Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Traits for Christ's Bride

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Traits for Christ's Bride

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Traits for Christ's Bride

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What is Christ looking for in His bride? Jesus Christ is going to marry the Church when He returns to this earth. What kind of a bride is He looking for? What kind of traits would He be looking at?

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Last Sabbath I had a rare opportunity to attend services in Cincinnati and listen to a sermonette and a sermon. And I had the opportunity to hear a sermonette by an ABC student who’s been hired as a trainee.  This particular individual’s name is David Jones and he and his wife Joy have two children. He’s attending ABC; used to be a helicopter pilot and he showed such great promise that it was decided to hire him. He’s going to school and then on the weekends and some evenings he’s being trained by Steve Myers to go out into the ministry. He gave the sermonette and took the announcements for both services, but he was describing in his sermonette a discussion he had with his mother. He mentioned that every Friday night they’d have a Bible study and when he was about age 12 his mother brought up a topic that sort of surprised him. She asked him to list for himself what his ideal woman would look like. What would be her characteristics and traits? He mentioned that he was a little embarrassed to start with because you know, your Mom doesn’t normally ask you what kind of a woman are you dreaming about. So, she told him, “Go ahead” and he started out by saying he thought of a shapely woman, attractive, beautiful hair, and nice complexion. He went on and on basically describing physical attributes that his ideal woman would have.

Now, all you single fellows here and several of you around the audience, if you had to make up a list of what your ideal woman would look like, what would you put down? What would you bring out? She then added an element to the discussion; she asked him now what if this ideal woman were your wife, what else would you be looking for if you were considering her not just as here’s the zenith of what a woman should look like, but you want to marry her. Are there any other additional characteristics you would come up with? Well, that changed it a little bit. He started thinking about well, maybe she can cook, maybe she can be domestic, good sense of humor, good personality, good character and on and on and on. So he began to think a little more seriously about other characteristics that maybe were a little more important than just physical traits. Both he and his mother, when he got through and they looked at the list and had a chance to discuss the list, acknowledged that this was quite a woman that he was describing as his perfect mate and ideal woman and would be his wife.

Then she turned the tables on him again. She asked him to put together a list of traits or characteristics of an ideal husband. Now, he hadn’t been thinking about that; but now he had to start thinking about, as she put it, if this ideal woman is somebody you want to marry, is she going to marry somebody that’s not ideal himself? So, if you’re going to marry this woman, what do you need to do? What kind of traits should you have to be an ideal husband? He was rather young at the time and began to think about it and thought, well, I don’t have many of these traits. He could think of things like masculinity, muscular, handsome, maybe a good education, good career-whatever it might be. She still asked him to put the list together anyway. So, he had to write down all of these traits, and he said, “I’m not this way”. Her answer was, “Well, then you’re going to have to grow into it”. He was to become that man. He might not have been that man at age 12, but if he wanted to be that man, he had several years. He could start right then working toward that goal. If he knew what he considered ‘the model man’ then he could work toward becoming that man.

Now, let’s take it a step further. What is Christ looking for in His bride? Jesus Christ is going to marry the church when He returns to this earth. What kind of a bride is He looking for? What kind of traits would He be looking at? God is in the process, the Father, in creating a bride for His Son to wed and Christ is going to wed that bride. Does He have a list of traits and characteristics that He’s looking for? Is he going to marry just any old woman or is the woman, the bride, that He’s going to marry going to have certain characteristics? Think back when you were baptized. Did you become immediately an instant spiritual giant? I’ve known people who’ve been baptized before who thought, ok I’ll go under the water, my sins will be forgiven, I’ll come back up, I’ll have hands laid on me, and boy, once I receive the Spirit of God I’ll be Superman almost. I’ll be able to do almost anything. And they find out very quickly that’s not true, because when we first start out we realize  that we have to go through a spiritual process of growth, do we not? Spiritual maturity, spiritual growth is a process; it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that we have to grow into.

With that in mind, let’s go back to I Peter 2:1 where we find this principle clearly articulated for us in the Bible.

I Peter 2:1-2 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, …..notice, we’re newborn babes, we should…. desire the pure milk of the word , ….why?…. that you may grow thereby ….so that you grow up.

