Subject: Church vs. Bride
I have talked with many people who are put off by religion in general. I too had the same attitude towards churches and religion. Then I realized that there is a difference between the church and the bride of Christ. There is a difference between them that call themselves Christians and those who God calls Christians. I found out that the book of Acts is being replayed in the lives of real Christians all across the planet every day. When I met Jesus Christ for myself, then the book of Acts started playing out in my life too.
This sermon is for you. God gave me this scripture and opened it up to me by revelation from the Holy Spirit that I might be able to pass that same gift on to you. But as I always caution people, do not believe me, do not take my word, but go back to the scriptures and see if what I tell you is right. And if it lines up with the scriptures then accept it. Take God’s word for it. Our absolute must be the Bible.
Here I have taken my original notes that I used to preach on the subject, and edited them to make them readable. I pray that you might find them useful. As such I would like to take for a text John chapter 17 and verse 22. And for a subject on that text I would like to concentrate on the theme of the Glory of Jesus Christ and how we are called to glory. And for a subtext we will observe how the Church and the Bride are not one and the same.
John 17:22 And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.
Here we see Jesus at the end of his ministry praying openly for his followers. After reading this scripture a number of questions came to mind. I find that learning is often better served by asking the right questions, rather than just trying to find better answers to less perfect questions.
This is a very short scripture indeed but it carries an enormous message for us. It says that God gave Jesus glory. And it then says that Jesus gave out that same glory to a select group of people. Then it says he did it so that they might become one even as Jesus and God are one. This simple scripture brought up ten interrelated questions in my mind.
- What is Glory? Is it tangible or figurative?
- How did God give glory to Jesus?
- When was this glory given?
- How did He, in turn, give it away?
- When did He give it?
- Who, exactly, does He give it to?
- How do we qualify to get it?
- How do we know we have it?
- Can we loose it once we have it?
- How does this glory make us one with each other?
The answers to all ten questions are woven so tightly together that in order to properly answer one we have to answer all ten. And we will know if each answer is right because the scripture must run true; line upon line, word upon word, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. If our doctrine gets to a point where we get stuck in a scripture then that is a sign our doctrine is completely wrong. The Bible always perfectly agrees with itself!
Paul said that if we preach anything different than what is written we are accursed, Peter said if we wrestle against any scripture we do so to our own damnation and John said if we add or take away we are given plagues and our names removed from the book of life. We must stay with the written word of God. If we get to a point where we have to explain away a scripture to make our doctrine work then that is a sign that our doctrine is wrong and we must go back and start over.
So the answers to all ten questions must all agree with each other in the scripture or we have to go back and start over. And each and every answer must run with the message as well for it is the Revealed Word of God for the Hour. The prophet told us to preach what is on the tapes. He didn’t mean to quote him like a parrot, to preach Jesus whom Branham preaches like the seven vagabond sons did in Paul’s day earning for themselves a good beating and demonic possession. He meant that if our doctrine does not line up with what is put down on the tapes and vindicated by the Holy Spirit in signs wonders and miracles, then we had better fix our doctrine because we are wrong.
So let’s, by the grace of God, get some Bible answers for these Bible questions.
Our scripture here says that Jesus got Glory and gives Glory. He gives his glory to a select, special, elect group of people. And it is the same glory that God gave to Him. So let’s start by finding out exactly what is glory?
The original word for Glory found in the Bible is the Greek word Doxa, which means Splendor, Brilliance, Awesome Light that radiates from God’s presence associated with acts of power, honour and praise. That is a pretty big definition. Today we think of glory as popularity or public notoriety but the Bible has a very different definition. There is nothing popular about it.
So what is this Splendor, this Brilliance, this Awesome Light that radiates from the presence of God that is associated with acts of power, honour and praise?
How and when did God give His glory to Jesus. What is the defining moment in scripture when God gives his glory unto the Lord Jesus Christ? He said that God gave it to him, so there must have been a time when he did not have it, a moment at which he received it, and a time in which he carried it. At the time of his speaking in John as we just read, Jesus notes that he has already received it. So we must look back in time to find where and when he got it.
Look at the life of Jesus on earth. Not much is noted about him for the first 30 years of his life. Many have speculated about him in this time and the Bible gives us just enough information to see that they are all wrong. He was not studying with mystics out east etcetera, he was living in Nazareth as a devout Jew working in Joseph`s business as would be the tradition of the time. He lived a normal life.
