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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Here Comes the Bride

Chris Hodges - Here Comes the Bride

Chris Hodges - Here Comes the Bride
TOPICS: Second Coming, End times

We are in week number 2 of a 4-part series called, "The Second Coming of Christ," and I'll get to more of that in just a second. I always like to take a minute and look straight into the camera and say hello to our 23 locations all across Alabama and in Columbus, Georgia. God bless you guys today. We're also bringing this message right now and everything that we are as a church into 20 of Alabama's Department of Corrections facilities. We're so glad to be with you men and women today, as well. There's always people watching online for a variety of reasons. Wherever you are around the world, we're so glad you're with us. Grants Mill, come on, give them a good hand, everybody. Say a big hello. God bless you guys.

So, back at Easter, if you're new to our church, every Easter we do a survey, and I always ask a variety of questions over the years, and this past Easter I asked the question, "What are some topics that you'd like to hear what the Bible has to say about that topic? And we put those together. We had some phenomenal responses. In fact, the next series that we do together in September is going to be a series that I'm calling, "You Asked For It," and it's going to take the top six responses, and we're going to give you guys just what the Bible has to say about the topics you requested. One of those is, I think it was the third highest was on the subject of the end times, or on biblical prophecy, or the last days, or the second coming of Christ. There were literally thousands and thousands of you asking that.

And I know why. We just came out of a two-year pandemic, and we're still kind of in it to some degree, as well, and we have this war in Ukraine, and you've got China and Russia aligning themselves, and you have, you know, the Iranians enriching uranium, and all of that, actually, fits into biblical prophecy. In fact, about a third of your Bible, you may not know this, but about a third of your Bible is prophecy, a lot of which has been fulfilled and a lot yet to be fulfilled, but in Ezekiel 38, it talks about the alignment between Russia and China. And if you know those Scriptures, and you know anything about the end time, you are rightfully concerned. And for a lot of people, the topic where you get a little nervous and freaked out a little bit, and I couldn't have better news for you. If you know God, hey, everybody, this is the most encouraging message you're ever going to hear in your life, that Jesus, come on, everybody, Jesus is coming again. All right? You need to know that. And so today I want to dive into another aspect of that.

Last week, I talked about that it's not a horror story. It's a love story. In fact, I showed you this verse out of John chapter 14, where it says, "Don't let your hearts be troubled". Jesus said this. "I know you're freaking out. I know you're worried. I know you're concerned. I know it kind of makes you, you know, sit on the edge of your seat. But believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; and if that were not so, would I have told you that I am to prepare a place for you"? Jesus said, "Look, I told you all along I wasn't here just to live by life on earth. I'm going to go prepare a place for you in heaven," which means, by the way, God does intervene on planet Earth, but a lot of his plan is a rescue mission to get you out of this broken, cursed earth and get you into heaven. Can I hear a good amen right there, everybody?

And you can't forget that perspective. He goes on to say, "And if I go and prepare a place for you", I love these next four words: "I will come back". Now, that's called the second coming of Christ. This is one of the major tenets or doctrines of the Christian faith, and that is that Jesus was ascended into heaven about 40 days after his resurrection. He came, and actually after his resurrection that Easter Sunday, he kind of popped through walls, and hung out with people in his glorified body, and kind of just gave some final instructions, and then he went to the top of the Mount of Olives, and he was ascended. It's called the great ascension into heaven, and he's going to return in that very spot, but not to destroy the world, because he's just so mad he can't stand it. No, no, look. "I'm coming back to take you to be with me that you also may be where I am".

So, that's what I talked about last week. His main motivation isn't judgment and wrath, and there is a bunch of that, but that's not the motivation. The motivation is that he wants to be with you. It's a love story, not a horror story, everybody. If you missed that message, go watch last week. Today, that was the why, today I'm going to talk about the what. What does it all look like? And by the way, next week, I'm going to talk about the when, 'cause I know a lot, everybody's asking, "Are we living in the last days"? And truly it's a silly question, 'cause you're living in the only days you have. Come on, somebody, right? But I know you want to know, and I'm gonna do the best I can to help you see, based on what I see, as far as the signs of the times of are we close? And we'll talk about that some next week.

