Sun, Nov 11, 2007

HERE COMES THE BRIDE! GENESIS 24

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
HERE COMES THE BRIDE!
GENESIS 24
 

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 24 as we look at the topic I call – Here Comes The Bride! You see, our focus will be the Holy Spirit drawing out a bride for Christ, which is the Church.  I know, some of you are wondering how we can find that in the book of Genesis when it is a New Testament teaching.  The reality is, God is going to paint for us a picture of this work of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way, besides some other important lessons for us. In fact, He is going to do this in such a way that you would think it is coming from the New Testament, but it is not, just the same God!

            Before we dig into this study, let me share with you these words from James Packer that he wrote in his book Your Father Loves You. He wrote:

The Holy Spirit's distinctive role is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. So far as this role was concerned, the Spirit “was not yet” (John 7:29, literal Greek) while Jesus was on earth; only when the Father had glorified him (John 17:1, 5) could the Spirit's work of making men aware of Jesus' glory begin.

I remember walking to church one winter evening to preach on the words, “He will glorify me” (John 16:14), seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are placed so that you do not see them; in fact, you are not supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. The intended effect is to make it visible when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness, and to maximize its dignity by throwing all its details into relief so that you can see it properly. This perfectly illustrated the Spirit's new covenant role. He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior.

Or think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit's message to us is never, “Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me”, but always, “Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.” The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together. 

James Packer, Your Father Loves You

            The Holy Spirit is testifying of Jesus, pointing people to Jesus, He is drawing out a bride for Jesus and that is exactly what we will see here in our study this morning. Now in Genesis chapter 24 it is a long chapter as you know from Thursday, some 67 verses and thus, I am going to look at specific verses in this chapter to show you the pictures that are being painted for us.

            Now, let me lay down some background information that will help set the stage for our study this morning.  Back in Genesis chapter 22 we saw God tell Abraham to take his only son to the mountains of Moriah and at the specific spot God will show him he is to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. In that story the Holy Spirit was painting a picture for us of what God the Father would do on that very spot some 2,000 years later as Jesus tells us in John 3:16-17,For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

            Thus, Abraham was a picture of God the Father and Isaac was a picture of God the Son. Now before Abraham brought the knife down upon Isaac, God stopped him and provided a ram instead for the sacrifice. And in Genesis 22:19 we are told, So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.  I find that interesting because it only says that Abraham came down, where is Isaac? As I said last Sunday, the Holy Spirit edited that out for us to fit the type, to make the picture complete, and we will see that here this morning as we look at Genesis chapter 24.

We are going to be looking at this morning some 9 points that emerge from this chapter and thus, let’s jump in and see what the Lord has for us this morning.

1.  THE FATHER SENDS THE COMFORTER – GENESIS 24:2-4

            Here we see Abraham, the father of Isaac, send his oldest servant to go and find a bride for his son Isaac. We are told back in Genesis 15:2 that his name is Eliezer. What is interesting to me is that his names means, “God of help” or “comforter.” So the father is sending the comforter out to find a bride for his son, Isaac, and that should sound very familiar, it should ring a bell you might say.

            You see, in John 14:16-17 Jesus said, And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”  Jesus is saying that the Father is going to send out a helper, a PARAKLETOS in the Greek, or a comforter, one who is coming alongside to help, the Holy Spirit or the “God of help.” You see, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us to draw us to Christ, to draw out a bride for Christ!

            Notice that Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit is with them, drawing them to Jesus and then He will be in them after they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, after His death and resurrection! You see, the Holy Spirit is with people today, drawing them to Jesus, and some will not accept the invitation, but in the end, the Holy Spirit will have drawn out a bride for Christ, it will be the Church! And by the time we get to Revelation 21:9 we are told,Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.’  You see, the work will be completed.  Thus, the Father has sent out the comforter to draw out a bride for His Son!

