FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

ADDITIONAL DESIGNATIONS FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST – LESSON 3

Additional information concerning the real properties of the “Body of Christ” can be found in what the Body is said to be; using the terms the Apostles of Christ illustrated with.

The Body is the Temple of God –

The “Body of Christ” is also referred to as a spiritual temple or building (house).

Ephesians 2:19-22 “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

This beautiful rendering of the spiritual construction process by which God has created in all of us who serve Him through Christ Jesus, defines the unique material this spiritual temple is constructed from; us!

God Dwells in this Spiritual Structure –

There is an important perception that needs to resonate in all of us that make up the spiritual house of God; since we are that house in Christ (Hebrews 3:6 “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”), for God to dwell in us, we must be holy.

1 Peter 1:16 “because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””

Peter is writing to Christians, those who make up this spiritual temple, and is admonishing them to control their conduct after the pattern of the One who has called them. In the instruction to be “Set Apart” as God is Holy (absolute, true, trustworthy, etc…), he is quoting from the Old Testament book of Leviticus. 

Many of us have looked through the book of Leviticus, and have noted all the detailed instruction of the work of the priests on behalf of God and the people. Yet, in all this instruction, there is a quote that happens time and again; “Be holy, for I am Holy” (Leviticus 11:44, 45, 19:2; 20:7). This instruction was for these priests of God, and for them to demand this of the people. Peter uses this statement because he is going to develop another important perception; not only do we make up the temple of God, but we are also the priests!

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

We do not sacrifice animals on an altar; we sacrifice ourselves on a holy altar of transformation, by proving what the good and acceptable will of God is.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His light, by sanctifying Him in our hearts (the center of our being, creating a holy of holies there).

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”

The Apostle Paul instructs that this priestly service (writing to Christians); that each of us is to engage in, is created by a choice of fellowship (joint participation to a common goal or purpose). This is the same instruction that the Apostle John would give to Christians concerning the nature of God and those of us who seek fellowship with Him (1 John 1:5-7). Paul would use the instruction of separation to God (elevating Him over all else), and the act of cleansing that we must continually practice in order to have this fellowship (from false teachers – then from all associated evil), note:

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27

17 Therefore
“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
18
Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34, 41

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Samuel 7:14

Chapter 7

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

We see through this instruction that all of us, who have come to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, are priests to God and the material of the spiritual temple of God. We see that we have a specific work to engage in; to proclaim His praises by offering ourselves as a holy sacrifice and establishing God at the center of our being. Likewise, we are to continually purge ourselves from the world and its filthiness, and go on to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

All of this allows God to dwell within us –

1 John 3:24 “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

The keeper of the commandments of God has this fellowship with God that we all want so much. This transpires from knowing what the commandments of God are through the Spirit, by the word –

Ephesians 1:13 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”

Then by purging ourselves of uncleanness (as God instructs), and keeping the implanted word!

James 1:21-25 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Conclusion –

We are the spiritual temple (house) of God – Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 3:6.

Christ Jesus the Head of the Body, is the Chief Cornerstone of this Temple – 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20.

Every single Christian (the “Called Out”; the “Body of Christ”) is a living stone in God’s house – Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5-9.

Every single Christian must strive for holiness as God is Holy – 1 Peter 1:16.

Next: “The Body is the Flock of God!”