In the Old Testament God chose a small nation called Israel to reveal and declare His love and concern to all the other nations of the world. Over time, they failed Him again and again. They came under God’s judgment and for a time, they were scattered all over the world. They ceased to be a nation, but true to His word, God began to re-gather them and in 1948, they became a recognized nation again among the nations of the world.
In the meantime, 50 days after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the promised Holy Spirit came, and on the day of Pentecost, following Peter’s magnificent sermon, 3,000 people received Christ and a church was born. The church does not replace Israel, in God’s plan, but is to be in partnership with Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit to impact the whole world with the gospel.
In the Scriptures, the church is described as follows:
1. The Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27a
a. Each of us has one body, but the body has many members.
b. We need each other.
c. We are gifted to serve one another.
12 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For, in fact, the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Cor 12:12-27a)
2. God’s Building. 1 Corinthians 3:9-17
a. We are God’s building.
b. Jesus Christ is the church’s foundation. Vs.11
c. We are to be careful how we build on that foundation.
d. Each of us is God’s temple (sanctuary) and the Holy Spirit lives in us. Vs.16
e. We are warned about ruining God’s temple. Vs.17
f. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the church. Ephesians 2:20
g. Jesus is the Master builder and each of us is being fitted into God’s building.
9 “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field; you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. “(1 Cor 3:9-17)
3. The Church is the Bride of Christ.
a. Christ is the Bridegroom. We are His bride.
b. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-3, Paul says, “I promised you as a pure bride to one husband – Christ.
c. He is fearful that “somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Rev. 21:9-10 – “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”
John 3:29 – “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled.”
Note – there is always a danger, that the church will be compromised and corrupted by the ways of the world.
In Ephesians 5:25-33, Paul outlines the proper relationship between husbands and wives in Christ. In these verses, the Apostle outlines for us the threefold work of Christ.
a) Consider His Death — “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (vs.25) We are to love our wives sacrificially.
b) Consider His ongoing work in the lives of those who made up the church. (vs.26) “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”
· Husbands need to be men of the Word of God. In this way, they will encourage their wives and bring fulfillment in them that they will never know in any other way. This is a present and ongoing ministry of Christ and should be of every husband.
c) In vs.27, Paul says that Christ is preparing the church for her future with Him forever.
“He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” (NLT)
One of these days, Christ the Bridegroom, will come for the church, His bride, and take her to heaven to be with Him forever. Our Lord knows what kind of Bride He wants — holy, cleansed, glorious without any kind of spot, wrinkle, or any other blemish. That is why the Holy Spirit has been given to every believer to live in us, and work in us, bringing forth the very life of Christ, so that a Holy Bridegroom may be blessed with a holy bride, the church.
Question – I wonder how many husbands are bringing forth that kind of beauty in our wives?
Question – I wonder how many believers – that’s us, are working in concert with the Holy Spirit to grow and become a glorious Christian and thereby a part of a glorious church?
May our prayer every day be …. “Holy Spirit, use Your pure word in me daily that I may be cleansed in my life and help the church be a pure bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”
For His Glory,