Summary: In the bible the relationship between God and his people is often referred to as a marriage where God is the bridegroom and we are his bride. Today we’ll look at what we should be doing while we wait for our Bridegroom’s return.
MARRIED TO JESUS (Part Two)
INTRODUCTION: Throughout the bible you will find the relationship between God and his people being referred to as a marriage where God is the bridegroom and we are his bride. Last week we looked at the example of Hosea and Gomer. We saw how unbelievably loving and forgiving God is toward us through the story of Hosea loving and even pursuing his adulterous bride Gomer. Today we’ll look at what we should be doing while we wait for our Bridegroom’s return when we take part in the wedding feast.
1) The Wedding feast. As I talked about last week, the first part of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the betrothal. This is where the Groom had proposed and if the bride accepted they were betrothed and the bride price was paid. Jesus paid the ultimate bride price-he gave his life on the cross. We who are born-again have accepted his proposal and are betrothed to Jesus.
The next phase of the ceremony was when the groom would go away and prepare a place for his bride. Jesus told his disciples in John 14 that in his Father’s house were many rooms and that he was going there to prepare a place for them and he would come back and take them there. Jesus is preparing a place for us, his bride. When the place was ready the groom would come back and claim his bride and there would be a big celebration.
Rev. 19:6-9. There are shouts of hallelujah, for the time for the wedding supper has come. There are two things here I want to draw attention to. First in vs. 9 we see the blessing is for those who are invited, perhaps more specifically, blessed are those who have responded to the invitation. And in vs. 7 we see that the bride has made herself ready.
2) Many are invited but few will attend. Luke 14:15-24. All three excuses are pretty lame. You don’t buy a field without first seeing it. You don’t buy a team of oxen without first trying them out. If you just got married why aren’t you with your wife now? And furthermore why wouldn’t you say, “Hold on so I can go get my wife”? Excuses, excuses, you hear them every day, the devil he’ll supply them if the feast you’ll stay away.
I came across an illustration where a church advertized "No Excuse Sunday." Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in." Visine will be available for those with tired, burning eyes from watching television too late on Saturday night. We will have steel helmets for those who say, "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church." Blankets will be provided for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who think the church is too hot. Score cards will be available for those who wish to keep tabs on the hypocrites. One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature. Finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them.”
Unfortunately, more people than not will miss out on that wonderful wedding feast of the Lamb. Matt. 22:2-14. The initial guests represent the Jews, the first ones invited. The second group represents the gentiles; everyone else. However, as we have already seen, there are also plenty of gentiles who refuse the invitation. They will have their excuses as to why they are not interested in this particular wedding feast. It’s like the people who don’t come to the wedding because there won’t be any booze at the reception.
Then we see the one guest who got in without wedding clothes. It was common in those times for the host to provide wedding garments to those who didn’t have them. This person didn’t want the clothes that were offered but obviously still wanted to go to the wedding anyway. He was found out and then cast out. There are people today who want to go to the wedding feast but don’t want to honor the King’s regulations. They want to come in on their own terms instead of entering by way of salvation through Christ. Try as you might but it won’t work. There’s only one way to take part in the wedding feast of the Lamb and it isn’t by our good deeds; it’s only through Jesus.
3) We need to be prepared for the Bridegroom’s return. This is the stage we’re in now, the waiting period. We, the bride are waiting for our groom’s return. The question is; will we be prepared?
Matt. 25:1-13. The five who did not bring extra oil thought they wouldn’t need it. They thought the bridegroom was coming back soon. The other five were prepared for a longer waiting period. Both sets fell asleep. The difference was-the group that had enough oil slept in security while the other five slept in obscurity. The prepared five knew they were ready and slept peacefully while the other five who thought they were ready slept oblivious to their situation.