A Blessed Invitation

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Revelation 19:1-10 | April 28 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
April 28
A Blessed Invitation | Revelation 19:1-10
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Father in heaven, we ask now that You would give us grace. We do need grace. I need grace that I might preach Your Word faithfully and in the power of the Holy Spirit and Your people need grace that they might listen and not simply hear the words of a message or lecture or sermon or talk but they would hear Your very voice calling to us that the sheep might know Your voice and respond in faith and obedience and enter in. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our text this morning is Revelation 19. We are coming to the end of this long series in the last book of the Bible. We have some, how shall we say, gruesome sections ahead. They’re glorious but they’re also gruesome and there are some hard texts ahead in thinking on the defeat of Satan and the lake of fire. So we have some hard texts before we get to the glorious ending in chapter 21 and 22.

But this morning is also a great, glad, glorious text. Follow along as I read Revelation 19, verses 1 through 10.

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for His judgments are true and just;
for He has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of His servants.”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you His servants,
you who fear Him,
small and great.”

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give Him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

I said at the end of last week’s sermon that Revelation is presenting us with a choice and it is a very stark choice between two very different options. We must choose, every one of us, between two masters – whether to follow the beast or to follow the Lamb. We must choose between two cities – whether to live now comfortably in Babylon, which will one day be destroyed, or live forever in the New Jerusalem, whose foundations belong to God and will last forever and ever. And we must choose between two women – whether we will be characterized corporately as an adulterous prostitute or as a pure, spotless bride.

It’s that last contrast which comes into clearer focus here in chapter 19. These two women, Babylon which is likened unto a city but is also this whore, this prostitute, and then the church, also called the New Jerusalem but likened unto a bride. We see that these two women face radically different outcomes.

Let me point out seven differences between Babylon and the Church. Seven differences and then we’ll end on one blessing.

Many of these differences you need to know will not be fully evident until the end of the age. Some of them you can sense already, but part of what Revelation is doing and why it’s such an important book for us is it shows the end of the story because as we live our life now, it may look like Babylon is the place to be. The prostitute is the woman to seek after and the prospects for the Church may look very grim. But Christians, we know the end of the story and everything about the end of the story ought to affect the kind of lives and decisions we make now.

During the first years leading up and then the first years of World War II, it certainly looked like Germany was going to be victorious. In 1938 they annexed Austria, they occupied Poland, attacking in September 1939. Then Denmark in April 1940. Then Norway, then Belgium, then The Netherlands, then Luxembourg, all in the spring of 1940. Then France, and then Yugoslavia in the spring of 1941. And Greece in April 1941. If you did not know the ending, you would have perhaps made the decision that the smart money was to be on Germany in the conflict that was then engulfing the entire world. But we know the end of the story.

Or even more importantly, think about when this was written in the first century. Now we live 2000 years later and even though the Church is often under assault and persecuted around the world, yet we live, we’re worshiping in this wonderful place with 1500 people and there are churches on every continent and Christianity is still the most populated religion in the world and we have 2000 years of history and architecture, so we live on the other side of all of that.

Remember to whom this was written in the first century and think about the smallness and the seeming insignificance of the Church. The Church was no world power. It had spread throughout the Mediterranean basin but it was not the largest religion on the planet. It was barely a blip of religions on the planet. Yes, it had a long storied history coming out of Judaism in the Old Testament but no 2000 years of Christian history. It was not aligned with the most powerful and most prosperous countries on the planet.

So in the first century if you did not know the ending, surely you would have thought that the smart decision was to side with Rome and the Roman Empire. Who could have fathomed Rome, often called the eternal city, which had already at this point existed for centuries, well night close to a millennium. Who would have thought that this small, fledgling, little Church would outlast, overtake, and run roughshod over the Roman Empire? That your decision to opt for, hmm, who is going to be victorious in this? The Church or Rome? Surely, it seemed that the Church was small and insignificant and may not even last.

But into that we have Revelation, and one of the things that these visions were to do for God’s people then and for us now is to show the ending, that no matter how opposed or small or insignificant the Church may seem, we see here the difference between the outcome for the bride and for the harlot.

Notice first of all then. Seven differences. Notice their different exclamations. Their different exclamations.

