NT Tuesday: The Church, The Body of Christ [part 1]

Ekklesia

Over the next several weeks, I would like to take a closer look at what the Bible teaches us about the Church. There are many misconceptions about the Church and many false ideas. We can only get true and accurate understanding by looking at the Word of God and allowing the Scriptures to shape our thoughts (rather than the alternative).

First, let’s wrap our mind around a key Bible passage about the Church. Ephesians 5:25-28 – “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Now that we have level set our thinking, let me tell you how I grew up and what use to come to mind when I heard the word “church.” I was raised in a main-line protestant denomination. When I was young, “we went to church”. And what that meant was we went to a special purpose building where religious things happened. Church also meant things like special calendars and special clothes for the clergy. It meant special events and special collections. It meant spectating while the paid staff and the deacons did the work. It meant a little song “here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people.” The word “church” brought to mind a lot of things, but none of them were biblical or in the correct context.

I don’t recall ever hearing that the Church was the Bride of Christ and that He was eagerly awaiting His gathering her up for the great wedding day. I don’t ever recall being told that I was part of a body – a living organism that, in order for it to function, every member must use the gift given to him/her for the mutual edification of the other members of the body. I wasn’t told that we were “called out ones” or that we were gathered unto the Lord Jesus. Ironically, I was taught why “we” were “more right” than the Catholic church. But, I don’t recall being taught that Jesus was the Head of the Body. I always thought that the clergy was the head of the church.

But if we look at Ephesians 5, we notice something pretty significant. First and foremost, Christ loved the Church. He loves her – and He demonstrated His love towards her by dying for her and by purchasing her – He GAVE Himself for her. That’s an amazing thought – that the Eternal Son of God gave Himself for her. What does it mean that “He gave Himself”? Basically, how I see it is that He sacrificed Himself for us – for me!

More next week, but in the meantime, think about the fact that Christ loves the Church. What does that mean for you?

 

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[Photo Credit] Note: Ekklesia is the Greek word for church.

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