The Glorious Church
TEXT: Ephesians 5:27. The church of Jesus Christ, planned in the mind of God, purchased by the blood of Christ, and made operative by the Holy Spirit, is the most glorious institution that ever graced God's footstool.
Prophecies concerning it as God's glory. (Ezekiel 39:21; Haggai 2:9)
That God's power and grace and wisdom may be manifested and magnified among men, God ordained and planned the church. (Ephesians 3:8-10) As a finished building manifests the knowledge and wisdom of the architect, so the finished Church manifests the wisdom of God. Its sufficiency, organization, and mission in the performance of God's work without the aid of human wisdom is a manifestation of God's wisdom.
The wisdom and glory of God is therefore in His church, and there we must go if we would enjoy salvation.
None but the New Testament church is entitled to the description given in our text, and it only as it continues faithful.
Instances of its glory:
I. It Was Glorious In Prophecy.
1. Daniel's prophecy. (2:44)
a. "God of heaven" will set up a kingdom.
b. Shall never be destroyed. (Contrast with kingdom set up by Alexander the Great, etc.)
c. Shall not be left to other people.
2. Isaiah's prophecy. (2:2,3)
a. All people, all nations. "The Lord's house" is the church. (1 Timothy 3:15)
b. Thus all people, all nations, are eligible to enter this house. (1 Corinthians 12:13; Hebrews 12:2830)
II. It Was Glorious In Beginning
1. Its beginning brought to light the eternal purpose of God. (Ephesians 1:9-12; 3:1-6; Romans 16:25, 26)
2. For the first time in the history of the world the guilt of sin was lifted from the souls of men. (Acts 2:37,38,42)
a. Peter's Pentecost sermon revealed the mysteries and intent of God kept hidden from the foundation of the world. (Joel 2:28ff; Acts 2:16-21)
3. Adding to its glory was the declaration that, in spite of the opposition of kings, Christ was crowned King, the Lord of Glory. (Psalms 2; Acts 4:24-30; 13:32,33)
III. It Is Glorious In Its Existence
1. Because of the greatness and majesty of its Head.
(Ephesians 1:22, 23; Colossians 1:18) He lives forever. (Romans 6:9) He is a living advocate. (1 John 2:1)
2. Because it has a glorious mission. (Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46,47)
3. Because it preaches a glorious gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:1-5)
a. It holds forth the word of life. (Philippians 2:16)
IV. It Is Glorious In Its Continuity
1. Only institution the world has ever known in which death does not sever relationship. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
a. God of the living AND the dead. (Matthew 22:32) "I AM the God of Abraham, etc." Not WAS.
V. It Will Be Glorious In Eternity
1. All the impurities and weaknesses of its human element will be removed forever. Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 21:24-27)
Would you be a member of such a glorious institution? Think of the advantages and blessings. Think of the life hereafter!
— Newbern, Tennessee