He had no defined ministry, to the point where the people from Nazareth didn’t think much of him. Sure he was a nice guy, and pretty smart especially about the scripture, never got in trouble as a kid, didn`t run with the bad lot, but he was just a carpenter, one of the boys, one of Joseph’s sons. He grew up down the street and played games with us as kids. There was nothing too great or spectacular about him. He was not a pretty boy either. The Bible says that there was no beauty in Jesus that men should be attracted to him. He lived as one of us, an ordinary average guy.
The people from Nazareth where he grew up and lived could not believe that He was the messiah. When He came back to them they didn’t believe. He couldn’t even work miracles there because there was no faith in the people. They could not wrap their minds around the fact that this fellow from down the street was a prophet, priest and king. He was the great I AM but his neighbors could not see it. He was the saviour of the world but his friends, those who should have known him best, were blind to it. Isaiah chapter six says that he was “Prince of peace, the councillor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father”. Here was God himself, the creator of all things, veiled in human flesh and the ones who were closest to him could not see him. That should be a humbling wake up call for us. Do we truly see Jesus Christ today? Do we see him for who he really is? Do we have the revelation of the godhead? That is a whole separate sermon, or series of semons.
So when did His ministry start? When did he lay down the carpenter’s hammer and start showing himself as the messiah?
St. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the spirit of God descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him.
John the Baptist was the messenger of God sent to forerun the first coming of the messiah. According to the Old Testament prophet Malachi, John is the third coming, or manifestation, of the spiritual ministry of Elijah. Jesus also confirmed this in the scriptures telling his disciples such. John, God’s prophet messenger, saw a vision of the Holy Spirit of God descending from heaven and resting upon Jesus Christ. The spirit of God, the pillar of fire descended from God and rested upon Jesus Christ like a dove. And it stayed there! The Bible said it “abode” upon him. This was not a one-time transient event, God came and God stayed.
Jesus was always the Word of God manifested in flesh. He was always the only begotten Son of God. For thirty years he walked the earth as a man, but here we see God putting a seal on His son. God was putting an AMEN upon Jesus Christ for the whole world to hear. He sent his prophet ahead and prepared him to make the announcement and then vindicated Jesus Christ as the one anointed Messiah to all mankind. Here God officially says “I approve of you and of your life and of everything that you are, and in thee am I pleased to dwell” and He does it through a vindicated prophet. The glory of God, the pillar of fire, the Holy Spirit comes down from heaven like a dove and rests upon Jesus as a crown of glory for the eyes of the prophet to see.
And it stayed there!
And from that moment and that place in the desert we see the miraculous ministry of Jesus on earth began. He started His ministry AFTER he received the glory from the Father, not before. That is an important note we’ll pick up later. He had the power, wisdom, knowledge, virtue etc. but it was not until AFTER He received glory that he began his ministry. He was the only begotten of the Father. He was the great I Am. He was the Messiah. He was the word of God made flesh the whole time but he did not begin his ministry until after he received glory from God.
So we see God giving His glory, His “Doxa”: His Splendor, His Brilliance, His Awesome Light that radiates from God’s presence associated with acts of power, honour and praise unto Jesus. We see it as the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and abiding on him. All that power, all that splendor, all that brilliance, all that awesome light that radiates from God’s presence with acts of power honour and praise, veiled as a dove and resting solely on Jesus Christ glorifying Him above all that is, was or ever shall be!
The pillar of fire, the spirit of the great creator himself, the fullness of God lightened on the man of Jesus Christ for in him dwelt the fullness of the godhead bodily. Not some, not most, but ALL, the complete fullness of everything that is God was in Jesus Christ. All that God is was poured into the man Jesus. All of God’s glory is given to Jesus. All of God’s splendor is given to Jesus. All of God’ Brilliance is given to Jesus. All of Gods awesome light that radiates from God’s presence associated with acts of power, honour, and praise is given to Jesus. He was all in all. He was the complete fullness of everything that is God. He was the alpha and omega the beginning and the end, the resurrection and the life. Jesus Christ, a man of flesh and blood like you and I, was standing there dripping wet and soggy in the water of the Jordan River beside that prophet with hundreds if not thousands in attendance and the Glory of God resting on him for a testimony to all mankind. THIS IS MY SON AND IN HIM AM I PLEASED TO DWELL!
If you feel blessed now, it is only going to get better. It is so unbelievably wonderful I find myself reading it over and over.
Jesus said the Glory that you gave to me I am giving to them. Oh what a wonderful glory that is. “The glory that you gave to me I give to them”. Now we have to slow a little. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, do you realize what Jesus Christ is saying here? Do you really understand the depths of his statement? We have been splashing in the shallows long enough, let us go out into the deep now.