Remember last week, if you glance back at chapter 18, three times the inhabitants of the earth, the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and the sailors of the sea, three times they cry out, “Alas, alas.” You see that in verse 10 of chapter 18, verse 16, and verse 19. Or some translations say, “Whoa, whoa.” Their exclamation to look out upon the end of Babylon is to say, “Alas, alas.” The means by which we have grown wealthy and prosperous and lived in lavish luxury has all been cast down in the matter of a day, or an hour. Three times they cry out, “Alas, alas.”

But notice here in chapter 19. Four times the great multitude, or the voice from heaven, cries out, “Hallelujah.” Verse 1, verse 3, verse 4, verse 6. Three times “alas, alas,” now four times “hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.” Hallelujah being the Hebrew word meaning “praise Yah, praise Yahweh.”

The destruction of the wicked will resume in the second half of chapter 19, and we’ll come to the rest of that story, but it’s as if now, interrupting that final description of the destruction of God’s enemies, John hears in the distance a great victory celebration.

Sometimes in the summer on a Friday or Saturday night, and I don’t know exactly what this house is doing, it’s sort of back, I can’t get to it from our road, you’d have to go out the main road, but it’s sort of on the other side of the woods, and Friday or Saturday night I just hear some loud music and it seems like somebody’s having a good time over there. People around here, I don’t know if it’s this thing in the South, but they don’t just light fireworks on July 4, it’s sort of like you get the whole season, just whenever stuff blows up, you can just do it. There’s just a party, there’s a celebration in the distance.

When we lived in East Lansing, Michigan we lived close enough that we could hear the roar of Spartan Stadium, and back when we lived there their football team was actually good a number of years. And you could hear, you didn’t have to turn the TV on, you could hear out your window, or if you were in the front because it was maybe a mile and a half away, you could hear if something good had happened and the air was swelled with the chants and the sounds of celebration.

John here in the distance, after the silence of chapter 18, remember how chapter 18 ends? Verse 22, the sound of harpists and musicians and flute players and trumpets will be heard no more. The craftsmen will be found no more. Verse 23 – the voice of the bridegroom and the bride will be heard no more. It is a deafening silence.

If it were a movie, you would have just smoldering smoke and a dystopian scene of this city Babylon cast to the ground and weeping and lamentation, crescendoing in a deafening silence, and the screen would fade to black and there would be a moment of nothing, and then with a clap you would hear the Hallelujah Chorus. There would be a bright explosion of vivid colors and lights. Just the opposite of everything that has befallen Babylon.

Now John gets a picture, well, that’s happening at Babylon, let me tell you what’s happening in heaven. There’s a different exclamation.

The second difference. Notice the pride of Babylon unravels while the glory of heaven unfurls, like a flag unfurling to show its stripes and its glory. You notice there in Babylon one after another, silence upon silence, from the arts and the musicians to the industry and the merchants, to finally the very sound of human relationships, one after another is leaving. It’s unraveling.

But here in heaven a great multitude, in verse 1, and again another crying out in verse 3, and then you add to it the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures in verse 4, and then an even greater multitude in verse 6. You see what’s happening? The choir is growing and growing and then add the orchestra and add the brass and get the organ cranked up and add the children and add all the parts, swelling in the grand refrain.

It’s like a storm rolling across the sky and we’ll have those throughout the spring and the summer. First a flash. Someone will say, “Mommy, Daddy, what was that?” It’s just a flash in the distance and then you hear a rumble. At first you’re not sure – is it a plane, are we hearing some traffic from the road? You say, “No, it’s the rumble of thunder.” Then a clap. Then sometimes out of nowhere a torrent of rain and then lightning and an explosion of sound and suddenly the storm is upon you.

Well, this is a storm and an explosion of praise. One of the things that this was to remind God’s people, especially in the first century but even to us now, is even if you are in your classroom and you feel alone, if you are at your workplace and you feel alone, if you look out at the madness of this world and think, “What is happening? Have I gone crazy? Am I the only one?” No, you are not. There is a great multitude already assembled in heaven and God is calling them from every corner of the earth to be there. You and I, as we are called to worship Christ, are not alone. We are a part of a great multitude, swelling in praise.

