The Church, The Body Of Christ
(Pictures Of The Church)
“44The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: 46and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away. 49So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous, 50and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:44-50
I have chosen the parables of our text because: Jesus masterfully teaches the incomparable value of the kingdom, and men should seek and finding it, then, give up everything to possess the eternal values it offers. The church is this pearl of great price. To Jesus has been given all authority and judgment. (Matthew 28:18-20 John 5:25-29)
The parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-52) shows that many are called for entrance into the kingdom, but few are chosen for eternal joys in this kingdom. There will be a great but sad separation on the day of judgment who did not recognize this pearl of great price, and pay whatever cost is necessary to possess it.
Those who receive the teachings of Christ into their hearts with perceptive understanding will make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to possess the kingdom and its blessings as a reality in this life. To be a member of the Lord's church, is the greatest blessing and joy a person can experience!
No amount of earthly wealth. . . in fact, the whole world. . . cannot be compared to the value of a person's soul being saved! Jesus asked, "For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul" ?Matthew 16:26
Our subject for this evening is “Pictures of the Church” Part 2
In God's revelation to us, He has given us many PICTURES of the church.
I have a few pictures that I have collected from the Smokey Mts. Cabins, Mountain Scenes, Cades Cove… Often I will stand in front of one of these pictures, and study it carefully discovering things unseen before. Some of these pictures suggest, or convey idea of peace, or beauty. Some scenes suggest the hard times the early people of Cades Cove had during the winter months.
God has pictured the church in many descriptive words in the Bible. He obviously did this that we might be able to understand the nature of the church and to perceive its importance. We refer to these various descriptions as "pictures" or "figures." God has simply used different things which people are familiar with, to convey to us great spiritual truths.
In our study I want to very briefly notice several such Divinely given "Pictures" illustrating some truth concerning the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.. In this second picture we will notice… the church is depicted as “The Body Of Christ”. Denoting the functioning aspect of the church under one Head, with members of this body themselves subject to the dictates of the Head, Christ. 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.”
It is worthy of mention that the word “preeminence” denotes one deserving of the highest honors. If I am going to honor Him with the honor and glory due Him, I will recognize Him as the Head and Preeminent One of the body.
Again, both in Romans chapter 12 and 1Corinthians chapter 12, the apostle Paul provides us information on the functioning of the body. 1st Corinthians 12 Paul draws upon the analogy between a physical body, and the body of Christ, the Church.
We turn now to: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NKJV)
“12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The functioning of the body, as we have just read makes for unity. God is not the author of confusion. (1 Cor 14:33) God tempers the parts of the body that seem to lack to make a functioning whole of the body. No part lacks but supplies something to the working structure of the body. Notice again (verses: 23-26 ) “And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
The Church A Body, suggestive of unity, and closeness we have one for another. Paul writing to the Ephesian brethren states: Ephesians 1:22-23
22and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
Beloved if the church is the fullness of Christ, we cannot have anything in Christ out of the church. If there is anything we may have in Christ, out of the church, the church is not the fullness of Christ.
Draw a big circle, and write the name “Christ”. Draw a smaller circle inside the larger circle, with the name “Church”… The small circle is not the fullness of the larger circle. there are things that we could place inside the large circle (Christ) but they would be outside the smaller circle (Church). Fact: The small circle is not the fullness of the larger one.
But the church is the fullness of Christ. And that simply means that Christ and the church are one. To be in Christ, is to be in the church. If one is in Christ he is in the church , if he is not in the church, he is not in Christ.. If one belongs to Christ, he belongs to the church, if he does not belong to the church he does not belong to Christ.
The church is the fullness of Christ, as Christ is fullness of God, Colossians 2:9). Here is where God bestows all spiritual blessings.. Ephesians 1:3
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Hence, the church comprises all the fullness of all that is in Christ. All blessings in Christ, are summed up in the church the fullness of Christ. Included are: Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Citizenship. Ephesians 2:13-19
Then in Ephesians chapter 4 we read beginning with verse 4:
4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all
One God means one worship — One Lord means one authority, — one faith means one gospel — one baptism means one means to possess these blessings and one Body Means One Church, where God bestows those blessings forgiveness, reconciliation, citizenship (Ephesians 2:13-19)
Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it, (Ephesians 5;25, and we too must love the church, and work within it, to bring glory to God.
Conclusion : I conclude this by suggesting to you that God uses these “figures” in His Holy Word” to give us insight and understanding into the nature of the church, and what it means to be a Christian. Please reflect upon these Divinely given descriptions of the church prayerfully and carefully. The church is God designed. The pattern for it is in the New Testament. Those saved by the gospel are added to it. We all need to gain as much knowledge of God's eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ and which was made known through the church as we possibly can.
It is the greatest blessing bestowed that you and I should be in Christ’s body, Ephesians 2:13-19 Reconciled, saved, and apart of the great throng that constitutes God’s Redeemed, God’s Family. But these blessings are “In Christ”. READ:
Ephesians 1:3; 2 Tim 2:10; Galatians 3:29-29
Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