2.  THE MAN WITH NO NAME – GENESIS 24:2

            I find it interesting that this servant’s name is not mentioned here in Genesis chapter 24. In other words, he is not to draw attention to himself but to point the bride to the son! The only reason we know his name is because we are told back in Genesis chapter 15.

            This is also true of the Holy Spirit. I do realize this may offend some because they have their focus on the Holy Spirit, but that is not Scriptural. You see, the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus, to reveal Jesus to us and not to draw attention to Himself.  In John 15:26 we are told, But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Also, in John 16:13-14 we are told, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.  Thus, we see that the comforter’s mission is not to draw attention to Himself or to highlight what He is doing, but to point people to Jesus!

            R. A. Torrey wrote in his book, The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit, these words in regards to the work of the Holy Spirit and how we are to shine for Christ, not drawing attention to ourselves, but pointing people to Jesus.  And this really covers our first two points we spoke of this morning.  Torrey wrote:

“If you wish men to get a true view of Jesus Christ, such a view of Him that they may believe and be saved, it is not enough that you give them the Scriptures concerning Him; it is not enough that you give them your own testimony. You must seek for them the testimony of the Holy Spirit and put yourself into such relations with God that the Holy Spirit may bear His testimony through you. Neither your testimony, nor even that of the written word alone will effect this, though it is your testimony or that of the word that the Holy Spirit uses. But unless your testimony and that of the word is taken up by the Holy Spirit and He Himself testifies, they will not believe...It is our part to hold up Jesus Christ, and then look to the Holy Spirit to illumine His face or to take the truth about Him and make it clear to the hearts of our hearers. He will do it, and men will see and believe. Of course, we need to be so walking toward God that the Holy Spirit may take us as the instruments through whom He will bear His testimony.”  (pp. 81, 85).

3.  YOU MUST GO ALONE – GENESIS 24:5-6

            When Eliezer is concerned that this might not work, that the woman might not go back with him and suggests that maybe Isaac should go with him to help with this situation, Abraham makes it very clear that the son is not to go!

            How does that relate to the Holy Spirit today? Think about it, the Holy Spirit is drawing us to Jesus, whom we have never seen. All we have is the testimony of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to go on. And, the next time Jesus comes back to this earth is in judgment at the end of the Tribulation Period.  Thus, the Son must not go. The comforter must go alone!

4.  HE GAVE GIFTS TO REBEKAH – GENESIS 24:19-22

            As Eliezer arrives and this woman comes out, he feels that God has answered his prayer of providing a wife for Isaac.  Now, keep in mind that Isaac and Rebekah have not met yet, but this servant gives gifts to Rebekah.

            Again, if Rebekah is a type of the Church, the bride of Christ, the Scriptures teach us that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to us, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians 4:12-13.

            The Holy Spirit is giving gifts to the bride of Christ to make her more beautiful and you can read of the many gifts the Holy Spirit gives out in Romans chapter 12, also in I Corinthians chapter 12, and Ephesians chapter 4. It is as Paul said in Ephesians 5:27 in regards to the bride of Christ and how she is to be presented, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

            Thus, the Holy Spirit gives us gifts to be used in the body of Christ to make the bride more beautiful!

5.  REBEKAH DOES NOT DELAY – GENESIS 24:53-58

            After the servant tells how God brought this all together, he asks if he could leave with Rebekah so that he might bring her to his master’s son, which seems like a reasonable request. But Laban, the brother of Rebekah and her mother want her to stay awhile; they want her to delay her departure.  But Rebekah doesn’t even hesitate, she tells the servant, I will go.

            Think about that for a minute. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ, we are saved, and the world tries to draw us back into its clutches!  “You don’t have to go to church!” “You don’t need to hang around your Christian friends, go out with your unsaved friends, have some fun!” “Hey, you can do church outdoors, on the golf course!” And on and on it goes as the world with its entices tries to draw us away from the Lord and delay what the Lord wants us to do for Him!  We delay in completing the work of God for our own pleasures and miss the picture of what the body of Christ is all about.

