Behold the Bridegroom
For thy Maker is thine Husband;
the Lord of Hosts is His Name;
and thy Redeemer; the Holy One of Israel;
The God of the Whole Earth shall He be called.
Isaiah 54: 5
One could wonder at the attack upon marriage that has taken place in the past years if they did not know the truth. That is, that God has a high and holy purpose in the institution of marriage. Satan has been going after marriage with all the weapons he has in his arsenal. The reason he has done this is because he hopes to defeat God's purpose in marriage. He does not want you to learn about or to be a living example of that purpose. There is a principle in the affairs of this world that is as true as any of the laws of Creation itself. That principle is that anything that is holy or of value to the Living God is an ongoing thorn in the side of Satan and is therefore the focus of his attempt to attack and corrupt.
If you do not believe that, let me give you some examples to illustrate what I mean:
1. Take for instance truthfulness. God's word says no liars will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He is constantly inviting men to come and see that He, God, keeps His word. Satan on the other hand is the father of liars, and he has been working to make men accept lying as a normal part of life. We used to do business, even when I was a boy, with a pledge and a handshake, now we need a contract that has been worked over by a lawyer. Politicians now have a joke told about them that the way you know they are lying is because their lips are moving. I have noticed that some people lie so much and have the burden of that sins upon them so heavily they scarce move their lips when they speak at all. Of course many people have adopted the politicianís word for lying, they "misspeak". That is the new politically correct word for a lie!
2. Let us use music as another example of how Satan attempts to corrupt what is important to God. And, music is important to Him. It is one of the things we are supposed to be doing when we come into the Lord's presence. We are supposed to come into His presence with singing, (Psalm 100: 2). Let me show you how important singing is:
* The word sing occurs in the Bible 116 times
* While the word singer occurs only twice, singers in the plural occurs 37 times.
* Singing is present in Scripture 25 times.
* The Psalms of the Bible were in the main intended to be sung.
* And the greatest love manual ever written, the Song of Solomon was known to the Hebrews as The Song of Songs.
We are told in Ephesians 5: 19 that we are to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. Somehow when He gave the command for what was supposed to be going on in our hearts to Him, I don't think it included words like "come on baby light my fire" and a lot worse that we hear
and some of us listen to on the radio. I don't think He meant the words "almost persuaded" to refer to a strange woman trying to seduce a man in a honky tonk. I don't think that He meant for videos to be made with occultic symbols and some guy named
Prince, who isn't a prince and now doesn't know who he is, to be waltzing around with a guitar that is designed to worship Satan. Do you get my point? Satan has been at work corrupting something that is important to God.
Both God and Satan knows the words we pump into our brains effect the way we think about things. Both know the music we listen to, memorize and sing, effect the way we feel about life and ultimately how we act. God wants us to be holy, and Satan wants us to be helly. God wants us to honor and represent Him. Satan wants to corrupt us and destroy us, and if possible he will get people to worship him, and he is willing to accept the routine of worship, even from people who don't know they are doing it.
3. Let's consider one more example of where Satan is trying to corrupt today by perverting something God intended to be used to honor Him in its performance. Let's take work into consideration. Have you ever thought that God intended work to honor Him? He does. The reason is that our God is a working God. He works and if we are to be like Him we must work. He gave man work to do in the Garden of Eden. It was because man fell that much of his work in this world became a struggle instead of a service.
So how do we use work to honor God in this fallen world? Well, let us talk about how we don't honor God in a fallen world and that might make it clearer how we can honor God:
1. We don't honor God in a fallen world by not working.
The Bible says:
Go to the ant, thou sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise;
Proverbs 6: 6
The most depressed people I have ever seen are people who either weren't busy or who were busy with the wrong things. Everybody should be busy doing something. It is often remarked that everyone God ever called in the Bible were already busy doing something. Even people who are considered disabled can find something to do. I know of a girl named Joni who is a paraplegic and she draws pictures with her teeth! So, if you are disabled, what is your problem? I have a friend who has broken his back twice. The second time he set around in mind numbing pain for about a year. Then one day he decided he did not want to end his life like that. The Lord had called him to preach the gospel and that was what he was going to do. He started dragging his pain-wracked body around and getting busy. He started learning how to control his pain by an exercise of his mind and will and almost completely quit taking the drugs that were tearing his body apart with their side effects. Today he is working 65 to 70 hours a week serving the Lord. He has still got the problems that once stopped him cold, but he found things he could do, and he is busy doing them. What did you say your excuse was?
