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January 29, 2006

Church, The Body Of Christ

Filed under: Bible Studies — Adam Osborne @ 6:54 am

Matthew 16:18 (Jesus speaking) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Strong’s Concordance: Church (Ek-klay-see’-ah), 1577: a calling out, a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation. (A jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both). Assembly, church.

C.I. Scofield Reference Bible, NY Oxford Univ Press: used of any assembly and implies a gathering of people who have been called forth or called out.

Spiros Zodhiates, Greek-Hebrew Study Bible, World Bible Publishers: The church here is the body of believers themselves.

Adam Clarke’s Commentaries, Abingdon Press: assembly, congregation. Persons who are made partakers of this precious faith. (pg 174) “Church” is very properly defined in the 19th article of the Church of England, to be “a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure work of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered, according to Christ’s ordinance.”

Jack Hayford, Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers: The expression “gates of hades/hell” means “the power of death” cannot prevent the advance of the kingdom, nor claim victory over those who belong to God.

Church= used in secular Greek for an assembly of citizens and in the Septuagint for the congregation of Israel. The dominant use in the New Testament is to describe an assembly or company of Christians in the following ways:

the whole body of Christians
a local church constituting a company of Christians gathering for worship, sharing, and teaching
churches in a district
Other related terms are: “spiritual house”; “chosen race”; and “God’s people”.
Ephesians 5:23-27 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Scofield: Christ’s labor of love on behalf of the Church is threefold:

for love He gave Himself to redeem the Church
in love He is sanctifying the Church
for the reward of His sacrifice and labor of love He will present the Church to Himself in flawless perfection, “one pearl of great price”.
Clarke: Christ exercises authority over the Church so as to save and protect it, so let the husband exercise authority over his wife by protecting, comforting and providing her with every necessary and comfort of life, according to his power.

Hayford: In marriage, husbands are called to accept responsible leadership in the same spirit of self-giving and devotion Christ has shown for His Church.

Acts 20:28-31 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (31) Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Strong’s Concordance: (4165) feed: to tend as a shepherd. feed, rule.

Clarke: Made you overseers = The persons who examine into the spiritual state of the flock of God, and take care to lead them in and out, and to find them pasture.

Hayford: This verse is rich with lessons about leadership in the church

Take heed to yourselves means “pay close attention”. Leaders must first guard themselves before they can oversee the church adequately
Church leaders are not self made. They are appointed by the Spirit
Overseers is from the same Greek root translated “overshadow” in Luke 1:35. An overseer is one who covers and protects the flock.
The church belongs to God. He owns it because He bought it. What God does through the leaders of the church does not belong to them.

In contrast, Paul warns of false leaders in vv 29-31. The characteristics of the wrong kind of leadership in the church:

They are more interested in themselves than the care of the flock
They will draw people after themselves
They will look for quick results that require little sacrifice.

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The Church is the Body of Christ:
Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Hayford: His body: The primary thrust of this letter is to show the church as the present, physical presence of Christ. The church is to be filled with Him by the Holy Spirit, and assigned by the Lord Jesus to represent Him to society to minister His life, love, and power.

Matthew Henry’s Study Bible, World Publishers:

…all things under his feet:…According to the promise, Psalms 110:1, God gave Him, Jesus Christ, to be the head over all things. All creatures are in subjection to Him; they must either yield to Him their sincere obedience, or fall under the weight of His scepter, and receive their doom from Him
…. head….church:.. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hands. But that which completes the comfort of this is that He is the head over all things to the church. He is entrusted with all power. that is, that He may dispose of all the affairs of the providential kingdom in subserviency to the designs of His grace concerning His church.

1:23… his body: The same power that supports the world supports the church; and we are sure He loves His church, for it is His body, His mystical body, and we are sure He will care for it.

fulness.. filleth all: Jesus Christ fills all in all; He supplies all defects in all His members, filling them with His Spirit

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Colossians 1:18 & 24 (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 might have the preeminence. (24) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

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There is one body:

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Matthew Henry: There should be one heart. Two hearts in one body would be monstrous. If there is but one body, all that belong to that body should have one heart. If we belong to Christ, we are all controlled by one and the same Spirit, and therefore we should be one. (5) One Lord: That is, Christ… One faith: That is, the gospel, or, it is the same grace of faith, by which all Christians are saved. One baptism: By which we profess our faith.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

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Bibliography
James Strong, “The Exhaustive Concordance of THE BIBLE:”, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473
C.I. Scofield, “The New Scofield Reference Bible, Holy Bible, NY Oxford Univ Press, 1967
Spiros Zodhiates, Greek-Hebrew Study Bible, World Bible Publishers, Iowa Falls, Iowa
Adam Clarke’s, “The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” Commentaries, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN
Jack Hayford, Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Atlanta, London, Vancouver

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