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The Body of Christ

by Bernie Parsons

The Body Of Christ

By Bernie Parsons

Presented Before the Dan Ridge church of Christ, AM, September 4, 2005

Hello, friends, brothers and sisters,

We are gathered here today to remember the body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. That is, we are here to remember, first of all, that God sent Him to us. We are also here to remember the pain and suffering that He endured, which He bore in our stead, and His death upon the cross, by which He drew all men to Him. We are here to remember His resurrection from the dead, by which we also have hope of eternal life.

This morning I want to talk about the body of Christ.

Matthew 26:26: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

The Roman Catholics say that the bread and the fruit of the vine are literally turned into the flesh and blood of Jesus. This causes a lot of controversy in religion. Some go out of their way to say that it merely “represents”, or is symbolic, of the body and blood of Christ. Jesus said that it was His body and His blood. When we take the Lord’s Supper that is how that we should view it. We are not saying that it turns to flesh and blood, but to the Christian, it is His body and His blood. In order to understand this, we need to look at some of the other scriptures about this.

John 6:47: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48: I am that bread of life.
49: Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50: This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52: The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54: Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55: For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56: He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57: As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58: This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
59: These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60: Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61: When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62: What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63: It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The disciples of that day were offended when Jesus said that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Perhaps I have already offended the sensibilities of some here this morning who prefer to use the words, represents and symbols. The key to understanding the Lord’s teaching on this is in verse 63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

1 Corinthians 10:16: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17: For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”

The words commune, communication, and communism are derived from the same root. They carry with them the idea of oneness. When we communicate, we share an idea. Communism bases its teaching on the idea that all share available resources. When we commune with Christ, we become one body. Remember that Christ died as an atonement (at-one-ment) for our sins, to reconcile us to God. He does that through His body.

Colossians 1:9: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

The ekklesia—the called out assembly—of Christ is known as His body.

Ephesians 1:15: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16: Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
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,
19: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23: Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

We—the called out assembly of Christ—are His body, and He is our head. The body listens to, and responds to, the instructions that come from the head. So, the body of Christ heeds what He says to it. When we listen to Christ, and receive the Spirit of Christ, we become His body. Otherwise, we are none of His.

1 John 3:24: “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

Romans 8:9: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Once more, recall John 6: 63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

As Christians—the body of Christ—we are to listen to our head and do what He tell us. If we have not His spirit, we are a dead body. That is why we find this caution in:

1 Corinthians 11:23: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25: After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26: For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
27: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

We are not told to examine one another, but to examine ourselves. We are told to take the Lord’s Supper in a way that shows that we recognize that we are His body. For, in remembering the Lord, we remember not only His death on the cross for us, but we also remember His words, His teaching, and we walk in that teaching.

Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

Galatians 5:24: “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Our life reflects the fact that we are the body of Jesus Christ. How we walk in this world—how we conduct ourselves—is a reflection of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

When people watch how we behave, how we conduct business, and how we treat others, we are showing them the body of Christ. The body responds to the instructions of the head, and in doing so, shows what the head is thinking. This is true of the church as a collective body of people, but it is also true of the individual Christian. Not only that, but as members in the same body, we rely on each other, and interact closely with each other.

Romans 12:4: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

1 Corinthians 12:12: “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.
13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14: For the body is not one member, but many.
15: If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16: 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?
17: If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19: And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20: But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21: 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.
22: Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
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.
24: For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26: And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Now that we see that we are the body of Christ, and are members of one another, we see the importance of the body of Christ in the communion. By fellowshipping Jesus, and becoming one with Him, we become one with each other. We are all one. Here is what Jesus prayed about this:

John 17:17: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22: And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Knowing this, we understand the words of Jesus in:

Matthew 5:14: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus gave His earthly body to make us a part of His body.

1 Peter 2:21: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25: For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

A Christian of Jewish extraction once remarked about the loaf taken in communion, that the holes that are pricked into the bread remind us of the piercing of His body, and the stripes from the heat of the oven remind us of the stripes that He bore for us. (That is, the cruel scourging that He bore that was deservedly ours.)

I hope that when we break the bread this morning, we will understand that it is the body of Christ. As we consume it, and it is assimilated into our flesh, we have Jesus in us, and we are in Him. Let us walk as those who know that they are, indeed, the body of Christ!

If you are here this morning, and not a member of the body of Christ, you are none of His. You can rectify that by recognizing that He died for you, to take away your sins.

Acts 2:36: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Acts 2:47 “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”


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