THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, COME
I was in Kampala, Uganda a few years ago at a large Pastors convention, when I found myself on the platform looking out over this great gathering of God’s leaders, (rather than being seated in the congregation where I belonged!) My husband had become ill and I had been asked to take his place as the evening speaker. I wanted to obey the Lord even though I had been struggling with a strong fear of public speaking and had barely begun to get my feet wet at the time, (talk about being thrown into the deep end of the pool!) As I looked into the strong faces of these veteran men and women of God, I was greatly tempted to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task: after all, who was I but a small-town “home-school mom” who suddenly found herself in front of a vast crowd of expectant ministers in a foreign country!
I was in good company in my intimidation for even the likes of Moses, Jeremiah and Timothy each struggled with the voice of self-assessment. Moses said I am slow of speech, they’ll never listen to me, Jeremiah said I am too young, they’ll never listen to me and Paul had to write to young Timothy to remind him that,
“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” II Tim. 1:7
God’s ways are not our ways. God was faithful to give me a boldness that night which only comes through His love; the passionate love of God for His people that is greater than the fear of failure and overcomes self-assessment which says, “I am not able.”
”There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment.” 1 John 4:18
As I was ending the message the lord had given me from Christ’s words to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, the spirit of the Lord came upon me and I found myself boldly declaring something I had never even considered before that moment. It was almost as though I was a third party listening to what was coming out of my mouth. I heard myself declare to these precious pastors that, “The Spirit and the bride say come”(Rev. 22:17), therefore, if we are not preaching about the 2nd coming of Christ in our churches then I would submit to you that the Holy Spirit of God may not be in our churches. Furthermore, if we are not truly desiring and longing for Christ’s 2nd coming then perhaps we are not truly the bride of Christ because according to Christ’s closing message in the last chapter of the book of Revelation,
“...THE SPIRIT and THE BRIDE say, come...” Rev. 22:17
HE DESIRES TO BRING US WHERE HE IS
I have read and heard many times that in the ancient Jewish tradition a man’s father would select a bride for his son. If the selected one was willing, a price would be paid for the her and a covenant of betrothal would be established. After the betrothal ceremony the bridegroom would go away to his father’s house to prepare a home for his bride. The bride’s part was to wait patiently and keep herself chaste as she longed for and anticipated his return. It would usually take up to twelve months but when all was prepared, with great excitement the bridegroom would return for his bride (usually in the late night hours) with the blast of the shofar to announce his arrival to all!
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise Oirst: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thes. 4:16-17)
At the last passover supper just before the Lord would shed his blood on the cross of calvary to pay the price for his bride (the church) and establish his betrothal covenant with her, the Lord told his disciples,
“In my Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
If we have no passion about the return of our Lord, our heavenly bridegroom, if we do not long for his return, how can we call ourselves the bride of Christ? Do you know that the Lord himself longs for the day he will bring us where he is to show us his glory? He’s been longing for it since the last supper when he prayed to his Father and asked...
”Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)
He has been looking forward to it from the foundation of the world when he already knew the price he would pay for us.
“...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”(Rev. 13:18)
THE FAITHFUL BRIDEGROOM
Do you know that unlike us he is not distracted from this singular desire by anything and never has been but rather gave himself entirely to cleanse his bride with his own blood and call her to himself (Eph. 5:25-27). And now he waits patiently for his Father to say it’s time to come for his bride (Mark 13: 32). Do you hear him calling, drawing and wooing your heart into a passionate, vibrant expectation of uniting with your Lord, your beloved Savior for all eternity! He sits at the right hand of the father and ever liveth to make intercession for his bride (Hebrews 7:25). He is given to complete faithfulness and true devotion to his bride. His very existence as the slain lamb resurrected and seated at the right hand of the father is in it’s self intercession for us. As he said, he will never leave us or forsake us (Mat.28:20). He is fully attentive to our faintest cry and minutest circumstance (Heb. 4:14-16). He is never too busy; he is never bored by the prayer, the praise, the worship or the simplest fellowship of his betrothed. How he desires our faithful and true devotion to him in return. He is so deserving of it and he will have it from a faithful, true and chaste bride.
WHERE IS MY FAITHFUL BRIDE?