            For me, I hear people say that I need to let others get involved, that I can’t do it all, and I do agree. The funny thing is, there are not that many that really want to serve because it is a commitment. Thus, in the end, I end up doing it and they delay!

            Remember in John chapter 6 as Jesus taught on some very tough issues, difficult things and some didn’t like it. In fact, many of them turned and walked away from Jesus because it was just too much for them.  And Jesus then went to His apostles and asked them if they were going to walk away also, and I love what Peter said.  He said,

“ . . . ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” 

            In other words, when you have Prime Rib why go back to the hot dog?  You see, they believed that Jesus was the Messiah. And thus, all those Messianic promises would be found in Him, not apart from Him.  The world is cold, it is empty, it is heartless and what it has to offer is only temporary, it is not eternal.  Their philosophies, their ideas are constantly changing. Thus, Peter was right, where else are you going to go except to the Lord, for He alone has the words of eternal life. It is as John said in I John 2:15-17, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  May we learn the lesson.

            What is preventing you from saying to the Lord, “I will go”? All Rebekah had were the words of the servant, she walked by faith in what this servant promised about Isaac.  We too walk by faith, believing in the promises of the Bible as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, trusting in what the Lord has said. Thus, Rebekah did not delay in the call to go, may we learn that lesson!

6.  IT WAS A LONG JOURNEY – GENESIS 24:61

            From Nahor back to Beersheba it was about 500 miles, and that would take several months to accomplish that journey. It was long, it was slow, it was difficult at times but let me also say this. There was never a doubt about them completing the journey. They would make it. Also, Rebekah never gave directions to the servant, telling him which way to go or where to stop. She followed as he was leading!

            In the Christian life it is a long journey and it can be slow at times, it can be difficult at times, but there is never a doubt about us not making it. Yes, I do realize that some feel you can lose your salvation, but I don’t see that in the Scriptures. You see, our salvation is based upon the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary and not upon our good works!

            Paul made this very powerful point in Philippians 1:6, as he wrote, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Did you see that?  Who began a good work in you? The Lord did! Who is continuing to do a good work in you? The Lord is!  And who is going to complete the work He started in you?  The Lord is but tragically many feel it is up to them.  That is not true and Paul makes that very clear for us to see.

            Also, in I Peter 1:3-5 we are told by Peter, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Look at this again.  Who has begotten you into the faith through Christ? It is the Lord!  Who has given you an inheritance that is incorruptible or imperishable? It is the Lord! Who has given to you an inheritance that is undefiled? It is the Lord! Who has given to you an inheritance that does not fade away? It is the Lord! Who has reserved for you a place in heaven? It is the Lord! Do you see the pattern here?  It is the Lord and not you! You are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – it is the Lord!

            Also, as we are on this journey we are not to be telling God the Holy Spirit where we want to go, we are to be directed by Him, He knows best! I know, it can be scary but think about it. Do you think the Lord will send you to a place and not equip you for the work, that He is just going to abandon you? Absolutely not! Thus, trust in Him. You see, the Christian life is a long journey, walk by faith as the Holy Spirit leads you!

7.  REBEKAH NEVER SAW ISAAC BEFORE THEY MET – GENESIS 24:64-65

            Think about this for a minute, and we did touch on this already but it does bear repeating.  Rebekah left all she had to be with someone she never met before, traveling some 500 miles! We as Christians, like I have said, have only the witness of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to go by. It is as Peter said in I Peter 1:8-9 regarding Jesus, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.  That is faith, believing what you do not see but trusting the witness of the Holy Sprit by the Word of God!

