The church is a body. It is the body of Christ. Colossians 1:18 says, “the church, the body.” He is the Head of the Body (Col 1:18, Eph 5:23). Paul calls the church at Corinth, the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), so each church is the body of Christ. The church, which is a body, is only as a strong as each of its body parts. For the body to fulfill the Lord Jesus Christ, each body part, each member, must take seriously his part in the body. If the body is edified, that means each body part is being perfected (Ephesians 4:12). God uses the pastor to perfect each body part for the edification, the building up, of the entire body. What holds the body back are its parts. What results in the growth of the church is the growth of the parts. This requires the growth of each member, which proceeds from obedience. First, the body part needs the teaching and preaching of the Word of God to know more and then to be strengthened by that. To know more, someone must hear the preaching. He must be there to hear it. It’s a means to an end. The preaching is the diet, the medicine, and the vitamins. It nourishes and strengthens through the equipping of the mind and the spirit. It keeps someone from sin. There is an irony to this: sin keeps us from God’s Word and the Word of God keeps us from sin. Either way, they feed off of each other. The church, the body, is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). It is the container for the truth and through the office of the pastor, the body part can be built up for the whole body. Then comes obedience. Each body part obeys the Head.
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