What is a bully? Someone who provokes quarrels or arguments with others. How does a bully provoke arguments? Insults? Mocking? Making fun of people? Threatening people? Why does a bully, bully people? Usually, a bully wants you to think they are superior to you. And if you do not agree with their conclusion about themselves, they “bully” you.
But what is the motive or purpose of a bully? To scare you. Bullies threaten people to scare them into doing something or into agreeing with them. A bully’s method of operation is fear. But what if you are not afraid, how does the bully respond?
The apostle John explains in 1 John 4:18 fear has torment. The context is those in Christ are not tormented by fear. So if you have fear, you are tormented by that fear. 1 John 4:18 KJV “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Notice, fear has torment. So the more you practice fear, the more fear grows and the more fear grows, the more torment one has. If no fear, no torment.
Fear can consume people and fear brings worry. Worry and fear stops people from stepping out by faith. But ask yourself, how did this fear, this torment happen to you? Something was said to you and you chose to believe it. You chose to believe the one who bullied you. You chose to believe the words of someone wanting to put fear inside you. And fear brings torment.
You see, fear and torment get rooted in your mind, in your thoughts. So for example, if some bully has been bullying you, the bully wants to plant fear into your mind, into your thoughts. Then every time you see that bully or hear something about that bully, fear rises in your mind and brings torment to you. Not only are people bullies, but Satan wants to plant fear in you too. So how do you get rid of the fear and torment?
If fear and torment rest in your mind, your thoughts, you get rid of fear and torment by telling yourself, out loud, ” I refuse and reject fear.” Your knees could be knocking and your body trembling but control your thoughts and your body will come into subjection to your mind. Kick the fear and tormenting thought out of your mind and thoughts and replace it with God’s word, spoken out loud.
You have to look at the subject matter of the fear. Then go through a concordance and find scripture that speaks to that subject matter and write the verse down and memorize the verse. So the next time fear on that subject comes up, you reject the fear thought and say I reject that thought because God says, then quote the verse out loud. After a few times of doing this, that fear and torment, on that subject matter, will leave you. God will give you victory over that matter.
Then when something else comes into your mind trying to cause you to fear, repeat the process. Find a scripture on that subject matter, write out the verse, memorize the verse and when fear pops its ugly head, fight back by saying out loud, I reject that fear and quote scripture by saying God says, quote the verse, then say I choose to believe God.
You may not “feel” like fighting like this works right away but remember, we live by faith not by sight and not by feelings. Hebrews 11:1 KJV ” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
So if your faith is in God’s word, then speak out loud God’s word. We will continue this next time, Lord willing.
Until next time.
Everything we do in life always starts slow, let me explain. Typists start slow as they learn how to type, but through practice, they improve. Carpenters start their trade slow then improve through practice. We improve our skills through practice and learning more about our field of interests. Even lawyers learn what works and what does not work.
Think back to when you first heard about Jesus. We learn about Jesus and see people who have changed their life because of Jesus. Why? So why did these people change?
Scripture tells us, Romans 10:17 KJV
” So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
People hear the word of God and choose to believe or reject the word of God. Most people make a decision on what they will do with the information God’s word gives them. If they choose to believe God’s word, they get saved. But often, these believers do not consider the rest of God’s word.
I am not saying they do not read or study or learn God’s word, they do. These new believers are actually like a sponge absorbing God’s word. But they are getting head knowledge more often than not. But if they used God’s word to get saved, why don’t they use God’s word for other things in their life.
All the head knowledge is great but doesn’t one have to use what one learns? Putting knowledge into action produces results. How can you understand capitalism if you do not put the principles of capitalism to work? How can a musician be a musician if they only use head knowledge and never play?
Can one be a Christian if they know and understand what God’s word says but they never act on what God says? And if you act on what God’s word says, what is the difference between a successful Christian life and a mediocre Christian life?
One night I had a talk with the Lord. I asked him if that is all there is to a Christian life – go to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and read and study your word? After I asked God that, I heard inside me, no, there is a lot more. I asked what am I missing. Since that night, the Lord has shown me things I did not know.
