Summary: Many people say they love the church, but do their actions support that? The church has some flaws and problems, but I love the church and here is why I love her
“Falling in Love With the Bride of Christ…Why I Love the Church?”
A 97-pound Labrador retriever named Marley is claimed to be the world’s worst dog. He crashed through screen doors with alarming regularity. He went berserk during thunderstorms, destroying everything in his path. He stole food off the dinner table, slobbered incessantly, drank from the toilet bowl, and ate bath towels, sponges, socks, used tissues, plastic toys, furniture, speaker covers, paychecks, even an expensive gold necklace.
He was incorrigible. And utterly lovable.
How could a master love a dog that had so many bad qualities? The reason why is because though the dog had many bad qualities it also had some good qualities.
The Church is the same way. We can point out the faults and problems within any church. We can talk about how there are decisions that we do not agree with, people that frustrate us, things going on that we have a problem with, but despite all of it’s warts and faults, the church is something we should love.
Throughout my life the church has meant a lot to me, and I am sure that many of you can identify with me. The church has been very good to me and very special to me. I think that many of the problems people have with the church is because they fail to see the good that the church has to offer. Over these next few weeks I want you to fall in love with the Bride of Christ, the Church. I want you to look beyond the warts, beyond the problems, and beyond the frustrations and see the church in the way that God sees the Church. I believe when we start to truly and sincerely love the church it changes the way that we interact within the church, it changes the way that we participate; it changes our motives, and changes our priorities. We can talk all day long about what God expects of us, and how much we should be doing within the church, but until the people that make up the church love the church and stand behind the mission of the church people will not do anything.
There are many people Christians and non-Christians who do not love the Bride of Christ, the church. They show it by rarely attending, rarely giving, and rarely doing any real work to advance the church. We can say we love the church, but if we love the church, the Bride of Christ, then we must show it through what we choose to do and how we choose to live our lives. I am here today to tell you that I love the Church that Jesus bought with his blood and I hope you do too.
Text: Ephesians 5:25-32
I. I Love The Church Because Christ Loves the Church
When we love someone we tend to love the things that they love. That is why family heirlooms are so treasured and valued. Most likely you have some family heirloom that has been passed down to you from someone you love. To anyone else they may view that item as nothing special or out of the ordinary, but you treasure it because of where it came from and someone you love loved that item.
One of the reasons why I love the church is because Christ demonstrated that he loved the church. Now, before we go any further is it important to make clear that when we speak of the church we are not speaking of a physical building with the name church on it, we are speaking of people who are saved. I can give you numerous reasons why we should love the church, but I believe that one of the greatest is because we have been commanded to love the church.
This commandment was not necessarily a new commandment, the idea of loving your neighbor was a principle that God has taught from the very beginning, but it was new in the depth of that love. It was new because we have been commanded to love others as Christ loves. His love is far reaching, in that it reaches to people that we may not be comfortable loving and his love is deep, in that it is unconditional and sacrificial. Jesus demonstrated this love that he had for the church.
a. He Gave Himself Up for the Church
I can’t help, but to see in the Scripture that God loves the church because Christ gave himself up for the church. The Scriptures teach us that it is by His stripes that we were healed.
Paul uses the analogy of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church to talk about how husbands are to love their wives. The point is that Jesus loved us so much that his own life was nothing in comparison to our souls.