His Wife Has Made Herself Ready

by: Dave Havir

I want to discuss the phrase found in Revelation 19 and verse 7, "His wife has made herself ready."

I want to mention that God in the Bible has used the marriage relationship to make a lot of points, to teach a lot of lessons. You can study different parables and different things about marriage and it makes a lot of good lessons for us. I want to caution you to not cross pollinate parables. If you cross pollinate them, they may contradict each other. Parables are designed to stand alone. That's why you have to be careful in taking parables and trying to make a doctrine out of parables, because they're not designed to make doctrine. They are not designed to mix and match, actually they stand alone.

Kingdom Parables

Let's look at Matthew 22, one of the kingdom parables talks about the King sending out invitations to the wedding ceremony and then also in that same parable it talks about not having the right wedding garments on. There is another kingdom parable in Matthew 25, which talks about the bridesmaids waiting for the arrival of the groom to come, so they can start the procession. If you look back at the weddings at that time, the bridegroom would come to the house and then he would take his bride, and everyone would flock to the streets with their lanterns, lamps and shophars and they would follow the groom back to either his house or the bride's family's house. There are different ways you can look at that.

These are beautiful marriage examples, and. they can help teach powerful lessons.

The Marriage Of The Lamb

In Revelation 19 verse seven, it talks about a phrase, "His wife has made herself ready."

I want to spend some time talking about this.

Revelation 19 verse seven, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come."

We are all looking forward to that time when the marriage comes. In the analogy, Jesus Christ is the groom and the church, the first fruits, they represent the bride.

So says the phrase, "His wife has made herself ready." Let's think about that.

How Does the Bride Make Herself Ready?

How does the bride make herself ready? We want to analyze how does the first fruits prepare for the return of Jesus Christ?

How much does the person do and how much does God do? This is one of the big questions of life. How much do you do and how much does God do? You will hear a lot of religious people talk and even sometimes among the Church of God, they sometimes are having God doing everything and even sometimes if you listen closely, they are actually blaming God when something bad happens.

How Does God Work?

God works in different ways. One way He works, is that He micro manages. A second way is that He allows something for a purpose, like in the story of Job. A third way He works, is that He allows time and chance. He has worked all three ways. I'm sure you can find other ways that God has worked, but these are three distinct ways that God works.

It is important to realize that God works in different ways, and when something happens in your life, you can try to analyze it, which way was it?

The reason I am pointing this out is that some people get locked into number one, saying that God always micro manages, and personally I think that's a huge mistake for people for whatever psychological reason. They don't want to take personal responsibility. They try to blame God and they say, "This happened because God wanted this to happen."

An example of this, is when an athlete after the Super Bowl is over, thanks God for helping them win the Super Bowl. That is a person who thinks God micro manages everything. I don't think God is worrying at all about who wins the Super Bowl. Those athletes are very sincere, they try to claim that God is a part of their life, but when something happens and all of a sudden you're giving credit to God who does sometimes micro manage. I don't think He micro manages every time that people think He does.

We have to figure this out. How much do we do and how much does God do?

The Power Of Choice

One way I want to help you with this is with the word 'choice.' I think that we have a responsibility to choose and that you have the power of 'choice.' Part of that choice is to surrender, to submit to God, but we do get to choose.

Do we choose the way of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:16-26). Do we choose the way of the flesh? In this analogy we are making choices. How do you choose to handle whatever? Sometimes you think that God made it happen. Really? Maybe God allowed it to happen, but He's watching how you choose. What choice will you make? If God did micro manage it, He's watching what choice we make. We do make choices.

One thing you need to consider is this, "Work like it all depends on you and pray like it all depends on God." You can fast like it all depends on God, you can study like it all depends on you.

In other words, if you're looking to buy a house and you want God to open the door, then I don't recommend you sit in a rocking chair, praying to God, "Drop this house into my lap!" Now maybe you want to do it because it is less work that way, but I would recommend you get out there and look at 30 houses. You make a list of what you want in a house. You figure out how far it is from your work. You figure out what school district it is in. Then when you do all that work and then you can be surprised how God will open a door so wonderfully for you.