But today I want to talk about what it all looks like. And in the next few minutes, I'm gonna do the very best I can to cover an entire book of the Bible, the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am. You're going to have an entire message, in about 15 minutes, I'm gonna show you an entire book of the Bible. It's the most complicated parts of Scripture that very few people understand, and I'm gonna put the cookies on the bottom shelf so everybody can have one. All right, everybody? Now, listen to me. There ain't a whole lot of funny in this message today, all right? So, I'm gonna tell you a joke right now, 'cause there ain't nothing funny in this message, all right?

So, y'all know that I'm from south Louisiana, and we tell those Boudreaux jokes, these Cajun jokes. And so they had these two churches that were across the street from each other. And both pastors had a sign in their front yard, and one of them said, "Turn yourself around before it's too late". And the other guy had, the pastor had a sign in his, in his front yard, says, "The end is near". And so this guy came up who was an agnostic, and he rolled his window down and said, "Man, you religious freaks, y'all just crazy". So, and he just screeched off and went around the corner. And all of a sudden, you hear a screeching of tires and a big splash. And that one Cajun pastor said to the other Cajun pastor, he said, "I guess we should've just put, 'The bridge is out.'"

So, anyway, all right, that's all I've got. I'm sorry. Y'all know that's funny. So, I don't care what y'all say. All right. So, the book of Revelation. So, it's entitled "Revelation". In the Greek, the original manuscripts of your Bible, actually, the title of the book is Apocalypses, and it's where we get the word apocalypse, okay? And that's because most of it's really apocalyptic in nature. But the word apocalypse means revelation or a unveiling. I'm gonna help you to see something. And I always jokingly say the book of Revelation was only a revelation to John. It's confusing to the rest of us, right? But John was one of the disciples who was actually exiled. He was being punished in a rock quarry on the island of Patmos, and he was put there, and he actually saw Jesus, and chapter 1 of the book of Revelation is just that. It's Jesus showing up.

Now, this is the same Jesus, he would have hung out with as a disciple, but Jesus shows up in his glorified self. So, his eyes of fire, hair like wool, feet like bronze, a sword coming out of his mouth, and John passes out. He actually faints in the presence of Jesus in his glorified self, and they have a conversation, and you need to go read it. But then over the next 21 chapters, in chapter 2 to 22, there are six major events that take place, most of which are confusing. And really, what I am going to do is I'm going to basically give you the top six major events, so you can know what to expect, because you hold the only book in the world that can predict the future. It has, by the way, predicted the future with complete accuracy up to this point, and you ought to say a good amen right there, that you have the words of life. Do you believe that?

And so I'm gonna show you this six major events, and then I'm gonna come back to the first one, because in chapter 2 and 3 you have what I call the church age, and it's literally where we are today. So, basically, I'm gonna say it this way. We're living in chapters 2 and 3 right now. This is the period before all of these things, these events take place, but chapter 2 and 3 is basically the playbook of how to get ready for it, and that's why I'm gonna talk about it today, because the truth be known, a lot of the church is, flat out, isn't ready for the return of Christ. We'll come back to this in just a second. But then the next event after chapter 3 takes place. In chapter 4 and verse 1, and that is the rapture of the church.

Now, there are some Christians and theologians who do not believe in a rapture. Say, "Chris, what is a rapture"? The rapture is an event that's described in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, where before all these terrible things take place, the Greek word is harpazo, and it literally means to snatch. He's gonna like quickly grab the church. It's the Latin word rapturo, where we get the word rapture. So, the word rapture is actually not in the Bible, and that's why some people don't believe in it, but the concept clearly is in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and this is how it's described in Revelation 4:1. He says, "After this," or after the church age, "I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice that I first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, 'Come up here.'"

And literally what happens from that point after Revelation chapter 4, verse 1, the word church is never mentioned again in the rest of the book of Revelation. It's mentioned 18 times in the first 3 chapters. You say, "Why"? Because I don't think the church is there. Now, again, there are some that still don't believe that. I personally do believe that Jesus is going to spare every single one of you from the coming tribulation, the 7-year period of sheer horror, and 1 Thessalonians talks about it. "Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we don't need to write you anything". I don't need to write you because nobody knows. Even Jesus said, "You're not gonna know the day or the hour. Now, you're going to know the season, clearly, but you won't know the day or the hour, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night".

