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Week 15: Your Role in the Body of Christ
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Week 15: Your Role in the Body of Christ

In the New Testament, there are two books called I and II Corinthians. These books were actually letters written by Paul to believers of the church in the city of Corinth. One of the points that Paul brought up in I Corinthians was that the church was like one body with many parts. He explained that this is because when the believers got baptized, they were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – the body of Christ, which is the church (1 Cor 12:12,13). He told them that every member in church has a specific role. He illustrated this by reminding them that every individual part of the human body has a specific role. It is only when each fulfills its individual role does the body then function well as a single unit. You know this to be true. When your body is working properly, you experience good health.

Such is the nature of the body of the church; although it is our spiritual health that we are now talking about. What, then, is our role once we have believed in Jesus and become his disciples? Before we were baptized into the body of Christ, we were like God’s scattered people from the nation of Israel (Ezek 36-37). But the New Testament church can be seen as a renewal of God’s people and the true Israel (Eph 2:11-13; 1 Pet 2:9,10). Where before we had gone our separate ways, we now are one. Are we an eye or an ear? Are we the hand or the foot? Whatever our role may be, the important thing to remember is that we fulfill it to the best of our ability.

The fact that believers remain as one body was of paramount importance to Jesus. We see this in a prayer he offered to the heavenly Father just hours before the betrayal that would lead to his subsequent death. “Now I am no longer in the world,” Jesus prayed, “but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (Jn 17:11). Jesus followed this with a prayer for us. He said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (Jn 17:22,23).

Such is Christ’s love for us. It wasn’t enough that he became a sin offering and died in our stead. He did not say in a begrudging fashion, OK, I’m done! about his sacrifice for us. Rather, as head of the church (Eph 5:23) the Lord understood that even after we have taken the first step to believe his Word and have accepted water baptism, we still have a long way to go. But as members of the church—the body of Christ—we are in this together. We are all sojourners in this journey of faith. With this in mind, we shall study the importance of our individual role in the Church.

Some Basic Principles

One In Truth.

As Christians, being one in the truth of Jesus’ gospel is very important (3 Jn 2-4). In fact, we might go so far as to say having a “divisive spirit” and false teachings (however insignificant those teachings may appear) are grounds for excommunication from the church (Tit 3:9,10; 2 Jn 9-11). From the example set by the apostolic church, we understand the church’s fellowship requires oneness in doctrine (Acts ). Today, our participation in church life must be grounded in the truth of the gospel (Gal 1:6-10) and the apostles’ teachings (Eph ). If we are not one in truth, our fellowship with one another will not be approved by God, for the Holy Spirit, which abides and lives within the church, is the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:17).

One In Love.

As individual members of Christ’s body, we must have a deep and sincere love for one another. Only a unity, in love, can build up the church (Eph ; 1 Pet 3:8). Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor 8:1). We could say this another way: Pride divides a church, but love unifies a church. As human beings, we all have some sense of knowledge and pride within ourselves. As a result, we can never completely avoid disputes within the church, for the church is not yet perfect. We have not yet cultivated ourselves into God’s image, so we lack many of the spiritual qualities needed to avoid disputes and quarrels in the church. Yet, love covers a multitude of sins, and it covers up the imperfections we see in church. Therefore, we need a fervent love for one another, as God’s church, to cover up our own ugliness (Prov ; 1 Pet 4:8). If we can learn how to be unified in love for one another, we would see how the church could quickly be built up. And, with love, our fellowship with one another in church would be that much sweeter.

One in Purpose.

Generally, everyone in life has a purpose. Even if we don’t know where we’ll be ten years, or even a week, from now, we all have our little goals and purposes. Yet king Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiates, continually pounded the message, “Life is meaningless.” While overly optimistic people shun this type of message, there’s a truth in king Solomon’s statement. When we come to the issue of ultimate purpose, life does seem quite meaningless. We work and work just to eat, sleep, and eventually die. Yet we often forget that the meaninglessness king Solomon saw was the product of the limitations we, as human beings, face living “under the sun” (Eccl ; cf. 1 Cor -19, 32). Still, we must learn to transcend our personal ambitions and goals in life to that of Christ’s. Just as a person’s two feet must have a common purpose to walk normally, the church body must have one purpose to reach the goal of God’s kingdom.

Suggested Guidelines

Be There for One Another.

Paul’s letters tell us that he made it a point to encourage the believers to be there for one another. Depending on the situation of a particular church, Paul took care to choose specific words to convey this message of encouragement. For example, when the Thessalonians were not quite sure how they should go about waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming, Paul told them, to “comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1Thess 5:11). He also offered this suggestion, “Warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint-hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1Thess ).