Now you may say, "No, I want to sit in a rocking chair and wait on God." Well God may look down on you and say "Get off of your rear-end you lazy bum, why do you expect me to do all the work?"

Do you have a budget? Do you have your spending under control? Sometimes when people have spending problems they blame it on God. How can you blame your spending problems on God? How can we blame our mistakes and weaknesses on God?

I say get very involved with your choices, but make sure you're including God, because as we all know, He will open wonderful doors. Sometimes God does not open the door right away, does He? Sometimes we have accidents and we have to wait a long time for it to get resolved. Sometimes God makes us wait, and when He makes us wait, it may not be because certain people have more faith or because some people are more righteous than other people. God is working in our lives and He expects us to make choices.

How Are You Getting Ready For The Wedding?

Now, if you're going to be a wife, how are you getting ready for the wedding?

If you're waiting for the wedding and Jesus Christ is going to be the groom, and you are part of the firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23, Revelation 14:4), and you are part of the bride, how are you getting ready? If I can help you in any way with this, I sure would love to.

How does a firstfruit prepare for the return of Jesus Christ? I want to give you four simple points, and then I will use Scriptures to talk about those four points.

Accept God's Mercy

I would like to consider point number one, to accept God's mercy!

Accept God's mercy, because we can't earn salvation, but we have things we have to do. It begins with God's love toward us,

If you get a chance, listen to Jodee Messina's song, "Because He Loves Me." God loves you. Based on that premise, on that foundation, we move forward.

People who try to earn salvation do not begin on that premise. They do not begin on the premise of grace. They do not begin on the premise of mercy and they may be as sincere as possible, but we have to know that God loves us and we have to feel that God loves us. Now you say, "Do we have to?" If you want to be successful, you'll be feeling God's love. It should be a mixture of head knowledge and heart knowledge.

What we are battling is our background. We are battling the fact that people have not loved us. We are battling the fact that people have been rude to us. We are battling the fact that people have been emotionally mean to us. People have not supplied our needs.

We are who we are because of what's happened to us, with family, school, job and health situations. We are who we are. We have to understand, not to get trapped as a victim, because the power of God helps us to move past that. We have to understand where we are. We have to understand our heredity. We have to understand our environment. Some of you have temper problems because you got the genes from your family. Some of you have problems because of the environment that you are in. And yes, God's Spirit can help overcome your heredity and God's Spirit can overcome your environment. That's the miracle that the Bible talks about. The foundation is to accept God's mercy.

Remember The Pain Of Sin

The second point that I want to tell you about is to remember the pain of sin. We've all made mistakes. Some mistakes kick harder than others. Some mistakes hurt more than others. I don't want you to go out and sin, so you can feel the pain. You'll do enough of that on your own without trying. So when you look back on the pain of sin, remember that. Let that be a reminder so you don't go down that path again.

And how often do we remember? We all probably remember a lot of days, but let's be honest folks, in the world of reality, we forget and that's why we do some of the stupid things we do. But we need to remember the pain of sin and be smart and say, "I don't want that pain anymore."

Remember The Blessings Of Obedience

The third point is to remember the blessings of obedience. Obedience does not make anyone righteous, or more righteous than anybody else. Too much religion teaches that and to many human beings believe that. They think they're more righteous than someone else and that's really not true. It's a deception from Satan.

Obedience is a form that helps us to be blessed. Remember the blessings we have. It is not a matter of being better than anybody else. That is pride that Satan stirs up. We want to have the humility of just avoiding the pain of sin and remembering the blessings of obedience.

Keep Your Eyes On The Promises

The fourth point is to keep your eyes on the promises. Regarding marriage, keep your eye on the proposal. If you are part of the body of Christ, the bride, you have been proposed to. You have been promised the wedding. Your fiancé is going to be faithful in everything.

The whole idea of this sermon is, are we doing our part? And what is our part? What choices will we make?