Now, I'm gonna just time out right there and say you're not gonna get a lot of time to prepare for it. And that's why if there's ever a message I've brought to you, today's probably one of the most important, because you're going to hear from the very words of Jesus of how to prepare for the end of time. Are y'all listening to me, everybody? This is serious now, okay? One guys says, "I ain't just preaching. I'm really telling you the truth here, all right". All right, 'cause this is important, okay. That was funny. All right. He says, "While people are saying, 'Peace and safety...'" So, it's not gonna happen in just all-out chaos. "While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape". Jesus even talked about it in Matthew 24. He says, "Man, you're gonna be two people out working. One's gone, one's left".

So, again, it's not gonna be this ramp-up and everybody's gonna know. That's why you need to be prepared. "But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness". Why? Because I brought you a message like this, seriously. I'm bringing, I'm helping you make sure you see all this clearly. " that this day should surprise you like a thief. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath". He never wanted you to go through the tribulation. He wanted you to "receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ". And the church said a good, Yeah, absolutely. So this, that's the second event. Church age, the rapture of the church, and then the third event that takes place in the book of Revelation is the vast majority of the book, and this is the part that's the most confusing. It's a 7-year period where literally the wrath of God is poured out, but it begins by the revealing of a guy called the antichrist.

Now, the antichrist isn't called the antichrist at first. He's actually going to be like a politician or some famous person who literally brings peace to the Middle East for the first time. He's actually gonna broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and allow Israel to rebuild their temple on the Temple Mount, which by the way, all those preparations are in place right now. And he's gonna promise them that, this antichrist will promise the Jewish people that, really, only to take it away three and a half years later, right in the middle of tribulation. But then literally all hell breaks loose. Well, in 2 Thessalonians, and is this too deep for y'all? Am I doing okay, everybody, all right, yeah, okay? But in 2 Thessalonians, it says that the antichrist cannot come until the Holy Spirit is taken away from the earth.

Well, the Holy Spirit resides in me and you. That's yet another reason why I think it can't happen until the church is in heaven, 'cause then the Holy Spirit will be in heaven. Now the antichrist can come. Are y'all following me, yes or no? Yes? I love all of this stuff, okay. But after this antichrist is revealed, I mean, all hell really does break loose, and it's very confusing. But I want you to think with me for a second, 'cause it's just like really graphic, but also metaphoric in some ways, like dragons, and eagles, and beasts. And can you imagine, though, someone 2,000 years ago seeing a helicopter? Like, how would they describe that today? And so you've gotta realize John seen the end of time, all the technology, nuclear war, perhaps, all this going on, but he didn't know anything about a nuclear bomb. He's just seeing it, and it's in this prophecy, and he's trying to say it in the words that you would say it 2,000 years ago, which is why it's very confusing.

Now, I have taught it in detail, and I teach it Highlands College, but I won't get into the detail, but that's the hardest part to understand. And here's what I would say to you, if you want to go study it a little bit more, and that is really lean in to the first three chapters, where Jesus is preparing his church. And then I want you to focus in on the last part, beginning at chapter 19, because in chapter 19 is when Jesus comes back. So, the rapture isn't the second coming of Christ. The second coming of Christ happens after the 7-year tribulation, literally after the battle of Armageddon, and here's how it goes. It says, "I saw heaven standing open and there was before me a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True".

And that's Jesus. He's going to be coming on a white horse. "With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns, and He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood". That's the blood of Jesus on the cross. "And his name is," come on, everybody, "the Word of God. And the angels of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. And on his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS".

I think you ought to stop right here and give your King some praise, everybody, yeah. So good. And this is basically the last moment of the battle of Armageddon. Jesus comes in, and it is settled, and it is over. Now, the next event that takes place, if you go read that, is not bringing everybody into heaven, and he's gonna turn all of you into choir members. That is hell, everybody. That is hell, okay? That's not how it plays out. At least that would be hell for me. What he does next is, and there's a massive party, and it's called the marriage supper of the Lamb, and there's gonna be food, and music, and laughter, and Jesus. It's gonna be like a giant wedding reception, and we're gonna all celebrate God in heaven.

