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August 5, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Dan Brooks concludes a chapel series entitled “Christ’s Body: The Church.” Today’s scripture passage is Ephesians 5:25-32.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series about the role of the church called Christ's body, the church, today's message will be preached by Rev. Dan Brooks pastor a gospel hope church in Riverton, Utah, and would ask you to open your Bibles with me this morning to Ephesians 5 so we come to the word this morning.
Ephesians 5 and and I want to talk about marriage, but it's not my marriage it's not your marriage. Those of you who are in that relationship.
It's not your future marriage and some of your praying and hoping and working toward that and it's another kind of marriage. And it's revealed to us in this portion of the Scriptures and I want to challenge you to think in terms of what God is revealing to us.
Most of us do not in fact bring a great vision of God and Jesus Christ into our participation in his church were hoping someone will help create that vision for us but for us to carry that vision into the church is sometimes a very foreign thing, now six times in this letter to the Ephesians. The apostle Paul actually uses the word mystery. It first appears in the in chapter 1, as he refers to the mystery of his will. That is the will to unite all things in Christ, then he uses the term mystery. In chapter 3. Three particular times as he speaks of the mystery of Christ that Gentiles are fellow heirs that members they are members of the same body particular partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel in chapter 6, he refers to the mystery of the gospel, but here in chapter 5 before as he refers to the mystery of Christ and the church.
I would ask you to look at verse 25 with me and follow along as I read through verse 32. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, 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.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.
He that loveth his wife loveth himself for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church, for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife and they too shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Paul reveals this mystery through the living metaphor of marriage, and he does so that our vision of Christ would expand to the glorious boundaries at which it exists, and that our understanding would expand into the massive regions of his love for us alive, which he describes in chapter 3 as having no known height or depth or breadth or link a love that is in truth, incomprehensible mind blowing. And if you're going to love the church and if you're gonna be vitally connected contributing to it. As God has designed you to contribute contribute to it if you're gonna be engaged with it, exercising the spirit given gifts for the edification of the church, then you must begin to understand how much Jesus loves his church. Verse 25 we begin to uncover several different points concerning the love that Jesus Christ has for his church in a minute categorize them under three headings this morning. The first is this Christ's love is demonstrated in his sacrifice for the church. Look again at the text with me if you will please Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.
The idea of giving himself is that he willfully and intentionally of his own volition delivered himself over to the power of another.
The same terminology is used in places like Romans four, verse 25 where we read of our Savior that he was delivered given over for our transgressions and raised for our justification or Galatians 1 verse four. He gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age or Galatians 2 verse 20 the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself health for me, gave himself over beloved. He delivered himself to the verbal abuse and mistreatment of Jewish religious leaders and accusers he delivered himself intentionally to the physical abuse of the Roman torturers he delivered himself to the suffering of death on the cross he delivered himself to the horrors of God's wrath, which as he stood on the front side of experiencing those horrors, they caused him to tremble delivered himself to being abandoned by the father, with whom he had enjoyed unbroken fellowship and relationship from eternity past all of this he willingly suffered that he might bring many sons to glory all of this he willingly endured so that he might have a bride. This sacrifice is essential to our faith is not something we merely acknowledge your ad for the sake of historical accuracy or a kind of theological precision, my friends, apart from the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ we have no forgiveness of sins, we have no standing of righteousness before God.
We have no hope of eternal life. We have no ear revealed revocable union with Jesus himself the love of Christ is undeniably expressed for the church in his sacrifice. Notice he loved the church and gave himself for it or some of your English translations would even use that pronoun her and that may be a little more accurate and helpful because the particular noun ending in pronoun ending are in fact feminine. I don't think the force of that argument is made so much about the language in the structure of the original text, but rather the context of what our Lord is telling us that this metaphor of earthly marriage between a husband and wife is revealing to us the mystery of Christ's relationship to his church. It reminds me that Jesus does not think of the assembly of his people. In terms of organizational and administrative structure.
He does not think of his people. In terms of a spiritual Corporation that's not what he purchased with his blood he purchased a bride. He lay down his life in order that he might unite to a gathering of people that he views in a spousal relationship. I wonder how you view the church this morning. Some of you think of church and the way you think of a club they're running a good deal on membership and offer lots of benefits and one club offers more benefits than another. So you pick that one get excited about things that contribute to your well-being and contribute to your personal interest needs a wow this church now offers an early-morning CrossFit Bible study I bring my Bible and they give me a towel and a water bottle as we all know that when you get into this kind of intensive Bible study really work up a sweat and by the way, there's really great childcare for my children and their enemy taken care of and highly entertained and they even have organic gluten-free snacks and then when your interest in those particular benefits runs out you look around and see if there's another better deal and needs don't even hesitate to change as little more than a club, we tend to be rather consumer a stick in our approach, sometimes to the church.
Don't we. Jesus does not come into this relationship is a consumer saying what will these people contribute to me expresses his love and sacrifice.
And you know our love for the church ought to carry that same kind of sacrificial quality to it that your love for the church reflect that sense of Christlike sacrifice. Are you willingly giving yourself so that others may grow be built up in the faith is a second expression of Christ's love. It's found in this passage. Look at verse 26 with me.
