by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Summary: The Church is called to be Jesus’ “Bride”. But, sadly, not every engagement ends up in a victorious trip to the altar. So how can we prepare ourselves, make ourselves ready, for presentation to our spiritual Bridegroom Jesus?
Matthew 25:1-4, 10 At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.... (10) But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.
•• The Church is called to be the radiant bride of Christ!
• Revelation 19:7 The wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.
•• It is very important that Jesus’ bride be “ready” for Him. “His bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7) How does the Bride-Church make herself ready for her Bridegroom Jesus?
•• “Oil”! — the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The radiant Bride of Christ will be walking in an abundant anointing of the Spirit of God. Oil in the Scriptures frequently symbolizes this Holy Ghost anointing:
• 1 Samuel 10:1, 6 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head.... (16) The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power.
• 1 Samuel 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.
•• Think of how this Holy Spirit anointing affected our Savior Jesus Christ on earth. In John 1:32-33, as in the other three Gospels, we see Jesus at age 30 being “anointed” [ see Acts 10:38] by the Holy Spirit. Only subsequent to that anointing did Jesus perform the “first of his miraculous signs” (John 2:11).
• The Son of God had walked on earth for 30 years without performing any miracles. Then, after His anointing by the Holy Spirit, He began doing miracles (John 2:11), healings, exorcisms, and more.
•• Back now to our main text ... the virgins with the abundant oil of the Holy Spirit went into the wedding banquet.
•• Like the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:9), Jesus’ Bride-Church needs to be crying out to God for a “double portion” of His Spirit. Lord, give us more “oil”, please! A double portion!
•• Now, how else does the Bridal Church make herself “ready”?
Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
•• Jesus longs for His bride, the Church. What kind of bride?
•• “Holy and blameless”! Like Adam, Jesus will marry a bride “suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The spotless character of the bride is to resemble the spotless character of her Bridegroom Jesus.
•• It’s time for each of us to take a character inventory and to address what we find in ourselves.
• Can we say that we are fulfilling Galatians 5:24? — “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
•• We must be submitting ourselves daily to the cleansing, washing influence of God’s word (vs. 26).
•• “Radiant”! — holy, washed, Word-filled, blameless followers of Jesus Christ. Imagine the impact of that type of Christian on the world around us.
•• How else does Christ’s bride make herself “ready”?
Revelation 19:7-8 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
•• This ”ready” Bride of Christ was characterized by “righteous acts”.
•• Christ’s prepared Bride puts her faith into practice. She applies it to all facets of her daily life.
•• I suggest that the Bride-Church read the Bible and hear it preached and taught less for knowledge than for how it can change her life to be and to live more like her Bridegroom Jesus.
2 Corinthians 11:2 -3 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. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
•• The Bride of Christ, this “chaste virgin” (KJV), ready for presentation to Jesus her Husband, is characterized by “sincere and pure devotion to Christ”.
•• Try this self-test: How am I doing on the “first and greatest commandment” — that is, to “love the Lord [my] God with all [my] heart...” (Matthew 22:37-38)?
•• Am I an “Ephesian” Christian (Revelation 2:1-4)? — that is, busy working for the Lord, but forgetting how to love Him.
In closing, I encourage you to pray ... to reflect ... to examine your heart. Ask yourself: Am I indeed preparing myself, making myself “ready” (Rev. 19:7) to be Christ’s Bride? That is...
• Holy, radiant, and blameless
• Living a life of righteous acts
• Sincerely devoted to Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom
©1997, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.