8.  REBEKAH AND ISAAC ARE UNITED – GENESIS 24:62-67

            The last time we saw Isaac was when he was on Mount Moriah, willing to be sacrificed as a sin offering, but the Lord stopped that, He does not want human sacrifice. And, like I have said, we were never told that Isaac came down with his father Abraham, although we were told that Abraham came down. Obviously Isaac came down with his father but the Holy Spirit edited that out for us to fit the type.  Thus, the next time we see Isaac mentioned is when he meets his bride, Rebekah!

            Folks, that truly does fit the picture beautifully for us, for the next time we will see Jesus is when He comes for His bride, the Church. And when He comes we will meet Him in the air, we call it the Rapture. Paul, in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 expounds on this for us as he says, But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

            You see, from the time that Jesus breathed on His disciples on the night of His resurrection, the night they were saved, spoken of in John chapter 20, until that last Gentile is saved, that is the Church Age and that is the bride of Christ that the Holy Spirit is drawing out. Thus, Paul tells us what should be on our hearts, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  Titus 2:13-14.  That is what we are waiting for, the call of the Bridegroom for His bride!

            Remember after Jesus ascended up into heaven in Acts chapter 1, and we are told starting in verse 9, Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’  Acts 1:9-11.

            In other words, as He went up, He is coming back and we will meet Him in the clouds. It is after this marriage and the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven that the Lord will return to the earth in judgment, He will appear a second time at the end of the Tribulation Period to destroy the wicked and prepare the earth for the Kingdom Age. Thus, just as Rebekah saw her bridegroom for the first time, we too will meet with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ as He comes for us!

9.  TYING IT ALL TOGETHER

            As I begin to tie this all together, let’s look at this cast of characters once more. Abraham was a type of God the Father who was willing to give his only begotten son as a sacrifice just as God the Father did give His only begotten Son for a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

            Isaac was a type of God the Son, of Jesus who was willing to lay down his life on the wood as a sacrifice, freely giving his life just as Jesus did willingly lay down His life on that wooden cross and was crucified on Calvary.

            Eliezer was a type of God the Holy Spirit, who does not draw attention to himself but is sent out by the father to find a bride for the son just as the Holy Spirit is sent out by the Father not to draw attention to Himself, but to bring people to Jesus, the Bridegroom. He is gathering a bride for Christ!

            Rebekah is a type of the Church, the bride of Christ, who has not seen the bridegroom but was willing to go on that journey based on the witness of the servant just as we have never seen the Lord face-to-face and yet we too are willing to go and follow Him based on the witness of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. And like Rebekah, we too will meet up with our Bridegroom as He comes for us one day!

            Now there is one person we have not talked about, one person we have missed in this study and that is Sarah. Who does Sarah represent? I believe Sarah represents or is a type of the nation of Israel who rejected their Messiah, rejected Jesus.  Thus, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, God placed the nation of Israel on hold for a time and is working through the Gentiles just as we see here with Rebekah. Sarah is not mentioned!

            I am not stretching this by any means. Listen to what Paul said regarding Israel and the Gentiles in Romans 11:11-14, I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

            Paul is telling us that God is using the Gentiles, He is using you and me, blessing us in hopes that it will stir the hearts of the Jewish people, it will make them jealous and they will turn to the true and living God, they will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Now that is not to say that Jews can’t be saved today, they can, but the nation as a whole is on hold until the start of the Tribulation Period and then once again God will deal with Israel as the Church has been taken home in the Rapture!

            I do realize that many think that God is done with Israel, He is not. Listen to what Paul said in Romans 11:25-27 and there is no way you can think that God is done with them. Paul wrote, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’”  You see, Israel will be saved, their sins will be taken away and the only way that can happen is by them receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and that will happen!

            As I close this morning, I hope you see the majesty of God, how all-powerful, all-knowing, that His presence fills the universe and nothing gets by Him without His knowledge.  He has painted this picture for us before it happened, some 2,000 years before it happened, that is our God! Now I want you to listen to this poem you might say, written by many different people and yet it conveys what our God is all about.  Just sit back and listen carefully to “My King”.

