Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Unexpected Grace, Day 5

Leslie Basham: Before we begin today's story on Revive Our Hearts, we're going back to the archives. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 2002.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I was talking with someone about The Sound of Music recently, and we were talking about the different dreams that we had when we watched that movie as children. One woman said that she had a dream about growing up and getting to go to Europe because of all the beautiful scenery.

Another woman said she watched that movie and, after she saw how hard it was having all those children, she dreamed of growing up and never getting married or having children. I said I saw that movie when I was a kid, and I dreamed of growing up and marrying a widower with six children! 

Leslie: Fast forward to 2015. Today we'll hear how Nancy did marry a widower—with two daughters. And like the Von Trapps in The Sound of Music, they all like to sing. Today we'll hear excerpts from Robert and Nancy's wedding.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Friday, November 20, 2015.

Most weddings have elements in common, but each wedding also has unique qualities—aspects that reflect the individual tastes and priorities of the couple getting married. Nancy and Robert Wolgemuth were no exception. If you watched their wedding last weekend via the Internet, you might have noticed more Scripture than usual at their wedding.

In fact, just days before the wedding, we asked Nancy about it.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: There's a lot of Scripture in this wedding, and we wanted that to be the case. In fact, we opened with a six-minute Scripture reading that Robert and I pre-recorded, where we've selected passages from both the Old and New Testaments that tell the great wedding story of Christ's love for His Bride [the Church] right from the Word of God.

Robert Wolgemuth: "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3).

Nancy: "Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you" (Ps. 63:3).

Robert: "I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy" (Hosea 2:19).

Nancy: "For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 54:5).

"If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11).

Robert: "Love one another earnestly from a pure heart" (1 Peter 1:22).

Nancy: "The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved speaks and says to me . . ." (Song of Songs)

Robert: "Arise my love, my beautiful one and come away" (Song of Songs)

Nancy: "Wives submit in everything to their husbands" (Eph. 5:22).

Robert: "Behold, the winter is past" (Song of Songs 2:11).

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . Let each one of you love his wife as himself" (Eph. 5: 25, 28).

Nancy: "And let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Eph. 5:33).

Robert: "Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like a roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, "'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory'" (Rev. 19:6–7).

Nancy: "For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7).

Robert: ". . . the free gift of the water of life . . ." (Rev. 22:20).

Nancy: "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon'" (Rev. 22:21).

Robert: "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:21).

Nancy: "Make haste, my beloved" (Song of Songs 8:14).

Robert: "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood . . . to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:5–6).

Robert and Nancy: "Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus with love incorruptible. Amen!" (Eph. 6:24).

Leslie: The Scripture verses we just heard set the tone for the Wolgemuth-DeMoss wedding last Saturday.

Nancy: Throughout the ceremony, we sang some of the great hymns that exalt Christ, starting with "Crown Him with Many Crowns," lifting up the name of Jesus and saying, "We want to exalt Him."

Congregation Singing: "Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne . . ."

Nancy: Over the past months as Robert and I have been planning this wedding together, Robert and I have said over and over again that our goal for this day and for the rest of our married lives together is to showcase the loveliness of Christ.

We've tried to do that in a lot of different ways in this wedding ceremony, starting with, as people walked into the sanctuary (a beautiful sanctuary!), there would be two large banners that say, "Unto Him be the Glory," and "Worthy is the Lamb." We wanted everything to point to Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom, and to give people a taste for how lovely and amazing He is as our Savior! Leslie: The wedding was officiated by Dr. Bill Hogan, who was Nancy's pastor for many years.

Dr. Bill Hogan: On behalf of Robert and Nancy, it's my privilege and pleasure to welcome all of you here this afternoon. I know this is an event that many of you have been waiting for with excitement—an unexpected event!

You will observe that there are no bridesmaids, no groomsmen, in the ordinary sense. That's because the bride and the groom want you all to feel that you are attendants and not just observers. You're participating in this beginning of a new family, a new life together.

The invocation will be offered now by Dr. George Grant.

Dr. George Grant: Worthy is the Lamb! To Him be the glory forever and ever! Let us give thanks to the Lord, whose steadfast love endures forever! Great and marvelous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the ages. Who will not fear You?

Who will not worship and bow down before You, for your righteous deeds have been made known. All nations will come and worship before You, giving thanks to You for Your everlasting kindness, Your sovereign mercy, Your steadfast love, Your good Providence.

We who have tasted redemption, accomplished and applied, now proclaim the name of the Lord Jesus over the household of Robert and Nancy, pleading the grace and the mercy of our Mighty God, holy, immortal, our Lord and Savior, forever and ever! This is our prayer. Now come, anoint us with Your Spirit, fill us with Your love. Let our hearts be full of choruses of hallelujahs—this day and forever. We pray it in the great name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen and amen.

