- To understand God’s one church and the role we play in it.
THE CHURCH IS CHRIST’S BODY
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
The Son is the image of the invisible God – Jesus is the visible creator.
- In him all things hold together – Jesus holds the universe together.
- And he is the head of the body, the church – Jesus = head. Church=body.
- The Greek word for church is “ekklesia,” which means a “calling out” or “assembly.” In the scriptures, the church does not refer to a building but to the people of God.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
- You are no longer foreigners – Before we were in Christ, we were foreigners.
- You are…fellow citizens with God’s people – We are brought into the body of Christ and are welcomed into the Kingdom of God. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 2:20).
- Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone – Jesus is the primary building block, the pioneer, the model of the church. Each of us are to follow and imitate him.
THE CHURCH SHOULD BE UNITED
1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-13
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephasb]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
- I appeal to you that there be no divisions among you – God’s church worldwide should be united.
- One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos” – Following personalities creates division. Following man-made doctrines or creeds creates division.
- Is Christ divided? The answer is, “No!” By following Jesus, not people, we can be united.
YOUR ROLE IN THE CHURCH
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his 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.
14 Then 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 people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From 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.
Christ himself gave [biblical leaders] to equip his people for works of service – The leadership of the church is in place to teach and empower the Christians for works of service.
- We will no longer be blown here and there by every wind of teaching – The goal of our being together is unity, maturity and the protection from false doctrines.
- The whole body grows as each part does its work – We each have a responsibility to the body. We need to do our part to build unity, maturity, and protect from false doctrines.
- Q: In what way can you use your talents to serve in the church?
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-27
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized bya] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If 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? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
- God has placed the parts in the body just as he wanted them to be – God has chosen to have you part of his church at this time for his reasons, just as he wanted it.
- There are many parts, but one body – Even though we are all different in personality, talent, culture and language, we function together as one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” – Every member of the body is significant and serves a purpose. We need the body of Christ!
Q: What are some ways that you believe you can serve the body of Christ?
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess – The convictions that you have developed as we have studied the Bible are precious. Hold onto them with passion!
- Let us consider how we may spur one another on – We all have the responsibility of making plans to help our brothers and sisters spiritually.
- Let us not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing – Being together with the body of Christ is an important commitment to the rest of the body.
- Q: What are some ways that you could come to encourage at the next meeting of the body?
- Q: Would you move away to a city or town where there is no Church?
THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH
1 PETER 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Gods chosen people (the Church) are called to declare His praises to all people.
FURTHER STUDY (CAN BE GIVEN AS HOMEWORK)
Matthew 28:18-20 The mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations.
Acts 2:42-47 A great example of the devotion to the body being lived out.
Hebrews 3:12-13 Encouraging others in the body keeps our hearts from getting hard.
Hebrews 13:17 Follow the church leaders to make their work a joy