Christ’s Plan for His Church

Text: Ephesians 3:8-11

The church was not established as an afterthought. It was not a “backup plan” because Jesus “failed” to set up His kingdom. The revelation of the mystery of God was to be “made known through the church.” Paul described the church as the body and bride of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-24). That means it belongs to Him and He directs it. But what is Christ’s plan for His church?

To Build His Church (Matthew 16:18)

  • This is something He has already done – His church has already been established; but when talking with His disciples, He promised to build it; that means it did not yet exist
  • His promise was to build His church soon (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 47) – the church was established on the day of Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension
  • He only built one church (Matthew 16:18) – “there is one body” (Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23); God adds people to this church (Acts 2:41, 47); any church built by someone else is not Christ’s church

To Equip His Church (Ephesians 4:11-12)

  • This is also something He has already done – He equipped the church with everything it needed; apostles and prophets temporarily (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 13:8), but their writings would be preserved in the NT; evangelists, pastors, and teachers perpetually (2 Timothy 2:2) as teaching continues (1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 4:2); also individual members (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:16)
  • He has perfectly equipped the church (Ephesians 4:13-16) – everything we need is in the word (2 Peter 1:3); the church has everything it needs if we follow the word (Acts 20:32)
  • The church is equipped through what He has given – we must not add to, take from, or change His word that directs us (Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 3:16)

To Lead His Church (Ephesians 5:23-24)

  • This is something that continues today – as the head, He leads and we must follow; we are to be subject to Him “in everything” (Ephesians 5:24)
  • He is able to lead because He has been given “all authority” (Matthew 28:18) – we must do what He says; His will has been revealed through the apostles (Matthew 28:20; John 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:13); the inspired writings of the apostles carry the same weight as His word (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Peter 3:2)
  • He is still the head (Ephesians 5:23) – even elders are subject to Him (1 Peter 5:2-4); apostasy comes when men attempt to usurp His authority (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4); we must only follow those who follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1)

To Save His Church (Ephesians 5:23)

  • This is something that He will do when He returns (Ephesians 5:27) – illustration of the wedding feast (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-4)
  • Those who are “being saved” are added by God to the church (Acts 2:47) – these are the ones who believe and obey (Acts 2:37-38, 41); once in the church, we must remain faithful and not forfeit our salvation (Hebrews 10:35-39)
  • Salvation is only in Christ (Acts 4:12) – those outside of Him will be lost; when He returns, it will be too late (Matthew 25:1-13); we must prepare now


  • Men have many plans for their churches
  • We need to remember Christ’s plan for His church – He built His church, equipped His church, leads His church, and will save His church
  • We need to faithfully serve Him in His church today if we hope to be saved

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