A Marriage Proposal
This article also appears in the website under the title A Wedding Invitation.
In Matthew 22 some people were invited to a wedding. They were invited to a good thing. A wedding was a feast, a time of joy. Strangely, it seems they didn*t understand they were actually fighting and committing murder in order to avoid a good thing. They behaved as if they were invited to a bad thing. They actually beat and murdered those delivering the invitation.
When people are invited to Christ, many of them believe they are being invited to a bad thing. They are spiritually blind. They behave in much the same manner as the people in Matthew 22. There is no valid reason for rejecting Christ.
Matthew 22:2-6: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
They actually received two invitations to the wedding. I have never received two invitations to a wedding. They apparently didn*t R.S.V.P. the first invitation. When they were sent a second one, I believe it proved how strongly the King desired their presence. I have never received a wedding invitation from a King or even a President. I don*t think I would treat it lightly. I would recognize it as an honor. If I couldn*t attend I would certainly have a better reason than those folks and I would notify the VIP who had invited me.
When Christ invites us to Himself, it is more than an invitation. It is more like a proposal but it is more than a proposal. When a man proposes to a woman he is only proposing a lifetime relationship. We are invited to an eternal relationship. We won*t be merely attending a wedding for a little time. We will be much more than mere guests. We will be more than guests of honor. When we respond to His invitation we become the children of God. When we respond to His loving invitation we then have access to His love forever. When a man proposes to a woman he may do that for some reason other than love. Sometimes the man*s reason goes away and the marriage ends. Christ*s reason for the offer of Himself is always love, eternal love. Marriage is one of the best earthly pictures of the relationship we can have with Christ. As wonderful as marriage can be it is an inadequate illustration of the relationship that we can have with Christ.
A wedding is only the beginning of the marriage. God means for a man and a woman to have a lifelong growing love for one another. Since marriage is only an earthly relationship, the love grows in fits and starts. Sometimes it doesn*t grow at all. Sometimes it actually decreases. Christ*s love for us does not need to grow. But our love for Him ought to grow endlessly and eternally. The growth of our love for Him ought to be a lifelong process that naturally and exponentially accelerates when we are called to heaven whether by death or by Christ*s return.
A good marriage is marked by daily encounters with one*s husband or wife. Hopefully they are good encounters. Our relationship with Christ ought to consist of daily encounters with Him. (Prayer and Bible study) A marriage without numerous delightful encounters isn*t much of a marriage. A relationship with Christ that doesn*t have numerous delightful encounters with Christ isn*t much of a relationship. Make no mistake about it, when our relationship with Christ is poor the problem is always with us.
Christ first invites us into a relationship. And then He invites us to encounters. Daily encounters, hourly encounters, even moment by moment encounters.
To be theologically accurate I must state that when we have received Christ He always indwells us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. By encounters with Him I am only referring to the highlights of our lives when we are aware of His presence. When we are not aware of Him, He is still here within.
Do you respond to Him often? Or have you only responded once? Are you aware that He wants multiple and repeated responses? Do you know the responses after the original one are also thrilling? Do your responses to Him come more naturally and automatically as time passes?
He gives us an unending invitation to an unending relationship. His arms are always open wide. He invites us to a relationship and then He invites us within the relationship. He invites us to enjoy the relationship. The invitations in the Bible are not just for the lost. Christ invites us and invites us and invites us to Himself.
What kind of relationship do you have with Christ? What kind of relationship do you want with Him?
One of the problems with some churches is that they might give the idea that one can only encounter God once a week inside the church building. They don*t encourage people to walk with God on a daily basis. How sad! God intends churches to teach people to walk with Him daily and help them to do that. The church ought to be a highlight of a Christian*s daily walk with God. It ought to be a place where we rub elbows with others who are walking with our God. It ought to be a place where the friction of living in a lost world is lessened. How could I leave Christ in the church when He is in my heart? How could we think we could just visit Him once a week when He is in our hearts?
Some places of employment have forbidden people to speak of Christ while at work. How could I leave Christ in the parking lot when He is in my heart? Christ within is my guarantee of heaven. If people could leave Him in the parking lot (which is an impossibility for those who have Him within) do they believe they would go to Hell if they died on the job? What kind of Christ do they believe in? Do they believe they can put a relationship with Him on hold for a time? Do they believe others ought to control their relationship with Christ? People who make those errors demonstrate that they don*t have an internal Christ or don*t know that they do.
Colossians 1:27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
I would be afraid to go to work if I believed that I could leave Christ outside. I cannot go anywhere without Him and I don*t want to go anywhere without Him. I want my relationship with Him to be continual and, Praise God, it is.
Even if I am forbidden to speak of Him I can speak to Him, hear from Him, obey Him and enjoy Him.
It is interesting that we who are married were not married until we took the vows. Likewise we are not Christians until we make a commitment. My wife and I were not in the same family until we made the public commitment. We are not in the family of God until we receive Jesus.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
My wife was not my wife until the Pastor said: I now pronounce you man and wife. When we become the children of God He announces it to our hearts.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
We may have a wonderful marriage or a lousy marriage. We may have a wonderful relationship with God or we may have a not-so-wonderful relationship with God. What kind do you have?
He invites us. He pleads with us. He is ever ready to seal us. He is always ready to personally receive us into His family. He always wants our relationship with Him to be wonderful.