And again, I like to point that out to people, because a lot of you don't have good thoughts when it comes to the end of time. But we're gonna be personally brought together with Jesus, and we're gonna party. And then as a Cajun, who loves food, I'm glad there's good food there, too. Amen, everybody. Then after this season of us being together, another event takes place, the fifth event, and it's called the great white throne judgment. And I wanted to hang out on this one a little bit. It's described in Revelation 20, and I would very much encourage you to read this 'cause it's very easy to understand, when John says, "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it: and the earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne..."

And that's everybody who would've ever lived from Adam to when it ends. So, there'll be billions of people there: lost, saved, everybody's there, basically, getting their day in court. Now, you're already in heaven, but he's just gonna, like, formalize it. And it says, and two things happen, and I don't want you to miss this. This is very important. He says, "And books..." Notice it's plural. "Books were opened, and then another book," singular, "is opened". And that's because there's gonna be two ways to judge people: first is by the books, and the second is by the book. Say, "Chris, what's the book"? The book is the Lamb's book of life. This is the book that whenever you give your life to Jesus, your name gets recorded in one singular book called the Lamb's book of life. Your name is written in there. At that moment, everything you've ever done has been paid for once and for all, and you can be judged out of the book.

Say, "Well, then, what's in the books"? The book says, "The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books". So, the books is everything you've ever done or thought, every good thing, bad thing, everything's in there. So, you have the choice to be judged according to the books or the Book, and I want you to do the second. All right, everybody? 'Cause the first one is you're never gonna be able to measure up. And if you even committed one sin, that is worthy of eternal hell. And Jesus came and said, "I'm gonna come in, and I'm gonna make sure you never have to be judged according to what's in the books, so your name's written in the book".

Yeah, I'm excited that my name's in the book, singular. Like, I want to be in that one. Trust me, you don't want the other one, okay. And then, finally, you have what the Bible describes in the last two chapters of Revelation, again, very beautiful reading, called the new heaven and new earth, which means the current heaven and what it looks like and how it operates will be different after it's all over, and then the earth will be the same. The earth actually gets remade. Jesus is gonna put it back in its Genesis 1 state, where honestly rain won't even be necessary. In the Garden of Eden, the earth watered itself through underground springs. You had no hurricanes, tornados, lightning, thunder. That, none of that was in existence. It was in its perfect state, and the Bible even describes at the end of Revelation, everything comes back into order. There is no more wars. There's nobody that's mad at each other. There's no sin. There's no sickness. There's no disease. There are no bills to pay. There's no traffic on 280.

Come on, everybody. I mean, it's the hot light at Krispy Kreme is always on. Can I get an amen, all right? It's heaven. I mean, literally, it says the lion and the lamb can lay next to each other. The lion actually loses its carnivorous instincts, and it won't even destroy the lamb. Because there's perfect order, and then you'll be able to enjoy rivers and mountains. You're not gonna be stuck in heaven on a cloud, a little fat thing playing a harp. You're not gonna be doing that. You're gonna be at a beach, in the mountains, and be able to enjoy everything that God ever created, and then it goes on to say that every ethnic group will be there in perfect harmony, no more racism. No, we all, And I heard one guy, one guy actually teaching that, no, no, God's gonna make us all one family. We're all gonna look the same. Like, the Chinese are gonna look like they're from Vestavia Hills. That is not the case, everybody. That's not the case.

One guys says, "Well, if they're gonna be there, I ain't gonna be there". And I thought, "You're right, you ain't gonna be there, if you just..." And listen to me. And you're choosing your eternal destiny right now. Books or book? Paying it yourself or letting Jesus pay for it? Heaven or hell? God, hell's not a place that God sends people that he's mad at. Hell's a place, if you want to pay for your own sins, that's up to you, but you don't have to. Can I get a better amen, somebody? That's right. So, my friend, I just shared with you the entire book of Revelation right there, okay? Now, I know there's a lot more detail, but those are the major things. What I wanted you to see was that second and third chapter again, because it tells us that we're like a bride that is being prepared for this wedding.

