January 19, 2023 Jubilee Community Church

In Splendor

In Splendor

Jubilee Fam, 

The church is_____________. I put this fill-in-the-blank sentence before you on Sunday to spark a necessary discussion concerning what comes to mind when you think of the church. How did you fill in the blank? The church is messy. The church is hypocritical. The church is blood-bought. The church is in progress. As we embark on our series on what we believe about the church, I hope that one of the first words that would fill the blank would be ‘beautiful.’ 

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is beautiful. How does that sentiment land on you? Are you taken aback by such a statement? Do you wonder if that is indeed the case? Beautiful to whom and in what way? Though the whole world might look at the church and call her ugly, the one whose eyes matter calls her beautiful because he is making her beautiful for himself — Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph 4:25-28). Though the world has no eyes to see, Christ is at work in his church to make her glorious, which, glory, by the way, is beauty. We, too, should look at the church with the eyes of faith and, even in imperfection, see growing beauty heading towards the day when staggering splendor will be her description because of Jesus’ work. 

Furthermore, the church is beautiful because of what Jesus is up to in her and what Jesus will look like through her. In his prayer, Jesus speaks of the church and says to the Father, "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them (Jn 17:9-10). Jesus is glorified through the church in glimpses now imperfectly and thoroughly, then in perfection. 

It would take an eternity, if even possible, to see the church the way Jesus sees his church. That should not stop us from aiming to have increasingly high thoughts about the church, even in her imperfection, that her Lord will work out. Let’s not have low thoughts about what our Lord highly esteems. One day, the church will stand without blemish. We hope this series will aid you in saying by faith now, “The church is beautiful,” and pray to that end. “Nothing in the world is dearer to God’s heart than his church; therefore being his, let us also belong to it, that by our prayers, our gifts, and our labors, we may support and strengthen it (Spurgeon, “The Best Donation.”)

Pastor Lew