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The King Marries His Bride – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 8, 2024 1:00 am

The King Marries His Bride – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 8, 2024 1:00 am

In Revelation 19, a voice from God’s throne says, “Blessed are those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!” All believers are invited. In this message, Pastor Lutzer walks through the stages of a wedding in biblical times, reflecting on Jesus’ relationship with His church. How might we live differently because we’re invited?

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In Revelation 19, a voice from the throne of God says, Write, Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. These called ones have an engraved invitation to attend the wedding feast of all time.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, tell us about today's message, The King Marries His Bride. Dave, I love the way you put it that we have an engraved invitation to this wedding. What a beautiful wedding it's going to be. And I have to emphasize to all who are listening that when I talk about these things, we try to imagine them, but they are going to be so much more overwhelming and beautiful than we can possibly imagine when the bride, the church, marries the lamb, as the Bible says.

What an event. Let me ask you a question. Are you blessed as a result of the ministry of Running to Win? Have you ever connected with us? Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?

That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, you need more info. So here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com.

Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let us always remember that we shall give an account for what we have done. And as a result of that, we should be motivated to wait for the blessed wedding of the bride. What I'd like you to do today is to think about the most joyous, happy marriage that you have ever been at, the most happy wedding that you've ever been at. If you're married and you're here today, I hope that you are thinking of your own. Unfortunately, we have many interesting and good weddings, but they end up oftentimes creating disastrous marriages. Like a friend of mine says, I was married by a judge. Now I wish I had asked for a jury. By the way, I read the other day that I think something like 2,640,691 people were married in America last year.

Hate to start anything, but shouldn't that be an even number? Well, today I want you to think about a marriage in heaven, a wedding ceremony. And this is one that is very distinctly out of this world. It has no such thing as vows that say, until death do us part, because there is no death that will ever part us. It is the marriage between Jesus Christ and his church.

Today I can speak these words. We can read the scripture as we're going to, but only the Holy Spirit of God can really show us what it is that the text says, because it is so overwhelming, so unbelievable. But it is in God's word and we believe it. And as a result of it, I believe our lives are going to be changed forever because we're listening to his word. Let's take our Bibles and turn to the 19th chapter, the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter 19.

Let's look at how far we have come. If you've been here before, you know that this is the third in a series of messages entitled When He Shall Come. In the first message, we talked about the rapture of the church because we said that it is best if we try to think of the return of Christ in two stages. So the church has been raptured to heaven, that is us, all believers throughout the world before the throne of God. And then last time we studied the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. And I want you to visualize that that judgment seat is now over because now it is time for the second phase of Jesus Christ's return to take place, and that is his glorious appearing on the Mount of Olives and he shall bring us with him. He came for the saints in the rapture. He now will be coming with his saints in what is called the glorious appearing. But just before that happens, there is now this marriage supper of the Lamb. And I want to read a few verses from the text. It says in chapter 19 verse 6, then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out Hallelujah for the Lord our God almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. It was granted to her to clothe herself with linen, fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

That's the account. In order for us to understand this, we have to go back to the way in which weddings were conducted in those days. So let's walk through the stages and we can see them reflected here in Jesus Christ's relationship with us as his church. First of all, step number one, there was the engagement. The engagement often was done by parents. They got together and they decided which son and which daughter would marry. And when they did this, the assumption was today, of course, we say I have to fall in love and then I marry. They said marry first and fall in love later.

And maybe they were onto something. But this engagement was so solid, so firm that actually it was considered to be equivalent of the marriage vow itself. Oh, there was an elaborate ceremony as to how you might be able to get out of it. But the engagement was a period that lasted maybe a year or two. And that would give each the opportunity to see whether or not each was being true to the vows that were about to be made. That's why Joseph had such a problem with Mary when she was pregnant. He was engaged to her, was betrothed to her. And now suddenly she is pregnant and he believes that she violated their agreement.

And he doesn't know what to do. And an angel had to come and explain to him what had happened. In addition to that, in the engagement period, a dowry was paid. This was, in effect, a way in which you purchased a bride. You paid a dowry. Sometimes it was paid to her, sometimes more often to her family. In the case of Jesus, he paid a dowry for us.

The Bible says that he shed his blood and he purchased us with himself. And I think that's why it is that he is called, in this particular context, it is the marriage supper of the Lamb. Why isn't it the marriage supper of the Creator or the marriage supper of the King? After all, that's what happens in verse 11 in this chapter.

