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Jack Graham - A Marriage Made in Heaven


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    Jack Graham - A Marriage Made in Heaven
TOPICS: All Things New, Book of Revelation, End times

Marriage by God's design is a beautiful illustration of the relationship that we have with Christ. We are the bride of Christ, those of us who believe and receive Him, say yes to Him, have a relationship with Christ. We become His bride, His church, together and triumphant. And He is our heavenly Bridegroom. And one day when Jesus comes, we're in that section of the book of Revelation now where Jesus comes again to establish His eternal kingdom forever and ever. And when He comes, we will be eternally with Him! And one of the events that will take place when Christ comes or before His coming to earth will be the marriage supper of the Lamb, an incredible illustration in Revelation chapter 19 of this banquet, this beautiful wedding bells in heaven and the heavenly Bridegroom, the Lamb of God, Jesus Himself receives us His bride to be with Him forever.

Marriage is an illustration of that relationship. This is why you can never change the definition of marriage. By God's design marriage is between a man and woman. Anything else is a pollution of that holy sacred union that God has established as the very foundation of society. Nothing else illustrates the relationship like marriage God's way. So marriage, therefore, cannot be changed because it is eternal in the mind, in the heart of God. And that is what the marriage supper of the Lamb represents, this union between Jesus our Lord, the Lamb of God and we, His people who follow Him. So beginning in verse 1 of chapter 19, the Scripture says: "And after this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute...'"

Remember the scarlet harlot riding on the back of a beast? That's false religion, judged, "'who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.' Once more they cried out, 'Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever!' And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, 'Amen. Hallelujah!' And from the throne came a voice saying, 'Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.' And then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters", think of a super bowl roar on a winning touchdown. Think of a thunderous night when lightning and thunderous clouds are emanating, the noise of heaven!

The loud "mighty peals of thunder, crying out". It's loud, okay, in heaven! "'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted to her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure'", for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. "And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.' Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am your fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.'"

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. We are now engaged to the Lord Jesus Christ. And because we are engaged, we are preparing for the moment that we meet Him and see Him face to face. And that day when we share in this great wedding in the sky, this great wedding in the heavens, when angel choirs sing and wedding bells ring and the party is going to last forever! Let's talk about this celebration. Millions of people will be there, people from all ages and stages of life and history, people from all nations and neighborhood, every person in Christ from any place on earth. And we are all there for one reason, the blood of the Lamb! The grace of God. We gather around this table of the Lord not because we deserve to be there, for none of us deserve to be in this place at that time, but because of what Christ and Christ alone has done for us. And because we are there we burst into exuberant praise to God, and there's music.

Every wedding, nearly every wedding has great music. Well some not so great. I've heard a few of those, as well. But every wedding should have beautiful and great music! Well there's music at this wedding, at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And you know what it is? It's the Hallelujah Chorus! In fact Handel got his inspiration from this very passage of Scripture. There are several stanzas to the hallelujah here. For one, we are celebrating, we are saying praise to God, celebrating our redemption in Christ. That's why verse one says, "Salvation and glory and power belong to our God". Salvation! When we get to heaven we will fully realize just how great our salvation really is. You won't be in heaven five seconds until you are rejoicing forever at just how wonderful our Savior is! More and more we realize it. Glory and power belong to Him alone. But not only hallelujah, that's the first stanza, but there's also the stanza in that we celebrate retribution.

That's line, verse 2, "for His judgments are true and just". Amen and hallelujah! God is the final Arbiter; He is the Judge. Isaiah 33, verse 22 says, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver", and no one can change the laws of God! No one! No court! No judge! No cultural opinion can change the laws of God who is the Judge! "The Lord is our King; He will save us"! So in heaven we are going to praise God and say "amen" which means "So be it" or "Let it be"! Paul didn't think of that; God did! Let it be, let it be! Not the Apostle Paul, the Beetle Paul! Amen! Hallelujah! Because finally and fully sin is judged, evil is eradicated. No more shootings in Bible studies, killing innocent people! That's all going to be judged. Deuteronomy 32:35, "Vengeance is Mine" says the Lord.

My own father was murdered when I was twenty years of age. And I had to deal with all the emotions related to that as a young man. But I determined that I would let God be the judge, and in my heart forgave the man who killed my father! I hope that by the grace of God I meet him in heaven some day. I hope he comes to faith or has come to faith in Christ. I don't know. The point is that God will settle all the scores. Sometimes people question God and say, "Is God fair in the face of all this evil and tragedy and inexplicable, imponderable things that happen to people in life"? Sometimes people want to say, "Is God just? Is God righteous? Why would God allow such evil in the world"?

