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Watch 2022 online sermons » Christine Caine » Christine Caine - Bride of Christ - Part 2

Christine Caine - Bride of Christ - Part 2

Christine Caine - Bride of Christ - Part 2
Christine Caine - Bride of Christ - Part 2

I am so excited that you've joined me for today's episode of Equip and Empower. I believe God has a timely word for you, a word that's not going to condemn you or shame you but give you hope, resurrect what maybe has felt dead on the inside and empower you to live a flourishing and overcoming life, so I don't want to wait another moment. Let's dive in to today's message right now.

I am so grateful you have joined us today. I know God has a word for you. We are talking about what it is to be a holy nation. You might remember in part one of this series from 1 Peter, and I better out on my glasses so I can read this. 1 Peter chapter 2:9, it says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous. Once were not a people, but now are God's people: once you had not received mercy, but now have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation".

I love this, and during a time when the church was scattered and being persecuted, Peter is reminding them who they are. Just like you and I today are living in times of chaos, living in times of division and challenge and struggle all around us, where Christians are more of a minority than the majority, when there's a lot of misunderstanding around and there's so much confusion around, it is easy to lose hope, but the way we stay on purpose is we remember who we are in Christ, when we remember what we have in Christ and remember what our mission is in Christ. We are not here by accident. God chooses the times and the seasons and the places that we live. God knew what the earth would be like in this time and in this season and he plucked you and me out of eternity, he positioned us in time, he gave us gift and talents for the purpose of serving our generation, and the best thing we can do in this hour is to remind ourselves who we are in Christ.

What is our true identity? Not what do other people say about us, not what do other people call us or not even what do I think about myself but what is it that God says? And God says that we are a holy nation. Now, most of us struggle with that, and we've talked about that. It is hard to think, man, I'm a holy nation because we know what we've done. We know where we've been. We know what we think when nobody else knows what's going on and we're lying in bed at night. And you're like Chris, I am anything but a holy nation. And yet the Word of God declares and decrees that we are a holy nation. See, when you can remember who you are, or when you find out who you are, you can begin to act in accordance to who God has put you on the earth to be. Jesus says we are a holy nation.

Now the fact is that not one of us, the Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, not one. So you might think well Chris, I get 9 out of 10 things right. None of us get everything right all the time. Some of us, like me, man, no one has to convince me that in my own strength I'm not righteous. I was texting with a friend the other day, and we were talking about something, and I said here's the deal, after 35 years I've not forgotten the fact that I am a sinner saved by the grace of God. It is by the mercy of God alone that I am standing here. By the grace of God alone that I am standing here. Truly I once was lost but now I'm found and there is nothing in me that makes me think that I'm anything good. There is no good thing that dwells in me. It's Christ alone, and none of us can make ourselves holy.

You see, we didn't make ourselves holy. In 1 Peter, we read we're a holy nation, a royal priesthood, but it's important to know we didn't make ourselves holy. Jesus actually did it for us. It's nothing you and I can do to make ourselves holy enough. Some of us we want to work our way and we think man, if I just do enough good deeds, if I just do enough, you know, not things wrong, if I just do all the right things and try not to do the wrong things. And listen, we're never going to get there through the works of the law. We're never good enough to get there on our own. The Bible says for by grace you have been saved, not works lest any man should boast. The fact is there is not enough works we could do this side of eternity that could earn our way to salvation. We can't work our way towards it. We cannot work our way towards righteousness. You and I have been made holy by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

I want you to understand that. We can stand in confidence and agree together with Peter. But you are a holy nation because Jesus is the one that has made us holy. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says that he made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us. For us. So that in him we might become the righteousness of God. That is one of the first scriptures I memorized. So that in him we might become the righteousness of God. I have to ask you is there a better promise than this one, that Jesus' blood washed us clean, that in the eyes of God Almighty we are no longer stained, we are no longer blemished but we have been made clean by the blood of Jesus in you know, according to Philippians 3:9, we don't have a righteousness of our own from the law, but one that is threw faith in Jesus Christ. The righteousness from God based on faith. Because of Jesus, we have been set free from the penalty of sin.