The glory that God gave to Jesus Christ, he in turn is giving to us.
The Doxa that God gave to Jesus, he is giving to us.
The Splendor that God gave Jesus, Jesus is giving to us.
The Brilliance that God gave Jesus, he in turn is freely giving to us.
The Awesome Light that radiates from God’s presence associated with acts of power, honour and praise that God gave Jesus is now given to us.
Did Jesus take all that Glory that we just talked about, ALL the glory of the complete fullness of all that is God and give it to his elect? He said he did. He did not say that he gave us a piece of it, or a copy of it, but the very self same glory that Jesus Christ received when the Holy Spirit of God came down in fullness and indwelt him, he in turn has given to his earthly Bride.
Jesus said that he took the glory that God gave to him and gave it to them. Amen? Are you Bride? It is given to you!
So then we must have his splendor. We must have his Brilliance. We must have his awesome light that radiates from God’s presence associated with acts of power…honour…..and praise. We must have it because Jesus Christ said that he gave it to us.
Here is a point of contention that many have brought up through unbelief. I have had many a “scholar” and “theologian” tell me that it was just for the apostles, just for the first church age etcetera but with no scriptural backing. They did not receive the glory so they then have to explain the glory away or humbly repent and receive it. Pride will prevent them from receiving it. So let us look at that argument a moment.
Let us now look to find out who the “them” that Jesus talks about here are? Is he talking about the world in general? Is he referring to the Jews? Does Jesus mean the church? Is he speaking about the apostles only? Or maybe is he talking about the gentiles? Could it be the Catholics, or the Lutherans or the Pentecostals? Who exactly did Jesus give this glory to?
A little confusing isn’t it? If we look to the context of the prayer he was praying we can narrow it down a little.
John 17: 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me for they are thine….20 neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their words.
That helps a lot. Jesus said he would give the glory to those which shall believe on him, who are given to him of the father. So it is not for the Jews per se, and not for the gentiles per se, and certainly not for the world, for Jesus specifically said he is not praying for the world. It is for the believer. It is for those who God has chosen out of the world and given to Jesus Christ to believe on him. And not just for the apostle or the first church age because Jesus specifically said it is “for them also which shall believe on me through their words”. For the first age and for the ages to follow who believe on the words of those from the first age. It is for every single believer down through all time.
Jesus Christ has promised his glory, the same glory which he received, will be given to every believer, regardless of where or when they live. If we believe on Jesus Christ through the words written in the Bible then the promise of the glory of God is for us.
I Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
Now we can also see that it is not random but that we are called to it by God himself. He has called us unto his eternal glory. The glory is eternal. The glory is not just for a time, not just until the next revival, not until next Sunday, not until you make your next mistake, but the glory of God that Jesus Christ gives unto those that believe on him is forever and ever, time without end, Amen.
If the glory will never fade, will never die and will last forever does that mean once we got it we can never loose it? We’ll see that a little later too. The Glory is eternal. The Holy Spirit, God is the only eternal. There is no eternal life outside of God and only God has eternal life. For us to have eternal life, God himself must be dwelling inside us. Without that indwelling we do not have eternal life.
This is another example of the Holy Scripture running true again. He has called us. We are called by God. We are called but remember many are called but few are chosen.
Now we see another topic showing up. Many are called but few are chosen. Is that what Jesus said, many are called but few are chosen? This pattern runs all through the Bible. There are two groups of believers. There is the Church, called and the Bride, both called and chosen.
Romans 8: 29 For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and who he called, them he also justified: and who he justified, them he also glorified.
The word “predestinated” will get a lot of people’s fur up. But that is the word that God uses. God knew before the first sub-atomic particle was created who would and would not receive his words. He knew how many hairs I would have and how many would be left this morning. And he wrote the names of his children in the Lamb’s book of life before the earth ever existed. Way back beyond eternity God had you in his mind. You are the expressed thought of God. Think about that for a moment. You are the desire of God’s own heart expressed for all to see. Let’s look a little closer now from a different angle.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thinks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are both called and chosen. Is there a difference between those who are called and those who are chosen? Are all who are called also chosen? Jesus said no. So then there are two distinct groups here in these scriptures. Two distinct groups, yet somehow the same group, for the scripture does not differentiate them here. How could that be?
II Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us unto glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.10 Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
Make your calling AND election sure. We can be both called AND chosen. Two groups made from one! The called out church AND the called out and chosen bride. This relates back to the parable of the ten virgins. There were ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom. They all had their lamps lit, but the bridegroom tarried, and when he finally came, only half of them were ready and the rest were left behind.
