Are you prepared?

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Revelation 19:7-8 (NKJV)
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Are you making yourself ready…. are you preparing yourself for the marriage of the Lamb? A wonderful and yet fearful reality exists in the spirit and is soon to be revealed in that all will see the coming of our Lord and King of all kings, Jesus Christ.

Many peoples from different lands, speaking different languages, of all skin colors, will look up because they realize their redemption, in it’s finality, draws near. They lived in the victory of the Christ life. The overcame sin and the thinking of the world. Their lives were changed lives, living for and serving the Lord. They will rejoice and shout for joy that He has come for them. He will usher them into eternity and commend them for their faithfulness, service, and allegiance to Him and His Kingdom.

Many will also be looking up, anticipating their redemption. They have an expectation of entering into the wonderful reality that awaits those who are set apart, holy, for God… and yet, they will be utterly shocked to find that the door is shut to them. They accepted the invitation, but refused to be clothed. They loved the entrance into Heaven prepared by Jesus, but they failed to forsake all, take up their cross daily, and die to their self-nature. They were offended at the teachings of Christ, refusing to obey in full or in part. For only those who do the will of the Father enter in.

And lastly, many will be surprised. Utterly shocked. With disdain, they will still mock Him, saying and thinking, “Who is this king of glory?” just as Pilate dismissed the manifestation of Truth by saying “What is truth?!”. These will be the ones who will have no other choice but to bow the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord. But it will be too late. And it will be a confession of shame and possibly still with a seething contempt. They will be cast out, just as the second group, for their unbelief.

It’s no wonder that Jesus so often commanded His followers to “Be ready!”. In other words, He kept teaching them to… be prepared; to work on what pleases God, on building the Kingdom of God, on revealing Christ to those who are living in darkness and in bondage to sin. But, “BE PREPARED” was His overarching message.

COUNTERFEIT PREPARATION

We hear a cry in the world to “be prepared” but not in the way Christ warned us. In many churches, classes are held on how to survive catastrophes and stockpiling food, water, etc. Having an escape plan is often discussed, but is this the preparation that God has for His Bride?

A key element of being prepared is first knowing what is needed for preparation. If we are desiring to abide in a continuing state of “being ready,” what does it look like? What are the characteristics of the Lamb’s wife? What qualities do we see in the Bride of Christ?

Revelation 21:2-3 (NKJV)
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:9-14 (NKJV)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

1. She is a great city, established on a great and high mountain.
We–if we be of the Bride–are not established in the pit of hell nor in the mire of uncleanness, but on a high mountain, THE Mount Zion! We have been mysteriously and miraculously translated to Heaven, already, in reality, actively, seated with Christ, partakers of His divine nature, having been granted His authority to do all things that please the Father, foreordained to be conformed to His image, created (a NEW creation) in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:10), in fact for greater works, according to Jesus (John 14:12).

Not only that, but Praise to the living God that we have access to boldly enter the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus Christ, through the sacrifice of His body, the flesh being the veil through which we have access (Heb 10:19-20), to a pure fount of wisdom that is from above; wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and full of bearing good fruits. This wisdom is not hypocritical nor partial, but equally regarding, greeting and serving all men (James 3:17).

Therefore, if you are of the Bride, if you have been risen with Christ, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness each day, each hour, every minute, second by second by second…. Seek those things that are from above, not of the earth. Set the affections of your heart on the things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God, where you and I are currently seated.

Why? Because IF you are risen with Christ, you are dead and you are now in Christ, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Praise Him! (Col 3:1-3) Through an abiding relationship with the King of Glory, Jesus Christ, the world has been crucified (dead) to us, and we are crucified (dead) to the world (Gal 6:14).

If you’ve accepted the call, the invitation, to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, than you also must realize that in doing so you’ve been purchased with a great and wonderful price – the sacrifice and offering of the Son of God – and your life is no longer your own (1 Cor 6:19-20).

You are now a servant to Christ and God the Father, to do His will and His work, that the world might know and believe that the Father sent the Son (John 17:3,21-23).

2. She is adorned for her Husband
Isaiah says, just “as a bride adorns herself with jewels” the Lord has covered those who comprise the Bride with garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. (Isa 61:10). John says it the robe is the righteous acts of the saints (Rev 19:8). But how can that be? We are taught that everything has been accomplished and we should simply be resting the work that Christ has already accomplished for us.

It is true that Christ purchased us, but why? He set us free, for what?

We have been created as a new creation in Christ so that we may shine forth the majestic radiance of His glory! We have been called unto good works. Ours is to reveal Christ to our spouse, children, families, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers… to GO (which sometimes may mean staying put) and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and the Lord promises, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mat 28:29-20)

Will you be found clothed in that day? Will your robe be spotted?

I hope not, because Peter writes “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). And Paul writes, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor 7:1). He has purchased and delivered us (the Bride) “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:27).

3. She shines with great beauty and diversity of color, but of one Light.
Those who comprise the Bride of Christ are shining! Some shine this color and others, that. But SHINING!

Allow me to illustrate with an imperfect example. Did you know that the white contains all the colors of the full spectrum of light? It is possible to isolate the individual colors of the spectrum, but that comprise the brightest, whitest light. This is an attribute of the Bride of Christ. We are all members of one Body, as Paul puts it.

What is it that we shine? The fruit of the Spirit of Light (Eph 5:8-14, Gal 5:22-25). Each of us is sent and led by the Spirit in different events, unique places and settings, which creates a slightly unique hue of light, but as a whole, the world should see one bright white Light.

It is possible to quench and grieve the Holy Spirit by refusing to work alongside others who are shining, but of a different hue. It is possible to extinguish the fruit of the Light by refusing to not be seen. Remember that the individual colors of the spectrum do not compete for glory, rather they cooperate together to form one light, one radiance, and one glory.

Be prepared by reconciling with others, pursuing peace and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

4. She is build upon a firm foundation
The Bride of Christ is founded upon apostolic teachings. When Christ taught the apostles, theirs was to teach others, that those “others” might teach “others” (Luke 10) what Christ taught the apostles, and so on. Many “new teachings” come and go, “fresh words” supposedly from the Lord come and go, but there is only one place to be found and it is on the foundation of teaching of Christ and His apostles.

How can you be sure you are standing on this foundation?

Any teaching or lifestyle that contradicts what Christ taught is not the true foundation of God. Any sin, confusion, backbiting, pride, selfishness, covetousness, sexual uncleanness, etc. is not of God, not of Christ, not of the apostles and certainly not on the foundation that will stand in the Day of shaking.

Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:21-27)

Paul wrote:

“Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’” (2 Timothy 2:19)

Are you standing in the obedience of the Master? Are you obeying what He has told you?

Be prepared.

Glorify God by renewing the spirit of your mind, and let your thinking – the very thoughts you have about others and about God – be the mind and thinking of Christ.

Glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are now God’s, by offering your bodies – your very life and everything it consists of – as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1-2).

Glorify Him with your words in speaking the Truth in love, in blessing your enemies, not cursing. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Eph 4:29)

Glorify the Bridegroom by wearing a proper wedding robe, by putting off the old man and putting on the new man, which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24) and has been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him (Col 3:10). Adorn yourself in the Robe of Righteousness in the obedience of loving God by doing His will, serving others, and having our witness consistent with the life and witness of Christ. For whoever says he abides in Christ ought himself also to walk just as Jesus walked. (John 2:6)

… Jesus spoke by parables and said:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.

So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

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