I want you to hear this. We are in the process of being set free from the power of sin in our lives. By the grace of God, we will one day be set free from the presence of sin in our lives. Look, I don't know about you but this makes me want to run laps around this studio because when I first discovered the truth that I am now according to the Word of God the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, someone on the other side of the screen needs to hear this right now. I am and you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I wrote that down on stick it notes. I would put them on my mirror in the bathroom, I would put them in the car on the steering wheel, I would put it on the door on the way, I mean all around my house. I would put up, I am literally the phrase I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

You say, Chris, why did you do that? I did that because I was so stuck in guilt. Some of are you still there today. I was so stuck in shame. I was so stuck in condemnation because of my past. I mean, I'm trying to think what sin didn't I commit? And I walked around with that shame and that guilt and that condemnation constantly. And the fact is I kept acting in ways that reflected how I saw myself, so when I was full of shame and guilt and anger and bitterness, when I saw myself like that, I acted out of that. So I had to work really hard to renew my mind, to literally change.

Now as I read so much research on neuro-plasticity and rewiring your mind, I'm thinking the Bible told us about this. Thank God for Romans 12:2, that we are not to be conformed to this world but be ye transformed, what? By the renewing of your mind. You can literally rewire of your brain, and the science backs up what God has told us all along. So I had to work hard to renew my mind, so rewire my brain, and I would walk around and man, I would say it I think 50 times a day if not more. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Christine, you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I know that I had committed so many sins and lived a life of iniquity and disobedience and just was full of shame and guilt and I believe that's who I was.

So I acted out of those patents, I talked according to those patents. So I had to rewire that and say Christine, the Word of God says you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. So I had to remind myself that I wasn't what had happened to me, that I'm not a product of just the mistakes that I made in my life. I'm not what others have said about me. I am who God says I am, and you are who God says you are. You're not who that teacher said you are, you're not who that parent said you are, that they wish they never had you or they wish you were never born. That friend that said nobody could ever love you or that person that said you'll always be a loser and a failure, you'll never amount to anything.

So many of us we take on the identities of what other people say about us, who other people tell us that we are. We take things from our genetic lines and we just accept that, that this is just who we are in our family. I am who God says I am. I can do what God says I can do. I am have what God says I can have. I can be what God says I can be. So can you. And you know, I eventually began to internalize that truth. Christine, you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Oh yes, I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Not because I feel like it but because God's word says that I am.

In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with Israel, but through Jesus he formed a new covenant with everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts him as Lord. That's us, that would be us, the church. And in Ephesians 5:25 to 27, I want you to hear what the scripture says. It says, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish". I love this. Through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, we're presented to God holy and blameless. It's not anything that we have done. It's because of what Jesus did. Thanks be to God. I love this. And it's right there in scripture.

And I really love where it says husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. I remind this to Nick almost every day. I'm like remember, remember it's written in the scripture, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. He feels really blessed. I'm like remember, Christ laid his life down for the church. I think all of the work is on the guys in this passage. You know, on our wedding day I made this vow to Nick. This is what I said in our wedding vows. I said Christine Caryofyllis because that's who I was, I Christine Caryofyllis because I know God has called us to be joined together and because I love you I will gladly become your wife before God and in the company of these people. I promise to be a faithful wife, to comfort, respect, honor and cherish you in sickness and in health 'til death do us part. You know, I made a decision on that day to be set apart as Nick's wife forsaking all others and being faithful to him alone as my husband.

Now, in the same way all of us who are in Christ, male and female, were a people that were set apart for God's purpose and God's plan. So nothing or no one should come between us and our faithfulness to God. As Christ's bride, we are holy in that we are set apart to be faithful, loyal and committed to Jesus above all others. As the people of God, as his church we are a new nation, and what marks this new nation, it's not language or ethnicity but what marks us is holiness. And that's essentially our set apartness. We're God's bride. We've been set apart to him and for him.

