A Look in the Mirror: A Bride that is Loved

April 30, 2017 | Tom Swanson | Ephesians 5:25-27


Getting Acquainted

1) Tell about the most memorable thing that you have ever seen at a wedding. It could be funny, poignant, something that set you to thinking or whatever.

2) Think about some weddings that you have attended or been part of. Are there ways in which our practices and traditions at weddings reflect a facet of the relationship between Jesus and his followers?

Getting into the Bible

3) Ephesians 5:25 tells us that Jesus gave himself up for the church, using a very common word in the New Testament to express the core of the gospel. The word means to give into the hand of, give into the power of, to deliver into custody or even to betray (thus it is also used of Judas’ terrible deed). Read Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 9:31, Romans 4:24-25, Romans 8:32 and Ephesians 5:2. When we look at the cross, who do these verses say did the giving up or delivering into the hands? What does this tell you? What does Ephesians 5:25 tell us the motivation was for Jesus to give himself up?

4) Revelation 19 expands the image of the wedding of Christ and his church by taking us to the marriage feast. Now we see the Groom presented as a Lamb (Revelation 19:7). Read Revelation 1:5-6, 5:6-14, 7:9-12, 12:10-11, 17:14 and 22:1-5 for some of the references to the Lamb in the book. What do you notice about the Lamb? What does it tell you that as a believer you are betrothed to him? What does it tell you that the Lamb gave himself up for you?  

Working it out in Life

5) Was there anything in particular from last week’s sermon that you want to be sure to talk about with the group? What is that?

6) In 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul tells the Corinthian believers how he betrothed them to one husband. The word Paul uses here occurs in only one other place (Hebrews 4:12, where it is translated joint, as in a finger, knee and so on). The word was used in non-Biblical writings of the time to talk about carpenters doing the work of joining beams and planks as they built ships or buildings. The word also forms the root of our English word harmony. How does this information help you consider what it means to be betrothed to Christ? What should that relationship look like?

7) One of the images God chose to use in the Bible to describe the relationship between Christ and the Church is that of a wedding and marriage. What do you think are some things we are supposed to conclude from that image? How do you think God wants us to see ourselves and our church in light of that image?

Digging Deeper

8) Still thinking about the image of a wedding and marriage, how do you think God wants us to talk about our church? To participate in the life of our church? To serve our church?

9) Pastor Tom made some suggestions as to how we might want to relate to our future pastor in light of the fact that we are the bride of Christ. Can you think of any other points of application?

Series title: A Look in the Mirror

Message 1: April 30, 2017

Message title: A Bride that is Loved 

Message Scripture: Ephesians 5:25-27

Message summary: It’s easy to forget! We look at our church – at any church – and we see imperfections, flaws and shortcomings. We could get discouraged or disgruntled. It’s easy to forget that when Christ looks at his Church, he sees something very different. It’s not that he is unaware of our failings and foibles, but He sees the bride that he loves and that He is perfecting. Take a look in the mirror of God’s Word and you will see the Church in another light. You will see a bride that is deeply loved!


1) Betrothed to her husband   2 Corinthians 11:1-4

2) Preparing for the wedding   Ephesians 5:25-27

3) The big day finally comes   Revelation 19:6-9