2. We don't honor God in a fallen world by working too much. There is a saying among some soldiers in the military that if you want to be a successful professional soldier you must sacrifice three things; health, wealth, and family. One way they do that is by working too much. I don't mean they work too much during the times they are in a war or
a danger zone and I don't mean they necessarily work too much during the times they are out in the field on maneuvers. But they work too much, 12 to 16 hours a day very often, while they are involved in the day to day activities around the Army post. They do this at
the expense of their health and their families. Many divorces in the military take place because wives do not see their husbands enough and when they do come home they are worn out or stressed out. One lieutenant told me about spending hours doing busy work just to appear gung ho and be present when "the old man" was at the battalion. I'm using
the military as an example, but how many of you are working far more hours than you need to or should for that matter, and your families are being neglected? If you work too much to the neglect of wife and children you are working too much.
3. We don't honor God by working at the wrong places. Some places a Christian should not be found. We should not be involved in work that sells beer or lottery tickets for example, for when we sell beer or lottery tickets we agree that being involved with that is okay. Some people say well, if I can't work where they do that, where can I work? Those kind of places are the only kind of work I know. Learn some new way of making a living. If you try to honor the Lord with how you make your living you will probably wind up making more money. You will be a lot happier for certain. Beer and lottery selling businesses aren't the only place a Christian man or woman should not work. There are business establishments that prey upon people, that defraud them of their money. That is not the kind of place a Christian should work at either. The rule about where we should work is always how the question, "Is God pleased with where I work and the work I do?" is answered.
4. We don't honor God by working for the wrong reasons. Our reason for working should be that we provide for our own household. Sometimes we work because we have a wrong idea of what that provision is. We become greedy for things. We want more. We want what our neighbor has. Listen, it is no disgrace to work at a job that makes a lot of money and it is no disgrace to work at a job that makes but a little. It is a disgrace when we are working to have more and more and more...things. The Bible says:
Hell and destruction are never full;
so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
Proverbs 27: 20
I have heard parents say, "My children are going to have more of the things I never had." Is that really going to make your children better people? Or will telling them about Jesus and spending time with them make them better? One fellow told about growing up in a family where he had one toy metal truck. He took scraps of wood and fashioned more toy wooden trucks until he had a fleet. He built from wood scraps toy houses and toy warehouses, and toy stick figures. He learned to imagine and to work with his hands. Later on his manual dexterity and his imagination would be integral parts of how he made his living, but it all began because his parents could afford only one toy
truck. Today children and parents have to be entertained because they cannot entertain themselves. Often they cannot figure out what to do with their time because they never had to exercise the imagination God gave them when their mind was young and flexible.
5. We don't honor God with our work if we don't tithe our time. We live 168 hours a week, 56 of those hours we spend sleeping. Forty hours a week is the average work week. That leaves us with 72 hours a week to take care of what is important to us. If we say God is important then we should tithe our time to Him. We wont even talk about giving a love offering of our time because most of us rob God in the tithe of our time to start with. Sixteen point eight hours of our week belong to God as tithe. Now that isn't time we spend going to church or Sunday School, but most of us spend less than three hours a week doing that. No, that is the time we spend dedicated to Him. Church visitation, Bible study, and family altar are places to tithe the time. If we give our families as much time as we give our God it is no wonder if we have a rocky marriage, but I would suggest to you if we give God His tithe and an equal amount of undivided attention to our family we will still find we have nearly forty hours a week to dedicate to the humdrum matters of daily existence.
Have you noticed something about each one of the examples I have used to prove the devil hates the things important to God? Each one of the examples I use has a relationship to the institution of marriage. We can lie to our spouses, sing songs about cheating on our mates in a dozen different ways, and we can use work in ways harmful to our relationships no matter to which extreme we go. I daresay that you could pick out three more examples to illustrate things important to God that Satan hates and each one of them would have an area where they relate to marriage as well. The reason is much of the lives of people revolve in some way around marriage or the abuse of it. Marriage is important.
Now look at the Scripture I read you at the beginning of the sermon. It opens up the thought by saying the One who made you is your husband. This is talking first to the believer in Israel and by extension to the Church in this age. My Bible tells me in the first chapter of the Gospel of John that He who is the Living Word is the One who made all things, including you and me. It even identifies for us who that Person is. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is your husband Christian people and the Book of Revelation tells me he is also the Bridegroom who is coming to receive unto Himself His bride the Church.
Marriage is important. It is important that marriage relationships be lived rightly because our earthly marriages are a shadow of the heavenly relationship with Jesus. If you don't believe that then you have never read Ephesians chapter five. "Oh yes," you say, "I have read it but I don't believe that!" No, you didn't read it; you just went over the words!
Not only is Jesus the One who made us and He is the Bridegroom who is coming, but He is also the General of all Generals. General Schwarzkoff said of Saddam Hussein that he was not much of a general, and everybody said what a great general Schwarzkoff was, but he has to bow down when General Jesus comes on the scene right along with old Saddam. He will be coming with ten thousands of His saints one day in a great appearing
that will include the angels of heaven and a multitude of people. Every bride wants a hero, riding in on a great white horse. Church here comes General Jesus. Husbands ought to resemble Jesus and strive to be the kind of hero their wives can admire in this world.
