The Bridal Paradigm This is actually the second of a three part series I taught in Church on Wednesday nights called ''The Bridal Paradigm'', the first lesson is call ''How Then Shall We Live''. If you all want me to post the first lesson after reading this one just let me know. Last week we spoke on the Grace of God, and the fact that He expects us as His Church/ Bride through the empowerment of His grace to live righteous lives. Tonight we are speaking on the love of God, the unending, unmeasurable love Jesus has for us. Do you remember when you first fell in love how, you thought about that person day and night, you couldn't think about anything else, and your greatest wish is that they would one day return that same love for you. Well that is how Jesus feels about us. He cannot get us off His mind He thinks about us day and night wanting us to love Him back. His deepish wish is for us to return His love, He longs for the day we will be together with Him, He longs for the day we He returns and receive us into Himself. To understand this love He has for us we need to change our entire perspective, we need to get a new conception of Jesus as His relationship to the church. This perspective is called the Bridal Paradigm. ''Bridal Paradigm'' par·a·digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm') n. 1.One that serves as a pattern or model. 2.A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb. 3.A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline. The bridal paradigm is not a precise theological term. Rather, it is a practical term that communicates a body of truth related to Jesus' heart as a Bridegroom God, and our experience as His cherished Bride. God will bring forth a Bride that will love Jesus as the Father loves Him. John 17 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. She will be empowered by the grace of God to love Jesus. This love will overflow with lovesickness for her Bridegroom Messiah. It takes God to love God. We need the Spirit's impartation of God's love in us to equip us to love God. Our love for God is a gift from God to us. Our love and desire for God is an expression of His desire for us. We are able walk victoriously in love with Jesus because of our Bridal identity, and the knowledge of this truth. Ephesians 5 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Our experience of Jesus as our Bridegroom can be described according to the seven longings common in each humans heart. #1 The assurance that we are enjoyed by God. #2 To be fascinated. #3 To be beautiful. #4 To be great #5 To have intimacy without shame. #6 To be wholehearted, and passionate. #7 To make a deep, and long lasting impact. #1 The assurance that we are accepted, and enjoyed by God. We all have a longing to be accepted, first by God, and then by our friends and family. When we understand God's acceptance and affection for us we begin our journey in the romance of the gospel, our hearts are exhilerated by God's love. God beckons us to receive of His embrace. I believe the most prevailing stronghold of the mind is fear of rejection, and the trama of shame. We are emotionally drained, and sometimes devastated if we feel we have been rejected by God or our family. The sheer feeling of it can knock the wind of of our emotional lungs. Most of us desire romance, and our God wants to romance us. Our Bridegroom Kings desires us. He pursues, and enjoys us. When we are assured of this, something awakens in us and we are changed for ever. It is not too hard to believe that God enjoys us when we are spiritually mature, but the truth is God not only loves us but likes us as well, even when we are young in the faith, spiritually immature, making many mistakes. This seems to good to be true, but it is gloriously true. Song of Solomon 4 9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! Romans 5 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 8 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. #2 To be fascinated. There is a craving in every human spirit to be fascinated. We long to be awestruch, and filled with endless wonder. Many search through secular entertainment to fulfill this God given craving to be fascinated. Without a sense of awe, we live aimless, and spiritually bored lives. This makes us vulnerable to satan's tactics. A spiritually bored Church is weak, but believers fascinated by Christ are strong and adequately equipped to face temptation. The Lord will answer this longing by revealing to us the beauty of Christ. God will fascinate His people beyond anything we have ever known, by revealing to us the fullness of the Son. (King, Judge, Bridegroom) Psalms 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. Psalms 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. #3 To be beautiful. Every one of us longs to posses beauty, and to feel beautiful. Most people pursue beauty at great lengths because we feel unsettled, and unhappy when we feel ugly. Our hearts vigorously chases after the realm of beauty. The good news is that the very beauty God possesses he imparts to us through redemption. His beauty is transferred to us through Jesus. God imparts His beauty to a formerly demonized, hopeless, sin-ridden people through redemption by the blood of Christ. A beautiful God created us in such a way that we would long to posses, and feel His imparted beauty. Psalms 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: Psalms 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. Isaiah 61 1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. #4 To be great In the core of our being we long to be great, to be successful, to be noble. God created this pursuit of greatness deep within our genetics. Sometimes we assume we must repent of this longing, but that is not true. We need not repent of this God given longing. we only need repentance if we pursue it in the wrong way. We were made for greatness, Jesus declares that we will one day be exalted to His right hand co-rulers of the Earth. He meets this longing for greatness by granting His Bride a position of authority that will even surpass the greatest of angels. As the Bride of chriist we are at the very pinacle of the created order. As the Church takes hold of the truth that we are indeed the Bride of Jesus Christ, then our lives will begin to portray the divine nature of Christ Himself. We will be filled with inner strength, a fierce determination to be wholly His, and holy as He is. Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 1st John 3 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.