Summary: Baptism symbolizes many things. One of the symbols is the preparation the bride (church) makes in anticipation of the great wedding to the Groom (Jesus).

1. Hilton Hotels

Romance is the motivating power that will produce the new heaven and the new earth, and it is the power behind much of what has been created in this earth. The spectacular international Hilton Hotel chain is a good example. It was not just the love of money and power that moved Conrad Hilton to build this vast empire. In his autobiography, Be My Guest, he tells of a turning point of his life while in Dallas. It happened in church.

"All I saw of her at first was a jaunty red hat and a few curls several pews in front of me at church. The hat was dark red and the curls were very black and there was something about the way she wore the hat, the way she carried her head, she was very attractive. When I saw her face, pretty, vivacious, alert, with laughing eyes, in my excitement I did something worthy of a college freshman. I followed the red hat out of church to try to find out where she lived. . . . after seeing it [the red hat] bop up and down in the crowd for a couple of blocks, I lost it. For a month of Sundays I amazed that congregation with my piety. I attended every mass from six till noon. But I didn't see her again."

One afternoon as he left his theater where business was going bad, he walked right into that same girl. She had on a different hat, but it was her, and she was with a Mrs. Evans whom he knew. Mrs. Evans introduced him to Mary Barron. They entered at once into a whirlwind courtship. She had to leave Dallas, but he insisted that when he finished building a hotel she come back and marry him. He also insisted she give him her red hat. He writes again:

He was soon back on top and very successful, and he married Mary and took her into the world of the rich and famous. It is a beautiful love story, but it has one major flaw. They did not live happily ever after. Eight years later their marriage ended in a bitter divorce.

Falling in love is the easy part. The living happily ever after is the hard part.

The fact is, the greatest love story of all time and eternity does end this way, which means it never ends at all, for Christ and His bride live happily ever after.

Heaven is an eternal honeymoon where the bride and groom enjoy endless bliss with no fear of conflict. The goal of God is achieved when His Son, the most famous single in all of human history, gets married at the great wedding of the Lamb.

In eternity it will be the one groom-the second Adam-Jesus. His bride is the church- the second Eve. The new heaven and the new earth will be their wedding gift from God. This is the beginning of the most romantic adventure conceivable as this happy couple, perfect in themselves; enjoy together a perfect universe forever.

2. Preparation for our Wedding Day with Jesus

a. "Bridegroom" -- Mark 2.19

b. The church is referred to as his bride -- Ephesians 5.27; Revelation 21.9

3. 1 Corinthians 10.1-5

a. Looking back to look ahead

b. Incorporation of baptism

I. Jewish Weddings

A. Proposal -- Groom offers the Bride a "Bride Price" (a ring as token)

B. Preparation: The Mikveh

1. For centuries the Jewish bride has immersed herself in a mikveh--a ritual bath--in preparation for her wedding. Fundamentally, mikveh is not about "uncleanness" but about human encounters with the power of the holy. For brides and grooms mikveh is a physical enactment of the passage from being unmarried to married. Entering the huppah [marriage canopy] is a public declaration of a change in status; entering the mikveh is a personal transforming moment.

2. Bride -- John 2.6 (6 stone jars with a total of 120-180 gallons of water)

C. Participation: At The CHuppah

1. Simple Ceremony

2. The Ketubah

II. Israel's Marriage to God

A. Proposal -- Freeing Israel from Egypt/Treasures of Egypt

1. Price -- blood of the Passover lamb when God took Israel to be his own -- Exodus 12.13-14

2. Israel's Acceptance -- Exodus 19.7-8

B. Preparation -- Red Sea

C. Participation -- The Ketubah -- At the time of the first Pentecost

1. 10 Commandments and Torah at Sinai

2. Continual -- Jeremiah 31.31-34

III. Our Marriage to Jesus

A. Proposal -- Offered something of great value -- his blood (Luke 22.20; Hebrews 8.15)

B. Preparation -- Immersion

1. Our Groom -- Matthew 3.13-17

2. Many symbolic purposes involved in baptism:

a. It is not about water, but faith -- 2 Kings 7 (Naaman)

A teacher who told her class that tomorrow for Show and Tell I want you to bring something that shows your religious beliefs. The next day the children were all there and the first little boy came up with a Star of David and he explained that he was Jewish and what the star meant to his family.

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