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The Church as the Body of Christ - Which Means What

The Church as the Body of Christ - Which Means What

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Published by dlee7067
The Bible describes the church Christ built as his body. What does that mean? What am I suppose to understand from that description?
The Bible describes the church Christ built as his body. What does that mean? What am I suppose to understand from that description?

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Published by: dlee7067 on Mar 02, 2010
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The Church as the Body of Christ – Which Means What?
 The church of the New Testament is in the scriptures referred to under severaldifferent designations or appellations one of which is the body of Christ. “And heput all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church,which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22-23 NKJV) “I nowrejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in theafflictions of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Col. 1:24 NKJV)Paul says, in speaking to the church (see 1 Cor. 1:2) at Corinth, “Now you are thebody of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Cor. 12:27 NKJV) To those in Rome hesays, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of oneanother.” (Rom. 12:5 NKJV) The body of Christ, the church, is of course a spiritual body. Peter describes thechurch as a building but what he says is applicable here for he says, “you also, asliving stones, are being built up a spiritual house.” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV) The church isspiritual made up of men and women and boys and girls of accountable age whoeach in their individual spirits have submitted to Christ in both faith and obedience.“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.”(Rom. 8:9 NKJV) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14 NKJV) “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body (thefleshly physical body we each possess – DS), you will live.” (Rom. 8:13 NKJV) It isthus spiritual beings, having the Spirit of Christ within them, who make up thechurch, the body of Christ.In the description the Holy Spirit gives of the church as a spiritual body, the body of Christ, it is compared to a physical body in order to provide us with some lessons of its nature and what it is to be. He (the Holy Spirit) says, speaking through Paul, “forin fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Cor. 12:14 NKJV) and then beginsdiscussing the foot, the hand, the ear, the eye, the smelling (the nose) with the ideabeing that each member of the body has its function to fulfill for the profit of theentire body and that each part of the body, each member, contributes to the wellbeing of the body and is needed. (1 Cor. 12:15-22) With the physical body wereadily see this need. Remove any part of the body and to that extent we becomehandicapped. This is a lesson the church needs to learn – the value of every single member andthe fact they each contribute in one way or another whether we see it or not. Toooften the member that has standing is the one with speaking talent, or the one whois a church leader in one capacity or another, or one who is well thought of in thecommunity while the poor widow with but two mites to cast into the collection plate(Luke 21:1-4) is left out of the social interaction of the membership. The churchthat is what God would have it to be is egalitarian. Too often the church is dividedinto cliques based on social/economic status or perceived superiority. This is
nothing less than shameful and disgusting. It stinks to high heaven. If suchbehavior cannot be hidden from men how can it be hidden from God?But the reader should not make more of what I have said than what I stated for I donot mean to imply this is a common practice but if it is found even once it is oncetoo often. Every congregation is different and the whole body of believers shouldnever be judged on the basis of what one might find in a particular location. Do wethink it would be fair to judge all of the congregations that belong to Christ based onthe church of Sardis as described by Jesus himself in Rev. 3? I think not.Here is the body of Christ, the church, as God would have it be - “that there shouldbe no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for oneanother. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if onemember is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Cor. 12:25-27 NKJV) “By this all will know thatyou are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJV) The church being what it ought to be starts with each individual being what heought to be in his relationship both with Christ and with his fellow brethren. Wecannot set back as observers and see how it is going and say the church is not whatit ought to be in its love for each of its members when we are, as stated, just settingback and watching and not becoming actively involved ourselves. John says, for example, “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother inneed, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17 NKJV) We say that is the church’s duty, the church’s responsibility, tocare for the needy. Now be honest, is that what the passage says that it is thechurch’s obligation? It says it is my obligation if I can help at all to step in and help;the church being what it ought to be as a body begins with me in friendship, infellowship, in caring, in sharing, in sacrifice, in the depths of love as measured byGod’s word. Besides if we do not care about one another who will care about us?How many bodies does Christ have? That is a foolish question on its face. Howmany bodies do you have? It makes as much sense to ask one as to ask the other.Besides, even if we were that dull, Paul tells us, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.” (Eph. 4:4 NKJV) There is anidea held by many that each of the individual denominations is a member of thebody of Christ and that taken collectively they make up the church. Talk about anabsolute perversion of scripture and utter nonsense!Denominations did not exist when the New Testament was being written thus whenPaul wrote to the church at Corinth talking about these matters of being membersof the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12) he most certainly was not talking about that whichdid not exist. He clearly was talking to, “those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus,called to be saints.” (1 Cor. 1:2 NKJV) How do I know he was talking to them –because I just quoted the passage, because he says so. They, each one
individually, each Christian, was the member of the body of Christ to whom he wasspeaking. “You are the body of Christ (the church at Corinth – DS), and membersindividually.” (1 Cor. 12:27 NKJV)Christ is the head of the body, the church (Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18), to whom eachmember of the body is to hold fast (Col. 2:19). The head always regulates anddirects the body using the analogy of the physical body. The rest of the bodyfollows the decisions the head makes. In other words the head rules the body. Godnever gave man legislative powers in the realm of religion as Christ has allauthority. “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18NKJV) were some of the last words Jesus spoke while on earth. He is the king of akingdom and not a president of some kind of a democracy. This being the case,and as Christ the head has spoken and given his will in the pages of the New Testament, why have men not been content to be guided by his will and it alone?Men have arrogated power to themselves and set up conferences, and councils, andgoverning bodies and tried to make laws for God and in many cases even overrodehis will for their own setting aside scripture and people say it is okay, all is well, Godis pleased, we are saved. In religious bodies that have done these things it is safeto say Christ may be spoken of as the head but it is not taken seriously by those of us who have a New Testament and have read it and studied it and believe it.Man may vote and elect a governing body in a club, or a benevolent organization, ora union, or whatever but such has no place in the New Testament church, the bodyof Christ, which already has its head and governing body in place – Christ himself.Christ is the Savior of the body (Eph. 5:23) but scripture says his body is the church(Col. 1:24). There are an awful lot of people that believe the church does notmatter. To their thinking it does not matter whether one is a member of the churchor not for their thinking is a man can be saved without church membership. If youcan be saved without church membership then it does not matter whether or notyou are in the body of Christ for the church is that body (Eph. 1:22-23). If you are inthe church you are in the body of Christ, if you are not in the church you are not inthe body of Christ.Now what is it that Christ is the Savior of? It is his body, the body of Christ (Eph.5:23). Name one place in the Bible where Christ ever promised or gave hope of saving any one not in the body of Christ. I am willing to wait for the answer but itwill be a long wait for you will not find it.Here is what causes the confusion - people do not know the truth about how onebecomes a Christian. They think becoming a Christian is one process and becominga church member is another. The truth is that the same process that makes one aChristian also adds him to the body of Christ, the church. If you obeyed the gospelof Christ in all truth and sincerity you are a member of the church whether any inthe church like it or not. God adds you to the church (see Acts 2:47 NKJV), not men.

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