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Doctrinal Discussions:

Body & Spirit

August 14, 2001

These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by the Church of Christ to see if they are actually taught in the scriptures. This is not an "anti-Church of Christ" site. I was reared in the Church of Christ and been preaching since 1968 in the Church of Christ. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men.  Bernie Parsons

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Body & Spirit

By Bernie Parsons - August 14, 2001

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; Ephesians 4:4 KJV

The church is the body of Christ. Many of us don't even understand the concept of communion, which comes from a root word that means "common". (Read "Body & Blood" and "Communion & Fellowship".) We fail to understand what we have in common. Some in the Churches of Christ think that our shared history and our shared penchant for hermeneutics makes us common. For a denomination, this might be true. For the church of our Lord, it is not.

Ephesians 4:1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

It is the Spirit of God that unites us into one body, the body of Christ. As organs, or body parts, we Christians have an obligation to the health of the body--we must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Is this what we are doing in the Church of Christ? If we are truly the body of Christ, we will listen to our head, which is Jesus Christ, and will obey His instructions. We, as body parts--or members--are to work toward the growth and health of the body of Christ. The body is to be edified--built up--until it is as mature, or full-grown, as is the head. All of us who share the common Holy Spirit will dedicate ourselves to peace among our members.

Ephesians 4:11-16 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

The Spirit of God, and knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ, unite us in our love for one another. Man's wisdom divides us. If we are divided, we are a body mangled, doomed to destruction.

Matthew 12:25 "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:"

1 Corinthians 1:9-13 "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"

1 Corinthians 12:23-27 "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. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

Jesus said that we are identified with Him when we love one another. This is how the body of Christ is recognized by the world.

John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

John 17:22-23 "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 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."

Those who constantly police the brotherhood, looking for people to "disfellowship" (read "Disfellowshipping"), often abuse the scripture about marking those who cause division. If they see someone struggling to study, understand, and live by the word of God, they often label such a one as a false prophet, calling for "disfellowshipping" and creating still another schism in the body. These thought police who call for more and more schisms are the very ones about whom the Apostle Paul was warning. Led by the Holy Spirit, we are to unite and heal, not divide and conquer.

Romans 16:17-8 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."

Every living body has a spirit. The body of Christ has the Holy Spirit of God. That Spirit makes us a living entity, a living organism. If we are without the Spirit, we are dead. If we are without the spirit, we do not belong to Christ. If we have the Holy Spirit, we are bound together into one body by the one Spirit. We have that common Spirit, which puts us in communion with God the Father, and with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. (Read "Spirit & Truth".)

James 2:26 "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Romans 8:9-11 "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. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

Every living body has a head. We are alive only if attached to the head. The head directs the operation of the body. Jesus directs the operation of the church, which is His body. If we are beheaded, we die. We must remain connected to Jesus Christ to stay alive.

Colossians 1:18 "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."

1 Corinthians 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."

Ephesians 1:20-23 "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 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: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

Ephesians 5:23-24 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."

Colossians 2:17-19 "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 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, 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."

The functions of the body's parts are to maintain the health and growth of the entire body. To do so, the head directs the operations of the body. As individual Christians, we function to maintain the health and growth of the entire body of Christ. To do so, we receive direction from our head, Jesus Christ. As the human body carries out the instructions of the head, so do we, as the spiritual body of Christ, carry out His directions.

Matthew 17:5 "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

We are one body, the body of Christ, not when we agree on principles laid down by Alexander Campbell or David Lipscomb, but when we share the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are led by the Spirit unto a common and perfect understanding of the scriptures, and work together to do the work that the head gives us to do.

1 Corinthians 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment"

Philippians 2:1-2 "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

Romans 15:5-7 "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."

Philippians 1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;"

The body of Christ is of one accord. We must receive one another in the love of Jesus. We must love our own flesh, nourishing and cherishing it. We will have peace in the body of Christ only when we have the Spirit of the Lord living within us.

1 Peter 3:8-10 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:"

2 Corinthians 13:11-12 "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss."

The church of Christ is the body of Christ, and has the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God, and our knowledge of Christ Jesus, bind us into one body. As parts, or members, of this one body, we must look to the health and growth of that body of which we are a part. We do this by loving our fellow body parts (members), helping them to heal and be nourished. We take our directions, not from other members, but from the head, which is Jesus Christ.

God bless all!

Love, in Christ,


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