February 6, 2024
THE BODY OF CHRIST
Well - for those of you who weren’t here last week, we talked about AGAPE LOVE (THE GOD KIND OF LOVE) AND THE MORE WE WALK IN IT, THE MORE IT CHASES OUT SELF-CENTEREDNESS. We talked some about the phrase, “The Body of Christ,” and what it really is referring to. It isn’t just a pretty way of talking about Christians - it is actually referring to all the human beings, walking around on this earth, who have been BORN AGAIN. In other words, if we have received Christ as our Savior, His spirit was given to us to replace that dead spirit - and all those blessings of His are in that new spirit! That’s why we are BORN AGAIN. S - O - O - WE ARE FLESH HUMAN BEINGS WALKING AROUND WITH THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN US - THAT IS THE REASON WE ARE CALLED THE BODY OF CHRIST!!!!!!! He is in our bodies!!!!!!
We are going to be tackling some delicate issues over the next few weeks. Most Christians have heard the term, ‘Body of Christ,’ so much that, to them, it just means they go to church, etc. BUT - ‘THE BODY OF CHRIST,’ MEANS A LOT MORE THAN THAT - BECAUSE THOSE OF US WHO HAVE ACCEPTED CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR ARE FLESH AND BLOOD PEOPLE WHO ARE CARRYING AROUND IN OUR BEINGS, ‘THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST,’ AND IT MEANS A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN JUST A NAME FOR A GROUP OF PEOPLE. IT IS WHO WE REALLY ARE HERE ON THIS EARTH.
We’re going to begin by looking in the Word, at what occurred in those days after Jesus was resurrected from the dead. And - as we do - I am suggesting that we see the people we’re going to be reading about as just people like you and me. They were the BODY OF CHRIST AND WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Now I know that we all have read the story about Jesus’ resurrection in our Bibles. Each of the 4 Gospels talk about it. There were several encounters with the RISEN SAVIOR - BUT I WANT US TO THINK OF IT, AS I READ SOME OF THESE THINGS, ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF YOU HAD BEEN LIVING AT THAT TIME, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOU HEARING THESE WORDS - BECAUSE WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST!
Some of them had encounters with angels - others actually saw HIM in person. I’m going to read this portion of Scripture - Matthew 28:16-20 - “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed to them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Now one of the things we have to understand about this is that Jesus was raised from the dead and was in His Spiritual Body and yet He was walking around like a human being still. It was a little confusing. That is the reason that, in many of the encounters that they had with Him, He didn’t go through doors - but just appeared in a place. This was hard for some of His followers to get ahold of. In other words, THOSE DISCIPLES had known Jesus in His flesh body - we have not!!! BUT WE HAVE THE SCRIPTURES!!!!!
Now - God had given authority over the earth to mankind in the Garden of Eden - then man disobeyed God and that power was delivered to Satan - therefore the Lord did not have absolute control over the earth. When Jesus died and descended into hell, and stripped Satan of all His power - now - God, once again has power on earth.
Now - Jesus was telling them that HE GOT THE POWER BACK! AND WE ARE (LIKE THOSE DISCIPLES) THE BODY OF CHRIST, HERE ON THIS EARTH. That’s the reason He was telling those disciples to go make disciples all over the world. In other words, it’s not just about getting people saved, so they can go to heaven (although that is included) but they were to teach people like Jesus had been doing. THEY WERE THE BODY OF CHRIST AND SO ARE WE! The reason they were called ‘Christians’ is because it means, ‘little Christs’, and they acted so much like Jesus.
Now - one other thing I want to mention here is that a lot of people accept Jesus as their Savior but they don’t get baptized. They don’t want to be up in front of people. Believe me, I know that fear. You’ve heard my story about that. BUT JESUS SAID TO GET BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT! I suggest that if you haven’t ever been baptized, that you take these words of Jesus seriously.
Jesus said, in that portion of Scripture, that we are to teach people to observe all the things that He commanded them to do. The same thing applies to us today. Remember, we are the BODY OF CHRIST - WE ARE NOT ONLY TO DO WHAT JESUS DID BUT TEACH OTHERS TO ALSO.