He returns as King. I believe that the reason is because it's the Lamb that we fell in love with, and it is the Lamb who gave himself for us. Jesus is the only groom who laid down his life for his bride and then was resurrected again that he might be able to redeem her, cleanse her, and marry her. First of all, there was then the engagement period, and then after that period was over, it was then that the groom would come to get his bride. Now, mind you, during the time of waiting, during that engagement period, he was very busy. He would take, oftentimes, the home of his father, the house of his father, and he would build an addition onto it. And this addition was the place where he and his bride would now live.

Sometimes it had one room, sometimes it had many rooms, but he would prepare it, he would furnish it, he would make sure that it is ready so that when his bride moves in, she has some furniture, and hopefully the rooms are in accordance with her standards and her desires. It's exactly what Jesus was referring to. He said to the disciples, let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many dwelling places.

If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. He's working on the place that we are going to be, and when I do that, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also. It's at the rapture of the church that Jesus Christ comes and takes his bride to the father's house. And there in the father's house, there is a great deal of rejoicing when the bride arrives.

And what does she look like? The Bible says that there are people who are saved from every kindred, every tongue, and every nation. The bride is going to be so diverse, representing all the different countries, all the different cultures, all the colors of the world. That's why so many of us rejoice in the fact that when we took a survey recently, we discovered that here at the Moody Church, we have more than 70 different countries of origin.

We are looking more and more like heaven all the time. And that's the way it's going to be. So the bride comes, and she comes to the father's house. So first of all, you have the engagements. Secondly, the groom returns to get his bride. And then third, we get to the feast itself, the feast itself. Now, the Bible says here, and your text is open in the last part of verse 7, the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Where did that happen? Well, it happened at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. If you weren't here last week, you should get that message because I explained how that all of the things that are left undone in this life finally are adjudicated at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. You see, when the bride arrives in heaven, she is legally perfect because she has the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to her account. I love to tell people that you can't get to heaven unless you are as perfect as God, which usually helps them see that they have a problem. But the good news is that when we trust Christ as Savior, His righteousness is credited to us, and we arrive in heaven in His righteousness alone faultless to stand before the throne.

That's legally. But in practice, there's a great deal of discipline that God has done in our lives, and there's a great deal of imperfection. And as I explained last time, people die with unresolved conflicts, and it's the judgment seat of Jesus Christ where Jesus takes His church that arrives in heaven in practice. It is, what does the Bible say, with spot and wrinkle and blemishes. And then He cleanses the church so that He presents it to Himself without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be pure and holy before Him. So now the bride is ready. And now we come to the attire.

What is this bride wearing, we might ask. You'll notice that she is clothed in fine linen, and the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Now you see, we receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ when we receive Him as Savior, most assuredly. We receive His righteousness, the gift. But that righteousness now is worked out in our lives through our obedience.

As we obey the Lord, we discover that we become righteous not only legally, but we become righteous in experience as we draw on that righteousness, and we do good deeds that are very, very precious to God. And so the clothes that are worn, the linen that is white and pure and clean, that's really what God does with our works at the judgment seat. Whatever comes out of the fire, and when you think of the fire, gold, silver, and precious stones, whatever it is that comes out of that fire is used then to weave our garments. Someone has put it this way, that what we weave on earth, we wear in heaven. Now does that mean that all of us are going to be dressed exactly the same? Everybody gets the same gown, everybody gets the same attire?

Well, that's a possibility. But another possibility, because the Bible makes such a great emphasis on rewards, is that it might be something like graduation garments. You know, when you walk down that aisle, you had the very same garment as somebody else in terms of what it was made of, but there were some, perhaps the faculty, when you graduated who had special decorations because they had made some significant achievements.

I don't know how it will be. I just know that everyone that is there is going to be happy, everyone is going to be accepted, but the righteousness that we have, that is what we wear, the linen, white and clean, is the righteous deeds of the saints. And that's why it's so important for us to indeed have those righteous deeds because what you do on earth, you will again meet in heaven. And of course on earth, the big question is always what the bride is wearing. Nobody ever asks what the groom is wearing, but when we get to heaven, when we get to heaven, all that is going to be changed as we shall see in a moment. So we've talked about the attire, but what about the invited guests? What about them? Now you'll notice it says, and the angel said in verse nine, write this, blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb.

And he said, these are the true words of God. Who are these that are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb? You know, there are some people who want to say, well, this must be the bride, but a bride isn't invited to her own wedding. A bride invites people. The bride and the groom, they invite to their friends to the marriage supper. So who would be these invited guests? Well, the Bible doesn't tell us, but I have an idea who they might be. And if we connect some dots, maybe we can come up with something that might actually be correct.

