Many years ago there was an actress that was world-famous. Her name was Marilyn Monroe. She was visited by Billy Graham offstage, during the presentation of a show. After she had heard what Billy Graham had to say, she said, “I do not need your Jesus”. One week later she was found dead in her apartment.
Clearly not all agree to Jesus when He proposes. But God is not mocked (Gal 6:7). Take heed when God speaks.
Jesus proposing to us is of most importance in our lives. Have you accepted His proposal, who died for you on the Cross? If you reject this proposal it will be your damnation, and your future will be a foretaste of hell.
In Matt 22:1-14 Jesus tells the parable of the Wedding Banquet. In verse 7 we read how after they treated his message lightly, that the King became angry, “The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city” (Matt 22:7). That is what will happen to you if you treat His invitation lightly.
In verse 11 we read that when the king came in to view the guests, He looked intently at a man who wasn’t wearing a wedding garment and asked him how he got in without the wedding garment. The man was speechless, and the king commanded that the man be bound hand and feet and be cast into outer darkness (Matt 22:11-13).
If you aren’t wearing a wedding dress by this time, let the sun not go down before you put off the old clothes and put on the wedding garment.
When God Almighty promises to engage Himself to you, He also gives you the responsibility to accept his proposal. Note again that you have no say in this matter. It will be your eternal damnation if you reject His proposal. God gave His last drop of Blood on the Cross for your salvation. Woe to you if you don’t give your last drop of blood to Him. May it be written today in the Book of Heaven that you have given yourself wholeheartedly to Him at this engagement service.
He gave Himself because of His great love to you and me. He makes the promise to us that He wants to marry you and me spiritually. He wants to take us, to be like His wife, and because of that He is prepared to be engaged to us.
Let’s look at a few points. Firstly He said that He will be engaged to us forever. It has no beginning and no end, and that is what God’s love and grace is to you and me. He will accept you as His bride forever. Who can say no to that? If a great man proposes to you, you will be a fool to say no. How much more when God Almighty proposes to you! He loves you and promises that He will be united to you and faithful to you. That you will be His forever.
Lastly He says that “you will know Me”. Adam knew Eve and she bore him a son. The same word is used, “to know”, or “yada” in Hebrew. The word “to know” (yada) is used often in the Bible with different meanings, but it refers to a very intimate relationship, and intimate knowledge, of each other. If we have the most intimate relationship with Him, we hide nothing from Him and He so to say hides nothing from us. In Jer 22:15, 16 we read that Josiah knew God and did righteousness and justice.
May each of us learn to know the Lord, because of being engaged to the Most High. Note also that if you get engaged to God, something new will be born out of your life. That’s where you find spiritual blessing, and divine authority. It’s born out of that intimate relationship with God.