Anglican Morning Devotion, 5 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
(Ephesians 1:19-23; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
In its very elementary definition, the Church is the Body of Christ, and He is the Head. The Head is the seat of will and reason which Christ is. In our Holy Communion Service, the Unleavened Bread represents the Body of Christ and the Wine His Blood. Just as thousands of grains of wheat are crushed to form one serving of bread, so are many members, dead to sin and made alive in Christ, gathered together to represent His Body. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:17-18) His Table (not an altar) represents His more profound spiritual Presence during our Communion. Though He is spiritually with us always, He is more profoundly so in worship, and especially during Communion.
The Lord mandated only two institutions – Marriage, and the Church. The first is a pattern of the second. It is for this reason that the perversion of the marriage estate is such an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. God created one man, Adam, for one woman, Eve. Thus Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church and the Church is His Bride. “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:5) The Church is God’s Tabernacle in which He dwells in the hearts of her people: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelations 21:1-3)
The Holy Spirit, by the Word of God verily preached, is the Administrator of the Church on earth. “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:11) The Church, however, is called out by the Lord Jesus Christ: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:1-6)
The Church is a place of nurturing as a mother nurtures her children in the things that are wholesome. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-15) The Church must police itself in Holy discipline. All may come, but all may not remain in sin and remain in favor of God. Church discipline is a highly disregarded responsibility of the Church in our time. Remember the counsel and admonition of the apostle: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That 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. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bone.” (Ephesians 5:25-30) Here again is the emphasis on the estate of Marriage compared with that of the Church. Be Holy for He is Holy!