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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012




Sermon of the Week for January 10, 2010

In the third chapter of the gospel according to the Apostle John, the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the Bridegroom, and there are seven reasons why I want to be called the friend of the Bridegroom. But first there are several observations we need to make of this event.

Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea; and he tarried with them and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came and were baptized. The Apostle John seems to take special notice that there was much water there. What does much water mean? Much water is relative. A thimble-full of water is much water compared to a medicine dropper. A glass-full of water is much water compared to a bucket full of water.  A barrel-full of water is much water compared to a tub full. How much water is much water? In view of the fact that several times it is said, “They went down into the water to baptize”, it may seem that much water is enough water to immerse a person.

Now here is another observation before we come to the friend of the Bridegroom. At this point there seems to be a bit of jealousy on the part of John’s disciples. They came to John and said, “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou also hast borne witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.”

John told them, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” According to that there is no room for jealousy about another servant of the Lord. There is nothing that any of us can do on our own; everyone’s ability is God-given. Paul had it right when he said in 1st Corinthians 15, “I labored more abundantly than they all.” He said, “I did more than all the other Apostles put together”, and then he checked himself, “Yet not I, but the grace of God that was bestowed upon me.”

Now before we meet the Bridegroom, please notice the great compliment the disciples of John gave him when they said that he gave witness of Jesus. To be a witness of Jesus ought to be the desire of every Christian. Jesus had told the Apostles to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. Then just before He ascended he told them again, “Ye shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The Apostles began that witness on the Day of Pentecost when they preached that first gospel sermon, and 3,000 responded. No one can say that this broadcast has not witnessed to the terms of pardon Peter gave on that day, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

We need to remember that the witness of Jesus in preaching the gospel in all the world is one of the signs of the second coming of Jesus. In Matthew 24 He himself said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world and then shall the end come.” This witness of preaching the gospel to all the world has already been done, and this broadcast is one example.

There is also another way of witnessing mentioned in James 5. James said, “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure for the last days.” This is especially appropriate for the Christian who always says, “I am giving all I can.”

Still another item that deserves notice before we speak of the friend of the Bridegroom is when John said, “Jesus must increase and I must decrease.”

John said that Jesus would increase. There is much evidence of that in scripture. In Isaiah 9 we note that he said, “Of the increase of his government there shall be no end.” In 1st Corinthians 2 Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Then in Acts 6, we are informed that the gifted Stephen did much for the kingdom of God, and then it is noted it was the Word of God that increased. There is no end to it. In Acts 16 Paul, Silas, and Timothy went on their way through the cities, preaching, and the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily. Actually the increasing of Jesus began as a boy of twelve. Luke says He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men, and may it ever be so.

Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. I must make this observation also before we meet the friend of the Bridegroom. John said that Jesus shall increase, but more than that, he said he would decrease, and so it is with all servants of God; we will all decrease until one day when we cease to walk among the living. Each of us serves our own generation, and I might add that by the grace of God, I have served in parts of two generations; but the day comes soon when all living today will decrease, and like the first chapter of Exodus says, “There arose another king over Egypt who knew not Joseph.” It is not very flattering to say, but it is true, before long a new generation will arise in this world that never heard of any of us. But God will still be in business, for Jesus still lives in all generations, increasing after we decrease, and after we cease to walk before the sons of men. While we serve our own generation, when we decrease from life on this earth, Jesus still remains and continues to serve all generations.

Now just this one more observation before we meet the Bridegroom. Since John said he would decrease and Jesus would increase, it is evident that John was not interested in building up a party of his own, as some today would rather build up the name of their own sect, and not the name of Christ. The name of Christ should be enough identification. Three times that royal name is set forth: “The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” (Acts 11); “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26); “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed” (1st Peter 4). When will men learn that the name Christian is enough identification for who we are, and thereby help answer the prayer of Jesus in John 17, “I pray that they all may be one, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”

And now finally, here comes the Bridegroom. John said, “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the Bridegroom: but the friend of the Bridegroom, that standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is made full.”

I also want to be a friend of the Bridegroom and here is the first reason: I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom because the Bridegroom is the one that has the bride. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives even as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it.” After saying this he also said, “This mystery is great: but I speak of Christ and of the church.” Jesus is the Bridegroom and His bride is the church. And that is why I want to be faithful to the church, because I am a friend of the Bridegroom.

