NT Tuesday: The Church, The Body of Christ [part 6]

Open BibleWe continue to explore what the Bible says about the Body of Christ, the Church.

We have been using 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” as our theme verse.

We were reminded in Colossians 1, that Christ is the Head of the Body – The Church.

We recognized two basic truths contained in Colossians 1:

  • One of these truths is that if Jesus Christ is the Head than NO ONE else can be the Head of the Body. In order for someone else to be the Head of the Church, that would require that Jesus Christ abdicate His role. And He can not, nor will He ever do that. In that very same passage, we read how “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Since the fullness of God dwells in Christ (because He is fully God), then He is eternal and His plan is to prepare the Bride for the great Wedding feast.
  • The other truth that is evident in this passage is that CHRIST is Head. Oh, I know that we have been talking about this, but I want the point to be very clear – Jesus Christ is Head over the Church! That ought to mean something. It ought to have a practical effect on all that we do or say.

What I mean by this emphasis is that many believers, after having read and studied the scriptures, have rightly concluded that there ought not to be a man (a mere man) as the head of the Church, either the universal church or the local church. However, the absence of a man recognized as the head does not satisfy scriptures. Only when believers recognize Christ as the Head are scriptures fulfilled. Now, I am sure many of you are thinking that you are following this principle. But, let’s think about this in an objective manner.

If Christ is the Head, have we carefully and consistently done that which is necessary to satisfy HIS commands and His directions for our lives as individuals, as well as, our corporate life? In other words, do we merely give lip service or do we actively and purposely follow His lead? I fear that for my own life and for many others, it seems like lip service can be easier than true devotion to Jesus Christ.

Next week, we will continue looking at what the Scriptures say about the Church and other New Testament Principles.

 

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NT Tuesday: The Church, The Body of Christ [part 4]

Bride and GroomWe continue to explore what the Bible says about the Body of Christ, the Church.

We have been using Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV – “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” as our theme verse.

Over the last few weeks, we reviewed some of the names that William MacDonald listed in his book “Christ Loved the Church.” Last week we looked at the terms dwelling place, house, and pillar and ground of truth.

This week, I want to look at my personal favorite. All of the phrases are amazing and reveal what God thinks about the Church, but the Bride of Christ reveals an amazing love and incredible sense of intimacy.

Let’s think about what John the baptizer said about Jesus Christ and His bride. “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” John 3:29 ESV.

Two important points can be made from this short statement:

One is that the Bridegroom “has the bride”. In other words, there is an intimate relationship between the Bridegroom and the Bride. We often say, “we don’t have a religion, we have a relationship,” but do we really understand the significance of that statement. A religion is a series of beliefs/mores that define how God relates to man and man relates to God. But a relationship is about two living, intelligent beings that involve our emotions, our intellect, and our physical being. Relationships are living and can grow or can drift. Marriages get stronger or they stagnate. The same is true with our relationship with our Bridegroom, it ought to get stronger. Relationships take work. I like to say it takes investment, where we expend our time, emotions, and energy in something that is worthwhile.

The other fact contained in John’s statement is that there is great joy involved in a relationship between the bride and the Bridegroom. Now, John is saying that he has joy, so it is a joy that spreads. His joy is in knowing that the Bridegroom is rejoicing in His relationship with His bride.

I have to admit, that this concept is hard for me to grasp sometimes. I can understand, having experienced it myself, the joy of ME knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. But, the Lord is rejoicing because He knows me?? How can this be? The answer is clear. It all has to do with His nature and His character and His attributes and it has NOTHING to do with me. He loves me (and His entire Bride) because He is love and because He loves us because of Who He is. We are unlovable, but He loves us anyway. I am so incredibly thankful that He loves me despite my numerous flaws, despite my falling short.

The Church is not a building, nor an organization! I hope we are starting to see this. The Church is the Bride of the Son of God and as such, it is the object of His special love and affection.

Praise God for His incomparable love!

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