Greetings church family,
I know I speak for all of us when I express a hearty congratulations to Braydon & Caroline Turpin on their recent nuptials! After a two-week delay due to corona virus diagnoses within their families, they finally succeeded in their second attempt to marry, on March 25. As you have opportunity to do so, congratulate them in the days ahead! I know that we as a church family rejoice with them as they celebrate this time of love and gratitude, and as they begin their new life together. Some of you know already, but they purchased a house back in the fall, here in Walnut Cove, and have been working feverishly [along with Caroline’s father] to renovate much of the house so as to be able to move in together at the time their marriage begins.
As I write this, Braydon is taking a week off from work to enjoy a honey-moon with his bride. Though they hope to slip out of town for a couple of nights, I know they want to spend time in their new house together, and attempt to begin settling in. Indeed, because of their hard work – construction-wise, financially, emotionally, etc. – they have turned this house made of brick into a home filled with love. I am encouraged that the Turpins were so eager to find a home here in Walnut Cove, because they genuinely sense a call of God to this church family, and this community. It is a sign to me of Braydon’s long-term vision to serve as a part of our church. That he and his wife want to set down roots among us here in this town is a comfort to me, and I hope you are comforted too!
Many of you have been married for thirty years, or fifty. We have couples in our church that have celebrated sixty years! Others of you have buried a spouse. I do hope that you’re able to fondly remember your wedding day despite your loss. As you contemplate your own wedding day, I ask you to consider a few things…
Ephesians 5, beginning in about verse 22, gives us a beautiful portrait of marriage. In this text, the Apostle Paul writes about the parallels between the love shared between a husband and wife, and the love shared between Jesus and us, His Church. Paul gives instructions to wives [and before ladies want to take issue with the word “submit”, let’s all agree that a higher bar is set for the gentlemen] and husbands. In his instructions, he tells ladies how to treat their husbands. He also tells men to treat their wives as the Christ treats His bride! We all know that for the Bride of Christ, He laid His life down upon Calvary’s cross. When husbands faithfully do this, wives would gladly submit to this kind of high-quality leadership. Ephesians 5 clarifies an order within the home that reflects the order within creation. Husbands lead by serving in a selfless, sacrificial love. Wives have a place, children have a place, and [in Colossians] Paul even talks about how servants have a place. Order within the church should reflect order like the home also.
In addition to giving instructions to husbands and wives, Paul teaches us that the example has been set by Jesus. I am thankful that we – the Church – are the Bride of Christ, whom He redeemed at a great cost. Because of His great unconditional love for me, I want to yield to His leadership. Not only are husbands and wives taught by the example of Jesus, but by following Paul’s word of instructions, they are living out an example of Christian love! It’s a full-circle testimony.
I can’t help but to ponder the husbands and wives in my life: grand-parents, friends, parents, aunts, uncles, many within my home church family, and many of you within our First Baptist family. Though they are imperfect sinners, so many of these couples have put into practice a love that helps me see the love of Jesus a bit more clearly. Many have pointed me toward Jesus in beautiful ways. In seeing my grandmother’s way of adoring my grandfather, I am reminded of the ways Jesus is worthy of my adoration. In seeing a particular uncle’s radical sacrifice for his wife, I am reminded of the awesome way [and continued WAYS] the Messiah loves me selflessly. I am thankful for these couples and their testimony of what love can and ought to look like.
I pray for Braydon and Caroline. I pray that we might see the ways in which they care for one another and see the love of Jesus on display. I pray that they look to Jesus for their source of this love, and that they actively work to put into practice the love of Jesus as Paul clarifies to the Ephesians. I pray that 50 years from now, 25-year-old kids preparing for marriage look to the Turpins and see what a biblical marriage could look like. In so doing, may they come to better see and appreciate God’s love for us in looking at the Turpin home! I ask that you join me in this prayer also.
I’ve been picking on this one couple, but may these truths be applied to all of our marriages. May we seek to live out Ephesians 5, may we seek to bear witness in our homes, and may our very lives be a testimony of Jesus’ love within our hearts. Many of you know that Philippians 2 is one of my favorite passages. In this text, we’re called to put the needs of others ahead of our own needs. This is true of every degree of human relationship, which makes it especially true in the relationship between a husband and wife. The love with which Jesus loves us is a sacrificial love, an unconditional love, and a selfless love. May we work to love others in this way, especially our spouse. For this reason, I call marriage “a race to the bottom”. When husbands and wives strive to out-serve one another, we’ll show the world how Jesus loves us!
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way;
lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace,
to a place where we’ll be safe,
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds