The Bride of Christ: 4 Ways to Be Ready for the Wedding Feast
That is why God the Father has called us into His Church at this time. Bone of my Bones and Flesh of my Flesh. Significantly, those words mirror the perfect spiritual union of Christ and His Bride — the Church.
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It is not only because Eve was taken out of Adam v. Every groom has specific qualities that he seeks in a wife — Christ also has specific qualities that He requires in His wife. Who will qualify to be the Bride of Christ? How will Jesus recognize His Bride? Paul tells us of the love that Christ has for His Bride.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Now, this is getting way ahead of the story — but it is obvious that the true Church, collectively, constitutes the Bride. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us that we be a part of the Church. We understand that tares do not recognize that they are tares, so it is vital that we make our calling and selection sure.
Matthew , 2 Peter How will Christ recognize His Bride — the Church? They will be loving God and loving one another. And, as we saw a moment ago, they will be laying down their lives in service to each other. Jesus laid down His life for His friends — and He tells us that we must do exactly the same thing. John Jesus intends His example of sacrifice and service to all to be an everyday way of life for His wife to be — not simply a symbolic act performed once a year at Passover. In the early Church, a deacon was a servant, like a janitor, maid, nurse, or even a slave.
Unlike some men, God does not look down on those who serve. The original deacons waited tables and served the widows, and God greatly honored and approved of it Acts , John Though most men in society would not cast a second glance at a lowly cleaning lady — let alone marry one — that is an exact picture of just what Jesus Christ is going to do. A New Countenance. In a world of social class distinction, elitism, and caste systems, it is difficult to imagine that the most powerful and glorious Jesus Christ has chosen to marry a bride without high-class standing, power, status or prestige.
When she is called out of this world, the Bride has no preferable status — but she begins to distinguish herself by putting on a new countenance, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness Ephesians Jesus Christ will not, in fact, marry across class lines — His Bride will be like Him 1 John , 1 Corinthians !
Jesus Christ cherishes His Bride Ephesians We have been given this preview of the heavenly wedding that depicts the affection and unique intimacy that the Bride will share with her Creator God. One Body — One Spirit. At creation, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and He opened his side and created Eve to be his wife. That was done as a prototype of Christ and His Bride. Paul understood the prophetic significance of that act — referring to Jesus as the final Adam 1 Corinthians , Romans Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Eve was the ideal helpmate for Adam, or as Genesis has it — an help meet for him … Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Jesus Christ revealed to Paul that the Church brethren are in effect, His body — as husband and wife are one flesh — one body in marriage. The Church of God is the Body of Christ. Only one Bride. She was beautiful, healthy, intelligent, and fertile — she was the mother of all living. This clearly shows us the incredible objective Christ has in taking a wife.
The purpose of the Church is nothing less than to ultimately bring all mankind to be of one Spirit — bringing the entire world to salvation. The Bride is the Church. Jesus Christ has only one spiritual Body with many members. Right now, they possess a token [earnest guarantee] of the Spirit of God and are scattered all over the face of the earth. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body , whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. That is God's Holy Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many [brethren]… But now hath God set the members every one of them in the Body [ the spiritual Body of Christ ], as it has pleased Him But now are they many members, yet but one Body [the one spiritual Body of Christ] Now you are the Body of Christ , and members in particular. If we expect to be the Bride, we are obligated to extend our realm of brotherhood, fellowship, and service to include all who have the earnest of God's Holy Spirit.
We cannot hate, despise, neglect, or reject any of the saints, as that behavior will disqualify us from the Kingdom of God. Those who are only interested in preparing themselves, while neglecting the spiritual welfare of their brethren, have fallen for the deception of Cain, who asked in Genesis , "Am I my brother's keeper? Discern the Body. Are we able to discern who our brothers and sisters in Christ are?
Can we distinguish between the world and the Church? We must recognize all true Christians, without exception, counting them as brethren — our very salvation is at stake. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Let us analyze the meaning of this verse. Keep in mind that Paul is discussing the lack of discernment — the division taking place 1 Corinthians This division was going on at the Passover service in question. This same division going on today is why the Church is so weak and sick spiritually. Jesus is the head of His Church; and converted Christians are individuals in His spiritual body.
