Summary: The Church, Jesus Christ
TEXT: Revelation 19:6-9
INTRO: We know from studying Scripture that one of the analogies given to describe the relationship of Jesus Christ to His church is that of a bride and groom, with Jesus portrayed as the coming groom and the church as his expectant bride. This theme/idea is repeated in several places, particularly in the N. Testament.
There is for the believer the anticipation that one day in an event described as the “rapture” of the church, Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) will return for the church (His bride). In that moment, according to I Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “…the dead in Christ shall rise first and then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
This great event (“the rapture”) will be followed at some point by the event we just read about in Revelation 19, called “The Wedding Supper of the Lamb.” It’s an “Invitation Only” event – but you’ve all received an invitation! “Whosoever will may come.” Unfortunately, many who have received the invitation will not be in attendance. That’s right. The wedding is quickly approaching, the arrangements are all being made, the guest list is almost finalized and the bridegroom is coming soon.
PROPOSITION: Many people who consider themselves part of the “Bride of Christ” are not ready for Jesus, the Bridegroom, to come.
INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE: How do I know that a lot of people are going to miss God’s great “Wedding Reception” in heaven?
Allow me to serve as your “wedding host” this morning. I’ve prepared a brief “checklist” to help the prospective bride prepare for her wedding day. Here are THREE ESSENTIAL ITEMS that you must pay attention to if you’re going to be ready. THESE THREE THINGS WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF GOD’S ETERNAL WEDDING PARTY IN HEAVEN.
I. TURNING DOWN THE PROPOSAL. Revelation 22:17 – “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Illustr. – I like it when a guy makes one of those bold public marriage proposals. In the middle of a crowded restaurant (guy down on one knee popping the question, producing the ring, girl breaks down crying…), at half time of a big game, on Oprah in front of a national television audience. One guy took his girl up in a hot air balloon and had written in a field “Will you marry me?” It was all caught on camera. I would hope a guy is pretty sure of himself when he takes that kind of risk. (Can you imagine getting turned down on national TV? GIRL – “Nah! Not interested!” or “Could I have some time to think about it?”)
Well, those proposals are nothing compared to the way Jesus proposed to you and me. It was a public spectacle. He fell to his knees several times on the way to the place where he proposed. He nailed his love for you and me to the cross, signed his intentions with his own blood, spread his arms out wide and said, “I want you for my own. I want you all! Whosoever will may come.”
“I love you, I love you
That’s what Calvary said;
I love you, I love you
I love you written in red.”
The official proposal reads like this, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
You can trust me on this: YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A BETTER OFFER! The world will try to sell you the idea that something better will come along. That you can reject God’s offer and still get in to heaven your own way. That you can submit your own proposal based on good deeds, church attendance, religion, giving to charities…etc. But you can’t buy your way into heaven! Jesus already paid the price. The proposal is on the table. He’s already “popped the question.” What’s your answer?
John 3:35-36 – “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
The Bridegroom is coming. Are you ready to meet him? PLEASE DON’T TURN DOWN HIS GENEROUS PROPOSAL.
THE SECOND THING THAT WILL KEEP YOU OUT OF GOD’S ETERNAL WEDDING PARTY IS BEING…
II. TARDY FOR THE CEREMONY. Matthew 25:1-13 (READ)
You hear all kinds of crazy stories about people who were late for their own wedding (usually the groom). They got lost trying to find the church, they overslept, they missed their flight…etc. (I wasn’t late, but I forgot my black socks!) These girls we just read about missed the “ultimate” wedding banquet because they PROCRASTINATED. They were like so many people in the world who think they will have “plenty of time” to get things right with God when they’re ready. So they keep putting off mailing in their invitation. They keep asking for an extended RSVP date.