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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




A Body Like No Other

"Familiarity breeds contempt" is a familiar saying — as in the case of the mother of four very unruly children. One particularly trying day a friend asked her if she'd have children if she had it all to do over again. She thought only for a moment then said, "Yes, but not the same ones." It could be so easy to feel that way about the church! Church members not only seem ordinary at times, but also so annoying and irritating! A survey as to the church's importance would reveal many view her as quite ordinary, even unnecessary. But a survey of the book of Ephesians reveals a very, very different point of view. The first mention of the church in Ephesians is at 1:22-23 where the apostle Paul says Christ is "head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all." Wow! That description and its implications ought to shatter the low, nonchalant, take-it-or-leave-it attitude many take toward the church. If Christ is the head of the church, and the church is His body, that means the church is not only the place where I gain and sustain a vital, life-giving connection with Christ, but it is also the means and agency through which Christ continues to minister to the lost and hurting people of this world! Survey what the Lord says about the church in Ephesians and you will see that Christ has a body like no other:

      1:22-23 – The church is Christ's body over which He is head, that group which is filled with Him! * 2:16 –She is the place where God reconciles people to Himself and others through the cross.
      * 2:19-22 – Here members enjoy special spiritual status and privileges since they are now fellow
      citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
      *3:15 –She is the family of God on earth.
      3:21The church is the place in and through which we bring glory to God.
      * 4:15-16 –She speaks the truth in love as her members grow and build each other up spiritually.
      *5:23 - 24 – The church is that body of people Christ will save.
      * 5:25 –The church is the bride of Christ whom He loved and gave Himself for!
      * 5:26-27 – She is (thanks to Christ and His work at the cross) sanctified, cleansed, and washed by
      Christ; and, incredibly, she is viewed as glorious, without spot or wrinkle or any such
      thing, holy and without blemish in His sight — no matter how she looks to men!
      * 5:29 –The church is loved, cherished, and nourished by the Lord even if some rough her up!
      * 5:30-32 — The church is intensely and intimately connected with Christ as "members of his body,
      of His flesh and of His bones," even though many hold her at arm's length.

Her critics may be many, her flaws may be real, her challenges may be great, her progress may seem
slow. But according to God's own word, there simply is no other body of people on earth like the church,
the body of Christ!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