Christ's love is demonstrated in his sanctification of his church. He sanctifies the church that she might be pure Christ did not select this bride because she was already perfect in beauty and holiness, but because he intends to make her beautiful and holy, that he might sanctify that he might cleanse her two terms have the idea of making her pure, it's clear that he understands she is not yet pure cleansing has the idea making her free from filth weld. Clearly, he understands that she retains some filth and a few of us look for a potential mate who is a project doing I didn't when I was looking for me and neither do you. I met my wife here while we were students and we were friends initially and then something happened so I got give me a new set of eyes to see her way that I never had before.
I can still remember I was on the back campus and had been was working with the yard crew that summer and been we been laying sod all day in the Augustine hot. We were tired and I was back there and Mr. Murrell went on a few extra roles of the sod and we were gonna put sprinklers on it and use it for a few other places in the days to comment and it was down by one of the pavilions in my wife, who was an officer in her society had come a couple days early for some organizational meetings and she happened to arrive about an hour before or the that the meeting was scheduled to arrive just a little mixup in her calendar and such. But as she got out of the car and started walking down for the pavilion. I was there and and again were just friends. At this point, but I saw her, and I mean it was like this glorious moment so I never seen her before the wow factor inexplicable and I thought to myself this is amazing never seen this person like this before and as I spent more time with her over the this semester I grew to understand that I mean there is beauty within and out. She was funny she was warm she was caring. She was compassionate.
She loved the Lord. I love the Lord me what was not to like about her. She was and is to this day. My dream girl, but she was in a project.
Jesus didn't look for a potential spouse who was perfect in his estimation. He didn't set his love on the church because he found her to be everything that he had dreamed of in eternity past, he set his love upon her in order that she would become everything he had purposed in the past.
He sanctifies and cleanses her with the washing of the water by the word.
We don't have time to explore all that is loaded into that phrase the washing of the water by the word because time is short.
I want to just go to that particular point. What is this word in, and how does Jesus use it in the life of the church and there is some discussion and debate in as to what that word might be in a very narrow since some actually see is a baptismal formula that would be pronounced over a new believer, a candidate for baptism. I think it's broader than that. I think that phrase by the word or through the word has reference more than the cleansing that I does the washing or the water is one author knows that that word could have the more general sense of the gospel message. The writer would then be saying that the church's plans through the purifying word of the gospel and that brings us to something else worth our consideration this morning when thinking about a church that you're going to connect to and build your life around and in is it a place where the word of God is preached faithfully the faithful faithfulness to the tax, not some particular strain of church politics or even denominational preferences, but the full orbs preaching the gospel is the means whereby Jesus sanctifies his church.
The church will never grow in purity and true holiness in beauty where the word of God is not faithfully preached.
So two cautions come to my mind. One is that skillful delivery and substantial content are not the same things.
An individual may be a great orator and communicator, but have little or no biblical substance a great question to ask, what does this preacher say about Christ. How much does he make of the cross. House Central is the gospel to every thing that is taking place here in this setting. I'd rather sit under a preacher who has average to poor communication skills who faithfully preaches the tax than a skillful communicator who fails to preach the message of the cross and Christ crucified Jesus is not using great oratory and powerful presentations to build his church. He uses the preaching of the cross and the crucifixion of his son. Caution number two keep realistic about expectations for your pastor and other seems to be evidence in the New Testament that Paul was unimpressive as a public speaker in second Corinthians 10 verse 10 he is addressing the objections to his apostolic ministry.
And if you can believe this. There were some in the church at Corinth.
They were apparently saying of Paul and this is written in the tax. His letters are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible. Makes me wonder how many people even in our generation would remain in Falls Church of those things were true about his presentation. This may be part of the explanation that the church at Corinth was divided along party lines and some were big fans of Apollo's and some Peter and some Paul and some try to make Jesus their mascot. Paul perhaps by public estimation was not an impressive communicator. But the substance of what he preached was a revelation as he said earlier in the letter to the Corinthians of the Spirit's power.
Christ sanctifies the church that she might be pure. Look at verse 27 with me. He also sanctifies the church that he might present it to himself a glorious church. Other something future in view, this is not the current work finished work that Jesus intends there is in view glory and that word glorious has to do with the external appearance and what the church is externally matches what he is finally made suit made her to be internally for the moment, the bride of Christ is still a mess.
There is so much brokenness in our local assemblies. Beloved, don't ever be surprised by that. We want to be glorious.
We wish that our churches did not have the spots of immorality and self righteousness. We wish that our churches didn't have the wrinkles of disagreement and dis-and division. We wish that our churches didn't have the blemishes of personal conflict and theological confusion, but they do every single local assembly has these imperfections and anybody says, will my church doesn't just doesn't really know what's going on glory is coming. Jesus is at work, you need to stop looking for the perfect church here and now it doesn't exist. Stop looking for a church that is free from messes and difficulties and challenges. It doesn't exist but as you join a church with all its spots and fan wrinkles and blemishes know that Christ's love will not relent until she has the church of his hopes and his purposes. Beauty is that you personally are caught up in that purpose. You will be everything that Jesus intends for you to be your struggle with sin will come to an end. Your confusion and doubt and fear will cease.
