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 NATURE OF THE BODY – LESSON 2

The Nature of the Body is Seen in What it is Said To Be:

THE CALLED OUT!

There is a Calling (a vocation)!

In our previous lesson, we have discussed the nature of the Body of Christ by the two meanings or senses that it is spoken of in scripture (universal and local). In future lessons we will introduce more material for the purpose of definition (the order of each).

Since the nature of the body is described by the terms in which it is referred by, the Called Out also describes a calling! What we want to do in this lesson is look at the nature of the Body of Christ, which is described by this calling!

First – Let’s look at a definition of this term “Calling” for the purpose of clarity.

Acts 22:16 “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’”

There are no less than thirteen Greek words that are translated in our New Testaments by the English ‘call’, ‘called’, or ‘calling’. Only a couple of them are passive in nature. For instance; “I am called David” – describing by what I am addressed.

However, the rest are active and describe a vocation, using what the Greek’s describe as the middle voice.

For example: a stone mason would be called by his occupation, not because he says so, but because that is what others know him to be by his trade. You see it is demonstrated, more than said.

The Greek’s along with other cultures believed that each person has three voices – the inner voice, the origin or center of each person from which everything originates; in the Bible it is often described by the heart of man. Then there is the middle voice, or that which we are known by from what we do. Then, last, there is the outward voice, or that which we actually use to communicate ourselves. Using the verse below, see if you can find each of these voices?

Romans 10:10 “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Whether intentional or not by Paul, he lists each of these voices as we have described. The heart is mentioned as the inner voice, the middle voice is described by “righteousness”; the actions of being right with God, and finally, the mouth or outer voice in confession. Paul is teaching the Christians in Rome exactly what he was instructed by Ananias, every aspect of our being must be for God through Jesus Christ in order for our voices to testify of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

By this understanding, Ananias is telling Paul to demonstrate the Lord’s name in his life, so that others will know the Lord.

With this definition under our belts, we can now look as to just how we are to demonstrate our vocation for others to know!

First – we are not randomly called to do whatever we wish! We as Christians (those who pertain to Christ, by the very definition), were called to follow the example and instruction of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is done in two fashions; by the example set before us, and by the underwriting or instruction left for us.

Example: The Apostle Paul would speak to this method of demonstrating our vocation often, note:

1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”

To be a disciple of Christ is to be both a learner and practitioner of the Teacher or Master. This is a transformational process, as described in scripture (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1:21-27).

Note: To those who would say, “It is unachievable, to try to be as good as the Lord” as an excuse not to try or put forth the proper effort; note that Paul says to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1); yet, Paul often described himself first as the chief among those who sin, then through the longsuffering of Christ, he became a pattern for others, note:

1 Timothy 1:15-16 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”

There can be little doubt concerning Paul’s knowledge of the power and ability of the Lord to instruct any and all who come to Him through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the only method by which we are called – 2 Thessalonians 2:14), towards His image, and to show the longsuffering necessary as we, through serious effort and discipline, stumble towards it! How can we read of the Gospel’s power to save (Romans 1:16), then turn right around and deny that it can transform us? Paul was not ashamed of it and it was transformational for him, what about us?

Underwriting or Writing Copy: Speaking for myself, when I was young and learning to write, we had instructors who wrote the letters on the chalk board or on the top lines of our writing books, and we copied them! This is the nature of Christ as our instructor. 

First – He is sympathetic to our plight, thus able to instruct realistically for us to be transformed, note:

Hebrews 2:17-18 “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 7:24-25 “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Second – It is through this method that we can have everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The Apostle Paul would render that through the measure of the Holy Spirit that he and the other Apostles of Christ received, and in their work of revealing it for us, we can “have the mind of Christ”1 Corinthians 2:10-16. To literally know then the mind of the Master for the purpose of true transformation, demonstrating our calling!

Summary

Our calling then, as Christians, is one of demonstration after the specific pattern of Christ. Thus our existence as the Body of Christ is to demonstrate the Head of the Body to the world.

Can we be a disciple of Christ (learner and practitioner), and interject our own desires and wisdom? Can the student be greater than the Master?

Hebrews 5:8-9 “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” 

Can we be a Christian (one who pertains to Christ), and follow after the doctrines of men?

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.”

Can we be the Body of Christ, and independently do what the Head does not instruct?

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.”

Since the Body of Christ is known by what it is called, since it called to a single purpose – to demonstrate the Master’s teaching, can it be the Body of Christ if it does anything else? The simple answer is no!

Remember: The Gospel calls all men alike and is no respecter of persons – Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11. Since it is God who calls us through Jesus Christ, it is a Divine calling – 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. To reject this singular instruction is to reject God and the Master our Christ – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. The purpose of the calling in seen in God’s goodness – Ephesians 1:18-19. We have been called into one hope – Ephesians 4:4. This hope is achieved after the we achieve the upward goal of the call of God in Christ Jesus – Philippians 3:13-16.

Finally, in conclusion to all we have learned in this lesson; how do we demonstrate our vocation?

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 importance of our vocation is demonstrated by every aspect of our being!

Next “The Church is the Body of Christ