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Tag Archives: Bride of Christ

Born into Freedom

In my last post, I talked about Paul’s illustration using Abraham’s two sons.  We saw that Ishmael, born into slavery, was Paul’s example of viewing the Law as our covenant.  He’s adamant that we were saved into freedom.

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.  For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
Galatians 4:26-27

Paul explains to us that our spiritual mother, the one that birthed us into God’s family, is the Jerusalem from above.  We also know it as the New Jerusalem that Christ is preparing for us.  But how can a city be our mother?  To answer that, we need to look way ahead to the book of Revelation.

This is what the Apostle John describes as taking place after the Judgment Seat of Christ.

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.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Revelation 21:1-2

He talks about the New Jerusalem as the bride of Christ.  It should be obvious that Jesus isn’t marrying a city.  It’s the inhabitants of that city who are the bride of Christ.

In the same way, Paul is not talking about the physical city being our mother.  The Jerusalem that is above is referring to the bride.  We were brought into the family of God by those who were fulfilling their calling.

A member of the bride of Christ spoke the Word of God to us.  When we heard this Good News, faith was birthed in our hearts.  We then responded by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  In that sense, the New Jerusalem is our mother.

Because we were birthed through faith in the Word, we are born into the freedom of Christ.

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Galatians 4:28-29

When we accepted Christ we were born by the Spirit of God into the promise.  What promise?  The same promise that Isaac was born into.

Now that the addendum of the Law has been fulfilled by Christ, we are under the renewed covenant of Abraham.  We are now entitled to all the blessings that were promised to his family.  If you don’t believe it, then let me remind you of what Paul already told the Galatian church just a few paragraphs before this.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:29

Don’t let anyone try to tell you that you’re still obligated to follow the Law.  My blessings are not contingent upon my performance.  They’re based on God’s love for me and my family relationship with Him.

Having said that, we understand that we’re in a covenant relationship with Christ.  Therefore, I want to spend quality time with Him through the Holy Spirit.  I want to know Him in a deeper way.  I want the Spirit to make me more and more like the Lord.  In this way, I can experience all the blessings that Christ purchased for me.

Question: Why do some people seem to be so attracted to the Law?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in Faith, Legalism, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Endgame

ChessThere’s a lot of talk about where God is bringing us to in His church. I believe that knowing where we’re headed is as simple as reading the end of the Book. Look at the last exhortation we’re given in Scripture.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17

This is the last word of the Holy Spirit to the church. Everything after this is a warning about not changing the Word that was given. This statement reveals the heart of God, and where He desires to bring us to.

In this short verse we see four groups of people. There’s the bride, those who hear, those who are thirsty, and those who want the gift.

The last two groups are easy to recognize. They’re the world without Christ. They’re spiritually thirsty. Nothing in this world can satisfy the hunger within. They need Jesus.

It’s up to God’s people to call them to salvation, and a life that’s overflowing in Christ. Unfortunately, we live in a generation that seems to be satisfied simply giving God two or three hours a week. We were created for so much more than that.

Please be warned. I haven’t heard many people teach what I’m about to tell you. But if I wasn’t convinced that it’s absolutely Scriptural, I would never write it.

I don’t believe that all Christians will be a part of the bride of Christ. I DO believe that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and in the kingdom. It’s just that being saved and being part of the bride are two different issues.

For an in-depth teaching on this subject, click here for my series on The Bride, which I posted last year. You’ll see that in many places the Bible talks about distinct levels of rewards (or no rewards at all) given to believers.

Having said that, I also believe that it’s God’s greatest desire that everyone be a part of the bride. Unfortunately, not every believer wants to do what’s necessary to prepare themselves for the coming of the Groom.

The above verse tells us that the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” There’s no hesitancy, no pause. The Spirit and the bride say the exact same thing at the exact same time.

That’s where God wants to bring His people. To speak and move in perfect step with the Holy Spirit.

Of course there’s the other group. They believe God’s Word and are walking in His salvation. But they need to be prompted. Some time after they hear, they say, “Come.”

They’re obedient to what the Spirit is saying. It just takes them a little longer to decide to follow through.

We need to do what it takes to be found in the first group – the bride. That will take spending time in the Lord’s presence, communing with the Holy Spirit. Of course, that’s what engaged couples do – they spend enormous amounts of time with each other.

