Chapel - January 23, 2019 - 10:00am

Preacher 
Chaplain Don Moldstad
Music leader(s) 
Organist: Prof. Laura Matzke

Order of Service

* Prelude

P: In the beginning, God created the heavensand the earth. Gen. 1:1

C: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness”

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen. 1:26-28

In His infinite wisdom, God has chosen to create the human race with specific gender distinctions and the ability to procreate through the gift of sexual intimacy. He has created a unique complimentary nature to the roles of men and women. As Dr. Martin Luther writes, “God established marriage as the first of all institutions, and with it in view He did not create man and woman to be like each other.” Our human sexuality is by God’s design. The chromosomal make-up of man and woman is part of this order from God. The believer acknowledges this:

He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still preserves them. Luther’s Small Catechism

Likewise, marriage between man and woman is not a human invention. It is a gift from God which He has stamped into nature itself. For this reason, marriage has been recognized and practiced throughout time in all lands and cultures. All of society rests upon the foundation of marriage in God’s order, which He has intended to be a blessing for us:

He who finds a wife finds what is good, and receives favor from the Lord. Prov. 18:22

 However, due to the Fall into Sin by our first parents, marriage and human sexuality suffered greatly under the curse of sin, which continues to plague mankind today. Satan quickly recognized the great importance of God’s design for marriage and family life for both the temporal and spiritual kingdoms. Immediately he sought to disrupt the harmony between Adam and Eve, and worked hatred in the hearts of their children. He continues to rage against these gifts of marriage and family in our day, knowing that when they are spoiled he undermines all order of society.   In order to protect and preserve the gift of marriage, God has inscribed the sixth commandment on the hearts of all people:

You shall not commit adultery. Ex. 20:14

We should fear and love God so that we lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed, and that husband and wife each love and honor the other. Luther’s Small Catechism

Because of the corruption of our human nature, Man persists in perverting the wonderful gift of human sexuality in a variety of ways: fornication, adultery, the use of pornography, co-habitation outside of marriage, homosexuality and living under the pretense of another gender. Though our culture may give approval to such sin, God’s Word remains steadfast:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Heb. 13:4

Jesus said,I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:28

Paul explains that, due to man’s depravity in sin, “God gave men over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another… their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Rom. 1

 However, God chose not to throw humanity aside forever. Despite man’s fallen condition,  in His great mercy God sent His Son to redeem all people back to Himself. By His sacrifice on the cross, God placed the punishment for all sin upon Jesus Christ, granting us full forgiveness and grace through Him. As Isaiah writes, “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” St. John also states,

“The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:7-9

To show the beauty and significance of the gift of marriage, our Savior used the setting of the wedding at Cana to perform His first public miracle displaying His divine nature. God continues to bless marriage and through this institution provides the gifts of mutual love, companionship, the procreation of children, and a way of restraint for the sins of lust. Along with marriage He has established the Christian home as Heaven’s embassy for handing down the one true faith from generation to generation.

* Hymn, 190, vv. 1 – 3, O Blest the House, Whate’er Befall

Through the gift of faith in Christ, God the Holy Ghost takes residence in the heart, mind and body of those He has called into the Kingdom of Light, and sets them apart from the unbelieving world. By the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost,” we have been claimed by God as His own dear children through Christ. Titus 3:5

 Paul encourages the Christian to live as a redeemed child of God, when he writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor. 6:18-20

 Even to those who once were previously living in such sins, St. Paul writes,

“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:9

As followers of Christ by faith, we are made members of the flock of the Good Shepherd, who describes His followers:

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow Me, and I give them      eternal life.” John 10:26-27

Those who are guided by His loving voice and strive to obey His Word should expect ridicule and hatred from the unbelieving world, as our Lord Himself has warned:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

It has been challenging for Christians of all ages to live in a culture and society that embraces and encourages sin. This poses a great danger to our faith. Acknowledging our own weaknesses, and our complete dependence on His grace, God desires that we use our influence not to encourage sin, bur rather to help those who are trapped in it to turn to God in daily repentance and be restored by His grace. Such counsel should take place in a spirit of humility and Christian love. St. Paul instructs us,

I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.Rom. 12:1-2

 To that end, let us pray:

Almighty God, who has created man and woman, and joins them together in marriage, thereby symbolizing the mystery of the union between Your Son, Jesus Christ, and His bride, the Church; we humbly pray:

Do not let this blessed work and ordinance be set aside and brought to nothing in our day, but graciously protect and preserve it.

Especially we ask that your blessing would rest upon those who are united at Your altar. So rule them by Your Holy Spirit that they may live together to Your glory and their own welfare in this life, and in the Life which is to come.

Keep all of us in Your grace, and finally bring us to our eternal home, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

 * Prayer Request

* Hymn, 190, vv. 4 & 5, Blest such a house…

 * Blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you (+) and give you peace.      Amen

* Postlude