As Christians, what are you taught is your primary role?
o Win others to Christ
o Bring them to church
Why? I mean, why should we do it?
- So they can go to Heaven.
- So they won’t go to Hell.
- Because Jesus commanded it.
So, after you win someone to Christ, what is their primary job as a Christian?
- Win more people to Christ.
- Why? So they can win more people to Christ and they will go to Heaven instead of Hell.
Why does God want us in Heaven? I mean vs. just being dead – like a cat or a parakeet.
Based on what we’ve just articulated, we know why we want to be in Heaven, right? (So we won’t be in Hell.) But why does God want us in Heaven?
All of what we are studying should move us away from our common cultural focus. When most of us get together as Christians we are usually focused on “What’s in it for me?”
- Will I be “spiritually fed?”
- Will I be able to enter into the spirit of worship?
- Will God grant healing for my body?
- Will there be others there who can give me encouragement?
My friend Greg George startled me with a new question we should ask when we get together: “What does Jesus want?” There’s a different way to say this, keeping in mind the omnipotence of the Trinity – “What does Jesus need?”
As we go through this study, we are going to answer this question: “What does Jesus want?” And it will be interesting how the question will change in our minds, taking on more meaning, richer meaning, a fascinating, intriguing meaning. It will be a meaning that we can awake to every morning, anticipating what Jesus wants for the day. It will be a meaning that attaches itself to our menial tasks. It will be a meaning that enriches every interaction we have with our families and co-workers, and our neighbors. It will be a meaning that unlocks the fetters of legalistic living, freeing us from the focus on our needs and wants.
Based on what you’ve read and been told, what are we going to be doing after we get to Heaven?
- Playing harps
- Sitting on clouds
- Resting in Jesus arms
- Flying around with angel wings
- Shouting hallelujah
- Worshipping God
- Casting our crowns at His feet
- Singing Holy, Holy, Holy
How long do you think we can keep this up?
- Now of course we are looking at this from our fallen human condition and our physical world.
- In Heaven, we will never tire of an activity that here would make us weary. For example, imagine being able to eat bowl after bowl of pralines and cream ice cream with chocolate and never getting fat, never getting full, never tiring of the delectable taste from each spoonful of this cold sweet dessert.
But anyway, looking at the most common idea of what Heaven is like, how many people between the ages of 16 and 35 do you think would be interested in going to Heaven?
As we study this important material, I want you to keep in mind this common idea of Heaven. Think how it might be different. For example, what if I were a recruiter for a company and I begin telling you about what will happen if you come to work for us. I might describe it like this.
- We all love our jobs so much that we come as early as possible and are reluctant to leave at night.
- We talk a lot and have a big feast every day for lunch.
- We have a great break area and we like to spend lots of quality time sharing and talking.
- We have a perfect work environment where every employee is highly valued.
- Everybody loves the boss and spends a lot of time with him.
- All of us also really like and care for each other.
- All of the indices for the company are always up and to the right. Stock increases in value every day and we will all retire fabulously rich.
What would be your next questions?
- What kind of job am I applying for?
- What will I be doing all day?
- What will other people be doing all day?
So, as the recruiter, I launch into another pitch about the world class orientation that you as a new employee will undergo.
- You’ll never have to worry about not knowing what to do next and you’ll have full knowledge of everything you need.
- You will be assigned a mentor who will stick with you through this great orientation process, answering your every question.
After this answer, do you think you will be more interested or less?
You begin pressing me hard about what the company does, its products, and your part in the whole process as an employee. No matter how hard you press me, I as the recruiter continue to talk about the fantastic environment of the workplace of my company.
Will you want to come and work at my company? Why or why not?
- Because you have no grasp of what you’ll be doing all during this fabulous career.
Now, do you understand why people today are not much interested in Heaven?
Most of us want to know what happens after the end of the last line in a fairy tale: “And they lived happily ever after!”
Now all of us know since we’ve been married that the ending line of the fairy tale is the beginning of another whole story with its own adventures, perilous obstacles, challenging days, fantastic celebrations, heart-wrenching disappointments, and hopefully another “happily ever after.” But we fail to see that Heaven is also another beginning. If you look at what the Trinity has been doing with this creation of ours, you have to see that God is not in a state of suspended bliss, just sitting passively by. He is incredibly busy doing new and exciting things. Who knows, perhaps this world, this creation, is only one of his many creations, with multiple story threads all intertwined and all curiously woven into an ever larger, every expanding tapestry of the community of the Trinity.
