The Body of Christ

Written by Charles Bedwell

Does it matter what church we are associated with or what we do with our lives to be accepted as part of the body of Christ Jesus? Does Christ accept just anyone with any belief into His "body"? This is what we want to discuss on this page.

Our loving God truly is a God of diversity. As we look in our world at His many creations, we can easily see His great power and magnitude of varieties. Just think of all the different types of people we have in this world, how different we all are in so many ways, how different we even appear. Scientists are discovering different species of animals, insects, and amphibious creatures nearly every day, even to this day. There really is no end to the amazing nature of our omnipotent God.

Now this is an important point to understand. Although our Lord God loves the variety in the entire spectrum of His creation, this principle doesn't apply to the "professing church" in the way that so many believe. Through the erroneous teachings of today's pastors in the prosperity movement and seeker-sensitive movement, taught by leaders such as the ever popular Rick Warren (to just name one). Professing Christians are being led to believe that a believer can "Live as you like; God loves all types of variety! All you must do is believe." It is being taught that anything and everything you do is accepted. As I said, it is scripturally true that God loves His creations, but it is important that we do not fall into the enemy's snare of believing that we can use God's great love to be who WE want, how WE want, when WE want.

Please note, there is a dangerous movement that is happening today called the ecumenical movement which is uniting all churches and faiths together, and teaches that God accepts you whatever you believe and whatever faith you belong to.

As God's creations, we should seek to fulfill HIS will for our lives instead of selfishly trying to always fulfill our own lusts.

Romans 9:19-21 ...'Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?'

If we humble ourselves and we believe upon the Lord Jesus, we can become part of The Body of Christ. Well, what is the nature of the "body"? Progressively over the last few generations, another problem has emerged, whereas a "church name" has taken precedence over what substance that church actually has. People say to themselves, "Well I’m a member of Church X, and Church X is the right church to be in. So you need to remove yourself from Church Y and join mine." This lukewarm approach to Christian living has actually led people to become SO relaxed, that they stop studying scripture for themselves, they stop asking important questions, and they stop allowing God to use them for good – simply because they have been taught to believe "the church" will keep them secure and saved.

Many denominations teach not only that a church name saves, but some even teach that having a particular church name condemns! These are two incorrect sides of the same coin. Scripture itself doesn't even give one particular name to Christ's Body (Church). Let's take a quick glance at many of the names in the New Testament associated with the Body:

Romans 16:16 ...'Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.'

1 Corinthians 1:2 ...'Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's.'

Galatians 1:22 ...'And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ.'

1 Thessalonians 1:1 ...'Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.'

Romans 16:3-5 ...'Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.'

As we can see, Paul places no special bearing upon the physical name given to Christ's church. Just in these few passages, we see 6 different names being used. Many times, Paul would refer to a particular "body of Christ" as the Church of whatever area he was addressing, as he did in the references I used above.

The Church should also be viewed as Paul describes, metaphorically as a literal body. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body. As with all bodies, there are body "parts" that the Head controls. If the Head instructs the arm to move left, then the arm obediently obeys. Notice what Paul says to convey this:

Romans 12:4-5 ...'For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.'

And again more lengthy in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 Paul illustrates the same point. Now stay with me and continue in verses 15-27 of that same chapter:

1 Corinthians 12:15-27 ...'If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.'

Just to clarify, Paul is NOT saying here that there are many different church faiths, that are part of the same body. We know this because when Paul was around, the apostles and disciples were preaching the ONE TRUE gospel of Christ, whereas today, there are many different "gospels" being preached by the different churches. No, he is speaking about spiritual gifts, saying that a person, in the Body of Christ, who seems to be not as much endowed with the Spirit of God as another member, does not need to feel inadequate. God has a plan to spiritually uplift YOU individually friend. If we are "members" or "parts" of the Body, God will surely use us in many different ways, to HIS own will. THIS is the wonderful truth about His diversity! Not the erroneous teaching today that God loves diversity of beliefs.

Another truth that Paul reveals about the body of Christ is that it is not a church name, or amount of financial abundance, or natural charismatic nature and social skills, or any other characteristic that places any one person above another. As Paul made the connection with the body parts – ALL parts are necessary in the Body. In fact, all body parts have different names, do they not? The important thing is that the part makes itself useful to the Head of the Body, which is Christ Jesus.

So if we've shown that a name alone doesn’t define you as being part of the Body of Christ, what does? Friend, we only need to use scripture to define what constitutes as being part of the Body. Use the BIBLE as your litmus test, your gauge for determining which group(s) are part of the Body.

- They keep the Commandments of God and have the Faith of Jesus Christ. (Rev 14:12 and Rev 12:17).

- They uphold the Bible and the Bible alone and fully apply the scriptures to all of their doctrines.

- They listen to and understand the Spirit of Prophecy. Rev 19:10 .. "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

- They teach members to repent of and turn from all manners of sin and to take up their own crosses, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

- They teach members to go even further beyond the words of the Commandments – to "love your neighbor as yourself." Love EVEN those who hate and persecute you.

- They teach members to live healthy, humble lives. As Paul says that our bodies are the very Temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells ... 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ...'What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.'

Now even though we do teach that God established a "remnant church" with a special mission for these last days. We do not believe that just being a member of this particular church will save you, because it is not the church denomination that saves you. It is CHRIST JESUS who saves you. And the truth is, today the majority of professing Christians within that remnant church are not truly converted and are not even living for Christ Jesus. But what we do teach is that God's people are scattered all throughout the different churches. Those who are living according to the light that has been given them. And God is going to call these people out of the "fallen" whore of Babylon and her harlot churches (Rev. 17 - 18).

In these very last days, God desires ALL of mankind to come to the truth. But remember, it is not only what name our church has, what we believe, and what talents we may have that defines us. It is what we DO with our lives and with the faith we have that gives us true spiritual worth and makes us part of the body of Christ.

If you really want to find a "name" to magnify, there is ONLY ONE holy, blessed name of which we must magnify ...

Acts 4:10-12 ...'Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.'

Want to be part of the body of Christ Jesus? Prayerfully study the Word of God for yourself. Seek the truth, and live according to the truths that God reveals to you. Be a "DOER of the Word" (James 1:22).