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Published by glennpease
By Johx Lipscomb Johxson, D. D. LL.D..

"Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might present
it to himself a glorious church." — Eph. 5 : 25, 27.
By Johx Lipscomb Johxson, D. D. LL.D..

"Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might present
it to himself a glorious church." — Eph. 5 : 25, 27.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 08, 2013
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CHRIST AND HIS CHURCHBy Johx Lipscomb Johxson, D. D. LL.D.."Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might presentit to himself a glorious church." — Eph. 5 : 25, 27.THIS is a day of great joy in Aberdeen. Hope, that erewhilewas an inspiration and a sti-ength, has passed into exultantfruition. The Baptists of this city behold in this beautifulstructure the consummation of that loft}' purpose for which theirsacrifices and labors and prayers were made, and their hearts aretherefore full of gladness. All other resident Christians, of what-ever name, I am fain to believe, rejoice to-day with their Baptistbrethren, beholding this new honor raised to their common Lord,and congratulate both them and themselves as they contemplate thismaterial token of the strengihening of the things that belong to God.All citizens, I doubt not, even those without religious convictions,are glad when they see this completed triumph of resolution andenergy and persistent effort, which lends its charm to all the archi-tectural ornaments of the city and gives increase to all its values.Some of us from abroad are here to offer our congTatulations as therepresentatives of the eighty thousand men and vfomen of Missis-sippi who rejoice and are exceeding glad because of what you havedone. And I believe that He who with sandaled feet for thirtyyears walked this earth, who looked with his sweet face out upon thecareworn faces of men, and longed to kindle in their hearts a joythat would banish their cares, who afterwards gathered all thesecares into his own heart, and bore them on the cross for us — I be-lieve that He looks down upon you to-day from His high place inheaven with an interest greater than that which even you feel and a joy superior even to your own;*Preache<l at the dedication of the First Baptist Church o; Aber.leen,Miss.
238 THE AMERICAN BAPTIST PULPIT..This thought will suggest to you as a text appropriate to the oc-casion and fitting for the service which I am expected to perform,the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church at Ephe-sus — ''Christ loved the church and gave himself for it ... . thathe might present it to himself a glorious church f' The structure of my discourse is as simple as the text itself, which contains whatmay be called three propositions. Look at the first of these, ''Christloved the church f' and consider with me, first — I. THE DIVINE IMPULSE IN HUMAN REDEMPTIONSome there are who think the glory of God is the prime and con-trolling end in the redemption of the human soul. It seems to methat this is not true, if we think of God as having his eye fixed uponhimself, as being impelled by desire, pure and simple, for self-aggrandisement. It is too selfish to be divine; it is too purely in-tellectual to be true of Him whose name is Love.But doubtless it is true if regard be had to the objects of redemp-tion and the glory of the Redeemer be thought of as the logical out-come of the sacrifice made for the soul. For I believe that to save apoor sinner from eternal woe — to save him for love's sake only — isthe crown and flower of all we can think or know of the divine glory.To me it is an unspeakable joy, a delight that abides with me con-tinually to feel that God was not content in himself to see us, or anyof us, lost; to feel that the sacrifice of his Son, whose story yetstartles the world, was made in response to the longing of the divineheart, the yearning of a Father's love for his own suffering, con-demned children. If I have rightly interpreted the parable of theProdigal Son, it shows two figures, representing two great yearn-ings, one human and one divine — one the lost human soul, wander-ing away from God, exhausting its sources of joy, realizing at lastits forlorn estate, and then reaching out its arms and lifting up itscry for restoration to the Father's favor; the other is the Spirit of the Father, with eye constantly intent upon all these experiences of the wanderer, and at last grasping those outstretched hands andrejoicing openly at the recovery of his child. This last figure is
God and the other is myself and you, a.nd you and every one whoaccepts for himself the atonement which God has made through hisCHRIST AND HIS CHURCH. 239Son. And the devotion of the Divine Heart to as many as havereceived Christ is used in the words of the text to illustrate andurge the highest and holiest devotion possible to human heart, usedto lift up a standard unto which few attain : ''Husbands, love yourwives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it."It is clear, then, that the Divine Eye was fixed upon us, that theDivine Thought was centred upon us, as the objects not merely of asupreme need, but of a supreme love as well, and that the sacrifice of Christ for the church was a heart sacrifice and not a sacrifice forglory. He loved us — Christ loved us — and out of this love for usissued the unspeakable gift by which the door of eternal life isopened unto us. It is good for us to think of it thus, because as wedo we shall be more and more rapt into a spirit of perpetual benedic-tion unto God. ''We love him because he first loved us.''II. THE OFFERING THAT LOVE MADEPassing now from this inspiring thought, that love and not glorybrought redemption to the world, let us consider, in the seconddivision of the text, the offering that Love made. "He gave himself for it." First, he loved the church — oh, blessed thought of theblessed Christ ! — and for this love, to attain the object for which itlonged, he gave himself, devoted himself to death to save it. Thuswe have for our consideration — 1. An Interior View of What Men Call Sacrifice.I pause not at the etymological idea of this word, but seize at onceupon its central thought. Looking at this, I protest against thecommon view of its meaning, which is simply that of loss; that theamount sacrificed is just so much subtracted from the sum total of what had otherwise been possessed. And thus it has come to pass

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