721 N. Memorial Drive, Lancaster, OH 43130 // Main Service: Sunday 9 & 11am // Movement Youth Sunday 5:30pm

The Bride of Christ

This week we are exploring how God and His ways are often confusing, yet it’s in the cross that God’s ways begin to make sense. Jesus laid down His life for the church (His bride). How should this impact your life as a Christ-follower? Take a moment to reflect and begin with a simple prayer.

Heavenly Father, sometimes I get confused and wander. Sometimes I don’t take things as seriously as I should. Sometimes I experience doubt when circumstances don’t make sense. I know Your ways are always right and on time though, so I pray You remind me to continuously seek Your Spirit and guidance. Be with me today as I read Your word and show me what you want me to learn. Amen.

Ephesians 5: 25-27 (NLT)  
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

Let’s focus on Paul’s use of agape love in today’s passage. This type of love is a Christ-like love that is set apart from intimate or brotherly love. It is a holy, unblemished, unconditional love.

What comes to mind when you think of agape love as being holy, unblemished, and unconditional?

It can be difficult to fully comprehend this kind of love because we live in a fallen world. Yet, as we study today’s passage, we see that Christ has this type of love for us (the church) – the bride of Christ. And because He demonstrated agape love for us, He calls us to demonstrate agape love for others. Here are some “S” words to keep in mind as we study today’s passage:

Sacrifice – Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. He laid down his life for his bride (the church), even though it was our sin that nailed Him to the cross. He modeled this behavior, and we need to have a heart of sacrifice for others, too.

Serve – Jesus served others (washing feet, performing miracles, teaching, etc.). In today’s passage, He serves His bride. He does this by making her “holy and clean” (verse 26). God wants us to be used as instruments of healing for others, too. We do this by recognizing and meeting people’s needs. Is there someone in your life who has a need you can meet? Stop and think for a moment how you can meet that need today.

Submit – Jesus submitted to the will of His Father. He did this by laying down His life for His bride. It may be painful to follow Jesus’ example in this, but Jesus loved His bride in the midst of her nailing Him to the cross. Even when others are difficult, we still need to follow His example and offer them agape love.

As the bride of Christ, it is important to recognize the depth of Jesus’ love for us, and sometimes we need a little nudge to change our thinking process. After studying today’s passage, what changes do you feel God nudging you to make in order to better reflect His love to others?

As we close out our time today, let’s spend some time talking to God. You may offer your own prayer up to Him, or feel free to use some of the prayer prompts below to get you started.

Jesus, thank You for Your example that…
Lord, please show me how to…

I pray you lean into God as you contemplate what the “bride of Christ” means to you, and that He gives you the right words and behaviors to extend to his family - our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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