Think of it now. The church of Jesus Christ is raptured and taken to heaven. And then there's a period of great tribulation on the earth that lasts at least seven years and maybe beyond seven years. During that great tribulation that takes place, Daniel says in chapter 12, verses 1 to 3, that at the end of this tribulation period, there is going to be a resurrection. And I think that that's where all of the Old Testament saints are going to be resurrected. Now the marriage supper takes place at a time when Jesus is about to return to earth in glory. And in future messages, we will talk about the tribulation and we'll talk about this passage and others that speak about Jesus returning to earth.

And so please keep that in mind. But if it is true now that the Jews are resurrected, and by Jews I don't mean only Jews, all those of the Old Testament, no matter what ethnic background or whatever race they may be if they believed in Jehovah, if they are resurrected after the great tribulation, they would then be arriving in heaven just at the time when the marriage supper was happening. And they would then, of course, also descend to earth, I'm sure, with the church that Jesus has redeemed. What makes me think this is in the New Testament, there's an interesting story. Jesus was criticizing the Jews for thinking that they had an entitlement to the kingdom because they said to themselves, well, you know, we have the right lineage. And Jesus said, you might have the right lineage physically, but you've never received Messiah.

You do not have a heart that is open to God. And then he meets a centurion. And the centurion has great faith. And Jesus says these words. He says, verily I say to you, many shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the south, and they shall sit in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In another account, he also adds the prophets. And then he says, but the children of the kingdom, that is to say, those who thought they had entitlement, they will be shut out in a place of darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Oh, the words of Jesus are words of rebuke, words of warning, and words of great care. You know, when I speak about these things, all of us, I think we try to imagine what eternity is going to be like, even though we have many descriptions of what is going to happen. But we can never really capture it, but we try to. We think of the words of our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the predictions that he made.

And of course, what he wants to do is to get us ready for eternity. I want to ask you a question I frequently asked on this broadcast. Have you been blessed as a result of the ministry of running to win? If you answer yes, it's because people just like you made an investment in this ministry. For example, you have invested in our ministry in West Africa. I'm holding in my hands a letter that came from there. When I began listening to you and saw that the teaching was highly impactful, I started to encourage friends and neighbors to join in listening.

Everyone rejoices when we listen as we are blessed. Keep it up. Would you help us on a regular basis as we continue to grow this ministry to even more countries in the world?

Here's what you can do. You can become what we like to call an endurance partner. We're to run the race of life with endurance. Endurance partners give regularly. They, of course, pray for this ministry.

They become a part of what I like to call the running to win family. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com and when you're there, you click on the endurance partner button or you can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, because we need people just like you to become ministry partners, I give you the info again. Go to rtwoffer.com.

Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. The pain of a broken family, it runs deeper than many of us can bear. Michael writes, desperate for some counsel, Pastor Lutzer, he says, I've been married to my wife for 13 years. She has been controlling and has now moved out.

I don't know where she is or who she lives with. I have filed for divorce. Will I be committing adultery if I remarry? Michael, I'm not going to give you a definitive answer to your question because I suggest that you talk to a pastor who knows the whole situation, who understands better what has happened in your marriage and particularly why your wife has moved out. If she is living with another man, I do believe that the bond that you have with her has been broken or is in the process of being broken, which may free you to remarry.

But this is a very delicate issue and I would like to caution you about something. While it is true that almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce, according to statistics that I have read, a much higher percentage are divorced in their second marriage. And the reason is because they take the baggage of the first marriage into their second marriage. So at a time when you are filing for divorce, for you to be thinking so far ahead as to whether or not you can remarry, I think that that is wrong. You need to ask yourself the question, how do I glorify God in the midst of this process with a wife who has left me? How do I glorify God in the midst of this?

And then the whole issue of remarriage, I think, is a decision that should be made far, far down the road. Check with your pastor, get some wise counsel from those who are able to help you through this. Thank you, Michael, for sharing your story. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your counsel. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Old Testament prophets, New Testament apostles, and believers since the dawn of time will attend the great marriage supper of Jesus. This feast will mark the culmination of the redemptive work of Christ as He welcomes all those He died for to eat with Him in heaven. Next time on Running to Win, more teaching on the ultimate wedding. Thanks for listening to our series on the return of Christ. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-08 02:16:09 / 2024-02-08 02:24:48 / 9

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