In the pastoral Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Church in Ephesus, we learn much about how God sees the relationship between His Son Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ. Paul lays it out very clearly for us, but I think most of us Christians tend to take this relationship for granted, if we consider it at all. We do not appear to grasp the oneness of the Church and Jesus, and certainly we don’t appear to keep this relationship before us all the time.
Too often, we look at the Church we attend and support and which supports us, as “our” Church, not just in a linking sense, but in a possessive sense. We tend to attend Church and make comments about it as if we own it and are in control of it. When we do this, we can make ourselves out to be our own gods and become automatically to a place of rebellion against God the Father. The Church we attend and support is not ours, it belongs, or should belong, to The Lord Jesus Christ and the only spirit which ought to have dominion over that Church is the Holy Spirit.
I am reminded of a testimony given by a Pastor Michael from South Africa in 2008, who during prayer heard the Holy Spirit tell him to close his church and go to Hong Kong. Pastor Michael had never thought of leaving South Africa for any country, let alone Hong Kong, so assumed this was the enemy talking to him; after all, he had a good sized successful Church and all was going well for him. However, as he prayed, the words became more insistent, telling him to close his church and be in Hong Kong within the week. Eventually Pastor Michael became convinced this was indeed the Holy Spirit speaking to him, so he prayerfully asked, “Lord, Why do you want me to close Your Church and head for Hong Kong?” The reply which Pastor Michael received has always remained in my mind, for the Lord replied to him, “I did not tell you to close My Church, I told you to close your Church!” Within seven days Pastor Michael was in Hong Kong, having closed his Church and reassigned his congregation to other Churches as the Holy Spirit directed.
Who is Jesus Christ in relation to the Church?
Ephesians 5:32-33 tell us this:
Jesus is the Head, the Saviour, the Sanctifier, the Purifier, the Glorifier, the Builder, the Nourisher, the Cherisher, the Unifier, the Protector and the Receiver of the Church!
Let us look at some facts about Jesus Christ and His Church:
|Christ is Head of the Church.||Ephesians 5:23||“… even as Christ is the head of the church …”|
|Christ is Saviour of the Church.||Ephesians 5:23||“… and He is the Saviour of the body.”|
|The Church must be subject to Christ in all things.||Ephesians 5:24||“Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything …”|
|Christ gave Himself for the Church.||Ephesians 5:25||“even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it …”|
|Christ sanctifies the Church with washing by the Word.||Ephesians 5:26||“… that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word …”|
|Christ cleanses the Church with washing by the Word.||Ephesians 5:26||“… that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word …”|
|Christ will receive the Church to Himself.||Ephesians 5:27||“… that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church …”|
|John 14:1-3||” …. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself …:|
|First Thessalonians 4:16||“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first.”|
|First Corinthians 15:23||“But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming …”|
|Colossians 3:4||“When Christ our Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”|
|Christ is making the Church glorious.||Ephesians 5:27||“… that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church …”|
|First Corinthians 6:11||“And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”|
|Second Corinthians 3:18||” But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.”|
|Christ is making the Church spotless.||Ephesians 5:27||“… without spot or wrinkle or any such things …”|
|Christ is making the Church holy.||Ephesians 5:27||“… that it should be holy and without blemish.”|
|Christ is making the Church perfect.||Ephesians 5:27||“… that it should be holy and without blemish.”|
|Christ is making the Church faultless.||Ephesians 5:27||“that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish …”|
|Christ nourishes the Church.||Ephesians 5:29||” For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church.”|
|Christ cherishes the Church.||Ephesians 5:29||” For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church.”|
|The Church is part of Christ.||Ephesians 5:30-33||“For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. But also let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife that she defers to her husband.”|
|First Corinthians 12:12-13||“For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.”|
|First Corinthians 12:27||“And you are the body of Christ, and members in part.”|
|The Church is one with Christ.||Ephesians 5:30-32||“For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”|
|First Corinthians 6:17||“But he being joined to the Lord is one spirit.”|
|Romans 12:4-5||“For even as we have many members in one body, and all members do not have the same function, so we the many are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.”|
As we review and meditate on what the Bible tells us about the facts of the relationship between Christ and the Church, we ought to come to a new understanding of what the Church is, as The Body of Christ. As the Church is not of our making, it cannot be our possession, for we are the Church and Christ is the owner.
Psalm 133:1 gives us some idea of what Church should be, saying “… how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!“ I believe this is how we ought to look to the Church, dwelling together in unity, and as Ephesians 4:3 says “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Next time we attend Church, let us remember whose Church we are attending and let’s all act accordingly.
The 16 items and facts of Christ’s relatiobnsipo with His Church are from a compilation found in Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible