CHURCH OF CHRIST BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

LESSON 11

THE BODY OF CHRIST

     The church is the body of Christ. This is the great truth of the New Testament in regard to the church. It has embodied within it these definite principles.

1. That Christ is the head of the body.
2. That the body derives its name from its head.
3. That the body, the church, is subject to the authority of the head.
4. Just as there is one head, there is only one body.

Now the problem of this lesson is not only to prove these facts but to aid the careful student of the Word of God to determine the identity of this body. In the maze of conflicting creeds and human denominationalism, many find themselves bewildered in such a search. Yet the cardinal principle in regard to the truth on the subject of the church is simply this, find it in God's Word. The only place on earth that the truth seeker can find the New Testament church would be in the New Testament. The church of the New Testament must be in the New Testament exactly as the capital of the state of West Virginia would have to be in West Virginia. The trouble today is that men are not seeking the church of the New Testament where it can be found.

The book of Ephesians is an essay on the church. The first five chapters thereof are devoted to Christ and the church. This causes Paul to say in Ephesians 5:32, "I speak concerning Christ and the church." And again in verses 25 to 27, " Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;(26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
The great love and sacrifice of Christ for the church should cause every student of the Word of God to search diligently and to examine them- selves to know the truth concerning the New Testament church.
The pattern for the church, together with its doctrine, organization, and worship is in God's Word. If we will speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent, we can restore, with a Divine blue- print in hand, this great institution for which Jesus died.

I. THE CHURCH CALLED THE BODY OF CHRIST.
1. Ephesians 1:22,23, "And hath put all things under his feet and gave him to be the over all things to the which is his the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
2. Colossians 1:18, "And he is the of the the .

II. THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES THAT THERE IS ONE BODY.
1. Romans 12:4-5,"For as we have many members in and all members have not the same office; so we being many, are in Christ, and every one members one of another."
2. 1 Corinthians 12:20, "But now are there many members, yet but .
3. Ephesians 2:16, Jews and Gentiles are reconciled in .
4. Ephesians 4:4-5, "There is , and one Spirit even ye as are called in one hope of your calling."
5. If there is but one Spiritual body of Christ and that is the church, how many churches are there? .

III. CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF HIS SPIRITUAL BODY, THE CHURCH.
1. His dominion over the church is complete. (Ephesians 1:22,23) "He is the head over things to the which is his body...."
2. Just as the members of one's physical body must be subject to his mind, so must we be subject to Christ in everything as members of His body. (Ephesians 5:24) "Therefore as the is unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."
3. From the head comes the impulses that strengthen and move the members of the body in performance of their work. (Eph. 4:15-16)
(1) What the head commands we can and must do.
(2) What He does not command and teach we must not do.

IV. CHRISTIANS ARE MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.
1. Relationship to Christ as head--complete subjection.
2. Relationship of fellow Christians as members--one of complete union and harmony.
(1) Every joint supplying his part, the body is made to " of the body unto the edifying of itself in .("Eph. 4:16)
(2) Many members, yet . (1 Cor. 12:12-20)
(3) There should be no in the body. (1 Cor. 12:25)

V. IMPORTANCE OF THE BODY.
1. The body is made up of the saved. (Eph. 5:23)
2. Called unto the peace of Christ in one body. (Col. 3:15)
3. Cannot be subject to the head and united with Christ without being a member of His body. Compare the physical body.
4. Reconciled to God in the body. (Eph. 2:16)
5. Fullness of Christ is in the body. (Eph. 1:23; Eph. 1:3)
6. We become members of the body, by obeying the commands of Christ, (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:41)

By filling in and answering the above questions, we have found that the church is made up of the saved of the earth, Eph. 5:23, and that all Christians have been called into one body, Col. 3:15. Our connection with Christ is made to depend on our being in His body. Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 12:13 that by one Spirit we are baptized into one body.

COMPARE THESE TWO VERSES:

(GAL 3:26, 27) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (1 COR 12:13) 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.

THE ONLY WAY MAN CAN BE IN CHRIST IS TO BE IN THE SPIRITUAL BODY OF CHRIST WHICH PAUL DECLARES IN ROMANS 16:16, IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.

***All Bible texts and quotations are taken from the King James Version.




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