PDA

View Full Version : The Body Of Christ


WATCHMAN4HM
01-20-02, 11:55 AM
Topic:the body of Christ, as designed


The New Testament word for "church" is "ecclesia." It literally means "the called out ones." It refers to all the people that have answered God's call to come out from the mainstream of the world and serve Him as Lord and God. It includes the servants of God of the Old Testament and of the New Testament.

In this present day, the connotation of the term "church" is a building of worship, a congregation, a denomination, or a religious service. These are incorrect renderings of the true meaning of the "church." We should learn to refer to these other things with different words than "church." If we refer to all these things as the "church", we will misinterpret many scriptures referring to the true "church."

The "church" in the New Testament is likened to the "body of Christ." Since Christ's literal body was resurrected and later raptured to heaven, He has made sure that His presence is still felt within this world. He has accomplished this by indwelling every believer. He comes and dwells within every believer.

Galatians 2:20
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me..."

Matthew 28:20
"...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world..."

The whole number of believers now on earth possess within them - the Lord Jesus Christ. Together, these believers make up the "body of Christ" now on earth. The saints represent the Lord Jesus, and are to do His works as He commanded. We are to possess His mind (I Cor. 2:16), and are to recognize our part as a member of the whole "body of Christ." This is the New Testament concept of the church that the Scripture teaches. It is not to be tainted, or changed... We are not to think of the church simply as our denomination, our worship building, or as our local body of saints. It is much more than that. The whole church is an organism, an expression of the life of Christ. It is to represent the Lord in this sinful world until He calls us home to heaven.

I Corinthians 12:27
"Now ye are the body of Christ..."

This concept of the "church" is not popular in much of Christendom today. The true teaching on the "church" teaches that all members of this "body" are equal. We are all members of one "body." We all have a common "Head". We are all to be dependent on each other.

I Corinthians 12:12-25
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink of one Spirit... God hath set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him... there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another..."

*******

The body should have UNITY. Just as in WALKING, the human body depends on the eyesight to see obstacles, the brain to choose the safest path, the feet to carry the rest of the body, the arms to help balance, the muscles to respond in a coordinated manner, the bones to give structure, the lungs to breathe in oxygen, the veins and arteries to carry the nourishment to the muscles as the body walks, and the heart to be the pump for the blood that carries the nourishment... The human body functions with unity. In the "body of Christ", we should have unity of action, and a working together... for we are all "one body."

I Corinthians 12:12
"For the body is one..."

*******

The "body of Christ" should exhibit LIFE. The Holy Spirit is to flow through the "body" and provide life to the church. This is why the Lord said that it was "expedient" that He go away...(John 16:7). If He did not go, the Spirit would not come... The Spirit comes and gives life to the "body of Christ."

*******

The "body of believers" does have INDIVIDUALITY amidst the different members.

I Corinthians 12:15-20
"...if the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? ... if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body."

Each of these individual members are given different gifts. These gifts are to help each one develop and perform its particular duties in the "body."

I Corinthians 12:8-10, 17, 29
"To one is given... wisdom... to another... knowledge... faith... prophecy... (etc.) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?"

Each cell needs to find its own ministry in the "body." Each cell of the "body" does have a ministry. Each one needs to use its own ministry. We should not be jealous of any one's ministry. We may have a different ministry... but we do have a ministry. No one person can do it all... The "body of Christ" depends on each member doing its particular ministry.

*******

The "body of Christ" is given SYMPATHY. When one part of the human body is hurt, the rest of the body is in deep sympathy for it. For instance, the hand may touch a hot stove. The muscles of the arm react quickly and withdraw the hand. The mouth is usually shouting "OUCH !" The rest of the body quickly works together to get the necessary help, and medicine to soothe the burn. In the same way, God intends the church to have sympathy for the members.

I Corinthians 12:26
"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."

murjahel from TheComforters.com
the different ministries.. Posted 1-17-2002 03:10
The "body of Christ" is variety in harmony. It is all one body, but it is a body united, and enlivened by the Spirit (I Cor. 12:12-14). All the members are related and dependent on each other (I Cor. 12:15-20). All the members are to comfort and to aid each other (I Cor. 12:21-23). The body is supposed to have no schisms (I Cor. 12:24-26). These are fine goals, and have been sought by the church for many centuries. They cannot be achieved without recognizing the true Head of the church... Jesus Christ.

The "body of Christ" (i.e. the church) is His "body." He sent back the Spirit Who is the Life of the church. He has made the plans for the ministry of the church. He gives unity for all the members. He is the center of intelligence in the church. We are told to seek the "mind of Christ." The Holy Spirit is the One Who carries the messages from the Lord to the various members of the body. It is vitally necessary to recognize the Lord Jesus as the "Head." The "Head" of the "body of Christ" then designed the "body" to have various parts and gave each part a function.

