The one church with many members
By Sparta Live | October 31, 2016 6:39 am
Last Updated: October 31, 2016 at 9:01 am
By Derrick Coble, West Sparta church of Christ
Upon examining the human race, one can see that every person has been created in the same likeness. God created Adam and Eve in His own image (spiritual) (Gen. 1:26,27) and man then began the process of procreation in the dual flesh/spiritual image (Gen. 5:3). In other words, God created man to reproduce after his kind. That means human beings would be born with one body, one head, two eyes, two ears, one mouth, one nose, etc. This is the natural image that God created; thus, anything else (i.e. two heads or 10 bodies) is deemed unnatural. The same is true with the church of Christ. The church was designed as only one body (Rom. 12:4; Eph. 2:16) with one head—Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22,23). This is the spiritual body that God created and He wants all to enter into that body through the waters of baptism (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Tim. 2:4) because Jesus is the Savior of that one body (Eph. 5:23). Anything else is simply unscriptural. In fact, the apostle Paul said, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6). Yet, similar to the physical body, the body of the church has many different members (individuals) with different functions.
To understand this, one must look to the inspired letter to the church of Christ at Corinth. Paul knew that there had been divisions among them (1 Cor. 1:10) and some of their division was over spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:1-12). It seems that certain gifts were desired more than others and some members even felt inadequate with their own special gift. For this reason Paul states, “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body” (1 Cor. 12:14-20). Thus, every member of the Lord’s body is important and every member does not have the same function! Further, Paul states that every member cares for one another and every member has a work to do (1 Cor. 12:25-27). “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
So, the one church has many members. These members are needed for one another, necessary for the perpetuation of the church, and known of God. Each member has a responsibility to use his talent for God, examine himself, and await the return of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:10). “Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house; not a creature was praying, not one in the house. Their Bibles were laid on the shelf without care, in hopes that Jesus would not come in there. The children were dressing to crawl into bed, not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap, was watching the Late Show while I took a nap. When out of the sky there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but angels proclaiming that Jesus was here. With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray, I knew in a moment this must be the day. The light of his face made me cover my head, It was Jesus returning just like He had said. And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw him in spite of myself. In the Book of Life, which He held in His hand, was written the name of every saved man. He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame. I fell to my knees, but it was too late; I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate. In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; The coming of Jesus is drawing closer-near, There’s just one life and when comes the last call—Only God’s faithful members will find Heaven after all!”