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A  Bride Prepared      

Is the Bride Ready?

We are at the end of the age – all the signs that Jesus told us to watch for are near, even at the door (Matthew 24:33).  Are we Church brethren ready to meet Jesus Christ at His return?  You might respond by saying, “Yes, I’m ready – I am tired of waiting – let’s get on with it.”  But, are we spiritually prepared to be the Bride of Christ?  That is the intent of Christ’s words, “The Bride has made herself ready,” in describing those brethren who constitute the Bride that He will marry at His coming.

Do we have the eyes to see that over the last few decades, the Church of God has slipped terribly away from being the ideal Bride?  It has lost its enthusiasm and passion to see Christ establish the Kingdom of God.  There no longer exists a burning desire to share the meaning of our faith with the rest of the world.

There are those who feel that their media department produces a good program for television, but Jesus said that is not the same thing as each of us proclaiming the gospel by dynamically living our faiththat the world may know (John 17:23).  The Christian love of the great majority of the brethren has waxed cold.  The Church is not prepared – note the words of Jesus:  “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”  (Matthew 25:5)

Here is the problem:  These words, “The Bride has made herself ready,” do not describe the greater Church of God today.  Let us face it – if we understand anything about the practice of our Christian faith, we will readily admit that the spiritual condition of the Church is in dire straits.  The Church of God is not ready for the wedding supper of the Lord.

Our Salvation is Near

That is indeed a bold statement, but the evidence is abundantly clear that this last era of the Church has dozed off.  There is not a lot of difference in the lives of good Protestants and us, except that our socializing is on Saturday, and we take our “vacation” in the fall.  The slumbering brethren are disregarding the admonition of Paul, “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.”  (Romans 13:11)

Jesus foretold our depleted end-time spiritual state as a warning to us.  “At the end of the day you say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red, and in the morning you say, it will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and overcast.” (Matthew 16:3)  That is not a weather report!  Jesus is alerting us to discern the signs of the times.  He is saying, “Look at the poor spiritual condition of the brethren – and take action!”  If we do not wake up and get busy, we will be rejected.  “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”  (Revelation 3:16)

None of us deliberately want to be lukewarm, blind, or lackadaisical.  But, how do we change?  What must we do to be prepared?  There have always been those who did not walk worthy of their Christian calling, and there always will be.  But now, Jesus says the end-time elect children of God have become worldly.  In Christ's estimation, we’ve been going down and down.  If we would see ourselves as God sees us, we would know that the great majority of ministers and church-goers are no longer willing to stand for the Truth.

Each of us would probably say, “I’ve passed tests and trials – I came out of the world and organizations that do not represent the true Body of Christ.”  Let us be careful not to make the mistake today of believing that we have passed the final test with flying colors.  If we have the eyes to see, evidence reveals that many have been lulled into a false sense of complacency.  We would be wise indeed, to heed Christ’s words, and examine ourselves more carefully.

Perfecting Holiness

And, if the Church brethren are asleep, some Church leaders must be in a coma.  We have come to the point where almost anything goes – and God is not pleased.  Paul asked the Corinthian Church brethren to put the sinful man who had taken his father's wife away from among you (1 Corinthians 5:13).  Why put the sinful man away?  Because he was defiling and polluting the chaste marriage relationship that God created to exemplify the pure covenant relationship between Christ and the Church brethren.

But today, we find that when it comes to doctrine and practice, almost everything wrong is allowed in the churches of God – it ought not to be so.  Does anyone have the wisdom and fortitude to demand of God’s people, including the ministry,  that they cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1)?

Peter admonishes us to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1).  This is what we have to do.  When false doctrine and apathetic conduct begin to enter the congregations of the Church of God, it is the responsibility, not only of the ministry, but also of everyone who loves God and His Truth to combat that aberrant behavior and refute it by sound doctrine.

Brethren, maintaining God’s highest standard is not optional – our very salvation is at stake.  The question for us is not simply a matter of waiting until Christ gets here – we must rise to the occasion.  It is a matter of our preparing ourselves so that we will be spiritually groomed in accordance with Christ’s expectation of His Bride.  Who among us is willing to break away from the status quo to be doing exactly what is necessary to be prepared (Luke 12:43)?  Here is the answer:  “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He comes shall find so doing.”  (Matthew 24:44, 46)  Brethren, if you believe that it is time to be found so doing – let’s get started.

Chapter 2: Be So Doing

Teach Us To Pray