So when we have hands laid on us and receive God’s Holy Spirit, we start out as babes. Now a baby does not start out on the meat of God’s word. You take a day old baby and give it solid food and see what happens. It can’t take solid food, it’s digestive system is not made, at that point, to receive it. A baby can drink milk and maybe some other liquids, but it has to grow before it can begin to take solid food. That is the way we are when we first start out. We start out on the milk of God’s word and we have to grow thereby. We’ve got to begin to mature and the growth process that we see from a baby to childhood to adulthood to old age is a type of what we go through spiritually. We start out as a baby and we begin to mature, we grow up and eventually we can be on our own. Let’s notice over here in 2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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we find the same thing mentioned.

2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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  but grow ….we’re not to stagnate, we’re not to stay the same…. in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So the attitude of grace that Christ has, the knowledge that He has, we are to grow in that knowledge of Christ. And grace has to do with His unmerited pardon, forgiveness and we are to grow up; we are to mature.

Now, Ephesians 4:12 Ephesians 4:12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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I think explains this in much greater detail about the growth process we go through and describes to a certain extent what we are like when we go through this – let’s notice. Ephesians 4:11 Ephesians 4:11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
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talks about why God has placed the ministry in the church, it gives the different responsibilities in the church and the reason for that is for the:

Ephesians 4:12 Ephesians 4:12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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- 15 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, ….or for the building up of that body…. 13till we all come to the unity of the faith ….So there should be a unity and a harmony of faith…. and of the knowledge of the Son of God, ….Notice…. to a perfect man, ….

So you and I are to become that perfect man. You can list all those traits and then we are to become like that. The word perfect here in the Greek means ‘pertaining to being mature in one’s behavior, to grow up’. How often have you maybe told someone, as a teenager perhaps, “Why don’t you just grow up”? You’re telling them to act their age. Well, God wants us to mature so as it says here that we are to become…. to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; ….So you and I are to measure up to the stature of the fullness of Christ, His full character in outlook and approach…. 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting ….So we’re no longer to be children when it comes to understanding. The Bible says, in knowledge be men, but in malice, be children, and so the same thing being mentioned here…. 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— ….so we are to grow up…. 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, in the Bible, in the Scriptures, God reveals to us the standard, His law, His way of love. We must grow into the measure of the stature of Christ. It’s just like a little child, maybe a little girl looks at her Mom and she says, “I want to be like you” or like the little boy that says, “I want to be like you, Dad” and strives to become like his parents. For here we have Jesus Christ and you and I are to measure up; we’re to come to the point where we mature and become like Him. We are to become the bride that Jesus Christ is looking for, is going to marry at His second coming. 

What is it that Christ is looking for in His bride? Have you ever sat down and put together a list? What would He be looking for in His bride? Well, let’s go through some of the Scriptures; I think the Bible’s fairly clear. I’m not going to give a complete list that might go into the hundreds of different things, but there are some major categories that I think obviously Jesus Christ is going to demand of the woman that He marries.

#1 is found over here in Matthew 25:20 Matthew 25:20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
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. Christ is going to look for a bride who is faithful. He’s not going to marry someone who’s going to be unfaithful, who’s going to go after other men, or is going to run around on him, or have an affair or this type of thing. The parable of the talents here.

Matthew 25:20-23 Matthew 25:20-23 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.
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So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ ….

So, here He refers to a faithful servant, and God shows that we’re faithful over a few things today. We haven’t been given earth shaking responsibilities. We’re responsible for ourselves, for our families, for how we spend our income, a few things that God gives us to do in this life and if we’re faithful in doing it God’s way, the way He says, then we will be rewarded. Another one came, he had received two talents, he doubled his talents.

Notice what Christ said to him….   23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. …..So, that’s talking about the future…. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
How many marriages have ended up in divorce because one of the mates was unfaithful? God is not going to marry a bride who is going to be unfaithful, who’s not totally faithful and committed to her husband and to His way. Notice back here in the book of Malachi we see an indictment against the treachery of Israel, Judea and Jerusalem and how they have not remained faithful to God and they come back and say why aren’t we being blessed?

