Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Type of Gown Will You Be Wearing in Heaven?

As anyone already knows, for a bride, it is all about the dress. Once that decision is made, the rest of the planning goes relatively smoothly. For a bride it is all about looking her very best the day she walks down the aisle to her future husband and her future life in marriage. As we have been studying in the book of Revelation, we are witnessing our future as believers in Christ. We are looking into heaven at this point to a wedding. Our wedding! Aren't you excited?

In order to understand the context of this marriage and the preparation that goes into it, we have to look into the culture of the Middle East. It was all about the preparation from the time a son or daughter is born. Parents knew everything about other parents, their reputation, lineage, how they conducted themselves. They would work out arrangements when the children were little and they would each do their part to ensure that these relationships were groomed from the first time they entered into that agreement. The parents would do all they could to establish, watch over and protect, until the time arrived to present them to one another.

The Bride, we are talking about in Revelation 19, is the church. She has been purchased, she's been saved. We see that the Bride or church is wearing fine linen, and not a robe. Old Testament Saints and Tribulation Saints all wear robes, but the church wears a gown of fine linen. How does she get it, what is the meaning of the gown. She gets herself ready, it means, how does the church make itself attractive for Christ?

How does she get herself ready? Holy living. Having a single focus for Jesus. We give money to what honors Christ. We give our time and energy, everything we do, we present it to God as an act of worship. That should be our attitude before we step inside the church, preparing ourselves for worship at the feet of Almighty God. Those are the righteous acts. It's dedicating anything we do as unto the Lord. A great question to ask yourself is would Jesus enjoy doing what you are doing and going where you go?

Worship, remember has nothing to do with us, or the church. It is not about you, it's all about Jesus. It's living for Him. We are going to heaven, as a believer in Christ, earth is NOT our home.

Nehemiah 8:10 ~ " Then he said to them, Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

1 Peter 1:8 ~ "Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,"

If we focus on Jesus, it is easy to express our joy for Him. God desires for us to be attentive.

Revelation 19:7b ~ "for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready."

Who is getting married? The Lamb. There are over 700 names that refer to Jesus. When He is getting ready to put His name on the wedding invitation, what name does He use? The Lamb! He could use any name but you want to know why? It is because He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Even in the Middle Eastern cultures, they understand the significance of a lamb, it is the Lamb of sacrifice, that is who we want to get married to!

2 Corinthians 11:2 ~ "Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you."

Once a bride belongs to that man, she begins to make herself ready. How does she make herself ready? By being attentive!!! Let us remember earlier in our study, we are looking at the Middle Eastern marriage culture. We have it all wrong her in the West. It is too rushed and often times the bride has slept with previous men and so has the bridegroom before arriving where they are at today.

Matthew 25:1-13 ~ "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, "Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise answered, saying, "Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves." And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready, went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, "Lord, lord, open to us." But he answered, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

This is how Christ will come for the church, when they are ready and waiting while the world is busy with the things of this world, thinking they still have plenty of time. In the Middle Eastern cultures, the parents of both the potential bride and groom spent time watching over and protecting them, until they were ready to be engaged. The parents arranged for all the preparations while they were growing up. This is the reason for the Holy Spirit in our own lives. The son in the marriage would begin making preparations for their future home, just like Jesus has been doing for us.

The church, the true Christian, is making herself ready. She is waiting for Jesus to come back at any time, and she is anticipating that happening at any moment.

Titus 2:13 ~ "waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

Do you want to know complete forgiveness?

Revelation 19:8 ~ "it was granted to her to cloth herself with fine linen, bright and pure - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints."

The Lord has given us all that is needed to get into heaven. Wouldn't you want to know that every single one of your sins is forgiven? You can! Notice is stated it was granted to her to cloth herself in fine linen. It means it was granted, bestowed up, graced. She is graced with a gown. In the western world, weddings are very different. The bride spends months or more preparing and buying, organizing and buying, inviting and buying. This gown is given to her, because she already belongs to Him by engagement.

Jesus has given us everything we need to get into heaven. It is fine linen! Remember the Old Testament saints and Tribulation Saints will be wearing robes. The church or the Bride of Christ is the only one in the Bible who wears fine linen. It is a special garment. In the Middle Eastern culture if you wanted to break off your engagement, you had to write a letter of divorcement, even before the wedding actually took place. Remember Joseph's intentions to divorce Mary when he learned she was with child. They weren't even marriage yet. That is how binding this agreement is.

The church was born corporately on the day of Pentecost. What was the day you gave your heart to Christ? That is the day the Holy Spirit entered you and has sealed you until the day of redemption. That was the day you got your engagement ring of promise that was placed on your finger that day.

Jesus is saying in a sense that day, I promise you, I'm going to prepare a place for you, and until that day when I come for you, I will never leave you or forsake you. Isn't that what every husband and wife wants to hear in their own marriages? The great thing is that even if we have been unfaithful to Him, he is never unfaithful to us. He remains that way to us, no matter how far we walk away from Him. We wander away all the time, yet God is greater than our heart. God is not an Indian giver, he never takes His promises back.

The Lord has given us opportunity.

Revelation 19:8 ~ "it was granted to her to cloth herself with fine linen, bright and pure - for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints."

Notice that the linen is fine, clean and bright.

Ephesians 5:25-27 ~ "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

This solidifies the way husbands are to see and view their wives, and sets the perfect example of how they should be within the context of a godly marriage. Because this is true, we are making ourselves a gown that is beautiful, made out of right-doing which will honor Jesus Christ on that day.

More tomorrow...

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