The greatest model of a local church in this age is the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1-3). It was a diverse local church whose ministry was focused first and foremost on the Lord, moved according to the Spirit’s leading, and was active in the outward work of ministry. We must remember the church, the body of Christ, is not limited by walls, geo-political boundaries, or great expanses of water. The church is both local and global. It follows one authority and it involves every member within it. In this lesson, we will see:

  • Christ is the Head of the Body
  • The Body of Christ is the Church
  • We as Christians are all Members of that Body

Christ is the Head of the Body - submit accordingly


The church is led by the Lord Jesus Christ; not a pope or a pastor, not a denomination or church board 1Timothy 2:5

  1. Christ is the head, from which comes provision, protection, and direction for the body 1Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 1:20-23, Ephesians 4:15, Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18, Colossians 2:17-19
  2. Christ guides the body through His word John 1:1, Ephesians 4:20-21, 2Timothy 3:16-17
  3. Christ ordains leaders with the purpose of establishing order in the church, not to establish a spiritual hierarchy or control over the members Acts 14:21-23, Acts 20:17, 28, 1Corinthians 14:40, Titus 1:5-9

The Body of Christ is the Church - think globally


The body of Christ extends beyond a building, a denomination, or an association of churches Ephesians 2:19-22

  1. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ became a member of the body of Christ at salvation 1Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 2:13-16, Ephesians 4:6-12
  2. The name, size or geography of a local church might differ, but it is the Holy Spirit that guides churches all around the world to be unified around Christ, His truth and His mission 2Corinthians 5:18-19, Ephesians 4:1-6, 1Timothy 3:15
  3. We must never forget or neglect our brothers and sisters around the world who are also members of the body of Christ Acts 15:35-36, 1Corinthians 1:1-2

We as Christians are all Members of the Body of Christ - act locally


Each believer has a distinct place in Christ’s body to perform a vital role for the overall mission 1Corinthians 12:18-20

  1. We should find our proper place in the body and grow individually so the body of Christ may grow collectively Romans 12:3-8, 1Corinthians 12:27-31, Ephesians 4:11-16
  2. The main purpose of the local church is the edification of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:12, 15-16, 1Corinthians 14:5, 12, 26, 2Corinthians 12:19, 1Thessalonians 5:11
  3. This edification in seen in our care and love for one another John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10-13, 1Thessalonians 3:12, Ephesians 4:32

 

Digging Deeper – Learning more about the Body of Christ

If I am looking for a good local church in my area or need to guide someone to a good local church in their area, what should we look for or how would we go about that process?

  1. Have you sought God’s guidance and brought your need before Him? Proverbs 3:5-6
  2. Does the local church believe in the Word of God (The Bible) as their absolute authority? 1Thessalonians 2:13
  3. Does the local church invest the Word of God in the lives of their children and adults? 2Timothy 2:2, 2Timothy 3:15
  4. Does the pastor or bishop facilitate your faith or does he force his faith? 2Corinthians 1:23-24
  5. Are they engaged in the ministry of reconciliation, locally and globally? 2Corinthians 5:18-20
  6. Do the members of that local church show genuine care and love for one another? Romans 15:2
  7. Do they have a testimony of faith and good works in their community or to “those without?” Romans 1:8

 

 Meditating on the Word:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things,

which is the head, even Christ:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together

and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,

according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,

maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16