Characteristics Of The 144,000

Let's go back to Revelation 14, verses four and five. These verses talk about the hundred and forty four thousand. I want you to notice the characteristics of the 144,000. I will let God determine the number and I will let God determine who's in the pot, as to who's chosen. I think it is worthwhile to see what characteristics are there, because, you may need to have those characteristics.

Verse four, "These are the ones who were not defiled with women. They are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes."

If the Lamb (Jesus Christ) is the groom, He is a perfect groom. None of us husbands are perfect. We make a lot of mistakes, but with Christ as the perfect groom, and if we are a part of the bride, we want to follow Him wherever he goes.

What did Jesus teach? How did He live? We want to live as He lived.

Continuing in verse 4, "These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. {5} In their mouth was found no guile."

No guile, that's a good goal for all of us, isn't it? Probably the worst sin among the body of Christ is the tongue. We are all guilty.

There were two individuals who passed recently who were pretty good with their tongue. Harold Rowe was pretty good with his tongue. My stepfather was also pretty good with his tongue. My stepfather did not gripe and complain a lot. In our examples of people who have gone before us, they have set a pretty good example,

By the way, at my stepfather's funeral, my brother was reading the love chapter, first Corinthians 13, and he used my stepfather's name in the passage and it was amazing how much of it was true.

The love chapter is a goal for most of us. That was really amazing. Could that be said about us? If you put our name in there would it apply to us?

Here's the phrase that I find interesting, the next phrase in verse 5, "For they are without fault before the throne of God."

Now let's get real here. How can anyone be without fault before the throne of God? There is a way. Through repentance and through the blood of Christ. So all of us must try to be without fault.

We do not want to be like the Pharisee and the publican. Remember the parable, Luke 18:10-14, "God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. I don't sin like this guy, I don't sin like that guy, I don't sin like that woman."

That parable that Jesus taught is not going to be without fault before the throne of God, because his biggest problem was that he had all this pride. He was trying to earn salvation, but the sinner, that cheating tax collector was without fault because he repented.

Sin Is Stupid

Now am I encouraging you to go out and sin? As I have said many times, sin is stupid. We do not want to do stupid things. We don't want the pain of sin. We want the blessings of God's Ten Commandments. They are a blessing. We want the blessings of God's law. We want the blessings of God's instruction. Please, we do not want to take on the stupidity of sin.

The tax collector, in the resurrection, would say, "Man, did I mess up my life. I was taking money from that person. I made these people mad because I was ripping money off from them. I went with the Roman government and turned against my own countrymen. Man, it was horrible. No one liked me. I earned the reward that no one liked me, because I was so greedy for money." Someone asks him, "How come you’re here?" The tax collector replied, "I had the good sense to go before God, and confess my sins, to accept the blood of Christ, and to accept His mercy."

"But you weren't a pillar in your congregation. That person was fasting and that person was praying, and that person was teaching." Unfortunately, his pride was getting in the way and God had to work with him to be in the kingdom and God had to take away his pride.

So how can you stand before God as a firstfruit without fault? How do you stand before the throne of God? Confess your sins and accept God's mercy and then do the right thing, because He loves you.

Analogy About A Bride

Let's look at Ezekiel 16. This passage is an analogy about a bride. Here is the way God looked at Israel. Here is the way God looked at Judah. In this analogy, this is the way God looked at me, and this is the way God looks at you.

Ezekiel 16 verse six, "When I passed by you, and I saw you struggling in your own blood. I said to you in your blood, "You can live. I want to give you life. I want to make your life good. [7} I made you thrive like a plant in the field."

This is God taking His bride, saying, "I want to marry you. Here's what I want to do for you. Here is the promise I made to you, here is how I am going to take care of you."

In this analogy, Christ is the perfect groom, and we are the bride trying to be ready, but see what He does to us. He helps us to grow.

Verse eight, "When I passed by you again, I looked upon you and I knew it was the time of love, so I spread my wings over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you and you became mine. I promised to marry you and then I did marry you. {9} I washed you in water, I washed off your blood. I anointed you with oil. {10} I clothed you with embroidered cloth, and gave you sandals of badger skin. I clothed you with fine linen, and I covered you with silk. {11} I gave you ornaments. I put bracelets on your wrists. I put a chain on your neck, {12} I put a jewel on your nose." I am glad we don't do that anymore. "I put earrings in your ears and I put a beautiful crown on your head, {13} Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, your clothing was of fine linen, and silk embroidered cloth, you ate pastry of fine flour, you had the best honey and oil, and you were beautiful."