Ephesians Jesus Christ has only one body — thus, He has only one Church — one Bride. Every part of the body each one of the brethren is indispensable to the whole body. Ephesians , 12, Again, the Bible reveals that the one spiritual body of Christ is composed of Church brethren. Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church just before He died John When we read that we are members of His body , of His flesh , and of His bones , let us understand the obvious reference to the new covenant marriage of Christ and the Church.
Marriages fail because of unrealistic expectations. But, the new covenant marriage of Christ will never fail because Jesus has made it clear what He expects of His Bride. Are we up to the task — are we equal to the challenge? God the Father would not have called us to become the Wife of His Son if we did not possess the potential to acquire the essential attributes that are required. We have a lot to accomplish — and time is short — even at the door.
A Good Marriage. A good marriage is a beautiful thing — a Godly thing with deep and transcendent meaning for the entire Church of God. That is why it is so important to continuously build on our marriages all of our lives. A good marriage is a close, unified relationship between a man and a woman. It was God who instituted the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. God brought about the marriage covenant for a vitally important reason. From Genesis to Revelation, God uses the intimacy and love between a man and his wife to reflect the deeply spiritual relationship between Jesus Christ and His Bride.
God designed man to be interactive with others in a spiritual way — it is not good that man should be alone. In His infinite wisdom, God gave the married couple the creative ability to bring children into the world as an exact type of His eternal plan of bringing many sons and daughters to glory — imbued with eternal life. God is reproducing Himself, and there is no more appropriate picture of His grand design than the family relationship. God intends that a married couple enter into the Kingdom of God together.
They are no longer of one mind , and their prayers to God are not in harmony. An untenable situation comes about when the individual partners assert their reconciliation with God, but not with each other. The oneness of the marital union is strained to the breaking point, and God cannot, and will not, bless that kind of discord because the primary unity of the marriage is missing. Instead of being heirs together of the Kingdom of God, the situation has become reversed. It is the same situation with the Body of Christ — the Church.
Our prayers to God cannot be right, when our rapport with other brethren is not right. Can we pray and ask God to disregard a part of the Body of Christ? No, we cannot. It is confusion. If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? One Church. In the same way that a husband and wife are meant to be heirs together of the grace of life, all members of the Body of Christ are meant to be heirs together of the grace of life.
The husband is the head of the wife — who is the weaker vessel. Jesus is the head of the Church — we know that. But do we realize that we — the Church brethren — are the weaker vessel? And yet, Jesus made it possible for us to be joint-heirs with Him in the Kingdom of God when He laid down His life for us. The scriptures are clear about our relationships with each other. God hates divorce because it tears at the very fabric and basis of family and community. In precisely the same way, God abhors division among those in His Church. Reconciliation is our duty. More than that, our responsibility to reconcile with each other even supersedes our religious worship.
In the same way that quarrels between marriage partners are spiritually harmful because they impede their prayers; offenses between Church brethren also frustrate and encumber a right relationship with God. Most members underestimate the seriousness of severed relationships between brethren. Until such time that the camaraderie among brethren is restored — prayers are hindered. Let us keep the big picture here. The Bride that Christ is going to marry will be made up of all the reconciled brethren in the Church — those who are ardently working to restore and maintain right relations among all the brethren.
The Bride that Christ marries will have learned to make peace and reconciliation a way of life. Keep in mind that both husbands and wives will make up the Bride of Christ. The worst pain is that of betrayal. Jesus Christ has experienced betrayal.
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His marriage to the Bride will be exemplified by the faithfulness and loyalty of those who have learned to make peace. That is why it is so necessary at this time for husbands and wives to learn how to live together in love, respect and harmony. They, too, must be unified because Jesus and His Bride will have a good marriage. Bride of Christ. Are we conquering ourselves, and going on to perfection?
