The Wedding Consummation: Christ and His Bride
November 26, 2000 | Andrew Davis
Few aspects of the life of a community are as cloaked and as covered with ritual and ceremony as is a wedding. All of you who are married can think back to your wedding day and what a special time that was, and as varied as the cultural expressions of weddings are, there are still some common themes that we see in almost every culture. One of those common themes is that the bride dresses up in an outfit that is unusual and spectacular, glorious and beautiful. Never does a woman look so beautiful as she does on her wedding day. I did some research on some of the customs and the various things that people do around the world. In Armenia and China, both the bride wears red silk. The brides in our culture wear white, but they wear red silk, it's a symbol of joy and of fruitfulness and celebration. In Austria brides wear veils with myrtle, the myrtle symbolizes life and fruitfulness. In Finland, brides are crowned with golden crowns, and in Norway, they also have a crown, but it has tiny silver spoons which tinkle as she walks through the church for her wedding. Isn't that beautiful?
Japan perhaps does it more than any other culture. I know some Japanese brides that change clothes six times on their wedding day. Seven different outfits for the day. She spends most of her day getting in and out of clothing, but what a spectacular display, each one of them symbolic of some aspect of married life. In all these cultures there's a picture of the bride beautifully dressed for her husband, and that is what all of us who are Christians are looking forward to. The prophetic fulfillment of the bride, namely the Church of Jesus Christ, beautifully dressed for her husband. That is the context of Psalm 45. As we look at Psalm 45, it says at the beginning, it is a wedding song, and it brings us right into the profound mystery of marriage. The first wedding was a much more simple affair, the bride did not wear spectacular clothing, as you know, but it was a majestic union made by God, Adam and Eve brought together, the establishment of marriage as the focal point of God's plan for the ends of the earth.
He gave husband and wife, Adam and Eve, male and female together a commission that they should fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it. It was impossible for the husband to do it without the wife, impossible for the wife to do it without the husband, but in that sacred union of marriage, there would be the fulfillment that God had ordained. So also, God uses marriage as the symbol of his relationship with his people, as the course of biblical history unfolded, and God chose out for himself a special people, Israel, and declared them to be his own people. He used marital language to talk about his relationship with them. Isaiah 62:5 says, "As a Bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Jeremiah also picks up on this. Jeremiah 2:1-3 says, "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem. I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of His harvest." So again, the marriage imagery, the relationship between Israel and her God.
So, also Israel's unfaithfulness to God. In marital terms, adultery likened to adultery. Jeremiah 3, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She's gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there." Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. There you have the physical and the spiritual brought together. The adultery imagery, the stone and wood is idolatry, and God using marital imagery to talk about his relationship with his people. Therefore there's an incredible blending of physical and spiritual significance to marriage. All of this is the context of Psalm 45. Why are we talking about marriage and about weddings? Because Psalm 45 was a wedding song, it was written and was read at the marriage of a Davidic king, a descendant of David, when he took his bride, so it became a centerpiece of that day, and of God's covenant to David.
Listen to the words of Psalm 45, and let's try to understand it in its context. Beginning at verse 1, it says, "My heart is stirred by a noble theme, as I recite my verses for the king, my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. You are the most excellent of men, and your lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your side Almighty one, clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of true humility and righteousness. Let your right hand display awesome deeds, let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the King's enemies, let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever. A scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory, the music of the strings makes you glad. Daughters of kings are among your honored women, and at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. Listen O daughter, consider and give ear, forget your people and your father's house. The king is enthralled by your beauty. Honor Him, for He is your Lord. The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor, all glorious is the princess within her chamber, her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garment she is led to the king, her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. They are led in with joy and gladness to enter the palace of the king. Your sons will take the place of your fathers, you will make them princes throughout the land, I will perpetuate your memory through all generations, therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever."
Christ: The Davidic King & Groom
The context of Psalm 45 is the promise that God had made to David. We talked about this last time. This was a covenant that God had made with David. Some covenants are bilateral. In other words, both parties make an agreement to behave a certain way, some of them are unilateral, in which God just says, I'm going to do this for you. The covenant made with David was a unilateral covenant. God said, "You want to build a house for me, but I'm going to build a house for you." Remember that David had wanted to build a temple where the Ark of the Covenant could be. Nathan, the prophet, was sent to him, and God communicated through Nathan, "You want to build a house for me, but I will build a house for you." This is the Davidic Covenant. 2 Samuel 7:5 and following, "The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you. When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body." Very specific, "He is the one who will build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me, your throne will be established forever." It's an astounding promise. God is going to raise up a physical descendant of David to build a house.