As we study this material, we must realize that we are only in the preparatory stage of a never ending, ever expanding story. C.S. Lewis describes it in the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, “The Last Battle.” Here Narnia comes to an end and they come to the realization that “for them, it was only the beginning of the true story, which goes on forever, and in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Let me assure you that we are created to be in community with the Trinity and that in so being, we will participate with God in more grand, more intriguing adventures and challenges in which we will play significant roles. The process of discovery that we so enjoy in this life will not end in the next. The saga will continue and we want to be prepared for it.
So now you see that if the only purpose of a Christian is to win others to Christ so that they will be in Heaven instead of Hell, we are left with a very limited scope of our reason for existence. There has to be more! There must be more! What did God have in mind when he spun this world into existence? Why did He create a living breathing animal called Man and stamp him with God’s own image? What was behind it all? What did God want? What did Jesus want? (Keep in mind that God the Son exists throughout all eternity and became identified with the human race as Jesus, a human being).
So, let me first of all introduce you to the four secret purposes of God, and then we will dive deep into each of these. (Note that this material is adapted from the book, "From Eternity to Here" by Frank Viola.)
I. A Bride for God the Son
II. A House for God
III. A New Species
a. Christ’s Body
b. God’s Family
So, the last one is really two-fold, and that’s why I’ve called this the four secret purposes of God.
Now, you look at this list and say, I don’t see anything new here! True. So, these really aren’t secret, they’re just forgotten. They’ve been shoved into the closet while we in the Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Charismatic, and Revivalist persuasions have pounded the drum of “Get ‘em saved and get ‘em into the church building”. Don’t get me wrong, the function of evangelism is a very important role in the church. We must not make the mistake of downplaying this function. But we have lost sight of the original purposes for which God created man. These purposes existed before Adam and Eve “ate the apple.”
I want us to look at a scene that I think is similar to what each of you may experience as we study this material. Turn to Nehemiah 8.
…all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
If you do weep, I believe it will be tears of joy and relief. It will be tears of surprise and awe at the unfolding of what God intended from the beginning. These things are not new, although they were kept secret from the time of Adam until the birth of the church in the New Testament. The Israelites were participants in painting the picture of it all, but were not able to comprehend it. The disciples were not able to comprehend it even while living and talking with Jesus here on earth. It really was not revealed until the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Christians in the early days of the church.
Now, I promised you that this would be an interactive teaching and that you would be doing some treasure hunting in the pages of scripture. So, here’s what I’d like each of you to do this week.
Ladies: Please take the form on the Bride of Christ. Also, please take some time to answer the questions on the form, “Favorite Love Story”. Lastly, please do the research on Jewish Weddings from the last form.
Men: You will have the opportunity next week to do some research on the second purpose of God – Finding a House for God.
I’d like for each of you to find a “slam-dunk” verse that substantiates each phrase or statement in these tables. You may also have to do some extra-Biblical research, because sometimes the words in today’s translations and paraphrases have a different meaning. All of you are blessed, because there are so many resources available on the web that we had no access to even 30 years ago. In order to get the resources that you now have access to, you would each have had to amass an impressive theological library. Or you would have had to have access to a theological library of a major seminary.
As you do this research, this will begin to unfold for you. Write down the stuff that you hear God saying. Then I will give you opportunities to share that with us in the next sessions.
The Bride of Christ – Part 1
- Kate and Leopold
- You’ve Got Mail
What do you think are the 4 most important ingredients of a great love story? What makes you want to read the entire story? What grabs your attention and keeps you reading? Here are some of the answers we got:
- Common beliefs
- Belief in one another
- Committed through difficulties
- Love that grows
- Daily declaration of love
- Trust and risk; a leap of faith
- He came to where she was
- Relationship determined destiny
- Big sacrifice by both
- Vulnerability; surrender
- They eventually got together
- The dance, the rhythm of relationship
- Identification with each other
From your favorite love story, identify these 4 things.
Now, what is your favorite love story from the Bible? Here are some of the answers we got:
- Abram & Sarah
- Ruth & Boaz
- Mary & Joseph
- Anna in the Temple
- Christ and His Bride
Identify these 4 ingredients in the love story from the Bible that you selected.