Notice the third difference. Power is taken from Babylon and ascribed to God. Look at verse 2. Hallelujah, verse 1, salvation and glory and power belong to our God for His judgments are true and just.

The people of the earth thought that Babylon was their salvation. As I said last week, Babylon isn’t a place, Babylon is any place where worldliness reigns, anyplace where worldliness tempts us in our hearts, anyplace where we are drawn to compromise with the world, that we might go along with the world and share in all of the lavish luxuries the world has to offer. The people of the earth looked out and they thought, “Look at this Babylon. So great, so rich, so powerful, so impressive. That will be my salvation and my glory.

But here we read, no, no, no, salvation and glory and power do not belong to Babylon, they belong to God, which is why the Church celebrates. Sometimes people think this is a little grim and isn’t this untoward, that you would have the Church celebrating for destroying Babylon? Well, of course it’s not grim and dour. It’s what it should be. Something would be wrong in their hearts if they did not celebrate. No one blamed the Allied nations for throwing parades when the Nazis surrendered. Power is taken from Babylon and it is given to the One who always had it, to God.

Notice a fourth difference. This one will take just a little bit more time.

Notice Babylon’s riches, splendor, and luxuries are gone while the Church is now given fine linen, bright and pure. So I’m looking at verse 8. So we’ve now entered into this metaphor, this picture of the marriage supper of the Lamb, and we read there about the bride, it was granted her, verse 8, to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.

Remember the prostitute Babylon arrayed herself in these fine, luxurious, royal clothes and she looked alluring and attractive but upon closer inspection inside she was a mother of prostitutes and abominations.

Here we have the Church and her purity.

Now we’re given a helpful gloss here in the second half of verse 8 – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. It would be nice if John did that all throughout Revelation. Can you just give us, and what did this mean? Well, here’s one.

Now don’t get confused here. This is not about justification. This is not saying, well, the Church must prove itself and the Church has to get enough holiness points, and then the groom will want to marry her. No, this is more about sanctification than justification. Even more than fitting in a particular systematic category, what we really have here is the image of preparation.

Notice how this fits together so perfectly. The bride is getting herself ready, you see that in verse 7, the marriage has come and his bride has made herself ready. So the bride, like every bride does, the bride is getting herself ready for the wedding. But notice it was granted to her to clothe herself. It’s a great picture of how sanctification works. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure.

So we’re working out, she’s preparing herself, but it is ultimately granted to her. Isaiah 61 – I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exalt in my God for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom decks herself, like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.

It’s a wonderful picture of the Church getting ready, but everything that she has has been given to her by the groom.

Now this is where the analogy fails. Any brides to be out there, you probably don’t want your groom picking out your dress. You probably don’t want, you know, you’re not entrusting him with all of the arrangements for this celebration.

But here the Church’s groom is more than up to the task. So the Church must be ready but even the ability to get ready is a gift from God, that we would have something to show for ourselves as the Church, that God would look out and say, “Those are My people and they are decked in the holiness in which I dwell.”

We have to prepare ourselves. If I’m not mistaken, the typical bride gets dressed in about 12 hours. Four of that is getting her hair done and then the nails. She picks out a dress, I’d like to say as soon as she’s engaged but often before she’s engaged, has the perfect dress picked out in advance because she wants to look her best. And honestly, I can say, and you would agree with me, I have never, ever seen an ugly bride. They’re always beautiful. When the doors open and there they are and the groom is just looking kinda like, “Wow. Pastor, do this before she realizes what’s happening here.”

She’s always beautiful and it’s not just the preparation, but it’s the joy, it’s the radiance, it’s the pleasure of the entire day. Everyone wants to see the bride at the wedding. It’s always the instruction I give at a rehearsal. Okay, you don’t know where you should be looking, you look at the bride. So when she comes out, you all turn around and you look at her and then your eyes follow as she comes down, and there are some of you brides, that made you uncomfortable, and some of you are ready with the slowest walk you’ve ever done to come down.

But it’s fitting, it’s fitting. I always say the most important person at this event is God; after that, the bride.

