Great Celebrations

Celebrations! … What is there to celebrate in these dark days full of problems and difficulties, when we are told there is a long way to go and the situations are likely to get worse? I would like to tell you of three things that are well-worth celebrating; the second two being of far greater value and importance than the first, but which in itself, does have great significance and worth.

The first is this: Forty years ago, on the 23rd August 1980, Jean and I ‘tied the knot’ in the little Baptist Chapel in Duffield, which is where we met. I had come up from Essex and Jean had come down from Lancashire and the Lord God Almighty, Our Heavenly Father, brought us together in the middle of England to serve Him both there and throughout the world. Marriage between a man and a woman, being joined together in a holy covenant for life, is the basic building block that our great Creator has designed for the blessing and stability of every society in every nation. What a gift to the world!

It has been a wonderful joy for us to share our lives together over these forty years; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, and we have known our share of each of those aspects of life. But through it all, and as we celebrate this weekend, we have known God’s great love, goodness, mercy, grace, faithfulness and provision, “Not one of all the good promises of our Lord has failed.”

The second reason for celebration is this: and it is an even greater gift of God to the whole world:

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Lord Jesus came into this world to die in our place on the cross, to take the punishment for our sin so we might know forgiveness and find peace with God and assurance of our future eternity with Him. This is God’s way of salvation ~ and it is the only way of salvation ~ there is no other. He said to His people Israel and He says to us today, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.The Bible tells us that, “God made Him (Jesus) Who had no sin, to be sin for us” … so that all who come to Him in repentance, might be forgiven, be brought into His family and be able to know Him and call Him our Father. How wonderful is that? Is that not worth celebrating?

But there is more; the third reason for celebration is this: When Almighty God, our Creator, gave us the gift of the marriage covenant here on earth, He intended us to see that this is a reflection and a foretaste pointing to the relationship that His Son, our Lord Jesus has with His people, who are called, “the bride of Christ.” God’s Word, the Bible tells us that, “our Lord Jesus Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her … He is the Head of the church … He is her Saviour.”

God’s Word also clearly tells us that one day soon, the Lord Jesus will return to earth from His throne in the heavens, to receive His bride, to take her back into glory with Him, to feast with Him at the marriage supper and to be united with Him for ever and ever. That is a most glorious reason for celebration!

But we also read in God’s Word that there will be many who will miss Him, they will not be ready when He returns, and they will miss the marriage supper, because they have refused His wonderful offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with God the Father. The result will be separation from the Lord ~ for ever.

Great celebrations on that final day, when out of the heavens You come;
Darkness will vanish, all sorrow will end and rulers will bow at Your throne;
Our great commission complete, then face to face we shall meet.

Come, Lord Jesus … Come, Lord Jesus.

Are you ready to receive Him with gladness and joyful celebration?

Ron Brickman