Christ’s church is compared to a human body. The emphasis is unity, a functional unity that shows the wisdom of God. Join us as we look at what the Bible says about this important quality of the church Christ built.

ROBERT >> I want to talk to you some more about the church this morning, the church you read about in the Bible, that church; not just any church, not a new or different church, but the church of Christ you read about in the Bible.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:22-23 about the church which is his body. He’s comparing the church that you read about in your Bible to a body, the human body. Of course he’s using a metaphor here. The church was like the human body, but it is in fact a spiritual body. It’s the spiritual body of Christ. This is a comparison that we find in other places in the Bible.

You can read about it, for example, in Romans chapter 12 or in 1 Corinthians chapter 12; but the apostle Paul has a lot to say about it in his letter to the Ephesians. And so what I’d like for us to do today is to look through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and see some of the many lessons that we learn about that church you read about in your Bible from this figure, the body of Christ.

First of all, let’s notice that Christ was the head of that church which is his body.

Read with me Ephesians 1:22-23. And He, that is, God, put all things under His feet, that is, under Christ’s feet, and gave Him, Jesus Christ, to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. In this picture of the church being the body of Christ, we see Jesus Christ is the head of that church, and the church is his body.

Let’s notice in the figure, in the picture that Paul painted for us this description here in Ephesians 1, that there’s only one head and there’s only one body.

In fact, Paul will go on to say in Ephesians 4:4 very explicitly, There is one body.

And in Ephesians 5:23 he makes this statement: “For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the savior of the body.”

And so you can see from these passages that there’s only one head and one body. That’s the church. Now, to say that the body had many different heads or to say that Christ is the head of many different kinds of bodies, that’s to turn the church into an ugly monster. That’s certainly not the picture that we read about in the scriptures. And yet this is the picture that we often see in our religious world today. We must recognize that the church you read about in the Bible had only one head, Christ; and only one body, his church. Let’s understand that when it speaks of Christ as the head of the church it means that he is the ultimate authority for that church; that no man or group of men on earth have a right to claim such authority.

Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on the earth. And he went on to say, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and I’ll be with you always, even to the end of the world.”

You see, Jesus claimed ultimate authority. He had all authority in heaven and on earth. The apostles were to simply teach what he had authorized; teaching the people to observe his commandments, not the commandments of men or of somebody or someone else, but Jesus Christ, their head, their Lord. He’s the only one who has authority to legislate, to make law for his church.

In fact, Colossians 1:18, the Bible tells us that he’s head of the church that he might have the preeminence in all things. Now, since he who is the head of that church is in heaven, the headquarters of that church is in heaven. It’s not in Rome, it’s not in Salt Lake City, Utah, or any other place on this earth.

We learned in previous lessons that Jesus Christ now sits at the right hand of God on his throne in heaven. Peter pronounced this very clearly in Acts the 2nd chapter that he was raised to sit at the right hand of God. There’s our head, there’s the headquarters of the church. And any church of which Christ is not the head is not that church. Any church whose headquarters is any other place but in heaven is not that church. Any church that does not recognize Jesus Christ as the ultimate authority, that does not acknowledge his authority in everything that they teach and practice is not that church, not the church you read about in your Bible. But now let’s also notice from Ephesians something else about the church, that church which is the body of Christ. Let’s notice from chapter 2 that Christ was the reconciler of that church which is his body.

Read with me in Ephesians chapter 2, and let’s look in verse 14. “For He Himself, that is, Jesus Christ, is our peace, who has made both one, that is, Jew and Gentile, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.”

He’s talking about the law of Moses. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace. You see, for a long time, Israel, the nation of Israel, was separated from all the other nations of the world by the law that God had given to them, the law of Moses. The law of Moses kept them separate from the other nations. Had many laws of cleanliness, they had special feast days and they had their tabernacle, the temple in Jerusalem, and these were things that kept them separate from the rest of the world. And now Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the reconciler of these two, of Israel and the other nations, that he has brought them together as one in the body of Christ, his church. He abolished that law, he set that law aside, and he brought a new and greater covenant, the new covenant of Jesus Christ, the gospel that is revealed to us in the New Testament.

