Saturday, February 28, 2009

Church the Body of Christ Jesus (2-3)

Church the Body of Christ Jesus (2)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them, will be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

Continuing on from before, Christ Jesus is the head of the church. But it’s not as if without the church He has no physical body and is just a head and incomplete. Jesus, although one with God the Father, became a human like us and has His own body which which is now a glorified one. So how is the Church His body? God is the creator and all things are possible for Him, but let’s look at another example of our oneness with Him. Since the beginning God made this mystery as a promise:
“The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24”
Similarly we who are in Christ are of one spirit. So that while at death the two by flesh are no longer one flesh, yet for us the promise is that we are one with Christ not only in flesh but in His eternal Spirit, and so death no longer has any hold over us. Death can no longer separate us, who are in Christ, from God the Father, because we are one with Him in Spirit, knowing this we have all the more reason to live holy lives.
“By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:14-20”
The Church is called the bride of Christ and as such we have become ONE with God. Just as a man and woman through marriage become one flesh/body so we the Church are one body. Being then fully unified with God and each other in the vows, love, and promises of Christ Jesus our Lord, should we carry on as individuals, caring only for ourselves and our personal relationship with Christ? Should a bride once married carry on/act/live as though she has no head/husband? No she must forsake her old life and be one with her husband as He is with her. So we who are the bride of Christ Jesus must forsake our “single” life of sin (not at all saying that everyone in the church must be married here, this is speaking only of our life in Christ) and be obedient to our head/husband Jesus Christ. Yes, we have a personal relationship with Christ, but we can’t neglect one another because of that. Especially since in our personal relationship with Him, Jesus commands us to love each other. Not merely in word and tongue but in deed and truth(or in action and from the inner most being), so that we can be one with Him and the Father by the power of His Holy Spirit working in us. Praise God that He loves us so much!

Church the body of Christ Jesus (3)

If the body is dead apart from Christ can the individual member be alive apart from the body? For example, can a hand, no longer attached to the arm receive the supply needed (blood, nerve impulses, etc.) to function. My point here is that we NEED each other. Why? Because that is the way God created us to have unity with Christ... as a body (a group of parts creating a whole). Now although there may be exceptions to this rule, as it is Christ Jesus who ultimately supplies our need. His desire is for one body, and He will bring those exceptions to be unified with His body, so that we, being fully supplied together, may love each other as He works in/through us. Now some may say “What about a lone missionary, aren’t they on their own and apart from the body?” Of course not. They remain a vital part and Christ has many Christians praying for and supporting them being one with them in Spirit. Distance doesn’t separate the members of Christ’s body. If they are in fact working in/for the body of Christ then Christ the head keeps them unified. The principle then is: The body/church, although right now seemingly made up people who are separated by flesh, distance and even time, is in truth alive together in our Lord Christ Jesus by His Spirit. Our whereabouts on this earth does not separate us from Christ nor from His body. The problem comes with Christian’s mistaken belief today that we can be unified with Jesus and His body and yet be separate from the Church. This is absurd, the Church is His body. I’m not talking about non believing congregations, those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers and yet reject Jesus Christ’s teaching and Lordship. Let us not also be deceived and reject His word, we are to be one together with Him and the Father as Jesus who is the Word abides in us. One member must not suffer alone nor one rejoice alone. Salvation is for all who receive Jesus the Anointed one of God, joining together in His death and resurrection. He calls us to be one, a bride together of the Lamb. So let us put on love which is the perfect bond of unity.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me. I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are one” John 17:20-22

May we be faithful as He is faithful, and together be unified in obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord and Master (head).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Church, the body of Christ Jesus

Jesus is the head of His church which is called both Christ’s bride and body. I’m writing this because we often negate this truth in our individual walk in the Christian life. Perhaps from a lack of understanding this mystery or maybe something else, but regardless of the reason, I have found myself on both sides and wanted to commit to paper what my mind tends to forget on the subject.

