Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Church, the Body of Christ - Part 3

For the complete context of these lessons, you should read the two previous posts before working through this lesson.

By way of review though we have made the following statements:

Ephesians 5:28-32 describe the relationship of Christ and the church as similar to marriage. The church is literally the body of Christ and we are members of his flesh and of his bones. God is creating in Christ one new man. The church is that one new man. It is something new that didn't exist before.

1. All of this is the eternal purpose of God, hidden for ages. (Ephesians 3:9, 10)

2. His body, the church, is the fullness of God. (Ephesians 1:23)

3. In order to be a part of this we have been made a new creation, born again, given a new heart, made partakers of the divine nature, made one spirit with Christ, given the mind of Christ and placed (baptized) into the body of Christ by the Spirit.

4. The goal is to grow into the perfect (or complete or mature) man unto the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13. The man referred to here is not each individual man becoming like Christ, but the one new man, the church, which God is creating.

5. We are members one of another and individually members of Christ. (Rom 12:5; I Cor 12:27)

Let's move forward now in our study.  When the Holy Spirit places a person into the body of Christ, He provides and equips each person specifically with certain things. First He gives each one grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. (Ephesians 4:7)  Then He also provides each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)  And finally He gives each one a manifestation of the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:7)  These are all distributed according to the will of God, not according to the desire of the person. The Spirit distributes to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

This results in three key truths. First of all the body is not one member but many. (1 Corinthians 12:14) The body of Christ is not just an eye ball. There are many members each having a particular role to play in maintaining the "health" of the body. This truth should eliminate discouragement and jealousy.

Secondly, even though there are many members, it is one body. (1 Corinthians 12:20)  This truth should eliminate arrogance and pride. All of the members, no matter how small or insignificant they seem are important. And actually the scripture says that just like in the human body we take special care of the parts that are weaker or more sensitive.

Finally, God composed the body to give greater honor to the parts that lacked. (1 Corinthians 12:24) His purpose is that there should be no schism or division in the body. This truth should produce mutual care and encouragement. When we  realize that the others in the body are all part of the same body and that their role is equally important, we will have a special care for them rather than trying to make divisions.

If you would like to have a copy of these lessons in PDF form you can find them here. If you would like the lessons with the answers, you can find it here.

You may use these in your personal Bible study or in a group study. You don't need to ask permission. However, I would like some feedback from you or your group. What makes sense?  What doesn't make sense? I want to make improvements as I go along so your cooperation in that regard would be appreciated.

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