This chapter will be a brief review of our life in Christ, individually as well corporately. We will try to use different analogies in the Bible to paint some broad stroke of the Body of Christ and our roles in it :
- The Corporate Man of Christ
- Body of Christ and its Many Members
- The Bride of Christ and Her Marriage
- Church of Christ and Its Priests
- The Temple of God and Its Precious Stones
- The Family of God and Its Many Sons
The Body of Christ is a spiritual organism evolves like a natural life, but also a living entity functions like an institution or a kingdom. It exists and progresses in Heaven. At the same time, it is planted and fostered in a society and culture on earth. It inevitably will take on certain characteristics as a social entity like a family, a community, an institution, even a nation – a conglomerate of the people of God in diverse settings and generations.
In the Bible, many analogies are used to describe its nature and functions, its constitution and institution, its life and economy. We can’t thoroughly study them in a short chapter. We will only drawing some sketches. Bear in mind, in this chapter, we will not discuss the Kingdom of God and its Government in the context of a spiritual conflict between light and darkness, which is essential and necessary. Rather we will concentrate more on the context of spitual life as the coporate Body of Christ – the Family and Household of God.
The Corporate Man of Christ
Before He created the world, God the Father had in His mind that He will have a family of sons, even a kingdom of priests. This plan was “disrrupted” because man’s disobedience. But through Christ, He is reconciling Man (Adam) and everything else back to Himself, thus fulfill His full intent for Man and creation.
This Man, the image(birthright – position and honor) and the likeness (embodiment – life and expression) of the Spirit of Sonship, is destined to be perfected, or come to its fullness, in and through Christ as its Head, with those who believe in Him as its Body. This is the greatest and ultimate mystery of God, of Heaven and Earth, of men and angels, hidden throughout all the ages utill Jesus came and taught of it. Yet even His disciples could not fully grasped its essence and its grace or power. Even after they were sent to preach the Kingdom of God. For example, Peter had a hard time to accommodate the fact the Gentiles were also included in God’s promise and in Christ they would be regarded as the same with Jews as one people. (Acts. 10) It was unto Paul that this great mystery came to more light, with it, also the administration of it – Paul was called to bring the Gospel to the gentiles. Like Peter, Paul also had to wait for many years for this revelation to ferment and saturate in his own heart. Let’s us take a look at it.
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Eph 2:13-18 [NIV]
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.
4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8
Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Eph 3:1-12 [NIV]
1 Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
6 As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.
They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Gal .2:1-10 [NIV]
The Body of Christ and its Members
In essence, every believer of Christ is brought into a New Man, the last Adam, through whom sin and death is cancelled and our alienation from God the Father is no more. We become the Body of Christ, or the corporate Man of Christ, with Jesus being the Head, we are the members.
In a human body, the head governs all other parts. All parts or members work together as a whole. It would be unthinkable to tell the head not to order the members around, or have each member doing its own things while a move or task is to be carried out. To pick up a book, we need to think about it with the mind, locate it with our eyes, then use our hand to do it. This action becomes so much a routine and a nature part of our life that we do not marvel at it at all. But the principles and mechanisms behind such a simple action are most intriguing and can’t be fully replicated by any other form of life or reproduced by any human effort.
In the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is like the head and the nerve systems, the coordinator and the enabler of all members, the conscious and cognitive part of a spiritual man. Part of this has to do with the coordination and cooperation of our spiritual gifts in a corporate setting. This means that our personal gifts and roles are to be appropriated by the Head into the benefit of the whole Body, as the eye, the hand would work together to fulfill the task designated by the head in the case above.
Let’s us take a look at some scriptures.
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Rom 12:4-8 [NIV]
In the natural, it takes a process of growth for a human body to come to its full statue, while its members will be able to accomplish diverse tasks along the way with increasing capacities of its own and in unity. Now with a spiritual body, the process or work of maturity might be a bit different. But the similarity between the two is obvious.
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Eph 4:11-16 [NIV]
The Bride of Christ and Her Marriage
Again, this concept is not only started from the Last Adam, but also in the first Adam, or Man.
Recorded in Genesis 2, God saw that Adam had no companion, he said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So He took a bone from Adam’s rib and made the woman as his helper.
23The 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.” 24For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Gen 2:23-24 [NIV]
Here is hidden the mystery of Christ and His Bride. The Father will prepare for the Son a bride and is in great anticipation of their wedding feast. In this light, as members of the Church of Christ Jesus, one spiritual body or flesh with Him who is the head, we are the Bride (virgin daughter of Zion or Jerusalem), or the Woman, made by the Father as a Helper (Partner) for the Son .
Jesus mentioned this on numerous occasions, let’s just look at one.
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
Matt 22:1-4 [NIV]
Here the wedding is for the Son and His Bride. The servants of God are to betroth others to God as they become disciples of Christ, as mentioned by John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul.
25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.
Jn 3:25-30 [NIV]
2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”
2 Co 11:2-5 [NIV]
Paul expounded on this in Ephesians when addressing the issue of husband and wife relationship.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Eph 5:25-32 [NIV]
Now, when a man and woman get married, they have entered into a covenant with one another as husband and wife. In the Jewish tradition, this takes at least two major steps, betrothal and marriage. After a virgin is betrothed to a man, she is entering into a process of preparation for marriage. This picture is a shadow of what God the Father is doing to us as the Bride of Christ.
When we become part of His Body through our faith in Christ Jesus, we are then set apart for this divine union. A work of sanctification or purification unto us as His Bride is then carried out by the Holy Spirit on the Father’s behalf. That is the teaching of the Word of God.
The Church of Christ and its Priests
This set-apartness is evidently implied when Jesus designated His believers as the Church.
18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matt 16:18-19 [NIV]
Let’s take a look at the word “church”. It comes from the Greek word “EKKLESIA”,
“from ek, out of, and klēsis, a calling (kaleō,to call), was used among the Greeks of a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State. ”
(Vine’s Expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:I-84). Old Tappan NJ: Revell. )
In the above teaching, obviously Jesus was talking of His Church as a spiritual entity, who is entrusted with the power to overthrown the kingdom of Darkness. Paul expounded on this in the following:
10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eph 3:10-11 [NIV]
Notice as a spiritual entity, the Church is made up of many members as spiritual people or nation, and it exists not without an order and ranks-as some presumably think it is. The Apsotle John and Paul, like Jacob, Moses, David, Isaac, and other prophets of old, who were caught up in heaven and given revelations of such a realm or assembly, expounded this well in the Book of Hebrews and the Book of Revelation (Chapter 21). Let just quote a key portion.
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Heb 12:22-24 [NIV]
There is another instance Jesus mentioned the concept of church. He used it to denote a community or assembly of believers here on earth. Let’s take a look.
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Matt 18:17-18 [NIV]
However, even here the church is mentioned not merely as an earthly social or religious entity. Jesus clearly entrusted it with a heavenly authority and power. In essence, it is a chosen or elected leaderhip amongst the believers of Jesus Christ who are “spiritual appraised” or designated through the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul expounded this with more detail:
4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Eph 4:4-13 [NIV]
The governing order Jesus laid out for the Church is to be appropriated in a community or family setting. In many ways it is similar to the Jewish synagogue and its local community of the day. Only that the cultural and religious practices of the Church as a spiritual entity and people is fundamentally different from the practices of the Jews, which is regulated and constrained by the Law of Moses, as a social entity and people. It is basically an order of spiritual worship or service in His heavenly tabernacle, on earth as it is in heaven. Here lies the mystery of the pattern and practice of the Oneness of God in the Holy Spirit. The Church is the living expression of God on earth and in heaven as the Body of Christ. It is one with the Son (Jesus Christ being its head) as spritual body or union, and one with the Father, being the exact representation and reflection of God, perfect in everyway as His image and in likeness. Paul explains it in this way:
1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Col 2:1-10 [NIV]
In sum, the Church means a people that is called out from the normal social, political, cultural or religious context, to be set apart as holy unto God. So they can worship God the Father in Spirit and in Truth as citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and members of His family.
