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 CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST – LESSON 1

The Body of Christ

The Apostle Paul, on many occasions, made reference to the “Called Out” as the “Body of Christ”.

Romans 12:5 “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

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.”

Colossians 1:18 “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 

In future lessons, we are going to look into other designations for the “Body of Christ”; however, it is vital that we begin with the one that perhaps best embodies the true nature that the Lord wished for His church to know and understand.

In the points to come, there can be little doubt that what exists in the world today, is not the nature of the body as described in the word (even among many so-called churches of Christ!). Let’s visit some of these points.

The Singular nature of the Body!

Through a natural comprehension, based on the nature of our own bodies (one of the best reasons this illustration exists, as all of us can comprehend it – use the illustration at the top of the page), a single entity can have but one body!

Ephesians 4:4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling”

The nature of the Body of Christ is that it is comprised of saints everywhere that call on His name by the single Gospel which was to be preached to every creature, so that all could come to God through Christ on the same terms (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 1:13).

We have already, in previous lessons, described the nature of the “Body of Christ” universal, and local; however, we should note this again.

The Apostle Paul would write to Christians at Corinth (which obeyed the Gospel to become the “Body of Christ”Acts 18:8), and describe that they were the “Called out” at Corinth (local), but that they were part of a universal body, note:

1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”

Later in this same letter, Paul would speak to the individual members of this local “Body of Christ”, so that they would understand exactly how they each interacted within the “Body of Christ”. Even though they were part of a universal “Body”, all the work they were to accomplish as members of that “Body” was to be done at a local level (we will speak more to this soon).

This passage is speaking to a local “Body of Christ” concerning the individual work of its members (the Corinthian Christians); it is not speaking to the universal “Body” as the denominational world tries to establish in an attempt to justify their existence apart from the characteristics for the “Body” from the word.

1 Corinthians 12:14-27 “For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”

Head

Christ

The Body of Christ - Universal

Made up of “all His saints at each local “Body”

His Body at:

Corinth

Ephesus

Philippi

Colossi

etc...

All with the same identity, mission, work, etc...

This simple diagram shows the singular nature of the “One Body”. It is comprised of all those who have been “Called Out” of darkness into His marvelous light by obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Acts 26:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. Each of these saints comprising parts of the “Body of Christ”.

Thus, each individual location of the “Called Out” can only be of the same “Body”; with the same name (Philippians 2:9-11); the same work (1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 4:12); the same doctrine (2 John 9); etc…

Can you see the unifying design of the “Body of Christ” now?

Only the Head can direct!

Each local “Body” obeys the commands of the Head, and the “Body” accomplishes that which it was designed by God through His Son to accomplish!

This design, by the wisdom of God, also keeps the “Body of Christ” healthy and pure from illness and disease. We see an example of this in John’s letter to the seven churches of Asia. To the congregations that were in need of repenting, there is a universal warning to the effect that they would have their lampstand removed unless they healed themselves – see: Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 16.

Next: “The Importance of a Single Head!”