It bothered me because I asked the Lord, I have been reading and studying your word regularly for 30 years and why didn’t I see that? Why was this never taught? Why didn’t my church explain this? I’ll never forget when I realized we are actually in a battle with beings we can not see, Ephesians 6. I remember asking the Lord out loud, how do we fight against things we can not see? I heard inside me, Do what Jesus did. Immediately my mind went to Jesus being tempted of the devil in Matthew 4.
Matthew 4 gives us three examples of Satan attacking, how Satan attacked and how Jesus fought against Satan. Jesus used the word of God. If we use the word of God to get saved, why don’t we use the word of God for other things like Jesus did?
We learn a lot of things from scripture that help guide us through life. We learn how to deal with people who come against us because of our faith, we learn about sowing and reaping, about work, about growing our spirit man and bringing our flesh under subjection. We also learn we are in a battle with beings we can not see. So we learn there are beings in the spirit world that our fleshly eyes can not see.
You see, the battle is always between what God says and what you see in your present reality. Believers have two paths, their walk through this world in the flesh and the walk of their spirit man. Paul tells us to bring our body into subjection to our spirit man.
1 Corinthians 9:27 KJV “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Galatians 5:16-17 KJV “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Galatians 5:25 KJV “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
If you, as a Christian, walk the flesh path, you are working and building what you see in this world and you feed your flesh. We know scripture tells us, in this flesh dwelleth no good thing. So if you spend your Christian life on things in this world, things you see in this world, things you want in this world, you are living in the flesh and are called by God’s word, a carnal Christian. Your flesh gets puffed up and you live for the desires of your flesh.
And if you walk the spirit man walk, you learn how to use God’s word to win battles. You learn to trust and lean on God and his word so no matter what your present reality is, you trust and believe God and his word. Then everytime you go through a battle and you call on the Lord God to help you, and he does, it builds your confidence in the Lord and his word. You see things change based on God’s word because you are using God’s word, not only for salvation, but for every day of your life. That is what strengthens your spirit man. And no matter what you see in your physical world, you believe and trust God and his word and you speak what God’s word says out loud.
Once you continue strengthening your spirit man and keep speaking God’s word about a matter, people will notice something is different with you and they will pay attention. A good example of this is the Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 1:8 KJV “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”
Why did the people notice? Because these believers had evidence of the working power of God’s word. God’s word not only has power to save souls and the evidence is a changed life, but God’s word has power for growing our spirit man and our every day life to change us and the things in our life.
Until next time.
How would you respond to God if suddenly your husband or wife died? Or what about if you lost a child, how would you respond? Maybe you loose your job, or your house, how would you respond? Not only did we look at Job last time, but we also looked at Naomi. Then we saw how Job’s wife wanted Job to lash out at God. Naomi blamed God and Rachel carried her sorrows with her through her life. And Rachel did not want to let go of her sorrows, she wanted to name her son Benjamin after her sorrows. Imagine, every time Rachel looked at Benjamin she would think of her sorrows, (see God Pays Dividends Part 1).
As we said last time, there are some who preach if you are having hardships it is because God is punishing you for your sin. Scripture and the examples God gives us do not support that teaching. Think about it in patterns. Is there a pattern of God killing his children? Or God wiping out his children? No, God wipes out unbelievers, not his own children.
How did your parents punish you when you were growing up? Maybe a spanking? Maybe sent to your room? Privileges taken away? Grounded? By your disobeying your parents you were punished. Now I am going to throw you a doctrinal curve.
Doctrinally, Paul writes the book of Hebrews to the Hebrews. Paul explains the father child relationship as God and his children. And Paul even says, Hebrews 6:1 KJV “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,”
Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ….. why did Paul say that? Because what are believers to Christ? The doctrine of Christ to believers is a bridegroom and bride, not a Father and child. Believers are espoused to Christ. The principles of the doctrine of Christ is not a Father punishing his child and not Christ punishing his bride. But I digress.
