The Body OF Christ
THE BIBLE USES DIFFERENT metaphors to describe the spiritual connection Christians have one with another.
In John, Jesus refers to believers as branches, with Himself as the vine, and God the Father as the husbandman (Jn. 15:1-2). Paul talked about the believing Gentiles being grafted in (Rom. 11:17). The church is referred to as a building that is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus Christ being the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Peter added, “You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house” (I Pet. 2:5). And there’s more. Today, I want us to look at the church as being the body of Christ!
NOT ALL IN A CHURCH ARE PART OF THE CHURCH
Let me first of all state that not all that attend church are part of the church. Sitting in a burger joint, no matter how fancy that restaurant is, does not make you a burger. Sitting in church, even participating in services, does not make you a Christian. To be part of the body of Christ, you have to “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9). Only those who have placed their faith in the completed work of Calvary are part of the spiritual body of Christ.
Paul talked often of the body of Christ. “Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (I Cor. 12:27). In Paul’s discussion on the purpose of the five-fold ministerial gifts, he said it was “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). Clearly the church is the body of Christ.
DIFFERENT PARTS, DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS
Just as in the natural, the body of Christ has different parts with different functions. “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” (I Cor. 12:14-15). We can’t all be evangelists. We cannot all be preachers. We can’t all travel the world spreading the Message of the Cross, but we can all do our part. We can help finance those who go. We can purchase the Expositors Study Bibles that are being sent around the world. The body moving in a well-orchestrated fashion can be instrumental in reaching the world for Christ.
EVERY BODY HAS A HEAD
Every living body has a head. Although man often attempts to usurp His authority, Jesus Christ is clearly the head of the body of Christ. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body” (Eph 5:23). As the head, Jesus coordinates and instructs the individual members of the church. “And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). We are, therefore, His physical representation on earth.
WHAT DOES THE WORLD SEE?
How well is the church representing Christ? We have to acknowledge that what is being presented as Christianity is a poor reflection of true Christianity. The prosperity gospel, the seeker sensitive movement, Kingdom Now, the Emerging Church movement, and much more do not reflect Christ. As we preach the Word, share the Word, and live the Word of God, Jesus will be lifted up. “If I be lifted up … I will draw all men unto me” (Jn. 12:32).