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Summary: A message on Christ love for His church.

“For The Love Of The Church”

This is the week for love. Kids from age 5 to 95 will be getting and receiving cards with a love theme because Tuesday is Valentines Day.

And with that in mind I thought a love sermon was just the thing for this morning and I have decided to bring this message from the book of Ephesians.

Now most women don’t like to hear the words Paul wrote about submission but Paul is making a very important point with his words here.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church for we are members of His body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Jesus is the ultimate example of that kind of love because Jesus is the ultimate example of how a husband ought to love his wife.

Jesus is the perfect husband. He’s the husband of a wondrous bride… a bride called the church. And Jesus loves His church with a perfect love.

Now let’s be clear here. We’re not talking about a church building, or the church budget, or the church’s organization. Christ’s most valued possession is the body of believers that makes up local congregations like this one.

That means that (if we love Jesus) we should do everything we can to make sure the bride of Christ is strengthened and nurtured and built up.

How can we do that?

First of all we need to make sure we spend time with her.

ILLUS: I heard about a wife who had a terribly rough day with her 3 small children, all day and they had been terrible. To make matters worse, her husband didn’t come home right after work. He had other things he wanted to do and never bothered to let her know of his plans. So when he eventually got home about 5:30 that evening and before he could sit down, she lit in on him about the children’s behavior.

He came back with – she was at home, and it was her fault that they act like that. And things went downhill from there. Their argument grew in intensity and loudness.

Finally after 2 hours of fussing and fighting, the husband said, “I’ll tell you what, let’s start the whole evening over again. I’ll go back outside and come in again and we’ll start over.”

She agreed. He went outside on the porch and turned around, came back to the door, opened it and called out, “Honey, I’m home.”

To which she replied: “It’s about time. It’s 7:30. Where’ve you been for the last 2 hours?”

What caused that man’s problems? In part it was caused by the fact that when his bride needed him… he wasn’t there. His absence from the home weakened his relationship with her and made her behave less like the bride he desired.

Likewise, when we put other things above being with Christ’s bride – the church - we weaken our relationship… and we weaken the church itself.

Now I realize I’m preaching to the choir here (after all, you’re here). But it helps to realize how valuable our presence together is.

Our presence with the rest of the church helps create enthusiasm and encouragement for the rest of the church.

This is an important issue for Jesus.

In fact, Jesus said that when we honor Him by being with His bride… He’ll be there. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said: “where 2 or 3 come together in my name, there am I with them."

Next we need to take care of Christ’s bride by saying words of love and comfort to her.

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