Are we keeping ourselves unspotted? Christ, who is perfect, will have a perfect Bride. John the Baptist understood that the Messiah would take a Bride. He knew from the Scriptures that Christ would enter into an eternal marriage covenant with a righteous Wife. There is a prophetic picture in Ezekiel 16, where Jesus washed, dressed, and blessed the nation of Israel so that she would be prepared to be His wife.
He cleansed her; He groomed and dressed her in royal garments — He prepared her. Then I washed you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with needlepoint work, and placed fur-lined slippers on your feet, and I dressed you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk. I embellished you also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a necklace on your neck. And I put jewelry on you, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus were you adorned with gold and silver; and your garments were of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; you ate of fine cakes, and honey, and oil: and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom.
And your renowned reputation went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through my grandeur, which I had put upon you, says the Lord God. Think of Christ doing the same for us — only in the most splendid way — making us lovely and beautiful, spiritually! The Bride of Christ will be adorned in fine linen, clean and white — meaning that she will be a perfect, spiritual Bride — with the righteousness of Christ upon her. Jesus has done His part in completely washing His Bride.
We must be washed. Our Part in the Preparation. The most important question for us to consider is what must the future wife of Christ be doing to prepare herself and make herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb? The Bride of Christ will be adorned, not so much in the elegant physical garments of a dazzling wedding gown, but in the brilliant spiritual attributes of Godly love, obedience, holiness, perfection, righteousness, and brotherly love 1 John The Bride will not be of superficial character, but will have developed Godly moral fiber — making her suitably prepared for her wedding to Christ.
Yes, I will betroth you unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord. Jesus Warns the Church. Over and over in the Scriptures, Jesus warns His Bride to be prepared. Do we recognize that the warnings are for us — and not for somebody else? Jesus gives us the parable of the person who came to the marriage supper not having the proper wedding garment. The proper wedding garment is symbolic of the preparedness and righteousness of the saints.
The person who shows up unprepared is cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth Matthew Christ shows that some people will think that they are righteous — when they are not. Jesus issues these warnings to us because He knows that our generation possesses an inherent weakness — a proclivity to excuse ourselves. It seems that most of the brethren would rather think of themselves as faultless Philadelphians , rather than heed what the Spirit says to all the churches — especially the Laodiceans.
Without a doubt, many brethren in the last day will go into the tribulation because of their half-hearted approach to their faith. Though they have been the recipients of bountiful peace, copious fellowship, and a wealth of doctrinal truth, they do not yet possess the full spirit of unity and brotherly love that Jesus requires of His Bride Revelation It is crucial that we make good use of the short time that remains. God has mercifully given us this present time to go on to perfection. Will we use the time wisely?
The continuingly divided nature of many groups of brethren suggests otherwise. During the Tribulation when Satan goes to make war with the remnant, there will be an additional number of brethren who will stand-up, be counted, lay down their lives, and come out of the Tribulation. Who among the brethren will have the fortitude to openly stand against the policies of the Beast Power?
It will be the hardest thing they have ever been called upon to do. How many will respond negatively — caving in — as so many brethren and ministers did in going right along with the false teachings of the apostasy? At the end, Jesus said that the very elect would be deceived, if possible.
The Pretentious Church of God. The Bride-to-be should be taking the responsibility to prepare herself, seriously — and not just for show. After all, we answer to Jesus Christ — and no one else. When it comes to doctrine and Biblical understanding, we have been given more than any people in history.
The Church of God is puffed up, and has not humbled itself and become unified — not even to fulfill the last request of Jesus — Father that they may be one. Eight times the Scriptures tell us that God is no respecter of persons. This is another dangerous trait of the Church of God that the Bride must avoid. And, since they are so certain of their exclusive tie to God, they make it a priority to convince others to join with them — and they reject or loathe those who will not join them.
Those people who think that God loves them alone because of some unique understanding they possess do not see their own weakness and pride. Let us pray to understand the mercy and the mind of Christ. The Bride Judges Rightly. We are warned not to be judgmental with insensitive feelings toward the inept, neither those who lack influence, nor those who are less educated than others. We are also not to have respect of persons by giving preferential treatment to those who are rich, articulate, politically savvy, and more socially adept, while dishonoring the less well-to-do.