Now I’m going to read another portion of Scripture - John 20:19-22 - “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”
Concerning that last portion about the sins of others, I am going to quote from Andrew Wommack’s New Living Commentary. “This is dealing with the temporal effects that sin has on people’s lives. There isn’t just a future death penalty for sins, but sin destroys people emotionally and physically in this life too. It is this present destruction that sin brings into people’s lives that Jesus gave us power to remit. Through intercession we can remit people’s sins so that even those they have sown to the flesh and deserve to reap corruption, they will not reap what they have sown. This is done for the purpose of loosing people from the bondage that Satan desires to hold them in until they see the light and repent. This is only a temporary situation and must be continually repeated if the people we are praying for are continuing to live in sin. On the other hand, sometimes it is not in people’s best interest to remit their sins. There are times when they need to be made painfully aware of the consequences of their sins. In these cases, we have power to retain their sins (church discipline, etc.); that is, we withdraw our intercession and let them reap what they sow in the hope that this will cause them to turn back to God.” The Lord wanted me to share this explanation with you.
Now - let’s go back to the other part of this Scripture - where He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.” Now - it is obvious that they did not actually receive the Holy Spirit that day - because it is very clear in the Word, that that happened on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus was preparing them for what was coming.
Now Luke’s recording of this says it this way - Luke 24:49 - “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
So - let’s get down to the nitty gritty on this. Can you imagine being one of those people there in that room that day. Jesus had miraculously appeared there in the room with them - showing them His hands and feet. At first, they were terrified and frightened - then He began to talk to them. He asked them for food to eat and they gave Him some fish and bread - and they watched Him eat. Then He began to explain things to them and opened their understanding. After helping them to understand some things, is when He talked about the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Now I want to bring something up here. He told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, He was telling them to not go out and start trying to minister to everybody until they had received the power from the Holy Spirit. Now listen - these people had just received some of the best news ever but Jesus told them to not go out and share it with everybody until they had received the power from the Holy Spirit.
They were told to wait because the Holy Spirit was going to be given on the Day of Pentecost. That is not so for us today. We don’t have to wait! So we don’t have to go to Jerusalem and tarry!!!!!!!!!!!
I love this verse from Luke from earlier in Jesus’ ministry. It’s clear back in Luke 11:13 - Jesus is speaking, “If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
This makes it clear that receiving the Holy Spirit, isn’t just something that automatically comes on us without our involvement. Remember, we have a free will - and God will not just overwhelm us with His power without our involvement. Those Christians were told that the Day of Pentecost was coming and, of course, they didn’t understand all the details of it - but they were aware that God wanted to give them a wonderful gift - and they had to be willing to receive it.
Now Pentecost was a Jewish Feast Day that they all knew about and was the same time every year. Jesus was here on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection and then Pentecost was 10 days later. So - from the day that they saw Him leave the earth in His resurrected spiritual being, they spent 10 days just doing what He had told them to do. He told them to tarry. Now Jesus had already breathed on them - they knew that all the power of the Holy Spirit was going to be coming upon them but they didn’t know much more about what it all meant. Can you imagine being one of those ones - WAITING? They were the BODY OF CHRIST! WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Now I want to read to you a portion of Scripture which gives some understanding to us regarding Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s Acts 10:34-38. This is when a man named Cornelius, a Gentile, who was told by the Lord to have Peter come to his house and give him understanding. This is just part of what Peter said. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality but in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel preaching peace through Jesus Christ ---He is Lord of all ---- that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: HOW GOD ANOINTED JESUS OF NAZARETH WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH POWER, WHO WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD AND HEALING ALL WHO WERE OPPRESSED BY THE DEVIL, FOR GOD WAS WITH HIM.”
You mean Jesus had to have the Holy Spirit to do what God the Father wanted Him to do????????? YES! Jesus was God the Son - but He was living in a flesh and blood body - yes, without sin - but was limited to that flesh and blood body. The Holy Spirit brought enlightenment, and wisdom in all kinds of areas into the mind of Jesus.
