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One Body (Part 1)


      I don’t know about you, but one of the character defects I have is to read the Scriptures to learn how they apply to everyone else and forgetting God gave them to me to apply to me. One passage that quickly comes to mind with which I have been guilty of this is Ephesians 4:4-6. I have taught many times from this passage against denominationalism. Certainly, there is application there. However, keep in mind when Paul wrote Ephesians 4:4-6 there were no denominations. He did not have denominationalism in mind. Instead, he was fighting against division within the church as it existed. In fact, though he spoke of the church universal, he was making application to the local congregation at Ephesus. He was encouraging them to be united. He was encouraging them to be one body. With that in mind, instead of looking at the evils of denominationalism, I want us to look squarely at ourselves. We’ll consider the concept of the universal church for a few moments but then look at the context to see what the members of the local congregation must do to allow each congregation to be a miniature representation of that one universal body.


I.         Though there are numerous religious bodies in existence, there is only one universal body belonging to Christ. According to Matthew 16:18, Jesus was going to establish His church, not His churches. One. Singular. It was not to be splintered into numerous sects and denominations. In fact, the splintering and dividing has not changed that there is only one body. Do not misunderstand. I am not saying all those divisions and denominations make up the one body. The one body is not made up of sects, denominations or divisions. Additionally, the one body is not made up of all the local bodies. The one universal body of Christ is made up of the individual Christians God has added to His church (cf. Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13).

II.       If we are not part of Christ’s one body, being part of some church or some religious organization does us absolutely no good. We should not rest upon membership in a local church. Rather, we should endeavor to be part of the universal body of the elect and saved.

III.      Paul provides six qualifications to be part of the one body. If these things are not true for us, we are not part of the one body no matter how many religious organizations we are part of.

A.      We must be led by the one Spirit (cf. Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16, 25). If our spirituality is led by anything other than the one Spirit, we are not in the one body.

B.     We must rest in the one hope of our calling (cf. Ephesians 1:18-19; I Peter 1:3-5). If our hope is anything other than resurrection through Jesus Christ, we are not part of the one body.

C.     We must submit to the one Lord (cf. Luke 6:46). If we do not do what Jesus says, we are not part of the one body.

D.     We must be growing in the one faith (Jude 1:3). If we are growing in something other than the faith delivered through the apostles by the revelation of Jesus Christ, we are not growing in the one body.

E.     We must enter through the one baptism (Acts 2:38). If we were baptized in any way other than immersion in water for the remission of sins or not baptized at all, we are not part of the one body.

F.      We must worship and be empowered by the one God and Father of all (I Corinthians 12:6). If we worship, seek or gain strength from anything or anyone other than the one God and Father of all, we are not part of the one body.


      Again, keep this in mind. This body exists and there is only one. There is one for every age, race, gender, socio-economic class, politics, level of intelligence, background (cf. Galatians 3:28). This is important for everyone, including us, to understand. We are not part of this one body because we are members of any particular congregation. We are not part of this one body because we are members of a congregation that has “church of Christ” written on its sign or letterhead. We are part of this one body when the above six requirements are part of our lives. Yes, we should also be part of a local congregation but being part of that local congregation does not make us part of the Lord’s one universal body.

      Are you part of it? Enter through the one baptism today.


Glory to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Franklin Church of Christ