Church Physiology 101

Church Family: Let's make up a new term. Let's start with "physiology," which is the study of how the human body works. Now lets apply physiology to one of Paul’s favorite metaphors of the Church as “the body of Christ” with Christ being the “head of the body.” Church physiology would then be the study of the life of the Church, the body of Christ. Paul's metaphor of the Church being the body of Christ is to teach us that there is a vital living unity that is dependent upon each of us as body parts for a healthy living Church organism that has great power and effectiveness as it lives in this world (Rom. 12:4-5; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12; Eph 1; 4). Let’s call this Church Physiology.

In Paul’s class of Church Physiology, he wants every Christian to understand that they are a living part of Christ’s body, the Church, for its most effective and productive work. The “Church” here in Romans 12:4-5, is most likely a reference to the universal body of Christ, that spiritual organism made up of all believers in all of history. But if Jesus is the head of the universal church in general, He is also the head of every local church specifically. We as GCT are the body of Christ and every individual member makes up that body. Paul’s teaching as the Church being the body of Christ with Christ being its head declares that every one of us are an essential part of the whole GCT body of Christ. There is not a single one of you that is not needed. The Holy Spirit has given you a very specific gift(s) for you to be using as part of His body. You have meaning and purpose in your gifting. You have great responsibility to be exercising your gifts as a part of His body. You have the same uniting Holy Spirit life blood flowing through you as does any other part of the body. Within this living body of Christ we all have a different function but are equally important under the same headship of Christ. As a body part you are not called to look like any other part but be your unique God-designed self as you exercise your gift. God has created each one of us to be united in our diversity. Even when you have the same function, say as a teacher, you are not to be a teacher in the same way as another teacher. You are to be a teacher in the very specific way the Lord has created you and how He has made you with your personality, sufferings, successes, hardships, rejoicing and loss.

So, as a part of Christ’s body, with Christ Himself being the head, can you just tell Him, “No thanks, I am just going to flop around doing nothing as a body part?” Well, short answer, No. With Christ being the head of His body and Him graciously making you part of His body, His purpose in calling you to be a part of His body is for you to be a living functioning part of His body. For example, what if my appendix decided not to do appendix things? The non-functioning appendix would send the rest of my body into a sickness. The appendix would start to die and that infection would start to spread to other body parts. My body would not be functioning as Christ intended. The same goes for the body of Christ. Christ's body is most effective and healthy when all the parts of the body are living and functioning together as a whole.

You may say, "I am just not important and my gifting is just not needed." That kind of thinking is opposite of what the head of the body, Christ, is expecting from you as part of His body. Every part of His body is dependent upon the other. We all suffer if one part of the body is not spiritually fit and ready to carry out its function. You have been given a great privilege to be a part of something bigger than yourself, the whole body, His Church and Christ Himself, the head. Together lets make Christ visible to this world in power and love and unity as we function together under His headship as HIs living body.

See you Sunday, as Christ's body: Steve

No Comments