Summary: We are living in a day when too many Christians are becoming "Runaway Brides". The recent case of the Runaway Bride is compared to the Christian who becomes lukewarm in their love and comittment to the Lord.
USA Today Article referred to during this sermon:
Text: Rev. 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
A few weeks ago, a 32 year old woman by the name of Jennifer Wilbanks set off a nationwide hunt as fears of abduction and even murder became the talk of news stations all across the airwaves. Rescue teams were put on alert, and volunteers gave up days of work to search for her while the shadow of suspicion began to grow longer upon the fiancé who had planned to marry her within a few short days. As we all know by now, it all turned out to be something other than an abduction or a murder, but in fact turned out to be a simple case of “cold feet” and a “runaway bride”. Thankfully, that was the case as far as her life goes, but many people have become very irritated that one woman would put so many other people at risk and inconvenience for the sake of her own needs.
Recently, a story in USA Today was written, and I wanted to touch on a few of the comments that were made, and compare it to the fact that many people today are going to miss out on the greatest Wedding celebration Eternity will ever see because they have chosen to become a “Runaway Bride”.
The Bible also says: Rev. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Well, I’m not here today to cast judgment upon this lady, as I’m sure others more qualified will find a way to do that if the need warrants, however, I want us to think about some of the things that are happening in the church world today as people make their choices about Eternity, and yes, many people still choose to turn their backs on the Lord in spite of all He has done for them.
What could have happened? Why would this bride who had a wedding scheduled with 12 groomsmen and 12 bridesmaids, 600 invited guests, and all the promises of a life of wealth and opulence all of a sudden decide to “opt out”.
As I read the story there were a few of the reasons that jumped out at me, and I would like to hare them with you today, and relate them to the church today. I believe that Jesus Christ is in the midst of preparing a bride without spot or wrinkle for the great marriage supper one day when the groom (Jesus Christ) takes his bride (the Church) to be with Him for all of eternity.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
In the article we read the following quote:
Agents said in the report that Wilbanks "was scared to marry (fiance) John Mason because she is afraid of an imperfect world. Wilbanks stated that she could not be the wife that her fiance John Mason needed. Wilbanks wanted to disappear without a trace."
In this today, I see:
I. FEAR OF IMPERFECTION
The Bible tells me in 2 Tim. 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Here we see a woman that was so obsessed with perfection that the very thought of living in an imperfect world was simply too overwhelming to think about.
Friend, if you are staying with the Lord only to the point that you find some sort of imperfection within the church, then you will be with him about as long as it takes cold butter to melt on a hot frying pan.
It was even part of the drama this past week, but so many people are more concerned about the imperfections in the church, or shall we say, hypocrites than they are keeping their eyes on Christ (or the groom). And by the way, he is the only perfect one that ever lived, so we might as well get that right out in the open right now.
In the newspaper quote I read a few moments ago, I also see the following 2 characteristics:
a. False Pride and Fear
“Wilbanks stated that she is afraid of an imperfect world”, and afraid that she could not be the wife that her fiancé needed.
Her problem was that she got her eyes on other wives who seemed (at least on the outside) to have figured out the role of a wife, and left her sitting in the dust.