THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 6-27-10
LESSON TITLE: “THE GLORIOUS CHURCH: WHY IS THE CHURCH SO GLORIOUS?”
Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God’s Living Word! We are glad you are with us this morning to give this time to the things of God. At this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer? Bow with me please!
Let’s begin immediately with our songs of praise this day. The first song of the morning reminds us of the fact that God will always be there for the faithful. So won’t you do your part in worship to God at this time and join in with the congregation as we sing together, “Be Not Dismayed!”
(SONG # 1)
A mistake we often make as followers of God is trying to see God simply as a man! We want to explain away His power, person and character, as something which is merely the same as everyone else - as if He were not different or special.
I believe that God wants us to know Him and to see Him as real, but not as just another man or human being. I think Moses dealt with this thought in Numbers 23:19. There we read, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Notice the many precious truths we learn in this passage!
First, God is not a man, a son of a man, or a sinner. God is God! The creator, giver and sustainer of all. The Eternal One with no beginning and no end. Moses here was not trying to discount the fact that one day Jesus would become a man and walk among men as God, but He was trying to clarify the point that God is not just another man. Rather He is truly God!
Now notice the proof that he goes on to show us to confirm that God in not a mere man. He states that God’s Word can be counted on. Why? Because God does what He says and always fulfills what He has promised. There are no empty promises with God, because He cannot lie and He has committed to doing those things which He has promised. You see our God is a wondrous and mighty God. He is able to be counted on. He will do all that He has said!
In the New Testament, the inspired James helps us with this same thought. In chapter 1 and verse 17 of his book we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Again we find that everything comes from God and that with God there is no variation, change or turning from what He has committed!
Paul had this to say about our God, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it,” 1 Thessalonians 5:24! Yes, our God can be trusted, He is faithful and He will do what He has confirmed through His perfect Word! Do you have the confidence you need in your Creator? Choose today to trust more in God and to know that all that He has said is for real!
Today we will begin a new series of study entitled, “The Glorious Church!” The specific lesson of the day will answer the question, “Why Is the Church So Glorious?” So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “I Stand Amazed.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today as we now begin a new and exciting series of study.
I will begin by asking the question: Have you ever been involved in some type of an organization or a social order? The fact is that most of us at one point in our life or another have been involved in some type of an organization. Maybe as a child, or even a young person we were involved in some type of sports and maybe engaged very heavily in those sports and practiced on a regular basis. Maybe it was some type of a club at school that we involved ourselves in. Often at maybe universities or colleges there are not only social clubs or social organizations, but so many groups that you can tie yourself to and your name to to engage in those activities that you enjoy and that you like, or maybe even that you might better equip yourselves in a certain area or field that you might become more involved with those who have a like-mindedness or an interest in similar things. Then as we grow older in life certainly there continues to be many opportunities for social or sports clubs. There continues to be many different types of opportunities even in a secular and religious realm where we might get involved in different things to again bond our time and abilities with others who have like precious interests.
With that in mind then we think about today the greatest organization that was ever set up or ordained specifically by God. In fact if I were to ask you in the Bible: What two main institutions did God establish in the very beginning of time? Those two that stand out are first of all “marriage” as we find God ordaining that a man should not be alone and then He gave him the woman as a helpmeet. The two became one flesh in Genesis chapter 2. But then later we also find the concept of the church. Although the church did not come to fruition until maybe many years later, according to the New Testament teachings, then certainly there still was the prophecy as well as the promise before God ever created a thing. That’s what we will look at even further in just a moment.
The reality is that God has always had a kingdom. He has always called a people or desired a people would follow Him. He may have dealt with him in different ways and may have given him different laws to follow in order to be right and in His sight, but still He was reaching out to again enjoin Himself or fellowship, create a covenant as we call them with those who would submit to His Will.
With that in mind then we go to Ephesians chapter 5. We often turn here as men and women. Even in the church we often turn here because we want to learn what it is like to be a good husband and a good wife. The comparison is being made in this text about the relationship of a husband and wife. Guess what the standard is that sets that best opportunity to be good husbands and wives. Well it is Christ and the church. Guess what example he uses. Christ and the church. Guess what he illustrates how I can be the best husband I can be. Through Christ and the church. So how interesting that he begins there early on in verse 22 by stating that “The wife should submit to the husband…” Why? “As to the Lord.” Then he next says in verse 23 that, “The husband is head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church.”
