More Than a Steeple
The Ekklesia: His Best for Our Community
Text: Eph 5-6
Paul’s final thought is expressed here in 5:1-2
5:1 “be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Paul then defines how we, the Ekklesia, should walk in love, imitate God and are filled with Christ. Take note that he uses the example of Christ and the Church as a foundation for how godly marriages, families and communities are built.
5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it,just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
So often the community surrounding the church only sees the steeple (or in our case the dome), they don’t see or get to know the people.
Why we are, by God's grace, building a Diverse Apostolic Revival Community of believers who are passionate about seeing awakening come to our community. We want to see all those in our reach experience LIFE IN ALL ITS FULLNESS!
It's true: Every man, woman, and child in our community needs a strong, healthy church!
The Ekklesia is Christ's HOPE for our Community
If the Church is to be seen as more than a Steeple... then we must embrace its true identity as His Bride, His Body and His Best!
1) The Church is His Bride
25 Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Christ Loves His Church, His Bride
2 Co 11:1–3 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Christ has done His part; We must do ours as the Bride
Paul cautions the church to not become Spotted or Wrinkled
Spots - Stains from the World around us
Jas 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Two Sins staining the church
Eph 5:3–6 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Wrinkles - Dead, dry, dull routines of religion
Isolation from the world is guaranteed decay
The church finds its splendor in the Water and the Word
“that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor”
Why is this important? The Church sets the example for Christian living. You need a strong healthy church because in seeing a glorious Church, the example is set for your marriage. Your kids need to see a strong healthy church so that they know how to honor their parents and in turn build their future family.
2) The Church is His Body
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
Adjectives the Unchurched uses to describe the Church
(UnChristian, Barna Group 2008)
- Old Fashioned
- Out of touch with reality
- Intolerant of other faiths
Point: The Unchurched world sees the Church as UnChristian
The church (Christ’s Body) and Christ should be indistinguishable from one another
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Paul reminds the church (Eph 4:17-32) At one point you walked like the world.
Futility of Mind
Alienated from the life of God
This is why he calls out to the church! Eph 5:14
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Be His Body, Shine before our community!
Our community needs a strong healthy church.
3) The Church Is His Best
"This is a Profound Mystery"
Eph 4:23–32 be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness...29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The Church is Christ Best representation before the unchurched community.
Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit of God
So often taken out of context. It is grievous when the Church gives the surrounding community cause to label it as UnChristian
Every man, woman, and child in our community needs you to represent His BEST!
Taking It Further
1) Read Eph 4:17 - Eph 6 take note of how the church instructed to be portrayed to the community.
2) How does the church grieve the Holy Spirit
3) How can you better represent Christ and the Church before your community?