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« on: January 23, 2010, 06:44:11 AM »



S. Franklin Logsdon

"It is expedient for you that I go away . . . I will send him unto you"

Copyright @ 1960



"For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body"

The church, which consists of that company of people who have reposed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is variously designated in the Scriptures. There are such references as:

 the building (Ephesians 2:21),
 the body (Colossians 1:18),
 the bride (Ephesians 5:30, 31).

The church is not an Old Testament institution. Its description, duties and destiny cannot be found in the Old Covenant. The spotlight in that ancient day focused upon a nation called out from the people (Deuteronomy 7:6-8), while in the New Covenant we find a people called out from the nations (Acts 15:14). Even a hasty perusal of the position, provisions and prospect will convince one that the church, which is the Body of Christ, is indeed a "new thing" in the divine economy.

It is an interesting engagement to observe the church's foundation, formation, features, faculties, functions, faith, fellowship and future, and to witness the Spirit's constant ministry in making these glorious facts real and vital and enjoyable in the experience and outlook of the true believer.

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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2010, 06:48:05 AM »

The Foundation

Two matters of great significance must be perceived and believed:

(1)  The church's foundation is unique. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:11);
(2)  The church's foundation is sure. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his" (II Timothy 2:19).

Here is sufficient fact:

- To stabilize the Christian's hope,
- To bolster his faith,
- To stimulate his devotion,
- To encourage his steadfastness
- To increase his expectation.

The foundation is unique because it is Christ Himself. It is sure for the same reason. Because He is eternal, all that He represents is eternal. Those who are identified with Him by faith are on the only true foundation and can rest in the assurance of its enduring stability.

The Formation

The calling out of a people for His name is the wonderful theme of the glorious Gospel.

This divine operation is characterized after this manner:

- God "hath quickened us together . . . and raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:5, 6).
- Also, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).
- And further, "to make in himself of twain one new man" (Ephesians 2:15).

In these instances—in every instance—the operation is centered "in Christ." His positional emphasis is always central from the "tree of life" in the midst of the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the Lamb in the midst of the throne in Revelation. Where even two or three are gathered together in His name He is in the midst, and Calvary was no exception, for on either side was a malefactor and Jesus in the center.

Integrating into "one body" those who believe on and receive the Lord Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit's baptizing ministry, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." This of course is not synonymous with joining a church, being baptized with water, or subscribing to a creed. Neither is it the "one baptism" of Ephesians 4:5, which, by virtue of its position in the epistle, has to do with practice and not the position, with the walk and not with the birth of the Christian.

Some think the baptizing of believers into "one body" did not begin until Paul turned to the Gentiles. But three times did Paul turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:28).

However, there were not three beginnings of the baptizing work of the Spirit, nor was its beginning dependent upon what any man did or did not do. Jesus said: "Ye shall be baptized with [or in] the Holy Ghost not many days hence" (Acts 1:5). Thus, the formation of the "body of Christ" began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and continues in its development with the regeneration of each believing sinner. This began at Jerusalem where our Lord said it would begin (Luke 24:47), and will continue until the rapture takes place.

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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 06:50:50 AM »

The Features and Functions

It is most interesting to study the composition of the Church as the Body of Christ.

- There is multiplicity for there are "many members" (I Corinthians 12:20).
- There is unity because there is but "one body" (I Corinthians 12:20).
- There is compactness for "the whole body is fitly joined together and compacted" (Ephesians 4:16).
- There is sympathy since "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it" (I Corinthians 12:26).

Concerning the many members, it must be observed that, "Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him" (I Corinthians 12:18). He gave to the human body two ears, two eyes, two hands, two feet, one mouth, one tongue, one heart, etc. The psalmist exclaimed, "Man is wonderfully and fearfully made." Shakespeare commented: "What a piece of work is a man! How infinite in faculty!" The Church is just as amazingly constructed since in each case the Architect and Builder is God.

The unity of the Body of Christ, though little understood, is of tremendous importance. "By him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17), or are held together. "All things" means everything from the infinitesimal atom to the largest planet—everything that is. It is only when man causes the neutrons to attack the nucleus of the atom that explosions ensue. The unity is broken. It is only when Satan causes unspiritual attitudes and actions to attack the cohesive peace of the Church that disturbances in the work of the Lord result. Then the Spirit's operations are hindered. Man cannot produce the unity, but he is strongly exhorted to preserve it (Ephesians 4:3).

