Principle #4: God’s Plans work as each member of the Body does their work
“The fullness of Christ” is God’s Goal for the Church. His Plan to get us there is through the process of every member of His Church doing what He planned for them to do, with the support of His “Equipping Leaders.” Those are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Jesus gave them to the Church for the purpose of “equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” When equippers equip, something very special happens in the Body of Christ – “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children … but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—”
“… from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16
God used the analogy of the human body to help Christians understand what it means to be part of the Spiritual Body of Christ. Christ is our Head. We are His Body. Just as a human body is made up of various parts, the Body of Christ is made up of various parts. Just as the human body functions well as each part does its particular job, so the Body of Christ functions well as each part does its work.
Think for a moment about the working of a healthy body. The brain (head) communicates its desires through the nervous system to support systems (ligaments, tendons, etc.) to various parts of the body (hands, fingers, feet, toes, etc.). If the brain wants a finger to move, it sends its desire through a nerve to a ligament and tendon around a joint that directs the finger to move in the direction the brain wants it to go. The finger moves as the supporting ligament moves. The supporting ligament moves as the nerve directs it to move. The nerve directs the ligaments and parts as the brain desires. As each part does its job (brain –> nerves –> ligaments –> parts (organs, appendages, etc.), the body is healthy and functions properly. If any part does not do its job, the body becomes unhealthy and functions improperly.
Here is a simple explanation of how that works spiritually.
- Christ is the Brain (the Head). He is Lord of the Body. He decides what the Body will be and what it will do.
- The Holy Spirit is the Nervous System. The Spirit connects us directly to Christ, the Head. Christ speaks and the Spirit does His Will.
- Equipping Leaders are the Supporting Ligaments. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers listen to the Holy Spirit and do His Will, knowing it is the Will of Christ the Lord. Equipping Leaders prepare God’s people for works of service and join and hold together the whole Body through their preaching, teaching, counsel, encouragement, prayers and love.
- Christians are the Parts of the Body of Christ – hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouths, etc. We participate in the building up of the Body of Christ as we work for Christ. We reach the goals of unity, knowledge, maturity and fullness as we obey Christ through the doctrines of the apostles and prophets, and the ministries of evangelists, pastors and teachers. We speak the Truth in Love and grow up into Christ, the Head of the Body. From Christ the whole Body, joined and held together by every Equipping Leader, grows and builds itself up in Love, “by which every part does its share.”
Just as in the human body, if any part of the Spiritual Body becomes “disconnected” from another part, great pain follows. We have different kinds of supporting joints in the body – hinge joints, ball and socket joints, gliding joints, condyloid joints. These joints provide flexible connections between your bones. The end of muscles turn to a tissue called tendons and it is the tendons that pull on the bone. The joints of the body work with the tendons from muscles and ligaments from bones to move the body in any direction the brain determines through the process of nerve communication. It is the same for the Body of Christ. Christ – the Brain of the Church – communicates His Will for the Body through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit delivers the Message of Christ to the muscles and tendons, ligaments and bone, and the supporting joints (Equipping Leaders) work to move the Body forward.
It is impossible for Christ to become disconnected from the Holy Spirit. That process will always work. However, it is possible for Equipping Leaders to become disconnected from the Plan of Christ because they no longer listen to or obey the Holy Spirit. It is possible for Christians (parts) to become disconnected from the Plan of Christ because they no longer listen to the Holy Spirit or submit to the equipping ministries of Equipping Leaders whose purpose it is to prepare the muscles and bones and tissue of the Body “for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
It’s a simple, yet complicated process. God made it simple. We complicate it. God made us one Body with many parts. We succeed as each of us does our share.
So, which part are you? What is the work God has for you in the Body of Christ? We’ll look at that together next week. This week, meditate on this important 4th Principle of being on the Winning Side!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”