The Body of Christ
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).
Have you ever heard someone say, "That person is a 'church hopper'"? What does that mean? "Church hopping" is when people go from church to church looking for somewhere to land where they feel comfortable and welcome. Generally, the teaching seems to carry less weight than finding a comfortable church.
OK, is that a problem? Wouldn't everyone want to be somewhere that they felt comfortable and welcome?
Yes, but ... theology matters! Paul wrote that Timothy (and this includes us) should know "the sacred writings, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). Further, Paul instructed Timothy that it is the teachings that save us. Here is how he said it: "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:16). The word perserve carries the idea of being persistent; to continuing doing (1). Also, it is in the present tense. That means that as long as it is now, we are to be persistent in the teachings. Why? The reason is simple. The bible is Christ centered and God directed. Read on in Timothy:
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that athe man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
At least two results will follow if every member of the body of Christ becomes a theologian who perserveres in the teachings:
The world would once again see a unity in all of the faces of Christianity. They would not be confused and ask "Which Church". This unity would promote and perpetuate the love of Christ.
The potential for outreach would become greater! Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
(1) Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–), 31.
* 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