A side note:
This is excatly the calling God had for the Israelites when He delievered them out of Egypt. God’s intent was that they would be a people set part for Himself to show His glory and name unto all people of the world, to be the kingdom of priests for Him.
1 In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on the very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Ex 19:1-6 [NIV]
The Temple of God and Its Precious Stones
Yet all the endeavors in the flesh before Jesus Christ failed, for it is never a work that could be accomplished by human strength. It is reserved for the Holy Spirit of the Father working with the Spirit of the Son, as prophesized by Zechariah.
6So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
7“What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”
8Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
10“Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. ”(These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth.)”
Zech 4:6-10 [NIV]
Here, God uses the pattern for the new temple (the latter house as mentioned by Haggai in Chapter 2) to symbolize the work that is to be accomplished by the Church.
Now again let’s read Jesus’s own word.
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Mt 16:18-19 [NIV]
From the context, it was clearly is saying that the concept and actualization of Sonship (the Messiah, or Christ, the Anointed One) is the rock upon which the church is to be built. This truth is called as the cornerstone (Isa. 28:16), which is Christ. He is the foundation or bedrock of our spiritual life. (1 Cor. 3:11) He is also the capstone (Psm 118:22) and the plume line, which is righteousness and justice. (Isa. 28:17) This concept is mentioned many times by the Apostle Paul, Peter and others, let take a look.
9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 3:9-11 [NIV]
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Eph 2:19-22 [NIV]
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,”
“A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Pet 2:4-10 [NIV]
The Family of God and Its Many Sons
Now, we are the people of God, belonging to His household, which is the Family of God. We are no longer excluded from any of His promises unto mankind. Through Christ Jesus, all of them are fulfilled even unto us.
20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Cor 1:20-22 [NIV]
Ultimately, the eternal covenant of the Father and the Son is fulfilled or perfected in and through us as His Body. For we are in Him and He in us, through us He will accomplish what the Father purposed in the Beginning.
4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Eph 1:4-10 [NIV]
Now, for this reason He gave us the Spirit of Sonship as mentioned by John.
12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13 [NIV]
Now, if we are God’s sons, then we are also His heirs and sharer with Christ Jesus of the Father’s inheritance.
16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Rom 8:16-17 [NIV]
As in any family, we will not just enjoy the benefit of it. We will also share the responsibility. It is our hope that, through this series of teachings, we have assisted you with your noble quest in the Kingdom of God.
Gen 3:16 [NIV]
16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Psm 45:10-17 [NIV]
10Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. 12The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor. 13All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. 14In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. 15They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king. 16Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. 17I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.
Hag 2:7-9 [NIV]
7I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
Rev 21:9-10 [NIV]
9One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Matt 10:32-40 [NIV]
32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 40“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.
1 Cor 12:12-28 [NIV]
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Questions for Reviews
- Review the idea of Manhood in the former chapters, please explain why we are in the Man of Christ as a believer.
- What do you think marriage signifies in the spiritual sense of us being the Bride of Christ?
- How does one become a member of Christ’s Body?
- What does it imply to be a living stone in the Temple or House of God?
- After having received the Spirit of Sonship, do you think we automatically become a Son in the Family of God? Why or why not?
Questions for Meditation and Application
- What is your role in being a part of the Corporate Body of Christ? What have changed before and after the moment you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
- The Church is a spiritual as well as a social entity, what that means to you in your spiritual walk and relationships with others?
- How do you think you should relate to the Body of Christ in terms of using your gifts and grow into the fullness of Christ?
- Read these scriptures in Hebrews and answer this question: what is the difference between being a member of a local gathering and being a part of the Church in the Heavenly place? What that means to you?
25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Heb 10:25 [NIV]
22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Heb 12:22-24 [NIV]