Friday, August 27, 2010

The Bride of Christ

A couple of weeks ago I made some posts regarding husbands and wives.  I spoke of the Biblical roles for each and the rewards for following God's plan for marriage.  Being that this is Friday, and being that I do love my wife, today I want to talk again bout the ladies and in particular the wives.  I am not going to talk about being a wife but today I want to talk about what you represent.  I want to encourage you in your very special role.  Women, you are not just the bride of your husband, but you represent the Bride of Christ! 

The Bible describes a marriage like this:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24 NKJV
We see clearly here that in marriage, the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the church.  And how is the church described?
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV
And here we see that the church is to be presented to Christ as a chaste virgin, as his bride.  And as his bride, how will Christ present us to Himself?
that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  Ephesians 5:26-27 NKJV

And that is who you represent.  Rejoice in what that means.  Rejoice in that Christ trusted you to be a representation of his beloved bride.  How beloved is that bride?  All of creation, the death on the cross, the pain of people rebelling and turning against Him, all of it, all of everything happened for us to become His bride.  Genesis to Revelation, creation to the New Jerusalem, all was part of His plan to ready His bride.  Our marriage to our Lord is the grand finale the Bible with a "happily ever after" of unimaginable joy to follow.

And how has he romanced us? Just look at Creation!  A man may give you a box of chocolates.  Jesus created chocolate.  A man may give you beautiful flowers that may last a week or so. Jesus gave life to all the flowers of the field as a testimony to the beauty of His creation.  A man may gaze at the stars with you.  Jesus designed the heavens to declare His glory.  Just look at the beauty around you, in all of creation.  All of that was done for us. 

Let's look more at our marriage to our Lord:
Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."  Revelation 19:5-9 NKJV
Think of your wedding or if you are single think of weddings you have been to.  If you have never been to one, think of one you have seen on TV.  In fact, along with your own think of the most glamorous elaborate wedding you have seen in real or on TV and think of how it compares to our wedding with our Lord.  I remember my wedding and how our guests overfilled the small church we were in.  I recall celebrity weddings with the whole book of Who's Who in Celebrity-land are there.  But think out our wedding with the Lord.  Think of the entirety of the heavenly host in attendance.  Jesus quipped before his arrest that if He wanted, He could have more than 12 legions of angels to rescue Him.  A legion at that time was 6826 men.  12 legions would have been 81912 angels.  Now even if that was the entirety of the heavenly host of angels (and I do not believe it is), that is how many ANGELS would be at our wedding.  That is not including all the other beings that are in the Heavenly realm with God.  Our wedding may be presided over by a beloved pastor.  Celebrities may even get a famous minister.  We get God presiding at our wedding.  Sure you may have a worn a white dress demonstrating your purity on that special day.  We will be dressed in white so pure so fine that it would be the envy of the most wealthy of brides.  Your dress may have been designed by a famous designed and fitted by a skilled tailor.  Ours was made by God.  Our wedding will be unimaginable.  Your wedding may have been the culmination of many months of hard planning.  Ours will be the culmination of creation itself, planned before the very foundations of the earth. 

You are the representation of that bride.  Do you realize what an awesome honor that is?  Do you realize the trust God has placed in you to represent His bride in a marriage relationship?  Husbands, do you understand what precious gift God has given you?  You are to care for your bride just as though she was His Bride.  In fact, she is His bride and so are you. This message while meant to be an encouragement for women is for the men as well.  Look at your wife as the representation of what you are to Christ.  You are His bride.  His beloved.  He courted you with the beauty of creation itself.  He proposed by his resurrection after his death on the cross for your sins.  When you accepted, his "ring" was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  As you go through your engagement, he has an intimate relationship in your life sanctifying you though his blood.  And when you marry, because of his shed blood, you will not just wear white as a representation of purity but you will be pure. 

The last passage I referenced in Revelations is not the end of the story.  There is the marriage of the Lamb, but there is also the coming of the New Jerusalem.  God refers to it as though it were a bride prepared for her husband.  It is our coming together after the wedding.  It is the beginning of our true "happy ever after," after the greatest romance in history.  The city is as a bride, but not the bride as his bride resides in that city.  It is Jesus' adornment for His bride.  It is our eternal home.  We can carry our wives over the threshold of our new homes, God carries us in our home descending from the Heavens.  The best thing, though, about the New Jerusalem is not its opulence or its glory.  It is that God will dwell there.  God's glory is the light of that city.  And what is so awesome, so amazing, so special about that is that we will live there too.  His bride, together with our Lord, for all eternity.  Amen!
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  Revelations 21:9-27 NKJV

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