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

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – PART 4

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – LEARNING FROM VERNACULAR!

1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

We have established in the first three lessons, that beyond a shadow of a doubt, only the Lord Jesus Christ has authority and preeminence over His Body (enforced by the use of the term “Dominion” or sovereignty in this text)! In the above passage, the Apostle Peter, writing to Christians instructs that the only verbiage a child of God through Christ should use; is according to the instruction or teaching of God (in context, this is the reasonable expectation of stewardship or service we have been given – Vs. 10)!

It also tells us that this very verbiage is instructive by its very use! This means we have to be attentive to the vernacular the scriptures uses in addition to the actual instruction! It should not surprise anyone then that God’s word through Christ Jesus has a very specific language and we have to note it (one faith, one baptism, faith – not faiths, gospel – not gospels, doctrine – not doctrines, etc…); purpose, order, and unity.

This becomes very important for the following statements:

·         The ONE BODY (Ephesians 4:4) of Christ universal (all children of God in Christ everywhere), is not an organization, for it is not organized! But it does have order!

·         The ONE BODY (Ephesians 4:4) of Christ local (individual Body in any location) is not an organization; but it does have order!

We, the members of the Body of Christ even have to stop teaching using the vernacular of human wisdom. I have heard many say, “Our headquarters is in heaven”, and although there was no harm intended, it is having a debate from the wrong premise, and we have to stop using worldly terms to describe the Body of Christ (it is not now nor ever been an organization!)! Speak as the oracles of God!!!

Even the word, ‘Church’ as used today has lost the true meaning of the Apostolic use of ‘ecclesia’ (Greek - called out; called out of the world to God through Christ – Acts 26:18). There truly needs to be a determined and rigorous effort to regain the true vernacular of scripture; especially due to what is being lost by those who claim to be Christians!

God is first and foremost the God of purpose and order. We can see this in the following, note:

1 Corinthians 11:3But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

The verbiage surrounding the term organization is nowhere found in reference to the Body of Christ in the Testament or Doctrine of Christ. We have covered in previous lessons; “other designations for the Body of Christ”, and in none of them, do we find the concept of an organization.

Before the Lord would finish the work His Father gave Him here on earth (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), His disciples the night before the end, began to fight among themselves (again), concerning who would be greatest in the kingdom (as if they could be CEO, president, governor, right-hand, etc…). The Lord’s verbiage is once again vital for the understanding of the nature of the kingdom, note:

Luke 22:25-30 And He said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

28 But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.””

The Lord gives the illustration of Gentile Lordship (an early version of government controlled socialism), by which these rulers create a system or organization that takes away the need or more importantly the responsibility of an individual to provide or accomplish something themselves (becoming benefactors)!

“Not so among you” is the retort of the Lord. The Apostles of our Lord would have to come to terms with the complete understanding that even in the “order” the Lord would give them and charge them to accomplish; they were, at the end of the day, SERVANTS! Simply a part of the Body of Christ; whether arm or leg, just as necessary as the finger and toe (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Remember, there is only one with preeminence (one true benefactor); Christ Jesus the King – Colossians 1:18.

Compare this now with what the world now knows concerning so-called Christianity! A local denominational church does not make up the organization of that denomination for they are tied in with a national, or regional, etc… headquarters. They are tied together with human machinery, and men work up to from regional, to state, to national, and even in some cases world positions and titles.  Remember: “Not so among you”!

In the specific vernacular of the Lord; based on His instruction concerning Him being the Head, and all those who come to God through Him being the Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), we learn that the above mentioned organization was not His intent!

Ephesians 1:22-23 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Every single member of the Body of Christ is the fullness of Him!

We actually see this in the work of the Apostles of our Lord in fulfillment of His instruction to them in Luke 22.

When Peter was persuaded to go to Cornelius and preach Jesus as the Christ to him (he had to be persuaded, as Cornelius was an uncircumcised Gentile), and meeting him for the first time; Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet and worshipped him (Acts 10:25). If there was going to be an approved world organization with a president, or pope; this would be the time to announce it (even though we know he can’t, because it would be contrary to what the Lord had already taught).

Instead, we find Peter honoring he words of his Master, note:

Acts 10:26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.””

Then, Peter taught Cornelius and his household concerning Jesus as the Christ!  

When Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra and healed a man as they came into the city; it became known to all who dwelt there (Acts 14:8-13). They assumed, in their limited understanding that Paul and Barnabas were of their idolatrous gods, and began to prepare to offer sacrifices to them. Once again, if they were going to establish a world-wide organization, they would have used this moment to create Paulites, or the world church of encouragement (as Barnabas was known as the son of encouragement – Acts 4:36). Instead, note:

Acts 14:15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them”   

The Lord’s intent for His Body was not the elevation of men!

Instead, He made every local Body complete within itself by the order He gave (non-dependent on human derived machinery), to accomplish every purpose He intends for it!

The only head the true Body can know is Jesus the Christ, the only authority it can follow is the Doctrine of its Head, and should be producing internally everything its Head has purposed for it to accomplish!

Ephesians 3:10-11 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord”  

Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

Ephesians 4:15-16 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

No human derived machinery or programs that take away from individual responsibility can be found in the true Body of Christ; but only order (Christ the King, the word for authority, local shepherds by qualifications who do not make law but lead by it, evangelists to stand only on sound doctrine and to commit these truths to faithful men who will then teach – all below the Christ are simply saints, set apart to Him)!

So, instead of an organization, it is entirely made up of organisms (Christians – those who pertain to Christ); all working to accomplish His purposes! The body of Christ is not mortar, boards, or nails of some denomination; but alive, as Christ has quickened us all from the dead (death of sin!); Ephesians 2:4-6; and built us up a spiritual house, precious to God – 1 Peter 2:4-5; each and every part doing its share in effective working! 

Some will say, “It is not really important that we stick to this understanding; especially if we can do more for God with a world-wide organization”.

First, if it doesn’t matter, why did He say it? And if that rule applies, we can throw the rest of it away and just do what we want! Then He might as well never have demonstrated His love, given us a Gospel, etc… What a stupid argument and full of human pride.

Second, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

He intended for every member of His Body to be active in learning and accomplishing His purposes – EVERY MEMBER means no programs to do it for them!

Next: “The All Sufficiency of the Body of Christ!”