Portraits Of The Church In Ephesians
No greater treatise on the “glorious Church” can be found in the New Testament than Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. While the book of Acts chronicles the historical beginning of the Church, focusing on her initial growth and how souls were added to it, it does not detail her place and purpose in God’s scheme of things. The book of Ephesians does! The theme of both Ephesians and Colossians is related; however, the emphasis is different. Each compliments the other. Ephesians focuses upon the relationship of the church to Christ, while Colossians is an emphasis upon the relationship of Christ to the Church. It is not Christ without the Church, but Christ and His Church.
Let us consider eight beautiful and meaningful portraits of the church in Ephesians. It is a:
Living, vibrant body. Jesus Christ is the life of the body. His fullness is in it. He is the head of it (Eph. 1:21, 22; Col. 1:18). Because of Christ, the Church is a moving, active, growing organism. It is an honor for His redeemed to be subject to Him in all things. Authority rests in the head, not the body.
Ministering workmanship. We were saved by “grace through faith” to become His “workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). He has committed to us the “word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). We are given the privilege of being “workers together with Him” (2 Cor. 6:1). God has provided that the body be equipped for ministry and edification (Eph. 4:11, 12).
Loving family. We were born into that spiritual family (John 3:5). Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father, “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Eph. 2:19)
Growing Temple. In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. In the New Testament, God has a people for His temple. God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but he dwells in His people (Acts 17:24). “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16, 17)
Devoted fellowship. Even Gentiles have become “fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6). Together in Christ we experience hope, redemption, peace, love. This is the sweet fellowship we experience in Christ and His church. We are fellow heirs; fellow workers; fellow saints in Christ.
United bond. The church-body is one. The attitudes and actions of the redeemed seek “to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Division in the body is contrary to our calling in Christ. God’s purpose in the unity of the body is to glorify His son.
Chaste bride. The church is married to Christ (Rom. 7:4). She is to have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11). The church-bride is sanctified, holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26, 27). The church-bride is to be pure in doctrine and life.
Strong army. Having the “whole armor of God,” she is equipped to stand against the wiles and fiery darts of the enemy. Soldiers of Christ, arise! The defensive and offensive weapons, God has supplied. Do you know your armament? Are you skillful in their use? Our enemy is Satan. He uses the world and the flesh to deceive and destroy. We need to be alert, equipped, and strong, but we cannot win without the divine energy provided through prayer. (Eph. 6:18)
There are other portraits of the church in the New Testament, but these eight pictures in Ephesians enable us to see the place and purpose of the church in God’s divine scheme. –1150 South Willow Ave., Cookeville, TN 38506.
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