The Church 6

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.

The chief end or the primary goal and purpose of the Church is the glory of God. In the eternal plan of God He planned and then through Christ purchased His Church for the purpose of glorifying His name. His chief end is not to save souls, but instead He saves to the praise of the glory of His grace. His chief end is not the comfort and wealth of His people, but instead that they would love Him and live for His glory. The Church is not delivered from hell and then set out to plan and live by its own power and wisdom, but instead all that it is and does is to be for His glory and that requires the Church to rest in Him and look to Him alone.

The absolute priority of the Church is to seek the glory of God in all that it does and it is to do so out of love. We cannot seek the glory of God in truth and reality if we do not love God and seek His glory. If we seek His glory (supposedly) out of a higher goal or a greater love, then we are not seeking Him out of love as set out in the Great Commandment. Our prayer lives in many ways reflect our true love. Of course this may be seen in our public prayer lives, but especially in our private prayer. In public prayer we may have learned proper words and perhaps some voice inflexions and so we sound as if we are really praying, but our hearts can be caught up with the applause of others or even self.

The Lord Jesus prayed for the glory of His Father just before He went to the cross, so this should teach us that what He taught the disciples about prayer (Matthew 6) was His practice as well. Since the Church is the body of Christ and He is the life of the Church, it is safe to assume that He will work the first petition in the hearts of His people. The first petition that He taught His people to pray was “hallowed be Your name.” This should be the breathing out of the desires and love of the people who are the Church. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). These two things must go together. We are to pray first and foremost for God’s name to be revered, stood in awe of, and glorified. Yet we are also to be on the alert to pray for the saints.

We can see how these things come together when we understand that the Church is the body of Christ and the temple of the Spirit and so we are to pray for the saints to love God and glorify God. The greatest thing that a person can have is the presence of God and so we are to pray that for the body of Christ with our hearts desiring His glory. When we pray for the Church and the saints that the Church consists of with a heart that loves God and His glory, we are praying for His name to be hallowed and the way He hallows His name is through His people. They are the vessels of clay that His glory dwells in. The Church and the glory of God go together. The Church, that is, the saints of God are the very dwelling place of Christ who is the very outshining of His glory. We should long for Him to come down and dwell among His people so that His glory would shine through His people more and more. It is a totally different concept to think of the Church as a building or a denomination.

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