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A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN
Intro: We all know that weddings can be spectacular. Thousands of dollars are spent trying to produce a perfect moment in time that will join a couple together in marital bliss. Typically, the church is decorated to the hilt; the bride is resplendent in her pure white wedding dress; and the groom stands nervously at the front of the church. It is a special moment in the lives of those two individuals and for the people who know and love them. Weddings, here on earth, are a special thing!
Sometimes, weddings can simply be a spectacle! I could tell you some horror stories about some of the weddings I have seen. And, who can forget the twisted tale of Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride from Duluth, GA. She faked a kidnapping and was found in Albuquerque, NM. Thankfully, most weddings turn out better than that!
Everyone who has a wedding is looking for one thing: a marriage made in heaven! I just want you to know that while some marriages may have been made in heaven, they still have to be lived out here on earth. That tends to make most of them less than perfect. (Ill. Not ours dear!)
We have arrived at an exciting portion of the Bible. After the dark, dreary passages we have been enduring these verses gleam with the glory of Heaven. We are going to talk about a wedding today. Not just any wedding, but the marriage super of the Lamb. This wedding will be a time of great joy for all the redeemed people of God!
You see, for the church, the end times shape up like this: In the Rapture, we will be Caught Up; at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be Cleaned Up; and at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will be Cheered Up! It is this event that we want to park on for a while today. I want to preach about A Marriage Made In Heaven.
If you are saved I want you to know that there are some blessed days ahead for you. If you are lost, I want you to know that you need to get ready to meet the Lord. He is coming and He is coming for His people. The rest will be left behind to endure the Tribulation and face the fires of Hell.
Let’s take a journey to glory today and look in on our future. I want to point out the blessings contained in this passage as I try to preach on A Marriage Made In Heaven.
I. V. 1-6 THE EXALTATION OF THE SAVIOR
(Ill. Typically, a wedding is followed by celebration. The time before a wedding is usually filled with tremendous stress and many hours of preparation time. While it is a happy time for those involved, it is anything but a time of celebration. In Heaven, things are different! It seems from this passage that Heaven rejoices before and after the wedding. I like that! The cause of all this rejoicing in mentioned in verse 7. It seems that the marriage of the Lord Jesus is the catalyst for Heaven’s anthems of praise. Those in Heaven lift their voices in four “Hallelujah’s” that fill the heavens with praise.)
A. V. 1 The Hallelujah Of God’s Salvation - Heaven praises the Lord for all He has done for them, (The cross, the blood, the empty grave, etc.) They are saved, they are in Heaven and they have a reason to shout!
(Ill. Years ago, in Wales, there lived a man by the name of Billy Bray. He was an old time shouter! Many of the people who heard him shout used to rebuke him for praising the Lord so loudly and so often. Whenever they would try to stop him, old Billy would respond by saying, “I can’t help it! God has been so good to me! With every step I take I remember His glory!” He said, “I put my right foot down and it says ‘Hallelujah’. I put my left foot down and it says, ‘Amen’.” With that, Billy Bray would march off shouting “Hallelujah” and “Amen” with every step he took. Billy Bray knew that God deserved praise for the salvation He so freely gives!)
B. V. 2-3 The Hallelujah Of God’s Sentence - The residents of Heaven praise the Lord for executing His judgment upon a lost, sinful and rebellious world! They know that His judgments are fair, they are right and they are perfect. Therefore, they praise His name!
(Ill. Lest we forget, we are serving a God Who has already won the war with evil! Thank God, the Lord, and as a result, His people come out on top of this thing! That is enough to shout about now!)
C. V. 4-5 The Hallelujah Of God’s Sovereignty - If you take the time to look at the book of Revelation, these 24 elders who are mentioned show up about 6 times, (4:10; 5:8; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4), and, every time they do, they are doing the same thing: falling on their faces and worshiping the Lord! Just to let you in on a secret, those 24 elders represent the redeemed of God. If you are saved, they picture YOU! Well, why are they praising the Lord so much? Because in Heaven, they are finally free from the limitations of the flesh and they can see God like He really is! They are no longer afraid or ashamed to worship Him, but now they are ready, willing and able to fall down before the Lamb of God and shout His praises!
(Ill. If it ever dawned on us the reality of all God is, of all He has done for us and of all that is ours as His children, there isn’t a saved person in this world who wouldn’t shout himself hoarse today! One day we will, but we won’t get hoarse!)