But in heaven when all evil is judged finally, fully and forever, we will say amen and hallelujah! No one in heaven will be saying God isn't fair! No one in heaven at the table of our Lord will say God did the wrong thing. We will say, "Lord, I understand what You did. And while I didn't understand it in life, I understand it in eternity and I know that You had a greater plan for life, even my own". God will execute judgment and everyone will say "Hallelujah! That's right! Hallelujah, amen, praise God! Our God is true and righteous and just"! So we will celebrate retribution when judgment finally comes to evil and all who practice evil. We will say amen and hallelujah because of our redemption. Salvation and honor and glory belong to the Lord! It's all because of Him. And then we will celebrate God's reign over the world. We will shout the victory in Jesus! "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns".

The Lord God, all powerful, reigns! It appears today at times that man is in charge, that Satan is on the prowl and is destroying whom he may devour; the Bible tells us that. It may appear that the god of this age, Satan, is in control, that demons rule. But at the end of the day God will demonstrate that He is on His throne forever and ever! Now and forever! And the theme of the book of Revelation is "Our God reigns"! That Jesus rules. And one day "Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God"! Let me give you a spoiler alert to the end of the story! Jesus wins! And we share in our victory with our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen and hallelujah! You might want to say it right there!

So that's the celebration; that's the music and the splendor and the glory of this experience. But He also shows us something about the preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb, for the marriage of the Lamb. John in verse 7 begins to describe this marriage. Everything is pointing to this date in prophecy in life. The Lamb is the Bridegroom who is Jesus Himself. The bride is the Church. Now in our weddings for the most part all the focus is on the bride, but in this wedding all the focus is on the Bridegroom. Our attention will be upon Jesus. And again, hear me, God chose the intimacy of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman to describe our eternal union with Him.

And right now we are in preparation for that marriage. The marriage has not yet been consummated. We are not yet in heaven with Him, but we are engaged to Him. We are betrothed to the Bridegroom. He loved us first. The Bible says He loved me because I first, before I loved Him! And He wooed me and He won me to Himself. And there came a day in the life of every follower of Jesus when we said, "Yes, Lord, I commit my life to You"! Now we haven't seen our Bridegroom yet. Peter says, 1 Peter 1:8, "Yet, having not seen Him, you love Him". We love Him and we long for His appearing. We long to be with Him. And what we do today in preparation for our wedding with Him is to prepare our lives, to know as much about Him as we can. That's the purpose of an engagement period, is to get to know each other better and better and better. And then the voice from heaven says, "Look! Behold! The Bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet Him"!

One of these days we're going to be swept off our feet and enraptured into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ! And we will unite with Him and be with Him forever! He's made a promise to us when He engaged us to be married, put a ring on the finger, He said, "You are mine and I am yours. My beloved is mine and you are my beloved"! And there will be no breakups before the wedding. There will be no jilted brides! We will meet the Lord in the air, "and so will we ever be with the Lord". And at the wedding feast, at the marriage supper of the Lamb we're going to share a delicious victory together. It's the marriage supper of the Lamb. I like that word supper. It's what we used to say down south. I used to hear my mother, I'd go out on my bicycle, play ball pretty much all day, but down the street, down the block, across town, I could hear my mother's voice. I think I got my preacher's voice from my mother. But I would hear her yelling, "Jackie, it's suppertime"! And I'd come running as fast as I could to suppertime.

So it's suppertime. And the voice has called us upward and invited us to suppertime. And people get all excited about what's going to be around the table? What are we going to eat at the marriage supper of the Lamb? Is it going to be Krispy Kreme doughnuts and chicken-fried steak and gravy and mashed potatoes. You know that's all a little bit silly. Except, you know, you think about all the people that are going to be there around the marriage supper of the Lamb. There will be guests there. John the Baptist said he's a friend of the Bridegroom. You're not a guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb if you're a believer in Christ! You're the bride! You're the bride! But there will be guests. Old Testament saints will be there. Tribulation saints will be there.

Can you imagine the conversation that's going to take up eternity in heaven? You know, you'll be sitting there and you'll say something like "You know, there's not much taste to this manna. Moses, would you pass the gravy"? My meat's a little uncooked, Elijah, would you put it on the fire just a little while longer? "Lot, would you pass the salt"? And then coffee after dinner and conversation with David. "David, tell us that story about again how you killed the giant". But most of all it's not going to be about the food, of course, or our conversation with others. It's all going to be about Jesus. Just like a bride keeps her eyes focused on the love of her life, so our hearts and our affections, our attention is given to Jesus. Something very interesting is mentioned regarding our garments at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Verse 7 says: "the marriage of the Lamb has come, the Bride has made herself ready; clothed herself with fine linen, bright and pure', for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints".

