NOT JUST A BUILDING BUT A BODY
Ephesians 4:8-13 AMP…Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive He led a train of vanquished foes and He bestowed gifts on men. But He ascended? Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from the heights of heaven into the depths, the lower parts of the earth? He Who descended is the very same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He His presence might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest). And His gifts were varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), that they should do the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), That it might develop until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God, that we might arrive at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
The fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him! The ‘church’ the ekklesia or the ‘called out’, the separated and sanctified people of God are who the Word of God recognizes as the ‘body’ of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27 AMP…Now you collectively are Christ’s body and individually you are members of it, each part severally and distinct each with his own place and function.Therefore it’s reasonable that just as we can look at each other as individual members of the body we can also see how a group of individual members also make up ‘parts’ or limbs of the body, i.e. fingers, palms, wrist, elbows, forearms, etc are all considered a part of what we call the arm, same thing goes for toes, heel, arch, ankle are collectively considered the foot. So too are this ‘church building’ ‘ministry organization’ etc. (i.e. Greater St. Matthew, Resurrection Community Church, 2nd Timothy Baptist Church, True Worship C.O.G.I.C., etc.) are all groups of individuals but still a part of the ‘body of Christ’ the ‘church’.
In the scripture text the Apostle Paul says how the Lord Jesus Christ has given us all gifts to do certain things within the church, some regard and promote these gifts or offices as a part of the 5 fold ministry while others go so far as to say that if a church is not operating in all 5 then they’re not effectively ministering (I won’t debate or fully agree with that – just pointing it out). I believe God can get glory even out of something others may consider to be deformed, abnormal, insufficient or lacking because the ‘church’ is not just the building or denomination certain individuals who have these prejudices may fellowship in. The true church is indeed the entire body of Christ, and the more we view it ‘collectively’ the more of a profound impact we can have.
Instead what’s happening on a grossly wide scale today is that many groups of individuals see themselves and their organization, fellowship group or building occupants as the church and because of that they’re not fulfilling the magnitude of their gift. For example if the left leg of person was capable of thinking for itself and wanted to win the gold medal at a volleyball championship that person would be in trouble. If the left leg wanted to be the star or thought of itself more highly than it ought to think it would be trying to do what the arms were meant to do in this particular game. But if it was humble and recognized its gift in accordance with the game of volleyball it would understand the arms may appear to be doing a lot of the work but the legs are needed to run around the court and give the person leaping ability to hit the ball. The same goes for the ‘local church’ and the mission of going forth into all the earth and making disciples. As the gifts stated there are some who’re gifted to be evangelist preaching the gospel and reaching the lost but what happens when the person has given their life to Christ and they become a member of a local church, etc. now what?
Here’s when it’s critical that we all work collectively to the edifying of one another because as it is that evangelist’s gift to win souls now it’s that person with the gift of teaching to help that new disciple understand how to observe, interpret and apply the Word of God in their daily life. Then it’s the gift of that pastor to shepherd the new disciple in spiritual matters and equipping them for spiritual warfare, etc. God in His mercy does allow some of us to bare several gifts but we must stay in line with His will so that we operate in the gifts He’s assigned us and not be that left leg trying to do the job of the right arm. When the body fully submits to the Head which in this case is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then we’ll be able to be operate at our fullest potential and not only win disciples but also do our part in helping to develop those disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit for God’s good pleasure and glory! Amen.
-written by Elder B. Hakim Erwin, September 2, 2012