Be One in Prayer.

From the model example set by the apostolic church, we learn that the success and spiritual power of the apostolic church depended upon their unity in prayer. (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 42; ). Likewise, the success of our fellowship with each other in church depends upon the success of our ability to pray with a oneness of heart and purpose. If it is love that builds up the church, we have to ask ourselves, “What do we love the most?” Do we love our pride and material possessions more than we love our brothers and sisters in church? We have to understand our prayer is driven by our heart and purpose. Jesus once said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt ).

Continually Fellowship In Christ.

The Bible teaches us not to give up assembling together, as some are in the habit of doing (Heb ). Here is a common excuse for not attending church: “I can worship God at home. God is spirit, so as long as I worship him in spirit and truth, I don’t have to go to church.” Such a misconception fails to see two things. First, church gatherings and worship can edify us in ways that worshiping by ourselves cannot. Our prayers are more effective when we gather in Jesus’ name because he promises to be among us (Mt -20). Through church services and activities, we can encourage and serve each other with our God-given gifts. Second, a true worshipper of God would not want to stay away from other believers. It is not possible to love God if we do not love our brethren with action (1Jn ). Gathering with other believers allows us to practice the Lord’s command of loving others. Not only so, through fellowship in the Lord, our joy will always be full and complete (1 Jn 1:3,4).

Write down other guidelines that have worked for you.

Write down new ideas that could work for you.


1.      Who is the head of the church?

2.      Who make up the body of the church?

3.      The church is the body of _________________.

4.      Our church life must be grounded in the truth of the gospel and the apostles’ teachings. T/F

5.      What does Eph 4:16 mean to you?

6.      Read 1 Pet 3:8. List the things we should do to in the body of Christ.

7.      Search the book of Acts for a time when the apostles were one in prayer. Write a summary in the space provided.

8.      Why must disciples be there for each other?

9.      How do you “fellowship” with the brothers- and sister-in-Christ?

10.  Where in the Bible does it tell you that Jesus has prayed for all believers to remain united?

Case Studies

1.      Bobby was recently baptized during a church’s spiritual convocation. Bobby only speaks English, but most of the people in Bobby’s local church speak Chinese. Due to the cultural and language barriers, Bobby often feels out of place during church services. However, Bobby has a great love for God and the truth found in the Bible. Because of this love, Bobby still enjoys coming to church to listen to sermons, study the Bible, and pray. However, after service, Bobby quickly leaves because he feels alienated from the other members. One day, after church service, Billy, a Chinese church brother, sees what’s going on and quickly invites Bobby to his house for an informal fellowship before Bobby leaves. But Bobby politely declines Billy’s invitation because of his past experience. Bobby attended an informal fellowship before and was stuck listening to Chinese church brothers and sisters make jokes in Chinese all night long. As time went by, Bobby began to feel less and less inclined to attend services. Finally, Bobby said to himself one day, “I can study the Bible and pray to God right here at home. Why should I go all the way to church to do that?”

If you were a church member who saw Bobby’s feelings of alienation developing, what could you have done?

Conversely, if you were in Bobby’s shoes, and felt alienated, what do you think would be the best way to participate in church life? Or do you think Bobby was right in wanting to stay at home?

Do you think it is enough that you can make Bobby feel at home among this body of believers?

2.      Jack, a newly baptized convert to the True Jesus Church, was introduced to the church by Jill. Before Jill brought Jack to church, Jill had some feelings toward Jack. Jack, however, only thought of Jill as his friend. Later, Jill made her feelings known to Jack. Happily, after Jack thought about it for some time, Jack and Jill became a couple. But the love was short-lived. Jill found Jack to be too insensitive. Jack though Jill was too ill-tempered. When they broke up, Jack immediately stopped coming to church. Before long, rumors about their broken romance began flying in church. Jill was furious when she found out who was “talking behind her back.” She refused to forgive the sisters who were responsible. Soon, Jill too quits church. Examine this story carefully and think about/discuss what problems you can spot in the fellowship of this local church.

What steps could’ve been taken to avoid or resolve these problems?

If you were in Jill’s shoes, what do you think would be the best way to react to the comments made “behind her back”?


1.      One of the practical teachings mentioned above was to try to encourage one another in church. For your activity, try to think of and put into practice one way to encourage the brothers and sisters in church. You can be as imaginative or as straightforward as you want. It may be something as simple as making a phone call during the week to see how someone is doing in their faith. Find someone in church to follow up on your progress. By the end of a month’s time, if you haven’t done anything to encourage another brother or sister, think about why. Make a commitment, for the next month, to do something to encourage at least one brother or sister.


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Publisher: True Jesus Church