Ephesians 5:27… “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” (KJV).
This is really a great verse and describes what a church should be in this life. The word “glorious” means “to be decked out in glory or in splendor, to be noble and honorable.” The word “spot” means “having no stain, blemish, defects, or disgrace.” The word “wrinkle” has to do with your visage, what people see outwardly. The visage of the church is to be without creases. The word “holy” means “to be pure and sacred and consecrated.” The word “blemish” refers to being faultless and without blame. All too often we believe this will be postponed into the future. God wants a glorious church now, in this life.
1 Thessalonians… Pictures of the glorious church…
1 Thessalonians 1:7… “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia” (KJV). Note the word “ensamples.” This word means “a die (as struck), a stamp or shape”; i.e., a statue, a style, or resemblance (“type”), a model, a pattern, or a print. The Thessalonian church was a model church to be copied by others.
What makes a model church?
1) 1 Thessalonians 1:1… Experienced leadership… Paul the Apostle, Silas the prophet, Timothy the pastor and teacher–what a great combination. God gave these men as gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11). These men were vision-implanters. They moved the church towards fulfilling the purposes of God in this world. People are saved in order to manifest God’s glory in the earth. God has an ordered path for the church to walk in. To be equipped and trained, every local assembly must be open to apostles, prophets, and teachers. In the Old Testament, especially in Exodus 35, we see a glorious tabernacle under construction. The tabernacle was glorious because the leadership and congregation worked together. This chapter mentions leadership as skilled: “wise-hearted men and women” (vv. 10, 25), “rulers” (v. 27), “teachers” (v. 34). They moved by the word of the Lord (vv. 5-19). The tabernacle was glorious because the spirit of the people was stirred by the Holy Spirit (vv. 21-22). The tabernacle was glorious because the people gave (vv. 22, 23). The tabernacle was glorious because it was “one tabernacle” (36:13).
2) 1 Thessalonians 1:3… Spiritual activity… Notice the words “your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope” (KJV). Faith, love and hope… a glorious church has all three. They believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and God saw it. Everything they did was centered in Jesus Christ.
3) 1 Thessalonians 1:5… The message… The gospel came in power in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance. The message that was preached changed lives. People saw men empowered with the Holy Spirit working miracles and healing the sick. The people said, “This is God’s doing.”
4) 1 Thessalonians 1:8… The program… Evangelism, missions, reaching out. The church in this city was a center for outreach and testimony. The happenings in the church “sounded out,” i.e., echoed. Their faith was spread out and their testimony was heard.
5) 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7… They followed (obedience). Leaders led out and the people followed. The people follow the Lord and those who led them to the Lord. They turned from idols to serve the living God and to wait for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 9-10).
6) 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 13… A teaching program… They had a word for those who were young in the faith (v. 7) and good communication of spiritual truth (v. 8). The leadership was able to impart truth and bring people to maturity (vv. 13). Notice v. 11… Paul said, “We exhorted and comforted and charged each one of you” (KJV). Verse 12 tells why they did it: to enable the people to walk worthy (balance, i.e., belief and practice).
7) 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, 3:5… Their behavior… especially when they were a target of persecution, when they suffered, and when they were tempted. A glorious church is the target of Satan, and also of her own countrymen (vv. 14-15). This church was glorious in behavior. They didn’t take vengeance, they didn’t revile back, and they didn’t take up arms.
8) 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13… Their increase… The Lord made them increase. It was God’s presence in the church that drew people in. The visitors saw the love of God in the church towards others, as well as toward the leaders. The visitors saw established lives.
9) 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8… Their discipline… They were clean, sanctified, separated from everything that could defile them, and morally pure. If any sinned, they didn’t learn it from Christ (Ephesians 4:20-21).
10) 1 Thessalonians 4:9-18, 5:1-28… Model community… Love… No criticism, no malice, no hate, but lots of mercy and compassion. They did their own business; that is, they attended to their own needs and helped others too. They walked honestly before the world. They built up people’s faith. They studied the Word of God. They attended to both their physical life and to their spiritual life. They lived right so as not to miss the coming of the Lord. They were children of the light; i.e., the prophetic anointing was active in their midst. They were in the know as to what the Lord was saying and doing. They learned to live and function as a group and how to solve problems that arose among themselves. They were happy.
The Thessalonian church was a glorious church here on earth and a model to be copied by every assembly. Every assembly must have their own God-given vision, goals, and purpose for their existence. The name of your assembly is significant for what you are called to do.
Pastor George Belobaba
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