My King:

He is the King of the Jews
   He is the King of Israel
But He’s also
   King of all the Ages;
   King of Heaven;
   King of Glory;
   King of Kings;
      ..and Lord of Lords.

He is
   a prophet before Moses;
   a priest after Melchizedek;
   a champion like Joshua;
   an offering in place of Isaac;
   a king from the line of David;
   a counselor above Solomon;
   beloved, rejected, and exalted
      like Joseph;
and yet far more...

The Heavens declare His glory... 
   and the firmament shows 
      His handiwork.

He who is, who was, and who always will be;

The first and the last
   He is the Alpha and Omega
      the Aleph and the Tau
         the A and the Z;

He is the ego eimi, 
   the "I AM that I AM"

The voice of the burning bush
   the Captain of the Lord's Host
      the conqueror of Jericho

He is our Kinsman-Redeemer
   and He is our Avenger of Blood;
      and He is our City of Refuge;

He was crucified on a cross of wood;
   Yet He made the hill
      on which it stood.

By Him were all things made 
      that were made;
   without Him was not anything made 
      that was made;

By Him are all things held together!

In Him dwells 
   the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 
      The very God of very God.

He became 
   the first fruits of them that slept.

He is our Performing High Priest;
   Our Personal Prophet;
      Our Reigning King.

He is enduringly strong;
      entirely sincere;
         eternally steadfast;

He is imperially powerful; 
   immortally graceful;
      impartially merciful;

He stands alone in Himself:
   He's unique,
      pre-eminent, 
         supreme, 
            unparalleled:

He's the Loftiest idea 
      in Literature;

He's the highest Personality 
   in Philosophy;

He's the Fundamental Doctrine 
   of Theology;

He's the Supreme Problem 
   in "higher criticism"!

He's the Son of God!

There is no means of measuring 
   his limitless love:

It was written in blood,
   on that wooden cross
      erected in Judea
         2,000 years ago.

He was born of a woman
   so that we could be born of God;

He humbled Himself
   so that we could be lifted up;

He became a servant
   so that we could be made joint-heirs;

He suffered rejection
   so that we could become His friends;

He denied Himself
   so that we could freely receive all things;

He gave Himself
   so that He could bless us in every way.

He
   is Available to the tempted and the tried;
   Blesses the young;
   Cleanses the lepers;
   Defends the feeble;
   Delivers the captives;
   Discharges the debtors;
   Forgives the sinners;
   Franchises the meek;
   Guards the besieged;
   Heals the sick;
   Provides strength to the weak;
   Regards the aged;
   Rewards the diligent;
   Serves the unfortunate;
   Sympathizes and He saves!

His Offices are many;
His Reign is righteous;
His Promises are certain;
His Goodness is limitless;
His Light is matchless;
His Love never changes;
His Grace is sufficient;
His Mercy is everlasting;
His Word is enough;
His Yoke is easy and 
   His Burden is light!

He's indescribable;
He's incomprehensible;
He's irresistible;
He's invincible!

The Heaven of heavens 
   cannot contain Him;

Man cannot explain Him

The Pharisees couldn't stand Him
   but soon learned 
      that they couldn't stop Him;

They railroaded Him 
   through 6 illegal trials,
      and yet

The witnesses couldn't agree against Him
   and the personal representative
      of the ruler of the world,
         couldn't find any fault with Him;

Herod couldn't kill Him
   death couldn't handle Him
      the grave couldn't hold Him!

He has always been and always will be;
   He had no predecessor and 
      will have no successor;
You can't impeach Him and 
   he isn't going to resign!

His name is above every name;
   That at the name of Yeshua
Every knee shall bow
   Every tongue shall confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord!

His is the kingdom,
   and the power, 
      and the glory... 
         for ever, and ever.

Hallelujah! ...and Amen!

- Chuck Missler

As inspired by Pastor Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge of San Diego Calvary Baptist Church, and supplemented from many additional sources.)

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