For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in work clothes, and you give preferential treatment to him that wears the fine clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then divisive in yourselves , and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. As clear as this Scriptural teaching is, people still justify their separation from other brethren — and it is plain and simple — division in the Church. He is not divided — that is the point — and yet, there are holdouts today that would prevent brethren from reaching across artificial church lines to other brethren.
Make no mistake about it — Jesus Christ is not going to return to a scattered bunch of churches. James shows that we are not to put a dividing line between the brethren. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. We must admit that this church party spirit we see all around us is wrong. Party spirit is the divisive factions within the church that do not respect the fact that God is calling together a broad spectrum of humanity to be His sons and daughters.
What are we to do about the problem? The answer is that we must be instrumental in healing the breach. Take a stand! Recognize your brothers and sisters who are in other groups all around the world — who have a right relationship with God — and build an association with them.
The Bride Has Made Herself Ready
Reestablish a fellowship with all your brethren. Jesus Christ will be pleased. The Bible reveals that there are many false ministers that the brethren are to be careful of — they are not rooted and founded in Jesus Christ. Have the courage to do what God requires of us. Our task is not to find the single corporate organization that Christ is fully pleased with — because it does not exist on earth at this time. Every true Christian's mission is to be firmly rooted in Jesus Christ.
We see major contentions in the ministry; we see ministers closing their eyes to wrong dating practices; we see unlawful marriages of members; and we can hardly find any movement toward reconciliation of the various church groups to one another. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. His will is that we are blameless in His sight at all times.
What should the evangelists and leading pastors have done? They should have had the courage to stand for the Truth and protect the flock — but they had fallen into a trap — a trap of their own making. They should have previously learned to cope with errant ministers in the same way that they dealt with wayward members — but all too often, they turned a blind eye — they gave a pass to the excesses of some ministers.
The result is that the evangelists and leading pastors are complicit in the scattering of the brethren. The evangelists and leading pastors should have pulled together in defense of our faith. They should have descended on the office of the impostor and barred the door — putting him out on the street. There were ample grounds for banishment — for starters, he was an admitted Sabbath breaker! None had the courage to take a stand to disfellowship that despicable heretic. Let us pray that those ministers, who were negligent in protecting the Church brethren and defending true doctrine, repent of their shortcomings so that an error such as this does not occur again.
The ministers who have continued in this vein are not prepared to teach in the world tomorrow. That is our sad history. What about today? Now the Church is weak and scattered. This is a time of final testing. What would Christ have us do? What does the Lord require of His Bride?
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That is the question we must answer correctly. Jesus Christ is doing His part. Thank God for His infinite wisdom in dealing with each of His called out children on an individual basis. Our relationship with God the Father, putting on the faith of Jesus Christ, and our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ must be our ultimate priority. Our Spirit-driven relationship with God is the very basis for our serving the brethren.
It is in serving that we prepare to be the Bride. Always a Bridesmaid, Never the Bride. What happens if we do not prepare? Could it be that they have not followed proper counsel in their preparation to be a bride? The New Testament writers had to continually address a serious problem impacting the Church of God. Preachers were passing themselves off as true ministers of Jesus Christ, while leading the brethren astray by telling the weak members exactly what they wanted to hear — as opposed to what they needed to hear. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness ; whose end shall be according to their works. So, God included these verses for the very reason that brethren today are being led into grave error by false ministers — it is happening! The Bride will have the spiritual discernment to perceive between false and true ministers of Jesus Christ.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. Paul explains further that it is possible to fall away from the truth. The Bride Puts God First. Where do my true loyalties lie? That constitutes spiritual adultery that will disqualify the Bride. The Bride puts Jesus Christ and His ways first in her life. Over and over the Bride-to-be has been alerted through Biblical warnings to beware of men who can lead her astray and cause her to be jilted. These verses say that some charismatic ministers cleverly articulate the inordinate desires of members by appealing to their baser human senses.
