One of the greatest needs of our times is for living, biblical churches. No other institution can adequately replace them. Every Christian ought to give much thought and prayer to this subject., and then order his life in such a way as to further the work of God’s true churches. This is not a time for an apathetic, easy-going attitude toward churches. The needs are great. The pressures of ungodliness are heavy. Those who demean God’s churches are legion. Let us, then, rise up and go forth with boldness to declare ourselves servants of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by following His will in His local church wherever His providence directs us.
—Daniel E. Wray
The Importance of the Local Church (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 15.
Wherever we find the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ; there, it is not to be doubted, is a Church of God.
— John Calvin
There is nothing in which Christ was more eminent than in his love; no rancour of spirit, no boiling up of envy, but all love. The apostle propounds it to husbands: Eph. 5:25, ‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church.’ Now how did Christ love his church? With a great love, so as to die for his church. The love of Christ was sincere, not for by-ends; he loved saints as saints, because of his interest in them. So should we love those in whom we see most of the image of God. It was not a blaze, but a constant abiding love; whom he loves he loves unto the end; so must we love the saints. It is true Jesus loved some above others: ‘John was the beloved disciple,’ John 21:20. There was ἐκλέκτων ἐκλεκτότεροι, the flower of the disciples, whom he loved most, but he loved them all. We should love not in word, but in deed and in truth. Oh! be filled with love to God and love to the saints, who have his image stamped upon them. You that are believers have cause to love one another. Have we not all the same Father? Are we not children begotten of the same holy seed, the word? Do we not all suck at the same breasts of the promises? Do we not all sit at the same table, at the Lord’s supper? Are we not all clothed with the same robe of Christ’s righteousness? and do we not all expect the same glory?
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 16:490–491.
It is important to bear in mind that the church … may never be conceived of apart from the organization of the people of God in visible expression and in discharge of the ordinances instituted by Christ.
Collected Writings of John Murray, 1:236.
Christ loves his church specially. There would be no parallel whatever between the husband’s love to the wife and Christ’s love to the church if there were not a speciality about it. Christ is love itself; he is full of kindness and benevolence. In that sense, he loves all mankind; but that cannot be the meaning of the text, for it would be a very strange kind of exhortation to the husband if that were the case. No, the husband’s love to his spouse is something special and particular; and it stands quite alone, and all by itself. He will be kind and benevolent and generous towards all others, but that love which he lavishes upon his wife he must give to nobody else in the world. It is certainly so with our blessed Lord. Free and rich and overflowing in lovingkindness, yet he made a special choice of his people or ever the earth was; and having chosen because of his love, he loves because of his choice, and that love is a peculiar, special, remarkable, preeminent love such as he bestows upon none else of all the human race. It must be so, or else the passage would be all but immoral; certainly, it would be manifestly incorrect.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Sermon: “Christ’s Love To His Spouse” (Eph 5:26).