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The Church is the Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:12-13
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by 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. (NIVUK)

As people believed in Jesus, churches formed. But how should the believers relate with each other? Although Paul had been teaching in Corinth for a year and a half (Acts 18:11) the secular and pagan religious culture was still deeply rooted, giving rise to the problems which 1 and 2 Corinthians addressed. They were saved but immature and worldly, individualistic and self-seeking (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They saw the church as a club for their enjoyment, rather than a family being coordinated together in worship, transformed lifestyle and service by Jesus Christ.
Paul reminded them that each local church is like a body. Like the parts of the human body, every believer is different, but they are all bound together with Christ (Colossians 1:18). It will only function properly if all the parts of the body work together under the direction of the head. Each believer is designed to take their place alongside others in the church because each has received the same Holy Spirit. He brings people to new birth in Christ and directs them to be His visible, living body on earth (Titus 3:5).
Although the risen and glorified physical body of Christ will not be visible until He returns, the Spirit inspired church is seen and heard now. The words of gospel proclamation are His words, and the acts of compassion flow from His heart of love – as the Holy Spirit motivates us to serve Him. There is no human distinction or precedence in Christ's Body; rich and poor, slaves and free, male and female - all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
We may also need this corrective teaching. Who we are and what we do is nothing that we can boast about – we are God's workmanship to be used for His glory (Ephesians 2:10). If we act as individuals in the church we cannot work harmoniously with the Body. If we demand our own way in the church, we cannot be listening to the Head. If we think we are important because of what we have or what we have done … we have not understood that the Spirit encourages mutual dependency and coordinated service (Ephesians 2:22). The Holy Spirit in you is the same Spirit who is in every other believer in the church, and who also instructed all the writers of the Bible. He directs with one voice so that the church will function properly and glorify Jesus; but everybody needs to listen and obey.

Lord God. Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit so that I may become incorporated into the Body of Christ. Forgive me for sometimes wanting to be independent and self-seeking in the church. Please help me to recognise Your Spirit in every believer, and learn to work in mutual submission under Your Spirit's leading through Your Word. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams