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 5

The All Sufficiency of the Body of Christ!

In the New Testament writing of the Apostles and Prophets of the Lord to individual Bodies of Christ, evangelists working with a Body of Christ (Titus, Timothy), or to individual Christians; there is absolutely nothing establishing the need for a Body of Christ to go outside of itself in order to accomplish all of the purposes it was to achieve!

In fact we find in each location the “All Sufficiency” to either accomplish the purposes of God, or to develop the order necessary to do so; here are two examples:

Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”

 

In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians at Philippi; Paul recognizes the established local order of a Body of Christ (saints, bishops or elders

And deacons); and that they were able to “Approve the things that are excellent”, and to be “Filled with fruits of righteousness” (Vs. 11).


Titus 1:5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you”

In this second example, Paul has stationed Titus on the isle of Crete to work with the Bodies of Christ there. Paul mentions here that they are lacking the order necessary to accomplish the purposes the Lord demands of His Body; however, through the teaching of the Gospel’s doctrine, and demanding that each member of the Body of Christ live to their potential (not only to qualify men to shepherd these Bodies, but for each member to live to the qualities of a sound Body – Chapter 2:1-8).


The local Body is God’s plan in which Christians can cooperate in doing the work the Head has given the Body.

Ephesians 4:16from 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.”

Did God leave it to man to create cooperatives that would accomplish His purposes in the Gospel? Is man wiser than God? Certainly not!!!

Ephesians 3:10-11to 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”

The Sufficient Order of the Body of Christ -

  1. Independent

We find time and again, many local churches in various districts, provinces, and areas in close proximity to each other, but never connected by any organization. Each Body of Christ was separate and independent of each other.

The letter of Paul to the Body of Christ at Corinth did not tell them to go and get help from the Body of Christ in Cenchrea (just seven miles away – Romans 16:1) to fix their problems; they were charged individually to cure their ills. Peter did not instruct the elders of the brethren in Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1), to shepherd as many flocks as they could, but to shepherd only the flock among them (1 Peter 5:2).

  1. Elders

Very early in the history of the Body of Christ, we see the importance of order by the appointment of elders (there are elders in the churches in Judea as early as Acts 11:30; and Paul would establish them in each congregation of God’s people as he returned back through the churches established by the preaching of the Gospel on the first journey – Acts 14:23).

We always find them spoken of in plurality. The Spirit of God would appoint them to the work they were expected to perform (Acts 20:28) and this would be done by the qualifications given by the Spirit of God (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). They were to only shepherd the flock that is among them (an autonomous work, without multi body coopts or organization) – 1 Peter 5:2.

  1. Deacons

In local Bodies of Christ where we have elders, we also find a specified servant within these Bodies known as deacons. We see them in place in the Body of Christ at Philippi (Philippians 1:1); and we have qualifications for them in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. By the definition of the term, these are ministers or servants and since they exist only where there are existing elders (and knowing that the elders have oversight), we can conclude that they serve the elders.

  1. Evangelists

It was the Lord’s wisdom to put within each Body of Christ those who speak well the good news (the definition of an evangelist) – Ephesians 4:11. They were to demand that no other doctrine other than Christ’s be taught – 1 Timothy 1:3. They were to instruct, command, and teach brethren – 1 Timothy 4:6, 11. They were to take heed to themselves and to the doctrine they were to teach – 1 Timothy 4:16. They were to fight the good fight of faith – 1 Timothy 6:12. They were to teach the things they had learned to faithful men who would be able to teach others – 2 Timothy 2:2. They were to preach the word continually, convince, rebuke with all longsuffering and teaching – 2 Timothy 4:2. They were to set in order the things that were lacking – Titus 1:5; speak only the things that are proper for sound doctrine – Titus 2:1; and finally to affirm faithful sayings and maintain good works – Titus 3:8.  

  1. Teachers

In addition to evangelists, the Lords’ wisdom included teachers in every Body of Christ – Ephesians 4:11. Based on Paul’s teaching to Timothy; they were first, to receive instruction then teach others also – 2 Timothy 2:2. 

  1. Saints

Apart from these ordered positions in the Body of Christ, were saints in general. These are far from idle parts of the Body and in fact must attain to an understanding of every part doing their share, for a Body of Christ to truly be the productive Body it is intended. Paul would teach Titus that every age and gender in the Body of Christ had certain qualities that they must strive to individually attain – Titus 2:2-8.


Every Body of Christ did its own work through this established order, and in addition to that, it produced its own elders, deacons, evangelists, teachers, and saints.

Nothing was done through coopts or central organizations, or agencies. This will additionally be true when we talk about the work of the Body as well!

In the upcoming lessons, we are going to develop a detailed understanding of each of these in the established order of the Body of Christ.

Next: “The Elders – Introduction!”