There are a number of metaphors for the Church in the Bible. One of Paul’s favorites was the Body of Christ.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. - Colossians 1:18
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. - Ephesians 1:22-23
The thing that is so beautiful about this metaphor is that it explains how Christians can be so different from one another. We can be as different as an eyeball and an elbow. God has created us each with talents, and given gifts to each of us, and put us under the leadership (headship) of Christ, with the intention that we would be ‘Christ’ to this world. Jesus was in one place at one time. He probably never traveled more than a couple hundred miles in His earthly life, but now His body, doing His business is all over the globe.
We always look at this next verse as being about the individual believer, but notice that the pronouns here are all we. I understand that we can mean each of us individuals, but by the same token, as each of us are designed specifically for a purpose, so as we are fitted together, we as the body are able to walk in the works that were prepared beforehand for us to do.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NASB
As the Body of Christ we are the physical, tangible presence of God in people’s lives. You may be the only Christ your coworker ever sees. [Tweet this] They may never darken the door of a church, but they sit with you at lunch every day.
You are a part of the whole, and your part is critical for the Body to function. To reverse that thought, without you, the body is dysfunctional. A body with an eye that is not looking is dysfunctional. A body with a kidney that has stopped filtering its blood is dysfunctional. What are you called and gifted for?
Another metaphor for the Church, which can also refer to an individual Christian, is the temple.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.- Ephesians 2:19-22
I love this picture of the Father fitting us together. I read a novel once, which included a detailed explanation of how the old master craftsmen used to build rock walls and buildings without mortar. They would survey an array of stones, and carefully select just the right pieces, fitting them together, so that as a unit they would support one another. Each stone depends on the other stones it touches to give it support. Standing alone, the stone is not much to look at, and really provides little in the way of function. But assembled they are beautiful and functional.
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:4-5 NASB
We are the temple of the living God.
Lord help me be what you have created me, designed me, and gifted me to be today. Fit me into my place.
Thanks for stopping in – tomorrow we will look take a peek at the ordinances of the Church.