THE PERFECTION OF THE CHURCH
Christ gave us an ordinance which revealed the threefold ministry He was performing for His Father Who sent Him to this earth. This threefold ministry had a past act, a present act as well as a future one. Past was His death on the Cross symbolized by the Bread and the Cup. The Present ministry is that of sanctification pictured by the foot washing service. And last He will take us home to a wedding Supper. All symbolized in John 13 and surprisingly few churches practice that which He says will make one happy. John 13:17.
- Presently our Lord is now engaged in the ministry of sanctifying and perfecting His church
Eph. 5:26 "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"
- The completion of this ministry is placed at the second coming of Christ
1 Thess. 5:23 A.R.V. - Greek "parousia" "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
- More specifically, its completion is connected with the latter or revelatory phase of the Second Coming
1 Thess. 3:13 "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
Phil. 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
- The nature of this work will be to "establish" finally the holiness of Christian character. Character is formed by decisions in the face of moral tests
1 Thess. 3:13 sthrizw sterizo stay-rid'-zo - establish, make firm.
1 Cor. 1:7-8 "Confirm" "So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
- The means by which this work will be brought to completion will be our appearance and examination at the Bema-seat of Christ. Christians only come before the seat
Rom. 14:10-13 "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
1 John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
Cf. 1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
2 Cor. 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
- The purpose of this work is to prepare fully the church for her presentation as the Bride of Christ.
Eph. 5:26-27 Rev. 19:7-8 "righteous acts of the saints" - fine linen even the fine linen is of grace was given to her