Now this is a little different. We have a groom. But this bride has made herself ready. So at our weddings, everyone stands when the bride enters. They turn their heads. All the bridal attendants keep their eyes fixed on her. It’s a wonderful picture, Church, of what God is doing in the Church. Yes, the Church may look unimpressive now. There are, it seems like, week by week another book rolls of some major publisher’s press about how terrible the Church is. Well, yes, the Church last I looked is full of sinners, as the world is, and we do not excuse the sins of Church.

But do not miss this fact. Yes, the Church may look unimpressive, the Church may even be ugly at times, but don’t you ever forget that on the day that really matters, she’s going to turn some heads. The only gaze that truly matters for the Church is the gaze of the groom, the Lord Jesus Christ, and no one loves the Church more than Jesus.

Lest any of you are in the process of, as they call it, de-constructing in your faith, now I understand, the Church sins, I understand hurtful things happen, but don’t you ever love the Church less than Jesus loves the Church. It’s not spiritual, it’s not high-minded, to disrespect the very bride for which Jesus came and gave His life. If you love the Lord Jesus Christ, you will love His bride, the Church.

Here she is, clothed with the righteous deeds of the saints. Here in Revelation the righteous deed is in particular faithful witness. She has not compromised. She has maintained her allegiance to Christ. Of course, it doesn’t mean that these churches were without sinners; no church ever has been. But it means the most important thing a bride must do is to keep herself from other lovers. No matter how gorgeous the bride may look, it’s not a good look to wink at all the groomsmen. That’s not what you want to see from the bride. Praise God that He can forgive earthly brides and earthly grooms who have not kept themselves pure and can give to you a new chastity and grace.

But this Church is a faithful Church. God’s people collectively have not turned aside to the spirit of prostitution that flourished in Babylon. All this means, Christ Covenant, we are called to live a life of holiness, to sow unto the Spirit that we might reap eternal life, to be a people transformed by the grace of Christ. Our good works do not merit the Gospel but they do adorn the Gospel. Does your life make the Gospel look more or less attractive? Does our corporate life as a church make the non-Christian say, “Well, I don’t really know if I believe this Bible and I don’t like what these people believe, but their witness and the way they conduct themselves, there’s something beautiful there. Something attractive.”

So we have here Babylon and all of her riches and splendor and luxuries disappear, while on the last day the Church is granted to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and pure.

Here’s the fifth difference. The prostitute is cast down while the Church falls down.

Here’s what I mean. We saw in chapter 18 that Babylon is destroyed, leveled, cast down, but notice in verse 4 – the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures fell down and worshiped.

You see, we will all bow the knee at the end of the age. Philippians tells us that. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It will be abundantly clear, whatever you think on this day, it will be abundantly clear to everyone on the last day that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords and every knee will bow. For some, it will be a continuing act of worship, and for others it will be a resentful, begrudging acquiescence to His kingship.

The question is not whether we will bow, it’s whether we will in humble adoration worship now or in begrudging acknowledgement later bend the knee. The prostitute is cast down, God’s people in humility fall down.

Sixth difference. The first will be last and the last will be first.

What I mean is the inhabitants of Babylon craved the worship of the world. They wanted everything that Babylon had to offer. They were willing to prostitute themselves with Babylon in order that they may share in all of the goodies that Babylon had to offer. They wanted the praise that comes from men.

Notice what happens at the end of this section. There’s an angel, some sort of being here, and John falls at his feet, verse 10, to worship him, “But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that. I’m a fellow servant with you and your brothers. I am not God. I am not Christ. I am not deserving of worship.'”

Here’s the lesson. Everlasting joy is found in turning worship away from yourself and terminating your worship on the only one who is worthy. That’s what makes for a happy life, not just later but also now. The first shall be last, the last shall be first. Unless the seed fall to the earth and dies it will not bear good fruit. Is that the spirit that you have or is it a spirit of Babylon.

I admit that I watched more of the NFL draft than my wife thought anyone could be interested in, what was happening, and I like to see the suits that those young men wear. Not going to probably try them, but I like to see them. And then they always put the microphone and ask them and some of them say, basically, “I’m the last piece for this team to win the Super Bowl. I am the best player in this draft. I’m on my way to the Hall of Fame. I am the greatest.” Well, you appreciate the confidence in one sense. It is nice to hear those who say something like, “I’m thankful to be here. I’m grateful for the opportunity. There’s a lot of great people out there. I’m excited to get to work.”