Question: How serious are you about hearing and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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An Invitation to the Wedding

DinnerI’ve been posting about the Bride of Christ. Not all believers will be a part of the Bride. Understanding this truth is foundational to receiving all that Christ has for us.

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:9

Listen carefully to the true words of God. There’s a blessing upon those who are invited to the wedding supper. Think about it. The Bride is not invited as a guest.

The Bride and the groom are the reason for the supper. My question is; who are these people that are not the Bride, yet are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb?

This thought should overshadow all others in our walk with the Lord. Am I a friend, or a part of the Bride? Am I overcoming, and producing the fruit of the Kingdom? Or am I content to watch others?

Please realize – this is the job of the wedding attendants – to watch, enjoy, and comment on what’s happening between the Bride and the Groom.

“Look at how they love one another.”

“They look great together.”

Or we could put it this way, “Look at how sold out to God they are.”

“Look at what they’re doing for the Kingdom. I couldn’t live like that. I’ve got too many other things to do.”

Are we watching the commitment of others and enjoying what they do for the Lord? That’s fine if it spurs us on to deepen our walk with Him. But if I decide that my goals and plans are more important, it shows that I just want to show up at the wedding.

So often we think that we don’t have to do anything for God. After all, we attend church most weekends. We give into the offering to support the work they’re doing. Actually, we’re merely giving a wedding gift to the Bride to help her get ready – more proof that we’re only attending.

I apologize if I sound harsh, but there’s a world full of people in desperate need to hear the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” It’s time for the sleeping church to rise to its feet and declare the Gospel of Christ. For too long we’ve believed the watered down message telling us that all believers get rewards, are a part of the Bride, and live in the New Jerusalem.

I want you to receive the full benefits of what Christ paid for you on the cross. That will only happen if God’s people take the Word of God seriously. We need to prepare ourselves the way the Spirit directs us and not through our own desires.

In spite of all this, being an attendant is not a bad thing. The Scripture above says that they’re blessed – supremely happy. They’ve made it, by the grace of the Lord, into His presence. They’re saved, joyful, and have received their resurrected bodies.

But the Scripture is clear that we’re to set our affections on things that are above. If your goals are high, you’ll have a higher walk. If your mind is on the earth, you won’t progress very far in the Kingdom of God.

Make it your goal to be a part of the Bride – to be an overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit. Enter in to all God has for you.

Question: How focused are you on the God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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The Spirit and the Bride

 

DoveIn my last post I showed that not all believers are residents of the New Jerusalem, and therefore, are not part of the Bride of Christ. The understanding of all this is found in the characteristics of the Bride.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17

This verse shows us the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ. The first thing I notice is that the Bride is listening to the voice of the Spirit. Do all Christians listen to the Spirit of God? Absolutely not. But the Bride hears the voice of the Holy Spirit.

And more than that, the Bride speaks what the Holy Spirit is speaking. What I find amazing is that there’s no lag time. Their words are totally in sync with each other.

When the Spirit says, “Come,” the Bride is proclaiming the exact same thing. There’s a connection between the Spirit and the Bride.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

Let’s talk for a moment about our spiritual birth. We know that we were given birth – born again – by the Word of God. Christ, Himself, is the Living Word. Obviously He’s the Father. But for a birth to occur there has to be a mother. Spiritually speaking, who’s our mother?

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the difference between self-righteousness and the salvation of God. As he explains this, he makes a surprising statement.

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Galatians 4:26

I’ll try to not be too graphic. We were given birth by the seed of the Word, planted in the Bride. These two must be combined for a birth to take place. The Spirit is calling, “Come!” The Bride is calling, “Come!” We have been given birth by the Holy Spirit and the Word operating through the Bride.

The Bride is made up of the overcomers in Christ. It’s the Bride that’s manifesting the Kingdom of God. That should make it abundantly clear to us that it’s the Bride that’s producing the fruit of the Kingdom. If you’re saved, it’s because the Bride of Christ declared the Word of God to you. That’s how you entered the Kingdom.

Then the choice is up to you. You can join the Bride or remain one of the attendants. But there’s one more characteristic of the Bride that’s important to us.

