Loving the Church
In the last few months of Youth Group, we have been doing a series on the Church. From the beginning, I have had two goals. First, I wanted the youth of Christ Church to understand better what the church is and what it does. Secondly, I wanted the students to grow in their love for the church. It occurred to me while preparing this series that God really loves his church. He loves his church so much that he calls the church his family, and his dwelling place (Eph 2:19). Going even further than this, God calls the church the bride of Christ.
Revelation 19:7-8 gives us this remarkable picture, “’Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints”. Here we see the church clothed in white, pure robes. This is a clear reminder of the righteousness we have received in Christ. We are reminded that God has loved the church by cleansing her, washing her, atoning for her sin, and bringing her close to him in covenantal love. We did not love God, we did not honor God, but he loved us. Paul tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How then could we do a youth series on the church and not seek to love the church as God loves her? If we did, I fear we would miss out on something important in the Christian life. God wants us to love his church too. Would you say to a man, “I love you, but I hate your wife?” Of course not! Then we must not say to God, “I love you, but I don’t love the church, your bride.”
Please pray for the youth group as we go through this series. Not only that we would deepen our knowledge of the church, but that we would fall in love with the church. Pray for our youth that they might see the church as God does, with affection and sincere love.