D. V. 6 The Hallelujah Of God’s Supremacy - Then, they praise the Lord for His reign. They glorify the Lord that, at last, He is honored, exalted and worshiped by all His creation! Thank God, there is coming a day when the Lord will have the glory and honor He deserves all the time. I look forward to being in that number when we stand around the throne and lift our “Hallelujahs” to the glory of God!
(Ill. I want to call your attention to verse 4! There are two heavenly words mentioned hear that you and I need to look at just for a moment. They are: “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”
The word “Amen” is a word “signifying agreement with and approval of the Word of God.” When “Amen” appears at the beginning of a sentence, it means “truly”. This word was used by Jesus on many occasions. When it is spoken concerning the words uttered by another, it means “I agree” or “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be the most widely known word in the world!
The word “Hallelujah” is a Hebrew word meaning “Praise the Lord”. It is used only one time in the New Testament and that was to give honor and glory to the Lamb. It is heaven’s praise word!
I just want to say that if you and I intend to be in tune with Heaven, then we need to learn to use a little heavenly language. Therefore, learn to say “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” It is all right to praise the Lord! If something blesses your heart, just try “Amen!” If the Lord is moving in your soul, just try “Hallelujah!” I will guarantee you one thing. It won’t hurt you!
I realize that we live in a day when people frown on old time worship of the Lord. I mean, it’s all right for people to sing The Hallelujah Chorus, but if they shout, they are considered nuts and fanatics! I just want you to know that old fashioned praising and glorifying God never goes out of style!)
II. V. 7-8 THE EXCITEMENT OF THE SUPPER
(Ill. This marriage made in Heaven will be the consummation of some very important and powerful events.)
A. V. 7a The Excitement Of A Completed Plan - Notice the words “is come”. These words imply a sense of relief that a long anticipated event has finally arrived. Nothing could be truer!
At this moment, God’s plan for the ages is finally complete. Since man sinned in the Garden of Eden, God has been working to bring man back into fellowship with Him. This was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity. Now, all those who place their faith in Jesus are saved by the grace of God and brought nigh unto Him! While many may be saved, they are still not in the very presence of God in Heaven. On this day, that will change! This is the moment when Jesus gets to receive His Bride unto Himself. This will be the most special moment in all the history of creation! It will be the moment when the Lamb of God takes His Bride unto Himself!
(Ill. By the way, did you notice that at this wedding, the groom, and not the bride, is the center of attention? Down here, everything is on hold until they start playing the wedding march and the bride, the center of attention, makes her way down the aisle. In heaven, things are just a little different! It’s not the bride, but it is the groom, the Lord Jesus Who is the center of attention! If that happened here, there would be some angry women! However, over there, it won’t matter in the least! In fact, I think it will be the bride herself who gives Him the most attention!)
B. V. 7-8 The Excitement Of A Completed Presentation - It might help us to understand a little of the background for weddings of this type. In oriental weddings, there were typically three stages. There was the Betrothal Stage, the Presentation Stage and the Celebration Stage.
1. The Betrothal Stage - This was something like what we know in the west as an engagement. However, the major difference lies in the fact that this was a binding agreement! When a couple was betrothed, they were considered married! There was no getting out of it, except through a divorce or death! Even though the couple did not dwell together, or share the marriage bed, they were, nonetheless, married! Another difference was that the marriage partners and the marriages themselves were usually arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. You didn’t even get to pick your mate! Love was not usually the basis for marriages. You didn’t marry for love, you loved who you married! Many could learn a lesson from that today! (Ill. I can see great danger in that!)
The bride of Christ is in the midst of this betrothal period right now! We have been picked by the Heavenly Father and we are married to Jesus right now! We are just waiting to go to Him.
2. The Presentation Stage - When the time of the wedding arrived, the Father of the groom would send the bridegroom and his friends to the bride’s home. They would get her and bring her back to the groom’s house, which he had prepared for her, with great celebration and joy. There, gifts would be exchanged, the marriage would be consummated and the couple would begin their lives together.
That is what we are waiting on today! We are married, we are just waiting on the Bridegroom to come and call His bride to come meet Him. Friend, that day is coming! Are you ready to meet Him when He comes?
3. The Festival Stage - Following the wedding, the couple, their friends and their families would enter a time of celebration. We will deal with that thought in a little more depth in a few moments.
C. V. 7b-8 The Excitement Of A Completed Preparation - Notice that the text says “his wife hath made herself ready.” Typically, oriental brides prepared their own wedding garments. It could be as elaborate our as simple as they chose to make it. Usually, it consisted of two pieces. One, an inner garment called a tunic and two, the outer garment called a toga. It was the bride’s responsibility to get herself ready for the wedding!