Then he adds this. “Even the savior of the body.”
Then when we look at the next verse, 24, he says, “Therefore just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” What do we learn here? We begin to learn many ideas about the fact that Christ is the head of the church. He is the founder of the church. He’s the builder of the church. He is the one who is the Savior for so many reasons which are very obvious and clear to us as He was God and the Son of God in the flesh who came and died and shed His blood that we might have opportunity to be a part of His kingdom or His church.
But obviously as we continue to look here, I want you to notice what else is seen. Not only Christ’s role. Not only the role of a man and a woman, a husband and wife. But also the church and the role of the church. How is the church perceived or looked at by God? That’s the beautiful thing that is also eloquently spoken of in this text. If you will look with me in verse 25, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” Why? “That He might sanctify and cleanse her…” Who? The church! “…With the washing of water by the Word.” What was Christ’s objective as the husband or as the bridegroom of the church, His bride? Well that He might do what? As it states here, “Give Himself for her.” Who? The church! “Therefore sanctifying her and cleansing her by the Word of God.”
He doesn’t stop there. He goes on in verse 27 to say that, “He might present her to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Isn’t that exciting to think about? That again as the husband here thinks of that new bride and how he cares for her and the family. He presents them well and he wants others to see them and to know that he provides and cares for them and that he loves them and that they rejoice over him and that they call him blessed among others. Certainly that’s what a husband wants. So therefore even as that bride comes down the aisle she is arrayed in her utmost beauty because we want her to have prepared herself for us just because we have made available for her the opportunity to do such.
Well the same is true with the church. Christ wants to present the church as something that is holy and perfect. Like the Old Law we find the concept where we are not allowed to mix those things that were what? Of an unclean or a clean nature. But all that is about the church and the bride of Christ is perfection, the glory that Christ again provides us the opportunity to be seen as holy and without blemish and as perfect as possible because of what He has done for us. What does that make us? A glorious church. That’s the theme of our new series: “A Glorious Church.” Because we need to begin to understand clearly why is the church so glorious?
We’ve seen some things already here about the great sacrifice of Christ and Him being the builder and the head and so on and so forth, and we actually will look at some more of those things as we go along in a more detailed way, but today what we would like to do is focus specifically on some things that again reiterate to us just how special the church is. First of all, we might ask: What is the church? What is it that God is wanting to present? An institution or an organization or the people? Who does God call, the organization or the individual? The individual! You and I are the church. We make up the body. In fact, Romans chapter 12 tells us that we are many members but one body. We are the church. Individual members yet one.
The other idea that I find interesting over in the book of Peter, 1 Peter chapter 2, is the descriptive concepts of the church or the individuals that make up the church. For instance verse 5 says, “You are living stones. You are,” as it says here, “being built up a spiritual house and therefore (what?) Holy as a priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God,” it says here, “through Jesus Christ.”
Drop down to verse 9, an even more familiar verse. It says there, “But you are a chosen generation. You are a royal priesthood. You are further a holy nation and His own special people.”
Do we understand as a people of God, as the called out of darkness by God, as the assembly, as the church, as the body that we are precious to God, unique and special? God, after making all of His creation, at the end made man. Why? Because man was His ultimate glorious creation that could not only do what many of the other things that He had created had done, but now was created in the image of God, able to think and feel and live and to be characteristic of those things that God would demonstrate not only Himself but ask of us. Therefore being able to do what? Obey and follow, and even accomplish those things that God asked of each and every one of us. You see our God made us a special people, a chosen people, and therefore we have every reason to give God our best as a beautiful bride holy and without blemish as a glorious bride and wife to our Savior Jesus Christ.
John, in the book of Revelation there, several times primarily in chapter 21 talks of this concept of the bridegroom and the bride and how again that you and I are that bride. We are to be presented not only by God, but we are to present ourselves as a worthy bride before our God. Therefore making us yet again all the more glorious.