The second reason I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom is because I remember the warning of the Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity, and the purity that is toward Christ.”

The Devil uses the same temptation on the Bride of Christ as he did for Eve in the Garden of Eden. Listen to him as he says to Eve, “Yea hath God said?” Eve, are you sure God said, you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Eve, do you think that is a good translation? Eve, don’t you think that is just your interpretation? Eve, don’t you think God is too good to let you die for such a thing as eating just one bite of forbidden fruit? Eve, don’t you know some of the scholars think that statement is not in the original manuscript? Eve, do you really believe God actually said, “In the day ye eat thereof ye shall surely die?” Surely your heavenly Father would not say anything like that!” Not until she was stripped of the sheen of her immortality, and found that she was standing in the dark, cold, naked, ashamed, and afraid, did she realize that the Word of God does in fact mean exactly what it says.

The third reason I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom is because of what Jesus said in Matthew 9, “The disciples of John came to Jesus and asked Him, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?” And Jesus said unto them, "Can the sons of the bride chamber mourn as long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast.”

This saying might have sounded mysterious to them at that time, but by hindsight we can see it was a prediction of His crucifixion. Paul said, “Christ died for our sins”, and Jesus said, “The Son of man is come to give His life a ransom for many.” Since Jesus died on the cross for me, and since He said in John 15, “Greater love hath no man have than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus counted me as His friend and laid down His life that I might not only have a better life in this world, but life after this world; life for all of eternity. So I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom because He has been such a friend to me. There is a song that says, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins on earth to bear.”

Reason number four is I have to say that I also want to be a friend of the Bridegroom because John said, “The Bridegroom standeth, and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice.” Now we have never heard the actual voice of Jesus. I have heard people say, “Jesus told me to do this or that.” Jesus has not said anything to anybody since He talked to the Apostle John in the last chapter of Revelation, and the last word said to a human being since that day is the statement, “I come quickly.” Jesus has not told you anything except what you read in the inspired Word of God.

However there will be a time when we will all hear His actual voice. In John 5, Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” On that day when every human being that ever lived on this planet hears the voice of Jesus, I want to rejoice as I hear that voice. That is why I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom.

The fifth reason is because of the word of warning for many who have a mistaken notion about friendship with the Bridegroom. In Matthew 25, there is a story that Jesus told about that situation when He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto ten virgins who went out to meet the Bridegroom, and five were wise and five foolish. At midnight the announcement was made: Behold the bridegroom, come ye fourth to meet him. They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage feast and the door was shut. Those that were not ready stood at the door and cried: Lord, Lord, open to us. But the Bridegroom said: Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore for no man knoweth the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.”

Evidently some are not the friends of the Bridegroom they thought they were. The gospel song says, “When the bridegroom cometh will your robes be white? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you freely trusting in His grace this night; Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” Because the Bridegroom can arrive at any time, I want to be sure at that moment that I am a friend of the Bridegroom.

Then again the sixth reason for being a friend of the Bridegroom is determined by acceptance of His invitation to the marriage feast. In Matthew 22 Jesus tells us about it, “A certain King made a marriage feast for His son and sent out servants to bid them that were bidden to the marriage feast and they would not come.” They could have come; they just would not come. It was a defiant answer, “I won’t do it.”

Others in that story made light of it and went their way. They said there is not anything the Lord wants us to do that is worth having. Making light of spiritual things is one of the Devil’s best weapons. That attitude makes a lot of church members refrain from looking overly religious. Don’t let somebody laugh you out of salvation.

When the king came in to see the guests, a certain man came not having a wedding garment. He tried to crash the party without proper attire, and was cast out. Paul tells us how we can be properly attired when he said in Galatians 3, “As many of us as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ”. Have you accepted the invitation? I accepted that invitation many years ago because I wanted to be a friend of the Bridegroom.

The seventh and last reason I want to be a friend of the Bridegroom is when I think upon the great celebration at the final wedding supper with the great Bridegroom. Listen to these words from Revelation 19, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord our God the almighty reigeneth, let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give glory unto Him for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And it was given unto her to array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they who are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

He that hath the bride is the Bridegroom, but the friend of the Bridegroom that standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.

When the Bridegroom cometh, will your robes be white? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright? Then be washed in the blood of the Lamb.