In fact, Revelation 19 says it this way, and I want you to let this really soak in. If you've not heard anything else, let this verse resonate in your heart today. "Let us rejoice and be glad. Give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come". This is the end. It's done. "And his bride has made herself ready". The Bible calls the church the bride of Christ. And I've done a lot of weddings over, you know, almost 40 years of ministry now. It's almost ridiculous how much families prepare for weddings now. At the first, when I first started ministry, it wasn't much to it. You got you a little wedding coordinator, you got you maybe a little somebody to play a song or two, and get some pretty flowers, and you had a photographer, and that's it.

Y'all, today, it is a full-on thing. I mean you'll have stringed quartets, invitations, videographers, photographers, makeup artist there 20 hours ahead. You know what I'm saying? I'm like they take, they get after it. And then tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands in some cases of dollars invested just for one little, I always tell them, this is for 20 minutes. It's a 20-minute event. Look what y'all are doing, the money you're willing to spend. Why? Because it matters to get a bride ready for her groom. And the Bible likens it the same way. By the way, I have one daughter and four sons. My oldest is the girl, and she got married a number of years ago, and I had to put that girl on a budget. Can I get an amen, somebody, right?

And it just felt like this is what you've got. This is what it is. You just have to make it work in here. And she came back to me two weeks later and said, "Dad, if I do it for half of that, can I keep the money and use it to buy a house"? I thought, "Darling, you are a woman after my own heart. I love you with all my heart". It was awesome. That's exactly what she did. But Revelation chapter 2 and 3 are basically the wedding coordinator's guide. And I kind of feel like that's what I am. I'm not really not nothing special. I'm just playing my role. I'm a Christian too. I'm in the body of Christ too. I'm part of the bride of Christ, but I kind of feel like a wedding coordinator today. And I've gotta give you, like, this is how you get yourself ready, and I'm just asking you to take serious, if Jesus was gonna take two chapters, starting the whole book before all those things happen, said, "Here's the kind of bride I'm looking for," I think it behooves us to get ourselves ready. He did it in the form of seven churches that were in real places in what is today modern-day Turkey. Okay?

And so they were real places, specific to those places, but also eternal in nature. They were always not meant just for them, but for all of us. And the first church was the church at Ephesus, and basically the bottom line is you used to really love me a lot, and you still love me, but it just doesn't look like it used to. And I need you to return to your first love. He said it this way. "I hold this against you," which, by the way, he starts every one of these with, "Hey, you're doing good here, and you're doing good here, and I'm really proud of you". So, he wasn't mad. He says, "But I have this one thing, basically, you're not ready for, for the wedding. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. And if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand," the lampstand's always a symbol of the Spirit of God, "from its place".

You say, "PC, what does that mean"? I really don't know, but I don't like the sound of it. I don't like the sound of Jesus even being remotely tempted to remove his Spirit from me in any way. I just want us to hear that today. I know it's not getting a resounding bunch of amens, and I understand that, but this is the Lord saying, "Please, fall back in love with me again". When I first got saved, I got saved at 15, I literally was the most on fire Christian I knew. I won my friends to God. Man, you know, I'm like the girls. I'll just be honest with you. And I had this little girl that I was dating. 'Cause I used to watch "The Little Rascals" on TV, and I always wanted a girlfriend named Darla. Come on, where y'all old people at, right? Her name was Darla Cooper. She was cute as a button. But we didn't have a godly relationship. When I got saved, y'all, it was, I went straight, first thing I did, said, "Man, we done. I mean we're just done. I just can't. I'm giving myself to Jesus and him alone".

And I just, I was serious about it. And I was on fire for God, worshiping. If the door of the church was open, I didn't, like, "Well, what else I got going on? Well, I ain't got nothing. I guess I'll go to church". Man, I was there 8 days a week. Are y'all listening to me? And I want you to just think about whether this speaks to you. And my hope is that one of these seven, if not all seven, speak to all of us in the same way, so we can get ourselves ready. He wants you to be ready, just like you would have the expectation of your bride, your groom, being ready for you. They didn't, you didn't get engaged and then go carousing around. No, no, no, you got ready. Are y'all out there, everybody, listening to me?