Ephesians 4:11-13
"And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

Some of the cells of the church are given special ministries. These ministries do not give them pre-eminence, but give them great responsibility in various areas. Four are mentioned here in Ephesians.

He refers to
"apostles... prophets... evangelists... and pastor-teachers."
Each of these have a function in the "body."

The APOSTLES are the skeletal and muscular framework.

The PROPHETS are the nervous system.

The EVANGELISTS are the digestive system.

The PASTOR-TEACHERS are the circulatory system.

The respiratory system of the "body" is the HOLY SPIRIT.

SKELETAL AND MUSCULAR FRAMEWORK

The skeletal and muscular framework of a body gives its fundamental support. It makes possible movement and activity. The APOSTLES are this system in the "body of Christ."

Ephesians 2:19-20
"... are built upon the foundation of the apostles..."

The APOSTLES are the ones who go out and begin new congregations. They are the church planters. They are the pioneer missionaries. They provide a skeletal framework upon which to build the body system. The word "apostle" means "sent one." There are certain cells of the "body of Christ" that are sent out to begin new congregations. These is the apostolic ministry. In our day, we have let the term "apostle" slip from common usage. We have coined the word "missionary" and "pioneer pastor" to refer to these who have an APOSTOLIC MINISTRY.

NERVOUS SYSTEM

The nervous system of the body is directly linked to the Head. It takes messages from the head to the rest of the body. It makes organized activity possible. The framework of the body would not function as a unit if the nervous system were not instructing the limbs and other parts with directions from the head. The nervous system gives warning to the body of pain, and directs the members toward cure. The ministry of the PROPHET is to be the nervous system of the "body of Christ."

II Peter 1:19
"We have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place."

I Corinthians 14:3
"He who prophesies, speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, comfort."

The ministry of the PROPHET is to communicate to the rest of the body, specific directions from the Lord. This is a very great responsibility for the PROPHET. It requires much prayer, Bible study, and sensitivity to the Spirit. Jesus warned that every "idle word (rhema = prophetic word) that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment..." (Matthew 12:36).

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

The digestive system takes food and prepares if for use in the body. The body grows by absorbing foreign material and making it part of the body. EVANGELISTS are the part of the body with the specific ministry of leading sinners (ones who are not part of the "body") to a relationship with Jesus. In this way, these sinners are absorbed into the body and become part of it. It is not the job of the EVANGELISTS to denounce sin and cause conviction. That is the Spirit's job. The EVANGELISTS are the ones who announce Jesus as the Answer.

Timothy was a pastor, but Paul instructed him to "do the work of an evangelist... (II Tim. 4:5). We may have different primary ministries. We are not all called to the primary ministry of evangelism, but we are all to do the work of an evangelist.

Mark 16:15
"...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature..."

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM

The veins and arteries carry food and oxygen to every part of the body. In the same way, the PASTOR-TEACHERS are to shepherd, feed, nourish, and give forth the Word of God to the other cells of the "body of Christ." These PASTOR-TEACHERS are not to do this as being "lords". They are not to assume the job of the "Head". They are to do this in the role of a servant.

Mark 10:42-43
"...Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister (servant), and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."

The PASTOR-TEACHERS have a ministry of bringing the Word of God to the "body of Christ", and to see that the "body" has the nourishment to survive and mature as a body.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

When God breathed into Adam, he became a living being. This breath of life was necessary so the "body" would have life. All systems can be in place, but without the "breath of life", the body is dead. Just as with the human body, without the spirit of man, the body is dead... so with the "body of Christ" without the Spirit of God, the "body of Christ" is dead.

The body can go some time without food, the body can suffer broken bones in its framework, it can bleed for a time, but if the body is denied its oxygen... it dies quickly. In the same way, if we "grieve", "vex", or "sin against" the Spirit, we are in grave danger of spiritual death. We must beware of quenching the Spirit Who is the respiratory system of the "body of Christ."

*******

There has been much distortion of truth in teaching about the "body of Christ" and its ministries. In some, the cells expect the PASTOR-TEACHERS to perform all the ministry. Some PASTOR-TEACHERS try to have all the ministry, object to the role of the evangelist, prophet, or apostle... within a church... This is unfortunate... and has damaged the body... i.e. the church... This is un-Biblical. The church will make little impact on the world with that interpretation. There are many weak, sick, paralyzed congregations in this day because of such interpretations. The key to effective ministry is to get every cell functioning as the Lord has desired. (written by JDL)