Yes, God is our Heavenly Father but the church, born again believers in Christ are the bride of Christ. Even brides go through hardships, suffering and pain before the wedding. But those trials and tribulations are not the bridegrooms doing. Many believers and unbelievers do not understand the relationship of Jesus Christ and the church. It is a relationship of the bridegroom and the bride. Would you beat up your bride before your marriage? Do you believe Jesus will beat up his bride before the marriage?
So when believers go through trials, testing and hardships, those who do not study scripture react similarly to Job’s wife, to Rachel and to Naomi. Naomi and Job’s wife blamed God. And Naomi’s trials made her bitter. Rachel wanted to saddle her son Benjamin with her own sorrows. And Job’s wife wanted Job to curse God which means she wanted Job to walk away from God.
Every time you go through a battle in this life and you call upon the Lord and he rescues you, it builds your faith and confidence in the Lord. Sometimes God wants to see if you will walk away or get bitter. When you understand each time of testing or trying of your faith is only a season in your life and you trust the Lord with all your heart, you move to a new season. We are to be conformed to Christ.
Like Abraham, who was faithful even up to offering his son Isaac, we learn Abraham went through that difficult season and for Abraham’s faithfulness, God paid Abraham a dividend.
In Genesis 15 God promises Abraham a son. In Genesis chapter 22 Abraham offers up Isaac as the Lord requested. Then the Lord stops Abraham. Abraham passed a test God was using to see if Abraham would do something God asked him to do, even if Abraham did not want to do it. What happened? God paid Abraham a dividend.
Genesis 22:15-19 KJV “And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord , for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son :
 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.”
Paul explains to the church in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
You see, dividends are a corporation’s profits. Investors are paid a portion of the profits the business made for the year. That payment, by the corporation, to the investor, is called a dividend. Investors take the dividend and reinvest it back in to the company. The investor, at some time, will cash out and receive the fruit of his labor in his investing.
When believers 2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV
” For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
1 Corinthians 3:8 KJV “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
Notice, God prospers us. We are not suppose to use what God gives us, dividends, to buy bigger houses, lots of land. Notice what Jesus said about the rich man and camel in Matthew 19.
Matthew 19:21 KJV “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
Matthew 19:28-29 KJV “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
So you get a few extra dollars, do you buy something for yourself or do you invest in God’s business by helping the poor or others and be sure to share the gospel of salvation with everyone you help.
Every battle you have gone through has paid you a dividend. So when God gives you the victory, don’t spend the dividend on foolish things of this world, reinvest the dividend into your next battle. Remember, Ephesians 6:12-13 KJV
” For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .
 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Until next time.
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Remember when things in Job’s life went wrong? Remember his friends try to convince Job he must have sin in his life or these bad things would not happen to him? Remember Job’s friends were trying to convince Job that God was punishing him because of his sin?
There are “friends” and even pastors who teach Job’s friends message today. They teach if bad things are happening to you it is God punishing you for your sin. Three questions:
1. Were Job’s friends right or wrong?
2. Did Jesus pay for all your sin at the cross?
3. If Jesus paid your sin debt at the cross, why would God still punish you for your sin?
When bad things happen in your life be very careful what comes out of your mouth. Some people falsely blame God and walk away from the Lord. Some pray and seek the Lord and lean on Jesus. And some let their hardships define the rest of their life.
Paul mentioned those who depart from the faith – 1 Timothy 4:1 KJV “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
The Lord tells us to trust him. We lean on the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
” Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
There are two scripture examples I want to point out where people let their problems in life define them. Rachel, Jacob’s wife and Naomi, both tried to identify their life by their hardships. Let me explain briefly but read the account in Genesis 35 and the book of Ruth 1:19-22.
