Lesson 17 - The Church Which is His Body cont.

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.) · "Let our lives lovingly express truth in all things - speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things unto Him, WHO IS THE HEAD, (even) Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. For because of Him THE WHOLE BODY...grows to full maturity .... "

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...."

1 Col. 1:18 (Amp.) - "He also is THE HEAD OF THE BODY WHICH IS THE CHURCH; seeing He is the Beginning, the First-Born from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place - stand first and be pre-eminent."

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 (God) has put all things under His feet and has annotated Him the universal and supreme HEAD OF THE CHURCH (a headship exercised throughout the church), which is HIS BODY, the fulness of Him who fills all in all — for in THAT BODY lives the full measure of Him who makes everything complete, and who fills everything everywhere (with Himself)."

JBP ~ "God has placed eyerything 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 ot ALL THING." 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 ot 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 CENTER 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 "dwelleth ALL THE FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY" (Col. 2:9). "For in Him the WHOLE FULNESS OF DEITY (the Godhead), continues to dwell in bodily form - giving complete expression of the divine nature" (Amp.), Christ, the fulness of God, was manifest for our sakes. The apostle John says that "out of HIS FULNESS (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 favor upon favor and gift (heaped) upon gift" (John 1:16 Amp,). Paul prays that we might be "filled unto the complete FULNESS 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 fulness.

STUDY QUESTIONS FOR LESSON #17

  1. Who is the head of the body?
  2. What is the relationship of Christ to His church as "the head"?
  3. What is the daring name given to Christ's people according to 1 Corinthians 12:12?
  4. Who lives in the body?