What is not readily known in most of Christendom today is this great love story that runs from one end of Scripture to the other. It opens with this incredible story about Adam and Eve, then it closes with the wedding and marriage supper in Revelation. (Rev. 22:17) All the great love stories ever written are nothing more than a pale imitation of the greatest love story of all that is found in Scripture.
Now let’s look at the table of comparisons between the bride of the first Adam and the bride of the second Adam, Jesus.
- Were you able to find scriptures to validate each one?
- Were you surprised by some of the parallels found in this table? Which ones?
- Which ones were most difficult to find a supporting passage of Scripture?
Some of you wrote down some things that God said to you while searching the Scriptures for this session. Share with us the most significant thing that God brought to your mind from the Scriptures.
So let’s look at the story of the first couple. Adam was alone. Because he was created in God’s image, there existed in him a boundless love, a passion. But unlike God, there was no one to share this love with.
Let me ask you, what is loneliness? Why do people get lonely?
- It is this God-given passion inside all of us to share this love with another human being.
- The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have shared this mutual love with each other forever.
For a great picture of the love that the Trinity has shared throughout ageless eternity, read the book called “The Shack” by Paul Young. Paul depicts a constant uninterrupted community that exists among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
What we have a difficult time comprehending is the significance of the Father and Son relationship. Some mistakenly see a “good cop, bad cop” relationship wherein the Father is all about Law and the satisfaction of His rightful anger. The Son is the personification of love and extends that love to us.
This concept of God the Father and God the Son can be compared to a stern father looking at the wiggly puppy in his son’s arms as he pleads with his father to keep it. He scowls down at his son and says, “I’m not having that filthy animal in my house.” But the son pleads with tears until the father relents, and because he loves his son, he lets him keep the puppy. But he never really accepts the puppy, he just tolerates it because he loves his son.
We must come to see that the Father is all about love as well. For example, let’s read a few passages from John:
John 15:9 -- "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
John 16:26-27 – “In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
John 17:24 – “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
Do you see from these verses that the love of the Father is the source of love shared with us by the Son. Look at John 15:9; you see that the Father loves the Son. And then the Son loves us in the same way.
Before the first atom was spoken into existence in the grand scheme of our universe, the Father loved the Son in an overflowing, overwhelming way. It is a love that has no bounds. The Son receives this love from the Father and reciprocates it back. “The Father was the Lover; the Son was the Beloved.” This cascade of love from the Father to the Son had no outlet for its overabundance. So at some point before the world was ever created, God conceived a plan. It was a plan whereby the Son would be the Lover and a new “person” outside the Trinity would be created upon whom the Son could be the source of this overabundance, this excess of divine love. And the plan was that the new “person” would reciprocate this love back to the Son in a never ending cycle.
Have you every wondered why God created all the animals with a male and female of every kind, (except for worms) yet he initially created Adam without a counterpart. I want you to understand that there was a reason for this. You must understand that Eve was not an afterthought. It was not like God finished on Friday and then rested, then on Sunday went, “Omigosh! We forgot to create the female for humans!”
God created Adam with no counterpart to reflect the plan that the Trinity had conceived whereby God the Son was without a counterpart. Unlike the Father, God the Son had no counterpart whereby he would be the source of the divine love.
Adam was created in the image of God and there coursed through his being this same love that was now being poured into him by the Trinity. But as all the animals passed before him to be named, he finished his task with a sense that something was missing. None of these animals were suitable matches for him. They were not capable of receiving the outpouring of the love that God created within him. I say this because of his spoken response after he awoke to find Eve with him. What did he say?
Gen. 2:23 -- The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, for she was taken out of man."
So you see that God the Son and the first Adam shared a common trait – neither of them had a counterpart. And so God began to expose his grand plan by the introduction of the masterpiece of his creation – woman. And even though Adam now was complete, God the Son was still waiting for the unfolding of the grand plan – a bride for God the Son.
Now, let’s look at another aspect of this great love story. When Adam awoke to find his bride at his side, what did he say? Did he have any doubts about her? Did he make any assessments that make us cast doubts about his acceptance of her as perfect? You know:
- She’s a little short.
- Her nose isn’t long enough.
- I don’t like black hair.
- I think she needs a tan.
- God, can’t you give her some personality!