Malachi 2:14 Malachi 2:14Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
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Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

So God says, ok, you’ve entered into a covenant and yet many of you have not been faithful to your wife. Now the word here concerning this, treacherous, God says you’ve dealt treacherously, in the Hebrew means – deceitful or faithless. So they haven’t been faithful and they’ve been deceitful. But did He not make them one when you get married? God says, look you’re one. Having a remnant of the Spirit and why one? He seeks Godly offspring, that’s why.

Malachi 2:16 Malachi 2:16For the LORD, the God of Israel, said that he hates putting away: for one covers violence with his garment, said the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously.
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“For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously .”

So, they were not faithful to their mates and God said they were not being blessed as a nation, as a people because of that. James 4:3 James 4:3You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts.
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shows that there is a spiritual application to what we’re talking about. He talks in the first few verses why there are wars, fighting, violence among them because of their coveteousness, their wanting, their lust.

James 4:3-4 James 4:3-4 3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it on your lusts. 4 You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
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You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?…. So if you and I are friends with the world, in other words with its standards, its customs, its traditions, its values, God says we at enmity with Him…. Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Friendship with this world, in God’s eyes, is spiritual adultery. Because we’re replacing God, His values, what He requires of us with what the world does and Satan is the god of this world. So we’re actually substituting a false god, an idol, we’re going the way of the world and God says that’s enmity with Him. So we need to make sure that we do not compromise and go along with the world and its ways. Let me just give you an example: November there will be an election. Who will you vote for in the November election coming up? Well, hopefully nobody.

Now, God’s approach is that we are not to become involved in the politics of this world. That God is the one who ultimately is going to determine who will sit in the office of the president, whatever prophecy God is going to work out and so consequently, we are not to get involved in that. So, the friendship of this world, going along with this world, its system, its way of doing things, its governance, God says we should not be a part of that. In Colossians 1:2 Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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we have another Scripture that simply talks about those who are faithful.

Colossians 1:2 Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
What makes somebody a faithful person? Well, they’re faithful in their approach are they not? In their mind in everything they do. Are we faithful in doctrine? Are we faithful in obedience? Are we faithful in keeping the Sabbath, the Holy Days, tithing, and God’s law? Now why would I ask all of this? Because you know it’s important; one day the bride of Christ will be assisting Christ in extending salvation to the whole world in the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment and then we’ll assist Him for eternity. He is not going to have a wife who does not support Him and who is not faithful to Him. As Matthew 10:37 Matthew 10:37He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
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tells us, (this is also found over in Luke 14).

Matthew 10:37-39 Matthew 10:37-39 37 He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.
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He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

God must come first in our lives. Our mate, you know when you get married your mate, if you’re a man, your wife should be the dearest one in the world to you. There should be nobody else more important; she is the apple of your eye, she is your love, your mate. Same thing for a woman with her husband. And so when it comes to our husband, there should be no one more important. You can’t put another human being, money, power, prestige, whatever it might be – God must come first in our life!

Now let’s notice 1 Corinthians 6:15 1 Corinthians 6:15Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
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very quickly….

I Corinthians 6:15-20 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?…. Now when you are converted and given God’s Spirit, it is the Spirit of God that baptizes you into the body of Christ, or places you in the body. Baptism means to submerse or put into and so we are put into the body of Christ…. Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! ….Is Jesus Christ going to allow His body to become associated with a harlot? No…. 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him… ..So once we receive the Holy Spirit, we become one with Him. In John 17 Jesus prayed that we would become one as He and the Father are one. So He says…. 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body… ..We can sin against the church by going off….. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

So, our bodies are a member of the body of Christ and as such, they belong to Him. When you get married , I Corinthians 7 is very clear – your body does not belong to you, it belongs to your mate. Her body belongs to you and once we become a part of Christ, we belong to Him. We were bought and paid for so from that point of view we’re also owned by Him. In the Old Testament it says over and over that God entered into a covenant with Israel. It was compared to a marriage relationship. Now, God divorced them. Do you know why God divorced them? Because they were unfaithful. They did not remain faithful. He put away His wife because of adultery, and how did she commit adultery? Instead of depending on God for protection, she made alliances with other nations. Instead of trusting God they went and worshipped idols, they sacrificed their children to idols; to Molech and to some of the Gods around them. They adopted the religious practices and customs of the nations around them and they went in that direction. So, the Bible is very clear that we must remain faithful to God and His way.

