Summary: In the New Testament, the Church is not spoken of as a wife, but as a bride, betrothed or engaged, being made ready for her wedding day, the celebrated and much anticipated day when Christ comes for His church at the end of the age.
Last week, we did something that probably stretched a few of you. It certainly stretched me. When God laid the impression upon me to do this, I was both apprehensive as well as excited. I knew a blessing would flow from it, and I knew that many of us would be uncomfortable. Yet, I believe I was obeying God by faith by acting in this way. Some of you were probably uncomfortable hearing these words that many of you probably also knew to be true. Most of you understand and know that God loves you. But it was important that you hear it with your own ears in the first person. It is important that what you know is confirmed by your brothers and sisters in Christ. It is both therapeutic and life restoring when we hear what is on the very heart of God. Thank you for venturing outside your comfort zone!
In our quest to come to grips with what it means to be “the family of God” we have looked at what it means to be children of God. The relationship between children and their Daddy is a powerful one and most closely describes one of the facets of being family.
But there are at least two more facets to that familial relationship with God that we have, that we will be discussing in the weeks ahead.
Today, we are going to look at the role of the church (that’s you and me) as the “Bride of Christ.”
One of the most mysterious and revealing truths about the relationship between God and His People is the fact that Jesus is described as the eternal Bridegroom and we are spoken of as His bride.
This is not a new theme but one that has run the course of the entire Bible…with God calling Israel His wife throughout the Old Testament, and speaking to the people and nation of Israel in the terms of relationship between a husband and his wife. The bible speaks about the unfaithfulness of the nation of Israel in the language of “adultery” and infidelity.
In the New Testament, the Church is not spoken of as a wife, but as a bride, betrothed or engaged, being made ready for her wedding day, the celebrated and much anticipated day when Christ comes for His church at the end of the age.
Jesus used many parables to describe this mysterious thing that he was ushering in called the “kingdom of heaven.” It was something so incredibly indescribable that it had to be illustrated through the use of analogies, parables and stories. So when he compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding, He is setting us up to understand the gloriousness of His relationship with the people He has redeemed.
Matthew 22:1-4 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, `Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."’
It is as if everything in life, everything in worship, everything in our relationship to God point to a single climatic event…the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
He invites everyone to join him for this celebration, all are invited!
We get another glimpse into this mysterious picture in Revelation 19:
(Rev. 19:7-9). "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write, `Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”
Verse 7 tells us that in heaven, all of the angels and Saints are awaiting this single climatic event, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
In heaven, there is an incredible expectation, an anticipation that has built from the foundation of the world to witness this marriage of the Lamb of God and His bride, the Church.
Then the passage says, “His bride has made herself ready.”
His bride, that is you and me, (the Saints, the church) have been chosen to be Christ’s eternal partner.
Why would be invited to our own wedding feast? Because to be invited (and to accept that invitation) makes us a part of the Bride herself!
What does it mean that she has made herself ready?