Okay. Second church, the church at Smyrna. And so he goes to another city. He says, "Hey, you've done a lot of things right, but I need you to remain faithful". And he tells us why. He says, "'Cause it's gonna get hard". Now, I want to stop right here before I even read the hard that he describes. And I just have to say this. And I know you might be going through something very, very difficult, but I just have to say this. The difficult that we go through is nothing compared to what most of the believers around the world go through. They're taking people today, who will lose their lives because they got caught in a secret church service. There'll be those who just confess the name of Jesus and lose their whole families, maybe even have their heads cut off.

And I want us to take just one little moment right here and honor our brothers and sisters around the world who go through much more than us, who are being martyred. Can you put your hands together and just show some honor to those who really go through it, right? Okay, I just have to do that. Said, "Do not be afraid about what you are about to suffer". Like, it's gonna get hard. And remember he does intervene on the earth, but he never promised that. He was always on a rescue mission to save us from this earth. "I tell you, the devil is gonna put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. But be faithful, even to the point of death. And if you do that, I will give you the crown of life". And he comes to us and said, "This is what I'm looking for. If you go through something difficult, I want you to stay faithful".

This past week, my wife and I, Tammy, went through just a horrible family experience. We're very, very close to her side of the family, and her maiden name is Hornsby. And her first cousin, Buck Hornsby's wife, Stacey Hornsby, was headed to work, was trying to pass somebody, ended up having a head-on collision, 53 years old, dead, I mean just instantly killed. And when we got the news, and, of course, we went down to Baton Rouge to be a part of the funeral, and all the family was there. It was a huge funeral. And she was deeply loved, but they love God. These people love God. And she had buried her own mom 16 years before, in a head-on collision. And she spoke at her mama's funeral 16 years ago. And then her daughter, Hattie, got up behind that pulpit and said, "My mama stood right here and eulogized her mama". And she goes, "And I was not gonna let the devil have the final word. I'm standing right here. And I don't understand it, and I'm mad, and I'm hurting, and I'm crying, but I will," this little girl, "I will be faithful to God no matter what". Are y'all listening to me, everybody? That's what I'm talking about.

The third church is the church at Pergamum, Pergamum. And the church at Pergamum had doctrinal extremes. I'm gonna read it to you. And this is difficult, but I do the hard work for you here, okay? Listen. It says, "Nevertheless, I mean, you're doing great, but I have a few things against you. You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam". Now, the teaching of Balaam was a teaching that says, "You can do it; it doesn't matter. You want to sin? God loves you. You know what? He just loves you". We would call that today a hyper grace teaching. It's, "Grace, grace, grace. That's okay. God loves you. You don't have to change. You're okay. I'm okay. Everybody's okay". He taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food that was sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality. "And you're okay. It's okay".

And it's not okay. He said, "But you also have the other extreme. You also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans". The Nicolaitans were legalists. They're the ones who jump on your case in a second if you even blink the wrong way in church, and they were judgmental, and put guilt all over you, and there are extremes. And listen to me. Those extremes still exist in the church today. You've got hyper grace, and you've got the hyper truth crowd. You've seen the hyper truth at football games. They're yelling at you, turn or burn, get left or get right. I mean, you know, they just mad, yelling, a megaphone. And then yet the other group's like, "Oh, it doesn't matter". What? Which one is it? Neither. The Bible says Jesus came into the world full of grace and truth.

And by the way, grace is always first. 'Cause it's grace that invites you to be free, so the truth can set you free. Truth without grace is mean. Grace without truth is meaningless. Put them together, and you've got yourself some good medicine. And that's why when the woman was caught in the act of adultery, she was left there with Jesus. Y'all know the story. Everybody left one at a time. "Whoever has never sinned, cast the first stone". Nobody there. And Jesus says, this woman who by law should be stoned to death, and Jesus said, "Where are your accusers"? And she goes, "I don't have any". He said, "That's right, and neither do I accuse you". That's grace. But he didn't leave her there. He stepped over into the truth side and said, "Now go leave your life of sin. Let's let this be the last time". And that's what people need. Can I get a better amen, somebody?