Because this travesty takes place in the confines of the Church congregation, there is a tendency for some members to let down caution and be caught off-guard. Being ignorant of the true nature of the gospel — they can abuse the brethren. The mistreatment of a member can take place when a conflict arises between following the principles of God on the one hand, and dealing in corporate politics on the other. While seeking to curry favor with headquarters, the minister relegates the member to a non-entity status. They do not cause the brethren to look to God — but rather to themselves.
That kind of false minister seeks loyalty to himself — not to God. A note of caution — be careful of associating with political ministers. Servants of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave and gave until He gave His all. That was His example to us of a true minister. Do not accept a substitute minister — and avoid substitutes for true religion. If your minister tells you to avoid fellowshipping with converted brethren from other organizations — have the spiritual maturity to discern his error, and challenge him on doctrinal grounds right away.
Remember that your minister is also your brother in Christ, and you have just as much of an obligation to help him into the Kingdom of God as you do to all your other spiritual brothers and sisters. The Bride will not be in the Kingdom of God solely because of tithing, commandment keeping, and food laws. We do that by serving God and man. A part of our duty is to bind up the wounds of those who have been hurt, and those who are afraid of being hurt again. If we are to be a Bride prepared , Jesus requires nothing less than honest, faithful, and heartfelt relationships with God and our fellow Christians.
Love and Marriage. This most exquisite feature of Godly character is described as pure gold tried in the fire Revelation The love that Christ will have for His Bride and the wholehearted love that the Bride will have for Christ will be a perfect spiritual love. Again I will build thee , and thou shalt be fashioned , O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets From the time of creation until now, the love between Jesus Christ and mankind has been by and large a unilateral love. That one-sided love will finally become a reciprocally shared love when the perfected Bride blossoms into spiritual maturation at the resurrection.
How does the Bride come to possess that level of Godly love? Almost everyone says that they love God, but there is another requirement — loving others — that does not receive the attention that it requires. Notice how Jesus says it. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. The Bride is not prepared when the great majority of the brethren are not willing to interact in a meaningful way with each other.
Jesus takes brotherly love personally! He equates Godly love to brotherly love when He says that without brotherly love there is no Godly love. This verse tells us that loving one another right now is the training occasion for knowing how to have a right relationship with God. We cannot love God without truly loving the brethren , and vice-versa; a right relationship with God is the prerequisite for loving the brethren. The love of God and His law is the foundation upon which is built every one of our right relationships in life. Warning Message.
This is a sincere warning message for the Bride-to-be. We are not truly ready for the spiritual wedding to Christ when we are idle observers rather than positive forces for good in the lives of the brethren. As far as it is possible by way of the correct use of our spiritual gifts, we are to help all others attain to their full potential in the Kingdom of God. At Passover, we are taught in the foot-washing ceremony the salvational necessity to serve one another.
The foot-washing is about loving our neighbor as ourselves. When we do this — Jesus says we have done it unto Him. A loving reprimand may save his eternal life. It is a common misconception that all we have to do is look out for our own spiritual wellbeing. God demands brotherly interaction of those who would be the Bride. Love of God is Perfected. Solomon noted that when love arose between a young man and a young woman, it was almost inexplicable — the young couple did not train for it; they did not study for it; they did not plan for it; they did not even know affection was coming.
Seemingly, their love just materialized out of thin air. Solomon mused that some things were just too amazing to comprehend — and one of them is the beautiful romantic love that forms between a young man and a young woman. However, it is different with the love that the Bride will have for Christ. Godly love does not just come to pass out of the blue!
Godly love is spiritual and eternal — it originates with God. It is God who first makes it possible for us to love Him. John points this out for the Church, and he is quick to add that in the process of coming to love God — brotherly love cannot be omitted. If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? We come to love those brethren with whom we interact and serve — those we help and those for whom we sacrifice and pray.
We learn to relate to others in a manner that reflects the spiritual love and values taught by Jesus. The love of the Bride is a growing love — it increases as she gives of herself. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another , God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us. Love One Another. If there is one overriding weakness within the Church of God in the last days — it is that of neglecting the love of one another.