I’m going to read another portion of Scripture. This is John the Baptist speaking, when some Pharisees came to ask who He was and if he was the Messiah. It’s John 1:24 - 34 - “Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah nor the Prophet?’ John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’ These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him, but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore, I came baptizing with water.’ And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.’”
THE SON OF GOD IS THE ONE WHO BAPTIZES WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!!!
Now - this is the way the Lord has helped me to understand this very important (and yet very delicate) subject, in this culture we live in today.
John the Baptist was born before Jesus was born. Their mothers were related - however, they grew up in different areas and were not around one another. They did not have a relationship with one another - although they knew about one another.
John the Baptist had a calling upon His life to get people to turn their lives over to God. He preached about repentance (instructed by the Lord to do so). His messages led people to repent from their sins, and be baptized by Him, as a confirmation to themselves and everybody else that they were getting close to God. John’s life was truly dedicated to the Lord and he and the Lord communicated with One Another. God told John things. John knew that he WASN’T THE SAVIOR - AND THAT JESUS WAS! John knew that, when Jesus came to Him to be baptized, IT WAS NOT HIM REPENTING BUT SHOWING THE WORLD, THAT HE WAS HERE TO LEAD THEM TO THE LORD. John knew that when that DOVE descended from heaven upon Jesus it was THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Here was the SECOND PERSON OF THE GODHEAD, JESUS, THE SON OF GOD, IN A PHYSICAL BODY, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT APPEARING - TO PROVIDE ALL THAT JESUS WOULD NEED WHILE HE WAS IN THAT PHYSICAL BODY!!!!!!!!
IF JESUS NEEDED THAT, SO DO WE!!!!!!
This whole subject has been very complicated to Christianity for 2,000 years. So many denominations do not believe it is for today’s Christians. But - WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST just like those first Christians were.
I’m going to read 4 verses from the first part of Acts - Acts 1:1 - 4 - (This is Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke writing this.) “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me.’”
Now I’m going to read the verses following that but I want to say this first. This portion of Scripture said that Jesus gave commandments to the apostles THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. I wanted to read this because it makes it quite clear that Jesus spoke to others THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If the Son of God, who was sinless, walked around talking to people and saying exactly what the Father wanted Him to say, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, certainly WE NEED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT WE CAN DO WHAT JESUS DID.
Now, here are the verses that follow that - Acts 1:5-8 - This is still Jesus speaking. “’For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days from now.’ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
Now - I have to say this. I was raised, as I’ve told you before, in the Baptist church, and I never, never, never heard anyone ever teach regarding these Scriptures. Most of the denominational churches just all believe that this just all went out when the apostles died. But brothers and sisters, this was being taught to all the people who were getting born again - THE BODY OF CHRIST - AND THAT INCLUDES US IN TODAY’S WORLD.
The Lord has instructed me to tackle this subject. So I am going to obey Him. We’ve been talking this morning, primarily about how this subject was presented to the BODY OF CHRIST before the Day of Pentecost. Both John the Baptist and Jesus, through their words, PREPARED the people for what was coming - THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! The Lord told me that He wanted me to teach about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit - what the Scriptures say about it and what I have learned in my own life about it - but He told me to PREPARE - LIKE JOHN THE BAPTIST AND JESUS BOTH DID.
Now I know that some of us have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and some of us have not. The Lord has told me to not just teach doctrine about this - but to get down to the nitty-gritty about it. Some have received it, but have not been taught much about it and they just aren’t living in the wonderful benefits of this wonderful gift. Others have been afraid to pursue it because of former teaching. Others have just stayed away of even any discussion about it, because it just all sounds like gibberish and silliness to them.