Now, too many people today marry for the wrong reasons. People get married because of money, power, prestige, advancement, he’s good looking, he’s got a good car, whatever it might be. Yet God is looking for a bride who will deeply love Him. Jesus Christ wants a bride that He knows loves Him. So the second trait that Christ is looking for in a mate is one who deeply with all her heart loves Him. How many times have you told your wife that you love her with all your heart and you mean it? That she is the one that as far as a human being that you’d rather be with and spend your time with. Let’s notice in I John 4:20 John 4:20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
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I John 4:20 John 4:20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
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20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen…. So how does God know that we love Him? Because He can see if we love our brother or not. We love our brother, that’s a clue. If you were dating someone and you wondered, “Do they love me?” you might get a clue from who else do they love, or do they appreciate your family, you parents or whoever it might be. Verse 19 shows here that God is the one who loves us, as I John 4:9 John 4:9Then said the woman of Samaria to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
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says: 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him….

So He sent His Son so that we might have life, go back to I John 4:17-19 John 4:17-19 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: 18 For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. 19 The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
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:

I John 4:17-19 John 4:17-19 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: 18 For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. 19 The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
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 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

In essence it’s sort of like a man who decides that he sees a woman and he’s attracted towards her. So what does he do? He begins to pursue her. He begins to try to get a date with her; he’ll court her, he’ll call her, he’ll make himself known to her, he’ll indicate his attentions to her. Well, God does the same thing with us. We don’t pursue Him, He pursued us. None of us can come unto the Son unless the Father draws him. So God has to initiate the process. We don’t come to the Father except through the Son, so the Son is involved in the process likewise. So He courts us, He calls us, He makes Himself known to us, He makes His way known to us. He wants to have a Godly relationship with us and so He begins to pursue us. If we love our future husband, we will love His family and His potential family members also. That means we’ll love one another and we’ll love all humanity.

Remember John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…. God did that for every human being whose ever lived.

With that in mind, let’s go back to Matthew 22:36 Matthew 22:36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
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. What kind of love are we supposed to have? Notice one of the lawyers came to Him and said:

Matthew 22:36-37 Matthew 22:36-37 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
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“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… ..and as Mark says, with all your strength; with every fiber that is within you.

So we are to love our future husband with our whole being. This is what marriage is built upon; to love your mate and to have eyes only for that person. Not to be lusting, desiring and going after someone else, but to be faithful. How many have remained faithful truly to God, to His Law, His way of life, His church, His approach, His values? How many have deviated and gone off from those? Now we find in Romans this mentioned in the Scriptures:

Romans 5:5-8 Romans 5:5-8 5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
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Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So we know that God is faithful; we know that He loves us and that once we receive the Holy Spirit, God pours out His love on us and He wants to see us reciprocating that love back, or returning that love to Him. We are to love God with all of our heart. So the second quality that God is looking for in a mate would be one that will truly love Him with their whole being.
Now, so many marriages today fail because of flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses, person’s makeup-the way they are, and we all know that they are people who maybe have emotional, psychological problems or difficulties that would have a great deal of trouble being married and truly loving a person as they should.

So that brings us to another characteristic that God is looking for in a mate and that is Godly character. God is looking, not just for characters, but for someone who has Godly character. Character is a set of qualities that make somebody distinct, especially the qualities of mind and feeling. Now I might add of action and lifestyle. What is it that God is looking for as far as our character?

Remember Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, ….You and I are to have the mind of Christ. So, Godly character begins with having that mind in us, having the fruits of God’s Spirit, having the gifts of God’s Spirit. These are obviously qualities that we have to grow into. You don’t start out that way just as a little baby starts out basically neutral, it has to grow and develop its personality, it’s character, it’s approach. It has to be taught. We don’t start out with this Godly character, but we have to grow into it, we have to mature, we have to grow into that bride. Hebrews 1:1 Hebrews 1:1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
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tells us a little about the character that God is looking for in us and He explains it here by the example of Jesus Christ. Beginning in v. 1 how God has dealt with mankind over the years –

Hebrews 1:1-3 Hebrews 1:1-3 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
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God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ….I want you to notice in v. 3 especially, it talks about Christ is the express image of the Father. In a number of translations, this is translated as character. That He possesses the exact character of the Father. Remember when Christ was on the earth He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”? If the Father Himself had come to the earth and been born of a woman, He would have lived, kept the law and obeyed exactly as Jesus Christ did. The word here for express image in the Greek from Strong’s Concordance, first of all talks about the instrument using for engraving or carving. Like you have a coin, and you have a stamp and each time it stamps it’s an exact replica of the one before . The mark stamped upon the instrument or wrought out on it; a mark or a figure that is burned in like putting a brand, as we’ve seen like you brand a cow. The exact expression or image of any person or thing marked likeness precise reproduction in every respect.

