The Church 2

Eph 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Ephesians 3:10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

It is easy to speak of how the Church is the body of Christ and never really deal with the ramifications of that for the meetings of the church, of worship, of prayer, and of preaching. However, if the most essential thing of the Church (and, therefore, of each local church) is that it is the body of Christ, then these things must be prayerfully understood and practiced. It is a far different thing to think of the Church in an external way than it is to think of it as being the very body of Christ who dwells in His people. It is one thing for people to meet in a building that has the name “church” on the sign or door, it is another thing altogether for the people themselves who meet in that building to be the temple of the living God.

When the people who are indwelt by Christ and the Spirit of Christ meet together, the most important thing is not going to be a discussion of sports and they will not be satisfied with a simple study of words in the Bible. The people who are indwelt by Christ and the Spirit of Christ may indeed come together and study Scripture, but they will want Christ Himself to open their eyes that they may behold His glory. They will seek the face of the living God and they will want to behold Him in His glory that they may worship and adore.

When people who love Christ come together, they come together to fellowship with each other. When people who love Christ come together as a corporate body, they should seek to fellowship with Christ Himself. While it is true that when those who truly love Christ fellowship with each other there is a true sense in which they fellowship with Christ, the corporate meetings of the people of God are different. It should not be simply going to church; it should be a meeting to seek God and fellowship with Christ. This is of course true of each individual believer, but when the saints come together it should be heightened.

If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, then this teaches us about each Christian and about the Church as well. The Lord Jesus came to glorify the Father and to purchase a people that glorify the Father, yet they can only do this when Christ lives in them and through them. God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace, so men are to glorify God by praising and enjoying the glory of His grace. It is not just a doctrinal formulation of grace that they are to praise and enjoy; they are to praise and enjoy the glory of His grace. But again, they are to do this and can only do this by the indwelling Christ who is their life. What happens when the true life (Christ) of several believers begins to show them His glory? His people manifest and express that life by praising and enjoying Christ.

The meetings of Christ’s people (those who have Christ as their life) should not always be like funerals and be filled with grim-faces. It is true that the people of Christ do mourn, but they are also commanded to rejoice. How sad should our praise be or how joyful should true praise be? Congregations should come together and the living and resurrected Christ should be evident among them. If He truly is the life of each believer, then it is the life of Christ that should be manifested in the local churches. The Lord Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him, so we should know that we have a joyful Mediator and a joyful Savior who dwells in us. Not only that, but the Spirit of Christ bears fruit of love, joy, peace, and so on. Does the Spirit bear His fruit in His people when they come together? Surely it should be so.

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