Look very carefully here and note that they were all virgins. They were all called. They were all justified. Peter says that those who don’t get chosen, the foolish virgins, “have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins”. The foolish virgins were purged by the blood of Jesus Christ. They repented and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins according to Acts 2:38. The foolish virgins were made pure and white just like the wise virgins. But only the wise virgins, only the bride is elected. She is the “elect lady”. Why is this so?
What sets the bride apart from the church? Quite the mystery isn’t it? They are both bride material as we have just seen. They are both called by God for eternal life. They are both pure. Their sins are all washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, church and bride the same. Their names are ALL written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. Think about it. Both had a testimony with their lamps lit. Both believed and testified the message of the hour. The foolish virgins are message believers.
What is the difference? What sets the Wise virgins apart from the Foolish virgins? The answer is OIL! Amen? OIL! Oil always types the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Things are coming together now. The wise virgins and the foolish virgins all testified of the message and all believed the message but the wise also lived the message and were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is not enough just to be justified. It is not enough even to be sanctified. We must be glorified if we are to be the bride of Christ. Only a glorified bride will be raptured.
Paul said in Thessalonians that we are “called to the obtaining of the glory”. The obtaining or receiving of the glory, the Bride is to be called to the obtaining of the Holy Spirit. All Christians are called to it. That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does, it calls us to the obtaining of the glory of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is called to it but not every Christian is chosen and elected to it. The whole church is called to it but only the bride is chosen and elect to it. And they all tried to get it. Get this point. They ALL tried to get oil. The foolish virgins just started too late and looked to the wrong source. Isn’t that what the Bible says? Look carefully, they tried to get oil. Let’s look at the scripture.
Matthew 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise GIVE US OF YOUR OIL; for our lamps have gone out. 9 But the wise answered saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Do you see it? They all tried to get oil. They knew they needed it but they realized it too late, and they went to the wrong source. They were called for it. They were virgins like the others. But they were lazy. They were lukewarm about it. They did not practice Christianity, they practiced churchianity. They looked to men for salvation for once they realized they needed oil they went to men and not to God. They look to their pastors for their absolute not to God. They were still carnal. Paul preached about it how one said they were of Apollos and another of Paul and another of Cephas. We have the same thing going on today. One of this preacher, and one of that group. It is the spirit of denominationalism. It is not of God.
They were the church. They were justified every one of them. Every one of them was water baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in full emersion. Every one of them believed the message of the hour. Every one of them recognized the Elijah visitation of their day. Every one of them believed the message of the hour. They were even sanctified most of them. But none had gone further. They were still splashing in the shallows and never truly pushed out into the deep. They were satisfied to be good, decent church going citizens.
Ephesians 1:4 according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
They were most certainly called and they were justified but they were not chosen, not elect, not glorified. God through foreknowledge knew all of us. By this foreknowledge he elected a chosen bride that he knew would keep pushing, keep fighting, keep knocking, keep asking and seeking until the day that he calls them home. This is the group that he elected to be his bride and he elected them out of the called out ones, out of the church.
God called two million Israelites out of Egypt through his prophet Moses. Every one of those people was a believing Israelite. Every one of them followed a vindicated prophet. Every one of them saw signs, wonders and miracles in the desert for forty years. Every one of them was baptized in the Red Sea. Every one of them ate manna in the wilderness and drank from the Rock in the desert. The Bible says so. And of the two million adults that God called through his prophet Moses, he only elected two souls, Joshua and Caleb, to enter into the Promised Land.
What a mystery this is indeed. There is a biblical mystery of glory.
Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is make manifest to his saints: 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:
The mystery of glory is Jesus Christ IN you. Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Glory of God, IN you. That is what happened at Pentecost. It is not just Jesus with you. It is not just memorizing scripture. The mystery of Glory is Jesus Christ dwelling inside you. Look what Jesus said of it in John.
St. John 17: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Jesus said “I in them”. The mystery of glory is Jesus Christ literally dwelling and living inside of you. This is the mystery that was hidden for all time. It was hidden from all ages. It was hidden from all generations. This mystery of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was hidden from everyone, even the prophets. And the Bible says that this ageless mystery is now finally is made manifest to his saints. How is this mystery made manifest? It was hidden from everyone. Even Moses didn’t know it. How does God interpret his word? God interprets his word by making it come to pass, is that right? So then he must have interpreted this mystery by making it come to pass too.
