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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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The Church...Who Needs It?

A single sentence on a sign outside a Dallas church building preached a powerful sermon — "Join our sit-in demonstration every Sunday." Many see the church as optional, irrelevant, or even unnecessary. But Ephesians 5:22-33 reveals a number of compelling reasons why each of us needs the church:

    #1 - 5:23 "He is the Savior of the body" — While true Jesus, not the church, is the Savior, Scripture is crystal clear God "adds to the church such as should be saved" (see Acts 2:47).

    #2 - 5:24 "the church is subject to Him" — Not to you or me or opinion polls. You can't "make Jesus Lord"—He already is (Acts 2:36; Colossians 1:18). Is the church where you worship "subject to Him?"

    #3 - 5:25a "Christ loved the church" — Enough said. If I would be like Jesus, I will love His church.

    #4 - 5:25b "Christ. . .gave Himself for the church" — The price Jesus paid for the church indicates her precious value to Him (Acts 20:28). What we give or don't give is a dead give-away of her value to us.

    #5 - 5:26a "that He might sanctify" — Jesus set the church apart. The church is a special group of people to God, even if she is rather run of the mill to many inside and outside her membership.

    #6-12- 5:26b-27 "that He might cleanse. . mash. . make glorious. . . without spot. . .wrinkle free. ..holy . . .without blemish " — Sin is the dirtiest thing on earth, leaving stubborn stains, worrisome wrinkles and bothersome blemishes on the human soul. But the blood of Jesus (properly accessed by faith, repentance and baptism into Christ [Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 22:16]) washes it all away and leaves His faithful church spot and wrinkle and blemish-free. All this, achieved not by human ingenuity or effort but by means of the cross, is what make the church glorious and holy!

    #13 - 5:29a "nourishes" — Jesus nourishes the church! The word "nourishes" here is from the Greek word ektrepho (pronounced "ek-tref-o") and means "to feed, rear up, train, bring up"(strong's Concordance). The church is under the protection of the Divine Care-Giver! The instrumentality by which Christ nourishes His church is the words of faith and good doctrine we read about in 1 Timothy 4:6.

    #14 - 5:29b "cherishes" — The reason Jesus nourishes His church is because He cherishes it! The Greek word for "cherishes" depicts TLC (tender loving care), much as a mother bird shows when she covers and fosters her young under her feathers! People who claim to love the church may talk about and treat her roughly, but Jesus cherishes His church too much to abuse her in word or deed.

    #15 - 5:30-32 "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" — Many may think and preach that "Jesus yes, the church no" is a good idea. Be that as it may, it clearly is not God's idea.

The church — who needs it? If we allow Scripture to be our guide, the answer is that we all do.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