Recently a word of utterance came forth as I attended a church service in which the Spirit of the Lord declared that the heavenly host stood at attention awaiting the sound of the trumpet, then the Spirit of the Lord asked... “where is my bride? Where is she who stands at attention awaiting the sound? Where is she who is looking up and longing for my coming? She who is keeping herself spotless without wrinkle, this is the one who will hear the shout and the trumpet, this is the one for whom I am coming, this is my bride and I am coming for her” (1Thes. 4:16, Eph. 5:27, Rev. 22:7).
This word of exhortation which is in total keeping with the scripture, is in direct opposition to the current trend of preaching in the modern church. They say, ”Look in the mirror (not up) and see the successful, wealthy, influential you: you have the power to amass all that this world has to offer and sit upon the pinnacle of it because this is what you were created for.” Isn’t this the same spirit that tempted our Lord in the wilderness? Now it tempts his body, his bride. Most popular teaching today exhorts the body of Christ to focus on and set their heart on this world’s goods, this world’s systems and to be conformed into this world’s image. John exhorted us to,
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the Olesh, and of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. (1John 2:15-17)
Rather than promoting the standard of purity and holiness, preachers are promoting the idea that grace means God has removed all standards because Christ is pure for us and that’s good enough for God, we don’t have to bother with purity or holiness anymore. But Paul said,
“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. (1 Thes. 4:7)
However, a line is being drawn as the further that false doctrine dares to go, the more it evidences itself to be false. For this one aspect I am happy, that the darker the false doctrines become, the greater the contrast is with the light of the truth thereby giving the one who sincerely desires truth, a clear choice (John 3: 19-21).
TO THEM THAT LOVE HIS APPEARING
The Spirit of the Lord is declaring Christ’s return and His voice is becoming more prominent as His people begin to heed his call to look up and
“...seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set their affections on things above, not on things on earth.” (Col. 3:1-2)
We are to, by an act of our will through the power of the Holy Spirit, seek or pursue the things of heaven where Christ is seated. Scripture says that our very life is hidden there. We must purposefully set our affections (what we long for, dwell upon and desire) on things above. This will never happen by accident, these are directives given by the apostle Paul. If we by the Spirit determine to set our heart upon Him and the things pertaining to where he is, we will most certainly begin to long for His return as a faithful bride should.
For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Col. 3:3-4)
How do we set our heart upon Him? How does a young girl who is faithfully in love set her heart upon her betrothed while she awaits the wedding day? She talks to him everyday, as a matter of fact, he is the first thing on her mind when she wakes up in the morning and she will arrange her entire day around the opportunity to spend time with him: he is her priority, every one and everything else can wait. No matter where she is physically, her heart and mind are upon him and essentially with him where ever he is. If she is not with him then she is talking about him and if you do not want to hear about her beloved you will just have to avoid her altogether because it is a fact of her existence that she will speak of him for he has captured her whole heart and mind and feeling. If she can not be with him or has no one to tell about how wonderful he is then she will think about him; the things she has heard him say; the things she has seen him do. She finds it thrilling to dissect the most minute aspects of his personality and just meditate upon them. Yet, most of all, her one great joy is in the expectation and anticipation of their new life together once they are joined as one in holy matrimony, never to be parted.
“... but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (11 Thes. 4:8)
KEEPING OURSELVES UNSPOTTED
The Spirit of the Lord himself has likened our relationship with Christ to that of an earthly bride and bridegroom. (Eph. 5:22-32, John 3:29) How much greater still should our love, devotion and faithfulness be to the only holy, pure, perfect, faithful, true, mighty, glorious and worthy Heavenly Savior than to that of any earthly relationship. He who is preparing a place for us and returning to take us with him to his heavenly kingdom where we shall live forever free from all destruction, bondage, fear, impurity, heartache or pain. We will be forever lavished in the love of the Savior and the glories he has prepared for us though we are completely undeserving of his great love and faithful devotion to us.
He waits patiently for us (11Peter 3:8-9), ought we not to so love him and wait patiently for him, keeping ourselves unspotted from the world? (11 Thes. 3:5, James 1:27)
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure. (1 John 3:3)
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. (Jude 25)
And he that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus. (Rev. 22:20)
May God bless us with a living and vibrant revelation of Christ’s soon return which will transform us into the spotless bride of Christ.
In His Fields,