Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Wedding Dress

Leslie Basham: When Jesus, our Heavenly Bridegroom returns, we need to be ready. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Worry, fear, unbelief, immorality--these are the things that stain our wedding dress. And I'll tell you, when you get the stains of sin on your wedding dress, as you prepare to meet Jesus Christ, there is no drycleaner in the world that can get those stains out.

But I know *a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 30.

Stains can ruin clothing but they do far more damage to a life. The stubborn stains of sin can be our ruin, but they don't have to be. God has made a provision. Here's Nancy to tell us more.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been talking about weddings. And any girl who's ever been engaged to be married knows that there's a lot of preparation involved in getting ready for the wedding.

And we've said that we need to be getting ready for the wedding that we will one day have with our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus.

We talked in the last session about some of the ways that young women get prepared for their weddings and there were a couple things I didn't mention there.

One is that in a healthy relationship, they want to make sure that this young man and woman are dealing with any breaches in the relationship, that when conflicts arise, as they likely will, that they're learning how to resolve those conflicts in a biblical and a godly way, that they're not just wiping things under the carpet and saying, "Oh, it doesn't really matter." That they're dealing with these issues that could threaten their oneness as husband and wife down the road.

As we think about our relationship with Christ, it's so important that we commit ourselves to dealing with every breach in our relationship with Him.

Now, if there's conflict in our relationship with the Lord Jesus, it's not His fault. It's because of things that need to be changed in us. But where there are things that come between, where there are clouds that stand between us and our bridegroom, we shouldn't just let those things go.

If' it's going to be a healthy relationship, if we're going to be ready for the wedding, we've got to deal with those things.

The Song of Solomon, we've been looking at that love story over this series, talks about little foxes that spoil the vines.

See, what little foxes do, they're more deadly actually to the plants than the bigger foxes. The bigger foxes just get at the fruit. But the little foxes get down on their knees and they chew away at the vine. They get at the root system.

And in your relationship with the Lord, there may be things that you think, Well, it's not that big a deal. It is a big deal.

And it's amazing how those little foxes of bitterness, selfishness"¦I mean, not the big sins"¦unforgiveness can get down at the roots of your relationship with the Lord and eat away at it until you find that there's no intimacy, there's no oneness of heart, and you're not ready to meet Jesus.

Now, speaking of getting ready, there's another thing that all girls go through if they're getting ready for their wedding, and that is the selection of the dress. And isn't it true that since she was six years old, she's had a picture in her mind of what the dress is going to look like?

So, she takes her mother with her and they go and scout out every bridal shop in this county and finally, they find a dress. Well, it's not exactly the one she always had in mind but it'll do. And they decide this is the dress that she wants to have for her wedding.

So, what do they do with that dress? I know, the bride takes the dress and she stuffs it into a brown paper sack that she brought for the occasion and then sticks it in the trunk of her car and takes it home and hides it in the basement and doesn't look at it again until the wedding day.

And then, on her wedding day, she pulls it out and it's just all"¦Is that what she does with her dress? No way! You're looking at me like I'm really strange. No way!

I'll tell you what she does with that dress! She hires a u-haul to get it home from the dress shop, and she just has all kinds of room around it. And then, she gets it to her house and she puts it on a form in the bedroom and she puts barbed wire around it so that none of her little brothers and sisters can get their grubby hands on it.

And she puts it under lock and key and makes sure that no one can hurt it, and then every week or so, she takes it out and makes sure it's clean and pressed, makes sure she can still fit into it. And she, she guards this dress! She wants this dress to be just right for the wedding.

Well, you know, the Scripture talks about the Bride of Christ having a wedding dress. And in the Book of Revelation, we read about the bride being dressed in fine linen, clean and white.

Revelation 21 says that she's beautifully dressed for her husband--The Bride, the Church dressed to meet Christ, her Heavenly Bridegroom.

And this is the picture we have in Ephesians 5, where the apostle Paul says, "I'm speaking about Christ and the church when I talk about marriage."

He says, "Christ loved the church and He 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 bride, a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:25-27 paraphrased).

