The Church: His Body
God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
Ask the average person what they think of when they hear the word ‘church’, and it will almost certainly be ‘a building’ – one with funny-shaped windows, and perhaps a tower or spire. Some might think of weddings, brides and confetti; or, less happily, of funerals, coffins and mourners; others might think of the ‘denomination’ that they grew up in many years ago and its apparent intolerance of ‘the others’ down the road. All in all, it will be a rather drab and unexciting picture – and a million miles from the truth! For the Bible tells us that ‘church’ is none of these things. Church is nothing less than a family – God’s family.
This ‘church’ exists at two levels. First, the ‘Universal Church’, made up of everyone who believes in Jesus – a family that spreads through time and space, that cuts across boundaries of colour, race, and class, that bursts through the barrier of death itself. Second, the ‘Local Church’, expressions of this bigger family made up of believers in a particular area. ‘Is it possible to be part of one without the other?’ people sometimes ask. New Testament Christians would be astonished at such a question! They had no concept of ‘Lone Rangers’ who see themselves as part of the ‘Universal Church’, but who cannot, for some reason or other, settle down into a local expression of it. You simply can’t have one without the other!
Indeed, to settle for less is to rob ourselves of many of the riches that God has promised to us. For ‘church’ is not just a meeting or a group; in fact, it is not even just a family; it is the very ‘body of Christ’ – a living expression of him, with all his life and power flowing down from him as ‘head’ to the body’s various members - and therefore the sphere of an exciting adventure with God and all his people!
Today, don’t neglect – and don’t despise – this precious gift of God to you; rather, enjoy it!
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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