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Saturday, May 14 2011
The Body Of Christ
Nowhere in the Holy Bible is "church" used to describe a building, or a tax-dodging corporation, or a religious organization in which some "ambitious" human sits (after "winning" a divisive competition, or power struggle, over his brothers and sisters) as the "leader" of Christ's Church, of Christ's people. In reality, the only Leader of Christ's Church, Jesus Christ, commanded the servants of His people ("minister" means servant, not "master," - or "mister," which is merely a variant, and veiled, spelling of "master") not to lust for "temples" that they want to build for themselves to be worshiped in - in which a pulpit becomes a stage for the glorification of some religious prima donna.
"20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28 KJV)
The actual Greek word, pronounced ek-klay-see-ah, that is translated into English as "church," means those called out - the people who have repented of the dog-eat-dog ways of the carnal world and who now fully strive to truly live according to God's Word, not their own, or that of any other human. "Church" isn't somewhere that you go (although God's Church are instructed to meet together, especially on the Sabbath and Holy Days, if they can), or something that you join - it's what you are (if you truly follow Christ by obeying His Word), where you are (if you truly follow Christ by obeying His Word), all of the time (if you truly follow Christ by obeying His Word).
God's true Church, the "body of Christ," isn't built of bricks and wood; it's built of flesh and blood - that all too often has been torn and shed by the carnal world that has yet to be liberated from their bondage to Satan's selfish and narcissistic ways - the jealous and covetous figurative "pharaoh" who pursues those who have been set free from his dead-end grasp, by God's Truth and Law that they now live by ("12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" Revelation 12:17 KJV).
Consider how the Pharisee Saul persecuted the church of God (see Was Paul Among Them?), the people of God, before he himself became one of the church, as the repentant apostle Paul.
"8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." (Acts 8:1-4 KJV)
Now ye are the body of Christ ... And Christ Is The Head
While some have used "12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" of 1 Corinthians 12:28 as some sort of "ranking" system for themselves, such an arrogant and unchristian idea directly contradicts the command of the Messiah, as quoted above. That sort of behavior is not something new to the present day. Christ's warning, as quoted above, shows that it had already started even when He was yet with them.
Then, just as now, there were many, even in Christ's true Church, who ignored His command to not look to a human for a "leader" of Christ's Church. The apostle Paul also encountered it (after he stopped doing it, as a Pharisee, prior to his conversion - see the Fact Finder question below) and thereafter warned against such devilish aggression i.e. "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" - "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Paul also warned such presumed "leaders" to be very careful with what they do with God's people, for "if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy."
"3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
The Holy Spirit of God is what holds the Body of Christ together, for "through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
"2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:18-22 KJV)
Satan, on the other hand, sought not only to make himself the "vicar of Christ," but to sit in place of God Himself:
"14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14 KJV).
Unlike Satan, the "body of Christ" is described as being composed of humble people, living according to the Holy Spirit that enlightens and guides them in His Truth, and obedience to God through it - unlike Satan who rebelled against God's Law so that he could not only be the "leading" angel, but actually the "leader" over God Himself. The body of Christ is composed of many parts, many people, with diverse gifts, but a single purpose - to serve and obey the LORD, the Head of His Body.
"12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
This Day In History, May 14
1264: King Henry III was captured by his brother-in-law Simon deMontfort at the Battle of Lewes in France.
1610: King Henri IV (Henri de Navarre) of France was assassinated by a fanatical monk, Francois Ravillac.
1643: Louis XIV became king of France at age 4 after the death of his father, Louis XIII.
1796: English physician Edward Jenner performed the first vaccination against smallpox, on an 8 year old child.
1811: Paraguay declared independence from both Spain and Argentina.
1897: Guglielmo Marconi made the first communication by wireless telegraph (radio).
1936: British field marshal Edmund Allenby died at age 75. He was the last great leader of British cavalry (before the term came to mean or include tanks and helicopters) and directed the "Palestine" campaign during the First World War, after which the land of Israel (and most of the Middle East) was liberated from centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars).
1948: At 8 a.m. the British lowered the Union Jack in Jerusalem and completed their withdrawal from "Palestine"; by mid-afternoon, full scale fighting had erupted throughout the country; at 4:00 p.m. a broadcast was made of the National Council for The Jewish State proclaiming the State of Israel. David Ben Gurion read out The Scroll of Independence in the Tel Aviv Museum: "By virtue of our national and intrinsic right, and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, which shall be known as the State of Israel."
1955: The Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania signed the "Eastern European Mutual Assistance Treaty" ("The Warsaw Pact"). It collapsed along with communism a little over 30 years later.
1961: A bus carrying civil rights "Freedom Riders" was bombed and burned in Alabama.
1994: The "West Bank" town of Jericho saw its first full day of Palestinian self-rule.