Expository Preaching
J. Michael Shannon and Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright J. Michael Shannon, 1982
THE GOSPEL IN THE CHURCH
"Christ's Dearest Love"
Ephesians 5:23-32

Introduction:  In a day when many deny the importance of the church, we do well to remember what Paul said about the church.

Proposition:  The church is too precious to God to be taken lightly by men.

  I.  THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO CHRIST, v. 23

A.  He is the head.
B.  He is the Savior.
C.  He is the bridegroom.


 II. THE CHURCH IS SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD, vs. 25-27

A.  The Means: by washing of water by the Word
B.  The Purpose: to show His glory
C.  The Culmination: to present her to himself
III. THE CHURCH IS SURROUNDED BY LOVE
A.  Christ cherishes the church, v. 29.
B.  Christ nourishes the church, v. 29.
C.  Christ died for the church, v. 25.
Conclusion:  Our greatest privilege is to be part of Christ's great love: the church.

    The fifty-cent U.S. postage stamp bears a picture of Lucy Stone, an early feminist who refused to wear her husband's name when they were married, but continued to use her maiden name.  Perhaps that is not too important.  Names serve only for convenience.  What is important is that both partners in a marriage see themselves willingly and lovingly and mutually submissive to one another.  And in the church, we must see ourselves equally submissive to Christ.
 

    What is more treasured than the family picture album?  A couple whose house burned down named that as their greatest loss.  The material things could be replaced; but the loss of treasured family pictures was very painful.  In the family picture album, the most treasured pictures are those of the babies; but after that, those of the brides.  The Bible gives us a lovely picture of the church as the bride of Christ.
 

    A minister was visiting in London.  The guide showed him through Westminster Abbey, where so many of the nation s renowned are entombed.  The guide said, "England's great sleep within these walls."  The minister murmured, "I feel right at home."  We must be alert in worship, and we must be alert in service.  The church is set apart for a holy purpose and must be awake to both the responsibilities and the opportunities of the hour.
 

    In England, the first church buildings were built on the sites of pagan temples and were sometimes the only public land.  So people came there to buy and sell, for sports, and for public meetings.  The church is, indeed, interested in the whole man and in the whole of life.  However, the church is set apart for spiritual purposes.  We speak not of the building, but of the church itself as a spiritual entity.  The church has a holy purpose that must not be forgotten.
 

    Many times we have heard it said that the church is surrounded by an evil and hostile world, like a besieged fortress.  We need to remember that it is also true that the church is surrounded by God's love and care!  Individually and collective, we are blanketed by God's love as the earth is blanketed by the atmosphere.  God loves the church and will never forsake her.
 

    The Spaniards who conquered South America destroyed the Aztec temples because they were the place of human sacrifice.  The Germans, in an earlier age, built their churches upon the ruins of Roman pagan temples.  So, in a sense that goes beyond land or buildings, the church rises above the ruins of paganism and idolatry.  Designed by God, empowered by the Spirit, loved by Christ, and served by Christians, the church must always stand taller than any other human achievement.
 

    In one Southern city, three churches stood, each a block apart from the other.  One built a new building with a tall steeple.  The next built a new building with a taller spire.  The third built with a still higher steeple.  People in town called it "the steeplechase."  We must strive to rise high, not architecturally, but spiritually.  We must rise above the world and its sins.  We must rise above our own pride and vanity, above our own weaknesses, doubts, and fears.


The Gospel in the Home (5:21-6:4)
Table of Contents
The Gospel in Action (6:10-20)

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