Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it: Ephesians 5:25.
This truth is further exemplified in parabolic language in Matthew 13:45-46.
v. 44—Describes the treasure hid in a field. Individual aspect of the Church.
v. 45-46—It is the pearl of great price. Collective aspect of the Church.
The merchant man (who is typical of Christ) sold all that He had, and bought this pearl and the treasure.
The Lord Christ in the fullest sense gave all that he had—He gave Himself. See v. 25.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
We too should love the church and should be prepared to give ourselves for it. We should give ourselves in loving, glad service, devoted and sacrificial service, in order that that church, which is so dear to the heart of our Lord might prosper, progress and triumph over all its foes.
What do we mean by the Church? The word “Church” is a translation of the Greek work “ekklesia” which means a gathering or an assembly.
The most common use of this particular word is to describe a group of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. A “called out company.” Paul speaks “of the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood.”—Acts 20:28. In writing to the Corinthians he divides the world into Jews, Gentiles, and the “Church of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:32.
In writing to the Philippian Church he divided it into three classes:
1. “Saints” or “Believers”
2. Bishops or elders
3. Deacons or servants
The church is presented to us in two aspects:
1. The Church “Universal”
2. The Church “local”
The “Universal Church” is composed of every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ irrespective of where he meets or with whom he meets to serve and worship God.
It has often been said that the church is not an organization, but an organism. This means that it is not a lifeless institution but a living unit. (Let all things be done decently and in order.)
The Church is a vital, virile, warm fellowship of all those who share the life of Christ and who are linked together inseparably in living union with the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13.
The Church is described in the NT by many descriptive titles:
1. A flock (John 10:16)
Jewish nation is a fold, the Church is a flock.
This simile of the flock brings the thought of a group of Christians living together under the loving care of the Good Shepherd, hearing His voice and following Him.
2. God’s husbandry (1 Corinthians 3:9)
The church is God’s garden. It is His purpose to raise fruit for His glory. Fruit-bearing, John 15.
3. God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9)
God adds such as are being saved, He is adding living stones. Our lives should be vitally devoted to the project in which He is so interested. See 1 Peter 2:5.
4. The temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)
Temple brings the thought of worship…the only worship God gets today is from His Church.
5. The body of Christ (Ephesians 22:23)
The body is the vehicle through which a person expresses himself. The church which is His body is the vehicle through which God chooses to express Himself to the world today. Once we grasp this truth we will never again think of the Church as of minor importance.
6. A new man (Ephesians 2:15)
Here the idea of a new creature is prominent Paul says that the greatest of all differences among men—Jew and Gentile—has been abolished in the church and God has made these two peoples one new man.
7. A habitation of God (Ephesians 2:22)
This expression conveys the truth that God now dwells in the Church rather than in the material tabernacle or temple as in the Old Testament.
8. The bride of Christ (Ephesians 25:27; 1 Corinthians 11:2)
He bought her. He is sanctifying her. He will present her. This view brings into prominence the idea of affection and love. Christ loved the church, the church should be full of bridal love for Him.