Believe me - I understand. For the benefit of those who were not here when I told this story - I’m going to tell it again This was in the 70’s - We were pastoring a church in Indian Hills, Colorado. It was the days of the Charismatic Renewal, which was going on all over America. People were meeting in homes, and church basements and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. My husband and I were staying away from it, because we didn’t believe that it was for today. A man who was coming to our church invited my husband and me to come with him to one of these evening meetings in a home nearby. My husband told me what he had said and asked me if I wanted to go. I said, “NO - NO - NO - THAT WAS WRONG - THAT WENT OUT WITH THE APOSTLES - I DIDN’T WANT TO GO.” I thought he would agree with me. But I could tell, by the look on his face, that he didn’t. He brought it up a couple more times and I reacted the same way. (Now my husband and I were very, very close and we didn’t argue with one another - but, on this subject, I thought he was just being misled.) A couple of days went by, and it was time for the home meeting, in the evening. I continued to disagree with him and he told me he was going to go ahead and go. I was so upset - I felt like he was abandoning me and our belief system.
I stayed home with the kids, while he went to the meeting. Of course, I got our children to bed at the normal time - and I made a decision that, I would go to bed, and, when he came home, I would pretend that I was asleep, so I didn’t have to listen to anything about all that gibberish. So that’s what I did! He came home, and saw I was in bed, not responding to him getting home - so he came to bed.
Now - my husband would always get up first in the morning and go get the coffee made. So - the next morning, he brought my coffee into the bedroom and put it on the little table by my side of the bed. I opened my eyes and started to sit up, and he said, with a big smile on his face and an excited voice, “I got baptized in the Holy Spirit last night - you want to hear me speak in tongues?!!!!!!!” I said, “No -” but he did anyway. I felt like a huge rock had just come between him and me. I was devastated.
During that day, we talked a few times. We lived in a parsonage, right next door to the church - so he was back and forth several times that day. He told me that there was going to be another meeting that night and he begged me to go with him. I was going through such a difficult time - I felt like everything was crushing in our lives. But - finally, I decided that I should go with him and, then, that way we could have a conversation about it. So, in the afternoon, I told him I would go - and we made arrangements for a friend to come and be with the kids. I was so scared - but I had agreed to go so I had to do what I had said I would.
So - we went! When we were getting close to the house, I asked him to park as closely to the house as possible, so I could get to the car if anyone did or said something that I couldn’t stand. We went up the stairs to the house and, as we went through the front door, there was the most beautiful sound that I had ever heard. There were people sitting on sofas, and chairs, and on the floor - and there was a woman playing a guitar - and the people were all singing quietly together in the TONGUES that I had heard about - each different words, but they had their hands lifted, and they were praising the Lord. It went on for awhile and I was just captivated by it. As we had entered, two people got out of their chairs and sat on the floor and pointed for us to sit in the chairs. After awhile, they ended their singing and a person began to talk - and then others did - and nobody did anything weird to me - no one put hands on my head - they were all very loving and kind. I kinda’ felt like I was in a whole new world. It got time to leave and, as we left to go get into our car, I had these thoughts going on inside me - “This wasn’t bad - It was good - Have I been wrong all along - How can this be - Oh my, my, my, This could really be the will of God!!!!!” I just couldn’t deny that God was in that meeting! My husband talked a lot about it, and I made little comments here and there - but not much - I was so confused. We got home and went to bed. The next morning, we went through our normal morning stuff - breakfast - kids ready and off to school - my husband over to his office in the church! I sat in my kitchen all by myself and then just dropped down on my knees, there in the kitchen. I told the Lord that I was sorry and that I knew now that I had been wrong - THEN I JUST POURED OUT MY HEART TO LORD AND TOLD HIM THAT I WAS READY - I ASKED HIM TO BAPTIZE ME IN THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND I TOLD HIM I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND MUCH ABOUT ALL THIS BUT THAT I WANTED TO SPEAK IN TONGUES. I JUST OPENED MY MOUTH AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WHAT I HAD CALLED GIBERICH BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!
That day - my life changed! I had no education or teaching about it - BUT I BEGAN TO LEARN!!!!!
So - next week we’re going to continue on - through the Scripture - and we’re going to talk about the Day of Pentecost and about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit AFTER THE DAY OF PENTECOST FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST. The Lord has told me to deal with this - DOWN TO THE NITTY-GRITTY!!!!!!!!!!! It will not only be helpful for you individually but it will help you help others who are struggling with this delicate subject.
Scriptures for this lesson