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up; with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. 17 AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and you young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
This is so beautiful. Slow down here and read carefully so you don’t miss it. How did Jesus Christ give us His Glory, the Glory which he received of the father? The very same way He received it. God does not change so if we got the exact same glory that Jesus received, then we must have gotten it in the exact same way that Jesus received it. If we were baptized by the Holy Spirit we must have been baptized in the exact same way that Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit. So where in the Bible do we see people being anointed the same way that Jesus was anointed?
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
It was the exact same glory and it manifested itself in the exact same way. I hope you see it. It is undeniable in the scriptures. In order for us to receive the Holy Spirit we must receive it in the exact same way that Jesus Christ received it or it is not the same spirit.
The Bible says that there “appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it SAT UPON EACH OF THEM”. And we read that when Jesus received the glory that “God’s spirit descended like a dove and it abode on Him”. Was it the same manifestation? Was it the Same Glory? Or was it different? It had to be the same. AMEN! EXACTLY THE SAME! JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER!
It has to be the same or it wasn’t God. And it has to be the same today or it isn’t God. Jesus was baptized in water and then the Holy Spirit, the Glory came to Him and stayed with him. We are baptized in water in His name and His Glory will then come to us and stay with us.
Do you think you can receive the Holy Spirit by being baptized in any other way than Acts 2:38? NO! It is not possible. God has provided a way, Jesus Christ is that way and Jesus said no man can come but by him and all others who try to come any other way are THIEVES AND ROBBERS. (John 10:1 look it up when you get home). We even find that in Acts chapter 19 a group of honest believing Christians could not receive the Holy Spirit because they were not baptized in Jesus name. And we then find that as soon as they were rebaptized in the name of Jesus Christ they received the Holy Spirit.
Now we noted that Jesus didn’t begin his ministry until after he received the glory of the Father. So too did the disciples not minister before they received the glory of Jesus either. In fact they were forbidden from preaching until they were glorified. Jesus said to them to go to Jerusalem and wait. What did he tell them to wait for? Did he say to wait until you get a degree, until some university offers you a PhD? Did he tell them to wait until they were a certain age? Did he tell them to wait until they get voted in by an assembly?
Jesus said to go and wait until you are “endued with POWER from on high”! Go and wait for the Glory of God! The Holy Spirit is the power of God! Not by might, nor by strength, but by my spirit said the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the Splendor of God! It is the Brilliance of God! It is the awesome light that radiates from God associated with acts of power, honour and praise! It is the Holy Spirit that does the works, the signs wonders and miracles in our ministries. It is the Holy Spirit that heals the sick, that raises the dead, that saves and delivers, and prophesies. It is the Holy Spirit that speaks in unknown tongues and interprets tongues.
II Peter 1: 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
The Holy Spirit is power. It is glory. Amen! It is given to us. He gave us “ALL THINGS”. How? Through knowledge of Him who called us to GLORY and virtue. Virtue, that comes up a little later too.
So now we know what the glory is. We know how Jesus got it and when he got it. We know how we are to receive it. We know how he was able to give it to us. We still have only answered half of the questions.
When is it given to us? Good question. That is a very important question. How do we qualify to receive it? That is probably even more important to ask.
We have touched on that a little. We said earlier that we must be both called and chosen, but what does that mean in practical sense. Often we find ourselves quoting a verse and not really understanding how it applies to the here and now. Do we have choices here or is God unfair? Of course we do but God knew what choices we would make before hand so that is how he was able to predestinate us. And then He reveals it to us but not to others.
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
So God predestinates us, calls us, and reveals his word to us. He also says that this revelation is only given to the called. If we are not called then we will not know any of the secrets of the Kingdom of God. We might be religious, we might attend church every Sunday, we might even be a preacher, or a bishop or a pope even, but we will have no light to know the meaning of the scriptures. Sure we will be smart. We will even memorize the letter of the Word, but we will be in complete darkness. We will never understand the godhead, baptism, the Lord’s supper, or this topic that we are discussing here.
So how do we go about becoming qualified? Peter tells us in two separate places.
Acts 2:38 Repent every one of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promise is unto you and to your children and to all who are afar off even as many as the Lord God shall call.
We mentioned this scripture earlier but is that it? Seems too simple doesn’t it? All we have to do is to repent and be baptized in Jesus name and we are qualified to receive the Holy Spirit? Is that all you have to do? YES! Baptism is straight forward. You get someone to completely immerse you in water and bring you back up again in the name of Jesus Christ and you are baptized according to the Word of God. Simple yes, but who is doing that today? Today if they even will immerse you, it is difficult to find a church that will baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ. They all use titles today but that is not according to the Bible and God will not accept it or count it as a baptism.