Now we know that Solomon physically fulfilled this when he built the temple, but we know that the promise that his throne would endure forever went well beyond Solomon. The promise was that David would never lack an heir, would never lack a son to sit on the throne, until he comes to whom it is right and fitting that rule should come. The scepter belongs to Judah, the prophecy came to Jacob. So, there would come a Messiah who deserved the throne, a descendant of David, and there would be a lineage of Davidic Kings, one after the other, of descendants of David, until the right one came along. Every single generation would successfully procreate, would successfully have a son until the Messiah came. Some of these Davidic kings were idolatrous, wicked men, but they did their duty when it came to leaving an heir. Every last one of them had a son who could sit on the throne. We've talked about a wicked king, for example, Jehoram who slaughtered all of his brothers, the other descendants of David, so that he alone would be able to rule in order to establish his kingdom. God hated Jehoram's sins, he was idolatrous and walked in the ways of all the kings of Israel.
But in 2 Chronicles 21:7, this is what God says, "Nevertheless, because of the Covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and for his descendants forever." So, the lamp would never go out, there would always be a descendant. One after the other, sometimes that cord got awful thin. There was one time, for example, when Athaliah, mother of Ahaziah, wanted to grab all the power for herself, she wanted to rule as queen, so she slaughtered all the sons of Ahaziah, thinking to cut off all of David's descendants, except, one little baby was rescued by a wet nurse. She took that little baby into a bedroom, I don't know where the baby hid under a bed perhaps, behind a curtain, but the slaughtering soldiers went through looking for all the children and didn't find this one baby. And this baby, Jehoash grew up and was king and continued the Davidic line. So, you can see how significant is this lineage, this promise made to David that he would never like an heir or son to sit on the throne until finally, the Messiah comes whose kingdom it is.
In order to fulfill this promise, each Davidic King must have a bride, a wife. So the wedding is a very significant time, not just in the life of Judah as a nation, but in the life of the history of God's covenant promise and in the salvation of the world, for Jesus would come through this lineage. The immediate context of Psalm 45 is that one of the descendants of David was about to get married, so a son of Korah, sat down to write a Psalm for the occasion. It's a time of tremendous joy, God's faithfulness to His promise, peace and prosperity for the nation. So the poet has moved to write a poem for the occasion. Look at verse 1, "My heart is stirred by a noble theme, as I recite my verses for the king, my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer." So, the writer is warming to his task, he's excited about the privilege and the honor of writing this poem for a wedding, and he's going to stand up and read this on that wedding day.
Actually, his tongue was moved by more than just the significant theme. In 2 Peter 1:20- 21, Peter writes, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture ever had its origin in the prophet's own imagination. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along or moved by the Holy Spirit." So, this son of Korah, or whoever it is, was moved by the Holy Spirit to write prophecy, a prophecy that will be fulfilled only in Jesus Christ. There are certain verses in here that really only perfectly could be addressed to Christ. In Verse 2, he says, "You are the most excellent of men." Many of these Davidic kings were not the most excellent of men, but Jesus Christ is. Look at Verse 6, "Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever." Who can this be, but Jesus Christ? So, this son of Korah is lifted up out of his immediate circumstances to write words that could only be fulfilled through Jesus Christ and through Christ's wedding.