So what are some other specific things about the church that make it so glorious? One that stands out to me is found in the book of Ephesians chapter 3. In this text here we are talking about the church. In fact he talks about the fact in verse 10 that, “The work of the church is to make known the manifold wisdom of God.” But I want you to notice what the next verse says after it declares the work of the church. He says, “According to the eternal purpose which God accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What? It is God’s eternal purpose through Jesus that the church would not only be established, but that it would come to fruition as an institution by and of God that we might be a part of it and therefore do the work of the Lord. Isn’t that exciting to know that we are a part of the oldest social club in a sense or a group in the entire world? Now certainly it is different than our social clubs today because it has a pattern of blueprints and something that is required to be done to be in it. But we find here clearly the fact again that we are a part of that glorious institution. Not only was it then thought of and planned before God ever said, “Let there be light.” We begin to find for instance in the book of Isaiah chapter 2 the prophesying about the kingdom coming, the church. We begin to see in Daniel 2:44 the idea again in those days of these kings that the kingdom would be established. Of who? Of God, Christ. Then how exciting to see in Matthew 16 that as Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Christ that Jesus said in verse 16 itself, “I will build My church.” Then in the next verse, 19, “And I will give you the keys to that church.” Then the word He uses there is the kingdom. I will build My church and give you the keys to it, the kingdom of God, that prophesied kingdom, that institution, that which has been established, that is perfect and pure.
Why else is the church so glorious? One of my favorite verses about the church is found in Acts chapter 20. There as Paul speaks to the elders at Ephesus he says this in verse 28 after telling them to “take heed to the flock,” but he says, “Sheppard the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” What? The church was purchased with the blood of Christ. So what do I learn about the blood being shed on the cross? It not only enacted the New Law and covenant, Hebrews 8 and 9, but it also purchased the church. Well that makes perfect sense. Because in Acts chapter 2 when they cried out, “What shall we do?” when they knew they had killed Christ, they were told to “repent and be baptized.” Then Acts 2:47 says, “Those that were being saved were added to (guess what) the church.” They were added to the church that began that day that is spoken of in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 as having “been established to take us out of darkness and to translate us into the kingdom of the dear son of the love of the Father.” How exciting it is to know that the church is what you and I are a part of today that we can share in, that we can enjoy as we again saw in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 25. It says that “Christ loved the church enough to (do what?) give Himself for her.” “That same blood then,” Revelation1 verse 5, “Cleanses us and washes us from sin.” Even as Paul was told by Ananias in Acts 22:16, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
The final thing I will make mention of this morning is also the fact that the institution of the church established by God is the only place where salvation can be found. In Acts chapter 4 verse 12 we learn that “there is no other name but the name of Jesus by which we can be saved.” Ephesians chapter 1 verses 21-22 we learn that “the church is the body.” So if we find salvation in the name of Christ and the church is the body of Christ, and we are to be a part of that body when we are doing what is required unto salvation, guess what. Those of the church make up the body. Make up what He said, “I will build…” Make up the kingdom.
You know that is what I want to be a part of. That’s what I want to take part in because that is the body of Christ that has been ordained and established by my Creator.
I also love how Paul put it in 1 Corinthians there in verse 15. He talks about the fact that in the end when all things have come to pass and when God returns to judge His own, verse 24 says, “He, Jesus, will deliver the kingdom of God the Father to (who?) the Father.” Who will Jesus be deliver to? The Father God. So Jesus is going to take what? That glorious bride, that church, that body that kingdom and He is going to deliver it to who? The Father. What does that tell us about the importance of the church? You have got to be a part of it! You’ve got to be in it. You know I have heard so many people before say, “It is not important if you are in the church. It’s not important at all.” How sad! If Jesus died and shed His blood to purchase it and if I’ve got to be a part of it someday to be saved, don’t you want to be a part of the church? Don’t you want to be identified as the glorious body of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
(SONG # 3 - “Soldiers Of Christ Arise!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Are you a part of the one and only glorious church which God established? I hope so because salvation is found in no other place than in Jesus Christ and His precious body!