Rachel’s name means ewe. Rachel had two of the 12 sons of Jacob and Rachel struggled with her sister Leah over Leah being more fertile than she. You can read the account in Genesis. But notice when Rachel was giving birth to her second son, Benjamin in Genesis 35:16-20, Rachel was going to die in child birth. And as Benjamin was born, Rachel wanted Benjamin’s name to be Benoni. Benoni means son of my sorrow.
Rachel wanted to carry her sorrows and put her sorrows on her son for his whole life. Did Benjamin deserve to have a name about his mother’s sorrows? No. Benjamin had nothing to do with Rachel’s sorrows. Notice how Jacob handled this.
Genesis 35:18 KJV “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.”
Benjamin means son of the right hand. Rachel was going to weigh Benjamin down for his whole life for something that affected Rachel, not Benjamin.
Another is Naomi. Naomi, her husband and their two sons leave God’s people and go to live with the heathen in Moab. Her two sons marry heathen Moabites. One son marries Orpah and the other son marries Ruth.
Then Naomi’s husband dies, then her two sons die. Naomi has now lost everything she left Bethlehem with, her family. Who did Naomi blame? God. And Naomi wanted to carry her hardships with her and let her hardships identify who she was for the rest of her life. How do we know?
Naomi means my delight. When Ruth went with Naomi, back to Bethlehem, Naomi told her friends in Bethlehem,
Ruth 1:20-22 KJV “And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
 I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest.”
Naomi wanted to go from, my delight to Mara which means bitter. She wanted the rest of her life to be known as bitter. Like Rachel who wanted her son to be labeled for his whole life as the son of my sorrows, Naomi wanted to be known as bitter.
Naomi chose to leave Bethlehem with her husband and sons. She lost everything. Naomi could not do anything about loosing her husband and two sons. But now Naomi needed to decide what she would do and she chose to go back to God’s land, God’s people. We read the book of Ruth, four short chapters, and we learn Ruth ends up marrying Boaz. Who is Boaz? King David’s great grandfather.
Rachel and Naomi fought battles they were suppose to go through. But instead of going through the battles, they wanted to carry the battles with them. They wanted the battles to define their life and who they were. And Naomi blamed God. Sound like Job’s wife?
Job 2:9-10 KJV “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
We all go through tough times, hardships and persecution but God tells us if we stick with him through this season in our life, as believers, he will pay us a dividend. 2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
We will pick it up from here next time, Lord willing.
Do you have a lack of momentum in your life? Do you think your life is stuck? What creates momentum? Race cars, boat racers, bicycle racers all try to lighten their load. Why? So they have more speed, more momentum.
Momentum in life, in our Christian life is not adding new ideas or adding new projects. Momentum is created by lightening your load, just like racers lighten their load. As believers, we have to shut things down that are dragging on us. Things that no longer work.
Twenty years ago a racer used specific equipment for that time, that season in their life. But a race car driver no longer uses the equipment from twenty years ago. Why? Because the race car of twenty years ago is not the same as the race car of today. Today’s race car is lighter and redesigned to match the time or season.
Are we not all in a race according to scripture? How can we expect things from our life twenty years ago to be the same today? I am not talking about God’s word but about your life. If you feel stuck or a lack of momentum in your life with the Lord it is because you are in a different season of your life and you need to cut away what is no longer working. Cut away what is slowing you down. Cut away from your life the people dragging you down. I am not talking about doing things against God’s word but cutting things out that slow you down.
Churches have a variety of ministries – some work and some do not work. The ministry can not move forward until it shuts down the ministries that are no longer working. If a part of the ministry is no longer producing the fruit it once produced, it should be shut down. Why would you take God’s tithe money and put it in to dead ground?
People and ministries get stuck or slowed down because they are not willing to inventory what is working in a new season and what no longer works. So if something no longer works, but you or a minstery program is not shut down, it becomes a weight and slows you down. It can slow a ministry down and by refusing to shut it down, church becomes weighted down. You are determined to carry an earlier
season into new seasons and they slow your momentum. Scripture puts it this way –
Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 KJV “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?”