Leslie: Keith and Kristyn Getty led some of the singing.

Keith and Kristyn:

Savior, like a Shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tender care.
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still . . .

Nancy: This may actually be one of the longest weddings on record, but that's because we wanted to tell the gospel story throughout. And so, before we even had the wedding ceremony, the processional, and the vows, our friend, Pastor Ray Ortlund, gave a short message on marriage as a picture redemption.

Pastor Ray Ortlund: Marriage does not appear to be a profound mystery, as the apostle claims it is. In meeting someone new—and introducing my wife, Jani—no one has ever said, "You're married!? What a profound mystery!"

Marriage does not astound us, and that is why Paul alerts us to the profound mystery revealed in marriage. God has put His glory in marriage, and the Bible gives us eyes to see the glory that is there.

Leslie: This is the bridegroom, Robert Wolgemuth, reciting 1 Corinthians 13 from memory.

Robert:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal . . . love is patient, love is kind . . . does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not seek its own, does not provoke. . . . Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. . . . Now we see through a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know as I am known. . . . And now abide faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Leslie: We're listening to some of the highlights from last week's wedding of Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Robert Wolgemuth.

Organ music—"Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee"

The music was carefully selected to draw attention to the Giver of our joy, God Himself.

Nancy: We chose to use roses and calla lilies for our wedding. You might wonder why. Well, in Song of Solomon, one of my favorite books in the Old Testament, the bride says to her beloved, "I am a rose of Sharon, and a lily of the valleys."

Now, what she's really saying is that the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley were  common, ordinary wildflowers in the Judean countryside. She was saying, "I consider myself a common, ordinary girl." To which the groom responds that he considers her to be extraordinary. So he says, "As the lily among the brambles, so is my love among the young women." So we're using roses and lilies to signify our love for each other.

We used the colors white and red. White, of course, symbolizes the righteousness of Christ in which He clothes us. It's His righteousness alone that makes us worthy to be His Bride. It also speaks to the purity of love and marriage, as it has been ordained by God.

And as to the color red . . . We know that Christian marriage is a covenant, a solemn binding agreement between two parties. The Hebrew word for "covenant" comes from a root that means "to cut." In fact, in the Old Testament, the making of a blood covenant involved cutting, or dividing, of animals into two parts. Then the two parties who were making the covenant would walk between the two parts of the animals from opposite ends and they would meet in the middle, where they would make their vow or their pledge.

Well, that ritual symbolized the need for a sacrifice to bring two parties together and it pointed to the "new covenant in My blood" that Jesus talked about and instituted just before His death and His resurrection.

So, the color red reminds us of the blood of the covenant through which two parties become one. Through the blood of Christ, shed on our behalf, Robert and I are being united with Christ and united with each other on our wedding day. 

Dr. Hogan: Robert, will you have Nancy to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, hold and comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to her, as long as you both shall live? If so, say "I will."

Robert: I will.

Dr. Hogan: Nancy, will you have Robert to be your husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, hold him and comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him, as long as you both shall live? If so, say "I will."

Nancy: I will.

Dr. Hogan [to congregation of wedding guests]: And will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold and affirm Nancy and Robert in their marriage? If so, say "we will."

Guests: We will.

Dr. Hogan: I'm supposed to give a charge to the bride and groom here, but I think this is the marriage of all marriages that least needs a charge That's where you challenge them to live up to the things they're promising to do. So I just want to make a few suggestions . . . [laughter]

Last year, the day before our fifty-sixth wedding anniversary, my wife Jane asked me, "How do you explain the amazing love we share?"

I paused for a moment, and I said, "I believe it's because God surprised us with each other, and we never got over it. We just kept falling deeper in love!"

I believe in the value of ritual. Jane and I have a number of them. I'll just tell you about one that is especially precious to me. Every time I leave the house (I should call it the condo-that's what it is), Jane meets me at the door to tell me "good-bye," and she asks me some questions.

She asks, "Who goes before you?"

And I say, "The King of glory!"

She asks, "Who rides beside you?"

"The King of glory!"

"Who follows behind you?"

"The King of glory!"

"Who watches down from heaven on you?"

"The King of glory!"

"And who hovers all around you?"

"The angelic host." You can't be any safer than that, can you? 

There have a been a couple of times, I must admit, when I have forgotten to stop and do that. I get as far as the underground parking garage of our condo building, and I remember, and I go back upstairs, and I find Jane standing at the door, waiting, because she knows that this is a precious thing for us. "Who goes before you?" "The King of glory!"

So, all I can say to you is, keep the Lord Jesus at the center of your relationship. Walk with Him. Let everything be bathed in prayer in His Name, and don't forget the promise of Deuteronomy 31:8, where He says, "I will never, never leave you nor forsake you."

