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Sermon #55 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:                                       The Body of Christ

Members One of Another

 

Text:                            Ephesians 4:25

Subject:                     The Church Christ’s Body

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — November 29, 2016

Readings:     David Burge and Larry Brown

Introduction:

 

I want to talk you about the body of Christ. In the 4th chapter of the book of Ephesians God the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to give us very needful, specific instructions about our privileges and responsibilities as “members one of another” in the body of Christ. Let’s begin reading in verse 4 — Ephesians 4:4-25.

 

Christ’s Body

 

(Ephesians 4:4-25) “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

 

God’s saints are each given grace to fill their place in the body of Christ, grace to function in their place for the good of the whole body and the glory of God.

 

Christ’s Gifts

 

Our ascended Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, also gave, and continues to give, his church gifted men, called and sent of God, to preach the gospel, serving his church as his instruments for the spiritual health and well-being of his body.

 

“(8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”

 

“(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) 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.”

 

“(17) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

 

“(20) But ye have not so learned Christ; (21) If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) That ye put off (having put off) concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed (being renewed) in the spirit of your mind; (24) And that ye (have) put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

 

Paul is not telling us to do the impossible. You cannot put off your old man, renew the spirit of your mind, or put on the new man. We cannot make ourselves new creatures in Christ. We cannot make ourselves partakers of the divine nature. We cannot create in ourselves a new man in righteousness and true holiness.

 

So what is Paul saying here? He is telling us here exactly what he tells us in Colossians 3.[1] Having experienced the grace of God, being new creatures in Christ, let us seek to honor God our Savior in all things.

 

One Body

Many Members

 

“(25) Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

 

Paul is talking to us about the body of Christ, not his physical body, but his spiritual body, the church of God; and he tells us, here in verse 25, that “we are members one of another.” — Christ is the Head and believers are the body; and, as we are the body of Christ, we are members one of another.

 

There is one body” (v. 4). And each member of Christ’s body is “fitly joined together” (v. 16) to Christ the Head and to every other member of the body by God the Holy Ghost.

 

The Apostle tells us throughout his epistles that there is one body. Though there are many local churches, there is only one true, elect, redeemed church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. There are many congregations, but only one body. There are many clans, but only one family. And Christ is the Head of that family and that body (Mark 3:31-35).

Š      Ephesians 4:4 – “There is one body.”

Š      Ephesians 2:15-16 – “In one body by the cross.”

Š      Colossians 3:15 – “Ye are called in one body.”

Š      1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – “We being many are one bread and one body.”

Š      1 Corinthians 12:27 – “Ye are the body (not a body, but the body) of Christ and members in particular.” (Ephesians 4:25)

 

Preacher, what are you saying? What is Paul teaching us?

 

Proposition: All who are truly united to Christ by faith are one body in Christ. — One Church of the Living God — Jew and Gentile — Rich and Poor — Learned and Unlearned — Black and White — Male and Female – In Heaven and on Earth. —— (Ruth 1:16-17 — Only death will not separate this family.)[2]

 

I am not saying that all religionists, all professors of religion, and all church members are members of this body. I am saying that all true believers are one body in Christ.

 

I take a backseat to no one in my high esteem of true local churches. Gospel churches are vital. If you are a believer, you ought to be a member of and faithfully support a gospel church. — Sheep are never alone except when they are sick. But you can be a member of a true, faithful gospel church and not be saved (Judas). The church of which I am speaking tonight is not a local church. The Scriptures we have read together tonight are not talking about any local church. My subject is not the local church, but the church which is spoken of in this Book as “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). That is my subject — The Body of Christ“We are Members One of Another.” — I want to show you seven things about this body, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Chosen

 

1st The members of this body were all chosen in Christ by God the Father before the foundation of the world (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s church, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ is his elect, chosen church.

 

Illustration: J. Townley Davis

 

(John 15:16) “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

 

(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

 

(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

 

Redeemed

 

2nd The members of this body were all redeemed by Christ in his perfect obedience and substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary (Hebrews 10:12-17; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:9-10). Not all men and women are elect, and not all are redeemed; but every member of Christ’s body, the church, was purchased by the precious blood of God’s dear Son at Calvary. — When you think about redemption you should always think…

Š      Special

Š      Sovereignty

Š      Substitution

Š      Satisfaction

Š      Success

 

(Isaiah 53:4-12) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

 

(Hebrews 10:12-17) “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. (15) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

 

(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

(Colossians 2:9-10) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:.”