Notice as we read on here in Ephesians 2:16, That He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. You see, at the cross of Jesus, the old law was abolished; he having paid the price for sins then set forth the preaching of this good news, the gospel, by which we might be reconciled to God, have peace with God, and being reconciled to God could be reconciled to each other as one in the body of Christ. This was the tremendous wisdom of God, the great plan of God for the saving of the whole world.

In 2 Corinthians 5:19 the Bible says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them. You see, because of what Jesus did, God could forgive us all. We can be reconciled back to him, made right with him; and thus being right with God, we can then be at peace with one another. I want you to notice how Paul explained this in his letter to the Galatians.

In Galatians chapter 3 beginning in verse 24 the Bible says, “And therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. That is, we’re no longer under the law and the condemnation of that law because we have found forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.” That’s behind.

But now he says in verse 26, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

You see, having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and becoming obedient to it, believing, being baptized into Christ, we are now a part of the one body of Christ, his church. And there’s no distinction between the male and female, between the slave and the free, the Jew and the Gentile. That is, we’re all saved on the same basis, by grace through faith in our obedience to the gospel. We have been united together as one. Jew and Gentile in the church are now at peace with one another, no longer strangers, but fellows together in that church which is his body. Look how Paul goes on to explain this.

Here in Ephesians, in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

There in the church we are together. We’re not strangers. We are fellows in that church which is his body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female or you’re black or white or you’re rich or poor. Doesn’t matter, because in the body of Christ we have been made one. We’ve been reconciled to God and to one another. And any church of which Christ is not the reconciler is not that church. That church is made up of all people of all nations who have been obedient to the gospel, have been brought into his church. God has become the great reconciler through Jesus Christ. Let’s notice something else here in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians about that church which is his body. In Ephesians chapter 4 we notice that Christ gave gifts to that church which is his body.

In Ephesians 4:7 we read, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

And he explains this in detail.

Down in verse 11 it says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men and the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Yes, Christ gave gifts to that church which is his body. He gave gifts to some so that they could equip the rest for service to build up that church which is his body. Did you notice in verse 11 he said he gave some to be apostles and prophets?

And we know what they did for the church, how they revealed and they confirmed to us the word of God, the message of the gospel, and have provided for us this New Testament that has been preserved, that faith once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 3.

We have this because of the apostles and the prophets. We have evangelists. He says he gave some to be evangelists, the preachers, those who would go out and speak the gospel to those who need to hear it. And to those pastors and teachers that we read about in Ephesians 4:11, those shepherds who watch out for the body of Christ, who are there to protect them from false doctrine and to teach them and to feed them the word of God. And so what we see here in the giving of these gifts, these leaders of the church, ready to equip and to motivate and to help the rest of us in the ministry of service, he says, to edify or to build up that church which is his body. We trust Christ to supply what we need in the church. Christ supplies the church what it needs so that each member can have what it needs; and doing its part then, the body will grow. It’s like the human body. You know, the human body has many different parts. There are many different members that make up our body. But it’s all of these parts working together that makes the body function. And you see, when every part is doing its share, the body’s going to grow.

Look again at Ephesians 4:16, where he tells us here that every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

And earlier in verse 16, From whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share. You see, God has supplied us with the members; and working together, each part doing his part, the body grows up.

Romans 12:6 reminds us how that he gave us gifts; but there it says, Let us use them. So when we think about that church which is the body of Christ, let us remember the gifts that Christ has given to us, let us use those gifts to build up that body, and any church to which Christ has not given these gifts is not that church.

But now there’s a fourth thing I want you to notice from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

In Ephesians 5:23, Christ was the savior of that church which is his body. It says here, “For the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the savior of the body.”

We learned last week that the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved, that the church consisted of the saved, the redeemed; the church of God which he purchased with his own blood, Acts 20:28. That’s what the church is. The body of Christ is the body of the saved. If you were saved, you were added to that church. If you were added to that church, you were saved. Any church of which Christ is not savior is not that church. And so what have we seen in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians about that church which is his body?

We’ve seen how that Christ is the head of that church which is his body, how that he is the reconciler of that church which is his body, and also how that he is the one who gave gifts to that church which is his body, and he is the savior of that church which is his body. But there is a final thing I want you to consider today: That Christ loved that church which is his body.