We have been taught well the Law of God, but we fall short when it comes to a genuine love for one another. He that loves not his brother abides in death. The answer is simply that we interrelate with every man, woman, and child that we come into contact with according to the commandments of God.
The Bride Loves the Children of God. The Bride will definitely love her Husband, Jesus Christ. She knows that Christ would have her genuinely love all the brethren. The Scriptures are abundantly clear that the Bride will be comprised of those who love all the Children of God. By this we know that we love the children of God , when we love God, and keep His commandments. There are many more verses that attest to the vital importance of loving one another with a Godly love.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. We find this Biblical edict often repeated because of its absolute importance and magnitude. What does that mean? How did Jesus demonstrate His limitless love for the brethren? The answer is, He died on the cross so that we might live — that is how! Therefore, those who will be the Bride will be laying their lives down for the brethren — just as Jesus laid His life down for us.
Those who do not grasp the crucial importance of loving the brethren by laying down their lives , will not be a part of the Bride. Willing to Die for Others.
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The Bride of Christ is literally willing to die for others. Suppose that someone in the Church that we know of is found to be involved in gross immorality — what is our Godly obligation toward them? How far should the Bride be willing to go in order to provide the saving love that the member needs?
It is easy to love the brethren when everything is going fine — but when sin enters the picture, it becomes geometrically more complex to love the brethren in a Godly way. The excuses and justifications not to step in and become involved begin to run rampant. We must understand that laying down our lives is more than a passing sentiment — it has to do with taking up our cross as Jesus took up His cross. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Luke adds that if we are ashamed to follow this instruction of Jesus Christ — He will be ashamed of us when He returns Luke In other words, we will be disqualified from being the Bride because we failed to demonstrate a genuine Godly care for one another. We must go to the spiritual rescue of a brother who has a serious sin in his life — it is not optional — but mandatory. Unless we learn what it means to lay our lives down for the brethren in the love of God, we will not have a part in the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptures are clear; if we lack the compassion to do everything within our power to salvage a brother who is in danger — we do not possess the love of God. But whosoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother have need , and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? In the past, too many of our brethren have believed that our faith consists mostly of the ceremonial observance of rituals and the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law, which entails being the living sacrifices that we must be Romans Getting involved in perilous circumstances for the spiritual sake of a brother is hardly ever a popular thing to do.
A particularly difficult situation arises when a minister is at fault. How does a member approach a serious offense in a case like that? For instance, what is to be done when a Pastor refuses to deal with adultery in the congregation? The Bible gives us clear instructions on how the brethren are to deal with sin of this magnitude.
A minister is also a brother in Christ — and must be dealt with accordingly. He is certainly not above the law in any way. Notice a New Testament example of coming to the aid of a sinner:. Paul, first of all, corrects the brethren for their arrogance a puffed up attitude in not dealing with a fornicator. Premarital sex and extramarital sex breed a contemptuous attitude in those who condone such illicit behavior. And ye are puffed up [haughty] , and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
It was not being judgmental to conclude that his salvation was at stake. That man was living in sin, and therefore, not entitled to a continuing fellowship with the brethren. He was yielding to his fleshly lusts, when Christians have, by definition, already crucified the flesh with the inordinate desires and lusts Galatians The purpose of his being separated from the brethren is for the express goal of restoring such a one to repentance and salvation.
Missing the camaraderie is a motivation to be reinstated to the fellowship of the brethren. The sinful man repented — he learned that he must destroy his carnality with its passions and lusts — and he became a profitable member of the congregation once more 2 Corinthians A Minister is a Brother Too.
God is not a respecter of persons — so this lesson applies equally to sinful ministers. When a minister is sinning — there are two possible scenarios for the outcome. First, prayer, fasting, patience, wisdom and going to your brother Matthew may render a successful outcome — or, second, the minister may carry the congregation away into error.
