Have you heard criticism of the church recently? Our church, other churches, all churches? It is easy to find what is wrong with Church. Criticism ranges from deeply disturbing insights such as from the royal commission, to general observations of hypocrisy or slow to change, to specific tastes of too loud, not enough bass, not enough hymns. It is easy to find what is wrong with Church.
This is why the vision of the church in the book of Ephesians matters. Paul writes of the church:
· God appointed Jesus “to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (1:22-23)
· The church is “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (2:21)
· God’s “intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,” (3:10)
· Christ loves the church and is going to “present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (5:27)
This is just a snapshot of how Paul sees the church. It strikes me this is because he focuses on what God is doing for the church more than what people are doing. His high vision comes from a strong certainty God will accomplish what he intends. Even, especially, in his Church.
It also strikes me this is true of a church even if it is small, or too loud, or chaotic, or with not enough bass. God is for that church and Jesus loves that church. Jesus is willing to work in that church, so she is radiant, holy, blameless. I wonder, why don’t we talk about church like that?