Page 7 - September 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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every believer (v12). For the sake of space,   Church (Mat 16:18). Like the body, the
        four practical lessons are outlined below.  figure of a building is applied both to the
          Discontent of the members (vv15-16). In   dispensational Church in Ephesians 2 and
        a human body, the foot does not have the   the local church at Corinth in 1 Corinthi-
        same function as the hand, but both are   ans 3. The building under construction
        essential to the proper and effective func-  is a spiritual and holy temple (Eph 2:21;
        tioning of the body as a whole. Likewise,   1Co 3:16) comprised of believers as living
        every believer in a local assembly has an   stones perfectly fitted and framed to-
        important role to play and is responsible   gether. These same believers also function
        to exercise that function.            as a holy priesthood within the building,
          Despising the members (vv21-22). In   offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable
        a human body, the head could not say   to God by Jesus Christ (1Pe 2:5).
        to the feet, “I have no need of you,” for   The foundation of the building comprises
        then the body would not be able to move   the “apostles and prophets,” with Jesus
        from place to place at the direction of   Christ Himself being the “chief corner
        the head. Likewise, believers must never   stone” (Eph 2:20). As such, He is the first
        overestimate their own importance as if   and most important stone of the founda-
        others were not needed. In reality, those   tion, bringing shape and character to
        that seem to be “more feeble” (weaker) are   the whole building. Christ is the Stone
        actually essential – like internal organs,   by which every other (living) stone is
        unseen and unheralded, but vital!     measured. Progressing from the corner
          Dignity of the members (vv23-24). In a   stone are the two lines of the apostles and
        human body, some parts are undignified   prophets who established the foundation
        and require to be carefully clothed. Other   of the early Church by their teaching and
        parts, such as the face, are much more   ministry (cf. 1Co 3:10-11).
        presentable! So, in the assembly, some   The form of the building is that of a holy
        saints might be perceived as more comely,   temple (naos). The Greek word refers to
        having a higher social standing or a more   the inner sanctuary of the holy of holies
        desirable gift. But God has “tempered”   rather than the temple’s outer precincts.
        (blended) the body together in such a way   The Church is therefore a “habitation of
        that every saint should have equal honour.   God through the Spirit” – a permanent
          Devotion of the members (vv25-26). As   and settled dwelling place of the living
        members of the same body, saints should   God. The implication of these words is
        have the “same care one for another.”   sobering for it demands the utmost holi-
        There will be a mutual and anxious con-  ness in character and practice from those
        cern for every member of the assembly.   who form, and function in, the building.
        When one suffers, so do the rest. When   Let the final word rest with Paul: “If any
        one member is blessed, all are joyful! Such   man defile the temple of God, him shall
        an attitude would ensure that no member   God destroy; for the temple of God is holy,
        feels alienated or without value and pre-  which temple ye are” (1Co 3:17). Let us
        vent any rend in the fabric of the assembly.   seek to live lives of separation, keeping
        Living Stones                         clear of the filthy things of the world that
          The Lord Jesus was the first to use   we might enjoy the intimate presence of
        the figure of a building in relation to the   our Father (2Co 6:16-18).

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