Now, let's look at Psalm 45 and how it breaks apart. Verse 1 is the introduction. The sons of Korah, if you see the introduction right below the word Psalm 45, the sons of Korah were just Levites, who along with the sons of Izhar were given a job to sing sometimes antiphonally back and forth in the temple. They would worship and they would sing, they were given the job of worship in the temple. He was just one of these men, and he wrote this Psalm. In verses 2-5, we have the address to the bridegroom king. In verses 6-9, he talks about the glory of the bridegroom king. In Verses 10 -12, he gives an address to the bride, and then in verses 13-15, the glory of the bride. First, the address to the bridegroom king, the psalmist calls the king the most excellent of men. Now, it's common for people in someone's court to flatter a King, and this would be pure flattery in the case of most of these kings. Listen to what he says, "You are the most excellent of men, and your lips have been anointed with grace since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your side, Almighty One, clothe yourself with splendor and majesty, and in your Majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness. Let your right hand display awesome deeds and let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the King's enemies, let nations fall beneath your feet.” This is incredibly lavish praise, especially if you start to read about who some of these kings were. All of them are sinners. Even David, a man after God's own heart had his sins. He said, "Actually, my sins are more numerous than the hairs of my head." Uzziah, godly king, dared to walk into the temple and offer sacrifice, a job fit only for a priest. Hezekiah had his pride, every one of them had blemishes on them. So, while these words may be somewhat true of some of the kings, they're really only fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is the most excellent man that ever lived. Is it not Jesus Christ? Is He not most excellent in wisdom, most excellent in power, most excellent in compassion for the needy, most excellent and character and moral perfection? He is the most fit leader in the history of humanity.
In this address, the psalmist looks at the king as a mighty military conqueror. People tended to see the kings as the leader of their armies. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 says, "We want a king over us, then we will be like all the other nations with a king to lead us and go out before us and fight our battles." So, they looked at a king as somebody who would ride out with the sword and with a bow and arrow and defeat their enemies. That's in effect what he's saying, "Do it, O King, we're counting on you." The king had a sword like King Arthur had Excalibur which came up out of the lake, as you remember the myth. So, this king has his mighty sword, which he's going to gird on his side and he's going to get up on his horse and ride with an awesome picture of military power and might. He's going to ride forth victoriously, but it’s power not used just to dominate and to oppress, but it’s power used in behalf of those who need it most. In your Majesty, ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness. The meek, the gentle, the humble of the earth, they're going be protected by this godly king. He's going to use his power to protect, and powerful oppressors will be crushed. It says, "Let your right hand display awesome deeds, mighty acts of power on the military battlefield, ride forth and do it, O king. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies and let the nations fall, beneath your feet." So, this is the address to the Bridegroom King, saying, "Be mighty, be a conqueror, ride forth."
We see also the consistency of all of these Psalms that we've looked at. Psalm 110, “The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” Psalm 2, "Ask of me and I'll make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. And those who rage against you will be defeated." Psalm 22:27, "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of nations will bow down before Him." Consistency of the Psalms is testimony to the extension of Christ's kingdom.
The Glory of the Bridegroom King
In Verse 69, he talks about the glory of the bridegroom king, and there's four aspects of it. He's glorious in appearance, He's glorious in His throne, He's glorious in His character, and He's glorious in His deity. First, glorious in appearance. Look at Verse 3, he says, "Clothe yourself with splendor and majesty, in your majesty, ride forth victoriously." What would Jesus Christ look like on the day He returns? Can you imagine the glory and the radiance, His robes of glory shining with a brightness? You can't imagine, you can't even look at it. You would not be able to survive were God not to sustain you. The glory of Christ, this Davidic king was nothing, in compared to the glorious radiance that will shine when Jesus returns to establish His kingdom. Glorious in appearance.
He's also glorious on His throne. Look at verse 6, "Your throne, O God will last forever and ever. A scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom." It's glorious in that it's an eternal throne. All rulers of the earth are like grass, and all of their glories like the flower of the field. We are witnessing an incredible power struggle right now with the presidency, it's all like grass. There's only one eternal throne, and it's Jesus Christ, and He will establish and it will reign forever and ever. Now, these Davidic kings, they all die, they all went the way of all the earth, every last one of them, but Jesus has an eternal throne because He alone has conquered death. And through His resurrection, He gives us an eternal throne. It's also glorious, and that His throne is based on justice and righteousness. Righteousness is the scepter of Christ throne, righteousness and justice, the foundation of the throne. His throne is a righteous throne and he is the only leader and the only ruler who's ever been as perfectly righteous, perfectly just. Most human thrones are established by the exploitation of the weak and the needy and the oppressed, and they use the court systems and they twist the court systems to use for their own purpose. There's bribery and there's blindness on the judge's eyes and all for the purpose to benefit the leader. But Jesus isn’t that way. Christ is perfect in His justice and His righteousness. Isaiah 11 says, "He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes or decide by what He hears with His ears, but with righteousness, He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the benefit of the poor of the earth." The oppressed and the needy are going to get the benefit of that decision because He is righteous.