Momentum is not going to come with new ideas or new ministry projects. Momentum is going to come by examining your life, your ministry projects and cutting out what is not working any more. If it is weighing you down, you need to cut it away.
Until next time.
We need to clear up some confusion about the “bride” so let us consider some of the verses we mentioned last time. Last time we said the following.
Clearly we see a relationship between Christ and the church. But did you ever ask or wonder – if the church is the bride of Christ, why doesn’t Paul, the apostle to the church, ever mention the church is the bride of Christ? Paul tells us of a great mystery of Christ and the church but Paul does not call the church the bride of Christ.
We know from scripture God the Father calls Israel his wife and he also gives her a divorce.
Isaiah 50:1 KJV “Thus saith the Lord , Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.”
Jeremiah 3:8 KJV “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
So when we think of Jesus and the bride of Christ, we have been taught the church is the bride, right? We have been taught the Father married Israel and the Son, Jesus, marries the church.
But then we looked at Revelation 21 where an angel of the Lord shows the apostle John the “bride of Christ”.
Revelation 21:9 KJV “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
Then read what the angel shows him in verses 10-27.
If God the Father called Israel his wife, who is Israel? God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. You can read the account in Genesis 32:24-28 and Genesis 35:9-13. But notice how God defines Israel in chapter 35.
Genesis 35:9-13 KJV “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him.
 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.”
So when God called Israel his wife, who was God referring to? Jacob? The 12 tribes of Jacob? The nation and company of nations? The kings that would come from Jacob’s loins? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Relative to Jesus and the church, Ephesians 5:23-32 tells us Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Why?
Ephesians 5:26-27 KJV “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Jesus Christ is going to present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle…. And verse 30 we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Paul is comparing the earthly marriage relationship, husband and wife being one and Christ and the church are one. It is a comparison.
There is a comparison of God the Father with Israel – Isaiah 54:5-6 KJV
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
 For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.”
Isaiah 62:1-12 KJV “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord , and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord , keep not silence,
 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
 The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
 But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord ; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
 Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord : and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
When we look at the word espoused as Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians espoused means promised in marriage by contract. Mary was espoused to Joseph, Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27; Luke 2:5. We know the Holy Spirit came on Mary and she carried Jesus, the Son of God. Luke records Mary was great with child when Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem, but notice Luke 2:5 KJV
“To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
Mary and Joseph were not married yet. When Jesus was born in the flesh, Mary was espoused to Joseph. Espoused is promised in marriage by contract.
Paul tells the Corinthians in
2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
The church (all true believers in Christ ) are espoused (promised in marriage by contract). The church is going to marry Christ as Paul says in Romans 7:4 KJV
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
The church is espoused to Jesus Christ like Mary was espoused to Joseph. As Mary was pregnant with Jesus while she was espoused to Joseph but not yet married to him, the church is pregnant with the Holy Spirit and we are espoused to Jesus Christ. And that is why Paul never called the church the bride of Christ. The church is espoused to Christ. We are promised by contract, the word of God, to Jesus.
As Israel as a nation made up of the 12 tribes, God called Israel his wife. Who makes up the wife? All kinds of people who are of the 12 tribes.
In Revelation 21:9 – 27, the bride is
Revelation 21:9-10 KJV “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”
Who makes up holy Jerusalem (we call it new Jerusalem )? Revelation 21: 11-27. Revelation 21:24 KJV “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.”
Revelation 21:27 KJV “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
And there is a marriage supper of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation 19:9 KJV
” And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
And a few verses later we read Revelation 19:16-17 KJV “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS .
 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;”
The point? The church is not called the bride of Christ by Paul because the church is espoused unto Jesus Christ by contract, God’s word. And as Israel, as God the Father’s wife, was made up of the 12 tribes of Jacob, so is the bride. Holy Jerusalem, we call it New Jerusalem, is made up of all believers in Christ. Those who by faith have believed on the shed blood of Jesus washing away their sin, making them righteous in Christ.
Thank you for all the questions and I hope this clears any confusion. Until next time.