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THE BRIDE OF CHRIST (Kent Smith notes 9/17/23)

THE CHURCH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Ephesians 5:22-32

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CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, AND THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO CHRIST.

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Ephesians 5:23-24 Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. So the church is subject to Christ,


Headship: Current controversy:

It is held by some (and not without reason) that our society is largely dominated by male leadership, and the systems promoted by men to maintain their authority and power.

This has resulted in historic abuses in a male dominated culture which has suppressed the rights of women and promoted a view of women as less than equal in value.

THIS PRACTICE IS UNBIBLICAL HEADSHIP.

Biblical Headship reflects accountability and responsibility before God for the provision, protection, and purity of those God places in the care of the head.

Christ is the head of the church, and He is accountable to the Father for our welfare.

Headship therefore is an act of service to those they care for and lead.


Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to subject ourselves to His directions and leadership, acknowledging Him as the head.

The body cannot function without the head, and the purpose of the head is to empower and direct the body.

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CHRIST HAS DEMONSTRATED HIS LOVE FOR THE CHURCH THROUGH HIS PERSONAL SACRIFICE.

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Ephesians 5:25 Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,


The Christ-model of headship is seen in His self-sacrificing life and death for the provision, and purity of His church.


Isaiah 53:10 But the lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grief; if he would render himself as a guilt offering,

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;


Who is there in your experience that has given themselves sacrificially for your welfare, for your good, and continues to do so?


Personal sacrifice for the benefit of another is the greatest expression of love.

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CHRIST SANCTIFIES THE CHURCH TO PRESENT HER TO HIMSELF AS PURE AND HOLY.

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Ephesians 5:26-27 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.


Jesus wants His bride to be pure, and holy, and spotless, and without blemish or blame. So He has taken all her sin on Himself and cleansed her and purified her completely.


Now the church is His trophy bride. He died to make her holy, and clean, and beautiful.


He did this so that “He might present to Himself the church in all her glory.”


What we see on earth is all the prelude which leads to the eternal marriage, where Jesus is the groom, and the church is His bride.

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CHRIST IDENTIFIES HIMSELF WITH THE CHURCH AS HIS OWN BODY.

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Ephesians 5:28-29 He who loves his own wife loves himself; or no one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.


Here are two powerful action verbs that express Christ’s actions toward His church:


Nourish: He nurtures us, tenderly raising us to maturity. He sustains us by His grace and providence. He feeds us with His word, and teaches us by His spirit. He places us in a family (the Church) for our good, our comfort, our protections, and our mutual fulfillment and growth, He nourishes us.

Cherish: (A transitive verb – which means it is an action upon an object) HE CHERISHES US! He holds us in deep affection, we are as dear to Him as His own body. He cultivates a personal relationship with us out of His deep desire to see us flourish and be fulfilled. He acts with affection toward us because we are the essence of His body. He loves us as He loves Himself.

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THE CHURCH WILL SHARE AN INTIMATE ONENESS WITH CHRIST.

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Ephesians 5: 31-32 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.


Paul writes of an intimacy between man and woman in marriage. An intimacy so great that they become as one.

This level of interpersonal intimacy leading to genuine oneness is a mystery.

Biblically marriage is consummated and sealed through the union in the marriage bed.

But the greater mystery is that Paul is saying that this oneness, this relational intimacy, this bond of connection which he is describing, does not find it’s ultimate fulfillment in marriage, but instead is found in the intimacy of the church and Christ it’s Savior and Head.

The church will one day share a level of intimacy with Christ that we will be able to say we are one with Him. This is an intimacy that is a mystery.

It is beyond my comprehension. I consider the oneness I share with my wife, our soul-connection, the intimacy of our shared hearts and lives, body and soul – and it is a profound mystery to consider what a glorious reality awaits the church when we experience true oneness with Christ.

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JESUS IS ASKING, “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

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Revelation 19:5-8 And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” 6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”


Are you ready for the wedding?

Are you prepared for the groom to come and bring you to His home?

In Matthew 25 we find the record when Jesus told a parable of a wedding feast, and how some of the wedding party were not prepared for the groom when He came. Those who were ready went with the groom, and the others were left behind, unable to join the celebration on their own terms and in their own timing. Are you ready to meet Jesus? When he arrives to receive you, whether by His return, or your physical death, if you are not ready it will be too late.

He will say, “I do not know you.”


Today He invites you, “Will you marry Me? Will you allow Me to love you completely, care and protect you eternally? Will you let Me purify you and make you holy, glorious, and spotless? My Father is holy, I want to make you holy, and one day take you to meet My Father, and we will be as one forevermore.” He invites us individually, and He invites us collectively as His church. How will you respond? How will we respond?


We cannot come to Him on our terms. If we desire oneness with Him, we must accept His provision for our holiness, and willfully submit to His leadership as our head. – individually and corporately as the church – His bride.

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