Today we are continuing our series titled “The Nature and Mission of the Church”
The New Testament contains many images and figures of speech that describe this divine but human institution for which the Lord died and on which He depends for carrying on His work in the world today.
Today is part 2 The Church, The Body of Christ.
Romans 12:4-5 (ESV)
4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Ephesians 3:6 (ESV)
6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Father, you have given us life, strength, health, and the will and opportunity to work.
We now bring you what is rightfully yours.
We pray that you accept our gifts as an expression of our love for you and our commitment to your cause.
Use these offerings to carry your good news to others and to bless those for whom you care through Jesus our Lord.
It is in Jesus name we pray.
The human body is an amazing creation.
Too often we take it for granted and do not express our gratitude to God for His wonderful creation.
Think of the things our bodies can do, athletes in particular show amazing mental focus while this bodies execute well timed coordination, control and concentration.
The church, as the body of Christ, needs to operate with the same kind of coordination.
- The church is like a human body.
- The church is a single functioning organism.
This analogy of the human body correctly introduces us to the church.
The church is not an organisation made up of many parts assembled together.
Instead it is a living organism that has many parts.
B. The church has many diverse members.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12 Paul wrote, For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
Paul went on to illustrate that a foot cannot downplay itself because it is not a hand.
An ear cannot say that it does not belong to the body because it is not an eye.
Instead, all parts of the body, though diverse, are necessary for the body.
In the church, we remain individuals who remain diverse in nature.
It wouldn’t be good for us to lose our individuality.
In a sense, we have our individual identity only because we are functioning members of the body.
Understanding this idea would prevent or solve most problems we encounter in churches today.
C. The members realise their own importance as it relates to the body.
No organ of the body would have any value or meaning if severed from the body.
Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians is precisely this.
The hand and the foot have identity simply because of their membership of the body.
In the church, our diversity is a blessing if it is supported by a strong sense of unity.
We do not compete with each other, we compliment one another.
The foot takes the hand where it wants to go.
The eyes turn to see what the ears have heard.
Not only does this meaning depend on the members functioning together, survival depends on it.
2. The body is Christ’s body.
We can more easily understand our relationship to the church if we understand the analogy of the body of Christ.
The church is Christ’s body functioning under His direction, He is the head.
- The origin of the church.
The church originated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There was a people of God in the Old Testament, but ht e church in the full sense of the word originated in Jesus Christ.
Therefore we should not presume to think of ourselves as members of it unless we acknowledge the One who is the head.
B. How do we become members of the church?
We become members of Christ’s church, or body, by being born into His kingdom.
John 3:3-7 (ESV)
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
C. An organisation is not a church unless it is the body of Christ.
Australia, in fact the world is overcrowded with organisations that call themselves churches.
They are have tax benefits and many other privileges extended to them by a friendly government.
It is not my task or yours to distinguish between churches and the social clubs that call themselves churches.
It is, however, our task to make certain we know the difference and that we are related to a body that can rightly be called a church.
The church in the broad sense is the body of Christ deriving its origin and its power from Him.
In a specific instance, a local church is merely an expression of the church in this place and at this time.
If it is organised to do our will, we should probably call it our club.
If, however, it is the body of Jesus Christ doing His will, we should call it a church.
3. Members of the church are individually important.
- Individual members are important to Christ.
Jesus cares for and guides the members of His body.
He corrects them when they go astray, and forgives them when they come back.
In Him they realise their full meaning.
B. Members are important to each other.
It is in the church that wee find some of the most meaningful relationships in life, some as important as those in our immediate families.
Many people would not be able to survive the struggle of day to day living without the encouragement and support they receive from other Christians.
C. Individual members are important to the whole body.
Just as some organs of the body are inconspicuous, so are some of the members of the church.
Some of the members stand out as being very prominent in public worship and work.
Other members, however, are not visible yet and are just as important in the functioning of the body as the prominent members.
In some case they may be more important.
A great lesson is here for those who function within the church.
We should follow Paul’s teaching and utilise the gifts we have for the welfare of the entire body.
In doing so, we realise the meaning of our individual lives in terms of the whole body.
4. The church is dependant on Jesus Christ.
- In John 15 Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches to illustrate His relationship to the church.
He is the vine, we are the branches.
No branch can live apart from the vine.
In the church, each of us has a relationship to Christ and to others.
Our relationship is that of dependance on Him.
B. Christ is the source of our life and strength.
Just as the vine brings moisture and nourishment from the earth to the branches, so to is Christ the source of our energy and power.
Apart from Him we would perish.
C. We depend on Christ for meaning in life.
Next to life itself in importance is meaning.
Life must have direction or purpose.
Without meaning we wither away.
Jesus Christ is that meaning in our lives.
4. The church is one.
The image of the church as the body of Christ stresses the oneness of the church.
Certainly it acknowledges the diversity.
Moreover, it emphasises the unity that exists among the diversity.
The greatest passage on this theme in the New Testament is Ephesians 4:4-6 (ESV)
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- There is one body.
The unity of the church cannot be stated any more clearly than with this statement, “The church is one body”
B. There is one Spirit.
We often overlook the unifying power of the holy Spirit because we structure into our church life the cultural and regional prejudices of our own time and place.
C. There is one hope.
Hope is faith directed into the future.
Christians are united in the hope that because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, we, too, will be raised from the dead and will live with God forever.
D. There is one Lord.
Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master.
We believe in Him and obey Him.
Even when we forget and disobey Him, we come back to Him in repentance and faith because He is Lord, the head of the body.
E. There is one faith.
The precious Christian faith is much more than holding an opinion about Christ or believing correct doctrines about Christ and Christianity.
It is personal commitment to Jesus Christ on the basis of such doctrines.
Within the church there is one faith, commitment to Jesus Christ.
F. There is one baptism.
Although churches observe baptism in various ways, it is a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
It is a personal confession that we have died to sin and that we want to walk with Christ.
It is a confession that, beyond death, we expect to be raised again.
G. There is one God.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The body of Christ, the church, is held together by God, who is the Father of all humankind.
You and I are members of the body of Christ.
We belong to and depend on Him.
And since we are members of this body, we belong to one another.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org
When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.
So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us
2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY
© www.refinerylife.org 2020 All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968, no part of this Article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission.
Visit us at
Refinery Life Church Australia