Wednesday, May 7, 2008

God's Wonderful Mess

“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”
– Song of Solomon 4:9

“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.”
– Revelation 19:7

“The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God’s wonderful mess – the place where he radically transforms hearts and minds.”
-Paul Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 116

“I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, the un-churched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God’s new community.”
- John Stott, The Living Church, p. 19

“…that he (Christ) might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
- Ephesians 5:27

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

Every time I have been at a wedding there’s always been a beautiful bride there as well. Much preparation has taken place to ready her for this particular moment. She has taken every effort to make herself stunning in anticipation of greeting her long-awaited bridegroom. Often we don’t think of the church as stunning or beautiful. Many times she seems far less glorious; full of sin and imperfection, weary and battle-worn. We see the mess and we neglect to see the wonderful. For all of her flaws and imperfections, Jesus sees a glorious bride. His gaze is drawn to the perfections in her that are reflective of Himself. His perfections make her glorious. This is His new community and this is His dwelling-place. Because of His thoroughgoing work of redemption her beauty is beyond compare. His redemptive endeavors have made her stunning. She is full of splendor and without spot or wrinkle. She has captured His gaze. She is the one betrothed.

The church must capture our attention and our affection as well. To truly call ourselves Christian we must love the things Christ loves. Our affections must be drawn to both the Savior and his bride. It may seem far easier to have the Christian life without the mess of the church, but Jesus will not turn away to another. She has captivated His heart and He will settle for no less. The church is His intended and there is a marriage feast coming. Get ready, because this wonderful mess is on her way to becoming a beautiful bride.

I’m thanking God that He has joined us together in this wonderful mess.


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