1. Those who called Christ’s disciples CHRISTIANS, in Antioch, were oblivious of the MYSTERY of the BRIDE, the BRIDEGROOM and His FRIENDS [Acts 11:26] CHURCH is the BRIDE, Jesus Christ is the BRIDEGROOM and the two are one BODY, “For the HUSBAND IS THE HEAD OF THE WIFE, as Christ is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH: and he is the saviour of the body …. THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY: but I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST and the CHURCH” [Ephesians 5:23-32] In the GREAT MYSTERY of MARRIAGE, the BRIDEGROOM is assisted by His FRIENDS, and “HE THAT HATH THE BRIDE IS THE BRIDEGROOM: but the FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, which STANDETH and HEARETH him, REJOICETH greatly because of the BRIDEGROOM’S VOICE: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” [John 3:29] John was a FRIEND of the BRIDEGROOM and there are others, who the Lord called, saying: “Henceforth I CALL YOU NOT SERVANTS; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” [John 15:15]
2. Perhaps you wonder, as some people do, who raised the ALARM in Matthew 25:6, as it is written: “And AT MIDNIGHT THERE WAS A CRY MADE, Behold, the BRIDEGROOM COMETH; go ye out to meet him” [Matthew 25:6] The MIDNIGHT CRY was made by FRIENDS OF THE BRIDEGROOM, carefully chosen from the foundation of the world, AWAKEN the CHURCH from SLUMBER. The CHURCH is the BRIDE, represented by TEN VIRGINS, and “While the bridegroom tarried, THEY ALL SLUMBERED AND SLEPT” [Matthew 25:6] FRIENDS OF THE BRIDEGROOM did not SLEEP because they KNEW the SEASON of His appearance and stayed AWAKE to announce His Coming, as John did, saying: “The next day JOHN SEETH JESUS COMING unto him, and saith, BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, which taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29] The Lord set His FRIENDS as WATCHMEN over the CHURCH, in every age, to make KNOWN the MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, “And without controversy great is the MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” [1Timothy 3:16] Those who BELIEVE are His BRIDE, “ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” [1 Peter 1:2] Though the CHURCH goes into SLUMBER, the BRIDE shall be AWAKENED with the MIDNIGHT CRY of His FRIENDS“… PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, make his paths straight” [Luke 3:4]
3. The man in Mark 9:39 was a FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, but His disciples FORBID him, saying: “… Master, we saw one casting out devils IN THY NAME, and HE FOLLOWETH NOT US: and WE FORBAD HIM, BECAUSE HE FOLLOWETH NOT US. But Jesus said, FORBID HIM NOT: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” [Mark 9:38-39] His FRIENDS, like the man above are grossly misunderstood because they do not have parish membership cards or affiliated to mainstream Church organizations. They are accounted as renegades by the CHURCH and vehemently opposed by men like Diotrephes, who “LOVETH TO HAVE PREEMINENCE” in the Church [3 John 1:9] They are persecuted for exposing falsehood and “PERVERSE DISPUTINGS OF MEN OF CORRUPPT MINDS, and destitute of the truth, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself”, but are not cowed [1 Timothy 6:5] With great GRACE and BOLDNESS, they stand in the LIBERTY of Christ, making known to the BRIDE the URGENCY of the HOUR, “And that, knowing the time, that now IT IS HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP: for now is OUR SALVATION IS NEARER THAN WHEN WE BELIEVED” [Romans 13:11] FRIENDS OF THE BRIDEGROOM are in all nations but the message is the same, “… COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” [Revelation 18:4]
4. There were FRIENDS OF THE BRIDEGROOM in all generations and now, numbering 144,000 [Revelation 14:1-5] Moses was a His FRIEND, ordained to bring His BRIDE out of Egypt, “And the LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES face to face, AS A MAN SPEAKETH TO HIS FRIEND…” [Exodus 33:11] They set themselves apart from the maddening crowd in every age, focusing on the PROMISE of His REWARD to stay AWAKE while the BRIDE SLUMBERED, as Moses did, “ESTEEMING THE REPROACH OF CHRIST GREATER THAN THE TREASURES IN EGYPT: for he had respect unto the RECOMPENSE OF THE REWARD” [Hebrews 11:26] We are His FRIENDS, if BELIEVE the PROMISE of His Coming and put away all encumbrances to raise the MIDNIGHT CRY, “The NIGHT IS FAR SPENT, the DAYT IS AT HAND: let us therefore CAST OFF THE WORKS OF DARKNESS, and let us put on the armour of light” [Romans 13:12] We have nothing to lose, but unspeakable JOY awaits us when we shall see the BRIDE united with the BRIDEGROOM, and we shall be His COMPANIONS, forever, as it is written: “These are they which were NOT DEFILED WITH WOMEN, for THEY ARE VIRGINS. THESE ARE THEY WHICH FOLLOW THE LAMB WHITHERSOEVER HE GOETH….” [Revelation 14:4] Listen carefully, Abraham was a FRIEND of God, and marriage does not DEFILE [Hebrews 13:4, James 2:23] We are “VIRGINS” to our God because we KNOW no other but Him, even as Paul said: “For I DETERMINED NOT TO KNOW ANY THING among you, SAVE JESUS CHRIST, and him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2] The 144,000 in Revelation 7:4 are JEWS.
5. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, amen.