Summary: This sermon will compare marriage to the relationship Christ has with His church. It will also show how important it is to be ready when the bridegeoom comes.
Kim Huffman (1/25/4)
Goshen Christian Church
God’s Pattern for the Church #4
“THE CHURCH – CHRIST’S BRIDE”
The church is very special to our Lord. He died to bring her into existence. His love for the church is what gives us hope. The special relationship Jesus has with his church is seen in the terminology the Bible uses to refer to the church. The church is called the Bride of Christ and Christ is the Bridegroom. We are the church. Love has built a bridge between us and God so that we might have a special relationship with Him.
In this message we want to look at God’s pattern for the church as we look at the marriage relationship that Christ seeks to have with His church. We will do this by looking a a typical Jewish wedding found in Matthew 25:1-13.
I. THE BETROTHAL
1. In a marriage the two parties came to an agreement about the union of the man and woman.
2. A dowry price was agreed upon that the father would accept in exchange for his daughter.
3. The couple was then betrothed to each other which was considered more binding than our engagements today. Mary and Joseph were betrothed to each other.
4. Jesus followed the marriage procedure with the church. His incarnation (Coming to earth) was his betrothal to the church. He saought her to be his holy bride.
II. THE DOWRY
1. There was an interval of time between the agreed betrothal and consummation of the wedding. That is when the groom was coming up with the dowry price.
2. This could take up to a year or whatever time period the two parties agreed upon. Jacob worked 7 years to get Leah and another 7 years to get Rachel.
3. Jesus paid the dowry price by dying on the cross on our behalf. Now we are in that interval of time between His Ascension and he 2nd Coming.
4. During this time the bride makes herself ready for the Groom. As Christ’s bride, the church must be trying to purify herself for the coming bridegroom.
ILL> The boss caught Calvin sitting at his desk staring out the window. “why aren’t you working Calvin?” Without much thought Calvin confessed to his boss, “Because I didn’t see you coming.”
III. THE PROCESION
1. When the dowry was met the groom, his friends and family went to the brides home. A Crier was sent ahead to announce the coming Bridegroom and invite people to join the procession. The procession is a joyous occasion and they sing as they go.
2. Once at the brides home the Father of the bride accepted the dowry and gave his blessings to the couple.
3. Then all the brides family, friends and relatives would join the processional and everyone would head back to the Grooms home.
4. When Jesus comes again he will gather the saints. What a procession His 2nd Coming will be.
IV. THE FEAST
1. After the processional reaches the home of the Groom the wedding feast begins and lasts for a whole week, The wedding ceremony takes place at the end of the week and the marriage is consummated.
2. When the procession arrives they go in and the door is shut behind them. No one else is allowed into the celebration. If you are late you are not getting in.
3. Friends, relatives and family celebrate all week long taking turns praising the new couple and giving them gifts and expressions of love.
4. The wedding feast lasts for a week but the marriage of Christ and His church will last for all eternity.
The 2nd coming of Christ for His Bride the church has been the ultimate hope of the church from the first century to now. Over the Dome of the Capitol building in Washington DC is this inscription: “One God, one law, one element, and one far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves.”
ILL> In rural Louisiana in an Episcopal Church Cemetery is the grave of a woman buried beneath a 150 year old oak tree. In accordance with the woman’s wishes there is only one word chiseled on her tomb stone: “Waiting.” The church doesn’t know when her Lord will return. But we wait with great anticipation.
The most important thing this text is trying to teach us is to get us to ask if we are ready.
Jesus is standing at the door and He is knocking. Will you let Him in? He comes where He is welcomed. The innkeeper made his stable available, Jesus was born there. Mary and Martha made their home available and Jesus resides there. The merchant made his upper room available and Jesus Supped there. The wealthy man made his tomb available and Jesus was buried there. Is your heart available? Jesus wants to live there!