buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “The Church and the Bride”

Oneness

Over the last few weeks, I have had a sense that God is using this time to purify the Church. I have said a few times over the last few years to friends and family the Church will need to go through a few things before Jesus returns. I believe we are seeing one of those “things” in order for the Church to be ready for Jesus’ return. He’s coming back for His Bride (the Church) one day – He said so (John 14:3)!

God’s Word tells us nothing impure or unholy will ever see His Kingdom. It’s impossible for us to live as we ought unless we are fully “in” with Christ. It’s sad to say, but the Church hasn’t lived in the Way of Jesus for quite some time (at least in the US branch of the Church). We have allowed the world to dictate how we live our lives and its counter to how Jesus would have us live. We have allowed the world to influence the Church instead of the Church influencing the world.

In Revelation, Jesus gave a message to John to give to the church at Laodicea. Jesus was not pleased with their attitude and had a few harsh words for their lukewarmness. It was detestable to Him. John wrote these words from Jesus (Revelation 3:17-18) “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

Experts tell us that the churches found in Revelation are the stages of the Church throughout the Church age. Laodicea is considered as the last Church stage before the Church age ends. After this chapter in Revelation, the Church is no longer mentioned. Experts tell us the Church will be taken from the earth and the enemy will have his way on earth for a season.

However, the enemy is not waiting for the Church to depart. His plan is to make the Church ineffective right now. There is a real spiritual war going on and the Church is at the center of it all. The Church has to keep the focus on Jesus – the Head of the Body. The Church should be the light in the community to drive away the darkness. The character of the Church should be like salt (Jesus’ message found in Matthew 5). However, the enemy is out to divide and conquer.

Division was also a concern for Jesus. In John 17:11 we find Jesus’ prayer for His disciples. Jesus prayed the disciples would be one as He and His Father were one. Jesus’ upmost heart was that the disciples represented Him well. He asked that they love one another. Love is the unifying force so that others would see Jesus’ disciples by how well they loved one another and others in the community.

The apostle Paul also wrote the Corinthian church to be aware of divisions in the Church. We find this directive in his first letter to the Corinthians (1:10 TPT) “I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values”.

The Church will continue to be in difficult times as the end of the Church age draws near. We will need each other more and more. We must encourage each other and stay focused on the mission – love God and love others – so that we will be a sweet fragrance to God our Father, but also be a good representation of Jesus to win others for the Kingdom. Be strong. Be courageous. Do not be afraid. God is still in control and His plan is still at work. Let’s be unified in our love – let’s be one and give God the glory!

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:19-22

The Cornerstone

My church has just finished “The Story” published by Zondervan. It’s the Bible in a story form. From beginning to end – it’s all about the Word of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us – Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone – the perfect point of a foundation. Nothing can be built on an imperfect foundation. It will not stand. The Story walked us through God’s story of redemption through Jesus. The Word is the foundation of our lives. It’s the seed that takes root and becomes a fruitful tree. The root is long and keeps the tree from falling during the most difficult storms. When things get shaken, it’s the only thing that will keep us grounded.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t read the Bible. I didn’t understand that it was living and breathing. I didn’t understand that it was God’s inspired word. I didn’t have a basic understanding of the most foundational aspect of a Christian’s life. They say that when the Bible is falling apart; the life of the one reading it isn’t. It wasn’t until my life was falling apart, when I found the Word was the answer I was seeking. My life was off track and it’s the only thing that brought me back. The more I read the Bible, the more I want to learn.

On Monday, I was listening to James MacDonald speak about the foundations of our faith. He called this sermon “Back to School.” It’s getting back to the basics to truly live a changed life. The Word is the instrument that causes the change. We saturate our minds with God’s truth, and it will develop a foundation that will never be shaken. We have to get back to believing in the Word.

The Word is beautiful in its complexity and its simplicity. It has so many layers that we just don’t get! I listened to a snippet of a messianic rabbi speak about Holy Communion. He opened up the Word and talked about the significance of the wine. The wine has two representations: one through the Passover wine and the other as the betrothal wine given to the woman before the engagement.

In Jewish customs for arrangement marriages (back in biblical times), the dowry was paid by the potential bridegroom for the one that was chosen. After the payment, a cup of wine was brought to the woman to consummate the engagement. If the woman accepted the wine and drank it, then the engagement was set between the pair – they were officially married. The man did not drink the wine. It was only for the future bride. The bridegroom left the woman with her family while the husband went to prepare a place for them to live. Once the bridegroom had made the necessary arrangements, He came back for the bride. When the bridegroom came back, a celebration began. The bridegroom would then be given a cup of wine to drink at the celebration. Jesus gave the illustration of the end of times concerning ten virgins waiting on the bridegroom’s appearance. Five were ready; five were not. Jesus’ words were recorded in Matthew 25:13 saying “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” of the bridegroom’s arrival. No one knew how long it would take the bridegroom to prepare that special place.

In Jesus’ last Passover supper, He passed the cup of wine to His disciples and told them to drink it. Jesus said the wine represented His blood. In Scripture, we are told that blood contains life. Jesus’ blood is the covenant of everlasting life. When we take that cup, we are agreeing to His proposal of marriage. We are to consider this cup very careful. Jesus told the disciples that He would not drink of it “until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Jesus said that He was going away to prepare a place for us, and He would return one day (John 14:2-3)! When He comes back for His bride, there will be a mighty celebration on that day! The marriage will be complete, and we live with Him for eternity!

Jesus paid the dowry for His bride (the Church) by His death on the cross. Jesus said that His body was the bread that was broken for us. Jesus’ declaration was written in John’s Gospel: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Manna came from heaven while the Israelites were in the wilderness. But the Bread of Life that came down for us; is a life-giving bread that when we eat of it, we will never be hungry again.

Layer upon layer as we take this Word and devour it, it transforms us into a beautiful bride for Jesus our cornerstone – the foundation on which we stand. We will never be unsatisfied with the life given nourishment of this Holy Word. From beginning to end, it is the everlasting covenant that we can trust for eternal life.

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:5-6

Post Navigation