As we move closer with each passing moment to the coming of our Lord to retrieve His bride, I am filled with both overwhelming joy, and grief as I am made aware of daily— that the largest most ignored mission field that needs to be evangelized, exists not in some far off country, but in the culture of the church right here in America. Let’s examine the difference between the bride of Christ and the cult of the popular church culture.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
The tragedy of tragedies is that the blessed hope is no longer blessed for the vast majority of professing believers, in the cult of popular church culture!
Christianity today is abundant with people professing faith in Christ, “living in what one writer called a “Fools Paradise” which is a false sense of comfort. They arrogantly claim they are in Christ, they boast that they are saved and eternally redeemed. The clear teaching of the Bible is that when someone is saved his/her life will most definitely change heavenward as he/she is a new creation (a Christ creation), the old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 4:24).
A true born again believer will strive to bring glory and honor to Christ by living a life that is pleasing to Him (1 Peter 1:13-16). The natural out-growth of true saving faith will be, fruit produced by the Spirit of God that will result in good works in the life of the believer, with a passion and longing to be with Christ (Galatians 5:22; James 2:17, 26).
Thus if there is no fruit of the Spirit in one’s life, and a longing for Christ to come, a careful self-examination is certainly called for (2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 1:1-12). Any profession of faith that does not result in a changed life and the fruit of the Spirit of Christ is a false profession of faith and consequently such a person is not a true Christian. The Scriptures also speak about people who call Jesus Lord, speak the language of a Christian, but are told by Jesus, “I never knew you, depart from me (Matthew 7:13-14, 17-23).
The people of the world are lost in darkness, spiritual blindness, consumerism and materialistic idolatry, with the pursuit of wealth, status, position and power. Tragically this is an accurate description of many of those who profess to know Christ. In this end-time state of blindness and spiritual myopia, most of the professing church has surrendered to the spirit of this age, and is engulfed in the darkness of a false light, controlled by the impulses of the carnal human appetite. All in the name of Jesus!
Adrift in spiritual confusion people in the cult of popular church culture have no sense of urgency of the times, because they are willfully ignorant of the signs of the times crying out from heaven “JESUS IS RETURNING SOON.” Some might say they have an urgency of the times but their motives are self-centered and they are not genuine. Publicly they have one persona, but behind closed doors they display characteristics of an unsaved person with little or no genuine relationship with the Holy Redeemer.
The gospel in the western world has been gradually changed over the past fifty years or more so that what is believed to be the gospel today is no longer the true gospel but a false gospel that differs dramatically from the true gospel. How does the modern gospel differ from the gospel of Jesus Christ? It differs in that Christ is no longer the center, object, and desire of the message, but Man is.
It is no longer the Gospel of Christ it is the gospel of the sovereign-self. Christianity in America has been corrupted by the passion for pleasure and the fulfillment of self. The cult of popular church culture is filled with misinformed pseudo-Christians who are driven by desperate desires for self-fulfillment here in this present fallen world.
Professing believers in the cult of popular church culture, instead of looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, are instead trying to build mansions of pride and selfish ambition on the sinking sands of this hour that will not withstand the rain, floods, and winds of God’s purifying judgment (Matthew 7:24-27).
So the real question is:
WHO IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST?
(Intimacy is the fruit of a love relationship.)
Check your love vital signs: Are you after the heart of God (Matthew 7:13-23)?
The bride of Christ (the true church) will be characterized by her preoccupation with the promised appearing of the Bridegroom (Christ). After all, what bride is not preoccupied with her wedding day? The symptoms of preoccupation include: Feelings of being unsettled in this present, imperfect world, along with overwhelming anticipation and longing for Christ to come. The bride of Christ will exhibit faithfulness in her daily living, because her goal is to be beautiful for the king, having no spot, blemish, or wrinkle.
She will be easily recognized by her heart of brokenness and gratitude, as well as her continual thanksgiving and praise for the King, who chose in her total unworthiness, and lowered Himself and suffered humiliation, and an agonizing death to make her His own. She will refuse to forget, and take lightly the cost of her salvation.
She will also be characterized by her single mindedness, focused on the wedding celebration for which she spares no effort or expense to ensure that everyone in her circle of influence has been contacted, and responded to the RSVP that has been sent out. The bride will possess the look and obsessive conversation of one who is madly in love. She will spend hours (which to her will seem like minutes) hidden away in intimate conversation with the one she loves.
That intimate place is where the bridegroom confides in her, and reassures her of His love and faithfulness. It is also the place where He unveils his heart and the secrets of His coming kingdom. Therefore, with great insight and understanding, the bride will discern the signs of her wedding day, which is the consummation of her salvation drawing near.
My point is this: The true church—which is the bride of Christ—will always be in an undistracted posture, focused on the affairs of the kingdom; preparing, working, waiting and watching for that glorious day when the King will come back to take her to the place that He has prepared for her just as He promised. Now, I ask you my fellow servant: What else in this life could possibly be more important than that (John 14:1-3; 12:25-26; 17:24)?
“Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen, come Lord Jesus.
COMMITTED TO AUTHENTICITY.