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.
Revelation 19:7

The Bride prepares herself for the wedding day. Why? Because it’s important to her. She wants to give herself to the Groom. She wants to be pleasing to her husband. So she dresses up in the finest clothing available to her.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Revelation 19:8

It’s not her clothing. She could never present herself to her husband dressed in the filthy rags of her own righteousness. This wedding gown had to be given to her. It was a work of God. The bottom line is that even though she was given this treasure – she had to prepare herself by putting it on.

Question: What does it take for the church to make herself ready?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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The Overcoming Bride

WeddingIn my last post I talked about how the New Jerusalem is described as the Bride of Christ. That’s where the golden streets and the pearly gates are mentioned. I also said that many Christians think that this is where everyone who’s saved will live after the return of Christ.

But that’s not entirely true. Even a quick look at the Word will show us that not everyone is a permanent resident of this city. Revelation, chapter 21, is too long to quote the whole thing here, so I’ll give you a synopsis.

In both verse 2 and verses 9-10, the New Jerusalem is called the Bride. Verse 7 is clear that only the overcomers will inherit this residence.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Revelation 21:7

That also goes along with Revelation 3:12, which states that only overcomers will bear the name of the New Jerusalem on their clothing.

What happened to the rest of the Christians – those who just made it into the kingdom but have no rewards to show for it (I Corinthians 3:12-15)? This chapter of Revelation also answers that question. According to verses 22-27, there are kings and nations living on the earth. They bring their glory and wealth into the city – so they have temporary access.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:27

The Scripture is just as clear that only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter the city. So there are saved people living on the earth who come to the city, they just don’t have a home there.

We need to take this truth to heart – not all believers are permanent residents of the New Jerusalem. Therefore, not all believers are a part of the Bride. This may be a hard pill for some to swallow, but the rest of the teaching on the Bride of Christ will bear this out.

Please remember that at that point the earth has been totally renewed. It will have the same perfection as when it was first created. It will be a glorious place to live. Even so, I’d rather live in the New Jerusalem.

Now let’s continue our look at the New Jerusalem as John describes it to us.

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:14

Here we are told about the foundations of the Holy City. There were twelve of them. Each foundation was one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. Somewhere in their walk with Christ they made that transition from being an attendant of the Groom, to become a part of the Bride.

This brought up a question in me. Can you be a friend of God and not a part of the Bride? The answer found in Scripture was startling to me. I’ll share that truth in my next article.

Question: What does it take to become an overcomer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Bride of Christ – New Jerusalem

BrideA lot of believers talk about being a friend of God. That’s great, but there’s an even deeper walk. The Scripture talks about the Bride of Christ in many places.

I have to warn you. What you’re about to read in the next few posts has been all but lost in some Christian circles. We’ve watered down the teaching of the Bride so that in our generation, it means anyone who’s recited the sinner’s prayer.

We have to be very careful to put our hope in the revealed Word of God, and not some man’s interpretation of it. I believe that what I’m writing is straight from the pages of Scripture. If I’m wrong, then I pray for God to show me my error. But if I’m correct, then there are some areas that the church needs to grow up into.

As I’ve read and meditated on the Bible, there were some scriptures that caused me to question what I believed about the Bride. For instance, when Jesus was asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the disciples of John the Baptist or the Pharisees, He told them this…

Jesus answered, “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; then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:15

I found that interesting. The Lord didn’t call the disciples part of the bride at this point. They were merely guests of the Bridegroom.

Another thing to note is how John the Baptist answered when he was asked if he was the Christ. He stated emphatically that he was not the Messiah. Then he continued…

“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

John is clear that he’s neither the Groom nor the Bride. Then who exactly is the Bride?

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.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Revelation 21:9-10

The Apostle John is given a view of the end-times. In it he is shown a picture of the Bride of Christ. When he looks up to see her, he watches as the New Jerusalem descends from Heaven. That’s the Bride – or at least the dwelling place of the Bride.

The Bride of Christ are all those who live in the New Jerusalem. Here’s where we’ve departed from the truth of Scripture. It’s this Holy City that’s described as having streets of gold and pearly gates. Many believers have the idea that this is where everyone who’s saved will live after the resurrection.

In the next few posts I’ll show, from the pages of Scripture, who will live in the New Jerusalem. This will also clarify the truth about the bride of Christ. Please read them with an open heart and mind. Also, know that my heart and motives are pure before God. I only want to see God’s people rise up to their full potential and true destiny in Christ Jesus.

Question: Who do you believe will live in the New Jerusalem?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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