Thus, these prayers of the saints release speedy justice on wickedness upon the earth alongside salvation and redemption. This means that the end-time, night-and-day prayer movement is catalytic for all the other works of the saints. Second, the Bible also highlights that the saints are trans-formed from glory to glory into the likeness of Jesus Christ as we behold Him with unveiled face.
Thus, spending substantial time in prayer, worship, and communion facilitate transformation and encounter with the living God. When the early disciples, who were likely all Jewish in ethnicity, heard the teaching of Jesus about the kingdom of God, they desired a quick restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
Therefore, it was reasonable for them to attempt to understand the timing of the restoration of the kingdom of God to Israel. Jesus assured them that the kingdom of heaven would be restored to Israel, but it would be fulfilled in ways they did not anticipate. There would first be a historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit would lead and empower the believers to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. The gospel of the kingdom was to be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations before the end would come.
Those are the very words of Jesus recorded in the gospel of Matthew. By the s, the gospel had spread to the new world of North and South America and the Pacific Islands. By AD , the gospel had taken root in every geopolitical nation on earth. However, it has not yet taken root in every ethnos ethno-linguistic people group. Within each country geopolitical nation , there are diverse ethno-linguistic groups that require unique missiological strategies of engagement.
In Romans —26, the Bible clearly reveals a time when the witness of the gospel will reach the ends of the earth and a remnant from all the nations will be gathered in. When the gospel brings forth the fullness of redemption to the Jews and Gentiles in Christ, the imagery in Ephesians of the one new man will be manifested. In Matthew , apart from the promise that the gospel will reach all nations as a precursor to the time of the end, there has also been an emphasis on the gospel of the kingdom of God.
As we approach the last days, we witness a variety of dilutions and distortions of the gospel. The true gospel of the kingdom must proclaim the coming of Christ and His complete work of redemption over humanity and creation. The coming of Christ includes both His first and second coming, which together depict both the betrothal and the consummation of a marriage covenant. In the Hebraic wedding customs during the time of Christ, typical weddings were divided into three ceremonial sections; the betrothal ketubah , the wedding chuppah , and the feast.
During the betrothal, the father of the bridegroom would present a bridal contract ketubah , which includes the bridal gift mohar. Once both sides agreed on the ketubah , the bridal gift would be showered and the bridegroom would offer his covenant bride a cup of wine. If she drinks the cup before everyone, she thereby expresses her will to marry him beyond her parental consent.
The bridegroom would usually leave a special gift mattan to help her remember their covenant. The mattan helped the bride remember and grow in love with the bridegroom day by day when they were apart. The bridegroom would spend at least nine months to one year to work on building a house for their future family. The bride would start preparing her bridal garments, usually made up of fine linen. She must keep herself chaste and not be distracted by other would-be lovers while her bridegroom is laboring to build a house for them, since he would come to receive her when he was ready.
When the bridegroom had finished all preparations, he would usually seek permission from his father to go and receive his bride. When the bride heard this trumpet and shout, she would get ready and dress in her bridal garment together with her virgin friends. They would prepare lamps to light the way, but a typical lamp had an oil compartment that only contained sufficient oil to light the lamp for a couple of hours.
Wise virgins would bring along larger containers with extra oil to last through the long, dark night. The bridegroom would usually come between sunset and sunrise. He comes like a thief in the night to snatch away his bride, which is part of the fun and ritual. It mimics a voluntary kidnapping of the bride since she is already betrothed to her husband and they are technically married. When the bridegroom sees her, he lifts her up and carries her back to the home he had built for them.
In that home, under the chuppah , they would receive the wedding blessings and consummate their marriage covenant in their bedroom. Often they would drink a cup of wine in their room together. The feast then began in the house of the bridegroom and would often last for seven days or longer. While the family celebrated and feasted, the wedded couple would spend time in intimate communion with each other while occasionally entertaining guests. Jesus often spoke and taught using the wedding analogy when He described His coming and His departure. The two comings of Jesus are clearly foreshadowed in this wedding analogy.
While the witness of the gospel was glorious during the first few hundred years after the death and resurrection of Christ, I believe the witness of the gospel at the second coming of Christ will be far more glorious.
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