When one does a study of the church, he will find that God uses different synonyms to refer to it. On one hand, the Lord acknowledged that the church and the kingdom are the same thing. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:18-19). Also, Paul wrote to Timothy, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Then there is the terminology that will be the focus of our attention for the majority of this article. God referred to the church as the body of Christ.
One such mention was used by Paul when he wrote, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Also, Paul again echoed this thought by writing, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). Then there is First Corinthians chapter twelve. Paul started that chapter of Scriptures by addressing “spiritual gifts”. These were the nine supernatural “gifts” given to some in first century A.D. They are as follows: “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:8-10). Each one of these “parts” of the supernatural were given for a specific purpose. The Lord said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18). Mark concluded his account of the Gospel by writing, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:19-20). The different “parts”, or different “spiritual gifts”, were used for the confirmation of God’s Word. This system would remain in effect until the complete Word of God was confirmed and recorded (1 Cor. 13:8-12). Each one of the “parts” or “gifts” was important to the confirmation of the Word. Neither was insignificant! With that being stated, Paul used that knowledge to precede a great discussion of the importance of each member of the body of Christ.
Paul boldly stated, “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” (1 Cor. 12:12). We understand that the physical human body has many different parts, but which are unimportant? The same could be said and asked about the body of Christ. The church has many different members, but none of them are unimportant. Paul further wrote, “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” (1 Cor. 12:13). Regardless of our pasts, or who we are, if we are in the body of Christ, then we are important and needed. With that being the case, Paul continued, “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 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? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling” (1 Cor. 12:14-17)? One part of the body is as necessary as another. “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” (1 Cor. 12:21). The body of Christ is the same. No part of the body should be made to feel unneeded and useless. Whether you are in a pulpit, preaching the Word, or whether you privately teach those around you, you are important. The person who makes sure that The Lord’s Supper is prepared on the first day of the week is just as vital as the Song Leader who leads in singing. The body of Christ is beautiful in it’s totality. “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. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:23-27).