We are not meant to be the center of our own stories.

Remember… I don’t even know if these shows exist anymore, but it used to be kind of a thing that they would have these, were they called Behind the Music or there would be these shows on the bands from the 70s or 80s or 90s and every single one was kind of the same tragic story of fame and drugs and sex and debauchery and they hate each other’s guts. There just seemed to be something in particular about the rock star with tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people there, almost in a state of ecstatic worship.

The human heart craves it and doesn’t know what to do with it. You and I were not meant to be worshiped. We think we want it, and the people that actually get it end up being some of the tragically least happy, most self-destructive people on the planet because we are not made to be worshipped. We’re made to direct the worship to someone else. The first will be last, the last will be first.

Then here’s the seventh difference. In Babylon, all the good times are now, but in the Church, the best is yet to come.

The good times are all now. We see that in Babylon and we saw it at the end of chapter 18, one after another, as sound was silenced, as industry was thwarted, as human relationships unraveled. All of the good times in Babylon in a moment they’re gone. We’re meant to see the ending, brothers and sisters. Why would you, it’s not about being super-spiritual, it’s about not being a fool. Why would you live for those pleasures that in a moment will be gone when you can live your life for pleasures and joy that will last forever?

That’s why it’s so fitting, and we’ll say more about this in the weeks ahead, but it’s so fitting that chapter 19 is the marriage supper of the Lamb. Sometimes we think of heaven sort of like a funeral. It’s very reverent and very somber and a little bit… Shh, it’s like you’re in the library for all eternity. Well, there are books, I hope.

But it’s a wedding. Who doesn’t look forward to their wedding day? I admit when I was engaged for over a year, I don’t recommend a long engagement, but I was torn. I knew biblically I should pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” but I also put a little parentheses, “After the honeymoon, come Jesus.” That’s bad theology, I know, because heaven’s going to be better than that, but I’m probably not the only one who’s prayed something like that. There are some young girls who will play wedding and plan it out from their earliest childhood. It is something that we all look forward to, and by God’s grace, it’s not given to every one of us. To many it is.

This is a picture of a royal marriage about to occur. What a fitting ending. Think of all the movies you’ve ever seen or books you’ve ever read that end with a wedding, or if you’re Jane Austen, sometimes a double wedding. There is a happily ever after in our future. The part of the fairy tale, that part of the fairy tale is not a fairy tale. There is a happily ever after.

I know that it’s become very unpopular to have movies that have the classic damsel in distress and I understand it can be, you know, some of the old tropes sometimes, the woman didn’t have any agency and she was just there and it was all just the man was all the hero. I get why some of that needed to change. But listen, there’s an echo of some cosmic significance in that story of a damsel in distress. Because we collectively as the Church are that damsel in distress.

Now you can look through the rest of Revelation. This Church is very active and she’s got to be courageous and fight and be bold, so it’s not a passive damsel. But this story of a woman who is waiting for “Someday my prince will come,” well, there’s a biblical resonance. We as God’s holy bride are looking forward to that great wedding when the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, will come and in this fairytale that this all true, we will live happily ever after. That’s what we’re waiting for.

Which leads us then to this final point. I said there were seven differences and then there’s one benediction, because the wedding imagery shifts here, from the bride to guests. This isn’t talking about now, though it’s related to now. It’s talking about at the end of the age. A bride and guests, now don’t get yourself tripped up in how the imagery works. It’s just heaping images upon each other. But it is helpful to remember that we are a bride collectively. So throughout history mystics and others have gotten themselves in a bad direction when they start writing as if they themselves personally are the bride of Christ. No, it’s not you individually are betrothed to Jesus, so that’s the image of you as an individual married to Jesus. The image is collectively as a Church we’re a bride, so collectively we’re a bride, individually now we’re guests.