Nope! You don’t hear Adam making any comments like that. All indications are that she was perfect for him.
You see from the verses that you found, that God the Son sees His bride the same way. How can this be?
- Have you ever known someone with immense potential, but because of their own view of themselves, they were unable to realize it? It seems that they are just paralyzed by this overpowering concept of their own worthlessness in a particular area. Quite literally they have created their own prison with the locks on the inside. No matter how hard you try, you cannot unlock their prison doors for them. Tell us about it.
So we must begin to see the church, the bride of Christ, through His eyes. What we see so much of in the world today is not a radiant woman living in the sunlight of her beloved, but a downtrodden, scandalized, marketed, used up woman with scarcely a glimmer of the knowledge of who she is and how much she is valued in the eyes of her beloved. Convinced of her shamefulness, she works franticly to win the favor of her beloved. Her devotion and love emanate mainly from fear of divine retribution, out of fear that God is about to bring judgment on her. Like so many of the idolaters in the rest of the world she is attempting to appease her angry God by doing good works and witnessing to others and praying for others in order save them from Hell as well. You can buy bumper stickers that say, “Jesus is Coming! Look Busy” She does not see that she has been cleansed through the blood of Christ and because of that He sees no blemish in her. From God’s viewpoint she is without spot or wrinkle.
Eph. 5:25b – 27 – “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
You probably knew we were going to get there and you were right. To get a real sense of how Jesus sees his bride, let’s go to Song of Solomon. What assessment does the beloved, the Shulammite woman, make of herself?
Song of Solomon 1:6 – “Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.”
Does this remind you of Cinderella?
Song of Solomon 5:6-7 – “I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!”
But what does the Lover say to his beloved?
Song of Solomon 4:1-5 – “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from MountGilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your two…”
Okay, we’ll stop right there! The point here is that Solomon, the Lover, does not see any of the defects that his beloved has mentioned. In his eyes she is perfect. So too, the church, Christ’s beloved, is also without spot or wrinkle in His eyes.
One of the reasons we seldom do extensive studies from Song of Solomon is because of the rather explicit ways in which the lover expresses his admiration and love for all the specific parts of his beloved. But there is a real truth in it for us. Jesus loves his bride with a profound and unfathomable love. And he loves all the individual parts of her. You and I represent those individual parts. So, you and I too, are loved with this unbounded divine passion. Oh, if I could only comprehend this, it would change me forever.
In the book by Paul Young called, “The Shack”, the main character, Mack, shares a touching moment with his best friend, Willie, telling him about his encounter with the Trinity.
And now Mack was laughing and crying, “Willie, he was there! Oh, was he there! Wait till I tell you. You’ll never believe it. Man, I’m not sure I do either.” Mack stopped, lost in his memories for a moment. “Oh, yeah,” he said at last. “He told me to tell you something.”
“What? Me?” Mack watched as concern and doubt traded places on Willie’s face. “So, what did he say?” Again he leaned forward.
Mack paused, grasping for the words. “He said, ‘Tell Willie that I’m especially fond of him.’”
Mack stopped and watched his friend’s face and jaw tighten and puddles of tears fill his eyes. His lips and chin quivered, and Mack knew his friend was fighting hard for control.
“I gotta go,” he whispered hoarsely. “You’ll have to tell me all about it later.”
You see, you too are especially loved by God. He loves his bride, the Church, more than any of us can comprehend. And he loves every part of it, you and I, in the same way. He is especially fond of you.
Okay, our next session will cover the many parallels between the Jewish wedding and the magnificent story of the bride of Christ. So, ladies, if you have not yet completed that handout, you have another chance this week.
 Viola, Frank. “From Eternity to Here”. David C. Cook. 2009, pg. 38.
 Young, William Paul. “The Shack”. Windblown Media. 2007. pg. 244
The Bride of Christ – Part 2
Okay, so let’s look at the Jewish wedding. What are the parts of the Jewish courtship, betrothal, and wedding?
What scriptures did you find that parallel the description of the Jewish wedding and the courtship and wedding of the bride of Christ?
The groom’s father arranges the wedding and selects a suitable bride for his son.
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” -- John 17:9
The groom makes a marital contract for betrothal. As a test of acceptance, he pours a cup of wine and offers it to the young woman. She is free to refuse it.
