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The Church as the Bride of Christ

27 Aug

Years ago, every married couple in this room stood in front of a group of people very similar to this one and made some statements we call “vows” to each other: “Do you take this woman to be your wife? Do you promise to love her, honor her, and submit to her? Do you promise to stay with her and stand by her for as long as you both shall live?”……

There were differences in the details of the vows, in the styles of weddings, etc., but we each were in circumstances that presented a strong potential:
· we repeated the right words and said “I do” in the right place
· we heard ourselves promise love, honor, obedience, respect, and faithfulness
· every one of us fully believed we’d keep to promises made
· we believed our marriage would be better than any we had ever seen

Many times, the reality and the ideal don’t match. It hasn’t surprised us this week to find that the ‘marriage’ of God and the church has its ‘ups and downs,’ too.

(Isa 62:5) “As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

(Hosea 2:16-20) “”In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
{17} I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.
{18} In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that
all may lie down in safety.  {19} I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. {20} I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the
LORD.”

(2 Cor 11:2) “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”

(Rev 21:2) “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”

What are some things that makes for a successful marriage? (Must happen in our earthly marriages and also in our marriage to Christ).
· Communication
· Accent the positive
· Don’t rundown in front of others
· Don’t make a list for him..make it for yourself
· Faithfulness (discuss sexual purity here and what God has set in place for those who are married).

Reliving the church’s vows (when this sermon was preached, I closed the sermon by having all the members stand and they repeated after me the following vow…it was voluntary and we immediately began singing the invitations song):
“Do you, church, take Jesus to be your husband? Do you promise to love him, honor him, and submit to him? Do you promise to stay with him and stand by him for as long as you live?”….

Christians have made similar vows in principle for over 2,000 years and meant every word they said. They believed Jesus was the Son of God. They wanted to make Him both their Master and Lord. They spoke with sincerity, conviction, and hope.

But, like Israel, the faithfulness hasn’t always followed:
(Jer 3:8) “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.”

(Hosea 2:2-4) “”Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. {3} Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. {4} I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery.

James 4:4: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Church

 

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