Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Family, the Building, and the Bride

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Why does marriage matter? Why does it matter the way you treat your husband? Why does it matter the way your husband treats you? Because Paul says you're revealing in your marriage a mystery, a profound mystery, the mystery of Christ's relationship with His bride, the Church.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, August 1st. Imagine a woman who's about to marry an incredibly godly man. Does she approach the wedding with a ho-hum, nonchalant attitude? No! She's passionate about the relationship.

By getting involved in a local church we're showing passion for Jesus, our heavenly bridegroom. We'll address that a little later today. Here's Nancy in a series called: Who Needs the Church?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Who needs the church? Well, the answer is: if you're a child of God, you need the church. I need the church. And as we're learning, we are all a part, like it or not, of God's incredible, wonderful plan called the Church.

Now we distinguished in the last session between the Church, capital "C" which is all believers of all time in all places who are part of the body of Christ. That is the Church, capital "C". Then there's the church, the local church, lowercase "c". We'll talk about that later in this series.

First we're looking at this magnificent, incredible plan that God has called the Church. It's talked about in the book of Ephesians, and I encourage you sometime as you read through the book of Ephesians to make a list of every reference to the Church or every passage that's referring to the Church. Circle it and make a list of the words that describe the Church.

There are a number of different metaphors used for the Church. We talked in the last session of the fact that the Church is the body of Christ. In today's session I want to point out three other word pictures or metaphors from the book of Ephesians that refer to the Church.

First of all, we see that the Church is a family. Ephesians chapter 2 verse 19 says, "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." The household of God, the family of God.

God the Father, and in Ephesians 3, verse 14 Paul refers to God our Father. The Old Testament believers had very little concept of God as Father. That's a New Testament term primarily that God would be our Father; that we would be His children. Christ the firstborn son, Christ our brother, and ourselves--brothers and sisters. This is a family relationship.

That's what God says in 2 Corinthians chapter 6. "I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord almighty" (verse 18). You know what that means? If He's our father, we are His sons and daughters. What does that make us to each other? Brothers and sisters. We're blood-related through the blood of Christ shed on our behalf. We're related to one another.

So the church is a place of family relationships, like it or not. You may not like some of the people in the church. Some of the people in the church may not like you, but we are family. We have to learn to like each other, to love each other, to get along with each other. We're going to spend eternity with each other as a family.

Now families can cause pain; they can cause rejection. There can be problems in families, but families can also be the place of the most intimate possible relationships. To be a part of the Church means that we belong to each other, that we're related to each other. We're a family.

Now there's another word picture used in Ephesians and that is that the Church is a building. Not as in a place you go, but as in God is making us into a building or a temple for God. Ephesians chapter 2 verse 19: "You are members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit" (verses 19-22).

God is taking these individual members, these individual parts, these living stones as believers were called in 1 Peter chapter 1. He's assembling us together into a building or a temple, a dwelling place. That phrase literally means a permanent home for God. God's building a temple. The temple here on earth in the Old Testament was just an earthly physical picture of a great eternal spiritual reality of God's plan for the Church: a dwelling place for God. God wants to live in us.

Now there's a sense in which my body individually is the temple of the Holy Spirit, but there's another sense in which we all together corporately comprise a temple, a building that God is building to be His home. God's building a house for Himself and we are the pieces; we are the parts; we are the stones.

And who is the foundation stone? Christ Jesus Himself. God is making us a dwelling place, a sanctuary for God. We are being fit together and joined together with Christ to be a place fit for God to live in. We're building a temple.

Thirdly, we're a bride; and Christ, of course, is the bridegroom. You have this picture particularly in Ephesians chapter 5 and then a lot of it in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelations. Let me read some verses from Ephesians chapter 5. Paul's talking about marriage. But keep in mind that every earthly institution that God has designed is created to be a representation, a picture, of a heavenly reality. Marriage is wonderful; marriage is God-created. Marriage is designed by God, but marriage is intended to be a picture of the Church's relationship with Christ.

So Paul says in Ephesians 5 verse 23: "The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands" (verses 23-24). There's a husband-wife relationship here that isn't just about marriage. It's about Christ's relationship with His Church.

"So husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself" (verse 25 & 28). Therefore, verse 31: "A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." He's talking about marriage. Then he explains it in verse 32. "This mystery," the mystery of marriage, "is profound. And I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church" (verse 33). There's no question what he's talking about.

Husbands and wives, why does marriage matter? Why does it matter the way you treat your husband? Why does it matter the way your husband treats you? Because Paul says you're revealing in your marriage a mystery, a profound mystery, the mystery of Christ's relationship with His bride, the Church. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11 verse 2, "I feel a divine jealousy for you because I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ."

So the next time you go to a wedding and you see the bride dressed in white looking as good as she will ever look, walking down that aisle to be presented by her father to that bridegroom, what is that picturing? Our being presented to Christ as a pure virgin, to be His bride, to live forever with Him.

You come to the end of the Bible, the end of the New Testament, the end of the book of Revelations. In just the last few chapters you find four references to the Church as the bride. She's called the wife of the Lamb. Who's the Lamb? Christ is the Lamb, the Lamb of God. And so Revelation 19 says: "Let us rejoice and exalt and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready" (verse 7).

Song:

"How beautiful the radiant bride,
Who waits for her groom with his light in her eyes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you think of the Church as the bride and Christ as the bridegroom, that speaks of a covenant love relationship. It's not a contract that can be broken. He will never divorce His Church. He will never, not love us completely. He will never stop saving us. He is our eternal Savior and bridegroom and that is a covenant relationship. If you are a child of God, you are part of the Church--a body, a family, a building, a bride of Christ, our heavenly bridegroom.

Song:

"How beautiful the faith that brings,
The sound of the news of the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve,
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.

How beautiful,
How beautiful,
How beautiful is the body of Christ."

Leslie Basham: That's Twila Paris and the song "How Beautiful." The body of Christ is beautiful and Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been helping us see how important it is. Maybe you go to a service every Sunday as part of your routine, but you've never thought much about how important the local church really is. I hope you'll listen all this week as Nancy continues a series called Who Needs the Church?

What's the difference between an organization and an organism? Find out tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Song:

"How beautiful the hands that serve,
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked,
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross.

How beautiful,
How beautiful,
How beautiful is the body of Christ."

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture used is from the English Standard Version.

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