There are seven benedictions in the book of Revelation – chapter 1, chapter 14, chapter 16, chapter 20, two of them in chapter 22, and here in verse 9 is the fourth of those seven benedictions. Look at it – the angel said to me, “Write this. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

You and I, as we belong to Christ, have the most valuable, precious, invitation you could ever receive. It’s better than Willy Wonka’ golden ticket. It’s better than those wedding invitations, you know, you get that have like five pieces of paper for some reason and they skinned a baby seal and put some of that on there and it’s all perfumed and all of that thing that you put in there. It’s more precious than that. This invitation.

Today’s April 28. April 29, 2011 was the wedding of William and Kate. I doubt many of us were there. Wouldn’t you have been surprised, whether you follow the Royals or not, and we had a Revolution here, as you recall, so we don’t have royals, but they’re interesting. Wouldn’t you have been surprised to get in the mail, “Hear ye, hear ye, you are cordially and most sincerely invited to the wedding of William and Kate at Westminster in London on April 29, 2011.” You would have, ha ha ha, what’s the joke? Really? And you find out it’s sincere. And as you parade that thing around you would have shown it to all your friends. Get out of jail free card. I’m not going to be here for exams, sorry. Got a little wedding. Maybe you’ll see me there. I’m going to wear my best Beefeater costume and get the whole thing. You would have been so proud, so thrilled, so over-awed.

Well, brothers and sisters, you have a better invitation than that.

I asked Nathan that we could sing the song we did before the sermon because it fit so perfectly. Listen again to these words: How sweet and awesome is the place with Christ within the doors, while everlasting love displays the choicest of her stores.

And then it’s verse two. I’m not a prolific crier, but it’s verse two that will just about always bring me to tears: While all our hearts and all our songs join to admire the feast, each of us cries with thankful tongue, Lord, why was I a guest?

Why were you a guest? If you are here this morning, you are in one of the most privileged positions of anyone who has ever lived on this planet. You probably know English, most of you as a first language, perhaps some as a second language. You have a Bible, translated in a language you can understand. We have an abundance of resources. You get some here, you go to a bookstore, you can just with a click and they’ll be here tomorrow. Some of you grew up and have a great heritage of Christian homes. You have an opportunity to hear preaching. We trust good Gospel, Bible preaching from this pulpit, week after week. You have Sunday school, you have Bible studies, you have books, you have podcasts, you have apps.

Why should we have been called when so many others have yet to receive the invitation? And not just that, the external call, but internal call. Why should it be that the Lord should choose you? Die for you? Call you? Save you? Sovereignly change and regenerate you and promise to the end of the age to keep you? All of us know, and it breaks our hearts, of friends and family members who are not following Christ, and some of them had all of the same instruction. Some of them have all of the same privileges, and for whatever reason, and we pray that God would yet save them, for whatever inscrutable reason they are not now walking with Christ and seem to have even rebelled against Christ, and it’s a great sadness to us.

But let this also be a great thanksgiving that you have not, that God’s deep and unfathomable mercy has taken root in your heart, that you’re here and I trust you’re here because you love Jesus. Why was I made to hear Your voice and enter while there’s room when thousands make a wretched choice and rather starve than come?

So let me say to any of your who have not come, who have not with gladness taken that invitation into your heart, that it’s not too late. God is sovereign over all, so yes, He chooses, but in that sovereign choosing He also comes to you in a moment of time and He says you have two masters, you have two cities, you have two women, what choice will you make?

Are you confident that on that day when we stand before the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures and God and the Lamb and the 7 spirits of God, are you confident as the roll is called up yonder, and the names are read from the Lamb’s Book of Life, all of the wedding guests, will your name be there? Will you stand knowing you have the invitation and you’re on the guest list and you have made yourself ready and you have been waiting for this great and glorious day.

Pity the nations, O our God, constrain the earth to come. Send forth Your victorious Word abroad and bring the strangers home.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, it is our prayer that even now within the sound of my voice, any watching wherever they are, any who may listen to this in weeks or months or years ahead, that You will have pity upon those who are far from You and You would send Your victorious Word abroad and bring the strangers home. And that we with great anticipation would be there in the wedding supper of the Lamb, both corporately as the bride and individually as the guests. Ready to sing and to celebrate and to fall down and to worship, for we in Your great mercy have been made a guest. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.