But what about repent? That is where we tend to fall down. Repent is not a one time thing. It is ongoing. It is making right what was wrong. How do we make right what is wrong in our lives? How do we sanctify ourselves? God cannot dwell in an unclean vessel. So how do we get clean? We are cleaned by the Word of God. The Bible calls it washing with the pure water of the word. Repent, fix what you broke, get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and then get sanctified for your glorification. If you stole something, pay it back. If you lied, go tell the truth.
2 Peter 1: 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge, 6 and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
What is charity? It is not giving to the poor for Paul writes though I give all I have to the poor and have not charity it profits me nothing. The original Greek word is Agapos which means the love of God. It is not human compassion that the Greeks called Phileo. This love is Holy and pure, this love is God. This love is the Holy Spirit.
It is the Glory, the Splendor, brilliance, awesome light radiating from the presence of God associated with acts of power, honour and praise. Peter said “IF ye do these things you will never fall and you will make your calling AND election sure”.
There are three that bear record on earth, water, blood and spirit. Ezekiel says I will give you a new heart, justification, and a new spirit, sanctification, and MY Spirit, Glorification. But not for all, because some are content with sanctification and some are happy with justification. But there are some that feel that extra tug in their hearts, that sense of urgency, a desperate longing to be in the presence of God. They seek out the oil now, they seek it out daily. They aren’t happy just being church, they want, they need, long to be the bride of Jesus Christ. They do not rest until they have been sealed with that Spirit of promise. And once they are sealed, they still cry out for more of God.
But what of those who don’t? What happens to the church? Where are they in and after the rapture? In the rapture, Jesus says, two will be together, one will be left and the other taken. The rapture will come and go and they will not be included. Then the tribulation strikes the earth. How about receiving glory then? Is it too late for oil, to late for glory after the rapture?
1 Thessalonians 4: 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
There are a couple of points we should note from this scripture. Here we see Paul telling us the series of events that make up what we collectively call the “rapture”. First the dead in Christ are risen. Then we which are still alive are caught up with them in the air. Then we all meet Jesus Christ in the air and remain with him forever. The point we need to see here is that if Jesus is meeting us in the air, he is no longer on the mercy seat making intercession for sins. Once Christ rises off of the mercy seat to claim his bride there will be no more mercy for any gentile anywhere on earth. If we look to Romans chapter eleven we can see that this is confirmed. Paul writes that the eyes of Israel are closed until the fulfillment of the gentiles. Once the rapture takes place, there is no more mercy for any gentile, no more salvation available. God then turns to Israel with two prophets, Moses and Elijah who will turn the hearts of 144,000 Israelites to Christ with a message that is vindicated with signs wonders and miracles. And in the book of Revelation we can read this:
Rev 22:10 And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Once Jesus gets off that mercy seat, as you are is how you stay. If you are justified you won’t be able to move forward to sanctification, if you are sanctified you won’t be able to move forward to glory. And if you are lost, there is no salvation to be found at all. The church is saved but she is saved Before the rapture. She goes through the tribulation and comes up in the white throne judgment, but her salvation came before the rapture. Don’t take my word for much, but you can believe me on this, “YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION!”
Now we have to examine the idea of the Church versus the Bride a little deeper. Let’s look to Abraham for an example back in the book of Genesis. Three “men” came to Abraham one day and Abraham, speaking only to the central character, called him Lord, and the other two went off to Sodom. Notice that the messenger with the message of promise, the Lord, came to Abraham but not to Lot. Lot got the message of impending judgment.
Abraham, the Bride, got a single messenger, while Lot, the church, got multiple messengers. Enoch, the bride, got the message of promise and was raptured, Noah, the church, got the message of judgment and went through the tribulation.
In each age God sent a Single messenger to the bride, and multiple to the church. One Luther and hundreds of others. One Wesley and hundreds of others. One Branham and hundreds of others. The message of the hour is not for the church. It is for the bride alone, for only the bride will receive it. The church can’t take it, she has to try to change it, to water it down or inject her own ideas into it. But the bride, she takes it as it is written, as it is spoken, and believes it and obeys it. She is justified, sanctified and glorified.
Which brings us to the question, can we lose it? Once we are sealed, once we are filled, once we receive the glory of Jesus Christ, can we loose it? This is an easy one to answer.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Can you loose it once you got it? NEVER! If you weren’t ready for it God would never have given it to you, and once he gives it to you He is making the testimony, this is my beloved son/daughter in whom I am pleased to dwell. God’s glory is eternal. God’s life is eternal. Once God puts his seal upon you, once God fills you with the Holy Spirit, once Jesus Christ gives you his glory which he received from the Father, you have it forever.