You know, in 1 Peter 1:16 we read, for it is written be holy because I am holy. So we as Jesus followers are called to be categorically and qualitatively different from the world around us. The fact is we are saved exclusively to God, and we should therefore be set apart from the world and things like, we should be different in things like our ambitions, our actions, our affection because we live for God and not for ourselves. We should in this world what God does, and we see that expressed so much through the way Jesus in human flesh walked on the earth and we see that worked out in the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You and I as Jesus followers, we should love what God loves and we should hate what God hates.

So when you and I are set apart in this world, we actually have the potential to reflect something of the character of God to this world. Holy is belonging to God, and it's actually being different. That's what we're called to be. We live differently in this world as Jesus followers. Why? Because we belong to Jesus. We don't belong to this world. Nick and I have been married for 26 years now. I made those wedding vows to Nick 26 years ago. I haven't and I don't stay faithful to Nick because I have to. Imagine he'd feel awesome, wouldn't he? It's like well, I have to. I do it because I want to. Because I'm loved and I'm cherished by Nick. So my response back to him is love, and fidelity to him.

So in the same way our obedience to Christ it doesn't stem from legalism or obligation. And know so many that have grown up in church culture kind of feel that any time we talk about holiness or sanctification or consecration we think oh, that's just being legalistic. No. It's because we are his bride. I get it because I'm married to Nick. And I want to be faithful because I love him. Not because I have to. It comes from a place of love and it comes from a place of gratitude. Can I just say when Jesus sees you and when he looks down at us, he sees this beautiful bride, and he cherishes this bride. I know sometimes we have thought God is just angry, but you have to know he cherishes his bride just like when I was walking up the aisle on my wedding day, tears were streaming on Nick's face.

Now, I think part of it was he was wondering if I was going to show up so maybe they were tears of relief, but also they were tears of the fact that he loved his bride that was coming up the aisle. I mean, to him I was drop dead gorgeous. Could I be bold enough to say that when Jesus looks at his bride, we're drop dead gorgeous to him. He's like wow! Wow! Just imagine how Nick would have felt if I was walking up the aisle in my wedding dress and someone just threw a can of paint at my wedding dress, or someone threw mud at my wedding dress. Imagine if as I was walking up the aisle someone is yelling out hey, what an ugly bride! Hey, that dress is so ugly. Hey man, is that the best you could do? Well, you know what? You're even offended that I'm saying that because we find that entirely unacceptable and let's just say Nick, the groom understandably would not have been too happy had someone been doing that to his bride because to him I was the most beautiful woman in the world. But in the same way when Jesus sees you and sees me he sees a beautiful bride clothed, I love this, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

I wonder when you look in the mirror do you see what Jesus sees? Or do you see your own flaws, your own failings, mistakes, shortcomings, shame, guilt or condemnation? Do you see what Jesus sees? So we need to remember that we don't wear our own righteousness. We have been clothed in Christ's righteousness and we're part of a holy nation, so I want to encourage us, let's act like the bride that we are. Let's love the bride of Christ. Let's be a people who love his church like he loves his church. You know, in the Book of Revelation we see scripture promises a final reunion between Jesus Christ and his bride the church. In Revelation 19:7 and 8 says let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory because the marriage of lamb has come and his bride has prepared herself. She was given fine linens to wear, bright and pure.

Revelation 21:1 and 2, then I saw a New Heaven ask a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Man, what a powerful image. So until the day that Jesus returns, you and I are encouraged to remain faithful because our bridegroom is worthy, so now I think it's time for some of us to get up, get off the couch, swap our pandemic sweats. Some of us have gotten really cool in our pandemic sweats, and we need to swap them out for our garment of salvation and our robe of righteousness. We need to get up, walk with our head held high again as the beloved bride of our bridegroom. Understand that he chose you, he cherishes you, he delights in you today because we are his beloved bride.
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