Summary: There is great value in the suffering of the godly.
Revelation 19:7-9 KJV Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  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.
Jude 17-24 KJV But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.  These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion, making a difference:  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Song of Solomon 7:4 KJV Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
I. INTRODUCTION—THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
-Throughout the Bible, there are numerous references that give the indication to us that the Church is the Bride of Christ.
A. A Chaste Virgin and The Church
2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
• A chaste virgin is one who is not defiled by fornication and uncleanness.
• A chaste virgin is one who is espoused to a husband and greatly loved by him.
• A chaste virgin is one who is longing for the wedding day to arrive.
• A chaste virgin is one who prizes all expressions of love from the espoused.
• A chaste virgin is one who remembers all the tokens of love that the espoused gives to her.
• A chaste virgin is one who delights to hear from her espoused.
-If those symbols are present in the chaste virgin, then the Church is even much more intent on the moment when she will see the Lord.
• The Church is intent on being kept pure from idolatry.
• The Church is intent on making sure that there is not an inordinate love of the world.
• The Church is concerned with only pure worship directed toward Jesus Christ.
• The Church is much loved by the Lord Jesus Christ as Scripture says he rejoices over his people.
• The Church longs for the return of the Bridegroom.
• The Church highly prizes the favor the Lord places on His Church.
• The Church secures her own wedding garment and makes sure it is clean and spotless.
B. The Bridegroom
-What we sometimes forget is the Lord has great concern over His Church, who is the Bride, and He is the Bridegroom. There are some responsibilities that He bears toward His Church.
• The Bridegroom rejoices over his bride and is delighted by her (Isa. 62:5).
• The Bridegroom removes the bride from the debts and dangers by virtue of the wedding contract.
• The Bridegroom being a prince or one of nobility raises the bride to great honor by his position.
• The Bridegroom supplies the wants and needs of the bride, it is his part and concern to provide all the needful things for her.
• The Bridegroom sympathizes with his spouse and helps her bear her burdens. He is greatly troubled when she is afflicted and he cannot endure any attack on her, misuse of her by others, and any wrongs that would be brought to her.
• The Bridegroom has a requirement of obedience because he is over the woman.
• The Bridegroom reproves his bride for the faults he sees in her because of the great love he has for her.
• The Bridegroom will hide and forgive the many failings the he sees in his spouse and will not lay open her weakness, nor expose her to reproach, as Joseph did for Mary.
-Our state is nothing if we are not part of the Church, the holy bride to be presented to the Lord. Yet to be in that number, there are some honest questions that we have to ask ourselves.