Friday, November 24, 2017

Ephesians 1:15-19 Seeing the Church as the Glorious Christ



KEY TEXT: Ephesians 1:15-19 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

KEY THOT: Paul describes the church as one that is filled with "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (v.18). So he prays that God may grant all believers the "spirit of wisdom and revelation" so that the "eyes of our understanding" may be opened to know the "hope of His calling... the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints... (and) the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe." Paul does not see the church as weak and struggling but as powerful and glorious in its hope and rich in its inheritance because of Christ who dwells in our midst as Head over all: "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." So the church is a glorious body of Christ because of the glorious Head who fills it.

But how does the average congregation see itself? Do we see ourselves as powerful with a potential to transform society, or just a mind-your-own-business religious community trying to "practice" our faith away from prying eyes of the world? If we see the church as just another human institution, then it will always be weak, for we become what we think we are. But if our spiritual eyes are enlightened to see the church as she really is from the divine perspective--a glorious and powerful body of Christ, then we will live out our destiny. We are a glorious community because our Head is the glorious Christ.

Paul describes the church as "His body". In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul goes even further as he identifies the body of Christ with Christ himself: "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ." The phrase "so also is Christ" is a reference to the body of Christ, the church. So, there is a Christ in heaven and there is also a Christ on earth (the church) and these two entities are intimately connected through the indwelling Spirit. There is much more that the church can do because of "the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." 

Paul's vision of the church is glorious in riches and power. What about us?

Abba-Father, You have made the church the Christ on earth through the power of the Your Spirit. May You open our eyes to see the church as You see it, not as we see it. May be it glorious in riches and power! Amen.

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