Pictures of the Church in Ephesians

God’s Vision for Church. 

We don’t want to miss what God has for us as a Church, so I want to share God’s vision and purpose for us through some pictures of the Church. 

1. THE CHURCH is mentioned first in Matthew 16:15-19 as God’s Governmental Assembly: 
Jesus said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed (saved) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this ROCK (the confession of faith in Jesus Christ) I will build My CHURCH, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.' 
1. The Lord Jesus is building His Church. 
2. We enter by our faith-confession that Jesus is Lord, based on the Father’s revelation to us. 
3. The Church has been given authority over principalities and powers and has victory even over death.

2. THE BRIDE OF CHRIST speaks of our DEVOTION to JESUS. The Bride is united in her devotion to Christ and prepares herself in sanctification for her Presentation to Him in glory. First of all as a Church - we must be devoted to Christ. We must not hold back on our WORSHIP. Don’t get so sophisticated and restrained that you can’t come to God in pure worship and love. We come to Church first of all to honour and worship Him. We may be busy, not feel like it, have other things to do, but by coming and worshipping each Sunday we are establishing Jesus in first place. He comes before all other things. It should be a top priority for us. 'I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity in Christ' (2Cor 11:1-3).

Remember He is devoted to us. He loved us first (Eph5:5:23-32). 'Christ is head of the church; and the Saviour of the body....Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.' This leads to our devotion to Him: 'For this reason a man/woman shall LEAVE his/her father and mother and be JOINED to his wife/husband, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.' 
We must LEAVE the things that previously had first call on us, in order to CLEAVE to Christ.

3. AS THE FAMILY OF THE FATHER we must be watchful and prayerful for each other, living together in love and unity as God’s sons, led by our elder brother Jesus. 'The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ...He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself...He has made us accepted in the Beloved' (Eph1:2-6). 

'For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God' (Eph2:18,19). 
As brothers and sisters we are to WATCH (out for each other) and PRAY for each other: 'praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints' (6:18). If anyone is in trouble there should be someone they can turn to. We should be available to help and bless each other. If someone is missing Church find out if they are O.K. 

God’s purpose for man is to dwell in FELLOWSHIP with Him forever, closer to God than even the angels - so in Christ He has made us part of His family to share His love and glory! 

'I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole (church) family in heaven and earth (those dead and alive) is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever' (Eph3:14-21).

We are all living stones fitted together as a building dedicated to God. 
'You are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people' (2Cor 6:16). His purpose for the church is to be the eternal dwelling place for God’s power and glory. 'built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit' (Eph2:20-22). We need the presence and anointing of the Spirit. The main key for this is UNITY: 'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in UNITY! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down ...like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing - Life forevermore'(Psalm133). The most destructive thing for a Church is strife and division, for it breaks the flow of anointing. Jesus said: ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand.’ There has to be authority in the Church and decisions made for what is best for the Church as whole which don’t always suit every individual. Those who get involved in gossip and criticism are foolish for they hurt the church and their own lives, bringing them into trouble with the Lord: 'Do you not know that you (the corporate church) are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the Temple of God (by bringing strife), God will destroy (judge) him. For the Temple of God is holy, which Temple you are' (2Cor3:16,17). 

We must guard this unity: 'I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep (guard and protect, because satan is always trying to get hold of someone to use their tongue) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope' (Eph4:1-4). 

'Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos’ or ‘I am of Cephas’ or ‘I am of Christ’ (1Cor 1:10-12). There were divisions at Corinth over leadership. Paul also rebukes the group who say ‘I am of Christ’, for these are the ones with a ‘hotline to heaven’ who don’t submit to human authority because they just do ‘what God tells them’. But God does not work that way and they end up deceived just following their own heart and will in rebellion. In v:1-7, he says those in strife are still babes (flesh-ruled): 'I could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ ...you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?' When strife is removed God can give the increase. 

5. AS MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST (Ephesians 4:1-5:22) we are to all make our contribution to build the Church. We grow together by God’s grace as each does his part in loving service. We are becoming 'a perfect man of the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; no longer children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ -from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love' (Eph4:13-16). We all must play our part to supply life to the body. Find a place of service, prayer, helps, encouragement, witnessing, giving. As a body we learn to move and flow together under the head (authority). What if every part decided to do its own thing? What if the whole body was an eye? Don’t try to be like others but give according to your ability. The Body is Christ’s hands to do His work, His mouth to speak His words, and His feet to go on His errands.

6. As the ARMY OF CHRIST (6:10-20) we are to pray and witness to the lost, standing together in the victory of Christ and marching together to win souls for Him, exercising dominion over satan. 'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil' (Ephesians 6:10,11). 
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