By Alan Davis
The true church of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of God’s purposes. Scripture tells us that, Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” and in Acts 20:28 we are told that Christ shed His blood for the church. The church is also known in Scripture as the bride of Christ. There is no doubt when reading of the church in the New Testament that God places a great emphasis on how important the church is to Him. The Spirit of God finishes up verse 25 from Eph. above with, Eph 5:26-27 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) 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. In more than one place in the New Testament, the church is alluded to as the Bride of Christ. It is obvious that the church is of great importance to Christ.
If the church is that important to Christ then the church should be of great importance to the individual believer. To claim the name of Christ and to say I am a follower of Christ is to say that I care about what Christ cares about. A professing Christian who says they are a follower of Christ but doesn’t care for the church leaves their professed faith open to great speculation. To claim to be a Christian and to not care about the only institution that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted and calls His bride would be a spurious faith at best. I sometimes come across professing believers that tell me or insinuate to me that they love Jesus but don’t care too much for the church. Well that would be like telling me you love me but don’t care for my wife. It would be a proverbial “slap in the face”. Most would stand back appalled at someone else slighting the Lord Jesus. Since Jesus gave us the church and likens it to the “one flesh” binds of marriage it is clear that if we slight the church we are slighting the Savior. To say you love Jesus but don’t care for the church is to say you don’t care for part of Jesus.
The church is a serious matter to Jesus and to believers. The church is not a portion of our Christian faith we can take or leave at will. It is clear from Scripture that the church has authority over believers, it is the place where our spiritual gifts should be exercised under the authority of the God-ordained officers, Pastors (or elders) and Deacons. It is the people we, as believers, should be accountable to so as to live a godly life. It is the tool and instrument God has chosen to preach the gospel in the local community, to care for the widows and orphans, to identify and train godly leaders, to disciple believers and to lead new believers to commit to Baptism and meaningful church membership. It is the church that God uses as His tool to proclaim to the nations His glory through the gospel. So the church is a very serious matter to God, and should be to us who have been redeemed by God.
In the next few weeks I am going to talk here about the importance of the church as the Bride of Christ. I will begin in just a few days to talk of building a “True Church”. Some would say they want a great church. A great church in most people’s eyes is a church that pleases people and entertains and makes people feel comfortable where they are. Some see a great church as one that meets their felt needs in this temporal world. A “True Church” is one that takes seriously the mandates for the church given by Scripture. It is a church that seeks to glorify God and is more concerned with the members’ holiness than their happiness. It is a church that confronts sin, the sin of its members first and its world second. It is a church that holds its members accountable to live godly, show up for corporate meetings and to be a witness. It is much, much more than just a spiritualized Sunday morning entertainment designed around our personal preferences. Christ desires to have a “True Church”. We should be about building True Churches not great churches. The church is the Bride of Christ.
Eph 5:26-27 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.
Pastor Alan Davis
Woodland Baptist Church