What is the Body of Christ all about?
Have you stopped to consider what Jesus Christ wanted the Body of Christ to accomplish?
In this study, we will look at several Scriptures in order to establish the purpose of the Body of Christ.
As is my custom, I will use Scripture from the Amplified Bible as my text. (copyright - The Lockman Foundation)
Matthew 16:15 He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:17 Then Jesus answered him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood [men] have not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.
Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra --a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.
Jesus heard Peter speak this confession of faith: “that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus said this was revealed not by flesh and blood, but by His Father, Who is in heaven.
Jesus stated that He would build His church upon Peter’s confession of faith and the powers of Hades shall not overpower it. That authority would be given to the church to bind on earth whatever is bound in heaven, and to loose on earth what is loosed in heaven.
Question – What does this mean?
Romans 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
We see that by confessing Jesus is Lord, and believing in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
So this is how the Lord adds to His church. Through the confession that Peter spoke that day, and through the believing in one’s heart that Jesus has been raised from the dead by God.
We know this well enough. But there is another dimension to what we are speaking of. We read that authority would be given to Believers to bind and loose, according to what is permitted in heaven.
Question – What did Jesus mean by this?
John 14:12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.
John 14:13 And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.
John 14:14 [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
Jesus says that if we pray in HIS name, as presenting all that I Am…
When we present all that Jesus is, we are praying in accordance with HIS will, aren’t we?
Isn’t this what the whole of the Word of God teaches? To obey God?
In fact, in the very next verse, Jesus says:
John 14:15 If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.
So if we set ourselves in accordance with God’s will, we have power to bind on earth, what is bound in heaven.
If we set ourselves in accordance with God’s will, we have power to loose on earth, what is loosed in heaven.
I want to come back to this later, beloved.
Question – what is the church’s purpose?
- The church has many purposes:
The church is to show the rest of the world how to have a relationship with God
The church is to forgive the sins of others who sin against us
The church is to extend the love of Jesus Christ
The church is to bring the lost to Jesus & help them to become disciples
The church is to teach the Word of God
The church is to stand against the evil of this world
The church is to be consecrated, separated from the ways of the world
The church is to be salt and light to this present age
I haven’t listed many of the purposes of the church. There are many things churches accomplish every day.
One of the things I did include though, is that we are to stand against the evil of this world.
Luke 9:1 Then Jesus called together the Twelve [apostles] and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases,
Luke 9:2 And He sent them out to announce and preach the kingdom of God and to bring healing.
Question - What happened when Jesus ascended into heaven, and then sent power from on high to His disciples?
We remember… the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and empowered them for ministry.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place,
Acts 2:2 When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.
Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.
Okay, you know what I am speaking of... After that... what happened?
Acts 2:40 And [Peter] solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation.
Acts 2:41 Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.
My point is... these disciples that Jesus gave authority and power to, were the beginning of the “Church”.
God gave His Holy Spirit to all Believers.
Question - Has God withdrawn His Holy Spirit?
I say in no way has God withdrawn His Holy Spirit.
What then, has changed concerning God’s plan for His Church and for the people of the world?
Question – Has God taken His Church out of the world?
No, we are still here.
God gave power and authority to His Church, over demons, and to cure diseases, and sent them out to announce and preach the kingdom of God and bring healing.
There are so many in need today. So many hurting... dying.
Are you using your Holy Spirit given gift?
We have been given the power and authority to “bind” and “loose” here on earth in accordance with God’s will.
Are we binding the works of evil? Are we loosing the power of the Holy Spirit to do good?
Look at the world today. What do we see?
We see evil everywhere. People who will destroy the business or even kill anyone who does not believe what they believe.
We see people willing to take the life of an unborn baby because it is not convenient to their lifestyle to have a baby.
We see drug abuse, because people can’t face reality in their lives.
We see people in churches fighting each other over silly things.
We see prayer banned from public places, including schools.
We see hatred of the Israeli people.
We see hatred of Christians.
We see the exertion of control over & abuse of those unable to defend themselves, by evil.
We are beginning to see corruption, on an almost unbelievable scale by people who were given public trust & government power.
Are these things of our Father in heaven?
Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me [definitely on My side] is against Me, and he who does not [definitely] gather with Me and for My side scatters.
Jesus said there is no riding a fence with Him. Either we are with Him or against Him.
We can see evidence of the influence of evil today. Evil that has a hatred for us that is beyond words to describe.
Question - Are we against the works of the evil one, or are we supporting them?
It is time to wake up, brothers and sisters. Evil is not playing games. When Jesus said the gates of Hades will not prevail against His Church, He must have expected those in His Church to fight for what is right.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within Believers - power to restrain evil.
Is it time to “Bind” evil and “Loose” what is good in this world?
You will have to decide for yourself.
If you decide to fight against evil... remember to put on the armor of God, as shared in the following passage of Scripture:
Ephesians 6:10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].
Ephesians 6:11 Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,
Ephesians 6:15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).
May God give His wisdom as we seek His will in these difficult days.
Bible study by InAwe