The suffering of all members when one suffers does not mean that when one has a pain all in the church feel the same discomfort, even though there should be prayerful interest. The verse which precedes this mention of suffering (I Corinthians 12:25) clearly indicates that this matter has to do with divisions. Thus, when one member suffers from satanic influence, the whole assembly is affected. One does not need a rifle or revolver, a dagger or hand grenade to cut a swath through the peace and productiveness of a local church. It can be accomplished just as effectively by gossip, unforgiveness or unconfessed sin. Those who suffer these spiritual maladies without applying the remedy of the Word impose an unspeakable hardship upon the whole cause of Christ.

And concerning the compactness of the body, we have but one brief observation.

To make this possible, the precious Saviour endured at Calvary, not one but a thousand deaths, as all His bones were out of joint (Psalm 22:14).

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 06:52:59 AM »

The Faculties

The word "faculty" is defined as "ability to act or do; power or prerogative given or conferred." And in the Body of Christ this conferred ability is evidenced in a diversity of gifts, in differences of administrations, and in a variety of operations (I Corinthians 12:4-6). The varied gifts are displayed in many engagements, all controlled by one sovereign Head contributing to one glorious end. One may go "down to the battle"; another tarry "by the stuff" (I Sam. 30:24). Each member of the body has its necessary place. The foot cannot deny its function; nor the ear; nor yet the eye (I Corinthians 12:15,16). It is the co-ordination of the many members which gives to the body the productivity divinely desired.

The Faith

Faith is like fuel.

- Fuel gives warmth to the home;  faith gives warmth to the heart.
- Fuel gives power to the machinery of men;  faith gives power to the messengers of God.

But we need not burden ourselves with calculations of btu's or measurements of horsepower, for all spiritual matters are characterized by the most impressive simplicity. We are clearly told that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

Faith is a most necessary commodity for the believer.

The Christian:

- Walks by faith (II Corinthians 5:7);
- Works by faith (Hebrews 11:33);
- Wins by faith (I John 5:4);
- Prays by faith (Hebrews 11:6);
- Anticipates by faith (Hebrews 11:26b);
- Was saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8).

Since the Holy Spirit is the Author, the Conveyor and the Interpreter of the Word, and since the Word is the source of faith, one begins to appreciate how vital is the ministry of the Spirit.

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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 06:54:21 AM »

The Fellowship

What fellowship really is and with whom we enjoy it are fundamental considerations.

Fellowship is possible for those who:

- Stand on common ground,
- Think similar thoughts
- Delight in like matters of interest.

These conditions having been met in the reconciliation of the believer to God through the regeneration of the Spirit, enabled the beloved apostle to assert: "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ" (I John 1:3).

To emphasize this glorious truth, we may ask some simple questions, letting the text answer:

 What may we have with God? "Fellowship."
 Is such fellowship assured? "Truly."
 Whose fellowship is it? "Ours."
 With whom do we have fellowship? "God."
 When may we have this fellowship? "Now" (is).

This is possible whether or not the Christian knows it.

- He may know it but not believe it.
- He may believe it but not enjoy it.
- Bur he cannot have it without knowing Him;
- He cannot enjoy it without meeting the conditions.

These conditions may be summarized as:

(1) acquaintanceship with the Lord (Job 22:21);
(2) reception of His Word (Job 22:22);
(3) application of His Word (James 1:22);
(4) cleansing of the heart (Job 22:23).

These Old Testament references are cited because they are appropriate and because dispensational lines can never isolate unchangeable principles.

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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 06:55:05 AM »

With the apostle Paul we must learn that to lay the groundwork for an out-and-out fellowship with God, there is no starting point without the dissolution of all self-interest. He was willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the (experiential) knowledge of the Lord.

We too must have an unqualified willingness:

- To make our life one of constant communion with God;
- To make God's Word the sole rule of our faith and practice;
- To make God's glory our end in all actions;
- To make it our endeavor to please Him at all times;
- To make His will our strongest desire;
- To make His designs our chief delight;
- To be workers together with Him in an actual way.

Promotion of such fellowship with God depends upon frequency in prayer, constancy in service and consistency in living. The activating factor is need; the motivating force is love; the stimulating incentive is hope.

When we add to all this the fact that the heart of God longs for fellowship with His people, this should be an appealing matter indeed.

~ end of chapter 3 ~





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