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December 17, 2015

DEVOTIONAL – DEC 18

by Leslie John

THE BRIDE AND THE BRIDEGROOM

Leslie M. John

“What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:9-10)

The bride waiting for her bridegroom describes him as the “chiefest among ten thousand”.  We would know the true meaning of the Church if we could appreciate the words of Adam when he saw the woman. The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and when he was sleeping God took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. God made the rib of man a woman and brought the woman unto man.

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man”. (Genesis 2:23)

The word of God says:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”. (Genesis 2:24)

This glorious truth is presented to us by Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:22-25

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:22-25)

The relationship between the husband and the wife is that husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church. Christ is the savior of the body and he presents to himself a bride that is holy and without blemish.

“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”. (Ephesians 5:27)

All those whose sin is cleansed by the blood of Christ are the members of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular”. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

The church is the body of Christ with many members, whose head is Lord Jesus Christ. The church, which is a composition of members, just as the body is the composition of various parts, one member cannot say to any other member that former does not need the latter in the church, unless the latter is heretic indoctrinating other members; and needs to be corrected or a decision needs to be taken just as any part of the body that is rotten with incurable disease needs amputation; nevertheless, no action can be taken unless the method described in Matthew 18:15-20 is followed.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:15-20)

The body of Christ is baptized by one Spirit irrespective of whether the members are Jews or Gentiles, or bond or free. One part of the body cannot say to the other that it has no need of the other. Foot cannot call itself separate from the body because it is not hand, nor can eye can call itself separate because it is not ear, nor can any body part say to the other that it has no need of the other part (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-24).

The whole body suffers if one of its members suffers loss or damage.

Church is not a building or simply a called out people, or congregation, or gathering of citizens, or social gathering, or discussion or debating forum. It is not also the “kingdom of God”. The Church is the “Body of Christ”. The Church is the “Bride of Christ” waiting for the bridegroom to come and take her.

Careful observation of Ephesians Chapter 5 gives us the answer that the one who is presenting to Himself is Lord Jesus Christ and He is presenting to Himself a glorious Church that has no spot, or wrinkle of any such thing. Lord Jesus Christ is expecting from the Church that the church should be without blemish.

The one, who was described by the bride as the “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand” became “as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” for our sake when He was crucified on the cross. It is all for you and me!

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not”.  (Isaiah 53:2-3)

The Lord is not in the grave today; but He is alive, and we have victory in Him. Apostle Peter testifies about Him this way…

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it”. (Acts 2:22-24)

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