The Church – Christ’s Virtuous Wife:Rewards for The Faithful and Conclusion

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:28-31)

 The winner for the Miss Universe pageant is…  Ladies from around the world have spent hours, months, even years preparing for this moment.  The dresses, speeches, and talents had to be picked, practiced, and perfected.  How many really do remember the name of the one who won the pageant?  They are often forgotten as time passes by.

Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, these are names that have become a part of us.  Why do we remember them but not the ones who have put forth all the effort being the most beautiful and talented woman in the world?  They possess a beauty that goes farther than outward appearances.  “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.  For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.  For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.  For beautiful hair, let a child run her fingers through it once a day.  For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.”  These women did just that.  Their legacy will live for generation after generation.

In the Bible several women made a difference in how they lived and they each received a reward for their faithfulness.  We can learn from them.  Rahab, Ruth, and of course Mary are just a few.  Rahab was a prostitute who kept the spies safe in her house when they were sent into Jericho.  She hid them when the authorities tried to find them.  Because of her obedience, she and her family were spared when the walls of Jericho came down.  Everyone else in the city was killed.  She also became part of the lineage of Jesus.

“Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’  So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’ Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.  And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.’  (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof) (Joshua 2:1-6).  “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

Ruth had lost her husband in a terrible famine and moved with her mother in law, Naomi despite her pleas to go back to her home town (Ruth 1:1-15).  “But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).  Because of her loyalty, she was remarried to Boaz and became a part of the lineage of David and Jesus.  “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him.  Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘There is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David (Ruth 4:13-17).

As we all know, Mary was the mother of Jesus.  History tells us that she was just a young teenager but she was faithful to God and found favor with Him.  She was visited by an angel who told her that she was going to conceive a child.  Imagine what she must have thought.  She even questioned the angel to how this could be possible when she had not had any sexual relations especially since she was only betrothed and not yet married.  “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’   But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’  And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’  Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).

These women did not have fortune or fame.  They may not have even been the most beautiful, talented women in history.  Yet they possessed the one thing that God wants from His children, a heart that is devoted to Him.  He doesn’t care what we look like or what talents we have, though they could be useful for the building up of the church.  He is interested in our hearts.  He will pour out His blessings upon us and we will be known as His children if we follow after His heart.   “A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, a hand through which Christ helps” (Anon).  If you honour Christ in your heart, He will be honoured by your life.

If we are willing to surrender our everything, the blessings will be found in our everyday life and the greatest reward will be the time spent in eternity worshipping at His feet, the enemy has been made His footstool and we will dine with Him at the Wedding Feast.  “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!  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’  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. Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’ And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:6-10).

We need to remember who we are in Christ.  We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people called out of darkness into His marvelous light. We have royal blood in us.  We are princes and princesses.  When we were saved, we became an heir to the Kingdom of God.

What an honor!  Rahab was honoured by having her family spared in the fall of Jericho.  Ruth was honoured by being able to remarry.  Mary was honoured by being the mother of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.  We are honoured by being called God’s children!  We have been adopted into His family.  We will also have the honour of being at the Wedding Feast when He returns.

If we remember who we are, then wearing the clothes of righteousness will be our desire.  We will be humbled and Christ will be exalted.  We will become nothing and Christ our everything.

Conclusion

As the bride of Christ, we need to have Him as the first and foremost in our lives.  He is our husband and we are His bride.  He is the head of the household and we are to submit to Him.  This comes through faith, (Forsaking All I Trust Him).  We need to let go of all idols, anything that can come between Him and us.    “It is easy to die for Christ.  It is hard to live for Him.  Dying takes only an hour or two, but to live for Christ means to die daily.  Only during the few years of this life are we given the privilege of serving each other and Christ… We shall have heaven forever, but only a short time for service here, and therefore; we must not waste the opportunity”(Sadhu Sundar Singh).

We need to take care of our family, the body of believers within our congregations. When we are faithful to them, we are able to reach outwards to our community bringing them into the fold.  The body of Christ needs to grow.  If we want the church to grow, we need to reflect Christ in everything that we do.  “The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church… grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the praylessness in the Church.  He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil” (Leonard Ravenhill).  Prayer is the key in the church to go where Jesus wills us to go.  Prayer is communication between us and God.  It is vital to the health of the church.  There cannot be a relationship without communication.  Studying God’s Word, gathering together in worship and testifying to His grace are also important to the growth of the church.

The church begins with each of us individually having Christ as our cornerstone.  If we are not growing in our personal daily relationship, we can harbor a divisive spirit that can hinder the work of the Spirit within the corporate body.  If we want God to bring restoration and revival to the church, we need to be in daily communion with Jesus and in tune with the Holy Spirit.

The devil would love to destroy us.  We need to have our spiritual armour on ready to take our stand against the enemy’s schemes.  In knowing who we are in Christ we have the authority to bind up the enemy.  Jesus is Lord and will have the last say, sending the devil to spend eternity in hell.  Jesus has won the victory.  Let’s walk in it and live it! There is a reward for us in heaven if we are but faithful to Him.  Keep marching forward in the fight and let us be found as Christ’s Virtuous Wife.

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