Here is the tough one. This one has baffled millions for years. This question stumps all the churches; the one question that seems almost without explanation to most people today. This is the question that is still argued about among the “message people”.
How do we know we got it? How do we know that we have the Glory? And taking it a step further, will we know? Will we know that we have the Glory and what will be the sign that we have it? Jesus said we would.
John 14: 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
So we will know. But how will we know? How do we know for sure if we got it?
Will we have some sensation? Will be speaking in unknown tongues? Will we shout, raise our hand, pass out, scream, run around? Will we believe the message? Maybe we will go hunting with the prophet? Some would almost say that. Is going to church or getting voted in as a deacon or a Sunday School teacher the sign? Is being baptized the sign or maybe taking the Lord’s supper?
What is the defining characteristic of the Holy Spirit in an individual? How did the disciples know they had it? What sign or evidence did Jesus tell them to look for? What were the disciples told to wait for when they were sent to Jerusalem? What ever they were told to wait for must be the sign or else how would they have known whether or not they had it. And since God doesn’t change, whatever was the sign to them in that day MUST be the sign now to us today.
Luke 24: 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
What were they told to wait for? What was the sign that Jesus said would be the evidence of the Holy Spirit? POWER! Wait until you get power from on high. The power was the sign, or evidence of the Holy Spirit. The power Peter spoke of:
II Peter 1: 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
POWER! GLORY! VIRTUE! Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you have power? Do you have Power over your flesh. Do you have Power to believe and obey the word of God. Do you have Power to testify about the name of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for you? Do you have power to overcome sin in your life?
It is not the gifts, they are without repentance. Jesus never told them to go and wait until they had spoken in tongues. He never told them to wait for education, or a sensation, or anything else but Power and Power from on High. The power is the Glory of Jesus Christ.
And how does it make us one? Oh my. That one is easy too. We will have One mind. We will all have One spirit. When we are filled with the glory of God, the Holy Spirit, then we will all have the mind and spirit of Jesus Christ. The bride is one with the groom, life of his life, spirit of his spirit. We will be the image of Jesus Christ, the stature of the perfect man. When we have the power we will say AMEN to every word in the Bible. We will believe it, we will obey it. We will think the way God thinks.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him, but we have the mind of Christ.
If you have the mind of Christ, and I have the mind of Christ, then we both have the same mind, the same thoughts and the same ideas. And if you have the Spirit of God in you, and I have the Spirit of God in me, then we are the same, filled with the same life. We will have the same spirit and the same mind. We will be one. We will be members one of another, members of the body of Jesus Christ. Maybe you are an eyeball and I am a little toe but we belong to the same body. We will have different jobs, and different gifts, but all our gifts will work together to make the body whole.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
There it is in a nutshell. We are the habitation of God through the spirit. When Jesus gives us the glory that God gave him, we become citizens of the Kingdom of God, we become lively stones fitly framed together with the other saints, and we become the habitation of God himself through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
That is what we need. It is not enough to come to church. That is a good thing but it will never save you. It is not enough to be a member of a church. It is not enough to be justified. It is not enough to be sanctified. We must get glorified. We, every one of us, needs to come to the position where we receive the filling of the Holy Spirit. The only people who will be raptured off of the earth before the great tribulation where Peter tells us the very elements will melt with a fervent heat, are those who have received the glory of God, the glory of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of promise.
The justified are saved, for that is what salvation is. We are saved from sin. Justification through repentance and full emersion water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ grants us remission, or salvation, from sin. The Sanctified are saved, for we must become justified before we can become sanctified. But only the glorified are the Bride of Jesus Christ. Only the Glorified are stolen away in the twinkling of an eye. Only the Glorified dwell with Jesus one thousand years in the new Jerusalem. Only the Glorified sit with him in Judgment.
We are all on a journey. There are two paths, one is narrow and very few people will choose it. That is the path to eternal life in the Kingdom of God. It starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your saviour and getting justified. That path requires rejecting all, rejecting the world, rejecting religion, rejecting men’s ideas, rejecting unbiblical church dogmas, and following the Bible alone. The Bible must be our absolute or we are not on the narrow path. And if we leave that path, we must go back to where we left off and start over.
