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Christ and His Churchby Duane Mabee on July 13, 2017
Christ loves His church. Ephesians tells us “…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless,” (Eph. 5:25-27 NIV). That is a beautiful word picture. Christ’s relationship with the church is the perfect model of how a man should treat his wife. Christ loves His church.
He also has a design for His church. Christ sacrificed Himself to make her holy, clean, radiant, and without fault. That means He has a standard for what His church should look like. He knows what He wants His bride to be.
Christ’s love and design for the church create some boundaries and establish some targets. One of the boundaries is: It is Christ’s church, not ours. It is important to keep that in mind. Forget that a woman is another man’s wife and you may end up in a fight. Forget that the church is Christ’s bride not yours and you will find yourself on the wrong side of a fight with God.
One of the targets is: Christ’s purpose for the church must become our purpose for the church. The Bible gives us the purpose of the church. It isn’t a mystery. Jesus gave it to us in the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. Everything Jesus wants His church to be and to do can be found in those two statements. The church is to love God with everything we are and everything we have, and love other people. The church is also to make disciples of all nations. She is to baptize those disciples and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
We can summarize the purpose of the church in three categories: Worship God, Evangelize the Lost, and Build up the Believer. These three categories touch all the relationships of the church – its WEB of relationships, if you will. The categories have some overlap, but worship primarily deals with our relationship with God, evangelism with our relationships with the lost, and building up believers with our relationships with each other.
For a church to be healthy and pleasing to Christ it must strive to develop in all three areas and maintain an appropriate balance between them. A church that doesn’t is like a three-wheeled motorcycle that only has one or two wheels. The form is there, but it isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t living up to its purpose.
Over the next three weeks, we are going to focus on each of these three areas in turn: Worship, Evangelism, and Building up Believers. I hope you will join us, as this will set an important tone for North River.