“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matt. 26:27-28
After acceptance of the proposal, the groom pays a price for her, a dowry, and gives it to her father
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” 1 Cor. 6:19b-20
” You were bought at a price;” 1 Cor.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Pet. 1:18-19
Groom presents the bride with special gifts. This shows appreciation and is intended to help her remember him during the long betrothal period. They enhance the bride’s beauty.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
Now officially betrothed. Separately take a ritual bath. She is called his “bride” and he is called her “bridegroom.” They are legally bound. Only divorce can separate them. But the marriage will not be consummated for a year or two during which time the two will not see each other. The bride spends the time making herself ready for the marriage and wears a veil in public signifying that she is taken.
“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,…” Titus 3:5
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,…” Eph. 5:25-26
“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” 2 Cor. 11:2
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. Hosea 2:19-20
“Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” Col. 3:12-14
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” 2 Pet. 3:14
Bridegroom prepares a bridal chamber in his father’s house. The chamber will be the honeymoon suite. Must meet the approval of the bridegroom’s father.
“In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3
Once the bridal chamber is complete, he returns for his bride. She is alerted of the general time of his arrival, but not the exact date or time. She gets a ritual cleansing bath in preparation and waits for him in her bridal array. The bridegroom arrives at night with his party to take away his bride. The bride and her bridesmaids wait each night for the bridegroom to come for her with oil in their lamps.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, . . “ Matt 24:36
“. . . cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, . . .” Eph.
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” 2 Cor. 11:2
“Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live," declares the LORD, ‘you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.’” Isa. 49:18
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” Matt. 25:1
When the bridegroom and his party get close, they will blow the shofar and shout.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thess. 4:16
The bridegroom takes his bride back to his father’s house to the bridal chamber. The best man waits outside the chamber to listen for the voice of the bridegroom to tell him that the marriage has been consummated. Then the wedding guests begin celebrating. The bride and bridegroom remain inside the bridal chamber for 7 days. The guests continue celebrating during this time, waiting for the couple to leave the chamber.
“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom 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.” John 3:29
After the 7 days, the bride and bridegroom emerge from the bridal chamber and the marriage supper begins with all the wedding guests. The bride is now the wife of the bridegroom.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'” Rev. 19:7-9
“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’" Rev. 21:9
Were you aware that there were so many parallels between the Jewish wedding process and the references to the bride of Christ in the Scriptures?
Now, of course, what was really going on here is that Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, et al, were describing this amazing story of the bride of Christ in terms that were very familiar to the Jewish Christians. This betrothal and wedding process was so much a part of their thought process that they were able to immediately connect with the truths being taught. The mental pictures that formed in their minds allowed them to understand this plan that God had determined for his people – that they would be the bride of Christ.
of the romance of God’s plan to get a wife for His Son is woven all throughout
the pages of Scripture. It begins with
the story of Adam and the formation of Eve in the very beginning. It weaves its tale in familiar and yet subtle
ways in the story of Isaac and Rebekah. It stirs our hearts as we read of the
sacrifices that Jacob made in order to obtain his wife, Rachel. All the things that make for a great love
story can be found in the book of Ruth as we see Boaz carefully picking his way
through the legal twists and turns necessary to redeem Ruth as his bride. There are even tragic stories like Samson and
Delilah that tear at our hearts as we see the futility of selfish love. Then, to illustrate God’s love affair with
Over and over again, we see all the salient pieces of a great love story in the pages of Scripture. And when we pick up a romance novel or see a great chic flick, lo and behold, we see all the same elements. This love story of God’s Son and His plan to obtain a bride are so stamped on our minds, that even Hollywood unwittingly uses these essential elements, the ones we identified last week, to make block buster movies.
So with the rediscovery of this nearly forgotten purpose of God for us, we see that we are not being prepared for an eternity of cloud-floating and harp playing. Instead we must see that we are being carried along in a fantastic saga in which we as the church are playing a leading role. And it is not just some mundane earthly enterprise to recruit as many as we can before we die. There is far more to it than that. And when we pass from this world to the next, when the curtain closes on the story of this fallen world, then an entirely new story begins. It looks like a “happily ever after” right now, but oh my, it is so much more. As the bride of Christ, we will be swept up in the eternal plan that is never ending and ever expanding.
 Viola, Frank. “From Eternity to Here”. David C. Cook. 2009, pp. 107.