The distinction between the members of the body of Christ is in function. What do they do? Yes, they are expected to do and the bible knows nothing about paint, cleaning, or mowing! More on that another time.
Paul compares the church to a human body, saying that it has various parts, each with a function. Paul discusses this in Romans 12. He starts by asking every Christian to "present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice" (12:1). The cross you see at the right is the ministry symbol for Living Sacrifice. It represents the fact that we have accepted the full responsibility of Christianty by putting our whole heart, mind, soul, and body into our Christian life (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; 10:27).
When Paul wrote the Ephesians, he was concerned about the purity of the teaching. Chapter 4 introduces walking in a worthy manner with the correct attitude (4:1-2). He follows this with a plea for the preservation of the unity of the Spirit (4:3). Note he didn't say the making of unity. Since we all have responded to the call of the Gospel, we are united in Christ.
It is at this point that he moves into the teachings, and it is some heavy ideas. The unity of the Spirit is found in the oneness of the teaching:
Hope of your calling
God and Father
After a brief parenthetical statement about Jesus, Paul lays a heavy burden on the Leadership of the Church. It is their responsibility to "Equip the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:11-16).
* This page is an excerpt from is my book Non-Negotiable: Focusing on the Essentials of the Faith. The book goes into more detail on many of these issues.
Last updated 1 September 2015