(Ill. You and I need to understand that we are to prepare ourselves for that day that is coming as well! You see, verse 8 says that the Bride of Christ will be clothed in white linen and that this linen is the righteousness of the saints! I take that to imply that how simply or how elaborately we are dressed may depend on the kind of life we lived while we were in this world!
Let me illustrate. There are three kinds of righteousness that a person can have.
1. Personal Righteousness - This is the righteousness you can produce all by yourself. It is basically evil and no good at all can come from it - Isa. 64:6. In our own righteousness, we are literally dressed in rags before the Lord.
2. Provided Righteousness - This is the righteousness we are given when we trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior - 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-22. This refers to that tunic, or inner garment. We have been provided with a spotless inner garment of righteousness!
3. Practical Righteousness - This is the righteousness we live out each day we are in this world. It refers to how we conduct ourselves. How well we submit to authority. And. How we use the opportunities, gifts, responsibilities and privileges we are given as children of God. This speaks of the outer garment, or the toga, that the world sees. It is pure speculation, but how well we are dressed at the Wedding may depend on how we live here! It may be that the wedding garments will be handed out at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Matt. 22:1-12, and that they will reflect how we lived life here below! It is something worth thinking about!)
(Ill. Whatever the scenario that is played out here, the fact remains that the bride has made the proper preparations and she is ready for the wedding! This means that the faith she place in Jesus was not misplaced. It means that all her trials and struggles are behind her. It means that she has trusted the Lord to save her and He has! She is home! She is loved! And, she is ready to enter into the joy of her Lord! What a day that will be!)
III. V. 9-10 THE EXPECTATION OF THE SAINTS
(Ill. This wedding doesn’t end with the couple coming together to live. But, this wedding will continue with a celebration like nothing this universe has ever seen! Let me just suggest a few brief thoughts!)
A. The Guests At The Wedding Supper - there will be guests at this heavenly wedding. Who? Well, it will be the Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints. It will be a group made up of all Jews and Gentiles who were saved before Pentecost and after the Rapture! That will be quite an assembly!
B. The Glory Of The Wedding Supper - After an oriental wedding, there was always a celebration. The length and the opulence all depended on the wealth of the Bridegroom. When rich men married, their wedding celebrations might last up to 7 days!
The Lord Jesus is going to present His Bride with a celebration that will last 1,000 years! After the wedding, we will return with Him to this earth. He will put down His enemies and establish His throne on this earth. Then, He and His bride will reign together, during the millennium, for 1,000 years!)
(Ill. Many of you can remember the 1981 wedding of Charles, The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. It was a spectacle of enormous cost and billions of people watched that royal wedding. However, that wedding was doomed! Later, the world got to watch that same wedding collapse as publicly as it had begun.
Friend, I am trying to tell you about a real royal wedding! It is a wedding that will be attended by more people than any other in history. It is a wedding that will be more extravagant than any in history. It is a wedding that will produce a marriage that will last longer than any in history! It will be a real Royal Wedding!)
C. The Groom At The Wedding Supper - In a typical oriental wedding celebration, the groom would mingle with the guests to be sure that everyone had every need met.
Imagine what it will be to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus and have Him be occupied with seeing that our joy is full! Jesus will actually serve His people in that day, Luke 12:37! My, that is almost beyond the grasp of my mind!
Conc: I can imagine the society page in The New Jerusalem Times the next day! It might read something like this:
“Yesterday, the Lamb of God took His bride unto Himself in a service presided over by the Heavenly Father. The bride was dressed in garments of glorious white and she spotless and without blemish. The Groom was clothed in glory as is His custom!
The angelic hosts lifted their voices together and praised the name of the Most High God, while the cherubim and seraphim hovered overhead crying ‘Holy, holy, holy!’
After the service, the couple left Heaven to return to the earth for a 1,000 year honeymoon. When they return, they plan to spend eternity together in the palaces of Heaven.”
My friends, are you ready for that wedding in the sky? There will be a marriage made in Heaven someday, but only the redeemed are invited. Does that include you? If not it can! Please come to Jesus and be saved today.
For those who are going, consider for a moment how you are preparing for that day! What kind of garments will you be wearing when you stand there at that Royal Wedding? The time to prepare is today! The place to prepare is here! The person to prepare is you. Will you come and let the Lord work in your heart and life?