There will be many weddings this year! Presently, I count eleven. But who knows how many more there will be? I still remember asking you to pray for five weddings to take place during House of Prayer about two or three years ago. It seemed like a prayer that required the kind of faith that could move mountains. But it is different now. I can’t keep up with all the weddings! God truly gives us immeasurably more than we ask for.
In light of our pleasant situation, I would like to share some of my thoughts and convictions in regards to your wedding and preparation.
First, I would truly appreciate very much if you don’t put the pastoral staff in a very difficult situation by asking us to officiate your wedding if you know that your partner is not a Christ-follower. You are aware of professional etiquette in your marketplace. There are some things that you just don’t do in your workplace because it is out of line. The same applies for the pastors whose ultimate commitment is to God and His Word. He doesn’t want Christ followers to marry those who haven’t surrendered their lives to Christ yet.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 6: 14)
God didn’t give us this command to make us miserable but to help us for our own benefit. Through our marriage God wants us to experience a glimpse of oneness that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We will be blown away when we get to taste this oneness in our marriage. And because it is not possible to experience this with an unbelieving spouse, God has commanded us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. When you ask the pastors of New Life to officiate your wedding where your partner is not a believer, you are asking us to violate God’s command.
Second, please practice and maintain sexual abstinence with your partner if you want the New Life pastors to officiate your wedding. We have been brainwashed by the media in the area of sex. That’s why some of you think that it is perfectly normal to engage yourselves in sexual intimacy especially with someone to whom you think you will get married. Once again, God’s Word is very clear about sex. It is permitted only in the context of marriage. Moreover, for us to say, “What is the big deal about having sex with my fiancé or fiancée? We are going to get married soon anyway!” is to play God. We don’t know what is going to happen to our life a minute from now let alone several months or years before you finally get married.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4: 13-17)
Again, for your own benefit, for your future spouse and marriage and for the sake of your future children, practice and maintain sexual abstinence. If you are living together in the same place, one of you will need to move out until you are married.
Third, before you get involved in an exclusive relationship with an opposite sex, please come and share your thoughts with your shepherd (and his wife if he is married). Instead of telling him/them that you have decided to go out with so and so, ask him what he thinks about the person that you are interested in and whether or not you two will be a good match. Your shepherd sees what you don’t see. And of course, if your shepherd needs more help with this, his village leader and pastoral staff are always available. I personally feel much better and safer about those who come and ask me about what I think about someone that he/she is interested in than those who just inform me that they have decided to go out with so and so.
Fourth, if you have received the green light from your shepherd, village leader or pastoral staff about the person you are interested in and have begun to court the person, then by all means, take the premarital class that Pastor Jaemo and Julie offer once or twice a year. Though we will experience much joy and fulfillment in and through our marriage, often times it will be accompanied by much conflict, pain and suffering. You will need all the help you can get for your marriage. Begin with this class!
Fifth, because I am absolutely committed to house church, I have always felt uneasy about missing house church due to a wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday. From now on, please have your wedding rehearsal begin no later than 5:30. In this way, I can finish it by 6:30 and will be able to make my regular house church visitation probably skipping on your rehearsal dinner. If I were to go to all the rehearsal dinners, I will need to miss more than ten house church gatherings this year!
Lastly, please honor God and express your gratitude to everyone who made your wedding ceremony possible especially to the pastors by attending Sunday corporate worship the day after your wedding. What better way is there to begin your marriage than coming into the presence of God worshipping Him, receiving from His Word and fellowshipping with other brothers and sisters in Christ?
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