He's also glorious in His character. It says in Verse 7, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness." Can I say to you today that the essence of your character can be found in what you love and what you hate, that's who you are. What you love, and what you hate makes up who you are. For who is Christ? Who is this bridegroom king? He loves righteousness and He hates wickedness. Because of that, it says, "God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Because he has searched the character of his Son and sees only a yearning and a love for righteousness and a hatred and a rejection of evil," that is the nature of Jesus Christ. When it says he's anointed with the oil of joy, the anointing is what sets him apart as king. When he was the anointed, when he was the king, he was the one chosen among his brothers, the Davidic king, the one who would take the throne. The word “messiah” literally means anointed one. This one was physically anointed with fragrant olive oil and myrrh and aloes and cassia. Myrrh comes from the hardened sap of a rare tree in Arabia. They take a knife and they scrape it and they get this hardened sap, very rare and very fragrant, aromatic. Aloe comes from the aromatic eaglewood tree. Cassia comes as an aromatic oil from a steam distillation process of leaves and twigs and certain kinds of fruit and smells delicious, and all of this is blended together in an anointing oil, and it comes down on the anointed one, the king. It says here in the Psalm, it is the oil of joy. I tend to think of it, of the joy and the delight of the Father and the Son. Do you remember when Jesus was baptized? There came a voice from heaven, the heavenly Father. Remember what he said? “This is my Son, this is my Son, in whom is all my pleasure and my delight.” He's delighted with him, he searched him, and he knows him, and he's delighted with every aspect of his Son. The oil of joy, that's what anoints Jesus.
So he's glorious in his appearance, he's glorious in his throne, he's glorious in his character, in what he loves and hates, and he's glorious in his deity. In this way, he's set apart from all the other kings that have ever lived. Now you say, Wait a minute, the son of Korah addressed some Davidic king and called him, Your throne, O God. The Hebrew word is “Elohim”. So this human being was called God. Well, it's just the word “Elohim,” the word is a different meaning or communicates something different to the Hebrew mind than it does to us. Usually, it refers to God the eternal, the one, the only God, but sometimes it can refer to a mighty or a powerful man. Jesus Christ himself attested to this. Psalm 82:1 says, “God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgments among the "gods,” Elohim. Jesus refers to this in John 10 when he called them gods to whom the word of God came. But you can't say God to a human being the way you can say God to Jesus Christ. So the writer to Hebrews 1 picks this up, this very verse, and puts it in the words of the Father saying that God speaks this to the Son. God the Father says to the Son, “Your throne O God, will last forever and ever.” The Father speaks of the deity of the Son, and that's his highest glory.
The Church: Christ’s Bride
In verses 10-12, we get the address to the bride. The poet then turns his attention to her and begins to speak to her, and says, "Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." She's evidently from a foreign country, and many of the brides did come from foreign countries. Wait a minute, is that a good idea?" In Solomon's case, usually it wasn't a good idea because his foreign brides turned his heart away from God. But if you look at, for example, the Davidic ancestor, Ruth ,was a Moabitess and she said to Naomi, her mother-in-law, "Where you go I will go and who you love I will love. Your God will be my God, your people will be my people." Now, that's something different. Wasn't that the very purpose of Israel? That they should be the firstfruits of a worldwide harvest of Yahweh worshippers? Jehovah being their God. So, this woman comes from a foreign land, converts and worships the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The psalmist says, "Forget your people. Forget your past and come. The king is delighted with you. You got something glorious and bright waiting for you." Isn't that us as well? Aren't we from a foreign land compared to heaven? Think about it. We're welcomed and escorted right into the very presence of God himself. We're the epitome of foreigners. The psalmist is saying, "Forget your past, forget your people, forget where you came from and come and be with me." What a glorious future we have in Christ. The psalmist promises this queen the king's undying affection. I love verse 11, “The king is enthralled by your beauty. He just can't take his eyes off you. You're absolutely gorgeous to him. Enthralled means almost chained up with looking at you. You know, I just closed my eyes and I think about the church in all of its perfection when it's finished and pure and comes down to Christ, and Christ just looks, the work is finished, and the yearning's about to be consummated. What a glorious thing. The king is enthralled by your beauty, he can't take his eyes off you.