God enhanced her beauty. You know, if a husband loves his wife the right way, she becomes more beautiful. Not only necessarily by what physical things are done, but true love will help her to sprout, have confidence, and spread her wings.

Of course it works both ways, the more a wife treats her husband well, he will also have confidence and sprout and the two of them can feed each other the right way and their marriage will prosper.

Verse 14, "Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you," says the Eternal GOD."

Here's a problem in the next verse, and this is what we don't want to do, God entered your life, Christ entered your life, and has made you beautiful, cleaning you up, and then what can happen if you get filled with pride?

Now verse 15, "She trusted in her own beauty, and she became a harlot, A harlot of fame." You can read the rest down through verse 17.

Now let's think about the analogy for us today. Because God loves us, He gives us a chance to be a firstfruit, He gives us all the tools to succeed. Starting with mercy and grace, instructions of how to be happy, instructions of how to avoid the pain of sin, instructions of how to receive the blessings of obedience, and how faithful are we to our fiancé before the wedding comes?

Do we go flirting around with other gods? Do we flirt with carnal ways and pagan ways? Do we do our best to find out God's expectations of us? Do I want to live those expectations?

The Wedding Dress

Let's go to Revelation 19 verse eight. What choices do we make as we try to please the groom? In verse 7, we read the phrase, "His wife has made herself ready." Now verse 8, "To her was granted to be arrayed in fine linen."

What do you do when you get married. The bride picks out the wedding dress, the one she likes, that is within her budget.

A lot of times a bride goes looking for a dress that she will love, but it will be 10 times the budget she has. So she has to find the one that works. Some are very beautiful and she may have to work at it a little bit. She may have to check a lot of places out and finally she will find the one and she will say, "This is the one for me, within my budget."

What is the analogy of the wedding dress? It has to be clean and bright and of fine linen which is the righteous acts of the saints. So because God loves us, we are to do righteous acts. We are to find out what He wants us to do?

Our congregation puts great value in the Ten Commandments. I'm sure others do too. I am saying that's our goal. We try to live up to that. We fall short, but we look at other parts of the Bible and we try to live up to those things too. All of us have different understandings, we are on different journeys, but we are all trying to do the best we can, so we can say, "I want to do righteous acts. I want to do the right thing."

Weightier Matters Of The Law

Let's turn over to Matthew chapter 23 verse 23. It is always tough to talk about righteous acts and how much we are to do, because we're all different people. We have so many different types, personality types are different, experiences are different, different levels of growth in the Church of God. We all have had God's Holy Spirit at different amounts of time and some of you, are to hard on yourselves. Some in the audience are to hard on yourselves, but you see in the same audience, there are people who are not hard enough on themselves.

We have to understand that sometimes in God's eyes, some individuals are not hard enough on themselves and they have to repent of that. We are all so different.

All I can do is just present the information and hope that God will help you to grow as you need. We plant and water and God gives the increase.

So when we talk about Matthew 23:23 and the attributes of what we're trying to do, what righteous acts are we talking about? Matthew 23:23 says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin." And that's good, "but you have neglected the weightier matters of the law."

I am going to recommend to you to prioritize the weightier matters of the law. You have to understand what those weightier matters of the law are. All of the law is righteous and good (Psalms 119:172). But what are the weightier matters of the law? This verse mentions three things: justice, mercy, and faith.

You might say that one of the most important things to you is to make sure you don't eat unclean meats from Leviticus 11. But I would recommend that lard out in a restaurant is not one of the weightier matters of the law. If you want to avoid lard in a restaurant you are welcome to do so, but if you think that's a weightier matter of the law, you’re crazy. You are not even close to that being a weightier matter of the law. You can be as picky as you want to be about it, but you can't call it a weightier matter of the law, because it is not!

