His Bride Has Made Herself Ready
How often do you think about your future “wedding”?
The noise, clutter, and pace of responsibilities, job, bills, and just daily life, can easily consume our focus on our journey from here to heaven. We often forget that we’re preparing for a wedding. It’s good for us to remind each other that we are heading toward the most climactic event in redemptive history—the return of Christ for His bride.
Before the first couple was created and the first wedding union performed, this final wedding ceremony was in the mind of God. After studying the details of the letters to the seven churches, it is good to take a step back and remember the big picture. Believers are in the midst of a cosmic conflict and what is occurring here, in your life, in your family, and within your church has eternal implications.
One thing is evident in reading these letters: Jesus loves His church! Each commendation and rebuke is delivered from the heart of a divine Lover who desires the best for His beloved. The condition of the church should matter to us because it matters to Christ. The valuable price He paid for her purchase reveals her worth to Him (1 Pet. 1:18–19).
Three primary concerns for His church surface in these letters: passion, purity, and perseverance. In this season of waiting for the Bridegroom’s return, the bride is to be preparing herself—both individually and corporately. She needs to be ready for His return.
MAKING IT PERSONAL:
If Jesus entered your church today, what would be His concerns? What do you think He would want to say to your church family?
God ordained the beauty and intimacy of the marital relationship to represent the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:22–33). What implications does this hold for marriage? For the church?
Is your passion for Christ that of a bride eagerly awaiting her lover’s return? Consider the words of the Shulamite bride in Song of Solomon 5:10–6:3, as she admires her bridegroom and awaits his return.
The relationship between Christ and His bride is often expressed in terms reflecting Hebrew wedding customs. During the betrothal period, the bridegroom would be preparing a future home for his bride. She waited in anticipation of his “return” for her and the wedding ceremony that would follow. Keep this in mind while reading Christ’s words, as He speaks of His leaving, in John 14:1–3. Allow your passion to be fueled as you read of His return for His bride (1 Cor. 15:50–58; 1 Thess. 4:13–18).
Review the words of rebuke given to the churches that lost their passion for Christ (Rev. 2:4; 3:1–2, 15–16).
Jesus’ concern for His bride’s purity involves doctrinal purity (holding fast to His truth) and practical purity (holy living). Scripture uses the symbolic description of white robes and virginity to portray this righteousness (Isa. 61:10–11; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7–8). Does your church place an emphasis on both doctrinal purity and personal, practical holiness?
How about you? Do doctrinal and personal purity matter to you? What are you doing to cultivate both?
The commendation to those who “conquer” (“overcome”) is a commendation for faithfulness. Jesus commends them for more than just patiently enduring under trial or persecution; the word used for “endurance” in Revelation 1:9 suggests standing firm against the culture, having “triumphant fortitude” in the face of opposition—even to the point of death. Consider these references which contain this word: Revelation 2:2–3, 10, 13, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12.
How are you demonstrating this type of “triumphant fortitude” or perseverance as you face the world’s opposition to truth? If you’ve wavered or lacked endurance, consider whether this may have affected others negatively. If you’ve been inconsistent in your witness before others, pray about confessing this to them and sharing what it means to live a life of faithfulness to Christ.
A marriage supper invitation has been issued. All the faithful under the old covenant, along with the tribulation saints, are invited to participate in the wedding ceremony of the bride (the church) and her Bridegroom (Christ). This wedding feast has long been anticipated (Isa. 25:6–9). Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:15–24 describes a great wedding supper where many of the invited declined their invitation. His burden for His house to be filled should compel us to be diligent in reaching the lost. Our churches need the Savior’s heart and a sense of urgency in order to reach those who are now outside this covenant of grace.
Read this chapter, and be blessed by the anticipation of the glorious future we anticipate with our King and Savior. Join the Spirit and the bride in calling out to thirsty souls to “Come.”
Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Establish Your kingdom on earth, for Your glory!
Adapted from Learning From the Churches of Revelations Based on the Teachings of Nancy Leigh DeMoss