Bible Reading Ephesians 4:1-16
Walk in Unity
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
In our last study we saw that the fact and nature of the "Body of Christ" had been a "mystery" (secret) which God had "hidden to past generations of mankind" but with the coming of the gospel age had "revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." We are now considering how this body is realized.
4) ESTABLISHING THE HEADSHIP OF THE BODY
Eph. 4:15-16 (Amp.) · "But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ. From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love."
JBP — "But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into CHRIST, THE HEAD. For it is from THE HEAD that the WHOLE BODY...grows...."
Col. 1:18 - "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence"
JBP - "And now he is THE HEAD OF THE BODY WHICH IS THE CHURCH. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all."
Col. 2:19 (Wey.) , "Such a one (false teacher) does not keep his hold upon CHRIST, THE HEAD, from whom THE BODY, in all its parts NOURISHED AND STRENGTHENED by its points of contact and its connections grows with a divine growth."
JBP - "Such a man, inflated by an unspiritual imagination, is pushing his way into matters he knows nothing about, and in his cleverness FORGETTING THE HEAD. It is from THE HEAD ALONE that THE BODY, by natural channels, is nourished and built up and grows according to God‘s laws of growth."
1 Cor. 11:3 (Amp.) - "But I want you to know and realize that CHRIST IS THE HEAD of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God."
Eph 1:22-23 (Amp.) - "And He put all things [in every realm] in subjection under Christ’s feet, and appointed Him as [supreme and authoritative] head over all things in the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills and completes all things in all [believers]."
JBP ~ "God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set him up as HEAD OF EVERYTHING FOR THE CHURCH. For THE CHURCH IS HIS BODY, and in THAT BODY lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe."
Eph 5:23 (Amp.) - "For the hushand is the head of the wife as CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, Himself the Savior of (His) BODY."
Col 2:10 (Amp.) - "He is THE HEAD OF ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY - of every angelic principality and power."
"Clearly, the use of the picture of the head to denote one in power and authority is a universal picture. What does the word mean when it is applied to Jesus?"
a.) Christ has "all power in heaven and in earth." God has put Him in supreme command. He is "Head of ALL THINGS." Powers seen and unseen are subject to Him. This is true of powers celestial, terrestrial and diabolical. This is governmental authority.
b.) He exercises redemptive authority over all those who are His willing subjects. The Holy Spirit illustrates this benevolent authority by the use of the figure of the human body with Christ as that body's head. The redeemed are then referred to as "His body" and in that body He is "the Head."
c.) "In the head is CONCENTRATED THE LIFE OF THE BODY. It is with the eyes we see, with the ears we hear, with the nose we smell; and above all it is with the mind and brain we think. So Jesus Christ is the life of the church; WITHOUT HIM THE CHURCH IS AS DEAD AS A BODY WITHOUT A HEAD.
d.) IT IS THE HEAD WHICH DIRECTS AND CONTROLS THE BODY! The head directs the action of the body. Without the mind the body can have neither aim nor purpose nor effective action. The mind controls the instincts and passions of the body. EVEN SO MUST CHRIST CONTROL AND DIRECT HIS CHURCH. He alone can give purpose and direction to the Church and He alone can restrain the Church from human folly. 'It is the function of the head to plan the safety of the body, to secure it from danger, and to provide for its welfare.' The HEAD HAS THE RIGHT TO RULE AND MUST BE OBEYED. It has 'the inspiring, ruling, guiding, combining, sustaining power.' It is 'THE MAINSPRING OF THE BODY'S ACTIVITY, THE CENTRE OF ITS UNITY, AND THE SEAT OF ITS LIFE.' And all that Jesus Christ is to His Church."
5) NAMING THE BODY
1 Cor. 12:12 (Amp.) — "For just as the body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form (only) ONE BODY, so it is with CHRIST, the Messiah, the Anointed One."
JBP - "As the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute ONE SINGLE BODY so it is with Christ."
The "body" is CHRIST'S BODY! The Name of the Head is extended to embrace the entire body. As our bodies are identified by our names, so Christ's body is identified by His Name. The implications of this are immeasurable. "Christ and the Church form one body, of which Christ is the Head; one Vine, of which Christians are the branches; one building, of which Christians are the living stones."
6) THE LIFE OF THE BODY
Eph. 1:23 (JBP) — "For the church is HIS BODY, and in that body LIVES FULLY THE ONE who fills the whole universe."
In Christ "dwells ALL THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY" (Col. 2:9). "For in Him the WHOLE FULLNESS OF DEITY (the Godhead), continues to dwell in bodily form - giving complete expression of the divine nature" (Amp.), Christ, the fullness of God, was manifest for our sakes. The apostle John says that "out of HIS FULLNESS (abundance) we all received — all had a share and we are all supplied with - one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, and even favour upon favour and gift (heaped) upon gift" (John 1:16 Amp,). Paul prays that we might be "filled unto the complete FULLNESS OF GOD" (Eph. 3:19). This is the goal to which we are moving. The body of Christ, the Church, lives with the life of God, and is ultimately going to manifest God's fullness.
STUDY QUESTIONS FOR LESSON #17