So I would recommend that you find the weightier matters, true justice. True mercy. And true faith.

Please prioritize. You are trying to get ready for the wedding and here the groom is telling us what He wants. Focus on the important things.

So we need to focus on the weightier matters of the law, the most important things, and spend your time wisely. You are the master of your time. Please make good use of your time.

Don’t Be A Stumbling Block

Let's turn to Romans 14. The issue in Romans 14 is the question, eating meat or being a vegetarian? In the course of this example, in the context Paul taught them, do you have the right approach toward each other?

Verse one says, "Receive someone who's weak in the faith," someone who has a different opinion than you do, but don't argue about things. Sometimes people try to engage me in arguments and I then think about Romans 14 and I am not wasting my time arguing with them about this. I would rather do other things.

Verse two says, "One person believes that he can eat all things," meaning meat, "but he who is weak, eats only vegetables."

So some ate meat. Some were vegetarians, even vegans.

But he then says in verse three, "Let not him who eats meat, despise him who does not eat meat. Let him who does not eat meat judge him who eats meat. God has received both."

People want to get into this attitude about absorbing people and rejecting people, and a lot of time people are rejecting people that God has received. Are they a bigger judge than God? People don't want to accept or receive people that God has already received.

Verse 4 says, "Who are you to judge another person?" Go down to verse 15, "If your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love."

You cannot make everybody happy, but you certainly can do your best not to be a stumbling block is what Paul is telling us.

Let me tell you about my example. I really try not to let my humor be a stumbling block to you all. Occasionally, I crack jokes in church knowing that some of you won't like them, but privately, around some you, I am as crazy as Roxana West, but around others of you, I won't be that crazy because I don't want to offend you. Personally, I think when you don't see mine and Roxana's humor, you are missing a whole lot of good stuff, but I don't want to take a chance that if my humor offends you, then I don't want to do it. If you think my humor is stupid, I'll try to avoid not doing it around you, because I will always have Roxana.

In all things, whether it is food or humor, we must try not to be stumbling blocks for each other. That is love.

Let's look at the last part of verse 15, "Do not destroy with your food, the one for whom Christ died."

Christ died for someone you disagree with, you may have different ideas, you may have different head knowledge. So are you going to try to destroy that person who has different head knowledge? Christ died for them too. A lot of religions don't like to talk about this stuff because you have to be firm and have strong doctrine and you have to be zealous, you have to put down others and correct others. I know that you can find Scriptures that gives that kind of view. That is why you have to look at the whole Bible. I like these verses that say, people have differences, but God is their God too. Christ is their Christ too.

We must not judge their standing in the body of Christ. We have convictions of what we believe and we cut people slack for what they believe.

His Wife Has Made Herself Ready

Let's look at Revelation chapter 19 verse nine. I want to remind you that we are about ready to get married to Jesus Christ.

If we die, as my stepfather died, and the saints, those called of God have died, they are waiting on the resurrection and then the marriage. They've done their part. God has done His part with them and has helped them to get ready for the marriage, but we are still alive and have a life ahead of us. We have to make choices. I am going to encourage you to accept God's mercy and I am going to encourage you to remember the pain of sin. I am going to encourage you to remember the blessings of obedience. I am going to encourage you to keep your eyes on the promises.

One of the promises here in verse nine, "He said to me, "Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" and he said, "These are the true sayings of God."

We are looking forward to the wedding and we want to be able to do it in a way that encourages us to live a good life, day by day, to do the things that are pleasing to our groom, Jesus Christ, who wants to help us, shelter us, and love us. We, picturing the body of Christ, picturing the female, will willingly accept his love, willingly accept all that He wants to do for us.

Remember, "His wife has made herself ready."

This article was transcribed with minor editing from a sermon given by:

Dave Havir

Titled: His Wife Has Made Herself Ready

Date: Pentecost May 24, 2015

Transcribed by: bb 7/9/15

You can contact Dave Havir at Church of God Big Sandy

P.O. Box 690 - Big Sandy, Texas  75755 

Email: email@churchofgodbigsandy.com

Web page: www.churchofgodbigsandy.com