Sunday, August 28, 2005

Here Comes the Bride

We had one of those services where God was just all over this place today. It began during our Praise & Worship time. Our first chorus was Soon and Very Soon (we're going to see the King) and that was followed by What A Day That Will Be (when my Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace. He will take me by the hand and lead me through the Promised Land. What a day, glorious day that will be).

As we started our third song, He Is Exalted, you could begin to sense that sweet presence of the Holy Spirit as He began stirring peoples' hearts as they worshipped. This portion of the service drew to a close with Open Our Eyes, Lord (we want to see Jesus). This flowed into the special music which happened to be my daughter, Hannah, singing a Ray Boltz song entitled "Thank You."

The entire singing took over 40 minutes as He was lifted up, as He was glorified, and as He was praised.

The message was entitled You Are Cordially Invited. This was based on Revelation 19:6-10 as the Bride of Christ being called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I used the backdrop of a Jewish Wedding Ceremony to set the stage for the pictures and symbolism of the rapture.

THE CHOOSING OF THE BRIDE (John 15:16)

A young Jewish man chooses a young woman to be his wife.

Jesus Christ came to seek and to save.

THE INVITATION TO THE FATHER'S HOUSE (John 14:2-3)

A marriage contract is presented that outlines to promises of the groom and the obligations of the wife. If she agrees to accept this contract then it becomes an official espousal which means they are legally married but they have not yet consummated the union. Once she agrees she receives a gift(s) as an outward symbol of her beloved's intention.

The husband then tells her, "I go to prepare a place for you." The couple is then separated as he and his father prepare them a home.

THE CHOSEN BRIDE IS THEN SANCTIFIED AND SEPARATED (Matthew 25:1)

She knows not when her groom will come but she is to keep herself pure and ready for his return. At this point she wears a veil to signify to all others who see her that she is not available. This was a visible witness.

We, as the Bride of Christ, need to be ready (lamps trimmed and burning) and set apart. People should to look at us and see that we belong to another... to Christ.

THE GROOM RETURNS FOR HIS BRIDE (Matthew 25:13)

He comes and he calls her unto himself.

Christ will come and call us unto Himself.

THE CEREMONY OF THE WEDDING (Psalm 27:5 and Isaiah 26:20-21)

The Groom awaits on the altar under a Chuppa (canopy). This represents the Cloud of Glory of God who was their protection by day and led them as a pillar of fire by night. It also represents the Bridal Chamber that sets the couple apart from everyone else.

The Bride is carried into the ceremony. She is lifted up onto the altar to her awaiting groom under the Chuppa. This is a picture of the Holy Spirit carrying us up and out (Rapture) to meet the Lord.

THE INVITATION

First, everyone needs a wedding garment (Matt 22) ... 4 people saved today

Second, is the Bride ready? Have we kept ourselves faithful and pure?

We invited people to come and repent and pray on the platform under the Chuppa as a symbolic gesture of understanding that we are HIS Bride and we need to keep ourselves consecrated for Him and His imminate return. By the way, people came forward as the instrumentalists played the Wedding March!

People are still crying, shouting, and rejoicing over what became a powerfully moving experience.