I see the “body of Christ” how Paul the apostle described in I. Cor. 12:1-31 as the “corporate function” of “one body with many members!” For years I wondered why I cringed in my spirit when I heard of local assemblies being referred to as “we have many local “bodies” represented here in the city…” I understood the intent of the local assembly as a body, but not as the complete body of Christ in a given locale! That’s been the danger of the concept of the “local church” and the senior pastor with whomever is the most organised and has the most going concerning children’s ministry, music, education and preaching, etc. and they attract the largest crowd.
Then, the spirit of competition drives many pastors and churches who try to emulate or copy what others are doing and when not as successful, feel like failures! It is generally not the man or woman leading, it is the “system, or structure” that we have bought into that breeds contempt and familarity, thus jealousy, envy and strife. The scriptures say that “where envy and selfish ambition (strife) exist, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16) What must we do to break this spirit in our cities and towns?
I believe we must return to the simplicity of the gospel of Christ , and to the pattern that there is one corporate congregation (Ekklesia) in the city, with many local assemblies making up the Body of Christ!!! Each local assembly/fellowship has a facet or unique design and dimension of Christ, and each pastor is an elder of the city/church!! The apostles, prophets, and teachers that are set (appointed) in the church (ekklesia) make up an apostolic council and company that function with local shepherds/evangelists to help the “MANY members” (functioning members) become equipped for ministry in the body of Christ. (I. Co. 12:12,18-28; Eph. 4-11-13)
Then, when we all come together under the head of the body and the king of His kingdom, we will organically and of necessity function as the body should when connected to the head! Although as the body of Christ we pray, study, and interact with each other, we do not have to try to think what we’re going to do, we just act and stand in the grace that He provides us to. That is the “many-membered body” receiving the orders from the mind of Christ and then functioning as the “corporate Son” in the earth. Romans 8:14- For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
In this past Ekklesia ARISE!, I did have to concern myself of “how” the body would interact, and I had to know and understand the ‘why’ and the ‘when’ so that the Spirit of God could facilitate the anointing of Christ in the meeting! On the other hand, as an apostle in the city, I do not have to concern myself with how a local assembly functions or carries out its protocol, each local house is a “family” that has a “shepherd” who leads that assembly as the Holy Spirit leads.
When apostles and elders come together, as in Acts 15 at the Jerusalem council, which includes the prophets and teachers, along with the brethren, we can begin to see how the Ekklesia functions as the “General Assembly and congregation” of the First Born, Christ the firstborn from the dead and the firstborn among many brethren. Christ must have “preeminence” (first place) in everything… (Col. 1 16-18; Heb. 12:22-24)
I started this post out talking about the nature and function of the body of Christ in a given locale and how when the apostolic regional Ekklesia comes together as the governance of Heaven on earth, there is a transcendent grace and glory that carries us into the koinonia and agape of Fathers kingdom-…continuing in the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers…. Acts 2:42
We’re sending out the call once again, because of the magnitude of maturity and ministry in last weekend’s Convocation, especially to all that were there, does this help you understand where we are going and can you see that all facets of serving and speaking in the household of faith?
I. Peter 4:10,11- As each one has received a (true) gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold (many-sided, multi-faceted, much-colored) grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles (utterances) of God. If anyone serves, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!