God's Heart for the Church: Christ-like Character

The Purpose for the Church to be a Showcase:

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eph. 3:10-11)
God has a big picture plan to use the Church to show forth His ways. He is able to call out of this world a depraved people, devoid of truth and light, and make them into the likeness of His Son, holy and blameless in Christ Jesus -- those whom He calls His Church.
To truly showcase God, the Church must stay pure and fully devoted to Him, following His ways and design. The Apostle Paul so understood this that he burned with zeal for those under his leadership care. He wrote, "I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:2-3)
How passionate are you about the spiritual condition of those you lead?
Are you helping people reach their potential in Christ, keep truth a priority, rely on the power of God, and become holy as He is holy? You will, if you tap into God's heart for the church.

The Potential for Christ-likeness in the Church:

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:22-23)
Because Christ is the Head of the Body, the potential to become Christ-like is quite possible as we yield to His leading. With Him as our all in all, we will be filled with both grace and truth as Jesus came full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14).
Click below for how you might struggle in your leadership to keep that zeal for Christ-likeness.
  1. struggle to maintain the integrity of Christ
  2. struggle to maintain the balance seen in Christ
  3. struggle to maintain the focus on Christ

The Priority of Truth in the Church:

. . . God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15)
Saying that truth should be a priority for followers of Jesus Christ is an understatement. God intends for the Church to not only stand firm on truth and be held together by it (Eph. 6:14), but also to be the essence or underpinning of truth in this world. The Church is not the source of truth but the means through which truth is upheld in this world. If the Church strays from the truth, what hope is there for the world? Take truth out and the structure for society comes crashing down. We have nothing protective or supportive to stand on that is firm and secure.
As a church leader, you must therefore stand guard over truth. You must assure that everything done in the church lines up with truth. You must prevent truth from getting distorted or minimized.

The Presentation of a Holy Church:

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Eph. 5:25-27)
God's heart for the Church shows itself in Jesus' desire to present the Church to Himself as a perfect radiant church, not a mediocre or dull church marred by sin and disgrace. He desires the best for us and in us. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Eph. 1:4)
Our holiness is founded on and reflected by truth and manifests itself in Christ-likeness. Only a holy church will truly showcase the Lord. Keep the following truths in mind as you lead the church toward that which is in God's heart:
  • Holiness starts with love, a sacrificial love, that led Jesus to die so we could be made holy in God's sight (Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:22).
  • Holiness is rooted in truth, the truth as found in God's Word (Jn 17:17) that holds up a holy God as the standard (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
  • Holiness grows out of a reaction to God's mercy and grace not a legalistic pursuit or self-righteousness (Rom. 12:1; 2 Tim. 1:9).
  • Holiness makes life so much better (Col. 3:12-14).
  • Holiness is possible because of God's enablement (1 Thess. 3:13).
  • Holiness reflects God's desires for the church (Eph. 1:4, 5:25-27; 1 Thess. 4:7; 2 Tim. 1:9).
In Christ we stand holy because of Jesus' death. In Christ we can walk in a state of holiness because of the power of His resurrection. Consequently, a "hands toward God" approach is the best way leaders can influence people to walk like the Church God chose her to be. Sometimes, however, leaders choose a different approach.
Click below to compare those ways with the "hands-toward-God" approach in lining up with the above scriptural truths about holiness:
  1. heavy-handed approach
  2. hands-off approach
Hopefully you took time to click on your responses above. Be sure to follow up on suggestions provided. For more input, take time to look at each response to benefit even further.
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