Robert and Nancy: In the presence of God and these witnesses . . .

Nancy: . . . by a holy covenant . . .

Robert: I, Robert, take you, Nancy, to be my wife.

Nancy: I, Nancy, take you, Robert, to be my husband. I joyfully and gratefully receive you as God's gracious gift.

Robert: I promise to love you . . .

Nancy: I promise to respect you . . . 

Robert: . . . to cherish you . . .

Nancy: . . . and to reverence you . . .

Robert: . . . and to shepherd you . . .

Nancy: . . . and to submit to you in everything, as my earthly head . . .

Robert: . . . as Christ loves and cherishes and shepherds His Church.

Nancy: . . . as the Church reverences, respects and submits to Christ, Her eternal Head. As your helper, I will love, comfort and support you and will serve the Lord by your side.

Robert: I promise to give myself for you, as Christ laid down His life for us. I promise to wash you with the Word, so as to present you holy and blameless before the Lord.

Nancy: With sincerity of heart and dependence on the grace of God . . .

Robert: With sincerity of heart [and dependence upon] the Holy Spirit . . .

Nancy: . . . I pledge to you my tenderness . . .

Robert: . . . my faithfulness . . .

Nancy: . . . my friendship . . .

Robert: . . . my affection . . .

Nancy: . . . and my love . . .

Robert: . . . as long as we both shall live.

Nancy: . . . as long as we both shall live.

Kristyn [sings]: "My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who bore my pain; who plumbed the depths of my disgrace and gave me life again." 

Dr. Hogan: By the authority committed to me as a minister of the gospel, I declare that Robert and Nancy are now husband and wife according to the ordinance of God. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God has joined together, let not man separate. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Kristyn: "My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who walks beside; who floods my weaknesses with strength and causes fears to fly."

Leslie: Pastor Bill Elliff read from Revelation and shared some thoughts about the marriage of the Lamb. 

Pastor Bill Elliff: "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God Almighty reigns! Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and the Bride has made herself ready" (Rev. 19:6-7).

Guests: This is the Word of the Lord!

Pastor Elliff: Hallelujah! The joyous, wondrous life we share is just a shadowed view of what we'll celebrate above, as we are wed with You. We live our lives in the shadowlands, as C. S. Lewis says. Everything about this world is colored by this present darkness. It almost obstructs reality.

But what God has planned, and the kingdom He is building, is pictured all around us, simply waiting for the lifting of the veil. And by far, the greatest picture is the picture we see today—this picture of an adoring wife and a loving husband and the marriage of the two, that pictures the coming marriage of the Lamb.

Leslie: And then came the moment in the ceremony many of us were awaiting!

Dr. Hogan: Robert, you may kiss your bride! [applause and cheers]

Join me in the congregational blessing: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

With great joy, I introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wolgemuth.

Nancy: Robert and I have prayed together over the past months that God would use this ceremony, this special day, to minister deeply to the lives of those who participate with us—those who are there in person, those watching by means of the LIVE stream or perhaps those watching video later on.

We've asked God to minister to marriages—to those whose marriage may have gotten just stale, in need of fresh life and fresh love, or those, perhaps, whose marriages are hanging by a thread and no one else knows it.

On the back of the printed program, we included some meaningful reflections on Christian marriage. One, in particular, by Dr. John Piper, from his excellent book This Momentary Marriage, goes like this.

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

Very soon the shadow will give way to Reality, the partial will pass into the Perfect. The foretaste will lead to the Banquet. The troubled path will end in Paradise. A hundred candlelit evenings will come to their consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this momentary marriage will be swallowed up by Life. Christ will be all and in all. And the purpose of marriage will be complete.

To that end may God give us eyes to see what matters most in this life. May the Holy Spirit, whom he sends, make his crucified and risen Son the supreme treasure of our lives. May that Treasure so satisfy our souls that the root of every marriage-destroying impulse is severed. And may the marriage-watching world be captivated by the covenant-keeping love of Christ.

Leslie: We've been listening to a condensed version of the wedding of the host of this program—Nancy Leigh DeMoss—to Robert Wolgemuth. It took place last week, Saturday, November 14, at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois.

For more details, and a lot of video from the wedding, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. One of the videos you'll see is a fully-produced short film about Nancy and Robert's friendship, courtship and marriage. It's called "Unexpected Grace."

We'd like to send you a copy of that short film on DVD. It includes a lot of bonus features that will help you get to know the heart of Robert and Nancy. Ask for the DVD "Unexpected Grace" when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean all of life is neat and tidy. Nancy will talk about how to be thankful even when life is full of pain. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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