But his church will be everything that he intends it to be and that is because he expresses his love and his powerful work of sanctification when I consider that there's something in my heart that says I want to be a part of that don't you is the third manifestation of his love.
Look at verses 28 and following his love is demonstrated in the strengthening of his church.
The two terms that appear here are nourish and cherish, nourish, conveys the idea of feeding or of nurturing to bring a child up to maturity.
The terminology appears in chapter 6 verse for the second term, cherish means to make warm literally non-theological or non-spiritual sense of that word Paul uses it in his letter to the Thessalonians in chapter 2 verse seven saying we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
These are words that convey great tenderness and through this ministry of nourishing and cherishing Jesus is actually strengthening his church building her growing her maturing her and look at verse 30 with me. Why does he do it because we are members of his body. His body.
He views us as his people in the same way that you view yourself. You look at the various appendages and parts in external and internal and all of its valuable to you for good reason. We are members of his body. That means that your hurts are his hurts that your struggles are his struggles your joy is his joy. And that's not true only if he was an individual is true of your local assembly. Jesus is committed to the nurture and care of that body and it's difficult for us to understand how intensely he loves us, but this is a demonstration of his love, and he could no sooner give up the care of his church, been a man to give up the care of his own body and I mean a male and we all know how committed males are to caring for their own body. Most of us do it just out of a sense of self-preservation and an ego.
Jesus is not doing it out of that kind of of of immature and self-serving interest is an expression of his eternal, unfailing, intensely personal love for his people. He sanctifies and strengthens because he has sacrificed everything for the church. No one loves the church more than Jesus Christ us. He loves his church in an unparalleled way and if you are a follower of Jesus this morning.
You are the recipient of the full force of that love in all its eternal benefits, but I want you to see that this love is poured out for the benefit and in the context of a local assembly. Several years ago we were on vacation.
Had some time with our our kids and we ran down to the beach for a few days and I took several books with me and one of those books was a book on marriage and as I began to read through it. There was more and more of it. That was compelling to me and I would stop and as my wife and I were sitting there toes buried in the sand. I would say hi. Listen to this. This is really good and and she was very kind to listen to. She always gets her own reading going there is one paragraph that I came across that just move me to tears, and even as I read that the truth of this. It was so compelling to both of us that we just had to stop and talking and commit ourselves to this kind of love. The author writes within the Christian vision for marriage, which is very and should be very different from the world's vision of marriage within the Christian vision for marriage. Here's what it means to fall in love is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating and to say I see what God is making you to be that excites me. I want to be a part of that.
I want to partner with you and God. In the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there.
I will look at your magnificence and say I always knew you could be like this.
I got a glimpse of it on earth but now can you each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the word, the gospel, each spouse then she would give him or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other. Presented in spotless beauty and glory and my friends. I submit to you that within the biblical vision for the church and as we work out the truth of Christ's love for the church through the metaphor of earthly marriage.
Jesus Christ intends for us to understand this vision and commit ourselves, our ourselves to one another in a similar way, and yet it's for an even greater eternal person purpose than what a Christian husband and Christian wife could experience as they come together for the glory of God than it ought to be the kind of vision that compels us to say of our local assemblies. I see what God is making this church to be headed excites me.
I want to be a part of that. I want to partner with this Christ and this local assembly in this journey we are taking to the throne and when this now spotted a wrinkled blemish bride is glorious and we gather with local assemblies from around the world from all the ages we will look upon the magnificence of our Christ and his glorified church and we will say we always knew that we could be like this.
We got glimpses of it on earth but at this now that's the kind of vision that will sustain you through the difficulties of life in the church in this present age. That's the kind of vision Jesus has for his church.
That's why he laid down his life to purchase us with his own blood. It's why he continues relentlessly in this process of sanctification. It's why he continued to strengthen his people, day by day nourishing and cherishing them. It's not because of what we are right now is because of what he has purposed us to be that may be one of the most compelling reasons in my estimation to join wholeheartedly and eagerly in faith and hope to join. Personally with one little local manifestation of the larger church in the world would you bow your heads with me please or Jesus, we praise you for your love is in fact higher and deeper and broader and longer than we can fathom the proof and evidence of your love is the sacrifice of the cross present proof is the way you continue to make us pure and clean. We praise your name that you have an eternal purpose at work that is unstoppable that no entity could overthrow or inhibit, and you have called us as your people to join you in that eternal and revocable relationship, but you've also called us to enter into relationship with one another in the context of the church so because you want us to take a share in this great purpose. Would you now empower us to live and love in light of these truths.
What an astonishing and amazing romance.
It is of Christ and his church for all that you are for all that you have done and promised to do and will accomplish.
We give you our praise and our thanks and let your blessing rest upon these dear saints, the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. You been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Pastor Dan Brooks, which was part of the study series about the church, titled Christ's body, the church join us again tomorrow for more sermons from Bob Jones University Chapel services here on The Daily Platform