Summary: Through the husband and wife relationship Paul identifies the mysterious relationship that Christ has with His Church. As we enter into a passionate relationship with Christ, He will make us into a LOVING CHRUCH.

I like the story about the legalistic Seminary student who wanted to have a scriptural basis for everything he did. He felt he was on solid ground if he could quote chapter & verse to okay all his actions.

He was doing fine until he fell in love with a beautiful co-ed. He wanted very much to kiss her, but he just couldn’t find a scripture to okay it. So, true to his conscience, he would simply walk her to the dormitory each night, look at her longingly, and then say "Good night."

This went on for several weeks, and all the time he was searching the Bible, trying to find some scripture to okay kissing her good night. But he couldn’t find one, until finally he came across a passage in Romans that says, "Greet each other with a holy kiss." He thought, "At last, I have scriptural authority for kissing her good night."

But to be sure, he went to his hermeneutics professor to check it out. After talking with the professor, he realized that the passage had to do more with relationships within the church than with a dating situation. So once again he simply didn’t have a passage of scripture to okay kissing his girl good night.

That evening he again walked her to the dormitory to bid her "good night." As he looked longingly into her eyes he told her of his desire to kiss her good night, but that he was unable to find any scriptural basis to approve of such an action. Immediately she grabbed him, pulled him toward her, and planted a 10-second kiss right on his lips. At the end of the kiss, the Seminary student gasped for air, and stammered, "Bible verse, Bible verse." The girl grabbed him a 2nd time, and just before kissing him again, said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Last time we looked at the love affair between Christ and His Church. Ours is not a cold religious experience, but we share in a passionate relationship with Jesus (and we have scriptural references to back it up too!).

Turn with me again to Ephesians 5:21-32 as we again consider what it is like to have a love affair with Jesus. Remember that although Paul is describing the relationship between husbands and wives, the Holy Spirit reveals a profound mystery regarding the relationships between Christ and the believer and how in turn we who make up the Church relate with one another.

Ephesians 5:21-31 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church (NIV)

The mystery of a love relationship is more than love at first sight. Any of us who have been married for any time could talk about the exciting and mysterious relationship of marriage. And yet within passionate relationship of marriage another mysterious relationship is pictured. That mystery Paul says is of Christ and His Church.

We saw last time that in the same way God takes the two and make them one within the bond of marriage, so too the countless multitude of believers making up Christ’s Church are united by the Holy Spirit as one. We are the body of Christ united to Him and one anther. It does not matter what denominational label you may choose to ware; Christ is united to ALL who believe and we are made one in Him.

So what does a love affair with Jesus look like? How is the Church to relate to Christ and one another? Within the marriage relationship described here in Ephesians 5, we find four ways Christ’s love is working within the Church to make us one–one with Christ and one with each other. Jesus makes the passionate Church [1] a Submissive Church, [2] a Loving Church, [3] a Radiant and Glorious Church, and [4] a Nurturing Church. (Now again remember, when we talk about what Christ is doing within the Church, it affects each of us because the Church is not made up of bricks and mortar, but of individual believers united by the Holy Spirit.)

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