I begin by reiterating something I often overlooked in some of the letters by the Apostle Paul. Can the hand, arm or any other part of the physical body function without instruction or command from its head/brain? Similarly we, who believing in Jesus are born again and grafted spiritually into His body, must be obedient to His living word in us. For without His instruction, authority, and Spirit working through us and with us we can do nothing and are as dead. Can your hands, eyes, or body express love, an action, or emotion apart from the brain telling them what to do or how to do it? We all know that a body without a head is a corpse and useless. So we, when we were without Christ, were dead and useless, being fully unable to walk by His Spirit and bear the very evident actions of true life. A body might appear to still have life without its head. Somewhat like a chickens body can run around impulsively after losing its head to a chopping block, but in time the ultimate result is unmistakable...death. The good news is that through Christ Jesus we have new life. A life that is true and everlasting, for we are now a part of Christ’s eternal body. If we are His body, then, we can do nothing apart from Him, insomuch as He is the head. In contrast to that everything He empowers us to do, we can do, as we are now one with Him by faith. Now the body needs in it blood to supply, repair, heal, protect against disease etc. So we the Church can do nothing apart from His Holy Spirit’s presence in us. He graciously gives the body/church life and the abilities (gifts) it needs to function and live as more than a cold heap of flesh and bones. It is His Spirit that softens and warms our hearts. (It should be noted here that the abilities and gifts of His Spirit are not suddenly subject to our human or fleshly whims. They are subject to Christ`s will working in us. By faith, via His gifts, we act and carry out Christ`s will in the body (church) for the common good of one another, to the glory of Christ Jesus and God our Father. If certain gifts aren`t evident in the church, chances are that the body is: Not putting Christ Jesus first, struggling with faithlessness, or perhaps, those gifts may not be needed to fulfill Christ`s will at that given time. That said, the fruits of the Spirit of Christ should always remain evident, though all the gifts disappear. His word says there remains faith, hope, and love.)

The principle here is that apart from Christ Jesus’ Spirit working in and through His church it cannot function or bear the fruits of life and of His Spirit. The human body without a head and blood is functionless and dead. We the people of the Church, through faith and so Christ’s body, must look to Him in all we do, for apart from Him we can do nothing. If He tells us to love and obey we do so with the ability Christ as our head provides. Here’s a simple example: No one could get away with saying “My body acts on its own so don`t hold me accountable.” But rather we know that their brain, mind (will) and spirit control their body, telling it what to do. I write this knowing that we are individuals and as individuals try to act alone, but now by His grace we can be united and be one together with each other and His Spirit, acting together for the greater good of the church.

So what then?

1. Abide in Jesus and He will live in and through you. Apart from Him we are dead, but in Him is eternal life.

2. The body/church can do whatever the head (Jesus the Christ) tells it to do. Whether that be to “Love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and love our neighbour as our self.” Or to perform great signs and wonders in His name. All things are possible in Christ because, simply put, it is not we who do these things but His Spirit working through us teaching us to be in His likeness. We see then the principle that He is both our willing and doing as we abide in Him. That is why we pray “Our Father in heaven Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Because it is God who by His grace works these things in His body the church.

3. 1 Timothy 1:5 “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Love is Christ`s ultimate work in us, as part of His body He will love though us and teach us to love.

4. Trust Jesus! Do not fret if you cannot perform every day some amazing sign for your own edification or what you think is good. Christ will work through His body so be faithful to keep on praying and persevering and acting according to the faith He has given you. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Therefore rejoice that your name is written in the lambs book of life and don`t chase after fleshly hopes and desires. Trust that He works all things to the good of those who love Him. Be confident that the work of Christ Jesus is being done in and through you according to His will and faithfulness as you abide in Him and so are a part of His body.

5. That said His gifts are amazing, don`t doubt but believe and act for He is faithful. Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God and He WILL exalt you in His time. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you!

6. Rejoice!