Then in verse 11, “Honor him, for he is your lord." The perfect headship of Christ, his loving care for his wife and her godly submission to his authority, beautifully consummated there. Honor him, for he is your lord. Then in verse 13-15, it speaks of the glory of the bride, her beauty, she's got glorious robes prepared in her chamber. She's got gold imported from Ophir, that's down in the Arabian boot, very rare, that finest gold is on her robe. She's gorgeous, with careful attention to detail, and she's got joy. Her face just radiates with joy and gladness, and she makes her entrance. She's welcomed right into the king's very presence. In verses 16 and 17, the psalm concludes and he talks about the lineage, “Your sons will take the place of their fathers," It’s going to go on, it's going to keep on going until finally we get that one we're waiting for, Jesus Christ.
Wedding Imagery in the OT & NT
That's Psalm 45, how is it fulfilled in history? First of all, in Matthew chapter 1, there is a lineage, isn't there? There's a genealogy, generation after generation listed there, 42 in all, 14 of them before David and then 28 after David, 28 generations of Davidic descendants one after the other after the other. Not all of them were kings of course because the throne was taken away when Judah went into exile, but all of them had the right to rule one after the other, right on down to Joseph, and then Joseph took Mary who was also a descendant of David, they married, he had no union with her until the child was born, but then Jesus Christ comes as the fulfillment of all of these marriages, one after the other. All these Davidic marriages and the descendants focused on this one person, Jesus Christ. That's the whole point of the genealogy of Matthew 1.
Then 30 years later, Jesus begins his ministry. The forerunner, John the Baptist, speaking of him, says, "I'm not worthy to untie his sandals." Some of John the Baptist's disciples come to him and say... They're all upset, they're all frustrated. "This new guy is getting more disciples than you. He's baptizing more people than you ever baptized. You need to do something for your own great name, John." How that must have grieved him, “You missed the point. You missed the point.” That's what he said, the bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom who attends him, waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase and I must decrease. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. Who's the bride? It's all these people who are coming to Jesus. Who's the bridegroom? It's Jesus Christ. Jesus himself picked up on this analogy. They come to Jesus and criticize him because his disciples aren't fasting the way that John the Baptist's disciples did, and the way the Pharisees' disciples did. Jesus asked a question, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them and then they will fast.” Jesus calls himself the bridegroom there.
In his parables in Matthew 22, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. Again, in Matthew 25, the wise and the foolish virgins, and the voice of the bridegroom comes at midnight. Are you ready for that, by the way? That's the next thing in the timetable. The voice of the bridegroom coming at midnight saying, "Come on, bride, let's go. The wedding feast is at hand." Are you ready? Paul picks up on this mysterious teaching in Ephesians 5 for the analogy of Christ in the church. “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” Back to Adam and Eve, the language back to Adam and Eve, “Be united to his wife and two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery; Greek, “mega musterion.” A mega mystery, but I'm talking about Christ and his church.
A picture also in Ephesians 5 of the ongoing beautification of the church. She's getting herself ready. A lot of these cultures and customs have a cleansing or a washing of the bride. In Morocco, for example, five days before the wedding, she's given a ceremonial bath by the women of the community and then henna is painted in swirls on her hands and on her feet. In Scotland, the bride's feet are washed by some of the women in the community and one of the married women takes her wedding band off and puts it down in the water and any of the maidens who, while they're washing, find it they're the next ones who're going to get married, similar to the bouquet being thrown. There's this image of washing and Paul picks up on it in Ephesians 5, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Think about that, washing with water through the word. This is what cleanses and gets the bride ready. This ministry here gets the bride ready for the wedding day. It's the preaching of the word that gets us ready for that wedding day in order that he may present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you the one husband as a pure virgin to him.” So Paul wants to get that bride ready, and then the consummation found in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 19:7 and following, "For the wedding of the lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready, fine linen bright and clear was given her to wear." Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints. And he added, "These are the true words of the Lord." And so, the bride's getting herself ready with fine line, white and clean. And those are righteous acts done by the church, and then the incredible picture, which is printed on the cover of your bulletin. Revelation 21:1 and 2, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." Oh, what a day that's going to be. What a day when all marriage will have its consummation, in the marriage between Christ and his church. This is the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 45.
