How God Sees The Church

(Ephesians 5:27)  “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.”

One day the Church will stand together at the throne of God. The Church will be presented as a holy and clean Body. This is only possible because we are already a holy and clean Body! God does not depend on our own good works or acts of righteousness to establish or keep our holy and clean position before Him. In fact, if we were not already holy and without blemish, we could never have the promise of standing before Him. This is the second purpose of the Lord’s sacrifice described in Ephesians 5:25.

How is this possible when we look around at a Church that seems to be full of spots, wrinkles and blemishes? How can we possibly say the church is clean when it seems like there is only hypocrisy? We have to look at the Source. Jesus is the Source. He loved and gave himself for the Church (vs 25). The Church is His Body. Is there any other possible outcome other than holiness? When God looks at the Body of Christ, He sees a Body that has been cleansed. He sees members who are washed in the blood of the Lamb.

We spend so much effort and energy looking at the Church from man’s viewpoint. We become preoccupied with what we see around us instead of what is seen from above. If we are a heavenly people, we need to have a heavenly viewpoint. We need to be occupied with the sacrifice of Christ. We need to focused on the resurrection of Christ. We need to fix our gaze on the race ahead of us instead of the fray around us. The Church is glorious because it is God’s creation. The Church is without spot or wrinkle because it was paid for at the cross. The Church is holy and without blemish because God only creates what is in His own likeness.

Instead of worrying about the hypocrisy in the pew next to us, let’s burn in our minds the wonder of a living organism unified across all boundaries through the Living God inside of us. Instead of giving up on church, let’s go to church because we are The Church. Instead of finding fault in minor annoyances let’s determine to love others in the Body as God loves them. See the Church for what it is, what it was created to be, what it can be and ultimately what we will all appear to be when we stand together at the throne of God.

Renewed Thought – The Church is so much more than what you see in church.

3 Keys To A Stronger Church

(Ephesians 4:16)  “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

We just had a triathlon in our city. Even though I run occasionally, it was no surprise that I did not compete. I’m what you call a “casual runner.” I try hard but I wouldn’t call what I do “training.” So what sets a triathlon athlete apart from the rest of us who run, bike or swim? After talking to a couple of people who compete, it’s obvious: They have a balanced, disciplined training program. Not only are triathletes dedicated, they focus on every body part, nutrition, and mindset. They put themselves daily in a well-rounded test of endurance that builds up the whole person.

The Bible describes the Church (every saved person) as the Body of Christ. This Body is designed for endurance, just like the triathlete. Just like an elite competitor, the Body of Christ has a purpose aimed at victory. But just like any athlete, the Body of Christ can be weakened or it can be made stronger. This verse in Ephesians gives 3 keys to understanding what it takes to make the Body stronger and ultimately, more useful and fit for the purpose of God.

Christ Is The Source

“From whom” points us back to the previous verse where the last word is “Christ.” Not only is He the Head, He also places each one of us into a particular place in the Body so that we are “fitly joined together.” In the big picture, this how we are supposed to function as the Church. We aren’t supposed to be a fragmented group of people with our own agendas. He places each one so that we fit together perfectly to work as one living organism.

 Every Person Is Important

“…compacted by that which every joint supplieth…” – compacted in the Greek means “to drive together, that is, unite.” There are no insignificant people in the Church. Regardless of our physical or mental abilities, as we are spiritually nourished, there is a strength we bring to the Body (Colossians 2:19). Our individual spiritual growth through understanding is intended to contribute to the strengthening of the entire Body. Unfortunately, too many people mistake intellectual understanding for spiritual growth. When they are around Christians who don’t understand as much as they do, they cut themselves off out of impatience. They wind up isolating themselves from the Body and often feel bitter or combative against other Christians. God designed us to work together and allow for others to grow in grace. Every Christian working in close contact with other Christians is critical.

Love Is The Key Ingredient

Love is the key to strength in the Body. Without love, there is no growth. It is the motivation behind grace. If we truly lived under grace, wouldn’t love be our identifying characteristic? If every Christian would value and esteem all the other Christians more than they value and esteem themselves – without conditions – what kind of revolution could we have in the Church?

We need a stronger Church today – will you do your part?

[box]Renewed Thought – The identity of the Body of Christ is gloriously manifested through the members living in the identity of the Head.[/box]

Distance Education

(Ephesians 3:10)  “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:” 

We are conditioned to look to the heavenly realm expecting something to affect what occurs here on earth. As we intercede in prayer, we approach God sitting on His throne in heaven. We look to Him for the answer there. But this verse in Ephesians tells us something different and awesome. This verse tells us what we do in the earth-realm affects the heavenly realm.

“…by the church…” speaks to what is being done by or known through the Church, the Body of Christ. It isn’t the church learning something from the heavenly creation – it is just the reverse. We are the means by which something amazing is accomplished. The “principalities and powers in heavenly places” is the governmental structure set up in the spiritual realm. As the occupants of these seats of rulership and power look down on the earth and see the church functioning, they are learning about the “manifold wisdom of God!” Our actions, yes our very lives, are designed to teach the angelic creation about the eternal purpose of God!

You are the living demonstration of God’s grace. What you do not only affects what occurs here on earth, you are causing a ripple effect into the eternal sphere. You are a joint-heir with Christ, a justified creation, and a child of the Living God. As heaven looks down on you today, it sees the future of this universe in someone who will reign and rule with Christ in eternity. The angels are learning from a distance something that will affect them when God brings this age to a conclusion. They are learning about God’s grace. They are learning about God’s mercy. They are learning about God’s plan and purpose in unifying all people into one living organism – the Body of Christ. Today is your chance to teach the heavenly creation as you live a life designed to please Him.

Renewed Thought – If I had to observe my own life from a distance, what would I learn about God’s grace?