My 1st Wedding Sermon

Last Weekend, I had the pleasure of officiating my sister's wedding. Things went pretty well, but because of all the words I needed to get right I used a sermon manuscript to preach from rather than just an outline like I normally do. Because of this, I can share with everyone exactly what I said(or intended to say anyway.)

Carlos and Charity Maqueda Wedding Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

(Opening Prayer)
Our Father, love has been Your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and woman which matures into marriage is one of Your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless Charity and Carlos in their marriage. Surround them and us with Your love now and always. Amen.

You may be seated.

1 Corinthians 13:13 says

And now these three remain: faith, hope and Carlos. But the greatest of these is Carlos.

No, that is not what it says at all!

1 Corinthians 13:13 says

And now these three remain: faith, hope and charity. But the greatest of these is charity. (or love)

Charity, Charity, Charity. I can't believe you are getting married! I can't believe I am performing the ceremony! It's crazy! But I have been wearing out this joke all summer long... Well, I moved south from NY and now I'm gonna marry my sister!

One of my favorite childhood memories as a family happened close to this time of year... football season! When dad would get home from work, we would play 2 hand touch in the front yard. Charity, Dad and Lydia would take on and Mom, Rahel and I. Charity and Rahel would usually hike the ball and Mom or Dad would be the QB. Mom's cadence was always the same: Blue 42 set hut! Just so you know Carlos, mom and dad often wore their orange Tennessee sweatshirts they got on vacation going to see aunt Donna and uncle Roy in Chattanooga. Competition would get pretty serious, and the game would always include Dad trying to run waaay to hard in his slippery work boots, and he would fall on his face.

Well, last thanksgiving our family decided to re-live this memory, and play a game of football at aunt Donna's and see if things had changed at all. Some things hadn't changed. Dad fell again trying to make a quick cut on the slippery grass, and Mom dove into the shrubs trying to run up the sidelines. But some things had changed... those things were named "Erin" (my wife) and "Carlos." because they had not grown up in our family, they actually know how to play football. The kind of football that doesn't include self inflicted grass stains, or damaging the shrubbery.

Here is where I get to the point of my story. John 15:13 says "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Carlos, I just want you to know that I love you. That is why I chose to sacrifice our team that day, and let you and Erin win the game 64 to 16. Ladies and Gentlemen: that is love!

What is love anyway? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).

Carlos and Charity, family and friends:

Love! That's what you will promise to each other, bride and groom! That's what all husbands and wives promise each other on their wedding day.

What is this love? What can we say about it? The wedding text picked by Carlos and Charity tells us many things about love. I know all the events of today will be a blur in your memory, so there are 2 things I want you to remember.

First, love is a commitment; second, love is forever.

What do I mean when I say love is a commitment? Did you know that when the Bible describes love, it almost always speaks of a command? Husbands, for instance, are commanded to love their wives; wives are commanded to love their husbands; all people are commanded to love their neighbors. Jesus spoke of love as something that people should do. In the wedding text picked by Charity and Carlos, the Apostle Paul speaks of the presence of patience, kindness, hope and trust and a lack of envy, anger, and rudeness. Now, none of this stuff is easy. None of this comes spontaneously. Love, in other words, is not something natural. It doesn't just happen. It requires work, hard work. It requires deliberate decisions and actions. It requires commitment.

Many people today think of love as a feeling. This misleading belief is reinforced by most romantic comedies, and popular songs on the radio which make love sound like an accident, a spontaneous emotion, which can be neither controlled nor created. But love is not a feeling. You don't fall in love, nor do you fall out of love. Love is something you deliberately decide to do and to give.

That's the first thing I want to say: love is a commitment, it is a deliberate decision to do loving things. Those husbands and wives who show love to their marriage partner have made a deliberate decision to be patient and kind. Those husbands and wives who show love to their marriage partner have made a deliberate decision not to be envious, boastful, proud, rude, or self-seeking. Those husbands and wives who show love to their marriage partner have made a deliberate decision not to be easily angered, not to remember past wrongs, not to delight in evil. Those husbands and wives who show love to their marriage partner have made a deliberate decision to protect, trust, hope, and persevere.

Charity and Carlos, love is not an accident. It doesn't just happen. It requires commitment. It requires that you work at it.

First, love is a commitment; second, love is forever.

"Love never fails," says Paul. Love, true love, Charity and Carlos, never ends. It lasts and lasts and lasts. Love, true love, is forever.

We can't say that about any other element of this life. In eternity, for instance, there is no place for what we think of as the permanent fixtures in this life: there will be no morning and night, there will be no sun or moon, there will be no mountains and no sea, there will be no stomach, (full or empty) there will be no death or mourning or crying or pain, there will be no church or temple, there will be no swords or guns. But there will be love. "Love never fails." Love never ends. Love abides. Love, true love, never dies. Which means, Carlos and Charity, that if yours is love, true love, then divorce is not only unthinkable, it is not even an option.

Let me ask every married couple here and not just Carlos and Charity: do you want this love to last forever? This love in which you deliberately decide to do loving things for one another, do you want this love which abides forever? If your answer is "yes" then let me tell you the secret to love, true love: you must know and love and serve Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John says, "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). It is only when the love of God is within our heart that we are truly able to love those around us. Or, to put it another way, it is only by knowing Jesus, it is only when He lives in your heart, that yours can be a love that endures. You see, God is love. In Christ, God shows us the true nature of love. In Christ, God made a deliberate decision to love us by sending His Son to die for us. And in Christ, God loves us forever. That, is the most incredible love story ever written.

Francis Chan recently wrote a book called "Crazy Love." In it, he suggests an exercise that is very effective, even if it is a little hard to swallow. Take the phrase "love is patient," and substitute your own name for the word love. For me, it would be "Milo is patient, Milo is kind..." and so on and so on. Do this for every phrase in the passage. It will make you take a hard look at yourself in the mirror, but that is what means to love... really love someone.

Carlos and Charity, my hope and my prayer is that in Christ you will make a commitment to love each other
and then because of Christ your love will last forever.

Also, because I am putting it in print I should let you know that everything here is not my original thought. I used sermons by Adrian Dieleman and John Piper, great advice from Tommy Hargrove and Larry Maio, and an awesome book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan as valuable resources. -Milo Wilson


  1. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Excellent sermon! It inspires me to go break out my own wedding video to check out our sermon. Yes - I said video. It's been "that" long.

  2. Well done! Although I read the abridged version, it appears as if you're as good at marrying your sister as you are giving the best man toast. Congrats!