This husband who is coming is our Redeemer. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the "Salvation of God" is that redeemer for all who are saved and make up the Church. Husbands are supposed to be people who redeem a number of things in this world. They are to redeem time, because the days of our lives and service are short, and they are to redeem wives, because they are savior of the body. (I can tell by some of your faces you really have never read Ephesians 5) If Jesus is not your Redeemer, He is not your betrothed husband, and you are not part of the true Church.
It is easy to see why the cults seek to pervert the biblical teaching on marriage like, for instance, the Mormon does. They teach you can make it to be a God. (Which is by the way the same sin of ambition the devil had when he tried to take over God's position, Isaiah 14) Then you can have lots of wives in your heaven, according to the Mormons, and bring forth spirit children to populate your worlds. See Satan is attacking and seeking to pervert the true message of marriage again. These cult religions belong to Satan. They are his invention and his perversion of the truth. They are designed to serve his purpose. The myth of some of these groups like the Mormons is that they promote marriage and the family; the claim is their system of living builds these things, but anyone with close acquaintance with the Mormon and people like them can tell you that it is a lie.
The cults also forbid to marry and/or exercise other controls over your marital life and status, just like the word of God said they would. It doesn't matter where you are talking about the Roman Catholic cult or Heaven's Gate cult; the answer is the same. The reason the issues of marriage and relationships are important to them is they are important to Lucifer, who desires to bring confusion in the guise of bringing light. God wants to use marriage to reveal Himself to us, and the old lion wants to devour the message with his lies before it ever gets through to our hearts. And just maybe some of you out there are helping him.
Jesus is the Holy One of Israel. He is the Living God. He is the One who says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." He wants a holy bride, but we find in the book of Revelation that the robing of our Lord's bride in white, which represents purity, has to be granted to her. Today, a lot of bride's walk aisles dressed in white that do not deserve to wear the garment of purity. People turn their head for the bride's sake, but they know the truth. Our Lord Jesus for the great love wherein He has loved us shall separate our sins as far as the east is from the west and remember them no more for the great love wherein He has loved us, that we might wear the white of His purity at the wedding banquet when He comes to receive His bride. Wouldn't it be better for the bride if she pursued purity in expectation of the coming of the bridegroom? Wouldn't it be better if we pursued holiness in expectation of the coming of the Lord Jesus?
People wonder at preachers like me. My detractors say, "He is so negative. He is against everything." Well, if your idea of everything is sin, I am against it! Now, if your idea of everything is being tolerant of the cults, and false teachers, then I have to plead guilty about being against your everything. If your idea of everything is that you are perfectly free to live any way you want, to neglect the person you are married to and your children, your absolutely right. I am against your everything. But wait a minute! If your idea of everything is that Jesus is everything, and that your life and family relationships are suppose to reflect that fact, then you probably do not have any problem with me other than that I am laying out a challenge for you about how then you ought to live. You realize too that the same challenge I am laying before you is the challenge I take up from day to day just like you. If you are looking forward to the day of greeting the coming Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, then you probably appreciate me coming here and being so negative about the world, the flesh, and the devil and everything that detracts from our getting ready to meet Him in the air.
Yes, I am a negative man when it comes to sin. That is one thing I am positive about. Sin pulls men and women down, and the last time I checked down was still a negative direction. Even mathematicians know that. I am not going down, I am going up. Up is a positive direction. I am a conservative man. Conservatives in this country are called the right. That is because they are right. Being conservative is a positive direction because itís right. Some men and women want to be changing God's order for marriage relationships, they want to loosen things up they say. They say we need to be more liberal about how we take God's word and teaching. We need to treat the revelation of God more liberally. In this country we say liberals are on the left. Every mathematician knows that when you go to the left it is a negative direction. Going the wrong way is the negative way. Isn't it amazing how even mathematics can show us how wrong we are when we want to go against the way God says we should do things? Even the terms reveal we are wrong if we want to do some other way than God's way. If your an English teacher, you ought to live right because even your language teaches you that you are wrong when you try to live wrong. People say I am negative when they don't like the positive message I bring. Know what? They are illogical. They are the ones who are negative and they don't even know it. Don't you feel sorry for people like that?
It could be right now you don't feel sorry for people like that because you are one. I am going to tell you right now I do not feel sorry for you. This morning you have been under the preaching of the word. You know without a shadow or a doubt there is a right way and a wrong way to go. You know you cannot make that journey alone and you need Jesus. Some here probably need Jesus to save them before they can even begin to think about going the right way with Jesus. Now we are going to offer an invitation for you to come and ask the Lord Jesus to meet you where you are in your relationship to Him and help you get to where you need to be. If you will come and admit your need, someone will come alongside you and help you to go the rest of the way with the Lord. Don't delay, come right now.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113