 

Born Again

 

3rd The members of this body, the church of the living God, are all alive, quickened, born again, called, awakened, regenerated by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:18-25).

 

(Ephesians 2:1-10) “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

 

(1 Peter 1:18-25) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (22) Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

 

Believers

 

4thAll the members of this body, the church of God, are believers. They all believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is revealed in the Scriptures. They love and trust him as he is.

Š      Prophet to Teach Us

Š      Priest to Save Us

Š      King to Rule Us

 

There is no debate in God’s family, no argument among God’s children, no division in God’s church about who Christ is, what he has done, where he is now, or what he is doing.

Š      He is the sovereign Lord.

Š      His blood is effectual.

Š      His power is omnipotence. — If he has all power, nobody else has any.

Š      His intercession prevails.

Š      He shall not fail!

 

New Creatures

 

5thThe members of this body, all of them, are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Every member of Christ’s body, the church, is a new creature. The old man in us is not a new creature. Flesh is not a new creature. Adam is not a new creature. The old man, flesh, Adam is not a member of Christ’s body; but that “new man created in righteousness and true holiness,” that which “is born of God,” “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” is this new creature of grace.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 

Oh, what a wondrous mystery of grace this is! — As the Son of God was made the Son of Man that he might be made sin for us, as he who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took on himself our nature, partaking of our flesh and blood, that we might be made “partakers of the divine nature” by his grace (2 Peter 1:1-4).

 

(2 Peter 1:1-4) “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

 

The first four verses of this chapter are one sentence, all dealing with one thing. In these four verses, in this one, magnificent sentence, Peter declares the wonder of the new birth, the glorious work of regeneration. The first word of verse 4 refers us back to the call of God the Holy Spirit. It is by the call of God the Holy Spirit that God bestows those great and precious promises of his grace, making us partakers of the divine nature.

 

It is God the Holy Spirit who, by his regenerating grace giving life to spiritually dead sinners, discovers to us and reveals God’s eternal, electing love and Christ’s redemption of our souls by his precious blood. The promises of God which have resulted in us being born again are the promises of God declared in the gospel, the promises of the sure and everlasting covenant.

 

(1 John 3:7-10) “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

 

Persevere

 

6thThe members of this body will continue in the faith. True faith never quits. God’s people persevere in faith. All believers keep on believing, because they cannot do otherwise. We persevere in faith because our God perseveres in grace! We are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5; John 6:37-40; 10:27-28; 1 John 2:19; Jeremiah 32:38-40).

 

(John 6:37-40) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

(John 10:27-28) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

 

(1 John 2:19) “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

 

(Jeremiah 32:38-40) “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”

 

United

 

7th The members of God’s church, the members of this body are united. They are one body and members of one another (Ephesians 4:16, 25; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

 

(Ephesians 4:16) “From whom (Christ) 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 4:25) “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

 

(1 Corinthians 12:12-27) “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (14) For the body is not one member, but many. (15) If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? (16) And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? (17) If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (18) But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (19) And if they were all one member, where were the body? (20) But now are they many members, yet but one body. (21) And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. (22) Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (23) And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. (24) For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: (25) That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

 

Š      Members of the body love (care for, take care of) one another (Ephesians 4:2; Romans 13:8).

 

Š      Members of the same body are one, united to and unified with one another, always working together as one (Ephesians 4:3).

 

Š      Members of the same body do everything they can to make other members as comfortable, attractive, acceptable, and commendable as possible (Ephesians 4:32 – 5:1).

 

You and I are the body of Christ. — “We are members one of another!

 

God’s church, His family on earth,

Though by the world unknown,

Are people of a heav’nly birth,

And in our Savior one.

 

Our Father is the God above,

The Sovereign on His throne.

And Christ, our Brother-King, in love,

He claims us as His own!

 

Indwelt by God the Spirit we

Are one in faith and love,

And one with Christ eternally,

Our home — Heaven above!

 

Oh, let us keep the unity,

The blessed bond of peace,

A loving, caring family, —

All sinners saved by grace!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] (Colossians 3:9-11) “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (11) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” — (Colossians 3:17) “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

 

[2] (Ruth 1:16-17) “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (17) Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”