Read with me again Ephesians 5:25. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Yes, Christ loved that church which is his body. Too many times I hear people say they don’t want to have anything to do with the church, they have no care or concern for the church, they do not love the church. But Christ loved that church. And because Christ loved that church, I love that church. And we can all love that church. Christ demonstrated his love for that church by giving himself for it. He gave himself for her.

You read it back in Ephesians 5:2: “And walk in love as Christ also has loved us, and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.”

Yes, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for that church you read about in your Bible.

Isaiah spoke of that sacrifice long before in Isaiah 53:4-5 when he reminded us how that Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. For all we like sheep have gone astray and turned every one to his own way; but God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Yes, in the death of Christ, our sins were paid for. Jesus Christ paid the penalty that we should have paid. He became our substitute there. God demonstrated his love toward us in while we were still sinners Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

1 Peter 2:24 reminds us how He bore our sins in His own body upon the tree. Yes, this is the love of God, not that we loved Him, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins, 1 John 4:9-10.

He did all of this so we could be saved. As Paul puts it here in Ephesians chapter 5, so we could be pure with the washing of water through the word.

Look at it with me in verse 26, “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

You see, we’re made pure when we’re washed by the blood of Christ in the waters of baptism in obedience to the word of the gospel.

Jesus said, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. That’s our response to the preaching of the gospel according to Mark 16:15-16. This is the washing of water through the word.

In John 3, to be born of water and the Spirit. “Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

In Acts 22:16, the Bible says, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

In Hebrews 10:22 the Bible says, “Having our bodies washed with pure water.”

This is an allusion to baptism.

In 1 Peter 1:22-25, “Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth, having been begotten again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible seed through the word of God which lives and abides forever. Yes, it’s through that gospel message and in obedience to that word that our sins are washed away, that we’re purified, that we’re made holy.”

1 Peter 3:21 tells us that” baptism saves us; not the washing of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

By the power of the gospel, yes, our sins are cleansed, our conscience is made pure.

Being baptized into Christ, we’re washed by his blood, Revelation 1:5-6. Any church that Christ has not so loved is not that church. Be that church, his body, the church of which Christ is head, the reconciler, the church to which he gave gifts, the church of which he is the savior, the church Christ loved. Any other church is not that church.

SINGING>> Hallelujah, praise Jehovah.
From the heavens praise his name.
Praise Jehovah in the highest,
all his angels praise proclaim.
All his hosts together praise him,
sun and moon and stars on high.
Praise him, oh ye heaven of heavens,
and ye floods above the sky.
Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high.
And his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted far above the earth and sky.
All ye fruitful trees and cedars,
all ye hills and mountains high,
creeping things and beasts and cattle,
birds that in the heavens fly,
kings of earth and all ye people,
princes great, earth’s judges all,
praise his name young men and maidens,
aged men, and children small.
Let them praises give Jehovah,
for his name alone is high.
And his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted,
and his glory is exalted far above the earth and sky.

ROBERT >> I am glad you watched the program today and hope the lesson has been a blessing to you, helping you on your journey towards heaven.

Let me encourage you to consider carefully the words that have been spoken, and like those fair-minded Bereans in Acts 17:11, search the scriptures to see if what is said is really so.

Every week on this program we strive to speak the truth in love.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32.

John warned us that there are many false prophets in the world, and for us to test the spirits to see whether they are of God, 1 John 4:1.

It’s not our intention to lead anyone astray, but help everyone find the way that God has set out for us in his word, the Bible. Our motivation is a genuine love for your soul and its salvation in heaven forever with God. And so please, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

Write us with your comments, your questions, your requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

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Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

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Remember, all our materials and services are offered to you absolutely free of charge, being provided by the churches of Christ and individual Christians that support this program. Let me encourage you to visit one of those congregations, congregations you’ll see on the screen at the end of the program today. And let us know if you would like a personal home Bible study or a Bible correspondence course that you could work on your own, or if you need prayers from the church.

Whatever your need, please let us know what we can do to help you towards heaven today. And don’t forget to join us again next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven,
sing that song of peace,
from toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low,
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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