1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
When we have a description of the Church as a body, we must recognise many aspects of such a concept in order to minister to it and through it. The lack of understanding of the body and its parts (members) is the prime reason for criticism of the Church. Anyone who looks at their own body and criticises it is not wise. On the contrary, one must honour the body parts. 1Co_12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
So, what do we know about the spiritual body of Christ?
- The body is both local and worldwide
- A body has many members
- The parts are different to each other in appearance
- Their functions are different
- They all belong in the body
- Some are stronger than the others
- They work together for the good of the body
- No one member is greater than the other as they all belong in one body
- Each body part is held together by their common purpose and reason for existence
- If one suffers, all suffer. If one rejoices, all rejoice.
When God made Man and Woman, He created Woman out of man. That means, they were one before they become two. God integrated them in marriage and made them one flesh. Eph_5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Likewise, God is bringing the Jews back and is about to graft them back into the original olive tree. We, who were Gentiles, were grafted into the original olive tree (Jesus). The day is coming, when God will make both Jew and Gentile one for the world to see. There is coming a bigger body that we have not yet seen. The Jews too will become integrated into the body of Christ and we shall all be one in Christ doing what we are called to do.
So the body is not of one but of many. It seems, we as the body of Christ are being added to by God, even as we develop into full maturity. I can’t see one without the other in the Bible. Unity is nothing more than many in one and one in many. Take Jesus for example; He is one in many unified with us and yet independent. The Holy Spirit is one with nine gifts and fruit and yet, He is one Spirit. We are many people from all walks of life and nations but in one body and remain as individuals. When we find the common purpose and reason for our existence, we can walk in unity and yet remain individual or diverse. Why is this important? I think that the theme of diversity is as important as the theme of unity. It is in diversity that we see God working toward the one cause. God moves in so many different ways to achieve His end. Yet, we do not seem to be able to see Him in His ways because we are looking for someone who is static. Our God is one but at the same time diverse in His ways. Why do we limit Him?
I am always amazed at how God has moved through the pages of History without changing. His diversification in history is evident in the way He interacted with us. Yet, the time came when God decided we would all meet in one person, His Son Jesus. How significant is this? Extremely significant because now no man can be saved except through Jesus. What is more, we are being changed into the image of Jesus and yet keeping our individuality and unique personality. This is amazing as it helps me to receive others without prejudice. The functions of the body are not limited to its own needs. It also exists for the needs of others. Therefore, I exist, to fulfil a function of blessing others. That is what a body part does. It exists for other body parts and in turn enjoys the body and all the benefits that the whole body brings. This is also the concept of a nation.
My purpose is defined in my servitude as much as it is in my position. Though I may be a hand, yet my function is as important as my position. I cannot claim position without function. If I stop functioning as the hand and claim to be the head, then I do not function in my calling to the body because I am trying to be what I am not. This affects the whole body and it suffers. If I accept my position and function in the body, I can bless the entire body. Many Christians fail in their local body because they do not want to function as they are positioned by God.
They try to create positions for themselves and end up in disaster. It takes humility to accept the way God has made us. When we discover the beauty of what God sees in us as we are, we will realise the importance of our function. CHRIST DIED TO REVEAL OUR VALUE AS MUCH AS TO SAVE US. When position becomes more important, it always speaks of an attitude that is not subject to the will of God. Lucifer was created in all his beauty to be someone who had both position and function. Yet, he was not happy and wanted to be God. This brought him to nought and today he is predestined to hell and eternal death in the lake of fire. That is why, we need humility and obedience. Jesus fulfilled this in spite of the cross. Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is pretty serious stuff. The attitude of Christ toward His own position was not so much position as it was function. He retained position without pride and knew where He came from. Joh 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
Christ took on the humanity of flesh and obeyed His Father to produce sons and daughters like Himself. When He found Himself as a man, He humbled Himself and took up function. He became a servant. Joh 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Joh 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. Joh 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. Joh 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Unless the Church works together, it can never grow properly. It will be a lopsided growth of sections and gifts that do not complement the body even if there is fruit. Not one section of the body should suffer but all should benefit from the ministry within the body. It is my hope that we will learn this quickly. No one is above another but all have position and function without which there is no body. Above all, the body must submit to the Head and that is Jesus. If the body does not submit to the Head, it will function on its own thinking that it is the Head or that it does not need the Head. Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. That is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, so that we might learn of the ways of Jesus. The Holy Spirit in our lives is the guarantee of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Let us come to that place where we begin to esteem others above ourselves and give them honour in the body. If they are walking with God in righteousness, we must honour them. If they are not, we must bring them into a place of understanding that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. If one fails, all fail. It was the sin of one man & woman in Adam & Eve that brought sin into the world. It was one Man called Jesus who brought life again to death in human beings. Jesus restored the part of us that had died because of sin. What a wonderful picture of God’s ways in restoring righteousness in His creation.
The whole Universe could see the wisdom in what God has done and the body is now revealing that wisdom to principalities and powers in heavenly places through the Church. When we are disunited and disjointed, then the powers of darkness have a way into destroying us. We must command the blessing not the curses of God. To do that, we must become one in His sight and in the sight of each other. When we have love one to another, then will all men know that we are the disciples of Jesus.
The unity of the body is a great picture of the unity between God and us. When we have reached perfection, we will be one with God Himself through Jesus, just as, Jesus is one with the Father. This is a great mystery but a pursuable one. The evidence of unity is the anointing and the blessing. Both work toward the body and the Head (Jesus) in becoming one. The day is approaching fast for all mankind to see God in His glory. They will also see us with God in heavenly places and we will be in His glory. The glory of Christ’s inheritance is the saints. This too is a mystery. Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.
The body is nothing without the Head and the Head is nothing without God. We must understand this. 1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. May God give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding in His ways.
Lots of love