How does this apply to us? First of all, understand the fulfillment of God's promise to David. Covenants. Promises. A marriage is a covenant, isn't it? Husband and wife make a promise to each other. The covenant is only as good as the character of those who make it. Doesn’t that make sense? If you get somebody making a deal or contract with somebody, if he's a surreptitious kind of character, he's going to break that at his earliest convenience. Well, how good is God's character? He stands behind his covenant, and he shows it by a thousand years of prediction that he fulfilled in David. A thousand years he kept that line going. A thousand years! One generation after another. Our God is a promise-making and a promise-keeping God, and our salvation depends on that. He's made us a covenant and he's going to keep it. He will never break that promise.
Secondly, we talked about the glory of the bridegroom in his throne. Rejoice in the majestic glory of Jesus Christ. As proclaimed here, he is the most excellent of men. If there are any here who don't know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, my desire is to make you attracted to Christ, that you might want to come to him and know him in his glory. He is righteous, he is holy and true, he's compassionate. That's why he gave himself on the cross that we might have eternal life. As we think about the righteousness and the godliness of Christ, remember what it says, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” Does that characterize you? Do you love righteousness? Do you hate wickedness? Do you rejoice when God's word is faithfully taught? Does it make you happy to hear of a new people group coming to faith in Christ? Are you glad when you see perhaps a Supreme Court decision go the right way for a change? Righteous decisions being made, does that make you happy and delighted? Do you rejoice over righteousness? Does it make you happy? Conversely, do you hate wickedness? You can't be neutral about wickedness, you have to hate it.
Jesus made a whip and cleaned out that temple. Would you have done the same? Or would you have been tolerant? We're supposed to love righteousness and hate wickedness. The glory of our bridegroom in that he would give his blood for a clean and holy bride. Isn’t that what he did? And that's the glory of us, isn't it? The glory of the bride, fine linen. Revelation 19:8, "Fine linen bright and clear, clean was given her to wear." Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 21:2, "Prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband." Are you covering yourself with fine linen through the righteous acts that God commands you to do? “We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good deeds, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them.” Are you walking in them? Are you covering yourself with that pure and that holy linen? And are you cleansing yourself through regular and ongoing confession of sin? God hates unrighteousness even in his bride, especially in his bride. Are you availing yourself of the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ? And are you helping to advance the kingdom? That's how the bride's getting ready. Little by little, the bride is preparing herself through evangelism, through discipleship.
My final point of application is the strategic sacredness of marriage. Physically speaking, where did the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, come from? From marriage, wasn't it? One man and one woman had a child, a boy, and on it went generation after generation after generation. Alright, let me ask another question. Where does the bride come from? Well, what is the bride? It's people, isn't it? People who come to personal faith in Christ, where do they come from? A man and a woman come together and have a child. Marriage is at the heart, the center of God's plan, the strategic sacredness of marriage comes across here. Husband and wife relationship, is utterly critical to the health of a church. If the marriage is healthy, the church is healthy. If the marriage is not healthy, the church is not healthy. Parent and child training are also essential as generation after generation learns the word of the Lord. Sexuality, God's gift, within the context of marriage, one man, one woman covenanting together for life. This is a point of tremendous weakness and attack from Satan, but God has given us protection in marriage. This comes across in the sacredness and the holiness of Psalm 45 and the wedding commitment that we make to one another.
I'd like to conclude just by reaching out right now to any who are listening to my words, who have not yet trusted in Christ, don't miss it, don't miss that wedding banquet, don't miss being part of it, don't miss sitting down as part of the bride of Christ in perfect union with God through Christ, because you just wouldn't come to Christ, you wouldn't see your need, you didn't repent and trust in Him. Won't you pray with me?
Father, we do thank you for Psalm 45 and for the glorious wedding that it points to. We look forward to that day when we will see you, Lord Jesus as our bridegroom, and we who are your bride, your people who are called by your name and made holy by your blood are joined together with you forever. Father, I pray for the unbeliever that's here. I pray that he or she might come to know you, that they might turn away from sin and turn to a bridegroom, a Savior who's ready and willing to cleanse total from sin. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.