The Body of Christ

When the Lord saved us He made us part of a body – the body of Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (I Corinthians 10:13). Too often we see our walk with God only as a relationship with Him.  We fail to see our bond with Him as connecting us also to one another.  Ephesians 5:30 states that “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”  Here we tend to note the words “his body, his flesh, and his bones,” while overlooking the word “we”. “I” am not the body of Christ by myself.  I am just one part of that body.  Likewise, “you” are just one member of that body.  To function effectively as the earthly body of Christ we must come to realize that our new birth experience joined us not only to Him but to one another. “For we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25). When God saved us He made each of us a vital part of the functioning body of Christ. I say “vital” part because every member of His body is important. When He saved us He purposely made us dependent, not only on Him, but on one another. We cannot do what we have been called to do without Him. He is the Head of this body. But neither can we do what we have been called to do without His other body parts – the other members of His body.

The unity of the early church was a much more vital part of their effectiveness than we perhaps realize.  This unity is mentioned constantly throughout the Book of Acts and many times in the epistles.  No serious student of the Bible could ever doubt that God intends for His people to function as a unit – not as individuals. It is His will that we work together in the same way that the parts of a body work together.  There can be no “lone rangers” in the kingdom of God.  We are the body of Christ!

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body… For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-21 emphasis mine)

A church service is not the same when every member of the body is not there. The local body of Christ cannot minister as completely and effectively as it could if everyone was there. When some are not present, part of the body is then missing – a vital functioning part of the body. The service cannot be as good as it could have been had the entire body been there.

Consider Paul’s words to the church at Rome: “ For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Romans 1:11-12 emphasis mine) When my faith is linked to your faith, our “mutual faith” then gives Jesus, our Head, greater opportunity to accomplish His will. Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 emphasis mine) While our Head, Christ Jesus, can accomplish a great deal through two or three – when the entire local body comes together under Him there is no limit to what He can do – through us!

“One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” (Joshua 23:10 emphasis mine) “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight…” (Deuteronomy 32:30 emphasis mine) If one can chase a thousand and two can put ten thousand to flight – how many can 100 chase? Or 250? How many can 1000 put to flight? There truly is no limit to what the Lord can do through us when we work together under Him. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in US.” (Ephesians 3:20 emphasis mine) How great could any of our churches become if the whole local body would make themselves available to Him?

“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:21 emphasis mine) I have noted through the years that many people function remarkably well despite the physical challenges they face. I heard about one lady who was born without arms. Marvelously she learned to use her feet much as a person would normally use their hands. I have seen paralyzed individuals with tremendous upper body strength who have learned to function quite well despite their lack of ability to use their legs. I have known blind people who truly amaze me with their ability to move around and function in spite of their disability. Remarkable people! And yet – as amazing as these people are in what they have been able to accomplish – they still could and would do better if their bodies were whole. And so it is with the body of Christ. Sometimes we have to make do with what we have. When certain members of the body are not doing their part we still may be able to accomplish some things. And yet it is just not the same as it could be if all the body’s members were involved in the work.

When it’s time to go to church – there are more things to consider than what is most convenient for me. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 emphasis mine) I do not go just for my sake. I go for yours as well. Church is so much better when we are all there. There is a “mutual faith” created that allows God to move in a greater way than He could if you or I were not present. So my appeal to all of you who are members of a local body of Christ is this: Help your church to become the great church that God desires it to be by becoming the best “member” of the body that you can possibly be!

Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International. He is Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

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