Now let me give you a very important lesson about salvation and about righteousness. What is this? The righteous? If our garments are "the righteous deeds of the saints", what is that talking about? Well, first of all, we know we're saved by grace in Christ alone through grace and faith alone. We do not save ourselves. As the great hymn says, "Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne". This is our position before God. We are righteously pure because of the blood of Christ has cleansed us from all sin. We stand before Him perfectly pure and righteous. You are looking at a righteous man today.

You say, "Well you don't look all that righteous to me". In God's eyes, through Christ I'm righteous. In fact, I'm a saint. You can call me Saint Jack. Well you don't have to do that. But we're the saints of God! We're the righteous children of God. And the only way that you can go to heaven is to be dressed in this righteousness. This is what theologians call our positional righteousness before God in Christ. It's called justification. But there is a practical righteousness that must be expressed. Because we have been saved, we are now "His workmanship created unto good works". In other words, if you're saved there will be evidence of your salvation. There will be practically speaking the righteous deeds of the saints. And that's what you're sowing today. That's what you're preparing today for eternity to invest by righteous deeds and acts in your future. It's the same kind of idea when Jesus spoke of laying up treasures in heaven.

So there are three tenses to salvation: past tense: I have been saved, that's justification; present tense: I am being saved, that's sanctification, being made more and more like Christ; and then glorification, this is glorification. When I'm made like Christ, when we see Him as He is, we will be like Him! We are in the presence of the Lord and we look like Him because we are with Him. The bride of Christ. And therefore, we in the meantime should be serving and working and sharing His love with others, because every time we do we're sowing our garments, our dress for the occasion. Are you serving God with your good works and your good deeds? Are you sitting and watching others do it? Paul talked about it, the Judgment Seat of Christ people being saved as of by fire. Like Lot who escaped Sodom and Gomorrah with his life but lost everything, left everything behind. He had nothing to show for his life when he barely got out of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was saved but singed by the fire.

There are a lot of people that are going to be in heaven like that. They've got nothing to show for their lives. They have no garments to wear. They're naked and ashamed. They're saved, but they're barely saved. I don't want to go to heaven like that. This bride, the bride of Christ is to be presented spotless, without blemish, before the Lord. I want my life to be a beautiful testimony. When I stand before the heavenly Bridegroom I want my radiance in Christ to speak of my love for Christ. And the saints, therefore, the bride of Christ will wear this beautiful garment, the righteous deeds of the saints. His righteousness. One final and brief word, and that concerns the consummation of this marriage. It says, the Revelation says that all of it is about Jesus; all of it! Everything points to Him. And that's why the last verse that says, "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage of the Lamb". He said, "These words are faithful and true".

Just in case you might be thinking, "Is this true? Is this really going to happen"? God said, "Write it down". It's true! You say, "Really, really"? Yes, really! It's true! The true words of God. "And then I fell down at his feet to worship him". Have you ever made a social faux pas at a wedding supper or a wedding itself? I've seen a few of those. You know, just a real social failure. Well, John makes a big mistake. He gets on his face to worship this angel. He's so overwhelmed that he just falls before this angel and begins to worship. The angel looks around and says, "Don't do that! You're going to get us both kicked out of here! Don't worship me! I'm just your fellow servant, and especially of those who testify of Jesus".

That blesses me as a preacher of the Gospel to know that I have assistance, personal assistance called angels who enable and at times have strengthened me when I preach the Gospel. There may be several of them up here right now, cheering me on, helping me on. I can't see them, you can't see them, but angels are real. And yet angels are never to be worshiped. We're never to obsess over angels, because they point us to Jesus. Worship God for Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy! God equals Jesus, Jesus equals God! Worship Him and Him only! And when we see Jesus, when we are united with Him at the Second Coming, that's the consummation of the age! That's the consummation of our salvation, that's the completion and we will be with Him and experience His love, His life eternally.

Now who is invited to the marriage supper of the lamb? It says, "to those who have been invited," so just in case you want to know if you've been invited or not, John 3:16, "for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life". That means you, in spite of your sin, any sin, whatever sin, all the sin. You say, "I'm invited, I'm invited"? Yes you are. Believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ.
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