If the bride is going to be ready for the wedding, her clothing has to be ready. And that's where we read in the Scripture in James 1, for example, that we are to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. We don't want stains to get on our wedding dress, as we prepare to meet Christ.

Jude tells us that we should hate the clothing that is stained by corrupted flesh. He's saying don't even get close to letting your wedding dress get tainted. Don't see how close you can walk to the world and get away with it. See how closely you can walk to God and His holiness, as you prepare to meet Christ.

So, what are some of the things that stain our wedding dress, as we prepare to meet Christ? Well, we talked about those little foxes--bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, a critical spirit, a judgmental spirit--those will put stains on our wedding dress.

They'll make it so we're not ready to meet Him. Lack of love; worldliness; wanting to fit into the world and loving this world and its system and what it has to offer; temporal values; materialism; besetting sins--sins that we just let control our lives and we didn't deal with them this side of eternity--worry; fear; unbelief; immorality in mind, in attitude, in dress, in thought, in action; these are the things that stain our wedding dress.

And I'll tell you, when you get the stains of sin on your wedding dress, as you prepare to meet Jesus Christ, there is no drycleaner in the world that can get those stains out. But I know *a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

You want to get clean? You want to be ready for the wedding? You want to have a dress that's ready? You want to be appropriately attired when He comes to claim you as His bride?

Then, you need daily, consistently to be being washed in the blood of Jesus; to be washed in His Word. It's His Word that cleanses us, that washes our hearts.

And so, Jesus says to His church, His Bride in Revelation 3 [:18 paraphrased], "I counsel you to buy from me white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness"

Listen, the wedding dress you need to get ready for the wedding is not one you can make. You can't find, you can't buy the one that you need to meet Him. You have to get it from Him. He's the only One who can clothe us in His righteousness, in His love and His humility and His spirit. That's what we need to be clothed in, as we prepare to meet the Lord Jesus.

And so, as we get ready for the wedding, I want you to just picture what it's going to be like. I go back to the Book of Revelation, where the apostle John says that he heard a great noise.

It "sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, 'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 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.) (Revelation 19:6).

And then, the Lord Jesus says, "Behold, I am coming soon!"¦I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes" (Revelation 22:12-14).

Blessed are those who have their dress ready. Blessed are those who've been cleansed by the blood of Christ. Blessed are those whose hearts have been purified by His Spirit and His Word. "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates of the city" (Revelation 22:14).

And what's in that city? The home He's been preparing for us.

We have no right to enter into that holy city, unless we've been clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Now, it's possible that you're listening and you would have to acknowledge that you've never become a part of the Bride of Christ. You have no righteous clothes to wear for the wedding.

The Scripture says that if you will give to Him the rags that you are wearing"¦You know what that is? That's our own righteousness. That's all the things we could do to try and please God--to try and earn His favor. That's all our sinful deeds.

If you'll give Him all of your rags in exchange, He wants to give you His righteousness--to clothe you in His righteousness. You receive that wedding dress as a gift and through faith by His grace.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss, talking about the amazing gift of God's grace. If you've never made the exchange that Nancy just mentioned and would like more information about what it means to have a relationship with Christ, would you write and let us know? We'll send you some free information about developing that kind of relationship.

Just send your letter to Revive Our Hearts. You can also write and ask for a copy of our current series, "Here Comes the Bridegroom."

It comes on two cassettes for a suggested donation of $8 and two CD's for $10. For more information, you can give us a call at 1-800-569-5959 or visit our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com.

Get ready. Those words usually mean something good is about to happen and it is. We'll tell you what tomorrow. Now, here's Nancy to lead us in prayer.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank You, Father, that You have offered to us the righteousness of Christ, to clothe us. And, Lord, our heart's desire is to deal with every breach in our relationship with You, to be ready for the wedding, by having a dress that's ready, to be taking care of those wedding garments and not to let the little foxes or those stains or soils ruin our wedding dress.

But to be prepared, ready for that moment when the trumpet will sound and the call will come out, "The Bridegroom is coming!"

It could be today. May we be ready to face You with joy. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

*William Cowper, "There Is a Fountain."

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries. 

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.