This is the gospel, this is a balance. The music's playing, and you've got three more churches. Listen fast, okay, here we go. Thyatira, he said, "You need to remove all your impurity. You have tolerated a spirit of Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess. But by her teaching she misleads people to immorality". This here, people who are just bought into compromise, and this is, let me say it plainly. This is those who said, "Well, I do this, but that's okay. It's okay for me. God even told me I could". Well, no, that's error, and there are a lot of people today that are changing their theology to fit the kind of life they want to live. "Well, I was born this way. Well, I was born angry and impatient". That's why I got born again.

So, we can't let, we can't let our theology gravitate to our behavior. We have to have our behavior gravitate to our theology. I mean, we had 11,200 men here Friday night. And I preached as hard a message, and it was so interesting, because I went, "Hey, guys, let's go. This is what the Word says". And they went, "Yep". And we had 320 men give their life to Jesus on Friday night. I said we had 320 men give their lives to Jesus, men! Come on, give God some great praise! That's awesome. Sardis, I'm gonna talk about next week, 'cause he said, "Hey, you're doing good, but you kind of lost your purpose. "Wake up! Because your deeds are not complete". We're gonna talk about that a little bit next week. So, just file that for now.

And Philadelphia is the only church that he didn't have something bad to say about them. He could only thank them. He said this, he said, "I know that you have little strength, but you have kept my word". And listen to me. This is probably one of the greatest qualities you can posses to prepare yourself as a bride is love the Word. Read the Word. Respect the Word. Don't deconstruct the Word. Embrace it. Let it be the guideline for your life, the playbook for your life every day. And, finally, the church at Laodicea. And he said this about them, he says, "You're just lukewarm. I know your deeds. You're neither cold nor hot. And I really wish you were one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth".

The word literally means spew or vomit. It sickens how just complacent you could be sometime. And you say, "I don't even need you, God. I'm rich; I have acquired wealth, and I don't need a thing". He said, "But you don't realize you're actually wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked". And he doesn't fuss at them without giving them an invitation. He says, "But here I am"! And somebody needs to hear this today. I'm getting ready to close. Be very still, listen to this, 'cause right now when he gives us all these warnings to prepare, he's also going, "Here I am".

There's somebody right now, you feel God knocking on the door of your heart, and he could bust it down if he wants to, but he waits for you to open the door. And if you do, he comes in, and he has relationship with you. He calls it eating with you and you with him. I've entitled this message, "Here Comes the Bride". 'Cause there's coming a day, friends, when this is all gonna end. "I don't know if I believe that". That is not gonna change it. And Jesus is gonna be standing, if you will, at the end of an aisle, and those doors of eternity are gonna bust open, and there's gonna be a bride. And I want him to go, "Ah"! not, "Ugh". 'Cause we prepared ourselves for Jesus. And all of God's people said a good amen.

Let's bow for prayer. Thank you. "So, Father, speak to people right now". In fact, church, would you just pray this, whisper this to heaven? Holy Spirit, what are you trying to say to me, to me? And listen, just listen for a second. What are you trying to say to us? And can I encourage you, church? Get yourself ready.

Lord, help every one of us get ourselves ready. Let's do more than the preparations we do for a natural wedding. Let's get ready for that eternal wedding that's going to take place, 'cause it's coming, Lord. At some point, we will meet you, and we want to be a bride that you're proud of, one that you consider beautiful and pure, one that you want to be wed with. And so, Father, speak to the people at our church, right now, in Jesus's name.

Heads bowed, eyes closed. Campus pastors, come join me at every location. And if you're here today, and you want to get your life right with God, you need his forgiveness, you feel unforgiven, you feel guilty and full of shame, you're one heartfelt prayer away from Jesus changing your life. Right there where you are, the Bible says you can confess him as your Lord, believe that God raised him from the dead, and you'll be saved. Is that you? If that's you, would you just whisper these words right there where you are? Say:

Jesus, forgive me. Save me. Write my name in the Lamb's book of life. Thank you for paying for all my deeds in the books. And today I surrender my life to you. Be my Lord. Be my Lord. I believe you rose again, and today I put my faith in you. In your name I pray, amen and amen.

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