So Jesus Christ, in His character, in His outlook, in His mind, in His approach was an exact replica of God the Father.  Now who are you and I supposed to be like? Let’s go over to Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
and we read here:

Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

So Jesus Christ lives in us. We are to be like Him. People don’t talk this way but, when someone sees you, they should say, “I see Jesus Christ”. That’s how Christ would react, that’s how Christ would think, that’s how Christ would obey, that’s what He would do and so it should be in our thinking, doing and approach. So, brethren, we are here and part of the process that we are going through in our lives is to develop Godly character; to have the very nature and character of God implanted in us and to grow in that. Hebrews 5 talks about how we are not to remain babes on the milk of the Word, but we are to grow up; we’re to be able to discern right and wrong. We’re to be able to judge, we’re to be able to take the Law of God and apply it to our lives and everything that we are faced with.

Jesus Christ does not want to marry a rebellious wife either. He doesn’t want to marry a stubborn wife. He doesn’t want to marry a flint-faced wife, He doesn’t want to marry a self-willed wife. He wants to marry a submissive wife. So, the next trait that Christ is looking for in a wife is one who is submissive. A submissive wife. Notice the instructions concerning marriage here. Everything that I’ve mentioned to you here concerning the bride of Christ also applies in our own marriage doesn’t it? How we need to treat one another.

Ephesians 5:22-24 Ephesians 5:22-24 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
American King James Version×
, 32
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…… That implies that you are supposed to submit to the Lord, and as you submit to Him in like manner you are supposed to submit to your husband….. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything….. So, Jesus Christ is the head and we are to be submissive to Him. You discover though, as you read through this, that this whole section about a husband and wife, that a husband is to love his wife, and wife is to submit to her husband that as v.32 tells you is that this is a great mystery….. 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church….. So all that he’s talking about here is a mystery, and something that we ought to reflect and meditate on because the depth of what he’s trying to get across here is a lot deeper than generally most of us assume. He’s teaching that the wife, the church, is to be submissive to her husband. Now v. 21 also talks about submitting to one another in the fear of God so that in our physical marriages there are times that a man will submit to his wife as far as decisions are concerned or you may discuss something. I’ve known men before that think, ‘If it’s my thought, it’s always right’. They don’t give their wives any credit. Look at how many women are treated around the world, how they’re abused and put down as second class citizens. That’s never what God intended in the Bible. There’s a mutual working together and cooperation and yet, we know that Christ is always right and we are to submit to Him and follow Him.

I Corinthians 11:1-15 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God….. So we’re all under authority. It shows very clearly that the head of the woman is the man and Jesus Christ is the head of the church…… 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head….. which is Christ. When it says head covered it’s talking about long hair. It’s a shame for a man to have long hair as we’ll see.  5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered…. meaning her hair is cut so short that she looks like a man…. dishonors her head,…. that’s her husband…. for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved…. so he says she might as well go ahead and be shaved…. .6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered…. A woman’s hair is given to her for a covering…. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head,…. should not have long hair…. since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man…. God took a rib out of Adam’s side….. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels…. We’ve always thought that the fact that a woman has long hair shows her willingness to be submissive, and as a result it’s a symbol of submission to authority and she has protection that comes from the angelic beings…. 13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? ….This is not talking about putting a hat or doily on the top of your head….. 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering….. So even in that small matter it shows a willingness by the very way you dress, the way you conduct yourself, that a woman is willing to be under the authority of her husband, and brethren, we should be willing to be under the authority of Jesus Christ in everything that we do.Now, let’s move on to the last point here. We find that back in Genesis 2:20 Genesis 2:20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
American King James Version×
God had Adam name all the animals.