It is a lonely path. It is a rocky uphill constant battle. It is a call to arms, a call to war against spirits, and powers, and principalities and powers of the air. It requires the whole armour of God. But It is also the path to glory for it is a path of glory. God lights the way with the brilliance of His glory that he promised to fill you with. And he gave us a simple prescription for receiving it which we discussed earlier. It is the only way. There is a way which seems right unto man the end thereof is death. That way is the broad easy way.
It is a wide easygoing path. It is a path of popularity, a path of worldly opportunity, a path of luxury. It is the path that most “Christians” will take. Just look to Bible examples. How many did Noah have with him? Eight souls out of the billions that were alive on earth at the time. How many got raptured before the flood? Only one man, Enoch. How many of the Israelites believed Moses and actually entered the Promised Land? Only two out of two million; Joshua and Caleb. How big was Daniel’s church? He had three men Shadrah, Meshack and Abed-nego. How many followed Jesus? In the end there were only twelve and one of them was a devil.
They do not want the narrow way. They do not want to sacrifice. They do not want to be laughed at and called “holy rollers” or “Jesus Freaks” or any other of the countless names the devil will throw at you. They do not want to crucify the flesh daily. They are too proud to admit they are wrong. They cannot repent, just like Cain of old. They do not want to be put out of their churches for testifying that Jesus Christ is still the healer, or for speaking in tongues, or for simply believing every word that is written in the Bible. They want the path of ease. They want to be popular. They want to be respected and accepted by the world and by organizations of men. They want to be lifted up by men. They want the pleasures of the world but to be called holy. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They call themselves Christians, they go to church, they sing and worship and pray, but inside they are a gross darkness. Cain was the same way. The end of that path is death.
But I trust that is not so of any of you who are reading this or I don’t think you would have gotten anywhere near this far without tossing the paper in the fire. You are called to glory! You are called to be the Bride of Jesus Christ. You are called to be a fellow citizen in the Kingdom of God. You are called to be the habitation of God!
Come to God’s glory today. Do not wait for tomorrow for there may not be a tomorrow. My dear brother, my sister, I am pleading with you to listen to the Word of God. Jesus Christ is pleading with you to receive him. Do not believe me for I am a man such as yourself, but take every word I have written here for you by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and take the Word of God and search it out and pray over it and see if it isn’t the absolute truth. Wait upon God for revelation. Do not go to another man, do not go to a pastor or priest, go to the high priest that can be touched by the feeling of our infirmities. Go to Jesus Christ and wait upon him to reveal to you the truth in his Word.
Follow ever after Jesus Christ. Believe and obey only the Word of God. The Bible is the word of God in print. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness of sins, sanctification from the filth of the flesh and of the world, and receive the glory of God from Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is the new birth. Be born again of water and of blood and of spirit. And as Jesus said, except you be born again you shall never see the kingdom of God. Come and see the Kingdom of God with the fellowship of the saints. Come and walk on the streets of pure gold in the city where the Lamb is the light.
So let’s look back over the questions one last time so we get it right. I have not included every possible scripture here, but rather just enough to get the point across. There are many more. I strongly urge you to study what is here and compare it with your Bible and look for more scriptures on the topic.
I’m going to ask you for the answers now. You all know them, and I think many readers probably knew most if not all of them before today.
- What is Glory? Is it tangible or figurative?
- How did God give glory to Jesus?
- When was this glory given?
- How did He, in turn, give it to us?
- When did He give it to us?
- Who, exactly, does He give it to?
- How do we qualify to get it?
- How do we know we have it?
- Can we loose it once we have it?
- How does this glory make us one with each other?
The glory of God is for you.
Salvation is for you.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is for you.
Do not stop short but earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the Saints. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Seek, knock and ask for Jesus promised to give unto you the Spirit. I would like to finish with a brief excerpt from a book written by a precious brother who God anointed with his Holy Spirit to bring a message of salvation and hope to the Bride of Christ in these last days. His name was William Branham. I strongly recommend that you find a copy of the book (there are many, many available in print and online) and read the whole thing.
285-1 SARDISEAN.CHURCH.AGE – CHURCH.AGE.BOOK.CPT.7
Thus the grain of wheat that became a plant for the harvest is the record of the church. And even as not all the wheat plant is wheat seed, and as not all the plant is used in the harvest, so with the church:–all the church is not the bride, and neither is it all given eternal life, but a PART of it is gathered into the garner, and a PART of it is kept that it might enter into eternal life in the second resurrection, and PART of it which is accounted chaff is burned in the lake of fire.
Be that part that is gathered into the garner. Get your oil, get your promised glory today!
May God richly bless you with his spiritual revelation.