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 2

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.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body!

As the Lord inquired of His chosen as to whom they thought He was; He would state, after Peter’s confession, that He would build His church.

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

The Lord clearly stated to His chosen, before His ascension, that He had been given all authority.

Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

The Apostle Paul, in writing to Christians would clearly confirm that the “Called Out” had only One Head.

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.” 

The nature of men causes many think of the “Called Out” in terms of ‘headquarters’, ‘organization’, and ‘institutions’.

We; however, are learning to speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), so we will appreciate that language of the Apostles of Jesus Christ as they refer to a single Lord for the unity of the Spirit (ruler – Ephesians 4:5), the Head of the “Called Out” and the Savior of  “The Body” (Ephesians 5:23), who rules, and mediates to “His elect” from the right-hand of God in Heaven; effectively through His doctrine (1 Corinthians 15:25-27; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:3; 7:25; 2 John 9).

Oh, how different the religions of the world would be if they learned to speak and work for the Lord in this simple understanding!

It would demand a simple and functional satisfaction with the instruction of the Head “only”; especially concerning the authority, work, and true purpose for the “Body of Christ”.

All Apostasy from this God-given authority comes from men who “oppose and exalt themselves above all that is called God, showing themselves to be God” – 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

As soon as these, who are self-elevated introduce anything that has not come from the single Head, they no longer have fellowship with God, nor abide in Him (no matter what they say!), 1 John 1:7; 2 John 9. In the true “Body of Christ”, no flesh was to be glorified over the True Foundation (1 Corinthians 1:29; 3:11). 

With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at the order of authority for the “Body of Christ” as made known by its only Head!

GOD

Supreme Authority and the delegator of Authority as He purposes – 1 Corinthians 11:3; 15:24-27.

 

Christ

All His authority has been given to Him by the Father (legislative, executive, and judicial – Matthew 28:18); to be the Head, King, Lord, Master of the Body, church, and kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:20; Colossians 1:13, 18).

 

Apostles

Their authority is delegated through Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit in order for them to be Ambassadors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; these would reveal all truth, and to give eye witness testimony concerning the Lord.

Prophetically: Matthew 16:18-20; 18:18; 19:28; John 16:13.

Commissioned: Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16;

Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 26:17-18.

Actuality: 1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 2 Corinthians 5:1-21; Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Peter 3:14-18; 1 John 1:1-4.

 

New Testament Prophets

These would be mouth-pieces for the Lord, making known that which was previously unknown; whether past, present, or future. They existed by the laying on of the Apostles of Christ’s hands as one of the spiritual gifts that existed before the written word would be completed, and had no authority (the authority rested in the revelation of the word) – Acts 8:14-17; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28; Ephesians 2:20, 4:11. These would only exist until we all come to the unity of “the faith” (singular), which would come by the complete revelation of Christ – Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:13-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.    

 

Elders

Appointed by the given qualifications of the Holy Spirit to shepherd (oversee, superintend, feed, and lead by example) the “Body of Christ” locally (only!). They do not have authority to make law, only to demand that no other doctrine is taught other than that which is given by the Head, and to lead the saints by example and instruction of existing law – Acts 14:23; 20:28-32; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17-19; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4.

 

Saints

These are all those who make up the “Called Out”, the “Body of Christ”. They are born to proclaim the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light, by faithful living to the given word. To develop a working knowledge of the truth in order to instruct, serve, preach, and evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As pure servants, they have absolutely no authority; just the given charge to obey the Master of their salvation – 1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 4:13-16; Titus 2:1-10.

The general term of saint includes evangelists, preachers, teachers and deacons. These have no individual authority; however, they have qualifications and specific charges – Acts 21:8; Romans 10:14-15; Ephesians 4:11; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:7, 3:8-13; 2 Timothy 2:2, 4:1-5.

Everything that exists under Christ the Head is either for the purpose of revealing His instruction, or to stand firmly in that which has been revealed. Thus the “Body of Christ”, can do nothing other than that which has been instructed by its Head, period!

2 Peter 1:19-21 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

2 John 9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

Next: “Members of the Body of Christ!”