Genesis 2:20-24 Genesis 2:20-24 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version×
  So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him…. He didn’t find one that could stand with him, who would be eyeball to eyeball; look like him, had an intelligence like him, had a personality and character that was on the human plane who would be a helper for him. So, another thing that God is looking for in His wife is that she will truly be a helper. That she will be there to be a helper to her husband…. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

You and I are to become one flesh with Jesus Christ in the sense one spirit. We receive the Spirit of God. One approach, one attitude in serving God. So we are to be a helper to Him. Some people when they see that word helper, and a wife is supposed to help her husband think that that’s belittling, puts down, puts her in an inferior position, and yet throughout the Old Testament the same Hebrew word translated helper here, is used of God on several occasions, especially in the book of Psalms where David said, “Come help me” and God said, “ I am a helper to Israel”. God is there as a servant to serve and to help.

Now, a bride when she dates her husband and is thinking about marriage, she learns about her husband. She learns about his likes, his dislikes; she learns what pleases him. We are assisting God in the work that He has to do here on the earth. When Christ was on the earth He said, “My Father works and I work”. So God Himself, the Father has a work that He does. Jesus Christ had a work that He was assigned to do by the Father.

Now in John 17 Christ said, “I have finished the work that you gave me to do”. The job, the responsibility that God gave to Him to call the disciples, to train them, to heal the sick, to go around preaching and everything that God had given Him to do except His death, He had accomplished. You and I have been called to assist Christ in doing the work, or the job that He’s given to His church today to do. And what is that job? It’s to take the gospel to the world as a witness. This gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached in all the world as a witness and to all nations then the end is to come. Christ told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, baptize them and take care of them.

So that’s the job, that’s part of the responsibility that God’s given us to do. This is a joint effort. We can’t do it on our own. We’ve got to finish the work that God has given us to do and one day as we face Jesus Christ He’ll say, “Well done good and faithful servant. You have finished the work I gave you to do. Enter into the joy of your Lord”. So, we will have done what He’s given us to do. The point is that we’ve been called to assist Christ and we do that through our prayers, our tithes and offerings, through our personal involvement in the work. In any way that we possibly can we are there to serve and to help.

I’ve only scratched the surface of some of the traits that Jesus Christ would be looking for in His bride. We need to go back and think about these because I think within each one of these categories we can add multiple layers of points that could be added. We’re to be a helper, we’re to be submissive, and we’re to love our husband. We are to be faithful to Him and you can go on and on.

Where do we learn to do these things now? Where do you learn to practice all of these characteristics? Well, there are a couple of areas, number one in marriage. A wife submits to her husband and there are times when a husband is submissive or yields to his wife in what she wants especially if her idea is better than what he thought. So in a marriage there is mutual submission, there’s helping one another, there’s love and you could go on and on.

And also, secondarily in our Christian walk; how we live as a Christian, how we conduct ourselves. Are we not supposed to be learning these principles? Are we not supposed to be maturing and growing? What God is looking for is a bride who is fully mature. You don’t want to marry a child when you get married. You want to marry somebody who is mature, somebody who is on your level that you can communicate with and equate to. So, you don’t go back and marry somebody who’s real young. You marry somebody who’s grown up; who’s mature and that’s what God the Father is doing. He’s creating a bride who will be on the same level as His Son who will be a member of the God family. Let’s notice it back here in Revelation one final Scripture.

Revelation 19:6 Revelation 19:6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.
American King James Version×
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come…. why will that marriage take place?…. and His wife has made herself ready.” ….the wife has grown into the job. The wife has matured and grown up and changed and so therefore, she can marry her husband…. 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

So, brethren, we are to grow and to mature to make ourselves ready and be prepared for Christ when He returns. I’ve given you today a partial list; obviously it’s not a complete list of what Jesus Christ is looking for in His bride. It’d be good if you can spend a little time thinking a little more about this and think of what else would He be looking for. It is our responsibility to become that woman. For many of us as men, that might be hard to think about, but we’re to become a part of the bride, a part of the woman that God is preparing for His Son. We are to mature spiritually to become that spouse. So brethren, let’s make sure that’s what we’re aiming for, that’s what we’re doing to spiritually mature.

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