Sermons

Summary: PAUL USES MARRIAGE AS A DRAMATIC EXAMPLE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.

THE CHURCH: THE BODY OF CHRIST

EPHESIANS 5:20-33

FEBRUARY 03, 2019

WE ARE CONTINUING WITH OUR SERIES ON THE CHURCH. THE SCRIPTURE WRITERS, UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, USED MANY DIFFERENT IMAGES AND SYMBOLS TO COMMUNICATE DIVINE TRUTHS. WE ARE LOOKING AT ONE TODAY WHERE THE CHURCH IS CALLED “THE BODY OF CHRIST.”

THIS PASSAGE HAS BEEN USED TO HELP DISTINGUISH THE ROLES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES, MOST OF IT INCORRECTLY. WHAT THIS PASSAGE DOES DO IS TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP CHRIST HAS WITH THE CHURCH, AND HOW IT IS TO BE PHYSICALLY DEMONSTRATED BY HUSBANDS AND WIVES IN THEIR DAILY LIVES.

THE BIBLE WILL OFTEN USE THE EXAMPLES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES AS IT RELATES TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH. THE CHURCH IS OFTEN CALLED THE BRIDE, AND THE LORD IS OFTEN CALLED THE BRIDEGROOM, AND IT STEMS FROM OUR UNDERSTANDING OF JEWISH MARRIAGE TRADITIONS.

A TRADITIONAL JEWISH MARRIAGE WAS USUALLY AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE. THE ARRANGEMENT WOULD BE MADE BETWEEN THE FATHERS WHEN THE COUPLE WERE VERY YOUNG. DOWRIES WERE ESTABLISHED, PROMISES BETWEEN THE FAMILIES WERE ESTABLISHED, SOMETIMES EVEN BEFORE THE COUPLE WOULD ACTUALLY MEET. THE MARRIAGE WAS FELT TO BE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAMILIES.

THE MARRIAGE HAD THREE ASPECTS TO IT:

1) THE ENGAGEMENT: THIS WAS MORE BINDING THAN A MODERN-DAY ENGAGEMENT. THE TERMS OF THE MARRIAGE WERE ACCEPTED IN THE PRESENCE OF WITNESSES AND GOD’S BLESSING IS PRONOUNCED UPON THE UNION. FROM THIS POINT ON THE GROOM AND BRIDE WERE LEGALLY HUSBAND AND WIFE.

2) THE BETROTHAL: THIS WAS THE TIME BETWEEN THE ENGAGEMENT AND THE WEDDING PROCESSION AND FEAST, USUALLY ABOUT A YEAR. DURING THIS TIME THE DOWRY COULD BE PAID, AND THE HOME PREPARED BY THE GROOM FOR THE BRIDE.

3) THE PROCESSION: LAST THERE IS THE PREPARATION AND PROCESSION TO THE VENUE FOR THE WEDDING FEAST. THIS USUALLY LASTED SEVERAL DAYS. THE GROOM ARRAYS HIMSELF IN HIS BEST ATTIRE, AND ACCOMPANIED BY FRIENDS WHO SING AND CARRY TORCHES. HE RECEIVES THE BRIDE AND TAKES HER WITH A RETURN PROCESSION TO THE PLACE WHERE THE WEDDING FEAST WILL BE HELD.

THIS IS THE RELATIONSHIP CHRIST HAS WITH HIS CHURCH. IT IS TALKED ABOUT HERE BUT THE BEST DESCRIPTION IS GIVEN BY CHRIST TO THE DISCIPLES IN JOHN CHAPTER 14.

JOHN 14:1-3:

“DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED. YOU BELIEVE IN GOD; BELIEVE ALSO IN ME. 2 MY FATHER’S HOUSE HAS MANY ROOMS; IF THAT WERE NOT SO, WOULD I HAVE TOLD YOU THAT I AM GOING THERE TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU? 3 AND IF I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU, I WILL COME BACK AND TAKE YOU TO BE WITH ME THAT YOU ALSO MAY BE WHERE I AM.

JESUS IS USING THE JEWISH MARRIAGE TO DESCRIBE HIS OWN DEATH, AND WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO FOR THE WORLD:

1) THE ENGAGEMENT: BELIEVE IN ME. PROMISES OF LOVE AND

COMMITMENT.

2) THE BETROTHAL: I AM GOING TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU

3) THE PROCESSIONAL: I WILL TAKE YOU TO BE WITH ME

THIS INDICATES THE STRENGTH AND FORCEFULNESS OF JESUS STATEMENTS. HE IS SAYING THAT HIS UPCOMING DEATH, RESURRECTION AND RETURN, CARRIES THE SAME WEIGHT AS THE COVENANT PROMISES OF A JEWISH MARRIAGE.

CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE:

IN OUR PASSAGE TODAY, PAUL IS GOING TO USE MARRIAGE AS A DRAMATIC ILLUSTRATION OF CHRIST’S LOVE FOR THE CHURCH. THE KEY VERSES IN THE PASSAGE THEN IS Vv.29-32 WHICH STATES:

EPHESIANS 5:29-32:

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for 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.” e 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

THE MYSTERY PAUL IS SPEAKING OF IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH. IN THESE THREE VERSES PAUL STATES THAT JUST AS A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE UNITED TO BECOME ONE FLESH, IN ALL WAYS, SO TOO DOES CHRIST UNITE WITH THE CHURCH, TO FORM ONE BODY. IT IS A BODY THAT MUST BE NURTURED AND CARED FOR IF IT IS TO REMAIN HEALTHY. THE NATURE OF THIS RELATIONSHIP IS WHAT THIS PASSAGE IS ALL ABOUT.

FOR US THOUGH, AS WE CONSIDER BEING A PART OF HIS BODY, WE MUST ASK WHAT BEING A PART OF HIS BODY MEANS? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL HELP US DETERMINE THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF OUR CHURCH.

THIS PASSAGE SHOWS SEVEN TRUTHS ABOUT A HEALTHY CHURCH:

THE FIRST TRUTH: CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH

EPHESIANS 5:25: HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, JUST AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER

WHEN THIS VERSE STATES THAT HE “GAVE HIMSELF” THE GREEK IS STRESSING THAT CHRIST TOOK THRE INITIATIVE IN HANDING HIMSELF OVER TO DEATH. IT IS A SELF-SACRIFICE THAT CHRIST MAKES FOR HIS CHURCH.

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